Item description for Jesus the Evangelist: Learning to Share the Gospel from the Book of John by Richard D. Phillips...
Overview Rev. Richard D. Phillips digs into the early chapters of the Gospel of John to discover principles you can use for Christian outreach that were modeled by witnesses for Jesus and by Jesus Himself. Phillips unfolds biblical principles for evangelism by examining the ministry of John the Baptist and the calling of the first of Jesus' disciples. Then, through a brief study of the Lord's encounter with the Pharisee Nicodemus, he presents us with a theology of the gospel. Finally, he focuses in on Jesus' stirring encounter with the Samaritan woman to show exactly how Christ shared the good news. Phillips' clear and concise handling of these key stories will both motivate and instruct you in your witness on behalf of Christ. An appendix looks at the relationship between God's sovereignty and evangelism.
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More About Richard D. Phillips
Richard D. Phillips (DD, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary) is the senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, South Carolina. He chairs the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology and coedits the Reformed Expository Commentary. He is also a chairman of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, a council member of the Gospel Coalition, and a trustee of Westminster Theological Seminary.
R. C. Sproul (Drs, Free University of Amsterdam) serves as senior minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrew's Chapel in Sanford, Florida, and is the founder and president of Ligonier Ministries. He has taught at numerous colleges and seminaries, has written over seventy books, and is featured daily on Renewing Your Mind, an international radio broadcast.
Richard D. Phillips currently resides in Greenville, in the state of Florida. Richard D. Phillips was born in 1960.
Richard D. Phillips has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Jesus the Evangelist?
Excellent Book for Theology and Practice Dec 17, 2008
Jesus, the Evangelist is a hardcover book written by Richard D. Phillips and published by Reformation Trust. It is list priced at $19.99 and includes two indexes - one for Scriptures references and the other for subjects and names. (The table of contents can be found below.)
Richard D. Phillips might be known to some readers for some of his previous books - Chosen in Christ, Walking with God, Turning Back the Darkness, and a commentary on Hebrews for the Reformed Expository Commentary series (P&R Books).
In Jesus, the Evangelist, Phillips sets out to give instruction on sharing the gospel from the life of Jesus himself in John's Gospel. His point in writing is to encourage Christians who are not active in sharing their faith to share more, and to encourage those Christians who are active in sharing their faith to re-evaluate how they go about sharing Christ. Do we have a proper understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ? And if so, are we motivated to share it every chance we get?
Phillips' book in broken up into three main sections. The first section looks at `Biblical Principles of Evangelism' by looking at the `Witness of John the Baptist' and `Jesus' Calling of the First Disciples.' Phillips begins by showing how the truths of Christ's taking on flesh (John 1) provide not just a theological basis for understanding Christ, but the impetus for sharing the gospel of Christ and how we should share it.
The book's second main section presents a `Theology of the Gospel.' Here, Phillips uses Jesus' `Witness to Nicodemus' as the foundation for his study. Phillips begins by showing how salvation is preeminently a work of God's sovereign grace, calling sinners out of spiritual darkness into God's glorious light. Being born again is something that happens to us, not something we bring about ourselves. This new birth doesn't take place apart from the proclamation of the gospel of Christ, revealing that Christ really is the only answer to the question, `how can one be saved?'
The book's third and final section looks at `Jesus' Witness to the Samaritan Woman' to demonstrate `Jesus' Practice of Evangelism.' Phillips show how Jesus balanced both the need to connect in a real way to people, displaying a genuine concern for their well-being, as well as not making light of their sin. Regardless of any other circumstance, Christ came to achieve salvation from sin and that must remain the focus our message and methods.
Phillips gives us a final treat through an appendix entitled, `The Sovereignty of God in Evangelism." Despite the utilitarian title, these final pages are an added bonus. Phillips explains how God's sovereignly brings about salvation by ordaining the means as well as the end, and shows how God's sovereignty is a powerful encouragement for us to be bold and incessant in sharing Christ.
Jesus, the Evangelist proved to be an excellent read. Phillips says in the preface that the content of the book originated in a series of sermons from the Gospel of John. This is evident in the style of the book. Good, biblical teaching is brought to the reader with clear and engaging writing. This is the first of many positives about this book.
Another positive is its timeliness. Today the issues of Reformed theology (aka `Calvinism') are being debated on school campuses, in large denominations, and local churches. Unfortunately, one of the chief criticisms of Reformed theology is that it squelches and drive or passion for evangelism. This book shows that allegation to be false. Granted that I could probably find any number of individual Christians who are cool in regards to evangelism - but this could be done from any number of theological traditions. In the tradition of Charles Spurgeon, William Carey, and John Piper, Phillips shows that a strong belief in the sovereignty of God serves to ignite passion for evangelism.
If there is a negative, it's that the book is too short! I would have loved for Phillips to continue to mine John's gospel for more of Jesus' perspective and practice on evangelism. Nevertheless, in the end Phillip's book is a real gem. It was one of the first books our church's new book shop put in stock. The study questions at the end of each chapter make this an easy book to use for some training or discipleship class at churches. I commend to you as one of the most theologically thoughtful and eminently practical books on evangelism. It provides a helpful corrective to modern errors on both fronts in a very accessible way.
