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Soli Deo Gloria is the writing and teaching ministry of Baruch Maoz in Israel. Baruch is engaged in writing original commentaries on the Bible, and theological and practical works in Hebrew. Some of his books are available in English. His Critique of the Messianic Movement, Come Let Us Reason Together: The Unity of Jews and Gentiles in the Church, has been published by P&R, and his Devotional Commentary, Malachi: A Prophet in Times of Distress by Crossbooks. Both are available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon while Shepherd Press produced his Devotional Commentary Jonah: A Prophet on the Run.
Baruch has written a series of commentaries in Hebrew on Hosea, Joel, Amos, Micah, Jonah, Nahum and Malachi,Romans and Colossians. He has written an Introdution to the Life and Epistles of Paul, an Introduction to Systematic Theology, an Introduction to Systematic Theology, and edited a modern translation of the Bible into Hebrew. He is also translating the New Testament into Modern Hebrew and engaged in other writing projects. In the pipeline are books on church life and structure, How to Preach and Listen to Sermons, and daily Christian disciplines. To date, Baruch is the only author writing Christian literature n Hebrew.
Baruch and Bracha are Israeli Jewish Christians who have served in Israel for 5 decades now. Between April 1974 and December 2006 Baruch served with Christian Witness to Israel, most of that time as Israel Field Leader. Betwen May 1975 and December 2008 he served as Pastor of Grace and Truth Christian Congregation in Rishon LeTsion, Israel. Our website reflects the experiences gained in the course of that time.
Our monthly newsletter, MaozNews, is available for the asking, with back-issues to be found on this website (Baruch's Writings/News From Israel). To subscribe, click address at bottom of this page. His faceBook and Linkedin pages serve as blogs and provide almost daily information on the scene in Israel. His postings are also avaialble via Twitter @BaruchMaoz
February 2, 2016
From my commentary on Colossians - Installment No. 19
The opening word, now, introduces a new turn in the letter. Having described his prayer for the Colossians, Paul went on to describe his response to the Gospel, and at the same time described his relations to his readers and intimated something of the grounds on which he wrote to them.
“I am thrilled with my sufferings for you and [with] filling up in my body what is lacking in the sufferings of the Christ for the sake of his body, which is the church.” Paul was no masochist. He did not enjoy pain for pain’s sake. Neither did he flee pain if it meant betraying his calling, obscuring the glory of Messiah, or disadvantaging any of the churches of Christ. It was not the pain itself with which he was thrilled but the privilege of serving the church by it.
What steeled his heart and kept him going, ever onward, ever farther for the spread of the Gospel, was the knowledge that his suffering served God. Paul did not view himself as a victim of circumstances. While in no way making light of the malice or reducing the responsibility of those who opposed him, he knew that they too were instruments in God’s hand, and that God would use his suffering for the good of the church.
He knew that his pain benefited the church in an important way. Paul described his suffering as “filling up in my body what is lacking in the sufferings of the Christ for the sake of his body, which is the church.” Obviously Jesus’ sacrificial death needs no supplementing, nor can any human add to what the all-sufficient Christ has achieved. In light of what Paul wrote above, that much should be clear. It will become clearer as we read on (2:6–15; 3:1–4). We must, therefore, conclude that Paul did not mean that Jesus came short of obtaining a full salvation for those for whom he died. The salvation he achieved includes their sanctification, which is nothing less than their glorification, their transformation into the image of...
January 29, 2016
From my commentary on Colossians - Installment No. 18
Salvation has holiness as its goal, it includes sanctification. The redeemed are saved from the power of sin to lead a life of dedication to God, which is exactly what holiness means. In spite of their “wicked deeds,” salvation renders the sinful “unblameable and free from rebuke” because their guilt was laid on Jesus. He exhausted the claims of the Law against them by bearing their punishment in his own body on the tree.
“If in fact you continue steadfast in the Faith.” In these days of fads and fashions in which a constant hankering after something new has become a way of life, Paul’s if was highly relevant. Every so often someone in the church stumbles over a new discovery: if only the church were more contemporary, or more seeker friendly, more evangelistic, or more family orientated, more this or that or the other, it would become an amazing success. As a result, today’s church is running after its tail, spinning endlessly and getting nowhere. It has lost sight of the Gospel. It no longer believes that the message is, in and of itself, the power of God.
Sometimes it gives the impression that God is altogether out of the equation, except to bless us with riches, pleasure, and happiness in response to our achievements. The church has become so much like the world that is has no message, and there is precious little reason for anyone to be attracted to it. But the church’s duty is as clear as it is simple: “continue steadfast in the Faith.” The rest is in the hands of God.
This is the other side to God’s work in saving sinners: they are to “continue steadfast in the Faith.” It is not a case of God doing his part and man doing his. The if here does not mean that the work of God is in any way contingent on the faithfulness of man. If it did, the work of God would be undone. If raises no doubt as to the outcome; it simply points to the consequence of God’s saving work just as, in Galatians 3:4, Paul used the same term to indicate a sure reality.
Could Christians ever suffer for Christ in vain? Of course not. Yet in Galatians 3:2–3, Paul asked, “Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Obviously the answer to each of these questions is a resounding “No!” “So too, when he asks, did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?” The answer is clearly the same; if in no way indicates uncertainty. It serves to indicate the result of God’s saving work, and at the same time the duty incumbent on those who have been the object of that work. They are to “continue steadfast in the Faith.”
It is with regard to the message of that Faith that Paul said, “Of which I, Paul, became a servant.” We too must become the servants of that Faith.
