From Jim McGuiggan... The "coming" of the kingdom

The "coming" of the kingdom

 The kingdom (reign) of God has always been an existing reality—how could it not be? There’s no need to quote reams of texts when a couple will do to bring into focus what the Bible everywhere takes for granted even when it doesn’t spend a lot of time spelling it out.

Some believers engage in this silly talk about God not reigning over the world because there’s so much trouble and sorrow and injustice going on in it. That’s how more than one person has put it to me, "How can God be reigning over the world when it’s in such a mess?" That makes sense in the mouth of a non-believer. If I were a non-believer it’s one of the issues I’d keep harping on and it’s what non-believers have harped on for centuries. But when you hear a believer with a Bible in his hand agreeing with the non-believer it’s hard to take him seriously. Especially when he urges us to pray for God to do something to change the world.

If the argument were worth anything it would mean that God hasn’t been reigning since the rebellion in the Garden. But that won’t work. He has always reigned and cannot cease to reign.

In 1 Chronicles 29:9 king David praised God in the presence of assembled Israel. "Praise be to you, O Lord, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, O Lord is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name." David knew he was king but he knew who was King.

The Gentile king, Nebuchadnezzar was recognised as the ruler of the world (Daniel 2:37; 4:22-23,24) but the prophet assures him that if his arrogance and unrighteousness continued he would be deprived of royal dominion. This temporary deprivation would be "until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes...your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that heaven rules" (4:25-27).

The song of Moses in Exodus 15:1-18 should be read in its entirety and the last verse noted. Psalms 24 and 148 have the same tone that numerous other psalms have and Isaiah 37:16-16 has king Hezekiah declaring Israel’s faith in the face of Assyrian threat. "O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth...Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God."
That’ll do! The beginning or the end of a human kingdom in no way undermines the truth that universal and everlasting sovereignty is the Lord’s. God ruled Babylon through Nebuchadnezzar and God ruled Egypt through the Pharaohs and Israel through the Davidic line.

The royal line of David began somewhere around 1,000 BC but it was only a particular manifestation of the everlasting sovereignty of God. In Daniel 2:44 God said he would set up a kingdom that would never be destroyed (the Messianic kingdom). This was not the beginning of God’s reign; it wasn’t even the beginning of the reign of the house of David. It was the restoration of the house of David, in keeping with Psalm 89. The reign of the Messiah (Jesus) is an expression of the reign of God that has always existed. Jesus is the "last Adam" and the "second man" (1 Corinthians 15). God by the exercise of his overarching sovereignty has given all authority to Jesus Christ.

The royal reign of Jesus Christ began no later than the Acts 2 Pentecost. But the royal reign of Jesus Christ was not the beginning of the royal reign of God. It was a peculiar expression of God’s reign (note 1 Corinthians 15:27). It’s foolishness to think otherwise.

The redeeming work in and through Jesus Christ was a public demonstration of the already existing kingdom of God. And just as surely as that is true, this is true, the judgement on Israel in AD 70 was a public demonstration of the already exalted and glorified Christ. And just as surely as that is true Christ’s judgement on the Roman Empire was the public declaration of his already existing royal power.

Luke 21:20-32 speaks of events that occur after Jesus was made Lord over all, without qualification (Ephesians 1:19-20 and Philippians 2:5-10 would illustrate). And yet it says that in light of those events the disciples would know (21:32) "that the kingdom of God is near." How can it be that the reign of God is near when Christ is already reigning as Lord of all? One could say he was not really Lord prior to those events but that would be to ignore plain statements of numerous texts as well as the drift of scripture (see, for example, Acts 2:36 and 17:7, 1 Peter 2:21-22 and the like). No, that makes no sense. The truth is that in these judgements (or blessings) the already established reign of Jesus Christ is made public in public events. The physical judgement on the Jewish nation and the destruction of the temple was public proof of the reigning Christ (as was the outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost as mentioned in Acts 2:33). Israel had rejected Jesus, saying, "we have no king but Caesar." John 19:15. The destruction of the temple was the public proof that the one they had rejected as king was truly king! Luke 21:32 isn’t the beginning of the reign of God in Christ—it is a public vindication of it. We find the same truth set forth in Revelation 11:15 and 12:10. God is known as the King of the Ages (15:3) and yet we hear his worshipers, at the outpouring of the seven bowls of wrath against the Roman Empire, say of the Lord God Almighty "you have taken your great power and have begun to reign." (NIV and others.) The Greek text uses an aorist in the indicative indicating that in that act (complete judgement, signified in the outpouring of seven bowls) God reigned. But God had never ceased to reign and his Christ is already the ruler of the kings of the earth (1:5 and the King of Kings before we goes to the battle of Armageddon in 19:16, see also 17:14). How then can it be said that he "reigned" in that act? It means that God’s royal power and that of his Christ’s revealed itself in so acting.

If another power claimed world dominion and moved against the people of the Christ, at the appropriate time he would "take his great power and reign." He would express his reign in an historical and public setting. He would not gain reigning power by the act as if he didn’t already reign. The act would be an act of royal power. So it was in events like Egypt’s destruction (Exodus 15:18). Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliation (Daniel 4), Jerusalem’s destruction, Rome's defeat (Revelation 11 & 12) and in his future coming (2 Timothy 4:1) to judge the world and set everything in a final order that the already existing kingdom of God and Christ are revealed.

(You might be interested in my little thing called: The Reign of God. In the USA, toll free, 877-792-6408)

Objections to Baptism by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Objections to Baptism