Another Great One Sep 18, 2008
This book was so hugely encouraging. When it comes to evangelizing so often i feel like a failure. The reason is that i search for a perfect method and result. Why was this book so encouraging. Jesus' life showed that there are different methods and the result are not ours to get but Gods alone, and in this book that comes across as a huge reminder for all of us that may fail to do that which we are called to do because of our presumptions. I highly recommend this book to all in the faith.
Learning Evangelism from the Evangel Apr 10, 2008
If someone asked you a question as to who Jesus is and what did he do during his earthly ministry there are many answers that would no doubt fly out of your mouth. We think of him as King, Lord, Savior, healer, preacher, teacher, and on the list would go. But how long would the list go before you would say--evangelist?
Jesus Christ himself and his work is the evangel. His entire life and ministry is bound up in the disclosure of God through the promotion of himself.
Richard Phillips has written Jesus the Evangelist directing readers to learn evangelism from the ministry of Jesus, specifically the book of John. Phillips is the Senior Minister of Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC. He is also a graduate of Westminster Seminary.
The material from the book comes from various expositional sermons on the early chapters of John. Phillips' breaks out in this manner:
Section 1: Biblical Principles for Evangelism (John 1)
Section 2: The Theology of the Gospel (John 3)
Section 3: Jesus' Practice of Evangelism (John 4)
One observation I had in reading this book is the fitting union between theology and evangelism. Phillips grounds his principles of application in who Jesus is, what he says, and what he does. Too often theology and evangelism function like distant cousins in the church instead of being of one flesh and of one head. Phillips does a good job at grounding his methodology in biblical theology, this is encouraging.
In addition to the book serving to help pile on conviction for not being as impressed with Christ as we should be and so then less vocal about his greatness, Phillips helps to inform and inflame our hearts with a true picture of Christ that ultimately will birth and sustain faithfulness.
This book is definitely helpful for pastors who need to `do the work of an evangelist' whether they are gifted as such or not. In addition it will prove helpful to all who want to be more faithful to Christ and his gospel. I should note as well that the book is hardback and is really a well constructed. Reformation Trust does a terrific job in their publishing; when a book is this nice I don't mind paying the extra couple of bucks.
Great tool to futher our evangelism Mar 12, 2008
As Christians we are all called to evangelize, that is, we're all commanded to share with the world the good news of Jesus Christ and the hope and grace He offers lost and broken sinners. Pastor Richard D. Phillips goes to the Bible and examines the ultimate model for our evangelism, namely, Jesus Christ Himself. With clarity and conviction, Phillips looks at what it means to be an evangelist biblically. He covers issues such as what exactly is one to say in presenting the gospel and many others; but all in all, he leads the reader to discover the truths in the Word of God itself.
This book is organized into three parts, corresponding to John chapters one, three, and four. In the first part, Phillips looks at the biblical principles for evangelism by gleaning from John 1 at how John the Baptist came "to bear witness about the light" (Jn. 1:7). This section also looks at the calling of the disciples through the disciple Andrew and Jesus Himself and the principles of what is and what is not a good Christian witness.
Part two looks at John 3 and Jesus' encounter with the pharisee Nicodemus. The theology of the gospel is examined in this portion with a special emphasis on the content of our gospel presentation. The topics covered are the necessity of the new birth; the supernatural work of God in the new birth; the evidence of the new birth in the life of an individual; the love of God in Christ; faith as the means of receiving salvation; and, of course, the atoning work of Christ's death on the cross.
Part three focuses on Jesus' meeting with the Samaritan woman in John 4. It is here where Phillips observes the practice of evangelism in Jesus' witness to her and looks at how He presented His salvation offer in a way that met her where she was. Consequently, Phillips looks at how this encounter with Christ changed this woman and how it fueled her passion for sharing the hope she had found with others.
A helpful appendix is included at the end which examines an issue which often is of controversy: the sovereignty of God in our evangelism.