Note that Paul did not speak of faith but of “the Faith.” There is an important difference. To continue in faith means to continue to believe. To continue in the Faith means to be true to the content of the Faith they had originally heard from Epaphras. As Paul said, the faith “of which you heard [and which is] declared in all creation under heaven, of which [declaration] I, Paul, became a servant.”
The Colossians were invited to inquire anywhere they wished. Nowhere else were the doctrines of the false teachers being taught. by anyone recognized by the apostles. Wherever the Gospel was sounded, what the Colossians had heard from Epaphras and now read from Paul was in tune with what others taught and believed. The Colossians were to adhere to the same doctrines. “After having been firmly established” in them by an act of God and through Epaphras’s faithful teaching, they were not to be “subject to being moved away” from them, with particular reference to the content of “the hope of the Gospel.”
That hope, as we have seen, has to do with gathering all things under Christ, and for that reason, it is the exact opposite of the elitism that the false teachers in Colossae promoted. No less important, the hope points to the primacy of Christ, whereas the Colossian teachers of error claimed to be able to supplement him.
Note the hyperbole. He said that the Gospel was “declared in all creation under heaven.” Obviously that was not literally true.
Does your concept of the Gospel meet up with Paul’s? Do you think of Jesus as highly as Paul did? Are you amazed at the wonder of his deity? Are you thrilled by the act of incarnation? Are you ashamed of your sin? Does the thought that he bore its guilt and suffered its due punishment move you to gratitude and service? Do you strive after holiness and are you laboring to deepen your understanding of the Faith instead of running off with every new-fangled doctrine in search of an easy path to spirituality? Is your hope for the future biblical: does it focus on Christ and does it include a significant emphasis on holiness?
January 19, 2016
From my commentary on Colossians - Installment No. 17
His death was not the final victory of his enemies; it was their overthrow. It was the means by which God in Christ achieved his purpose, reconciling sinners to himself, establishing peace, and granting them redemption, the forgiveness of sins. It is the means by which God secured peace with all things, “be it things on the earth or the things in the heavens.”
We learn from Paul that soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) is the product of Christology (the doctrine of Christ’s nature, person, and work), and that Christology issues into eschatology (the doctrine of the last things). High views of Christ lead to high views of Christ’s accomplishments and therefore to high views of the salvation he obtained. Low views of Christ inevitably lead to a weakening of the Gospel.
Paul now turned to his readers in Colossae: “And you, then, were alienated and enemies in the mind by your wicked deeds.” Paul described the state of the Colossians prior to their conversion in terms of estrangement and animosity that expressed themselves in how the Colossians viewed God. Their minds were bent against him. Of course, they were not alone in this sorrowful reality because such is the state of all mankind. What is more, their “wicked deeds,” expressive of their minds, led them to further animosity in an effort to silence their consciences and justify the way they conducted themselves.
What we do impacts us no less than it impacts others. The Nazi murderers were corrupted by the atrocities they perpetuated. Their consciences were rendered immune to human suffering. They persuaded themselves that what they did was valid, in the interests of the highest—Aryan—portion of the human race. Their minds justified the horror of their deeds to the extent that they dared adopt the slogan “Gott mit uns” (God is with us).
“But he has reconciled [you] through his fleshly body and through his death.” The Colossians did nothing; God in Christ did it all. What greater gap could be imagined, what wider abyss traversed? A holy God, deserving of mankind’s most sincere affection and heartfelt devotion, a God who both demands and deserves that man love him with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength, was hated by those whom he created for his glory. Instead of casting them into the hell they deserve, he chose to save. He sent his Son to live among them, lead the life they should have led, die the death they worked so consistently to earn, and “reconciled [them] through his fleshly body and through his death so as to present [them] before him holy, unblameable and free from rebuke”! Amazing. Breathtakingly amazing.
In This Issue:
Home, pg. 1
Israel Today, pg. 1
Reformed Baptist Network, pg. 2
Ministry and Family News, pg. 3
Baruch and Bracha are touring Central and Eastern USA April-July. Interested churches are invited to write firstname.lastname@example.org
I have deep respect and love for Baruch Maoz, and the work that he is carrying on in Israel, despite obstacles and opposition. He has been a dear friend for many years. I’ll never forget doing a conference for him in Israel several years ago. I pray that God may use his sound theology, helpful preaching, excellent books, and numerous gifts for the conversion and spiritual maturation of thousands of Israelis and for the abundant glory of God. Rev. Joel R. Beeke, Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation, Author
Baruch Maoz has been a minister of the gospel, author, publisher, and voice for believers in the land of Israel for four decades. I have seen firsthand the fruit of his ministry and I cannot recommend it too highly. Baruch’s preaching, teaching, and writing ministry should be supported by all who care about the gospel and its impact in Israel and beyond! Pastor Jerry Marcellino, Audubon Drive Bible Church, Federation of reformed Evangelicals – Laurel, Mississippi
Knowing and embracing our Lord’s clear directive to bring the Gospel to the “Jew first” I, along with BPC have been extraordinarily blessed to work in partnership with the effective biblical and faithful ministry of Baruch Maoz. His ministry of evangelism, discipleship, along with his strategic and insightful writing/translation projects, only enhance my opportunity to recommend him and his ministry. Rev. Harry Reeder, Senior Pastor, Briarwood Presbyterian Church (PCA), Birmingham AL
Tom Ascol of the Founders Movement writes: "Baruch and Bracha Maoz serve in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Baruch has served as a pastor, publisher, author and church reformer in his homeland of Israel. He has ministered several times with our Grace Baptist Church family in Cape Coral and our people have come to love Bracha and him dearly. I highly recommend his and his ministry to any church that values expositional preaching and the gospel of God's grace." Dr. Thomas Ascol, Grace Baptist Church (SBC), Founders Movement, Cape Coral FL
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