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Some churches historically have taught that water immersion is the dividing line between the lost and the saved. This means that a penitent believer remains unforgiven of sin until buried in the waters of baptism (Romans 6:4). Much of the denominational world disagrees with this analysis of Bible teaching, holding instead that one is saved at the point of belief, before and without water baptism. Consider some of the points that are advanced in an effort to minimize the essentiality of baptism for salvation.
Objection #1:Jesus could not have been baptized for the remission of sins because He was sinless; therefore, people today are not baptized in order to be forgiven. They merely imitate Jesus’ example.
The baptism to which Jesus submitted Himself was John’s baptism (Matthew 3:13; Mark 1:9). John’s baptism was for the remission of sins (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3). This truth is particularly evident from the fact that when Jesus presented Himself to John for baptism, John sought to deter Him, noting that, if anything, Jesus needed to baptize John (Matthew 3:14). Jesus did not correct John, as many seek to do today, by falsely arguing that baptism is not for remission of sins. Rather, Jesus, in effect, agreed with John, but made clear that His baptism was an exception to the rule.
Jesus’ baptism was unique and not to be compared to anyone else’s baptism. Jesus’ baptism had the unique purpose of “fulfilling all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). In other words, it was necessary for Jesus to submit to John’s baptism (1) to show His contemporaries that no one is exempt from submitting to God’s will and (2) more specifically, Christ’s baptism was God’s appointed means of pinpointing for the world the precise identity of His Son. It was not until John saw the Spirit of God descending on Jesus and heard the voice (“This is My Son...”) that he knew that “this is the Son of God” (John 1:31-34; Matthew 3:16-17).
Of course, John’s baptism is no longer valid (Acts 18:24-19:5). John’s baptism paralleled New Testament baptism in the sense that both were for the forgiveness of sins. But John’s baptism was transitional in nature, preparing Jews for their Messiah. Baptism after the cross is for all people (Matthew 28:19), in Jesus’ name (Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; 19:5), into His death (Romans 6:3), in order to be clothed with Him (Galatians 3:27), and added to His church (Acts 2:47; 1 Corinthians 12:13). We must not use Jesus’ baptism to suggest that salvation occurs prior to baptism.
Objection #2:The thief on the cross was not baptized, and he was saved.”
When we “handle aright the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), we see that the thief was not subject to the New Testament command of immersion because this command was not given until after the thief’s death. It was not until Christ was resurrected that He said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). It was not until Christ’s death that the Old Testament ceased, signified by the tearing of the temple curtain (Matthew 27:51). When Jesus died, He took away the Old Testament, “nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14).
The word “testament” means “covenant” or “will.” The last will and testament of Christ is the New Testament, which consists of those teachings that apply to people after the death of Christ. If we expect to receive the benefits of the New Testament (salvation, forgiveness of sin, eternal life), we must submit to the terms of the will for which Christ is mediator (Hebrews 9:15), for “where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator; for a testament is of force after men are dead; otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator lives” (Hebrews 9:16-17).
So prior to the Lord’s death and the sealing of the New Testament, New Testament baptism for the forgiveness of sins was not a requirement for those who sought to be acceptable to God. People now, however, live during the Christian era of religious history. Prior to Christ’s death, there were no Christians (Acts 11:26). For a person to reject water baptism as a prerequisite to salvation on the basis of what the thief did or did not do, is comparable to Abraham seeking salvation by building an ark—because that’s what Noah did to please God. It would be like the rich young ruler (Matthew 19) refusing Christ’s directive to sell all his possessions—because wealthy King David did not have to sell his possessions in order to please God.
The thief on the cross could not have been baptized the way the new covenant stipulates you and I must be baptized. Why? Romans 6:3-4 teaches that if we wish to acquire “newness of life,” we must be baptized into Christ’s death, be buried with Christ in baptism, and then be raised from the dead. There was no way for the thief to comply with this New Testament baptism—Christ had not died! Christ had not been buried! Christ had not been raised! In fact, none of God’s ordained teachings pertaining to salvation in Christ (2 Timothy 2:10) and in His body the Church (Acts 2:47; Ephesians 1:22-23) had been given. The church, which Christ’s shed blood purchased (Acts 20:28), had not been established, and was not set up until weeks later (Acts 2).
We must not look to the thief as an example of salvation. Instead, we must obey “from the heart that form of doctrine” (Romans 6:17)—the form of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection through baptism (Romans 6:3-4). Only then can we be “made free from sin to become the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:18).
Objection #3:The Bible says, ‘Christ stands at the door of your heart’ and all we have to do to be forgiven of sin and become a Christian is to invite Him into our hearts.”
It is no doubt startling to discover that the Bible simply does not say such a thing. The phraseology is reminiscent of Revelation 3:20—the passage usually quoted to support the idea. But examine what Revelation 3:20 actually teaches. Revelation chapters 2 and 3 consist of seven specific messages directed to seven churches of Christ in Asia Minor in the first century. Thus, at the outset, we must recognize that Revelation 3:20 is addressed to Christians—not non-Christians seeking conversion to Christ.
Second, Revelation 3:20 is found among Christ’s remarks to the church in Laodicea. Jesus made clear that the church had moved into a lost condition. The members were unacceptable to God since they were “lukewarm” (3:16). They had become unsaved since their spiritual condition was “wretched and miserable and poor” (3:17). Thus, in a very real sense, Jesus had abandoned them by removing His presence from their midst. Now He was on the outside looking in. He still wanted to be among them, but the decision was up to them. They must recognize His absence, hear Him knocking for admission, and open the door—all of which is figurative language indicating their need to repent (3:19). They need to return to the obedient lifestyle essential to sustaining God’s favor (John 14:21,23).
Observe that Revelation 3:20 in no way supports the idea that non-Christians merely have to “open the door of their heart” and “invite Jesus in” with the assurance that the moment they mentally/verbally do so, Jesus comes into their heart and they are simultaneously saved from all past sin and have become Christians. The context of Revelation 3:20 shows that Jesus was seeking readmission into an apostate church.
Does the Bible teach that Christ comes into a person’s heart? Yes, but not in the way the religious world suggests. For instance, Ephesians 3:17 states that Christ dwells in the heart through faith. Faith can be acquired only by hearing biblical truth (Romans 10:17). When Bible truth is obeyed, the individual is “saved by faith” (Hebrews 5:9; James 2:22; 1 Peter 1:22). Thus Christ enters our lives when we “draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience [repentance—DM] and our bodies washed with pure water [baptism—DM]” (Hebrews 10:22).
Objection #4:A person is saved the moment he accepts Christ as his personal Savior—which precedes and therefore excludes water baptism.”
To suggest that all one has to do to receive the forgiveness of God and become a Christian is to mentally accept Jesus into his heart and make a verbal statement to that effect, is to dispute the declaration of Jesus in Matthew 7:21—“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” To be sure, oral confession of Christ is one of the prerequisites to salvation (Romans 10:10). But Jesus said there is more to becoming a blood-bought follower of His than merely “calling on his name” (see Lyons, 2004) or “inwardly accepting Him as Savior.” He stated that before we can even consider ourselves as God’s children (Christians), we must show our acceptance of His gift through outward obedience—“He that does the will of My Father.” Notice the significant contrast Jesus made: the difference between mental/verbal determination to accept and follow the Lord, versus verbal confession coupled with action or obedience (cf. James 2:14,17). This is why we must do everything the Lord has indicated must be done prior to salvation. Jesus is telling us that it is possible to make the mistake of claiming we have found the Lord, when we have not done what He plainly told us to do.
Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Jesus also stated: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Honestly, have you accepted Christ as your personal savior—in the way He said it must be done? He asks: “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
Objection #5:We are clothed with Christ and become His children when we place our faith in Him.”
Read Galatians 3:26-27: “You are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” The words “put on” (NKJV) are a translation of the Greek verb enduo which signifies “to enter into, get into, as into clothes, to put on.” Can we be saved prior to “putting Christ on” or “being clothed” with Christ? Of course not. But when and how does one put on Christ—according to Paul? When one is baptized in water. Those who teach we can be saved before baptism are, in reality, teaching we can be saved while spiritually naked and without Christ! Paul affirms that we “put on” Christ at the point of our baptism—not before.
Paul wrote these words to people who were already saved. They had been made “sons of God.” But how? At what point had they “been clothed with Christ?” When were they made “sons of God?” When were they saved? Paul makes the answer to these questions very plain: they were united with Christ, put on Christ, were clothed with Christ—when they were baptized. Ask yourself if you have been clothed with Christ.
Objection #6:Baptism is like a badge on a uniform that merely gives evidence that the person is already saved.”
The New Testament nowhere expounds the idea that baptism is merely a “badge” or “outward sign of an inward grace.” Yes, baptism can biblically be referred to as a symbolic act; but what does it symbolize? Previous forgiveness? No! Romans 6 indicates that baptism symbolizes the previous death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Thus the benefits of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (remember, Jesus’ blood, which blots out sin, was shed in the context of His death, burial, and resurrection) are realized and received by the individual when he obediently (in penitent faith) submits to a similar ordeal, i.e., the death of his own “old man” or “body of sin” (Romans 6:6), burial (immersion into a watery tomb), and resurrection (rising from the watery tomb).
