8 Quotes From “The Gospel Of The Kingdom”

T.M. Moore has written a book that I think is a must-read for those who want to “earnestly contend for the faith” (Jude 3)—the orthodox Christianity that is presented in the Scriptures. You can check out my full book review of The Gospel Of The Kingdom by clicking here. 

“We can only discern these wayward ‘winds of doctrine’ when we have a clear understanding of the Gospel of the Kingdom. The better we understand and the more wholeheartedly we embrace this Good News as Jesus and the Apostles taught it, the better able we will be to counsel and lead our fellow believers who may be ensnared in the thrall of a ‘different gospel’ and therefore in danger of having believed in vain.” 

“In the divine economy now established within the Kingdom of God, the Spirit of God works with the Word of God to build the church and further the reign of Christ. An ethic of love and hope prevails within that realm which serves as a platform for embodying and proclaiming the truth of God and Christ. Salvation comes to those who believe, bringing them into the community of the saints and dramatically affecting every aspect of their lives in relationships of mutual service and love.” 

“The Gospel of the Kingdom is not, in the first instance, about you and me going to heaven when we die. It is about the Kingdom of God, first and foremost—about a new reality that has broken into human experience with irresistible, transforming power, making all things new and bringing the knowledge of the glory of God to light in the sight of all men and nations.” 

“Apart from the saving mercy of Christ and liberation into His Kingdom, men can look forward only to lives of uncertainty, doubt, disappointment, false hopes, fear, and death.” 

“The Gospel of the Kingdom is the power of God for transformation, a transformation so complete and thorough that it finally makes all things new. Those who know this power are changed by the glory of God so that, increasingly, their lives actually begin to reflect the living reality of the risen Christ, their King. The fruits and virtues that flow from their lives, like rivers of living water, are precisely those most to be desired and least in supply in a fallen world.” 

“The Kingdom is Good News because it brings power exceeding and abundant to be and do more than we could ever ask or think [Ephesians 3:20]. Here is a power we can never exhaust and that springs up day by day in ever fresher, ever more abounding ways to make all things new in our lives.” 

“Joy, it appears, is not determined by what we can see in our immediate environment. Instead, Joy is a condition that attaches to knowing the Lord and being able to see past what is seen in order to engage what is not seen. …The ability to know joy—in spite of any untoward circumstances or conditions—is dependent on the extent to which one actually knows the Lord and is intimately engaged in a relationship with Him. … Your salvation is an experience of living in the Kingdom of God, where we know the hope of glory, experienced and expressed, as a daily reality, then our joy will be more constant and full because our relationship with the Lord will be as much for the ‘here and now’ as for the ‘then and there.’” 

“God is always ready to meet us with joy, and He has provided ample means whereby we may engage Him for the joy that is to be known in His presence. Only our slothfulness, distractiveness, or neglect of His salvation—or the idolatry of seeking our joy in places other than the presence of God—can keep us from living in joy now, and in anticipation of the fullness of joy yet to come.” 

11 Quotes From “Notes On Jeremiah”

Oswald Chambers gives us some unparalleled insights into the Book of Jeremiah. This is a must-read for serious students of the Bible. Check out my full book review of Notes On Jeremiah by clicking here.

“Very few of us understand why clouds of darkness come. It is God trying to get us into line with the prophets and apostles. It is the Holy Spirit seeking to bring us into the place of vicarious intercession, and we nearly always misunderstand it and say, ‘I must have sinned,’ or ‘I must get out of this, I have got the blues.’” 

“We do not need a new Gospel; what we need is the old truth re-stated to hit the things that are wrong today.” 

“Few of us realize the power God has given us to grip on the threshold of the mind as in a vice the things that ought not to be there.” 

“The Cross of Jesus Christ is not a martyrdom, it does not procure salvation; it is the only salvation.” 

“Beware of ever saying to yourself, ‘God’s law is not exactly binding to me, I am under grace.’ To be under grace should mean that we can fulfill the law of God gracefully.” 

“Prosperity that does not spring from a godly motive is the external sign of having forsaken God.” 

“We cannot answer God’s call collectively (John 6:68-70). Never get disturbed out of hearing God’s voice by saying other people have not heard it.” 

“Human nature hates God’s message that there is a bad tendency inside that has to be plucked out, and unless it is it will damn us.” 

“Jesus Christ’s salvation is the destruction of the sinner in the man, not of the man.” 

