Search This Blog

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Special Meeting in Galilee

Sea of Galilee


Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.


Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. (Matthew 28:16, 17)
The Lord Jesus Christ told His closest disciples to meet Him in Galilee after His resurrection. He stressed this before His death (Matt 26:32) and reaffirmed it at least twice after His resurrection (Matt 28:7,10; Mark 16:7). This gathering of the Lord with his closest followers was a special arrangement and obviously had high priority.The other post-resurrection meetings described in Mark, Luke and John were unexpected appearances for the revival of the Apostles' deflated faith. The Lord's glorious ascension (Acts 1) marked the beginning of something new: the sending of the Holy Spirit by which His people would be guided and strengthened in the Lord's physical absence.

As evidence that the Lord put special emphasis on the meeting of Matthew 28:16–20, Paul reports that over 500 followers saw the resurrected Lord at one time (1 Cor 15:6). I believe that this was that occasion. Perhaps this is why He repeatedly told His closest associates to meet Him there.

Imagine yourself living at that time and place. Is there any who would not have given his eye teeth to have seen the resurrected Lord Jesus? God does not do things without purpose. For the Lord not only said He would appear, but emphasized to His disciples to be sure to be there. He must have had some special purpose. This meeting is not like when He appeared unannounced.


The Importance of the Scene

While God is not limited to locations to do what He considers important, yet the fact that the meeting was on a mountain at an appointed time would give a sense of urgency to the Jewish mind. Moses had prophesied that the Messiah would be a "prophet like unto me." (Deut 18:15; Acts 3:22). The Lord had commanded Moses to go to Mount Sinai for the giving of the Covenant of the Law. Since Jesus was the prophet like unto Moses, would not these Jewish believers have had a great feeling of expectancy when Jesus directed them to meet Him on a mountain, as Moses had with their forefathers? For Moses gave the Covenant of the Law upon a mountain.

The Lord Jesus told them that He was establishing the New Covenant when He instituted communion. He also expounded the prophecies by Moses and the Prophets before and after His resurrection. The air must have been filled with expectancy. There is no record that the Lord had told them what He was going to do there. But whatever it was, the Lord had made this time and this place special for something important to Him. Their minds could only wonder what great thing might happen (Acts 1:6).

Their longing eyes saw the Lord appear and then heard Him begin with these awe inspiring words: "All power (authority) has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." I don't know about you, but the hair on the back of my neck would have just stood up. I would feel that the air of Heaven was invading Earth. There would be such an super heavenly feeling. The scene caused most of them to involuntarily worship Him. But others just couldn't believe the sight of the crucified, living Lord was real. To them it was "just too good to be true," so they doubted for a while. This implies that more disciples were there than the eleven and their close associates, because the Lord had restored their faith through His unannounced appearances. As we go further into Matthew 28, the priority and urgency to disciple just increases more and more by concepts that call for accountability to Christ.

The question must be asked why did the Holy Spirit only mentioned the eleven disciples as being present? In the first place, He wanted to make it plain that they were restored to leadership after they had despaired after Christ’s arrest and crucifixion. Secondly, in doing so during succeeding generations this indicated that mature leadership bore the responsibility for discipling, on an individual basis and in leading group discipling. This applies whether in the Local Church or in missionary activity.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Call to the Discerning and Wise


The Bible uses colorful images to describe Israel’s apostasy: "a rebellious ox, a prostitute, a wild vine, and a stain that will not wash off."



Ethelene Dyer Jones

“Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.” –Hosea 14:9 (ESV)



Hosea prophesied in the eighth century B.C., but his message is a clarion call for our day. He deals with apostasy—turning away from the teachings of God; with rebellion of the people who follow their own way and break the covenant and laws of God. We can apply his prophecy to our own day—even our own country—and find that the themes he treats are still apparent in the behavior and pursuits of godlessness and rebellion.

Hosea holds forth hope, and that hope is to the discerning and wise who will turn from the temptations so prevalent and recognize that “the ways of the Lord are right.” Moreover, the upright will disregard the pull of the false gods—the Baals and all the practices that lead away from the Lord’s ways. They will know that transgressors stumble in the false ways, but the upright, despite the temptation to turn aside, will hold steadfastly to what thy know is God’s way and God’s plan.

He speaks for the importance of wise choice. Whether individually or nationally, discernment about what is right precedes moral action. “Whoever is wise” is a call to take notice and change ways. Rather than to go pell-mell into destruction and punishment for evil ways, recognize the covenant way of the Lord and walk therein. Like the prophet Hosea who pled so earnestly with his people in the eighth century BC, so there are those today who call for us to be discerning and wise.

Will we hear? Will we be serious about changing our course? What difference can one person make among so many? When we remember that we have an advocate in heaven, our high priest, the Lord Jesus who makes intercession for us, we can feel strengthened and determined that the wisdom and discernment of even the few who will remain faithful makes a difference. “Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)


Monday, September 21, 2015

Pastors Need to Disciple and Honor Vocations

Tim Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, discusses how the Church can transform communities by connecting faith to peoples' daily work. Pastors, learn more at Made to Flourish.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Clarifying Search of the Scriptures



Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.