Denominational doctrine maintains that forgiveness of sin is received prior to baptism. If so, the “new life” of the saved individual would also begin prior to baptism. Yet Paul said the “new life” occurs after baptism. He reiterated this to the Colossians. The “putting off of the body of the flesh by Christ’s circumcision” (Colossians 2:11) is accomplished in the context of water immersion and being “risen with Him” (Colossians 2:12). Chapter 3 then draws the important observation: “If then you were raised with Christ [an undeniable reference to baptism—DM], seek those things which are above [an undeniable reference to the new life which follows—not precedes—baptism].”
Objection #7:Baptism is a meritorious work, whereas we are saved by grace, not works.”
“Works” or “steps” of salvation do not imply that one “merits” his salvation upon obedient compliance with those actions. Rather, “steps” or “a process” signifies the biblical concept of preconditions, stipulations of faith, or acts of obedience—what James called “works” (James 2:17). James was not saying that one can earn his justification (James 2:24). Rather, he was describing the active nature of faith, showing that saving faith, faith that is alive—as opposed to dead and therefore utterly useless (2:20)—is the only kind that is acceptable to God, a faith that obeys whatever actions God has indicated must be done. The obedience of both Abraham and Rahab is set forth as illustrative of the kind of faith James says is acceptable. They manifested their trust by actively doing what God wanted done. Such obedient or active trust is the only kind that avails anything. Thus, obedient response is essential.
The actions themselves are manifestations of this trust that justifies, not the trust itself. But notice that according to James, you cannot have one without the other. Trust, or faith, is dead, until it leads one to obey the specifications God assigned. Here is the essence of salvation that separates those who adhere to biblical teaching from those who have been adversely influenced by the Protestant reformers. The reformers reacted to the unbiblical concept of stacking bad deeds against good deeds in an effort to offset the former by the latter. Unfortunately, the reactionary reformers went to the equally unacceptable, opposite extreme by asserting that man need “only believe” (Luther) or man can do nothing at all (Calvin). The truth is between these two unbiblical extremes.
From Genesis to Revelation, faith is the trusting, obedient response that humans manifest in response to what God offers. This is the kind of “justification by faith” that Paul expounded in Romans. Like red flags, he defined what he meant by “faith” with the words “obedient faith” (hupakoein pisteos) at the very beginning (1:5) and at the end (16:26) of his divinely inspired treatise. Until faith obeys, it is useless and cannot justify.
The Hebrews writer made the same point in Hebrews 11. The faith we see in Old Testament “men of faith” availed only after they obeyed God-given stipulations. God rewards those who “diligently seek Him” in faith (vs. 6). Noah “became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” when he “prepared an ark.” If he had not complied with divine instructions, he would have been branded as “unfaithful.” The thing that made the difference, that constituted the line of demarcation between faith and lack of faith, was obedient action—what James called “works,” and Paul called “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). In this sense, even faith is a “work” (John 6:29). Hebrews 11 repeatedly reinforces this eternal principle: (1) God offers grace (which may at any point in history consist of physical blessings, i.e., healing, salvation from enemies, land or property, etc., or spiritual blessing, i.e., justification, forgiveness, salvation from sin, being made righteous, etc.); (2) man responds in obedient trust (i.e., “faith”) by complying with the stipulated terms; and (3) God bestows the blessing.
It would be wrong to think that man’s obedient response earns or merits the subsequent blessing. Such simply does not logically follow. God always bestows blessings which men do not deserve (Luke 17:10). His rich mercy and loving grace is freely offered and made available—though man never deserves such kindness (Titus 2:11). Still, a non-meritorious response is absolutely necessary if unworthy man is to receive His blessings.
Objection #8:Not only is baptism nonessential to salvation, even faith is a gift from God to a person. Man is so depraved that he is incapable of believing.”
Surely, God’s infinite justice would not permit Him to force man to desire God’s blessings. God’s intervention into man’s woeful condition was not in the form of causing man to desire help or miraculously generating faith within man. God intervened by giving His inspired Word, which tells how He gave His son to make a way for man to escape eternal calamity. Faith is then generated in the individual by God’s words which the person must read and understand (Romans 10:17; Acts 8:30). The individual then demonstrates his faith in obedience.
Did the walls of Jericho fall down “by faith” (Hebrews 11:30)? Absolutely. But the salient question is: “When?” Did the walls fall when the Israelites merely “believed” that they would fall? No! Rather, when the people obeyed the divine directives. The walls fell “by faith” after the people met God’s conditions. If the conditions had not been met, the walls would not have fallen down “by faith.” The Israelites could not claim that the walls fell by their own effort, or that they earned the collapse of the walls. The city was given to them by God as an undeserved act of His grace (Joshua 6:2). To receive the free gift of the city, the people had to obey the divinely-stipulated prerequisites.
Notice the capsuling nature of Hebrews 11:6. Faith or belief is not given by God. It is something that man does in order to please God. The whole chapter is predicated on the fundamental idea that man is personally responsible for mustering obedient trust. God does not “regenerate man by His call, thus enabling man to respond.” God “calls” individuals through, by means of, His written Word (2 Thessalonians 2:14). In turn, the written Word can generate faith in the individual (Romans 10:17). How unscriptural to suggest that man is so “totally depraved” that he cannot even believe, thus placing God in the position of demanding something from man (John 8:24) of which man is inherently incapable. But the God of the Bible would not be guilty of such injustice.
Some people approach passages like Romans 10:17 in this fashion: (1) God chooses to save an individual; (2) God gives him the free gift of faith; and (3) God uses the Gospel to stir up the faith which He has given the person. Yet neither Romans 10:17, nor any other passage, even hints at such an idea. The text states explicitly that faith comes from hearing Christ’s Word. Notice verse 14, where the same sequence is given: (1) the preacher preaches; (2) the individual hears the preached word; and (3) believes. This sequence is a far cry from suggesting that God miraculously imparts faith to a person, and then the Holy Spirit “stirs up” the faith. Such a notion has God giving man a defective faith which then needs to be stirred up. The text makes clear that God has provided for faith to be generated (i.e., originated) by the preached Word. God does not arbitrarily intervene and impose faith upon the hearts of a select group of individuals.
According to 1 Corinthians 1:21, mankind did not know God, so God transmitted His message through inspired preachers so that those who respond in faith would be saved. Paul wrote in Romans 1:16 that this gospel message is God’s power to save those who believe it. Notice that the Gospel is what Paul preached (vs. 15). Thus the preached message from God generates faith and enables people to be saved.
We see the same in Acts 2:37. What pierced the hearts of the listeners? Obviously, the sermon. Acts 2:37 is a demonstration of Romans 10:17—“faith comes by hearing…the word of God.” God did not change the hearts of the people miraculously; Peter’s words did. If denominational doctrine is correct, Peter should have said: “There’s nothing you can do. You are so totally depraved, you can’t do anything. God will regenerate you; He will cause you to believe (since faith is His ‘free gift’).” Yet, quite to the contrary, Peter told them that they needed to do some things! And they were things that God could not do for them.
First, they were required to “repent.” Biblical repentance is a change of mind (Matthew 21:29). A “turning” follows repentance (Acts 3:19) and consists of some specified action subsequent to the change of mind. John the Baptizer called this turning activity, which follows repentance and serves as evidence that repentance has occurred, “fruits” (Matthew 3:8). After being convicted (Acts 2:37—i.e., believing the truth of Peter’s contentions), they were told to “repent,” to change their minds about their previous course of life. What else were they to do?
Peter did not tell them to “repent and believe.” Their belief was already abundantly evident in their pricked hearts and their fervent petition for instructions. What was lacking? Peter said (i.e., God said) they still lacked baptism. Remember, the only difference between dead faith and saving faith is outward action—compliance with all actions that God specifies as necessary before He will freely bestow unmerited favor in the form of forgiveness.
Thus baptism marked the point at which God would count them righteous if they first believed and repented. Baptism served as the line of demarcation between the saved and the lost. Jesus’ blood could wash their sins away only at the point of baptism.
Objection #9:The preposition ‘for’ in the phrase ‘for the remission of sins’ in Acts 2:38 means ‘because of.’ Hence, they were baptized because of sins for which they were forgiven when they believed.”
The English word “for” has, as one of its meanings, “because of.” However, the Greek preposition eis that underlies the English word “for” never has a causal function. It always has its primary, basic, accusative thrust: unto, into, to, toward. We must not go to the text, decide what we think it means, and assign a grammatical meaning that coincides with our preconceived understanding. We must begin with the grammar and seek to understand every text in light of the normal, natural, common meaning of the grammatical and lexical construction. The exact same grammatical construction of Acts 2:38 is found in Matthew 26:28—“into the remission of sins” (eis aphesin hamartion). Jesus’ blood, the blood of the covenant, was undeniably shed for many “in order to acquire remission of sins.” This is the natural and normal meaning of the Greek preposition—toward, in the direction of. Had the Holy Spirit intended to say that baptism is “because of” or “on account of” past forgiveness, He would have used the Greek preposition that conveys that very idea: dia with the accusative.
Similarly, in Acts 2:38, if repentance is not “because of” remission of sins, neither is baptism. Regardless of person and number considerations, Peter told his hearers to do both things. The act of baptism (connected to the act of repentance by the coordinate conjunction) cannot be extricated from the context of remission of sins by any stretch.
Objection #10:When the Philippian jailer asked what to do to be saved, he was simply told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
