Tuesday: Public Proclamation
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Jesus attracted people to Himself in various settings, including public ones. Scripture assumed a prominent role in Christ’s public proclamations. Direct quotations and scriptural allusions filled His sermons and public discourse.

Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com

Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com

Read Matthew 5:17-39. In what ways do these verses show how Christ utilized Scripture for public ministry?

During Christ’s earthly sojourn, the ordinary Israelites’ relationship with Scripture was apparently highly legalistic. They looked to Scripture for regulations and ethical guidance. Upright behavior was considered the payment for eternal bliss. Jesus, however, overturned their legalistic notions and substituted heart-based religion for a system of external controls.

Christ-centered religion is rooted in a heart transformation that leads to ethical behavior. Ironically, some of the Pharisees had bypassed having a living relationship with God in their haste to achieve moral perfection. Jesus identified these shortcomings, and as a cure He beckoned listeners to accept Him as Savior and Master. With Jesus as the internally controlling force, behavioral standards were not lowered but elevated. All one has to do is read the Sermon on the Mount to see just how elevated His moral standards were.

As something strange and new, these words fall upon the ears of the wondering multitude. Such teaching is contrary to all they have ever heard from priest or rabbi. They see in it nothing to flatter their pride or to feed their ambitious hopes. But there is about this new Teacher a power that holds them spellbound. The sweetness of divine love flows from His very presence as the fragrance from a flower. . . . All feel instinctively that here is One who reads the secrets of the soul, yet who comes near to them with tender compassion.-Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 6.

It’s easier than we think to be legalistic, judgmental, and condemnatory, isn’t it? How can we protect ourselves from falling into these common practices?

 

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Tuesday: Public Proclamation — 21 Comments

  1. we can protect ourselves from being legalistic, judgmental and condemnatory by allowing Christ to be our motivation, letting Him be the internal motor that propels us to do what we do- as Apostle Paul puts it 'it is Christ that compels us' to do what we do.

    Like(12)
  2. everything we do must be based on scripture. in our day to day evangelism, every question that we encounter must be answered based on scripture. no logical reasoning in answering God's work.

    Like(9)
  3. We should do all we can to truly abide by the scriptures. Without out our living by & doing what the scriptures tells us, we will be lost. We must have a heart of compassion to lead others.

    Like(3)
  4. In the days of Christ's ministry, the general populace were religious to some degree. Jesus message would have been largely understood by his listeners, even if they did not like it. Today we live in a secular society that in many cases is anti-religious, but much of our public proclamation is directed towards those who have read the Bible and are familiar with the language we use.

    For the majority of our audience, what we have to say is in a foreign language and they would be battling to understand it or appreciate its relevance. We take refuge in Bible texts that express the notion that many will hear but few will take heed. That is not really a good excuse.

    I have visited foreign countries where I have not understood the language. One of the most fearful aspects of such visits is the possibility that someone would try to warn me I was in danger and that I would not understand what they were saying.

    There is a real need for us to think how we should effectively proclaim the Gospel to a secular world. We need to develop a deep understanding of the secular person, how they think, and their perceived needs. Repeatedly shouting in their ear that they need Jesus is pointless, and to their ears, irritating.

    I am under no illusion; reaching secular people is difficult; and convincing them that you have something to say is not easy. Further, if you expect people to listen to you, you must listen to them; an activity some Christians find threatening.

    Christianity can be proclaimed to a secular world, but we need to rethink our methodologies and even some of our expectations.

    Like(8)
    • Maurice, I wish I had all the answers but I don't. I do remember before I was a Christian the few times that someone asked me with a typical southern draw, "Are Ya Saved?" Quite frankly it turned me off - big time.

      I often wonder what it really means to be "safe to save" especially when I realize many Bible toting Christians will never see Heaven as Jesus said, "And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness" (Matt. 8:11-12 NKJV). I do think the Bible is the key but perhaps we misuse, at least misunderstand it, it the same way that Adventist misuse the book, "Steps to Christ" which we hand out freely but rarely read ourselves. Perhaps we should be more involved with getting people in a position to be safe to save rather than doctrinally correct, not that doctrine isn't necessary, but maybe we all too often get the cart before the horse.

