1. The first preaching of the Gospel in the New Testament calls for a new view of life and the world.
Matthew 3:2 – In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matthew 4:17 – From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Men must repent. They must re-orient their view of authority in this world to honor the God of heaven whose heavenly kingdom is coming upon them and will supersede all earthly authority. They must re-classify their need; whatever they may consider their problems to be, they must recognize that above all they are sinners whose greatest need is to be at peace with the King who is coming and will establish a new kingdom. They must re-order their view of the world to see it as it truly is and understand that it belongs to the God who created and designed it.
2. The great news of the gospel is that, in Christ, fallen man can be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:17-19 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
The chief call of the gospel is for man to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.
3. Those engaged in evangelism and apologetics are “ambassadors” of a King: 2 Corinthians 5:20-21
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
The evangelist is an emissary. He is on a divinely appointed task to convey a specific message for his king.
4. Ontology is the study of the nature of Being: God and Creation are not of the same being or nature.
Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
John 1:3 – All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
God is the Creator. Everything else is something He created. This radical distinction between God and man, “The Creator-creature Distinction,” must always be remembered when engaging in evangelism and apologetics.
5. Ontology: What is God? God is independent & exhaustive.
Romans 11:36 – For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Acts 17:25 – Neither is [God] worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things
Westminster Shorter Catechism (WSC) Q. 4. What is God?
A. God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
Westminster Larger Catechism (WLC) Q. 7. What is God?
A. God is a Spirit, in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, everywhere present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.
6. Ontology: What is Creation? Creation is dependent & limited.
Colossians 1:17 – And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Acts 17:25 – He himself gives to all life and breath and all things.
Man is dependent upon God for all things. He is “hard-wired” by God. He is limited by his nature and by his environment. He cannot be God and he cannot escape from God. He cannot remake the world in his own image or reshape it in any way that suits him, except to his own harm.
7. Epistemology is the study of knowledge: Like his nature, man’s knowledge is dependent.
The sources of knowledge can be considered under the categories of Revelation and Rationalism/Empiricism/”Feeling”.
The objects of knowledge can be considered under the categories of Existence and Essence.
The components involved in knowledge are the Transmitter and the Receiver, and the Subject and the Object.
8. Epistemology: Transmitter: God has made Himself known through His “natural” revelation: His world.
Psalm 19:1 – The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Romans 1:19-20, 32 – 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:… 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
God’s eternal power and glory are so obvious from nature that man is without excuse for his unbelief.
9. Epistemology: Transmitter: God has made Himself known through His “special” revelation: His Word.
Genesis 1:28 – And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Psalm 19:17, 18 – The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
2 Timothy 3:16, 17 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Psalm 36:9 – For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.
John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Colossians 2:3 – in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
In God’s Word, His nature, His claim upon men, and His glorious work in Christ are so obvious that men are without excuse for their unbelief.
10. Ethics: God is the judge of what is good.
Genesis 1:4, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31 – it was good…
Genesis 2:17 – from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat.
Exodus 20:2,3 – I am the Lord you God…You shall have no other gods before Me.
Matthew 17:5 – …This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
Morality is determined by what God says is good; man must be “pleased” with what and in Whom He is pleased.
11. The Nature of Time: Order/Chaos
According to the Scriptures, God is eternal. Time and history are created things. Time itself has a beginning, middle, and end: the Creation, the Cross, and the Consummation. There is also the great redemptive arch of history: Creation – Fall – Redemption.
The world has not emerged out of “chaos” or come about “by chance.” Nor, like Eastern religions, does it go about forever in cycles or on a great wheel. There is no eternal battle between order and chaos, the dark and the light, good and evil.