Home Bible Study

"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Who's Following Whom?"


Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(II Timothy 2:15)

Revelation 18:1-18

Announcements:

For those of you who are following along with our Home Bible Study Group via the internet – welcome.  Thank you for taking the time to study Scripture along with us.

We are still working our way through the book of Revelation.  I believe we will complete this study within the next few months.  After this, I plan to begin a study of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and this in turn will lead us into the study of the book of ACTS.  I pray you will join us.

*****

FOLLOW THE LEADER

 “Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God…”

Some of you may have no idea what that lead in means or why I’ve chosen to use it. 
I get that.  And this is the reason I’ve I chosen to write this Bible lesson for you.

When I hear someone, in a conversation, boldly claim, “I only follow Jesus.”
I immediately recognize one thing about them.  They do not understand Scripture.
They have been indoctrinated into the four gospels, but their understanding of Paul’s stewardship of the Gospel of Grace and his relationship with the risen Lord Jesus Christ is severely lacking.

Seldom does the Apostle Paul receive the credit or the respect his position requires.

 The Apostle Paul was chosen (called) by the will of God.
Think about that statement and all that it means to say. 

“Called?”  What was the purpose for which Paul was called forth?
When the Creator God calls you believe me, He has a purpose in mind.

Remember the twelve?
Peter, Matthew, James, John, Judas, etc. were they volunteers after they met Jesus or did Jesus call them out by name beforehand?

What is a “Steward?”
A steward performs the duties of a supervisor or administrator of the affairs of another.
And in this instance, Paul is the manager of the Lord Jesus Christ’s affairs here on earth.
Are you following me so far?

Paul’s Stewardship
Ephesians 3

1: For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of (who) you Gentiles –

2: If indeed you have heard of the stewardship (management) of God’s grace which was given to me for you;

3: that by revelation (the revealing of something previously hidden or secret – a mystery.  A revealing of what is believed to be divine will or truth) there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.

4: By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the (you’re going to see the word “mystery” often when you read the writings of Paul) mystery of Christ,

5: which in other generations was (what) not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit.

6: to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, (Paul’s 1st missionary journey began in the year 46 AD.  Before that time in history Gentiles were NOT included in God’s covenants with the nation of Israel.)

7: (Read slowly, please) of which I (the Apostle Paul) was made a minister, (and not Peter, James, John, and the others) of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.

8: To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,

9: …and to bring to light what is the administration (the management) of the (what) the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things. 

For added emphasis I copied this excerpt from one of Les’s Bible lessons.
I wanted you to see another’s opinion on this subject.

Revelation 18:8

"Therefore shall her plagues come in (how fast) one day (I'm a literalist; I don't think this is a long time; this is instantaneous), death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her."

Let's go back for a moment to Luke 21.  I mentioned it in the last lesson, and we'll see how even the words of Jesus Himself, during His earthly ministry spoke of these things.

When I speak of Jesus' earthly ministry, we need to remember that when we come to the letters of the Apostle Paul, they are the words of Christ as well.  And here is where a lot of people get hung up.

When I emphasize Paul and the Pauline doctrines, they will say, "Now wait a minute Les, I go by what Jesus said."  Well where do you think Paul got his words?
He got his words from Jesus, but under a different set of circumstances.


Jesus spoke in the flesh while He was here on the earth, while He was still dealing with Israel under the Law.  But you see Paul gives us the revelation of Jesus Christ who has now finished the work of the Cross; He (Jesus Christ) has defeated death and sin and Satan.  He is now ascended and from His glorified position in glory, Jesus speaks to us (on this side of the cross – emphasis is mine) through the Apostle Paul.

So this is what I mean when I say this is what Jesus said in His earthly ministry:

End of Les’s excerpt.

*****

This problem has always existed in the Body of Christ.  It’s not a “new thing.”
Paul had to address this very subject with the church members in Corinth.

But I think the primary reason this continues to be an issue today stems from a lack of precise Bible teaching in the church today.  And the remainder is a result of an individual’s ignorance.  Please open your Bible to I Corinthians chapter 1.

1 Corinthians 1

1: Paul, called (Read Acts chapter 9) as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
(I don’t believe that needs an explanation.  It is what it is.  Skip down to verse 2.)

2: To the church of God which is at Corinth, (obviously Paul is writing to Believers who belong to the Body of Christ in Corinth, Greece.  Please go to verse 10.)

10: Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no (what is the next word) divisions among you, but that you be made (read carefully) complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.

11: For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels (in the Greek language this means more than just a disagreement between individuals.  It is a much stronger word meaning: bitter and sometimes violent conflict, struggle, or rivalry) among you.

12: (And here’s the reason for this strife among the Christ’s body) Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul, and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas (Peter),” and “I of Christ.”  (Meaning: there was division in the Body of Christ)

13:  (Here Paul presents his argument for following Christ – and no other!)  Has Christ been divided!  Paul was not crucified for you, was he?  Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?  (Does this sound as if Paul is promoting himself?)

Paul continues to present his case for the Lord Jesus Christ in the following chapters without letup.  Let’s pick up his statement in chapter 3.

1 Corinthians 3

1: And I, brethren, could not speak to you as spiritual men, but as to men of (what is the next word) flesh, as to infants in Christ.  (We become Believers as “infants.”  However, the Lord expects each one of us to mature “Spiritually” or progress from this infant stage.  We are NOT to remain Spiritual infants.)

2: I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you not yet able to receive it. 
(Paul’s not speaking of food in the literal sense.  He’s speaking of the Biblical ABC’s, if you will.  For example: your elementary math teacher didn’t begin by teaching you algebra.  You started with simple arithmetic and progressed from there. 
But the point is you were expected to progress.)

3: for you are still fleshly.  For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?

4: For when says “I am of Paul, and another, “I am of Apolllos,” are you not mere men?

5: What then is Apollos?  And what is Paul?  Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.

6: I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.
7:  So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, (now read carefully Paul’s words) but God who causes the growth.

God causes the growth and not the man or woman who does the planting or watering.

*****

As I said earlier, the Apostle Paul had to respond to these same issues in the early church. People were all over the place with their beliefs systems and who they wanted to follow, etc.  They each held their personnel favorites, likes, and dislikes.

Believe me Les Feldick does not want you following him folks.
I don’t want you following me either my friends.
We follow and believe only the One! 
We are only here to help.  We are guides.

If you pay attention to our teaching materials, that message comes across loud and clear.  The Apostle Paul does not want you following him either.  

But I’ll let him do the telling.

Christian Order
I Corinthians 11

1: Be ye followers of me (the Apostle Paul), even as I also am (a follower) of Christ.
KJV

As a child, did you ever play a game called follow the leader?
The idea is to mimic the actions of the person leading the game. 
To stay in the game you have to imatate the leader’s action accurately.

Here’s the New American Standard’s version of the Bible verse above.

Christian Order
I Corinthians 11

1: Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ is our Leader. 
The Apostle Paul is the Lord Jesus Christ’s steward of the Gospel of Grace.
Anyone who chooses to teach today becomes a steward of that same gospel. 

This responsibility humbles me.

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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