As further proof that God does not miraculously bestow faith on a person through the Holy Spirit, observe that Paul told the jailer that he (the jailer) had to believe; he did not answer the jailer’s question with: “You don’t have to do anything. God will give you faith.” On the contrary, Paul and Silas told him that he had to manifest faith in Jesus. But was the jailer in a position at that moment to do so? No, he would have to be told both how and what to believe. No wonder, then, Luke records immediately: “they spoke the word of the Lord to him” (Acts 16:32). If Romans 10:17 can be trusted, the words which Paul and Silas proclaimed generated faith in the jailer. And those same words surely included the necessity of repentance and baptism, because the jailer immediately manifested the fruit of repentance (by washing their stripes), and likewise was immediately baptized (not waiting until morning or the weekend). And then observe carefully Luke’s meticulous documentation that it was only after the jailer believed, repented, and was baptized, that the jailer was in a position to rejoice. Only then did Luke describe the jailer as “having believed in God” (vs. 34), i.e., now standing in a state of perfected belief.
Objection #11:Saul was saved before and without baptism while he was on the road to Damascus when Jesus appeared to him.”
The sequence of events clearly shows that Saul was not saved while on the road to Damascus. Jesus identified Himself and then accused Saul of being a persecutor (Acts 9:5). Saul “trembled” and was “astonished” (hardly the description of a saved individual), and pleadingly asked what he should do—a clear indication that he had just been struck with his lost and undone condition.
This question has the exact same force as the Pentecostians’ question (Acts 2:37) and the jailer’s question (Acts 16:30). All three passages are analogous in their characterization of individuals who had acted wrongly (i.e., the Pentecostians had crucified Jesus, Saul was persecuting Christians, and the jailer had kept innocent Christians jailed and guarded). Likewise, in each instance, the candidates for conversion are portrayed as unhappy (i.e., the Pentecostians were “cut to the heart,” Saul “trembled” and “was astonished,” and the jailer “came trembling”—i.e., he was frightened). They were scared, miserable individuals, suddenly brought face to face with their horribly unacceptable status before God. Such is hardly an apt description for saved individuals! Where is the joy, peace, and excitement that comes when one’s sins have been washed away?
Saul was not forgiven on the road to Damascus—he still needed to be told what to do! He still lacked “hearing the word of the Lord.” The only way for Saul to hear the Gospel was through the agency of a preacher (Romans 10:14; 1 Corinthians 1:21)—not a vision of Jesus on a road. Saul—like Cornelius—still needed to hear words from a preacher. An angel told Cornelius (Acts 10:4) that his prayers and money had gone up for a memorial before God—yet he was unsaved. He needed to contact an inspired preacher, Peter, “who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved” (Acts 11:14). Likewise, before Saul could learn of God’s plan that he be the great “apostle of the Gentiles,” he first needed to hear the Gospel expounded and told how to respond to what God offered in Christ.
Rather than tell him what he needed to do to be saved, Jesus told him to go into the city, where a preacher (Ananias) would expound to him the necessity of salvation. Notice: Saul waited in Damascus for three days without food and drink, and still blind! Here’s an individual who is still miserable, unhappy, and unsaved, awaiting instructions on how to change his unfortunate status. Acts 9:18 condenses Saul’s response to the preached Word, while Acts 22 elaborates a little further on the significance of Saul’s response. Acts 22:16 says, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
Notice Ananias’ inspired connection between baptism and sins being cleansed. If Saul was saved prior to baptism, it was wrong for Ananias to say that Saul still had sins that needed to be washed away. Ananias did not congratulate Saul because his sins already were washed away, and tell him that he needed to be baptized only as a “badge” or “outward symbol” or “picture” of what had already occurred. He plainly said Saul’s sins yet needed to be washed away. That can be accomplished only by Jesus’ blood in the act of baptism. The water does not cleanse the sin-stained soul—Jesus does. And Ananias clearly states when (not how or by Whom) that occurs. If Saul’s penitent faith would not lead him to submit to water immersion, he could not have had his sins washed away by Jesus. Instead, he would have remained in opposition to Jesus. Remember, Scripture never portrays baptism as symbolic of previous sin removal. The only symbolism ever attached to the act of baptism is its (1) likeness to Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-5); (2) its comparison to the removal of sin like circumcision removes skin (Colossians 2:12); and (3) its likeness to Noah’s emergence from a sinful world (1 Peter 3:20-21). God literally (not symbolically) removes sin and justifies the individual by grace, through faith, at the point of baptism.
Objection #12:If baptism is necessary to salvation, Jesus would have said, “but he who does not believe and is not baptized will be condemned” in Mark 16:16. And besides, the last nine verses of Mark 16 are not included in the oldest and best Greek manuscripts.”
The omission of “and is not baptized” in Mark 16:16 is totally logical and necessary. The first phrase (“he who believes and is baptized”) describes man’s complete response necessitated by the preaching of the Gospel: Faith must precede baptism, since obviously one would not submit to baptism if he did not first believe. It is non-essential to ascribe condemnation in the second clause to the individual who is not baptized, since the individual being condemned is the one who does not initially believe. The person who refuses to believe “is condemned already” (John 3:18) and certainly would not be interested in the next item of compliance—baptism. He who does not believe would obviously not be baptized—and even if he would, his failure to first believe disqualifies him from being immersed. Only penitent believers are candidates for baptism. An exact grammatical parallel would be: “He who goes to the store and buys coffee will receive $5.00. He who does not go to the store will be spanked.” Obviously, if the child refuses to go to the store, he would not be in a position to buy coffee, and it would be redundant—even grammatically inappropriate—to include the failure to purchase the coffee in the pronouncement of an impending spanking.
The textual evidence supporting the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20 is exceptional in light of the vast sources available for establishing the original text. While it is true that Vaticanus and Sinaiticus omit the last 12 verses, it is positively misleading to assume that “the validity of these verses is weak.” In fact, the vast number of witnesses are in favor of the authenticity of verses 9-20. The rejection of Vaticanus is less weighty in light of its comparable exclusion of the Pastoral Epistles, the last part of Hebrews and Revelation. The rejection of Sinaiticus is similarly unconvincing, since it includes some of the Apocryphal books. [NOTE: For a thorough discussion of this matter, see Miller, 2005, 25(12):89-95.]
Objection #13:Romans 10:9-10 indicates that all one needs to do is believe and confess Jesus.”
The use of eis in Romans 10:10 cannot mean “because of.” Verse nine explicitly says one will be saved “if” he confesses and believes in the heart. Confession and faith are therefore prerequisites to forgiveness. They are God-ordained “responses” to the preached Word (vs. 8) and must occur before salvation is imparted by God. In other words, one’s soul is purified when he obeys the truth (1 Peter 1:22). Jesus provides eternal salvation to those who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9).
But is baptism excluded from salvation since only faith and confession are mentioned in Romans 10:9-10? Notice the order of Romans 6:17-18: (1) slaves to sin; (2) person obeys; (3) made free from sin (righteous). Item (3) cannot occur unless item (2) occurs first. The “whole” of man is to reverence God and keep His commands (Ecclesiastes 12:13). To whom does God give the Holy Spirit? To those whom He arbitrarily chooses, without any consideration of the individual’s necessitated response? No. Acts 5:32 says God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. God has always conditioned the bestowal of spiritual blessing upon prior obedient response (Jeremiah 7:23; Genesis 26:4-5). Deuteronomy 5:10 says God shows mercy to those who love Him and keep His commands.
In Romans 10, Paul is not stressing the specific aspects of the conversion process. That is not the context. Rather, the context addresses whether one is acceptable to God in the Christian dispensation due to physical heritage (i.e., race/ethnicity), or whether one is saved when one complies with God’s instruction. Paul was stressing that Jewish nationality could not bring them into God’s favor. Rather, people are saved when they render obedience to the Gospel. He quoted Joel 2:32, where the emphasis is on the word “whosoever” in contrast to “Jews only.” Verse 12 argues that God does not distinguish on the basis of race. The individual’s response to the preached Word is the deciding factor. However, Romans 10 does not reveal all of the details of that obedient response. One must be willing to search out the whole truth on such a subject.
If repentance is essential to salvation, one must concede that such teaching must come from some passage other than Romans 10. Does Romans 10:10 mean that repentance is unnecessary, just because it is unmentioned in the text? If not, then why assume baptism to be nonessential simply because it is not mentioned in this particular text? To ascertain the significance of baptism in God’s sight, one must go to passages that discuss that subject, rather than dismiss them in deference to verses on faith. If God says, “faith saves” (Romans 5:1), let us accept that truth. If God says, “baptism saves” (1 Peter 3:21), let us accept that truth, too! Jesus Himself said: belief + baptism = salvation (Mark 16:16), not belief = salvation + baptism.
Notice also, Romans 10:10,13 does not say that salvation can be acquired by mere verbal confession (e.g., “I accept Jesus into my heart as my personal Savior”). Why?
(1) Nowhere is the statement, “Accept Jesus as your personal Savior,” found in scripture.
(2) Jesus forever dashed the idea of salvation by mental acceptance/verbal profession alone in Matthew 7:21 and Luke 6:46, where He showed that oral confession alone is unacceptable. In every age, there have been specified actions of obedience that God has required before He would count individuals as pleasing or acceptable. In fact, if faith is not coupled with the appropriate obedient action (like baptism), then such faith is unable to justify. Such faith is imperfect (James 2:17,20,26) and therefore cannot save!
(3) The phrase “call on the name of the Lord” is an idiomatic way to say: “respond with appropriate obedient actions.” It is the figure of speech known as synecdoche (i.e., the part stands for the whole). To “call” on God’s name is equivalent to saying, “Do what He tells you to do.” Isaiah 55:6 tells the Jews of Isaiah’s day to call on God. Verse 7 explains how: (1) forsake wicked ways, (2) forsake wicked thoughts, (3) return to the Lord. To obey these three stipulations constituted “calling on God.”
Likewise, those in Jerusalem who “called on the Lord’s name” (Acts 9:14,21) had done so, not by verbal confession, but by repentance and baptism for forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Similarly, Paul himself became a Christian, that is, he “called on the name of the Lord”—not by verbally confessing Christ—but by being baptized (Acts 22:16). For Paul, “calling on the Lord’s name” was equivalent to (not precedent to) being baptized. Baptism washed his sins away at that moment.


