The great commission is a clear and direct command from God. We are to preach the gospel of Christ to all the earth, and make disciples of all men. Every Christian is an evangelist, if they are a Christian. No Christian can in good conscience sit idly by while people walk out of time into eternity without Christ. It is the most unloving, selfish thing a person can do. St. Francis was falsely attributed with the saying, “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” This concept is no where to be found in the Bible. I guess if you don’t care that people are going to die and suffer in hell for all eternity you can just be a nice person, and hope that the people in your life convert before they get hit by a buss, and end up in hell, but why would you when eternity is on the line? Simply being nice to people does not give them the gospel. The good news of Christ is the penal substitutiary atonement that He accomplished on the cross of His suffering. He who knew no sin, became sin, for us. He was imputed with sin that was not His, and suffered for it. He paid the price that we could not pay, and makes the repentant sinner just to God by faith. His righteousness is imputed to the humbled sinner. They are saved by grace through faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Eph 2:8-9. If any of you have not repented of your sins, and trusted in Christ alone for your salvation, do not wait, or put it off. “And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain—
2for He says,
“AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU,
AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.”
Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION”—” 2 Cor 6:1-2.
Romans 10:14-15 (NASB) How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”
First, we need to respond to Kanye’s confession as we would any other person’s confession, with joy and praise to God. Second, we must not give more honor to a public celebrity than to an unnamed convert in North Korea, or a person who has grown up in the Church, but came to faith later in life while living a publicly moral life.
If your attitude is one of, “Oh let’s watch and see! He will fail, and then I will be vindicated in my presumptions about him.” Well how did that work out for Jonah? Do you want God’s rebuke as well? I’m not saying that Kanye is, or is not a true convert. Time will tell. He is just a man. No different than any man. There are four soils that the seed of the gospel is sewn on. I hope that Kanye is going to return a fruitful crop of works prepared for him to do before creation, for the glory of God.
Look at him. He is just a man. He has a life of sin that was on public display. You probably had your sins hidden from the public eye. Living for Christ is the best life a person can have, but it is difficult, and includes suffering. The Christian life is hard enough without having people sit on the sidelines waiting for you to mess up. How often in your young faith did you fall to sins that would be scandalous if found out? Have mercy. Demonstrate grace, not just to Kanye, but all young Christians. Correct in love where needed. Share the gospel. Engage in the great commission.
Christian music is a mixed bag. There is lots of good, bad, and in between. If a new convert, who happens to be a world famous musician, wants to express the miraculous thing God has done to them, it should stand to reason that they would do it through music. I read a tweet this morning from Shai Linne. He is a theologically sound Christian, and a very kind man from what I’ve been told. He is also a rapper. He even raps theology. Rap might not be your thing, but that doesn’t mean that it is bad. If Christian men can reach lost men by expressing their new hearts in their words and music, and since the Bible doesn’t condemn it, and in some places looks like it is acceptable, I say go right ahead. We have to understand our liberty in Christ, as well as others liberty in Christ. Christ is our King. He is our God. It is His word we read to know Him by. If a man wants to sing about that, more power to him. I might even come along next to him and sing as well.
There are some who claim Christ, but their lyrics, and lives demonstrate worldliness, and sin. Their music is full of carnality. I’ve just listened to Kanye’s album. It seems Christocentric to me. More so than some I’ve heard from other musicians over the years. Let’s pray for Kanye’s passion of Jesus to grow, and his life to example fruit in keeping with repentance and faith in Christ our Savior. Let’s pray that for all the new Christians we know, and even ourselves.
Matthew 13:1-23 (NASB Strong’s) Jesus Teaches in Parables
That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach.
And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”
And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,
‘ You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.’
But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
The Sower Explained
“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”
James 2:1-13 (NASB Strong’s) The Sin of Partiality
My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?