      It seems to me that the world's philosophy is entirely antagonistic to the principles of Heaven where the concepts of evolution infiltrate every corner of life. It is a self preservation mentality where the fittest survive and those that don't are just - well - part of the natural process of things. I think many people would probably benefit most if we communicate to them in such a way that they feel of value and accepted instead of pushed out because they don't do things exactly the way we think they should do them.

      Even though I mostly fail, I do attempt to keep in mind what Ellen White said:

      Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, "Behold your God." The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them.
      The light of the Sun of Righteousness is to shine forth in good works--in words of truth and deeds of holiness" (Christ's Object Lessons, p 415.5).

      Like(8)
    • It is hard to believe that in the United States a person can live and not know about Jesus, but I think it is a sad fact we need to accept and as you say rethink how we are going to reach such the secular population in our world. Your post, Maurice, has given me some food for thought.

      Like(0)
  5. We should be completing Shiloh SDA church in Chicago. Please ask God to teach us all what we must do to win in this 3rd city of United States for His Lovers.
    Best wishes with God's help.
    For our help!!!

    Like(2)
  6. Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus that to trust and obey.
    The obey equals the decisions that a Christian makes based on reading God's word and doing what it says.

    Like(8)
  7. Tyler and Maurice,
    I agree with both of you. We (as Christians in general) really need to re-think how we approach non Christians. First of all we need to examine what the everlasting gospel is so we can be more effective. For example, a few years ago I was walking down the street in my town with a non Christian friend of mine when a woman (who was an irregular attendee at my church) approached us and said hi and then asked my friend if he was a Christian (out of left field). He said no and then she said that unless he accepts Jesus Christ as his savior, he will burn in hell. No kidding, she actually said that. Is God love? Is our message, "Love me or I will burn you?" What is our message in short to people?

    Like(4)
    • You know Larry, one thing I love about being an Adventist is the true picture they have shown me about God. I lived with the belief that he was a punishing God and that could be further from the truth. He loves us all whether we come to Him or not. It is the sin that He hates. That is not someone who would make someone burn forever.I think that irregular attendee may be mixing some beliefs from another church. I pray they get to know the real God and all that has been done for us all. God is Love.

      Like(2)
  8. It is also difficult to know how to approach those who no longer attend church, those who know our message but have turned away. They know that we will try and 'bring them back' and that often sets up an instant barrier.
    I pray for all my children and my sister who no longer attend although I hope that deep down they still believe!
    I pray for wisdom and clear thinking that I will know what to say, when to say it and how much to say at the right time. Prayer and bible study is my constant resource !

    Like(2)
    • I have an adult son who no longer attends church. The interesting thing is that he acts with a moral courage that I admire. I sometimes think that we have too narrow a view of what the saved should look like and how they should behave. I am sure that there are many who have a strong commitment to the Lord, who for one reason or another are not warming pews. Sometimes our best witness is to respect others who have made faith decisions different to our own.

      Like(8)
  9. christ public ministry was not merely more about how he understands the legal aspects of the law and the bible truths,but He came to live an examplary life and a public life that is in hammony with the biblical precepts and law,that is why, He is not ashamed to say, I came to fullfill the law.He is correct by saying that,because,what He proclaims in public,what He teaches in public,is what He is and what he lives.He does not say this and live a contradictory life,as some of us do.We are sometimes just like those biblical leaders,scribes and pharisees who claimed to know the law,and yet don't wanna live according to its required standards.Likewise, we claim publicly that we are the law observers,we even defend it,when they want to crush it into pieces,by saying the law was nailed with christ at the cross,the law is not functioning anymore.We defend the law braverly and firmely,but we fail to defend it by living a hammonous life style with the same law.I think,its high time now that we ask God to help us,to live a life that is in hommony with His law,and we together with Paul, start proclaiming publicly with our life style and behavour and say, there is no condemnation to those who are in christ jesus,who walk not in the flesh but in spirit.GALATIANS CHAPTER 5

    1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.Christ left us with a perfect example,on how to be a bublic speaker,how to win the hearts of the bublic to him,by just living a life style that is in balance and equillibrium with the law of God.its not what we say or utter much with our mouth that matters most to the bublic, but its the manner within which we live our life in bublic that matters most,and that speaks louder than hundred words we utter.