Though the bulk of Christendom for centuries have veered off into Calvinism and other post-first century theological thought, the meaning and design of baptism is determined by the New Testament. The verses in the New Testament that speak about baptism are definitive. They indicate that water immersion precedes salvation. No objection may be put forth that overturns this divinely-intended function.


Lyons, Eric (2004), “Calling on the Name of the Lord,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/597.
Miller, Dave (2005), “Is Mark 16:9-20 Inspired?” Reason & Revelation, 25[12]:89-95, December, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2780.

From Mark Copeland... Greater Than John The Baptist? (Matthew 11:11)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                 Greater Than John The Baptist? (11:11)


1. At the height of His earthly ministry, Jesus was approached by two
   disciples of John the Baptist - Mt 11:1-6
   a. John was in prison, and had sent the two disciples to Jesus
   b. Perhaps troubled by his own imprisonment, he wanted affirmation
      that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, the Coming One
   c. Jesus pointed to His works, and spoke of the blessedness of those
      not offended because of Him

2. Jesus used this opportunity to tell the multitudes about John the
   Baptist - Mt 11:7-10
   a. That he was not some easily shaken reed or man in soft clothing,
      but a prophet
   b. Indeed, he was the prophet foretold by Isaiah and Malachi - Isa 40:3; Mal 3:1; 4:5

3. But then Jesus made two remarkable statements - Mt 11:11
   a. First, that no one had been greater than John the Baptist
   b. Second, that one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater
      than he!

4. It is the second statement that has perplexed many...
   a. For the kingdom of heaven is the church that was about to be 
   b. And in the church there are many people who do not seem to 
      measure up to a man like John the Baptist!
   -- How can any of us be greater than he?