If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. For He who said, “DO not commit adultery,” also said, “DO not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
So join with me in rejoicing over all the people who have been saved, are being saved, and will be saved, for their good, and God’s glory! Praise God for sinners saved, and His goodness, longsuffering, mercy, justice, and grace!
Is Kanye saved? I don’t know. Are you saved? I don’t know. Do I trust God to bring in His elect? Most assuredly! If you, and Kanye are saved, I praise God for both of you in the same manner, and I pray for you all to become what God has planned for you.
The predominate cult determines the culture. Until the last one and a half centuries, Christianity was the predominate, “cult” if you will, in America, and much of the civilized world. Post-modernism, and secular humanism have had their sway for the last 50, or more years. This has culminated in a Post-Christian, atheistic, and ever increasing antichrist cult, and resultant culture. The views of this cult are evident in the dogmatic doctrines of the leftist, otherwise known as socialists/communists. God is replaced by the state, because you shall have no other god than the state according to the enemy. After all, if they knew they were outright worshiping satan, the couldn’t immediately stomach it, or convince others to do so either. Give them the state as god, and they will rend themselves into a bloody foundation for it to set atop as a glorious, and gory crown to their sacrifice of neighbors, friends, and brothers. Its gaping maw ever open, ever consuming the human chattel like chafe tossed into a boiler furnace to further power the all-consuming monster of human suffering.
The god they worship has given them a sliding rule of right and wrong, that is more often than not, an inversion of God’s created order. This blasphemy, rebellion, and idolatry is no accident. It is engineered by the most infamous of totalitarian rulers, the devil himself. Our enemies are not of flesh and blood, but rather are spirit. Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Like unto marionettes dancing on the silken black threads of their malevolent master, they dance the dance of demoniacs immemorial. They have taken what is good, by force, blackmail, coercion, deceit, fraud, and theft, and corrupted it. They have convinced the world of the dead, enslaved to the satanic system that what is good, is actually evil, and that what is evil, is actually good. Good has become such an evil it requires the ultimate humiliation and punishment. They cry for blood, and have swift feat to carry them along to its macabre end. It is a slight of hand that should not work, but does.
For who can blame the deaf, blind, and dead, for not being able to discern the truth from a lie? From their state, there is no excuse. They remain fully culpable for their estate. God is just, and those who remain dead in their sins and trespasses will experience God’s wrath eternal. Would you like to change the world? Are you greatly vexed, as I am with the insanity, and immorality of the leftists? You won’t find the solution as a politique. Much like the politique of 16th century France, if you believe you will find the solution in human policies, and national strength, you will be disappointed.
The solution for our current debauchery lies in the miraculous power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation. It quickens the dead soul to life, true life, life eternal! It makes the word of God come forth and dominate the darkened mind, it illuminates it, bringing light into the darkest man! O there is nothing more grand and glorious than the power of God displayed saving a wretch from his defiled and putrefied body of death except for God Himself! Preach the gospel to all the Earth, make disciples of all men! By His stripes we are healed! God commands all men everywhere to repent! Preach repentance and faith in our Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ! For when a dead sinner becomes our true brother, he cannot help but to be changed in spirit, and soul! He will begin to hate the sin that he reveled in, and love the glory of God above all else! [1Co 6:20 KJV] 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. [Psa 115:1 KJV] 1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, [and] for thy truth’s sake.
[Eph 6:10-24 KJV] 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. 21 But that ye also may know my affairs, [and] how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: 22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and [that] he might comfort your hearts. 23 Peace [be] to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace [be] with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
[Isa 53:1-12 KJV] 1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, [there is] no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither [was any] deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, [and] shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him [a portion] with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
[Act 17:22-34 KJV] 22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, [Ye] men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. 24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead. 32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this [matter]. 33 So Paul departed from among them. 34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which [was] Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
[Rom 1:15-32 KJV] 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Q. What is the chief and highest end of man?
A. Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.
