Communicate the gospel to others

To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gifts of the Spirit to all who repent and believe. Our Christian presence in the world is indispensable to evangelism, and so is that kind of dialogue whose purpose is to listen sensitively in order to understand. But evangelism itself is the proclamation of the historical, biblical Christ as Saviour and Lord, with a view to persuading people to come to him personally and so be reconciled to God. In issuing the gospel invitation we have no liberty to conceal the cost of discipleship. Jesus still calls all who would follow him to deny themselves, take up their cross, and identify themselves with his new community. The results of evangelism include obedience to Christ, incorporation into his Church and responsible service in the world. – Lausanne Covenant

The Bible’s overriding purpose throughout is to bear witness to Christ, to proclaim the goon news that He is Lifegiver and Lord and to share that story to people so that they may trust Him.

We find Jesus, as our Lord, demanding total allegiance. In fact, some first-century Jews saw the gospel as undermining Judaism.

“Fellow Israelites, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against our people, our law, and this place; more than that, he has actually brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” – Acts 21:28

First-century Romans also feared for the stability of the state, since in their view the Christian missionaries were being disloyal to Caesar and advocating customs which were not lawful for Romans to practice.

And are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe. And Jason has entertained them as guests. They are all acting contrary to the decrees of the emperor, saying that there is another king named Jesus. – Acts 16:21;17:7

Still today Jesus challenges many of the cherished beliefs and customs of every culture and society.

The apostle Paul remains a great example of one whom Jesus first stripped of pride in his own cultural privileges and then taught to adapt to the cultures of others, making himself their slave.

For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them.  To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law.  To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law.  To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some.  I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings. – 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

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Understanding God’s Word Today

God intended His Word for ordinary people; it is not to be regarded as something written only for scholars as the central truths of salvation are plain for all to see.

All scripture is inspired by God and is[a] useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness – 2 Timothy 3:16

The Holy Spirit has been given to be our teacher.

Jesus still appoints pastors and teachers in His church. In answer to expectant prayer He speaks to His people, especially through the preaching of His Word in the context of worship.

Let the word of Christ[a] dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.[b] – Colossians 3:16

We do this in group Bible studies as well as listening to the voice of God in the Scriptures, which is an indispensable element in the believer’s Christian life.

Thus the Holy Spirit instructs His people through a variety of teachers of both the past and the present.  We need each other.

I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:18-19

The Lausanne Covenant states it this way —

The Spirit “illumines the minds of God’s people in every culture to perceive its truth freshly through their own eyes and thus discloses to the whole Church ever more of the many-coloured wisdom of God

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Dynamic Equivalence

A literal translation of the form (“formal correspondence”) may conceal or distort the meaning. In such cases, the better way is to find in the other language an expression which makes an equivalent impact on the hearers now as did the original. This may involve changing the form in order to preserve the meaning. This is called “dynamic equivalence.” Consider, for example, the RSV translation of Rom. 1:17, which states that in the gospel “the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith.” This gives a word-for-word rendering of the original Greek, that is, a “formal correspondence” translation. But it leaves the meaning of’ the Greek words “righteousness” and “from faith to faith” unclear. A translation such as TEV—”the gospel reveals how God puts people right with himself: it is through faith from beginning to end”—abandons the principle of one-to-one correspondence between Greek and English words; but it expresses the meaning of the original sentence more adequately. The attempt to produce such a “dynamic equivalence” translation may well bring the translator to a deeper understanding of Scripture, as well as make the text more meaningful to people of another language.

Some of the biblical forms (words, images, metaphors) should be retained, however, because they are important recurring symbols in Scripture (e.g., cross, lamb, or cup). While retaining the form, the translators will try to bring out the meaning. For example, in the TEV rendering of Mark 14:36—”take this cup of suffering away from me”—the form (i.e., the “cup” image) is retained, but the words “of suffering” are added to clarify the meaning.

Writing in Greek, the New Testament authors used words that had a long history in the secular world, but they invested them with Christian meanings, as when John referred to Jesus as “the Logos.” It was a perilous procedure, because “logos” had a wide variety of meanings in Greek literature and philosophy, and non-Christian associations doubtlessly clung to the word. So John set the title within a teaching context. affirming that the Logos was in the beginning, was with God, was God, was the agent of creation, was the light and life of men, and became a human being (John 1: 1-14). Similarly, some Indian Christians have taken the risk of borrowing the Sanskrit word “avatar” (descent), used in Hinduism for the so-called “incarnations” of Vishnu, and applied it, with careful explanatory safeguards, to the unique incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. But others have refused to do so, on the ground that no safeguards are adequate to prevent misinterpretation. – The Willowbank Report from the Lausanne Committee

The Holy Spirit’s work of inspiration is done only in the sense that the canon of Scripture is closed, but His work of illumination continues in every conversion and in the life of the follower of Christ and the Church.  We need to pray that He will enlighten our eyes of our hearts so that we may know the fullness of God’s purpose for us as we read His Word.


Origin of human culture

God created mankind, male and female, in His own likeness by endowing them with distinctive human faculties – rational, moral, social, creative and spiritual.  He also told them to have children, to fill the earth and to subdue it.  These divine commands are the origin of human culture.

Today we have lost our way.  All our work is accompanied by sweat and struggle and is disfigured by selfishness.

The affirmation that we are made in God’s image still stands, though the divine likeness has been distorted by sin.  I believe that God also is still looking to us to exercise stewardship of the earth and its creatures and that we still have our gift of inventiveness making us resourceful and successful in doing so.


God’s Spirit implants His standards

We must learn to faithfully listen to the Word of God – for as we do, God’s Spirit will enlighten us —

 Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.[b] – Romans 12:2

The Spirit uses the Word in this way to bring individuals and communities to Christian maturity.

The role of culture and community in conditioning our understanding of sin is seen in Romans 14.  In the Roman church some people were vegetarians because they had formerly worshiped idols by eating sacrificed meat.

Paul responded that it is not the act itself that is important, but the underlying character of one’s relationship with God.  A person must do what he or she believes is pleasing to God.  Different people will choose to take different and maybe even opposite actions to please God.  This is why Paul taught that it is wrong to be contemptuous of those who follow rules that seem irrelevant to us; we should not feel more spiritual than those who don’t follow our own ideals of Christian behaviour.  Put another way, each of us is answerable to God.

Instead of teaching biblical principles, the human tendency is to substitute rules about foods, ceremonies, rituals, times and places.  Paul responds —

For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  The one who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and has human approval. – Romans 14:17-18

As more and more people become believers, a non-national missionary can help the group to discover God’s will for them and of course a national missionary has no difficulty at all.  They will both direct new believers to the Word of God where they will work out their salvation —

Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling – Philippians 2:12



God’s Love Washes and Renews



Mission exhortations

 Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. – Luke 6:33

Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. – Luke 12:33

How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister[a] in need and yet refuses help? – 1 John 3:17

If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. – James 2:15-17


Core identity

Moved by the love of Christ, we seek ways of living and serving that fit who God has made us and that allow us to carry out our purpose with full integrity and wisdom —

Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time.[a]  Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. – Colossians 4:5-6




Our Core Identity