“The measure of my misery when I turn from God is proportioned to my knowledge of Him when I walked with Him.” 

“Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Old Testament prophets are inseparable from one another, for in the Person and the teaching of our Lord all that the prophets taught is in part fulfilled, and will be completely fulfilled.” 

Every week I post longer passages from Oswald Chambers’ books in my “Thursdays With Oswald” feature. 

10 Quotes From “Longing For A Changed World”

Longing For A Changed World will help you (re)establish a prayer focus that could be the beginning of the next great revival! You can check out my full book review here, and then enjoy some of the quotes that especially caught my attention.

“Our age, severed from its Biblical moorings, is neglecting history’s lessons.”

“Another characteristic of today’s Church is a lack of prayer. Instead of communing and listening to God, lifting our needs and concerns to the Lord, we rely on our own abilities and in technology to compensate for any inadequacy we may have. Thus armed, we are confident in taking on the challenges of our day, even those spiritual in nature.”

“True revival impacts all aspects of life, even to the concerns of the last, the least, and the lost. A people who uphold justice and righteousness and seeks to alleviate the plight of the poor and needy, are a people truly gripped with revival. For when we are consumed with God’s holiness and how blessed we are by His grace, we are compelled to take this Gospel to all aspects of our culture.”

“Our propensity is to focus on being doers—to be on the battlefield, sword in hand, fighting for the Kingdom and for righteousness. But as in the battle with the Amalekites, battles are won by God’s people lifting up their arms to the Lord.”

“I have been more focused on what I wanted to say in my prayer than on Whom I am approaching in prayer. This often leads to prayer that amounts to a tallying-up of my wants, without proper regard for the One into Whose presence I have come.”

“Our prayers as a whole, and prayers for revival, should reflect our poverty and powerlessness before a God who is forgiving and gracious.”

“Pray for boldness in the church—boldness to proclaim God’s Word and to firmly stand on it. Pray for boldness to confront sin yet boldness accompanied with humility as the church is aware (painfully aware) of its own sinfulness. And pray for boldness to present Christ as the Way and the Truth.”

“Praying expectantly requires us to pray to God in line with His Word and His promises. Thus a decline in biblical literacy has resulted in our prayer life wavering as well.”

“Our pleas for revival will go unheeded until we stand up for God’s Word, forsake the idols of our age, shake off the trappings of our secular and materialistic age, and embrace God’s truth.”

“As we pray for revival—for changed lives, renewed churches, and a transformed culture—our tendency might be to enlist the charismatic, the eloquent, and those who project confidence and success, traits that so readily appeal to us. But God’s manner of bringing revival has often been through ordinary people who endure affliction, hardship, and suffering, much as he did with Paul and Timothy and the Apostles.”

I’ll be sharing more resourced and thoughts from this book soon, so stay tuned!

3 Apologetics For Your Christian Hope

There was a story circulating that a physicist once claimed that the bumblebee was defying the laws of physics and aerodynamics in its flight. Apparently, he calculated that the ratio of the bumblebee’s wing size in comparison to his body size just didn’t make the math work.

But entomologists and physicists quickly jumped in to say, “Hey, look, the bumblebee is flying, so clearly it works!” And then they went to work to try to explain it. They figured out that the bumblebee flaps its wings more back-and-forth than up-and-down, creating tiny hurricanes the propel them through the air. But then that created a whole new set of problems, like how does the bumblebee control a hurricane so precisely as it turns, stops, dives, and climbs. So then they had to create a new explanation, which they named dynamic stall.

All the while, the bumblebee is flapping its too-small wings 230 times per second(!), and going about its daily activities without being able to explain tiny hurricanes, the laws of physics or aerodynamics, or even knowing what dynamic stall is. It simply flies!

The ultimate argument for anything is doing something that critics say is impossible.

Peter tells Christians to be prepared to answer anyone for the reason for the hope that they have (1 Peter 3:15-16). The Greek word for “give an answer” is apologia, from which we get our word apologetic. Here are three apologetics for Christians to use for the hope that they have.

It really comes down to this: My hope is based on the resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ, which I believe because of the Bible AND because of the change in my life.

