On its surface, this passage looks like it means that one’s eternal salvation is determined by one’s acts of compassion. Whenever we help the disenfranchised and the downtrodden of society, our entrance into heaven is all the more assured. On the other hand, as I heard one famous teacher describe it, Jesus will turn away at the final judgment from self-identifying Christians who failed to help the poor during their lifetime, saying, “I don’t want to hear it!”
In my previous post, I took up the question of what the Bible has to say about the relationship between the local church and missions. I began by looking at the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:13-20. Obviously, Jesus did not outline a full-orbed missions strategy, but his teaching and commands are clearly foundational to the discussion. Before moving to the book of Acts, I would like to look at one more foundational “Jesus-text” – the Great Commission.
I will say it without equivocation, “Every teacher of the Bible needs a copy of John Beck’s new book, The Baker Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Time Lines.” Beck, a thirty-five-year veteran Bible teacher has provided more than two-hundred pages of Bible charts, maps, pictures, and background resources to help Bible teachers do their job better and more efficiently.
Does the Bible say anything about the role that the local church ought to play in missions at the leadership and congregational level? Over the next few weeks, I would like to summarize some preliminary investigations into these questions.
Dr. John Johnson, Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Western Seminary, brings over thirty years of pastoral ministry experience to his exposition of selected texts in the Gospel of John. The book includes a foreword by Gary Thomas and is endorsed by a number of prominent scholars and Christian leaders. F. Dale Bruner calls Johnson’s book “a delicious exposition.”