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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Monday, May 21, 2012

The Covenant Gospel and Paul's Gospel of Grace - Part II

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

Revelation 20:7-10

Bible Question – Follow up

Part Two

Welcome back participants and thank you for taking the time to study God’s Word.
This question came up during a home Bible study session a few weeks ago.

Is there more than one gospel today?

The short answer to this question is NO there is not.

I began this series by introducing you to the Gospel of the Kingdom.
This is how Jesus Christ referred to it in Scripture.
For teaching purposes only I prefer to identify it as the Covenant Gospel.

Why?  It links it to the unilateral agreement between the LORD God and Abram known as the Abrahamic Covenant.

I’m not going to re-teach that subject material in this lesson today.
Today we are continuing our study of Scripture to discern the differences between The Covenant Gospel and Paul’s Gospel of Grace.

*****
Teaching Tool
Always remember one of the basic rules of Bible study.  As you begin your begin you’re Bible reading or Bible study ask yourself this question.
Who is doing the communicating and who are they communicating to?
Usually within the first few lines of the text this information is given or made known.

Here’s an example:
Please open your Bible to James chapter 1.

James 1
1: James, a bond-servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad:  Greetings.

(Ask yourself a question.  How many gentiles will you find in the twelve tribes of Israel?  
The answer: not one.  James is writing to Jews; from covenant ground.)  

Now please don’t be confused about one thing, after reading the above.
I know I need to hit this topic again and again and that’s o.k.
All Scripture has merit.

II Timothy 3

16: All Scripture is inspired by God and (is what) profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

17: so that the man (Believer) of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

You don’t omit, reject, or toss out any word or section of this book.
Even though some of it may not have been written directly to us gentiles, we certainly can “learn” from it and apply its teachings, if applicable, to our lives.

*****
Let’s begin.

I want to expand on a teaching point from my previous lesson.
I took you to Scripture references where it clearly reported that the Gospel of the Kingdom was preached, “To the Jew only.”  (Matthew 10:1-7; 15:21-28).

This is Jesus commentary - not mine.
Scripture explains the purpose for this ministry to the Jew only, at this particular time in history.  Jesus came to “fulfill the promises made to the fathers.”  (Romans 15:8)

However, this practice did not cease after Jesus’ resurrection and you need to know this.   
The Gospel of the Kingdom continued to be preached to Jew only long after Jesus’ resurrection and His accession.  Please turn to the book of Acts chapter 2.

If you’ll recall, Jesus was crucified just prior to the start of Passover.
The feast day of Pentecost commences fifty days after Passover.

The apostles were obedient.  Jesus commanded them to remain in Jerusalem (Acts 1:4).
Jesus told them that they would be “baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”        (See Acts 1:5).  So this is one of the reasons they were gathered together in the upper room on the day of Pentecost.  To refresh your memory you may opt to review it.

For our purposes we are going to drop in on Acts chapter 2 at verse 14 where the Apostle Peter defends himself and the eleven other apostles who were together, as the Lord commanded, when the Holy Spirit descended upon them in “tongues as of fire.”

You see, “Jews” who were living in Jerusalem, and “devout men,” who were also Jews from every nation under heaven (see Acts 2:5-13) were mocking them.

Acts 2

14: But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them:
(Read carefully) Men of Judea and all of you who live in Jerusalem (We know from the previous verses that these “men of Judea” and all those who “live in Jerusalem” were of what nationality?  Come on now.  What did the book tell you?  They were Jews?  Right!  Peter was addressing a crowd of Jewish men from Jerusalem and from every nation under heaven – this is what the book says.  Why were these “devout Jewish men from every nation under heaven gathered together in Jerusalem at this time?   Why would these men travel to Jerusalem at this time?  They came to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast day of Pentecost.  The Law commanded it.  Now answer me this question.  How many gentiles celebrated the feast day of Pentecost?  The answer is: ZERO.  Therefore, Peter was not addressing gentiles.)

Skip down to verse 22.