There are four means that God has ordained to grow His Church. They are, Evangelism (sharing the gospel), Discipleship (training and teaching the new believer) Service, (Helping the hurting and dying world) and persecution. People only become converted from hearing and responding to the gospel. They grow closer to God, and get to know Him by reading His word, and learning His truth. The new heart and nature of a convert is on display in the world humbly serving the lost and dying, displaying the glory of God. Persecution weeds out the false converts, and demonstrates another truth, the world hated Christ, and they will hate you also for His namesake. The exclusivity of the cross is offensive to the world. Remember persecution comes from outside the Church.
Who goes to Church, and why? This is important to figure out, if you are concerned that your congregation is dying. One category of people is false converts. Some of them know they are not Christian, some believe they are Christians. Lost people have a few reasons why they go to Church. Of those reasons, none of them are the right ones. They go to Church to get a pep talk, a self-help speech, they go for professional and social networking, they go to feel good about themselves, (self-righteousness) they go to be entertained by a slick, “praise/worship band. We can agree that these are not the right reasons to go to Church. So what are?
If you are a true convert, you know your purpose in life is to bring glory to the Lord of salvation. You’ve been brought to new life by grace, through faith. You were dead in your trespasses and sins. You know you were purchased at a price, and the Lord of Creation suffered humiliation and death on a cross, in your place because of your sins. Christ became sin for you. You come to Church because it is God’s will. From your new nature you want to do God’s will. After all, He is changing your desires and affections by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the reading of His word. Our minds are being renewed so we can prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. You come to be with brothers and sisters in Christ, to hear the word of God expositorily preached, to sing praises to God, to worship Him in prayer, and song, to be baptized, and have communion, and to be sanctified by God in learning to live in community with other sinners, and by granting them grace, to live out the gospel for the glory of the Lord.
Who is church for, the goats or the sheep? Church is ultimately for the glory of God, and that glory is for our good. God says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Church is for the sheep. They are the ones who really want to go for the right reasons. When God says in Matthew 16, “…I will build my Church…” we also see the means He has ordained for the growth. He is going to use us to preach the gospel to the lost and dying world, because the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
Salvation is of the Lord. It originates with Him. It is provided by Him. Jonathan Edwards once said, “You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary.” Even persecution is given for the growth of the Church. If there are false converts in the local body, when persecution comes, they will flee, and deny Christ. The truly converted will stay, and proclaim the gospel, and make disciples even during persecution.
What is the gospel? Simply put, “Repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” We have to unpack that for sure. It shouldn’t be a daunting task for us. It should be something that overflows from the heart of a believer, as they have experienced the love and grace of Jesus. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Most people don’t share it, because they are woefully ignorant of what it is.
Here is a simple analogy. Imagine you are a telling a class full of students who want to become mechanics that you are a mechanic, but you leave out the fact that you don’t understand how an engine works. Then when the students ask you how the engine works you mumble and string together things you’ve heard mechanics say. You wouldn’t feel very comfortable or sure of yourself would you?
Believers should feel confident and comfortable sharing the gospel. It is imperative that they learn how to do so, and that they do it. People are entering eternity without Christ. They will rise to eternal torment and burning, having the very wrath of God poured out on them. How can we say we have love, if we refuse to give them the gospel?
Ask some of your congregation “imagine I just was stabbed, and only have moments to live. I am afraid of dying and going to Hell, and I say, “What must I do to be saved?” You can’t tell them to be a good person, they are dying. You can’t tell them it is by baptism, they only have moments to live. What can you tell them? You can preach the gospel to them. You can say, “You are afraid of hell, and rightfully so. You are a sinner. Just like me, you have broken God’s laws, and deserve His just wrath, but being rich in mercy, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live a perfect, sinless, life that we couldn’t live. Jesus was and is righteous. He humbly offered Himself up on the cross, He submitted to death on the cross according to the will of the Father, where the wrath of God was poured out on Him in our place, so that the justice of God could be satisfied. When He was finished atoning for our sin, He said, “It is finished.” He died, was buried and resurrected on the third day. If you’ll repent, or turn from your sins, forsake them, hate them, and ask God to forgive you based on the work of Jesus, He will save you from your sins, for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Will you confess your sins to God and trust in Jesus?”