    Like(3)
    • Just an observation: The Scribes and Pharisees not only knew the law but they defined it - in great detail and lived it. Their problem was that the intent of God's law was lost in man's invented detail. Consequently they would not throw out a dish of water on Sabbath for fear of drowning an ant but lost the notion of what worship was really about. It is hard to worship God when you are busy counting drowned ants.

      Like(2)
      • Maurice, I am not sure that the problem with the Pharisees was their focus on the law but rather their understanding of its purpose. I think texts such as, "But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me" (Jn. 15:21 NKJV) demonstrate where the real problem lies.

        Even Paul exclaims. "Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law" (Gal. 3:21 NKJV). So to me it isn't law keeping per se that is the problem but how we relate to the law and to the one who gave it. How I live my life is my business just as how you choose to live your life is yours for we are both accountable to God for what we do. Furthermore, what I think is ok may not be how you see it for any number of reasons and it may be that neither of us is wrong in God's eyes. As a matter of principle, "But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse" (1 Cor. 8:8 NKJV). So what if I choose to drown ants and you choose not to who is to say who is right but if I do what I do because I have a warped idea of why I should drown ants then maybe there is a real problem there.

        Like(0)
  10. Perhaps Paul found out something very important concerning how we deal with the unchurched and particularly those that are antagonistic to Christianity. While at Athens he attempted to win philosophers by arguing on their own ground. He basically backed them into a corner philosophically but the whole thing ended in disappointment with few converts.

    By Paul's own testimony when he left Athens and went to Corinth, "I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:1-2 NKJV). From what I understand Paul saying is that he learned that philosophical arguments, even though they can be absolutely proved, do not move the heart. What man seems to need to see is that God actually loves him and that such texts as, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8 NKJV) is probably the biggest motivator.

    I believe that is what makes the cross so important to us as sinners while the rest of God's creation sees it as a revelation of God's character.

    Like(2)
    • Tyler, and all the other contributers to "Public Proclamation". Many issues are brought up and they all are important comments. We as Seventh Day Adventist Christians feel that we are special because of the Third Angles Message. We hold that keeping the Ten Commandments are of supreme importance. I agree they are. However we have a tendancy to pick and chose. The fourth commandment is our primary focus. Matt 22:37-40 says "Love" and to whom, is what the ten commandments are about and that all the law and the prophets is dependent on that love. We do not consider this scripture when addressing the Ten Commandments. We can see the faults of other "christians" and have opinions about their salvation, but it isn't always from a loving point of view. Jesus said we are to love our enemies and those that would persecute us. That is not a human trait. I am weak as anyone else, or more so, and pray for a changed and loving heart. There was an intresting observation that I read. It said " There is a diffrence btween, Convincing and Conversion".

      Like(2)
  11. I love Ty Gibsons approach to an atheist on a plane some time ago. I won't relate the entire scenario, but goes similar to this:
    *Describe the god you don't believe in.
    *Atheist describes common fallacy (held by majority of Christendom)of judgmental dictatorial torturer.
    *Ty says he is atheist also if that is the character and nature of god.
    *Ty offers alternative which is Biblical loving Father.
    *Atheist leaves plane with much food for thought.
    You can see full transcript if you google Ty Gibson 'Atheist too'.

    I also strongly recommend David Asshericks 8 part series on youtube "This is my Church?" bringing the love of God to the centre of all we are,all we do, all we attempt to communicate to the world.
    The secular world is by and large in complete ignorance of the true nature of God. And the church over the past 1800 years or so has been largely to blame. We as Adventists have a unique opportunity and responsibility to present God as He is. Anything short of self sacrificial love and we are misrepresenting Him.

    Like(3)
  12. After attending Adventist schools from elementary school to the university, it is amazing how many sermons I have listened to or how many scripture I have memorized. At this stage in my life it is very tempting to make church going or scripture reading a routine without paying attention to details. However, as I face challenges in life, digging deeper in scripture has helped me to build a closer relationship with Christ, trusting His leadership and guidance in my life even when the outcome seems bleak. Scripture has also strengthened my resolve to daily walk with Him, knowing that with Christ at the helm of my life, my ultimate destination is heaven.

    Like(1)

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