22: (Peter continues his declaration to whom specifically) “Men of Israel, (that’s right and you won’t find one single gentile in that opening remark so keep this in mind) listen to these words:

I urge you to read the following verses.  
For the sake of time and brevity we are going to skip to verse 36.  
We’ll come in after Peter has delivered his testimony.
I want to once again reaffirm Bible truth.
You need to recognize who Peter is addressing.

36: “Therefore (what does the book say) let all the house of Israel (there isn’t one single gentile to be found in the house of Israel.  Peter’s comments are directed to Jews only) know for certain that God has made Him (Jesus) both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now some of these “Men of Israel” were moved by Peter’s words.
I believe the Holy Spirit is the only One who can change the heart of man.
But these men asked the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”
What do you suppose Peter’s response was?
a)  Believe that Jesus Christ shed blood paid the penalty for your sins?
b) Believe in His death, burial, and resurrection, on the third day, according to the Scriptures!

Nope.  What does the book say?
Please skip down to verse 38.

Acts 2

38: Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins (what sins…unbelief.  They each had a hand in Jesus crucifixion); and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Note:  Peter did not mention faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ for salvation.
Peter never mentioned the need for faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord, according to the Scriptures for one’s salvation.

Why is this?  Peter and the eleven are still operating under the Law of Moses folks.

And baptism/ceremonial washing(s) were required under the Law.
Please re-read verse 38 above one more time please.

Peter and the other eleven apostles are good Jews.
They are NOT going to abandon the Law of Moses.
They have NOT been instructed or commanded to do so.

GENTILES ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE COVENANT PROMISES.
GENTILES ARE OUTSIDE OF THESE COVENANT PROMISES.

Are you with me?

Understand this about the Law of Moses.  It was strict.
In many cases, disobey it and you forfeit your life!
Here’s an example:

Exodus 28

42: (This is the LORD God commanding Moses) “You shall make for them linen breeches  to cover their bare flesh; they shall reach from the loins even to the thighs.

43: “They shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they enter the tent of meeting, or when they approach the altar to minister in the holy place, so that they do not incur guilt and (what’s the next word) die.”

No second chance.  No plea bargain.
Forget or make an error in judgment and you die.
This is what the Law dictates.

Skip down to chapter 29 please.
Here we have an example of what the Law demanded before the Jewish priest(s) could approach the Lord God in His service.  I’m not going to highlight ALL that was required.
We are only looking at the rite of “baptism.”

Baptism under the Old Testament Law

Exodus 29

1: (Again – this is the LORD God speaking) “Now this is what you shall do to them (Aaron and his sons) to consecrate them to minister as priests to Me:  (meaning: set apart for a specific purpose; and a divine ritual to be accomplished each time prior to ministering before the LORD God.  Skip to verse 4.)
 
4: “Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the doorway of the tent of meeting and (what’s next) wash them with water.”

According to Scripture, the washings of the priests and the sacrifices (see Leviticus 1:9 as an example of this practice) were baptisms.  These religious practices were put in place primarily to instruct the Jewish people about ceremonial cleansing, which was required prior to “coming to the LORD God.”   Are you still with me?   Are you beginning to see the connection?

When the Jewish men, in Acts chapter 2, who were moved by the apostles words, asked what they must do Peter said, “Repent, and each of you be baptized…”

Peter simply reminded these devout Jewish men about what was written in the Law.
Let’s go to the book of Hebrews at chapter 6 to follow up on this subject.

The Bible verses that follow are discussing the Old Testament tabernacle and sacrifices and say that “various washings” were a part of this Old Testament system.

Furthermore the phrase “various washings” is the word translated “baptisms” in Hebrews 6:2.

Hebrews 9

8: The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing,

9: which is a symbol for the present time.  Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshipper perfect in conscience,

10: since they relate only to food and drink and (here’s the phrase) various washings (baptisms) regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.

Peter and the eleven apostles were still operating under and within the confinements of the Law in bringing the Gospel of the Kingdom (The Covenant Gospel) to Jew only some fifty days after Jesus resurrection.

(To be continued)

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