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AN OUTLINE SERMON.pdf

AN OUTLINE SERMON.pdf

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Published by glennpease
By REV E. L. Powell



"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten
Son, that whosoever believeth fn him should not perish, but have
everlasting life." John 3:16.
By REV E. L. Powell



"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten
Son, that whosoever believeth fn him should not perish, but have
everlasting life." John 3:16.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 11, 2013
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A OUTLIE SERMO By REV E. L. Powell"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth fn him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. A recent sermon delivered in lyouisville, Ky., setting forth certain critical views of the gos- pel record, offers a favorable opportunity to submit by way of contrast the positive affirma- tions of Christianity. I do not deny the right of criticism in any realm where its methods can be legitimately employed. Historical criticism, applied to the Bible, is altogether legitimate, for the Bible, like any other book, unquestionably has a literary development and history. Reverent criticism has made the Bible more real to those who love it, as containing the supreme revelation of God in Christ. It has deepened rather than lessened our reverence for that book, concerning which Sir Walter Scott declares, *^There is only one Book.'' Criticism has excavated its treasures. But bib- lical criticism must be constructive, if it shall be helpful; it must be employed for the sake of 169 An Outline Sermon life or else it is no better tliau literary dilettante- ism. or are \ve to suppose that the con- clusions of even reverent criticism are infalli- ble. To place upon them the magic phrase
 
**modern scholarship'' need not awe us, for the history of scholarship in the realm of biblical criticism has been largely progress through sur- render, advance through defeat. But while the scholars are bringing to us their latest conclusions as to the literary struc- ture of the Bible, there is need for the proclama- tion of the positive gospel of Jesus Christ. Criti- cism has no help for a soul in agony. It offers no deliverance to sin-burdened humanity. It is really the mental luxury of the few; it has no message for the great mass of struggling, suf- fering men and women; it is not a gospel, it is a literary method or discipline. In our text we have in broad outline the posi- tive gospel of Jesus Christ, filled in and com- pleted by the w^hole history of Christianity. Hear the mighty music of this utterance: *'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'' This is a gospel — a tremendous affirma- tion of good news for all the world. What are its facts as given to us by the whole gospel record? First, there is a God; secondly, the relation of this God to man is one of love; 170 An Outline Sermon thirdly, this love has always existed in the di- vine nature, but received its supreme historic expression in Jesus Christ; fourthly, this Christ declared the divine love in his words and works  — pre-eminently in his death and resurrection —
 
and finally all men who believe in this Christ by appropriating his life and spirit have here and now eternal life which finds its fulfillment and completion in a life of blessedness beyond the grave. Concerning this positive gospel observe: First, these facts are not invalidated by the matter of authorship. The text is taken from the gospel of John, but the truth of the facts is altogether independent of who wrote the great words. Somebody wrote the book known as the ^'Gospel according to St. John," and who- ever wrote it has made it as clear as day that he was bearing witness to the truth. There is not a false or discordant note in the great melody. It may be added, however, in the words of Prof lyadd: ^'The vigorous and determined at- tacks upon the genuineness of the fourth gos- pel have greatly increased instead of impairing our confidence in the traditional view." Secondly, the fact of God's love does not come within the scope of literary criticism. The proposition — ^^God so loved the world' ' — may be considered with grammar and lexicon, but the fact can only be made known in terms of 171 An Outline Sermon life. This is a matter with which history has to do. It is not denied that Jesus Christ lived and was crucified on a cross. That granted — and giving to him only supreme place as man — you have in him an expression of God's love in the highest terms of life — for his is con-

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