JESUS AND ISRAEL
When the LORD Jesus commissioned His Twelve, He said emphatically, "Go NOT into the way of the Gentiles." Matthew 10:5 . Then He added, "preach, saying, the Kingdom of the heavens is at hand." "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons, provide neither gold nor silver, neither two coats", etc. Matthew 10:7-9 . What did they do? “They went through the towns, preaching the Gospel, and healing everywhere." Luke 9:6 . Then He sent other seventy (Luke 10:1 ) "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, LORD, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy Name." Luke 10:17 .
We know that the LORD gave these orders to His Apostles and disciples and they were obeyed. Did He later on give to the Twelve Apostles a similar message and program for Gentiles? Should members of the Body of Christ preach the Kingdom Gospel and perform the Kingdom signs today? If not, why not?
IF we believe that the program for the Body of Christ is the Great Commission, (recorded in Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15-18 ), then the Kingdom Gospel should be preached and the Kingdom signs should follow, and water baptism should be a factor in salvation. Right?
It is one thing to SAY that the Twelve Apostles were to, and did, start on the day of Pentecost with the Gospel of Grace for Jews and Gentiles and were instructed to carry on a program of divers miracles, signs, imposition of hands, tongues and water baptism, then gradually drop everything except the Gospel of Grace and water baptism; but it is quite a different thing to PROVE it by something more than human traditions, the traditions of men!
The man, or denomination, who separates Kingdom signs and Israelitish ceremonies from water baptism is more of an unscriptural religious juggler than a Scriptural expert or intelligent Bible exegete…moreover, he disobeys 2 Timothy 2:15 in his futile endeavor to reconcile the program of Mark 16:15-17 , that Gospel, baptism, signs, etc., with 1 Timothy 1:11 and 1 Timothy 5:23 , the Gospel of the Glory of the blessed God, WITHOUT signs. Matthew 10:5-8 and Luke 9:6 agree with the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15-17 , but they are ENTIRELY different from the message and program of Ephesians, Colossians, and Timothy.
We should be exceedingly careful about mixing Israel's Kingdom program, given by Jesus of Nazareth ON EARTH, with the program which the RISEN Christ later gave to the Apostle Paul for Gentiles. To entirely ignore Christ's earthly program or eliminate it from our church creeds, without Scriptural explanation, is presumption. We admit that the mixture produces confusion, uncertainty, fanaticism and skepticism, because no believer, or group of believers, can perpetuate or duplicate the signs program of the Twelve, the Seventy, or even the members of the Corinthian Assembly. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 . And Satan knows this as well! Remember this.
We would need to make no apologies to the critics and adversaries of Christianity if we would only teach them how we apply the principle of rightly dividing the Word of truth for the application of all of the Inspired Word of God intended for other Divine Dispensations but not for the members of the Body of Christ in this period of Gentile favor, while Israel is waiting for “the fullness of the Gentiles." Romans 11:25 .
A skeptic has said to me, "if a Christian is one who obeys the Words of Jesus, recorded in the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Chapters of Matthew and does works with which the Apostles are accredited, I have never seen a Christian." And actually, neither have I, AND neither have you. We can do much to close the mouths of these enemies of Christ and perhaps help many poor deluded, fanatical saints to abandon their counterfeit (satanically driven) imitation of the sign program of Christ and His Apostles, if we will intelligently apply 2 Timothy 2:15 and learn from Christ, through our Apostle Paul, what is the LORD's present day Church program.
As members of the Body of Christ we have been redeemed by the precious blood of the Son of God, saved wholly and solely by pure and unadulterated GRACE. We have been brought nigh by His blood. We have been made accepted in the Beloved, and meet to be partakers of Him and all of the blessings of God in Him. We are COMPLETE in Christ. We need NOTHING added to Christ, who is our redemption, our holiness, our righteousness, our peace, our hope and our life.
Surely there must be some sane, God-given principle or system for the interpretation, partitioning and application of the Word of God. The LORD said to His disciples, "when thou fastest, anoint thine head and wash thy face." Matthew 6:17 . They "anointed with oil many that were sick." Mark 6:13 . "Let them pray over him anointing him with oil." James 5:14 . "From his (the Apostle Paul's) body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs and aprons, and the diseases departed from them and the evil spirits went out of them." Acts 19:12 . "Use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine oft sicknesses." 1 Timothy 5:23 . Is there not some way of knowing if and when we should anoint with oil today; whether or not we should use handkerchiefs and aprons, or when we should take wine or other medicine for sickness, and be sure we are in the will of God?