Friendship evangelism is impractical. The Christian should have a fervent urgency to share the gospel with the lost so they can be saved. Friendship evangelism is slow, and you can only befriend so many people at a time. The need is great, and the workers are few. The command is not to preach to a few, but to all, and we need to get busy.
Remember the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. It is offensive because they are confronted with the righteousness, and exclusivity of Christ. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 15:18-25 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. 25 But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’”
Don’t compromise on the gospel. If we soften the gospel to make it more appealing to the lost, we rob it of its effectiveness. If it were readily acceptable to the reprobate sinner, it is because it doesn’t require rebirth for him to believe it. The only way to grow the true church is by the means that God has ordained evangelism, discipleship, service, and persecution.
What needs to happen so we can do this? Free up Elders who are gifted and able to preach and teach the gospel to the laymen, and to teach them how to evangelize. Organize them, to go out and evangelize. When people are converted they will look for a Church. It doesn’t matter if you put more people in the seats at your Church. We don’t do this to grow our kingdoms, but rather the kingdom of God. New converts will come in. When they do, be ready to teach them from God’s word. Don’t feed them cotton candy theology, sermonettes, or topical sermons that are more self-help than the word of God. Take your position in the pulpit seriously. Get them grounded in God’s word because when persecution comes they will need to know the hows and whys of it. Get them out there serving the lost and dying world out of the new love they have in their hearts. Equip them to go out and share the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
I was contacted by a mutual friend to do this review. Up until that point I had not heard of Josiah Nichols. This would be the first work that I have read of his. It might also be his first published work. It isn’t a long book, nor is it a book that requires a seminary education to read. The author’s purpose is to demonstrate how he employs hermeneutics to interpret, and derive applications from Exodus 21:28-32. The book is very evangelistic. I would say that it has been far more evangelistic than many theological books that I’ve recently read.
From reading the title, and the author’s intended goal treating the topic of hermeneutics, I expected a more in depth primer on hermeneutics, and a demonstration of the analytical methods of hermeneutics on the cited verses. While the author accomplished this goal, I think occasionally the author also got a little lost in some peripheral details.
It is also evident that the author is a big fan of Wretched Radio/TV and their work. Todd Friel is the host of the programs as well as the podcast. The people over there at Wretched have put out a number of very useful videos, and educational products. Josiah refers to, “Hermen Who?” numerous times throughout the book. Wretched should thank him for the plug 🙂 I liked both the book, and Wretched. I am a big fan of their work to, so I share that with the author.
The questions I consider for book purchases are, is it theologically accurate, and will it add value to the individual’s Christian library? That’s it. That’s how simple it is for me to decide, “yes” or “no” for a book. The answer to the first question is, yes this book is good and accurate if you are Reformed in your soteriology. If you are not, it is still accurate, and you are the one with the problem lol. As far as value goes, it does add value to your library as a resource to loan out. This book is evangelistic. I would feel good handing this to someone who is new in the faith. It will teach them a bit about hermeneutics, and much more about other doctrines of God.
After reading it, I am still hard pressed to categorize this book, or write a more fitting title. The author does analyze Exodus 21:28-32. He does so accurately. He did not twist the scripture, or impose a meaning on it that was not intended by the author of scripture. It would be educational for a new Christian. I believe that was his intended audience. I look forward to seeing Josiah’s future projects. I think we will see bigger and better works from him. He was precise and nuanced without being rhetorical. Some theological books for laymen seem as if the authors had forgotten who their audience was. If Josiah reads this, “Keep up the good work.” You can pick up a copy of his book at Amazon, Christianbook, or Westbow to name a few. It can be purchased from many other online book retail sites.