  1. The Bible’s authenticity

“No other work in all literature has been so carefully and accurately copied as the Old Testament. The particular discipline and art of the Jewish scribes came out of a class of Jewish scholars between the fifth and third centuries BC. They were called the Sopherim, from a Hebrew word meaning ‘scribes.’ The sopherim, who initiated a stringent standard of meticulous discipline, were subsequently eclipsed by the Talmudic scribes, who guarded, interpreted, and commented on the sacred texts from AD 100 to AD 500. In turn, the Talmudic scribes were followed by the better-known and even more meticulous Masoretic scribes (AD 500-900).” —Josh McDowell, God-Breathed

“No other ancient text is substantiated by such a wealth of ancient textual witnesses as is the New Testament. Roughly 5,500 separate manuscripts are available, variously containing anything from the entire New Testament corpus to a slight fragment of a single verse. … This textual support is far superior to that available for any other ancient documents, such as the classical texts from Greek and Roman writers (e.g., Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero). Only partial manuscripts have survived for many works of antiquity, and it is not unusual to find that the only complete manuscript for some ancient writing is a copy dating from 1,000 years after its composition.” —Archaeological Study Bible, “The New Testaments Texts” (page 1859)

“The biblical Dead Sea Scrolls are up to 1,250 years older than the traditional Hebrew Bible, the Masoretic text. We have been using a one-thousand-year-old manuscript to make our Bibles. We’ve now got scrolls going back to 250 BC. … Our conclusion is simply this—the scrolls confirm the accuracy of the biblical text by 99 percent.” —Dr. Peter Flint

  1. Christ’s resurrection 

In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 Paul lists all of the eyewitnesses to Christ’s resurrection, giving critics ample opportunity to challenge these witnesses in person. If these witnesses would have been perpetrating a hoax, skeptics of their day would have been able to uncover the inconsistencies in their story. If the account of Christ’s resurrection was made-up, it’s doubtful the early Christian martyrs would have “stuck to their story” as they were being tortured, but none recanted.

Josh McDowell notes, “By AD 100, the apostles had died, but the Christian Church was still in its infancy, with fewer than twenty-five thousand proclaimed followers of Christ. But within the next two hundred years, the fledgling church experienced explosive multiplication of growth, to include as many as twenty million people. This means the church of Jesus Christ quadrupled every generation for five consecutive generations!

  1. My personal experience

“I am a changed person. I am not who I was before I met Jesus” and “My life tends to go better when I live by biblical principles” are both excellent apologetics!

Let others argue that God doesn’t exist, or that you shouldn’t have hope, and then you—like the bumblebee—just keep flying with Jesus! (see 2 Timothy 3:14)

4 Ways To Evaluate Biblical Evidence

Reliability of the GospelsTo be honest, if someone hasn’t heard the biblical account of the life of Jesus Christ before, it can sound quite fantastic! Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, performed miracles no one had seen before, died a horrific martyr’s death, was raised back to life three days later, and then ascended back into heaven until He returns to Earth again.

But as fantastic as this sounds, there is still enough evidence to reasonably believe it’s all true. An unreasonable faith believes in something in spite of the evidence; a blind faith believes in something without any evidence; and reasonable faith believes in something because of the evidence.

The Bible gives us eyewitness testimony about the life of Jesus which we can matter-of-factly evaluate. 

In a modern-day court of law, eyewitness testimony is evaluated on…

  • …the determination that the witnesses were actually present.
  • …the ability to corroborate their testimony.
  • …the consistency of their testimony over time.
  • …any biases they have that would cause them to exaggerate or misrepresent their testimony.

Let’s consider the testimony of the four Gospel writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

(1) Were The Eyewitnesses Present?

  • Luke is considered a credible historian, even by modern standards. He wrote the book of Acts following the ascension of Jesus into Heaven. Because he did not mention three major events in Jewish history (the Jewish uprising, the Roman siege of Jerusalem in response to that uprising, and the Roman destruction of the temple), we can determine that Acts was written before 61 AD.
  • Luke wrote the Gospel that bears his name before he wrote Acts. The Apostle Paul referenced portions of Luke’s Gospel in letters we can date by Paul’s Roman imprisonment, which means Luke was written prior to 53-57 AD.
  • Luke uses the Gospel of Mark as one of his references, which means Mark was probably written in 45-50 AD, just 10-15 years after the events of Christ’s life.
  • Mark was closely associated with the Apostle Peter, who was most assuredly Mark’s “source” in writing his Gospel, and Peter was one of the original twelve apostles called by Jesus.
  • Matthew and John were both apostles of Jesus, living and working closely with Jesus for over three years.