The question: At the time of initial profession of faith, do regeneration, spiritual rebirth, and forgiveness happen at the same time?

The impression one received from evangelistic campaigns in many churches is that there is a once and done event. More often than not, repentance is assumed and not dealt with and the absolute need for a moral and spiritual life is not placed on the consciousness of the professed convert. The results are legendary.

Some years ago, Elmer Towns reported about the experiences of the Churches with the largest numbers in their Sunday Schools and Church attendances. In my study of this report, I found that it took six professions of faith to increase attendance by one. One Church reported 500 professions of faith, but experienced an attendance loss of 100!

In contrast, First Baptist Church of Houston, Texas, reported that they made contact with those who professed faith in an effort to bring them into the ongoing fellowship of their Church. As a result, of six professions, they only lost one!

I attended a seminar held by the First Baptist Church in Modesto, California on imperatives for Church life. Their Church grew in attendance from about 300 to nearly 2000 in ten years. Their Pastor was both very evangelistic, and promoted a strong ministry of discipleship. Behind the platform of the Church were small rooms where professors of conversion were taken and given basic instructions, but were also enlisted in a 10 session Discovery Class to further ground them in the faith. And, for those who desired further growth, there were growth classes held in the homes which lasted for about 26 weeks. This philosophy was a reflection of what Scripture teaches.

For those who promote the idea that “once saved, always saved. . .” Or, “once a tearful profession is made following ‘the altar call is always saved from hell” the conditional statement by Peter “if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:” should make them nervous enough to look at the Scriptures more carefully as to whether initial forgiveness includes regeneration or not!

“...giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;” (2 Peter 1:5).

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:4).

A true conversion is demonstrated by applying God’s promises in Christ. It is exemplified by an exchanged life delivered from worldly corruption. Peter exhorts the addition of a progressively transformed life of godly purity. But to some he adds that this kind of transforming life is necessary for he writes:

“But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:” (2 Peter 1:9, 10).

In Scripture, as in a number of notable experiences, regeneration seems to happen at the same time forgiveness is experienced. The conversion of the Apostle Paul seems to be one where his conversion, regeneration, and call to apostleship happened all at once. A good number of other greatly used men seem to have gotten forgiveness and regeneration at the same time also. Men like D. L, Moody, and Lee Robertson. But spiritual service, even greatly used, does not necessarily indicate regeneration. Judging from the outcomes of evangelistic meetings, these men represent a great exception. Indeed, the Lord Jesus cautioned about initial professions of faith in the Parable of the Sower:

“And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Matt 13:20-22 NASB).

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt 7:21-23).

For these reasons, the Lord Jesus didn’t initially give new believers assurance of salvation, even though He accepted their faith.

“As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;” (John 8:30, 31).

Regeneration or being born again is a process of becoming the sons of God in character. This starts with the gift of forgiveness that gives a conditional reconciliation with God. This must be maintained by avoiding sin, confession for forgiveness when sin recurs, and continuing exposure to the ministry of the Word.

Related reading:  What it Means to be Saved; Are We Losing Our Young People?


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Our Common Confession





"The multitude of your sacrifices-- what are they to me?" says the LORD. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats." Isaiah 1:11

The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are explicit that sacrifices offered through priests cannot take away sins.

“And every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man [Christ], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” (Heb 10:11, 12).

With Christ’s propitiating death, all righteousness is fulfilled and there is no other way to the Father but through Jesus Christ. He's priesthood is unique in that He is both priest and sacrifice.

Even circumcision, which was essential to the identity of the Jew, is not salvific in and of itself. Unless there is a heart commitment of faith to God it accomplishes nothing. Instead it can become a boast, an expression of self righteousness.

But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Rom 2:29).

Faith in the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ cannot be substituted with ritual and ceremony, though these can be used of the Holy Spirit to draw us closer to God and to deepen our understanding of God's love.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. (Hebrews 4:14)

Saints throughout the ages have made this common confession: That Jesus Christ is Lord. He is the Son of God who came into the world to save sinners. All must repent and put their trust in Him alone. In Jesus Christ is hidden the great mystery of godliness. (1 Timothy 3:16)


Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Great Commission: Amplified Translation



Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

Amplified Translation:

Then the eleven disciples journeyed into Galilee, to a mountain which Jesus had assigned to them. And when they beheld Him, they worshiped him: but some doubted. And upon arriving, Jesus said to them, saying given to Me (is) all authority (based upon my person and position) in Heaven and concerning Earth. Upon being led, therefore (you are commanded) make disciples of all the peoples, (by) baptizing them into (identification with) the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; (by) teaching (appealing to the will and understanding) them to fulfill (and protect from corruption) all (things) whatsoever I have commanded you, and be sure to notice (with others), I am with you all the days unto the end of the age. Matthew 28:16–20 Amplified


The Special Meeting (Matthew 28:16, 17)

The Lord expressed His priority for this meeting with His closest disciples by urging them to meet Him in Galilee after His resurrection. He stressed this BEFORE His death (Matt 26:32) and reaffirmed it at least twice AFTER His resurrection (Matt 28:7, 10; Mark 16:7). The other post resurrection meetings in Mark, Luke and John were unexpected appearances for the revival of the Apostles' deflated faith, except for when He went to Heaven in the clouds (Acts 1).

