You are here

Editor's Foreword and Preface

 

Foreword

Winnie W.Y. Yee (Editor)

Pastor Eric H. H. Chang expounded all of the Lord Jesus’ parables in the Gospel of Matthew and in the Gospel of Luke, and the larger part of the Gospel of Matthew in his weekly Sunday preaching in Montreal, Canada from 1976-1982. He continued in later years to preach a few more sermons on the parables, and also finished preaching on the entire Gospel of Matthew. While preaching these exegetical messages, he carried an incredibly heavy load, conducting weekly Bible studies and training sessions of full-time teams, plus attending to administrative responsibilities.

The exegesis in the collections of 30 sermons in The Parables of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, and 30 sermons in The Parables of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke witness Pastor Eric Chang’s razor-sharp thinking, exeget­ical skill, and spiritual insight, and it opens up the spiritual principles in the Lord Jesus’ teaching with power from God, with conviction, clarity and practicality. The following excerpt from one of his sermons can help us to understand him better:

“All the things in the Word of God are mystery, and it is a gift of God to you that you understand it. Therefore, anyone who boasts in his exceedingly good knowledge of the Bible is not fit to serve God. He has not yet understood that if he understands anything, it is because the Spirit of God has revealed it to him. As people listen to my expositions, some say to me, “We have never heard such exposi­tions.” I say to you, I have nothing whatsoever to be proud about. Nothing! Because if there is anything I have seen, it is because God has revealed it to someone who really is so utterly unworthy. I am not saying a word out of humility but the plain truth. The moment I think that I am clever, the moment I think that I can give an exposition better than someone else, God will say, “I have finished with you. You are of no use to Me anymore because you think you are somebody.” The Word of God is mystery, and it is a gift of God to me that I understand It.”

After each solid, Scripturally-based exposition of the Word of God by Pastor Eric, my brain was tiredly stretched from following his careful examination of the Scriptures, as surely everyone’s was. And I recall he said that after preaching and teaching, his brain throbbed with exhaust­ion from trying to communicate clearly what God had laid on his heart.

Another recollection is that at the start of every preaching and teaching session, Pastor Eric looked rather pale and spoke softly. But as the sermon or training session progressed, his voice would grow strong­er, and his face would shine brightly. I used to ponder about this shining, then I realized that it is God’s glory resting on him, showing that God is pleased to be with him.

The anointing from God empowered him to communicate so effectively that people who are open can understand God’s truth, and see that the Biblical Christian life can be lived. Moreover, each listener is faced with the decision to respond or not to respond to God, and understand the consequences that follow. As always, Pastor Eric urges and warns every person never to be complacent or indifferent, but to apply these spiritual principles by God’s grace, in order to experience God’s power to transform into a new person (2 Cor. 5:17).

I thank our Father and God for bringing Pastor Eric into my life as my pastor and mentor, so that God could deliver me from the gutter of bondage to self-centeredness and sin, to experience the freedom and newness of life that God brings through our Lord Jesus Christ. Pastor Eric’s extraordinary example of life, his preaching and teaching, have truly made a deep mark on me, all our coworkers, and many others, ever guiding us to endure in striving to imitate our Lord Jesus Christ—to love Yahweh God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength, and your neighbor as yourself (Mk. 12:30-31; Mt. 22:37-40; Lk. 10:27).

May Yahweh God mightily use Pastor Eric’s work of love and faith to glorify Him and our Lord Jesus in the church of God, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thess. 1:11-12); and quoting Pastor Eric, “may the word of God’s mighty and wondrous salvation reach the ends of the earth.”

 

Acknowledgements

First, I wish to offer my profoundest gratitude to my God and Father, Yahweh, for His ever-present loving encouragement, and granting of insight and empowering to do the final editing, after I transcribed the audio recordings of Pastor Eric’s sermons in this book, and paragraphed the text.

My heartfelt thanks is also due to:

Pastor Bentley C. F. Chan for his skilled and competent participation to design the cover, the table in the preface, and the interior of this book; for his graciousness to give me excellent advice in editing, and encourage­ment to final edit. His readiness to share his computer expertise has greatly helped to get this book published.

Pastor John Teo, for his enormous and dedicated contribution to do the formatting of the 2/3 smaller volumes of this book; for compiling the Scripture Index; and for proofreading. His diligent and excellent help has made it possible to bring this book to the publishers.

Pastors Jeremiah Zhang, Andrew Chan and Calvin Chan for their encouragement.

Winnie Yee (Editor)

June 2019

 

Preface

Winnie W.Y. Yee (Editor)

“When Jesus had finished saying these words”

Matthew’s Gospel is well known in New Testament studies for its unfolding of Jesus’ teaching in five distinct sections, each closing with the statement pat­terned on the formula, “When Jesus had finished saying these words”:

 

Section 1: Jesus’ birth, early years, beginning of his ministry, and the Sermon on the Mount

Closing statement: “When Jesus had finished saying these words” (Mt.7:28)

Section 2: Jesus’ teachings accompanied by miracles on the Kingdom of God, and instructions to his twelve disciples

Closing statement: “When Jesus had finished giving instructions” (Mt.11:1)

Section 3: Jesus’ teachings in the parables

Closing statement: “When Jesus had finished these parables” (Mt.13:53)

Section 4: Jesus the Christ’s further teachings in Galilee on the Kingdom of God

Closing statement: “When Jesus had finished saying these words” (Mt.19:1)

Section 5: Jesus’ teachings on the end times

Closing statement: “When Jesus had finished saying all these words” (Mt.26:1)

 

Many scholars have compared Matthew’s intentional design of the 5 sections to the five books of Moses, Genesis to Deuteronomy. The 5-fold division suggests that Matthew has modeled his book on the structure of the Pentateuch, to show his Jewish readers that just as the five books of the Pentateuch was the law of the Old Covenant, these five sections of Jesus’ teaching represent the foundation of the New Covenant. Thus this presents Matthew’s Gospel as a new Torah, the constitution or law of God; and Jesus as a new and greater Moses, for he is their Messiah whom God sent. So Matthew had a design and a goal to write under the inspiration of the Spirit of God.

In view of the five-fold structure in Matthew, Pastor Eric Chang’s serm­ons on Matthew are divided into five volumes (three of which are further divided in sub-volumes A and B), and they will be published in due time:

Volume 1A: Jesus: Birth, Early Years, Beginning of his ministry

Volume 1B: The Sermon on the Mount

Volume 2: Jesus’ Teachings on the Kingdom of God accompanied by Miracles and Instructions to the Twelve

Volume 3A: Jesus’ Parables in the Gospel of Matthew

Volume 3B: Jesus’ Parables in the Gospel of Luke

Volume 4: Jesus the Christ’s Further Teachings in Galilee on the Kingdom of God

Volume 5A: Jesus’ Teachings Before His Final Entry to Jerusalem

Volume 5B: Jesus’ Teachings on the End Times

 

(c) 2012 Christian Disciples Church