(2) Is Their Testimony Corroborated?

  • Archeological finds continually demonstrate the accuracy of the people, titles, places and details the Gospel writers mention.
  • Outside—or extra-biblical—sources like Josephus (a Jewish historian who wanted to preserve the purity of Judaism), Tacitus (a Roman historian), and Mara Bar-Serapion (a Syrian historian)—all who wrote between 40-70 AD—affirm things like where Jesus lived, the miracles He performed, the manner of His death, His resurrection, and the changed lives of people who believed in Jesus Christ.
  • In addition, Paul wrote of the “five hundred of the brothers” who were also eyewitnesses to the resurrected Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

(3) Has Their Testimony Remain Unchanged Over Time?

  • The history and accuracy of the scribes had already been demonstrated in the preservation and transmission of the Old Testament over a period of 1400 years.
  • These same scribal techniques were not only used in the transmission of the New Testament, but in subsequent years the Masoretic scribes became even more meticulous in the techniques they used.
  • The “chain of custody” of evidence can be absolutely traced from the Gospel authors, to their students, and to the writings of the Church Fathers.
  • In fact into the third-century AD, the writings of the Church Fathers contain so many direct quotations from the New Testament, that we can almost completely reconstruct the New Testament from their writings.

(4) Is Their Testimony Unbiased?

  • These eyewitnesses didn’t gain anything financially by their testimony. In fact, many of them lost or gave up all their possessions to tell others about Jesus.
  • They didn’t gain political power or influence that could save their own lives. All of the original apostles (except John) died a gruesome martyrs’ death.
  • In short, they had nothing to gain by making up and reporting a false story about Jesus.

All of these points make it reasonable to believe the evidence presented in the Bible about Jesus Christ is true. Check out this video where I elaborate a little more on each of these points—

If you live in the Cedar Springs area and don’t have a home church, I would love for you to visit with us Easter Sunday morning at 10:30am. We’ll be examining the evidence for Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Click here to get more details.

12 Quotes From “God-Breathed”

God-BreathedJosh McDowell has given us another outstanding Christian apologetic. In God-Breathed, Josh shares with us some astounding facts that show the amazing reliability of the Bible. You can read my book review of God-Breathed by clicking here. Below are some of the quotes I especially appreciated.

“The doctrines and commands of Scripture act as two guardrails to guide us down the right path of life. The teachings of Scripture (doctrine) keep us thinking and believing rightly. The instructions of Scripture (commands) keep us acting and living rightly. But without the proper context, we can miss the true purpose of Scripture, which is to guide us into keeping right thinking and right living in balance. … Scripture was given to lead us into a deeper love relationship with the One Who wrote the Book, and then also with everyone around us.” 

“The infinite God is personal. And because He is personal, we can love Him, worship Him, and please Him with our trust and obedience. Because He is personal, He can love us, rejoice with us, comfort us, and reveal Himself and His ways to us.”

“What is it that really parents our children? Is it the directives, instructions, and commands we give them? Those are behavioral guidelines, but they are not what raises our kids. It is not ‘parenting,’ as a concept, that brings up children; it is the parents themselves—relational human beings—who do the work and perform that role. That is the way God designed it. He wants kids to be brought up in loving relationships. Without relationship with another person, all attempts to instill right beliefs and right behavior will be ineffective, because they are detached from the necessary elements of personal love and care. … The Holy Spirit administers Scripture to us like a loving parent, in order to provide us with wisdom through its lessons (Proverbs 3:5), security through its boundaries (Exodus 20), caution through its warnings (Ephesians 4:17-22), and reproof through its discipline (Philippians 2:3-4).” 

“By AD 100, the apostles had died, but the Christian Church was still in its infancy, with fewer than twenty-five thousand proclaimed followers of Christ. But within the next two hundred years, the fledgling church experienced explosive multiplication of growth, to include as many as twenty million people. This means the church of Jesus Christ quadrupled every generation for five consecutive generations!”

“In AD 367, Athanasius of Alexandria compiled the first official list of books that we know today as the New Testament. There were twenty-seven books listed in all. These books were then canonized officially by the church at the councils of Hippo (AD 393) and Carthage (AD 397). Again, these councils didn’t authorize which writings were God-breathed works; rather, they recognized that these writings were authorized by God Himself.” 