[When we know the answer, it should fill us with humility and 
gratitude, and encourage us to greater dedication in our service to the
Lord.  Before we consider the answer, let's review...]


      1. Enduring a life of austerity, with voluntary simplicity 
         - Lk 1:80; Mt 3:4
      2. He showed courage before king Herod, condemning his unlawful
         marriage - Mt 14:3-4
      3. He possessed humility, showing deference at the height of his
         own ministry to a New Comer - Jn 1:19-37; 3:22-30

      1. His influence brought people throughout Judea into the desert
         - Mt 3:1-2,5
      2. They were moved to be baptized and confess their sins - Mt 6:6
      3. Yet He did not weaken his message to accommodate his audience
         - Mt 6:7-8

      1. Such was his particular mission - Mt 3:3; 11:9-10
      2. And when Jesus came, he pointed people to Him - Jn 1:29,34-36;
         a. "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the
         b. "I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God."
         c. "He must increase, but I must decrease."
         d. "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life..."

[In light of his mission, and the faithful manner in which he carried
it out, no one had arisen greater than John (not even Moses, Elijah,
etc., though they might be consider "as great as" John).

But again, Jesus says that the least in the kingdom is "greater" than
John.  How can that be...?]


      1. John's limited knowledge of Christ is implied by his question
         - Mt 11:2-3
         a. He had not seen what Jesus' disciples had seen
         b. He had not heard what Jesus' disciples had heard - cf. Mt 13:16-17
      2. Through the further teaching of Christ and His apostles...
         a. We know the wonderful story of the cross!
         b. We know the nature of the kingdom, its establishment, its
            future glory!
         c. We know "many things" which even Jesus Himself had not
            taught His apostles until after the Holy Spirit was sent!
            - cf. Jn 16:12-13
      -- Even "he who is least in the kingdom" knows things about Jesus
         and His church that John did not know!

      1. John was not in the kingdom of heaven (or church) during his
         a. He proclaimed it was "at hand" - Mt 3:1-2
         b. Jesus and His apostles were still preaching it as being 
            "at hand" - Mt 10:7
         c. Jesus would later speak of building His church - Mt 16:18
      2. But with the establishment of the church, those who are in
         a. Have been translated into the kingdom of God's Son - Co 1:13; cf. Re 1:9
         b. Have been made a royal priesthood and holy nation - 1 Pe 2:9
      -- John lived under the Old Covenant; even "he who is least in
         the kingdom" lives under the New Covenant with its better 
         sacrifice, hope, and promises - He 7:9; 8:6

      1. John certainly enjoyed wonderful privileges
         a. He was filled with the Spirit from his mother's womb - Lk 1:15
         b. Who certainly helped him fulfill his mission
      2. But Jesus offers things which John did not have; e.g...
         a. A gift (or measure) of the Spirit that was not given until
            after Jesus was glorified - Jn 7:37-39
            1) Something other than inspiration or miraculous powers,
               for many had enjoyed that before Jesus was glorified
               (ascended to heaven)
            2) Because of the outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost,
               all who are saved have experienced "the washing of 
               regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit" - Tit 3:5-7
            3) John was born of woman, but those in the kingdom are
               "born of the Spirit"! - cf. Jn 3:5
               a) We therefore receive "the gift of the Spirit" - Ac 2:38
               b) A gift that helps deliver one from the power of sin 
                  - cf. Ro 8:11-13
               c) A gift not enjoyed by those under the Old Covenant 
                  - cf. Ro 7:14-8:4
         b. The fellowship of the church, the body of Christ - Ro 12:5
            1) Remember that John spent his life in the desert, and
               then in prison
            2) He did not enjoy the blessings of fellowship available
               to the "least" in the kingdom
            3) As promised by Jesus, we have a "hundred-fold" family
               members in this life, something John never had - Mk 10:
         -- Many other privileges peculiar to the New Covenant could be
            mentioned, all of which are enjoyed today by "he who is 
            least in the kingdom"!


1. In at least three ways, then, we are "greater" than John the 
   a. In our knowledge of Jesus Christ
   b. In our station of life by being in Christ
   c. In our privileges offered by Jesus Christ
2. As per J. W. McGarvey:  "We find from this passage that all true
   greatness arises from association, relation and contact with Jesus
   Christ" (The Fourfold Gospel)
   a. As the forerunner of Christ, John was as great as any other 
      teacher, prophet, priest, lawgiver, and king
   b. As the beneficiaries of Christ, even the least of those in His
      kingdom are greater than he

3. Should this not fill us with humility, gratitude, and a desire to
   greater service?
   a. That Jesus would bestow such great blessings upon us?
   b. That we ought to be more dedicated in our service to Christ?
      1) Producing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives
      2) Nurturing and enjoying the fellowship of the family of God
      3) Proclaiming the gospel of Christ and the kingdom in its

If John was so faithful in that which is less, should we not be more
diligent when we have that which is more?

      "For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be
      required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they
      will ask the more." (Lk 12:48)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Principles Of Evangelism - II (Matthew 10:11-42)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                Principles Of Evangelism - II (10:11-42)


1. In our previous study, we began looking at the instructions Jesus
   gave in charging His apostles with "The Limited Commission"...
   a. In which He sent them to preach to the house of Israel - Mt 10:
   b. To prepare the way for Jesus to come to them personally - cf.
      Mt 10:23; 11:1; Lk 10:1

2. In that study, we observed five "Principles Of Evangelism"...
   a. Utilize the power of synergy
   b. Employ the practice of specialization
   c. Proclaim the word of God
   d. Offer our services freely
   e. Support those willing to work
   -- Principles that were utilized by the early church with great
      success, and worthy of our emulation today

3. In this study, we shall consider the rest of Jesus words in giving
   "The Limited Commission"...
   a. Gleaning at least five more "Principles of Evangelism"
   b. Noticing principles applied by the early church and applicable
      today as well

[Beginning with Mt 10:11-15, we find Jesus telling His apostles...]


      1. Those who were both hospitable and willing to listen - Mt 10:
      2. But they were to "shake off the dust from your feet" when
         leaving a city that would not receive them or hear their words
         - Mt 10:14
      3. It would be more tolerable in the day of judgment for Sodom
         and Gomorrah than for such people - Mt 10:15

      1. We are not to "cast your pearls before swine" - Mt 7:6
      2. People judge themselves unworthy of the gospel by their lack
         of interest
         a. Paul was willing to preach again if people were interested
            - Ac 13:42-44
         b. But when people rejected the gospel, he turned elsewhere
            - Ac 13:45-46

      1. We are to preach the gospel to every creature - Mk 16:15
         a. But once people display lack of interest, we are not
            obligated to keep trying
         b. Rather than "cast our pearls" before those who don't
            appreciate it, we should move on to someone else
      2. Admittedly, there is room for judgment...
         a. As to how long we try to reach someone before going on
         b. Some may not show much interest at first, but do later on
      3. But at some point, there may be other souls who need the
         gospel more than our friends, family and neighbors who show no

[Another principle of evangelism we do well to remember is to...]


