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1995 Issue 8

The Spirit of the Lord is the Spirit of truth, holiness, and unity. He is also the Spirit of evangelism! The prophet Isaiah spoke prophetically of the Spirit of the Lord who would come upon the Lord Jesus to equip Him as prophet to proclaim the good news concerning the Kingdom of God, Luke 4:18-19. Jesus commanded His Apostles to remain in Jerusalem until the Spirit of Promise came and when He comes "You shall receive power and you shall be witnesses unto Me in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and unto the utter most parts of the earth," Acts 1:8! And that same Spirit is the Spirit who is promised and given to all who repent, Acts 2:38. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is the Spirit of evangelism!

The three marks of a true church are: 1. The faithful preaching of the Word of God, 2. The faithful administration of the sacraments, and 3. The faithful administration of Biblical church discipline. Of late, however, a number of theologians and preachers have felt the necessity to add number 4., The faithful practice of Biblical evangelism. Greg Bahnsen adds a fourth and fifth: 4. Inwardly, fellowship in worship toward God and mutual concern for His people, Acts 2:42, 44-47, Hebrews 13:15-16, I Cor. 12:7-27; and 5. Outwardly, service toward the world in evangelistic outreach, Acts 2:40, 41, 47, Mat. 28:18-20, and seeking transforming holiness in every area of life, Rom. 12:1-2, I Peter 1:14-16, Col. 1:9-23, Mt. 5:14-16.

Jesus Christ came to seek and to save those who are lost by ACCOMPLISHlNG their eternal salvation in His own life, death and resurrection; and by PREACHING the gospel of the kingdom of God to them, i.e., that the saving power and reign of God is operative in Christ among mankind because of His own redemptive work, Mk. 1:14-39. Mark, as well as Luke, brings this out clearly: In Mk. 1:15 the content of Jesus' preaching is comprised of the following emphases: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel." In Mk. 1:21 Jesus went into the synagogue in Capernaum on the Sabbath "and began to teach." In Mk. 1:22 we see that "they were amazed at his teaching; for he was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." In Mk. 1:27 His hearers were amazed at the power of His spoken Word - "What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him." In Mk. 1:38-39 Jesus is specific in defining a part of His mission to the world - to preach the gospel - "And He said to them, 'Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, in order that I may preach there also; for that is what I came out for.' And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons."

"This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men." (Dan. 4:17)

The proper relationship of Christians and the government is a much-debated issue in the church today. "When is it biblical to resist the state?" is a question that is asked in many different circles. To many Christians, it seems like a choice between vigilantes who want to overthrow the government, and push-overs who hold to the unconditional authority of the state. The solution to this dilemma will be found only after examining the biblical foundation for government and scriptural examples of civil disobedience.

1. The Absolute Sovereignty of God

God alone possesses absolute authority over all areas of life and for the king or parliament to claim such authority is tyranny and blasphemy. To acquiesce to a tyrannical usurpation of God's prerogatives would be to deny Christ and His absolute Lordship over all things. To lend legitimacy to ungodly usurpation by cooperating with it or by our silence condoning it is to deny the God who rules over us. The political slogans of Calvinism were The crown rights of King Jesus and God alone has dominion. The Dutch theologian and political leader, Abraham Kuyper describes the influence of this doctrine of the sovereignty of God over the political views of a people.

I William Huntington, laborer in the Lord's vineyard at Effingham, Wooking and Richmond, in Surry, and at St. Mary-le-bone and Sunbury, in the county of Middlesex, being at this time at my residence in Winchester-Rowe, in the county of Middlesex aforesaid, and, though rich in Grace, in my right mind and memory, meditating on my certain approach to death, and "the house appointed orT all living," I do make and declare this to be my last Will and Testament, holograph, this tenth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand, seven hundred and eighty-three, in manner and in following: That is to say: Imprimis: I commit my soul into the hands of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the exercise of that faith which is peculiar to God's elect, and, glory be to his name, without any doubt of my interest in his Everlasting Covenant. And I desire to bless the Father of all mercies, and God of all comfort, for his everlasting love to me a sinner for writing my worthless name in the book of life - for putting me into the hands of his dear son - for ordaining my everlasting salvation, life and glory by him - for drawing me to him, accepting me in him, and for begetting me to a lively hope through his glorious resurrection from the dead.