The LORD said, "ye also ought to wash one another's feet." John 13:14 . Some Christians practice this. Others utterly ignore the command without any explanation. Should we, or should we not, wash one another's feet? Some preachers follow the message of Peter and the Eleven, "repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Some fail or refuse to preach this, because they say "it is not up to date."
The Pentecostals report real Scriptural experiences in their tarrying‑meetings telling of the Christians who receive the Holy Spirit in power by their importunate prayers and imposition of hands, manifested by "tongues." They have the experience. They support their experience with Scriptures. The other Christians make light of their fanaticism, but offer no Scriptural corrective. Many of God's people, with the slogan "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever", refuse to use material remedies for sickness, claiming Jesus Christ as their Healer, because the Record is, that He healed all manner of sickness and all that were sick; and so did Peter; and so did Philip. Matthew 8:16 , Luke 6:19 . Acts 5:15-16 . Acts 8:5-12 . Is there some Scriptural explanation of their fallacy, or is it that those Christians who disagree with them are in error?
Some church organizations will exclude from their membership Christina's who deny that the gifts of 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 belong to the LORD's program for His Body during this period of Grace, the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, Faith, healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues. They are mentioned in the same Epistle, in the very same chapter that instructs the Christian concerning the baptism of Jews and Gentiles into one body. 1 Corinthians 12:13 . Some Christians who practice household baptism, prove their position by the Tenth Chapter of 1 Corinthians, and quote 1 Corinthians 11 for their observance of the LORD's Supper; but they would dis-fellowship a believer, and ask him to attend some other assembly, if he should claim the gift of discerning of spirits or the gift of working miracles, or speaking with tongues, on the authority of the Twelfth Chapter of 1 Corinthians. They ignore these gifts generally, but if pressed to answer why they have not included them in their church creeds they refer to experiences instead of to the Word of God, rightly divided.
Such careless handling of the Word of God is tantamount to "handling the Word of God deceitfully." 2 Corinthians 4:2 . It is ignorantly, if not deceitfully, handled. To say that the gifts are found once a year, or once every ten years, in the foreign field, or that they would be found here, if members of the Body of Christ had sufficient Faith, is not the manifestation of that sound mind called for in 2 Timothy 1:7 .
What bunglers some preachers have been in their attempts to make primary applications of the Kingdom parables of the LORD Jesus Christ in presenting the Gospel of the Grace of God to Gentiles, dead in trespasses and sins. They have simply covered up the message of salvation and spoiled the LORD's wonderful Grace Gospel by either willfully or ignorantly disobeying the specific instructions of the Holy Spirit, "rightly dividing the Word of truth."
Undoubtedly we have observed that the LORD, according to the Synoptic Records (that would be the Gospels), was dealing with His own nation, in presenting the Kingdom Gospel with the Kingdom signs, when he taught His lessons to Pharisees and publicans in His Kingdom parables.
We most assuredly have learned that, in those three Gospels, the Grace message was pretty well buried under religion. Certainly our evangelists and pastors have experienced much difficulty in attempting to reconcile some statements from the pen of the Apostle Paul with the statements given forth by Jesus of Nazareth, the minister of the circumcision. Such statements as Romans 3:24-26 and 2 Timothy 1:9 , "being justified without a cause by His Grace", "not according to our works, but according to His Grace and purpose which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began", WITH, "he that endureth unto the end the same shall be saved" and "strive to enter in at the straight gate". Matthew 24:13 , Luke 13:24 .
And how many times have they left their hearers with their minds full of questions and their hearts full of doubts, because they have NOT brought them to the pure unmixed message of Grace, "the Gospel of your salvation", mentioned in Ephesians 1:13 and Ephesians 2:8-9 . They try to clear up their mixed messages with nice stories instead of with the rightly divided Word of truth. These Scriptural incongruities used by these men may be forgivable, but many of them are inexcusable and much of the damage done by them is irreparable. With sectarian teachers the remedy is feared more than the disease, because it means the surrender of some cherished religious ceremony or religious experience and it requires the Grace and humility to say, "I have learned from a careful study of the Word of God that what I have been teaching is un-scriptural, or at least un-dispensational". It may mean the loss of position and religious friends. This might require the further word, "Whether or not this makes me unpopular with men or sects, I shall take my stand without the fear or favor of men." Such servants of the LORD are few and far between.