As evidence that the Lord put special emphasis on the meeting of Matthew 28:16–20, Paul reports that over 500 followers saw their resurrected Lord at one time (1 Cor 15:6). I believe that this was that occasion. Put yourself back into that time. Is there ANY ONE of you who would not have given his eye teeth to have been there and SEEN the resurrected Jesus? Especially when He repeatedly told His closest associates to meet Him there. God does not do things without purpose. For the Lord not only said He would appear, but emphasized to His disciples to be sure to be there, He must have had some special purpose above those where He appeared unannounced.


The Importance of the Scene

While God is not limited to locations to do what He considers important, yet the fact that the meeting was on a mountain at an appointed time would give a sense of urgency to the Jewish mind. Moses had prophesied that the Messiah would be a "prophet like unto me." (Deut 18:15; Acts 3:22). The Lord had commanded Moses to go to Mount Sinai for the giving of the Covenant of the Law. Since Jesus was THE prophet like unto Moses, would not these Jewish believers have had a great feeling of expectancy when Jesus directed them to meet Him on a mountain, as Moses had with their forefathers? For Moses gave the Covenant of the Law upon a mountain.

The Lord Jesus told them that He was establishing the New Covenant when He instituted communion. He also expounded the prophecies by Moses and the Prophets before and after His resurrection. The air must have been filled with expectancy. There is no record that the Lord had told them what He was going to do there. But whatever it was, the Lord had made this time and this place special for something important to Him. Their minds could only wonder what great thing might happen (Acts 1:6).

When their longing eyes saw the Lord appear and then heard Him begin with these awe inspiring words: "All power (authority) has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." I don't know about you, but the hair on the back of my neck would have just stood up. I would feel that the air of Heaven was invading Earth. There would be such an super heavenly feeling. The scene caused most of them to involuntarily worship Him. But others just couldn't believe the sight of the crucified, living Lord was real. To them it was "just too good to be true," so they doubted for a while. This implies that more disciples were there than the eleven and their close associates, because the Lord had restored their faith through His unannounced appearances. As we go further into Matthew 28, the priority and urgency to disciple just increases more and more by concepts that call for accountability to Christ.

The question must be asked why did the Holy Spirit only mentioned the eleven disciples as being present? In the first place, He wanted to make it plain that they were restored to leadership after they had despaired after Christ’s arrest and crucifixion. Secondly, in doing so during succeeding generations this indicated that mature leadership bore the responsibility for discipling, on an individual basis and in leading group discipling. This applies whether in the Local Church or in missionary activity.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Great Commission: An Amplified Translation and the Exegetical Basis




Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

This essay could benefit diligent students and spiritual leaders who are dedicated to applying all that the Lord Jesus commanded and instructed in the Great Commission. For did He not say: “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded ...”?

Great dependence has been put upon translations because most people cannot read and understand Koine Greek in which the New Testament was written. Unfortunately, I know of no translation that brings out the full meaning. In the case of the Great Commission: inadequacies, errors, and mistranslations are found in most translations. The reasons come from the bias of the translators, the Churches, or agencies that sponsored the translation, and the motivation of the publishers to appeal to the widest market.

We will look at the Exegetical Basis, the Amplified Translation and the Importance of the Scene, in three separate bog posts. Part One is below.

Part One: The Exegetical Basis
There are many translations of the Great Commission, yet an amplified translation that brings out all that is in the Greek original is needed. So I have made this attempt. Since the Great Commission is the major premise and focal point of our Lord’s operational plan for the Church, it is important that it be well understood. Further, because most translations generally use the word-for-word principal, the full meaning and feeling of the original Greek is not brought out. On the whole the word for word rendering is satisfactory for the largest public usage. However, there are several words and constructions in the Greek grammar usage, technology and syntax that are not brought out in any translation I have read. One of the rules that I have adopted in this translation is that amplified renderings must reflect all the seed thoughts of that word or grammar, especially when also seen elsewhere in the New Testament revelation.

With all my limited ability and objectivity, I will give an amplified translation. This will be done with the intent of bringing out all the grammatical and syntactical elements of the original Greek. Most translations modify accuracy to ensure readability to the average reader. In this amplified translation, I will sacrifice easy readability to ensure a full rendering of the Greek meanings, grammar, and syntax.

It is hoped that the reader will be moved to implement the Great Commission in his ministry, that great fruit for Christ will result and words of commendation from our Savior be forthcoming.

Related reading:  The Great Commission and Things Unwritten; The Great Commission: Our Mission