Evangeline

As I did for Jubilee, I wanted to write a brief explanation of the meaning of Evangeline’s name.

As with Jubilee, her name comes from the Bible (although — not intentional — neither name is used as a name in the Bible). Her middle name (like Jubilee’s middle name, Helen) is after one of her great-grandmothers. Alice (more commonly known as “Busia”) is Ann’s maternal grandmother.

Evangeline Alice is due March 24th, 2019.


Abstract: The name Evangeline comes from the Biblical word “gospel,” meaning “good news” or “good message.” The Christian gospel – the message at the very heart of Christianity, and the essence of our faith – is that God has accomplished our salvation and is restoring his reign (“the kingdom of God”) in and through Jesus Christ. At the center of this message – the gospel – is Christ’s death and resurrection. On the cross, Christ bore the full weight of sin for all those who trust in him for deliverance. And in his resurrection, Christ defeated death, achieving new life for his people. This is certainly good news! It is by faith in this message that one experiences salvation.


The name Evangeline derives from the Latin word evangel, which has its origin in the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον (euangelion), frequently translated into English as “gospel” or “good news.” As a verb (εὐαγγελίζω – euangelizo), the word form means “to herald, proclaim, or preach the gospel,” from which we derive our word “evangelism” or “to evangelize” (lit. “gospeling” or “to gospel”).

From what we can tell, the word has its origins in the realm of military victories. So we read of messengers (“evangelists”) being sent from battle to return and report (“evangelize”) the good news (“gospel”) of an army’s victory. Or, for instance, in the first-century b.c. Priene Inscription from Asia Minor, the empower Augustus is described as a “savior” for ending wars and on account of the peace he brought to the region. Consequently, his birth is lauded with great expectation and hope, heralded as “gospel” (“good news”) for the world.

In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint or LXX), Isaiah notably uses this word to describe the coming restoration that God has in store for his people. So, in Isaiah chapter 40, after twenty-seven nonstop chapters outlining God’s judgment of the nations (Isa 13-39), relief finally breaks through with God’s announcement, “Prepare the way of the LORD!” (Isa 40:3). God is coming, and he’s bringing salvation with him! Now go out and proclaim it (lit. “evangelize”; Isa 40:9).

When we come to the pages of the New Testament, we find that the New Testament authors appropriate this word to describe the mission of Jesus and what he’s come to do. So, for example, in the opening words of Mark’s gospel we read, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mk 1:1). And immediately following, Mark casts John the Baptist as the eschatological (end time) figure who, citing the words of Isaiah, is preparing the way for this LORD (Mk 1:2-3; cf. Isa 40:1-5).

In other words, Mark intends for us to understand the mission of Jesus as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies – the content of which is the “good news” (gospel) of which Isaiah spoke. Mark intends these Isaianic promises to set the “categories of expectation,” if you will, for who we understand Jesus to be and what he’s come to do. Jesus has come to reinstate God’s kingdom, to accomplish the good news (gospel) about the arrival of God’s kingdom through Jesus (Mk 1:14-15; see the expression “good news of the kingdom” – Mt 4:23; 9:35; Lk 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; Acts 8:12; 20:24-25). So too, in Luke 4, Jesus presents himself as the Servant of the LORD from Isaiah 61 who, anointed with God’s Spirit, has come to “bring good news (gospel)” to those in need (Lk 4:18; cf. Isa 61:1).

The “gospel,” in short, is the favorable report (“good message”) of the rescue and restoration wrought by Christ in accordance with his redemptive mission. It is God’s message, a message with its origin in God himself (“the gospel of God,” see Rom 1:1; 15:16; 2 Cor 11:7; 1 Thes 2:2, 8-9; cf. Gal 1:11-12), concerning Christ (“the gospel of Christ,” see Mk 1:1; Acts 8:35; Rom 1:1-4; 10:17; 15:20; 16:25; 1 Cor 9:12; 2 Cor 4:4-5; 9:13; 10:14; Gal 1:7; Eph 3:8; Phil 1:12-18; 1:27; 1 Thes 3:2; 2 Thes 1:8; 2 Tim 1:8; 2:8), anticipated in the Old Testament (Rom 1:2; 16:25-26; 1 Cor 15:3-4), and characterized by grace (Acts 20:24; Col 1:5-6). It is called “the word of truth” (Eph 1:13; Col 1:5) and a “message of peace” (Acts 10:36; Eph 6:15), and is the ground of our hope (Col 1:23). At its heart, it is a message of salvation (Eph 1:13)– that is, (1) its message details the accomplishment of our salvation in the life and ministry of Christ; and (2) it is a conduit of salvation – i.e., when believed it results in the salvation of its hearers. As Paul says in Romans 1:16, it is the “power of God resulting in the salvation of everyone who believes” (cf. 1 Cor 1:18; 15:1-2; 2 Thes 2:13-14).

As such, the early Christian tradition understandably came to call the church’s written records of Jesus’ life and ministry as “gospels” (i.e., “the gospel according to,” or as told by, “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John”). In other words, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are four complementary “tellings” of the one gospel (see e.g., Mk 1:1). They tell us the story of Jesus, which is the story of the gospel. They are the gospel in narrative form.

And as each of these gospel accounts centers on the last week of Christ’s life, and with it, his death and resurrection, it comes as no surprise then that, when we come to the New Testament’s epistles, the gospel message is summarized in the cross and resurrection. Christ’s sin-substituting death and death-defeating resurrection are at the heart – the center – of the gospel. In fact, we might describe them as the very essence of the gospel (Acts 17:18; 1 Cor 1:17). Paul summarizes the gospel for us in 1 Corinthians 15:

Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the gospel, which I preached to you, which you also received, in which you also stand, and by which you are also being saved…. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…. (1 Cor 15:1-4)

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Goodreads Reviews of The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung

The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the GardenThe Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden by Kevin DeYoung

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is really good.

