To start this week, let’s define (or expand on) 2 terms I brought up yesterday. I was also asked to expand on postmodernism (from 2 Sundays ago), but it is such a confusing philosophy that I will spend more time researching it before giving you a definition. However, for today, let’s simply discuss:
- Eisegesis—Coming to the Bible with preconceived ideas and beliefs and then making the Bible fit those beliefs.
- g. #1 God wants me to succeed in everything I do. Hey, Philippians 4:13 says I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me! Yay! This proves I will succeed.
- g. #2 We just finished up Genesis 1-11. So, I go to Genesis believing that evolutionary science has authority and its claims that the earth is billions of years old is true. I read in Chapters 1 and 2 that God created the earth in 6 days. Well, since I knowscience is right about the earth’s age, then those 6 days must be ages made up of millions of years. Heck, II Peter 3:8 says “that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.” So, each day in Genesis is longer than 24 hours which now aligns Scripture with my beliefs.
- Exegesis—Coming to the Bible and studying it in its context, historical background, grammatical considerations, and comparing Scripture with Scripture since while there are many human authors, there is still only one primary author, God. The exegete is wanting to pull out of the text what the author had intended the audience to read as thatkeeps the interpretation consistent, honest, and with integrity.
- g. #1 Philippians 4:13 is part of a conversation Paul is having about suffering. In context, he is not saying we can do anything through Christ as if our school’s football team can pray it and win, or as if we can seal a business deal using this verse. It is only saying we can suffer and endure that suffering through the power of Christ Who is strengthening us as we go through it as His witnesses.
- Genesis 1 and 2 use the Hebrew word yômwhich can mean more than one day (like a period, or age). But, whenever you see it connected to a descriptive modifier (in this case, “evening and morning”), its meaning is now limited by that modifier. So, in this case it means a normal, 24-hour period, not millions of years. And oh yeah, II. Peter is talking about impatient people who mock Christians for believing Christ is coming back (“If He’s real and really coming back, then why hasn’t He been here yet?”). They’re insinuating that since He hasn’t come back yet, that we are mistaken that He is coming at all. So, Peter tells them that judgment is coming, but Jesus is patient and is not bound by time as we are. Thus, in this case, a day or a thousand years doesn’t phase Him at all.
We talked about the church and that Jesus is the builder of it. I also mentioned that I was not using Matthew 16:18 to promote a building campaign (which would have been a misinterpretation/misuse/misapplication of the text). But, if I said I had a “vision” (and trust me, if I’m having visions, you need to have me committed to an institution) that we need to build a structure, and then I go and misuse Scriptures to support this “vision”, then I am guilty of eisegesis and I will answer to God for mishandling His Word.
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus was not talking about a physical building (remember, church is people, not buildings). He will build His church through the gathering of His lost sheep. Now, what I didn’t delve into during service is the ending of Matthew 16:18: “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Remember that “I will build” is Christ’s guarantee and promise that this action will be done? He has guaranteed that His church will grow, will see souls saved and added to the flock. Well, “shall not prevail” is a guarantee as well, but the structure of the Greek is indicating that Hades (which has the power to prevail and overcome its opponents) has absolutely no power to prevail or overcome the church.
- As you read through Scripture, pray ahead of time for the Holy Spirit to open your mind to what His meaning of a passage is.
- Then ask that He guides you to ensure you properly apply that Scripture to your life.
- When you think of church you are influenced by your experiences, traditions, the cultural usage of the word. What are some ideas about what the church is and does that are not Scriptural but that you’ve encountered? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Now, keep in mind something that is not Scriptural is not always wrong. The Bible does notsay churches can’t meet in buildings, but the Bible never calls a building a church. So, while most of us grew up calling steepled buildings “churches” (technically wrong), this is a foreign concept we’ve imported into our biblical understanding of a church when the church is the gathered people, not the building or house or field they decide to gather in.
- Since Jesus is building His church using His people, what are some ways that you can be more:
- Evangelistically-minded ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Discipling-minded ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Lastly, what are some fears you have about witnessing to the lost? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Now, if salvation is of the Lord, and the Gospel is the power unto salvation, and Hades cannot win against the church, what have you really to fear? ____________________________________
- Do you realize that evangelizing is as simple as the Gospel (proclaiming the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus), and doesn’t require a degree, evangelism training, apologetics courses, sales pitches, or great speaking skills? ___________________________________________________________________________