      1. Jesus was sending them as sheep in the midst of wolves - Mt 10:16
      2. He gave them a picture of what to expect - Mt 10:17-23
      3. As His disciples, they should expect treatment similar to what
         He had received - Mt 10:24-25

      1. Jesus later reminded His apostles they would be hated by the
         world - Jn 15:18-20
      2. The apostles would later tell the disciples of persecution to
         come - Ac 14:22; 1Th 3:4; 2Ti 3:12
      3. But the disciples were prepared to react in the proper way
         a. To rejoice that they were worthy to suffer in Christ's name
            - Mt 5:10-12
         b. To rejoice knowing that trials can make them better - Ro 5:

      1. Don't expect everyone to gladly receive your message of
         salvation in Christ
      2. Rather, expect some to be offended and angry...
         a. For many don't like to be told they are sinners, in need of
         b. They may become defensive when told repentance is necessary
         c. You might lose friends, be ostracized, and in some places,
            physically abused
      3. But being forewarned is forearmed, able to respond in the
         proper way
         a. Blessing those who curse you, praying for those who despise
            you - Mt 5:44
         b. Rejoicing for the good that can come out of persecution
            - Jm 1:2-4

[Evangelism is often short-circuited when met with resistance;
anticipating persecution is an important principle that will help us
to not lose heart.  Closely related to this is another principle of


      1. They were not to fear those who would resist them - Mt 10:
      2. They were not to fear those who could kill them - Mt 10:28
      3. They were to fear God if they desired to be free from the fear
         of men
         a. For God had the power to destroy both body and soul - Mt 10:28
         b. But God also knew everything about them and valued them
            highly - Mt 10:29-31
      4. Confessing Jesus before men would ensure their being confessed
         before God - Mt 10:32-33

      1. Fear of rejection often hinders many evangelistic efforts
         a. We want to be accepted by friends, family, neighbors
         b. We don't want to be turned away from them
         -- But they are not the ones who will judge us in the last
      2. Paul reminds us that pleasing God rather than man is what
         makes one a servant of Christ - Ga 1:10

      1. Christians need to have a healthy reverence for God - Php 2:12
      2. When we revere God more than we fear man, the fear of
         rejection will not hinder our efforts to teach others
         a. We will stop trying to please others, and seek to please
         b. We will seek His favor, rather than the favor of men
      3. With the proper fear of God, we will not rest until we are
         doing something in the area of evangelism, for that is His
         will for us!

[Fearing God over fearing men is a matter of keeping our priorities
straight.  Along the same vein is the next principle of evangelism that
Jesus taught...]


      1. Jesus described the kind of conflicts that would often arise
         - Mt 10:34-36
         a. His coming and the gospel of the kingdom would often divide
            family members
         b. The members of one's own household might become enemies
      2. To be worthy, they must love Him more than family and self
         - Mt 10:37-39
         a. They must be willing to take up their cross and follow Him
         b. They must be willing to lose their life in service to Him
            to truly find their life

      1. A cost Jesus encouraged all to count before becoming His
         disciples - Lk 14:25-33
      2. A cost Jesus reminded one disciple who sought to put family
         first - Mt 8:21-22

      1. Service to God is hindered by allowing family and personal
         interests to come first
         a. You see this in how some put relatives and family before
            the church
         b. We have a responsibility to our families (1Ti 5:8), but we
            must not let that get in the way of serving Jesus
      2. Evangelism, especially foreign evangelism, will never be what
         it should be as long as we allow family and personal
         considerations hold us back
         a. Think of the early Christians, who "went everywhere
            preaching the word" - Ac 8:4
         b. Likely there were children, parents, and others saying
            "Don't go"; but neither persecution nor family ties kept
            them from spreading the Word!

[We come to the last point, which ties in with the last point of the
previous lesson (Support those willing to work)...]


      1. For in receiving them, they receive Christ and God who sent
         Him - Mt 10:40
      2. They would share in the rewards of the prophets and righteous
         men they supported - Mt 10:41
      3. Even a cup of cold water would not go unnoticed - Mt 10:42

      1. Back when David and his men were pursuing the Amalekites
         - 1Sa 30:9-10,18-25
         a. When some had to be left with the supplies while others
            fought the enemy
         b. David decreed that all should share alike - both those at
            the base, and those at the front
      2. Thus those who support have fellowship in both the work and
         reward of those they support!

      1. Never underestimate the role of supporting those who go ("How
         shall they preach unless they are sent?") - cf. Ro 10:14-15
      2. If you cannot go or teach yourself, then do what you can to
         support those who can
      3. Take comfort in knowing:
         a. It is Christ you are serving, not just a servant of Christ!
         b. You can receive a prophet's reward without necessarily
            being a prophet!


1. In summation, here are ten "Principles Of Evangelism" found in "The
   Limited Commission"...
   a. Utilize the power of synergy           f. Be selective
   b. Employ the practice of specialization  g. Anticipate persecution
   c. Proclaim the word of God               h. Fear God, not man
   d. Offer our services freely              i. Put the Lord first
   e. Support those willing to work          j. Supporters share in the

2. As we attempt to fulfill "The Great Commission" (Mt 28:19)...
   a. Can we improve on the principles taught by our Savior?
   b. Did not the early Christians implement them as they went forth
      with the gospel?

As preachers or simply disciples, as churches or as individuals,
success in evangelism can only be increased by remembering what our
Lord told His twelve apostles before He sent them out to preach the
good news of the kingdom...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Principles Of Evangelism - I (Matthew 10:5-10)

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                 Principles Of Evangelism - I (10:5-10)


1. In Mt 28:19-20, Jesus gave what is commonly called "The Great
   a. In which His apostles were charged to make disciples of all the
   b. A charge which still holds true today for His church

2. As we seek to carry out "The Great Commission" today...
   a. What principles should govern our efforts?
   b. Has the Lord provided any advice or counsel as to how we might
      best go about the work of evangelism?

3. In Mt 10:5-42, we find what is commonly called "The Limited
   a. A charge given to the apostles during the earthly ministry of
      Jesus - Mt 10:1-5
   b. So-called because He limited their work to the house of Israel 
      - Mt 10:5-6
   c. In which the Lord gave instructions to govern them as they sought
      to carry out their work

4. From the instructions of Jesus, we can glean some "Principles Of
   a. Principles that helped them also carry out "The Great Commission"
   b. Principles that can help us be more successful in evangelism

[In this lesson and one to follow, I want to point out at least ten 
principles that Jesus applied in sending out His apostles.  They are 
principles that I believe can prove successful today.  The first one 


      1. As evident from Mark's account - cf. Mt 10:5a with Mk 6:7
      2. A practice continued...
         a. When Jesus sent out the seventy - Lk 10:1
         b. When the Spirit sent out Paul and Barnabas - Ac 13:2
         c. When Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways - Ac 15:

      1. Synergy:  "The working together of two things (muscles or 
         drugs for example) to produce an effect greater than the sum
         of their individual effects"
      2. Two or more preachers working together can do more than by 
         working separately
         a. They encourage one another, and help each other - cf. Ec 4:9-10
         b. A plurality of witnesses lend credibility to their story 
            - cf. Jn 8:17

      1. The practice of two or more preachers working together should
         be encouraged
         a. Especially in foreign fields or difficult areas
         b. Through the principle of synergy they can be effective in
            one area more quickly, and then move on to the next
         c. This is better than preachers working alone, struggling for
            years by themselves
      2. Small congregations in the same area might need to ask 
         themselves which is better...
         a. Trying to maintain two struggling works
         b. Or perhaps becoming one in order to grow faster, swarming
            later into two separate and larger congregations
      3. In one's own personal evangelism...
         a. Seek out a companion in the congregation with similar 
         b. Go together in visiting, teaching home studies, etc.