THE BODY OF CHRIST
Whether or not we believe that the Body of Christ began on the day of Pentecost, we know that the message and program for the Body of Christ in Ephesians, Colossians and Timothy differs in many respects from the program of the Church of God in the first chapters of the Book of Acts. Perhaps we can satisfy our minds by stating that we can see in the Book of Acts the overlapping of the Kingdom message proclaimed while Christ was on earth and therefore the bringing over of that Kingdom program to run concurrently with the Body program for a few years and then wane and pass out. Certainly the words of Acts 2:44-45 , Acts 4:32 , Acts 3:6 , Acts 10:22 and Acts 10:35 seem to indicate that the same kingdom was being proclaimed during the "Acts" period as was being proclaimed in Luke 3:11 , Matthew 10:9-12 , Luke 12:32-33 , Luke 18:22 , and Luke 10:1-15 .
When the disciples sold their possessions and brought the money to the Apostles, according to Acts 2:44 and Acts 4:32 , when Peter said, "silver and gold have I none", when Cornelius was acceptable because he gave alms, it all was certainly in agreement with the words of the LORD "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth." Luke 12:32-33 . Those who are so particular about breaking bread every Sunday, on the authority of Acts 2:46 , have certainly ignored Acts 2:45 , for some of the brethren have their property and much more money than other brethren. WHY be SO careful about one part of the Kingdom program and IGNORE the other? AND the answer is: "The tradition of the elders, rather than the Word of God."
Let us now turn to the Apostle Paul. Read that he is the Risen Christ's own choice for us. Acts 22:21 , Romans 11:13 , Romans 15:16 , 1 Timothy 2:7 , 2 Timothy 1:11 , Ephesians 3:8 , Colossians 1:25-28 , Galatians 1:11-18 and Galatians 2:7-9 .
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "Be ye followers of me even as I also am of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1 , "For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me." 1 Corinthians 4:15-16 .
Before we follow James, Peter, and John, the pillars of Galatians 2:9 , we must see what our Apostle Paul says about it. We must likewise study what Christ said on earth in the light of His later revelations to and through the Apostle Paul. We must obey and follow the Apostle Paul. But in following Paul BEFORE the Holy Spirit gave him to write Ephesians, and his other prison Epistles, we must carefully study his teaching and acts in the light of 1 Corinthians 9:20-22 , which we quote…:
"And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law that I might gain them that are under the law. To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I, might by all means, save some."
Certainly there is no way in which we can Scripturally become as one under the Law, as Paul did in Acts 16:3 , Acts 18:18 , Acts 21:23-28 and Acts 23:5-6 . We are NOT to follow him in circumcision, vows, and other things Jewish. Neither can we believe in the light of 2 Cor. 2:14 , Acts 20:24 , 2 Timothy 4:7 , and 1 Corinthians 9:20-23 , that Paul was for one moment out of the will of God when he was carrying on his two‑fold ministry and program, while he was an able minister of the New Covenant. 2 Cor. 3:6 .
It is quite a simple matter to see that the Apostle Peter and his associates were ministers of the circumcision, and that the Apostle Paul was the chosen vessel of the Risen LORD for the ministry to the Gentiles. He was to preach God's Son to the heathen, to go far hence to the Gentiles, to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ among the Gentiles. The glorious Gospel, or the Gospel of Glory, was committed to Paul's trust. 1 Timothy 1:11 . All of this is plain. It is also plainly stated that there was one order for "the Jews which believed" and another order for "the Gentiles which believed", DURING the "Book of Acts" period. Acts 21:24-28 . Acts 15:19-29 .
But where we, as members of the Body of Christ, must be exceedingly careful is not to carry the divisions so far that we will ignore or disobey any of the LORD's orders to us, whether it is in Corinthians, John's Gospel, Galatians, Ephesians or Timothy. We cannot believe that the Apostle Paul was presumptuous or deluded. He spoke with authority, when he used the first person pronoun about 1100 times. He was chosen by the Risen Christ to fulfill the Word of God, to bring it to perfection. Colossians 1:25 . The Apostle Peter's activities dropped from the Record with the Fifteenth Chapter of Acts until he wrote his Epistles. The Apostle Paul is mentioned more than one hundred times in the last half of the Book of Acts. He said little or nothing to Gentiles about the earthly ministry, or Kingdom parables, of the LORD Jesus Christ in his written ministry. 2 Cor. 5:16 . Paul specifically declared, "Christ sent me NOT to baptize." 1 Corinthians 1:17 . He has told us to follow HIM as HE followed CHRIST. What are we to do about it?