DeYoung tells scripture’s overarching storyline of creation lost and to creation regained. As such, he gives specific attention to the promises of new-creation, with specific emphasis on their realization through a new Adam, an Abrahamic offspring, and a king from David’s line. This book will help children understand the Old Testament in light of the covenant promises, and understand Christ as the fulfillment of theses OT promises — the one who resolved the disobedience of God’s people, and who bears their curse, reversing the curse brought on by Adam and recapitulated with Israel under the Law.

The illustrations are also superb.

View all my reviews

Jubilee

Abstract: In the Exodus, God delivered his people from slavery in order that they might rest securely with him in his special Promised Land. In order to preserve and reinforce this work of redemption (liberation), God instituted the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:8-55), also known as the “year of liberation.” Every fifty years, this Jubilee was proclaimed throughout the land. Those who had been forced to sell themselves into slavery due to economic hardship were freed; and, likewise, land that was sold was returned to its family. The year of Jubilee both reveals God’s immense compassion for the downtrodden and points us forward in anticipation to the ultimate Jubilee that is achieved for us by Jesus (Isaiah 61:1-4; Luke 4:16-21).



The Jubilee (Lev 25:8-55; cf. 27:16-24; Num 36:4; Jer 34:8-22), also known as a “year of liberty” (Ezek 46:17), was a special institution given by God to preserve and reinforce his work of redemption on behalf of his people.

In the Exodus, God had liberated his people from the bondage of slavery under the Egyptians. He did so in order that he might claim them as his special people and cause them to dwell securely (rest) in his special place (the Promised Land) (e.g., Ex 3:8; Lev 25:38). In so doing, God was recovering his purpose for creation — God’s people dwelling securely with him (resting) in God’s special place.

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My Personal Sermon Check-List & Preparation Process

The following is a general outline of the process I follow when preparing sermons:


Sermon Preparation Process

** Prayer throughout **

  • Understanding the text:
    • Read the text including its broader context.
    • Read the passage slowly, meditatively, and prayerfully – Compile notes.
    • Exegete and interpret – Look at text in original language; look at various translations; attend to text critical matters, grammar, syntax, word studies, structure, purpose, relevant parallel passages, theological analysis, etc.
    • Consider the passage’s relationship to redemptive history, the Gospel, Christ, and mission.
    • Anticipate sermon development: formulate passage’s purpose; develop initial conception of sermon structure; consider illustrations and applications.
    • Use resources (e.g., commentaries, sermons). Compile notes on key
  • Sermon construction:
    • Determine main point/purpose.
    • Develop sermon structure.
    • Fill-in sermon substance: introduction, prayers, explanations, illustrations, and applications, and conclusion.
  • Final matters:
    • Refine/complete sermon.
    • Practice sermon.
    • Preach the sermon to yourself.
    • Pray for sermon delivery and effect.

The following is my personal check-list I developed for consultation when preparing sermons:


Sermon Check-List

  • True to the passage’s…
    • Authorial intent?
    • Passage structure or form?
    • Genre?
    • Context and book?
    • Aim (affections, belief, trust, obedience, thoughts, actions, etc.)?
  • Biblical theology:
    • Redemptive-historical context considered?
    • Relationship to Christ?
    • Passage interpreted in light of the Gospel?
    • Mission-equipping?
    • Inspiring vision of God set forth?
  • Sermon quality:
    • Main point—clear and frequently stated?
    • Well organized—clear and helpful structure?
    • Simple—avoids unnecessary complexity?
    • Selective—on what will you choose to focus?
    • Brief—the “less is more” principle; distinguish what is important vs. what is merely interesting?
    • Perspective—don’t miss the “forest for the trees” or the “trees for the forest.”
    • Concise—high quality to quantity ratio?
    • Use of pithy, memorable phrases?
    • Helpful illustrations, introduction, and conclusion?
    • Practical? Down to earth? Thoughtful, engaging, quality applications
  • Audience consideration:
    • Sermon oriented specifically to this audience?
    • Clear, understandable language?
    • Clear explanations of theological issues?
    • Answers given to questions the average person may have of the text?
    • Audience’s translation(s) considered?
    • Conscientious of nonbelievers? Gospel presented?

Reflections on My Grandmother’s Passing

Last night after dinner my grandmother passed away.

We were close. But I think more than anything I’m sad for my grandpa, because he lost his life partner and best friend. He loved her so much. (They were that adorable old couple that’s more in love now than the day they were married.)


Death is an incredible reminder that things are not right in this world. Death is universally typical; but, as a Christian, it is my firm conviction that death is not “normal.” It is an intrusion into God’s good creation, a testimony to and result of humanity’s horrific plunge into deep-seated rebellion against a good God (what we as Christians call sin). And, apart from Christ’s return, it is something we will all face.

As the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes tells us, death seems to stamp the entirety of our lives up until that moment as “pointless.” Whatever was achieved, whatever good was done, whatever meaning was found, whatever joy was had, death puts a (seemingly) permanent end to it all.

But our hope — our only hope from death, the only hope my grandmother has in overcoming death — is the good news about this guy named Jesus, who, as the Bible tells us, is God become a human being for the very purpose that he might take upon himself this human predicament (death), face it square in the face, wrestle it down, and, through his own death on our behalf, deal death itself a deathblow, achieving resurrection-life through his own resurrection.

This is the gospel. This is our anthem as Christians: deliverance from sin and all of its nasty effects (including death) for all who lean wholly on Jesus for their rescue.


1 Cor 15; 1 Thes 4:13-18; 2 Tim 1:10; Heb 2:14; Rev 21:4.