* "In our witness, we are to shine not our own light but Christ's light. Just as a lamp requires oil, we depend on our fellowship with Christ and the Holy Spirit's enlivening ministry through God's Word in order that Christ's light may shine through us. To use a different metaphor, we are like the moon reflecting the light of the sun. On our own, we are in darkness, but a great light has shined and is shining on us, and we are to reflect it into the world" (pp.14,15). * "Jesus set us free and brought us into His royal family so that, with Him, we now are the victors in the battle that He won on the cross. Here is our triumph--what Christ has done as the Lamb of God for us. We simply believe on Him, committing ourselves to Him, and are saved. A healthy, spiritually thriving Christian never forgets that. He never tires of glorifying Jesus as `the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!' But he also says, `It was my sin that He took away, as well'" (p.37). * "If we are not excited about God's Word, if we are not warmed by close fellowship with God, and if we are not humbled by Christ's suffering in the cross for our sins, we will not be very effective witnesses. . . . [O]ur witness must always have this aim: not to win arguments, not to present an interesting philosophy pr a helpful lifestyle, but to bring people to Jesus. He is the only One who truly can save the sinner's soul, and if we simply bring people to Him, He will do the rest. `The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost,' Jesus said (Luke 19:10). He is seeking and saving the lost today just as in prior times, and He does so through our witness that brings people to Him" (pp.50,54). * "The Holy Spirit's work does not end with the new birth--having made us alive, He goes on to bring us more and more to life, working in us the life of God and molding our character into Christlikeness. The new birth is the beginning of a lifelong process of spiritual animation and growth, and is the pledge of glorious things yet to come. How wonderful that Christians are no longer what we once were, but how wonderful it also is that we someday will become what we are not yet" (p. 67). * "[W]e should love God for His love in giving Jesus Christ to die for us. And we should express that devotion by loving others with the same kind of love God has shown to us. We are to show a love the world does not know--a love not based on getting, but a love that says, `God has given to me, so I want to love Him by giving to others.' This giving love should beautify our marriages, enliven our friendships, glorify God in the church, and inspire in us a loving fervor in evangelism. . . . Living out God's amazing, giving love will be our strongest testimony to a loveless world. If we will only do so, others will learn of God's great love from us and will come to understand that by believing in Him, they, too, will have eternal life" (pp.92,93). * "Our spiritual maturation will . . . progress as we see more clearly the true depth of our sin, the true holiness of God, and the great gulf between us--and thus also see the true greatness of His love for us that moved Him to give His Son to save sinners so infinitely below Him. This is why the humblest Christians are the happiest Christians, and why the humble and happy Christians tend to be holy Christians, as well. All of these benefits stem from an awareness of our sin" (p.136).
I was deeply encouraged by this book as the author examined Jesus Himself and His evangelistic approach. Though the chapters were easy to read, they had no absence of doctrinal "meat" and quality. Many times we hear of new methods of presenting the gospel and we feel obliged to learn them to be more effective witnesses for Christ, but instead of focusing on a new "fad" or survey for evangelistic fervor, Pastor Phillips goes directly to the final authority--Scripture--to fuel our passion for making God known.
"All Christians are called to evangelism. Jesus the Evangelist is our model. If we want to experience the power of God in our gospel witness, we must follow biblical principles of evangelism; we must present the true gospel in clear, scriptural terms; and we must follow Jesus' example in the practice of evangelizing actual people" (p.4).
I highly commend this book for Christians who are already passionate in their evangelism and for those who are not quite where they would want to be. Let us all be bold in our proclamation of the gospel--both in life and lips--to the glory of God.
Practical, exegetical evangelism Feb 20, 2008
Jesus the Evangelist, by Richard Phillips, is a collection of sermons Phillips preached at his Presbyterian church through the Gospel of John. These sermons focus on John 1, 3, and 4, and examine the evangelism of Jesus.
Perhaps the biggest danger in studying historical narratives is confusing description with prescription. Just because Jesus walked on water, for example, does not mean Mark is telling us to walk on water. This danger is the trap that plagues many books on evangelism. Many evangelistic methods take one example of evangelism from a Gospel or Acts, and build a model upon that singular event as if it was prescriptive.
But Phillips threads this needle exceptionally well, by summarizing the text, asking questions of the text, and then showing how those answers can be applied to us today. For example, from Jesus' exchange with Nicodemus, Phillips gives us theology: "The reason we can be born again, receiving eternal life, is that God loves the world." And later: "John 3:16 shows that it is not enough to know what faith is; we must actually have it." Finally, he shows how these truths illuminate why Jesus said what he said: "Sometimes, when doctrinal explanations have failed to move a sinner's heart, a biblical portrait of Jesus' beautiful love will bring him or her to salvation." He does this all while resisting the temptation to reduce evangelism to a singular method, and instead he shows principles from all three of these evangelistic encounters that are useful today.
Jesus the Evangelist moves beyond the normal illustrations and evident principles to the more practical and profound. He peels back the Samaritan's woman's questions to show that people are often seeking the wrong things--things that will not satisfy. In order to get a sinner to realize this, their sin must be confronted, and this is what Jesus did in John 4:16-19. Jesus' confrontation turned into multiplied evangelism, as the woman returned home, testifying that Jesus is "the Savior of the World" (John 4:42).
Phillips brings an exegete's keen eye to these texts, and he matches that with a God-centered theological precision. He shows how Jesus proclaimed his sovereignty over salvation in John 3, while also claiming that whoever believes in Him will be saved. He does this in a way that is faithful to the text, and more importantly, in a way that makes the reader want to go outside and witness.
His section on how the Gospel shows the love of God was remarkable for precisely this reason: he let the text speak, instead getting bogged down theological arguments foreign to the passage. I finished that section not with questions about free will and predestination, but with a sense of being overwhelmed at the love which God has shown not just me, but the world.
This book is as precise as it is practical. It would be helpful for pastors preaching through John, and it would be helpful for Christians who want to study the way Jesus practiced evangelism. I'm glad Phillips put this out as a book on evangelism, rather than as a commentary, because if an author were to write a faithful commentary on these three passages, it would end up being a book on evangelism. Each section also ends with discussion questions where are helpful for small groups.