When the Apostle Paul, in Acts 28:25-28 , had finished declaring the judgment of God upon the Nation Israel, that Nation was set aside about 62 A.D., then said Paul, "the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles." The salvation of God had already been sent to the Gentiles for over twenty years. It had been sent to the Gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy, because they put it from them. Acts 13:46 , Acts 18:6 , and Romans 11:11 . But AFTER Acts 28:28 it was to be sent to them, INDEPENDENT of Israel, their covenants, ceremonies, or religion; on the basis of GRACE, God's mercy and love; according to God's ETERNAL purpose in Christ. Ephesians 3:11 ; Ephesians 1:4 ; 2 Timothy 1:9 . "To you and to them.", and no longer "to the Jew first". No longer would the Apostle Paul become a Jew to the Jew and carry on a two‑fold program. "To you which were far off and to them that were nigh." Ephesians 2:17 .
No longer would he circumcise a Timothy or say, "I am a Pharisee", or shave his head or take a Jewish vow. Those things now are all dung. Philippians 3:8 . What a difference between Paul in Acts 21:24-28 , Acts 23:5-6 and the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:5-9 .
A Great Change.
The change came with Israel's setting‑aside. If you lose sight of THIS, you will lose the key to the correct Scriptural, spiritual program for members of the Body of Christ. Therefore, we must trace through the "Book of Acts" period, including Paul's Epistles to Galatians, Corinthians, Thessalonians, and Romans, as well as through the Four Gospels, and accept for the Body of Christ every message that will fit into the program for the Body of Christ declared after the Apostle Paul dropped his ministry of confirmation and continued with his ministry of revelation.
By this Holy Spirit Scriptural system, the believer of today will not fail to apply for himself and to himself every word in the Gospels, Book of Acts, Paul's earlier Epistles, and in the writings of the Twelve, all of the Word of God that is compatible with the Body truth of Paul's prison Epistles. This system could never be faulty, although EVERY other system is.
Only by the application of this system can we ever hope for the realization on earth of obedience to Ephesians 4:3 , even in a small way. We know that denominational leaders cannot afford to apply this system; for it would mean either their end with the denomination or the end of the denomination. Who will pay the price? In what other way can we ever expect to rid the Body of Christ of the counterfeits, religious entanglements, Satanic delusions, and unscriptural programs, or show all Christians why we have more than three hundred and fifty Bible churches in America? Try this system of interpretation and application for a few weeks, without counting the personal cost, and see how it works, believing with all your heart Ephesians 4:4-8 .
By this God‑given principle of interpretation and application of God's own Divine truth we can see how that all of the seeming contradictions in the Book disappear. We can also understand the gradual uncovering of the Grace of God from Matthew to 2 Timothy, and be instructed how to rejoice in the "all‑sufficiency" of the LORD Jesus Christ, WITHOUT religion, WITHOUT any of the covenants or ceremonies given to Israel. And recognizing the ONE Head of the ONE Body, the LORD Jesus who is far above in the highest heavenlies, we can see that we have the most exalted place and the most blessed benefits which God ever bestowed upon any company of believers; for we too are seated with our risen LORD, and are united to Him. We have an inheritance in Him and He has an inheritance in us: we are in Him and He is in us. Quite a contrast between "Jesus of Nazareth a man approved of God in the midst of you (Israel) by miracles", and "Christ in the Gentiles the Hope of Glory." Acts 2:22 and Colossians 1:27 .
Truly the highest standard of Christian living, the Christ life, is set forth in the Epistles that tell of the believer's position in and with Christ in the highest heavenlies; raised to seek those things which are above where Christ is. Truly the affection of Body‑members will be where the Head is. The believer's citizenship is there; his hope is laid up there; and he is waiting for Christ to appear in glory that he might also appear with Him.
As someone has truly said, the believer will not be ready for the truth of the Apostle Paul's last Epistles until he has given heed to the instructions of Corinthians, Romans, and Galatians. Therefore, we would not emphasize obedience to the Prison Epistles of Paul to the exclusion of the Holy Spirit's warnings, admonitions and instructions in Paul's earlier Epistles, although we must observe in his earlier writings some instructions that are not binding in his prison Epistles. Every word from Genesis to Revelation that will enable the member of the Body of Christ to walk worthy of the vocation set forth in the Epistle to the Ephesians is for the believer's appropriation and application, even to the present time.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” Acts 16:31 , while there is still time!
So There You Have it!
Spread this message to everyone you know, far and wide. The time is short
Grace be to you and peace, from God: our Father, and The LORD Jesus Christ.
In The LORD Jesus Christ,
The Lion and Lamb Ministry
Pastor David Picos, D.D.
Minister and Ambassador for Christ in the Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20 )
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