WE SOW BUT GOD GROWS

THE THIRTEENTH DAY OF DECEMBER IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN. In a previous gracEmail I told of speaking, in a B'Nai B'rith program, on the Christian understanding of the Old Testament. As we moved into Q&A from Lecture, I urged these Jewish men to consider the claim of Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah foretold by the Hebrew prophets. A gracEmail subscriber who read … [Read more...]

AN END-TIME GOSPEL

THE TWENTY-FOURTH DAY OF MAY IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN If we read the Book of Acts carefully and with open eyes and ears, we will find that evangelism as done by the disciples and their associates differs in several respects from much evangelism today. It speaks in a context of End-times and of the transition from the Present age to the Age to come. Peter’s first … [Read more...]

ONE MIGHTY SAVING DEED

THE SEVENTEENTH DAY OF MAY IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN When God was ready to liberate his Old Testament people from bondage in Egypt, he COULD have organized an "underground railroad" of safe places, secret rendezvous points, and anonymous carriers, and then spread the word among the Hebrews that he would be rescuing slaves every Friday night if they wished to sign up … [Read more...]

SPIRIT SPOTLIGHTS JESUS, NOT US (2)

THE THIRD DAY OF MAY, IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN Evangelism that is Spirit-powered and Spirit-led testifies to what Jesus did and what he suffered--the perfect doing and dying that set us right with God--instead of what we do in response to that work. We see more evidence today in Acts chapters 8-20. The gospel message goes beyond the Jews through Philip, whom Luke says … [Read more...]

SPIRIT SPOTLIGHTS JESUS, NOT US (1)

THE TWENTY-SIXTH DAY OF APRIL, IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN In his Gospel, Luke relates Jesus' teachings and doings while in person on earth. In Acts, his second volume, Luke describes Jesus' work accomplished from heaven and performed through his Spirit on earth (Acts 1:5). The word "Spirit" appears 70 times in Acts, almost twice as many as in the New Testament book with … [Read more...]

EVANGELISM WITHOUT EVANGEL IS AN ISM

THE NINETEENTH DAY OF APRIL IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN My late friend J. D. Clanton faithfully attended the opening Sunday morning service of his congregation's annual "Gospel Meeting," but he also held them to their advertising. Each year the visiting "gospel preacher" decried the evils of sin, the horrors of hell, and the list of things an "alien sinner" must do to be … [Read more...]

IS THIS EVANGELISM?

THE TWELFTH DAY OF APRIL IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN Today we are accustomed to hearing the gospel presented as if it were addressed to one person at a time, assuring him or her of God’s provision for sin through Jesus’ death and resurrection, and urging that person to make a decision for Christ, to profess faith in him, to be baptized and begin to live as a disciple of … [Read more...]

A MESSAGE SIGNED WITH BLOOD

THE TWENTIETH DAY OF FEBRUARY IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN Last Sunday, the jihadist group calling itself ISIS (The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) martyred 21 young Egyptian Christians working in Libya, one of Egypt's four next-door neighbor states. Ramez Atallah, a leader in gospel outreach worldwide, is general director of the Bible Society of Egypt. Within days of … [Read more...]

God, the gospel, and the nations’ obedience

When God chose Israel as his special people and covenant partner, it was his intention through them ultimately to bless the world. "By your descendants," God promised Abraham, "shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 22:18). God blessed Israel so that, through Israel, all nations would be blessed. The chosen people prayed: "May God . . . bless us, that thy . . . [saving power] may be … [Read more...]

Walking through a strange land home

Do you ever feel a longing for home, but a home not of this world? If so, there is a very good reason, and First Peter just might be what you need to see you through this day. Written originally to Christians in five Roman provinces, it is clearly a legacy for the church at large, consisting of individuals Peter describes as God's chosen ones but strangers in this world. That double (and … [Read more...]