Just Words: Probing The Biblical Language Of The Gospel

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Just Words: Probing The Biblical Language Of The Gospel

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1. Just Words: Probing The Biblical Language Of The Gospel Iowa District West Pastoral Conference September 22-23, 2008 Jack Preus

2. Outline of Presentations Session 1: “Understanding the Gospel’s Words: Content v. Form” Session 2: “Let There be Light: Creation Metaphors” Session 3: “You Are not Your Own: Commercial Metaphors” Session 4: “Peace beyond our Understanding: Personal Metaphors” Session 5: “Hyper Conquerors! Deliverance Metaphors”

3. Monday, September 22, 2008 1:00-2:00 p.m. Plenary Session # 1 “Understanding the Gospel as Words: Content v. Form”

4. The Gospel and the Doctrine of Justification The Gospel is an Eventful Word The Gospel is a Divine and Human Word The Gospel and the Doctrine of Justification by Faith More than One Way to Say It

5. 1. The Gospel is an Eventful Word The Gospel is more than words. In today’s world, words tend to be flat, merely descriptive, without any real force. However, when spoken or read, words actually make something happen. Communication through words is an event. This is true of any communication, but it is especially true of communication with the Gospel because the Gospel is the Word of God.

6. 2. The Gospel is a Divine and Human Word There is an analogy between the Word Incarnate and the Word of the Gospel. The Gospel Word can be said to have two natures As a divine word, the Gospel has divine power or efficacy As a human word, the Gospel has human qualities: language, literary form, historical context, grammar, syntax, and rhetorical force

7. 3. The Gospel and the Doctrine of Justification The Doctrine of Justification is really another designation for the “Gospel” The Gospel stands over the church as the criterion of the church’s authenticity. It is the judge of what is truly the church and what is not. The Gospel also stands under the church as its only firm foundation. Without the Gospel, the church cannot stand for one hour.

8. 4. More than One Way to Say It Each Gospel word is necessary to the fullness of the biblical doctrine of justification. Each contributes something distinctive, something unique, which, if it were not present, would make the doctrine less than whole, less than fully what the Lord revealed.

9. The Gospel as Words The Reality of the Gospel The Words as Metaphor Living Metaphors The World Inside the Words Using the Fullness of the Gospel’s Words

10. 1. The Reality of the Gospel What does it mean to speak of the Gospel as metaphor? The Gospel is not unreal, mythical, symbolic, representational… God’s incarnation is real Christ’s work is real The benefits of Christ’s work are real God is not a metaphor; He is real

11. 2. The Words as Metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech whereby we speak a truth about one thing in terms which are suggestive of another. “Sherry is a rose” “Watch out, that’s a live wire!” Metaphors convey truth and expand our knowledge of things

12. 3. Living Metaphors The Word of the Gospel is alive It is alive because it is the Word of God, which is energized by the Holy Spirit It is alive simply because it is words It is alive because its language is metaphorical and has great rhetorical force

13. 4. The World Inside the Words Each word, each metaphor, has a world inside of it. Each has a particular way of referring to or conceptualizing our standing before God. Each has its own internal worldview into which the skillful preacher invites his hearers.

14. 4. The World Inside the Words (cont.) Inside each metaphor is a universe, a richly textured and beautifully colored reality through which the hearer of the Word is invited to view himself or herself. Through this universe, we understand, even visualize, how God is toward us on account of Christ.

15. 5. Using the Fullness of the Gospel’s Words Through careful and prayerful examination of the biblical metaphors of the Gospel we will not only understand them better, but articulate them preach them and speak them better and more creatively so Christ’s name may be praised and His people blessed.

16. Monday, September 22, 2008 3:00-4:00 Plenary Session # 2 “Let There be Light: Creation Metaphors” John 1:1-9 John 3:19-21 John 8:12

17. John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made and without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

18. John 1:6-9 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

19. John 3:19-21 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.

20. John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

21. Discussion Questions What is the “Law” behind the light metaphor? How does the “Gospel” of the light metaphor speak directly to the “Law” behind it? What does the light metaphor contribute to our understanding of the Gospel? What would be especially appropriate contexts for speaking or applying the light metaphor?

22. Monday, September 22, 2008 4:30-5:30 p.m. Plenary Session # 3 “You Are not Your Own: Commercial Metaphors” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 1 Corinthians 7:23 1 Peter 2:9

23. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

24. 1 Corinthians 7:23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

25. 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

26. Discussion Questions What is the “Law” behind the commercial metaphor? How does the “Gospel” of the commercial metaphor speak directly to the “Law” behind it? What does the commercial metaphor contribute to our understanding of the Gospel? What would be especially appropriate contexts for speaking or applying the commercial metaphor?

27. Tuesday, September 23, 2008 9:30-10:30 a.m. Plenary Session # 4 “Peace beyond our Understanding: Personal Metaphors” Ephesians 2:14-17 Philippians 4:4-7

28. Ephesians 2:14-15 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,

29. Ephesians 2:16-17 …and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.

30. Philippians 4:4-6 Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God…

31. Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

32. Discussion Questions What is the “Law” behind the personal metaphor? How does the “Gospel” of the personal metaphor speak directly to the “Law” behind it? What does the personal metaphor contribute to our understanding of the Gospel? What would be especially appropriate contexts for speaking or applying the personal metaphor?

33. Tuesday, September 23, 2008 10:45-11:45 a.m. Plenary Session # 5 “Hyper Conquerors! Deliverance Metaphors” 1 Corinthians 15:54-58 Romans 8:35-39

34. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where O death is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

35. 1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

36. Romans 8:35-36 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37. Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present for the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

38. Discussion Questions What is the “Law” behind the victory metaphor? How does the “Gospel” of the victory metaphor speak directly to the “Law” behind it? What does the victory metaphor contribute to our understanding of the Gospel? What would be especially appropriate contexts for speaking or applying the victory metaphor?

39. Summary Through careful and prayerful examination of the biblical metaphors of the Gospel we will: understand them better articulate them, preach them, and speak them better and more creatively so Christ’s name may be praised and His people blessed

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