[Perhaps much of the slow growth in evangelism today is a failure to
appreciate the principle of synergy which was applied by the Lord and
the early church.  Another principle to consider is...]


      1. Which is why this is called "The Limited Commission" - Mt 10:
         a. Circumstances limited the arena in which they were to go
         b. E.g., their mission was to prepare people for Jesus' 
            coming, and their time was limited - Mt 10:23; cf. Lk 10:
      2. Later, in carrying out "The Great Commission", the apostles
         had their individual "focus groups"
         a. Peter focused on the circumcised (Jews), while Paul focused
            on the uncircumcised (Gentiles) - Ga 2:7-9
         b. Paul also focused on going where others had not gone - Ro 15:20

      1. Specialization
         a. The act of specializing; making something suitable for a
            special purpose
         b. The special line of work you have adopted as your career
      2. Certain skills, backgrounds, circumstances, etc., may make us
         more suitable to a certain area of endeavor
         a. We need to appreciate the diversity of function - Ro 12:3-5
         b. We should not hesitate to focus in our area of expertise or
            opportunity - Ro 12:6-8

      1. Preachers may choose to focus on certain areas or groups of
         a. Based upon their background, ethnicity, or personal skills
         b. Some may be well-suited for foreign work, others for local
            work; some may be well-suited for holding gospel meetings,
            others may be better at personal work
         c. Time is limited, none can do it all
            1) We should not expect every preacher to be alike
            2) We should appreciate those who focus on their particular
               "mission field"
      2. As a congregation...
         a. It's focus may depend upon several factors
            1) The make up of its members and their abilities
            2) The community in which the church is located
         b. While the congregation should try to reach all, it might
            focus on certain areas for which it is well-suited
            1) E.g., senior citizens or young people
            2) E.g., the affluent or poor
            3) E.g., certain ethnic groups as opposed to others
      3. In one's own personal evangelism...
         a. You might concentrate on your peer group
         b. You might focus on a particular type of evangelism for
            which you are well-suited

[Certainly we should not specialize to the point that we refuse to help
those who come our way; but there is value in utilizing one's strengths
and circumstances, being selective in the direction we go.  The next 
principle is most essential...]


      1. In "The Limited Commission", the subject was the kingdom of
         heaven - Mt 10:7
      2. In "The Great Commission", it was expanded to include the 
         gospel of Christ - Mk 16:15
         a. So Philip the evangelist preached when he went to Samaria 
            - Ac 8:12
         b. So Paul preached in synagogues and from house to house 
            - Ac 19:8; 20:18-21,25; 28:23,30-31

      1. It should always be the Word of God, the Gospel:
         a. Which is God's power unto salvation - Ro 1:16
         b. Able to save the souls of those who receive meekly - Jm 
      2. As Paul instructed Timothy:  "Preach the word!" - 2Ti 4:1-5

      1. Preachers need to avoid things...
         a. Which entertain, rather than provide sound doctrine
         b. Based more upon the ideas of men, rather than the Word of
         -- Text based, expository preaching can help keep preachers in
            the Word
      2. Churches should consider what message they are presenting to
         the lost...
         a. Is it the gospel of health and wealth, or the gospel of 
         b. Are we calling for people to become just church members, or
            disciples of Jesus?
      3. In one's own evangelism...
         a. Do not get sidetracked on various issues
         b. While many subjects may have their place, they may be 
            "second principles" rather than "first principles"
         c. The lost need to know the gospel of Jesus Christ and His
            kingdom, first and foremost!

[The next principle is also taken from the words of Jesus to His 
disciples in "The Limited Commission"...]


      1. They were empowered to cast out demons and heal the sick - Mt 10:1
         a. Such signs were for the purpose of confirming their message
         b. As explained later - cf. Mk 16:17-20; He 2:3-4
      2. They were to offer this service freely - Mt 10:8

      1. We preach a gospel of salvation offered as a gift - Ro 6:23
      2. Jesus certainly gave Himself freely, that we might be rich 
         - 2Co 8:9
      3. To charge people for the message we preach would be 
         incongruous to the spirit of the message
         a. Do we want them to take our message of sacrificial love and
            the gift of salvation seriously?
         b. Then what we have to offer the lost should be without 

      1. Preachers have to be careful
         a. They do have a right for support (see next point)
         b. But they should not seek to get rich through their ministry
            1) It is one thing to charge for the cost of producing
            2) It is another to charge above expenses with the view of
               making money
         c. One sign of a false teacher or prophet is to exploit others
            by engaging in "covetous practices" - cf. 2Pe 2:3,14
      2. Churches should also consider what they offer the community
         a. E.g., services such as television and radio programs, audio
            tapes, videos, Bible correspondence courses, etc.
         b. Congregations which offer such things freely...
            1) Display the spirit of the gospel
            2) Avoid the appearance of "being interested only in 
               people's money"
      3. In one's own evangelism...
         a. Offer your message freely
         b. What gifts or abilities to serve you might have, offer 
            without cost
         c. By the grace of God you are what you are, follow the 
            example of Jesus and His apostles in offering themselves
            freely to the lost

[At the same time, there is another principle of evangelism which 
relates to when one might receive support for their labor...]


      1. For which reason they were not to take anything - Mt 10:9-10
      2. They could be supported by those who willing to provide for
         them - cf. Lk 10:7-8

      1. As expounded upon by Paul in 1Co 4:4-14
         a. The right to forego secular work in order to serve in
            spiritual matters
         b. The right to receive carnal things in return for spiritual
         c. A principle taught in the Law, and by Christ Himself
      2. Applied to elders who rule well - 1Ti 5:17-18
      3. A practice encouraged by John many years later - 3Jn 5-8

      1. Preachers may rightly receive support for their labors
         a. It allows them to concentrate their efforts in matters of
            the gospel
         b. Of course, this support should come from those who are
            Christians, and should not be a means of accumulating 
            wealth (see previous point)
      2. Churches have an important role in such support
         a. Churches can provide support of preachers - 2Co 11:8-9
         b. Much foreign evangelism goes undone today, not because
            preachers are unwilling to go, but because churches have
            not been willing to send and support - cf. Ro 10:15
      3. In one's own efforts...
         a. There is nothing limiting an individual from helping to 
            support preachers
         b. While one might help support a local congregation's effort
            to send and support, one can also help through direct 


1. Here are "The Principles Of Evangelism" we have gleaned so far from
   our Lord's instructions in giving "The Limited Commission"...
   a. Utilize the power of synergy
   b. Employ the practice of specialization
   c. Proclaim the word of God
   d. Offer our services freely
   e. Support those willing to work

2. As we saw, these principles were later employed by the early 
   a. Which may help explain the rapid spread of the gospel in the 
      first century
   b. Which can still be useful to the Lord's church today
   -- Could it be that failure to implement any of these may be reasons
      why the church is not growing like it did then?

In our next lesson, we shall examine yet another five principles of 
evangelism from the instructions Jesus gave to His apostles...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011