We, knowing our own sin, and the power of temptation to keep drawing us in. We should be the first to have mercy, and demonstrate grace to others who don’t even know the Savior. Just like us, they know in their hearts, they don’t deserve mercy or grace from us or God.
The Word of God says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (NASB) Romans 5:8”
Some of us know addiction. There is a compulsion to do something that goes against every intent of our minds, but is so overwhelming. With obese people it is the compulsion to overeat. With drug/alcohol addicts, they need the high/drunk. With adulterers they crave what they shouldn’t have. With the homosexual/porn addict/pervert, they want what is wrong. How can they know freedom from their sin, and the punishment of it? How can they fight against it? How can we preach the gospel if we are only condemning them? How can they ever know forgiveness if we only act in as self-righteous hypocrites?
” Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (NASB) Philippians 2:1-11
So be like Christ to the world. People are suffering in hopelessness, resigned to the notion that they will forever be a slave to their addictions, compulsions, and sins. Do the most loving thing, and preach the gospel of Jesus to them.
If they hear the gospel and get saved, what do they do if the temptations are still there? What does it mean if they sin again, and their hearts are being broken each time they give in to what the compulsion to sin is driving them to?
The gospel can set them free from their sinful compulsions. It doesn’t always happen immediately, but through repentance and faith, God will sanctify them, and give them victory over their sinful compulsions. His grace is sufficient. How long are you willing to stay in the fight against your sin? How many times are you willing to allow the shame and guilt to drive you to the feet of Christ to ask Him to forgive you? Don’t give up on coming to Him. Don’t let your loss of a battle, or many battles shake your faith in Jesus. He has won the victory for us. Trust in His victory.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. “(NASB) Philippians 1:6
God will forgive everyone who repents of their sin, and believes in the work of Jesus Christ alone. Don’t trust in your own righteousness, because it is filthy to God. Don’t trust in your good deeds, because they are tainted by your sin. Don’t trust in ceremony or rituals, they just tire you out. Trust in the God/Man Jesus Christ. He will demonstrate grace to you based on His love and goodness, not on any thing you might think deserves favor from Him.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (NASB) 1 John 1:9-10
May God grant you faith to believe in the work of the Savior, and repentance from sin. Put your faith in His finished work, and trust only in Jesus for your salvation. God will deal with you sins and justify you. He will keep dealing with your sins, and sanctify you. He will finally deal with your sins, and give you a glorified body to live with Him forever. In that eternal life you will never desire sin again. You will finally be free to only the will of God without temptation.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (NASB) Romans 5:8-11
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (NASB) 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “ But the righteous man shall live by faith.” (NASB) Romans 1:16-17
So live by faith! Believe that Jesus will do what He says. Believe He is who the Bible says He is. Believe the gospel, the good news preached in his name. He will demonstrate His grace to you if you repent and put your faith in Him.
God commands it in His word. Mark 16:15 (NASB) 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
He ordains the ends and the means.
At that moment in time, it is not apparent to us who is among the elect. If we share the gospel with a person who is among the elect, but it is not their due time to be regenerated, then they will reject the gospel. If it is their time, they will respond with repentance and faith, that are also granted by God. If we share the gospel with a person who is not among the elect, no matter when in their life they hear it, they will never respond with true repentance and faith. Even a person who is not among the elect could affirm the gospel intellectually, but never be truly converted.
If people would look into the history of modern evangelism, they would see that many of the memorable evangelists have been Calvinists.
The Apostle Paul 🙂
Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones
Just to name a few. Oh, and before you get all persnickety and claim that some of the people on the list were Pastors, or theologians, remember they also evangelized. Spurgeon said, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.” While we are at it, we all are sinners. We have broken God’s laws and are guilty. Repent from your sins. Turn from them and obey God’s word. Believe on the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, where He atoned for your sin. Don’t put your faith in your own efforts or works to save you. You can never satisfy the requirements of God’s righteousness, but Jesus did. His righteousness can be credited to you if you will repent and trust in Him.