“The Old Testament, comprised of thirty-nine books, was officially recognized as God-breathed Scripture as early as the fourth century BC and certainly no later than 150 BC.”

“The Bible is now the most translated book of all-time. The United Bible Society reports that, as of 2014, the Bible or portions of the Bible has been translated into 2,650 languages. Their Digital Bible Library now hosts more than 800 translations in 636 languages spoken by 4.3 billion people.” 

“Compared with other ancient writings, the Bible has more manuscript evidence to support it then the top ten pieces of classical literature combined.”

“No other work in all literature has been so carefully and accurately copied as the Old Testament.”

“Once archaeologists completed their search of the Qumran caves—eleven caves in all—almost 1,050 scrolls have been found in about 25,000 to 50,000 pieces (a number that varies depending on how the fragments are counted). Of these manuscripts, about 300 were texts from the Bible, and many of the rest had ‘direct relevance to early Judaism and emerging Christianity.’ Every book of the Old Testament was represented, except for the book of Esther, and the earliest copies dated from about 250 BC. … Once the Dead Sea Scrolls were translated and compared with modern versions of the Hebrew Bible, the text proved to be identical, word for word, in more than 95% of the cases. (The 5 percent deviation consists mainly of spelling variations. For example, of the 166 words and Isaiah 53, only seventeen letters are in question. Of those, ten are a matter of spelling, and four are stylistic differences; the remaining three letters comprise the word light, which was added to Isaiah 53:11.)”

“The writings of the most authoritative writers of the early church—the leaders scholars referred to collectively as the Apostolic Fathers—give overwhelming support to the existence of the twenty-seven authoritative books of the New Testament. Some Apostolic Fathers produced extensive, highly accurate quotes from the text of the New Testament. … Early church writers provide quotations so numerous and widespread that if no manuscripts of the New Testament were extant, ‘the New Testament could be reproduced from the writings of the early Fathers alone.’” —Norman Geisler and William Nix 

“The earliest preachers of the gospel knew the value of…first-hand testimony, and appealed to it time and again. ‘We are witnesses of these things,’ was there constant and confident assertion. And it can have been by no means so easy as some writers seem to think to invent words and deeds of Jesus in those early years, when so many of His disciples were about, who could remember what had and had not happened. … One of the strong points in the original apostolic preaching is the confident appeal to the knowledge of the hearers; they not only said, ‘We are witnesses of these things,’ but also, ‘As you yourselves also know’ (Acts 2:22). Had there been any tendency to depart from the facts in any material respect, the possible presence of hostile witnesses in the audience would have served as a further corrective.” —F.F. Bruce

Unbiblical Church Growth

Jim CymbalaThis message from Jim Cymbala is a hard word, but right on target.

The apostles never tried to finesse people when they were presenting the gospel. Their communication was not supposed to be “cool” or soothing. They aimed for a piercing of the heart, for conviction of sin. They had not the faintest intention of asking, “What do people want to hear? How can we draw more people to church on Sunday?” That was the last thing on their minds. Such an approach would have been foreign to them.

Instead of trying to bring men and women to Christ in the biblical way, we are consumed with the unbiblical concept of “church growth.” The Bible does not say we should aim at numbers but rather urges us to proclaim God’s message in the boldness of the Holy Spirit. This will build God’s church God’s way.

Unfortunately, some churches now continually monitor how pleased people are with the services and ask what else they would like. We have no permission whatsoever to adjust the message of the gospel! Whether it seems popular or not, whether it is “hip” to the times, we must faithfully and boldly proclaim that sin is real but Jesus forgives those who confess.

Nowhere does God ask anyone to have a large church. He only calls us to do His work, proclaiming His Word to people He loves under the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit to produce results that only He can bring about. The glory then goes to Him alone—not any denomination, local church, local pastor, or church growth consultant. This is God’s only plan, and anything else is a deviation from the teaching of the New Testament.

Today we have an anti-authority spirit in America that says, “Nobody can tell me I need to change. Don’t you dare.”

Both in the pulpit and in pastoral counseling we have too often given in to this mentality and are afraid to speak the truth about sin. We keep appealing to Paul’s line about becoming “all things to all men” (1 Corinthians 9:22), not noticing that in the very next paragraph he says, “Run in such a way as to get the prize” (verse 24). Adapting our style to get a hearing is one thing, but the message can never change without leaving us empty-handed before the Lord.

I’m curious: What do you think of this?

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