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"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, August 13, 2012

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


Home Bible Study, Lutz, Florida
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
2 Timothy 2:15

Is there more than one gospel in effect today?

Part VIII

“There are two great revelators, or unfolders of Divine Truth in the Bible—Moses in the Old Testament, and Paul in the New.”  William R. Newell

Before we begin let’s review the historical backdrop of this era. 
To get the most out of your Bible study it’s a good idea to review the events taking place at that time, the politics, the religions, and the stresses these people encountered in their day-to-day. 

It is now the year 37 AD.  Eight years after the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

·         The Roman Emperor Tiberius is dead after a long illness.  It is rumored that he was smothered with a pillow while lying in bed.  Evidently, he wasn’t dying fast enough.
·         Caligula is now emperor of Rome.
·         Pontius Pilate commits suicide.
·         The future Roman emperor Nero is born.
·         It has been a year since Stephen was martyred for his faith in Jesus Christ.
·         The members of the Jewish Council who were responsible for this act had hoped that Stephen’s death would weaken others faith in Christ, if not destroy it altogether, but it had the opposite effect.  Faith in “the Way” or in Jesus Christ continued to spread throughout Judea and Samaria. 
·         Saul, a Pharisee, and believing he was working in the service of God, persecuted these believers.  Facing imprisonment and/or death for their faith, eventually these Messianic Believers fled beyond their homeland.  
·         Saul sought permission from the Jewish High Priest to search for these Believers in the city of Damascus in Syria.  If any were found, he would capture them, and return them to Jerusalem to be judged and martyred. 

 Acts 9

1: Now Saul, still breathing threats and (what’s the next word) murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,

2: and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

3: As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus (Damascus is gentile ground even though Jewish synagogues are located there), and suddenly a light from (where) heaven flashed around him; 

4: and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”

5: And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”  (Now I believe Saul had a pretty good idea who this was.  A light from heaven just knocked him off his horse.  A disembodied voice called him by name.  Think about it.  But I also believe he thinks its Jehovah (God) because his response reveals this.  A God-fearing Jew will not utter the name of God instead they will use the name Lord) And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.”

There’s a kick in the head.  The very person’s memory he had been trying to erase from the planet and anyone who confesses faith in Him is the very One he worshiped!

FYI: since Genesis 2:4, God the Son and Jehovah are One and the same. 
Jesus is Jehovah.

[Question: when Saul encountered Jesus Christ on the Damascus road, do you recall where He spoke from?  Jesus speaks from heaven.  See Psalms 110:1; Acts 1:9-11.]

Acts 9

6: but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.”
(This isn’t a request.  It’s a command.)

7: The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.

8: Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; (Saul who was fanatical  in his efforts to eradicate any and all who believed in Jesus Christ, with his “eyes” wide open, was in all actuality blind as a bat spiritually) and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus.

Jesus and Saul were contemporaries.   In other words, they existed at the same time and in the same place but more than that.  It’s quite likely that Saul had heard Jesus preach.  Hearing is not the same as seeing, and seeing is not the same as believing.  Although it’s more than likely Saul heard Jesus teach, he was obviously not a follower.  

Today we have the Word of Truth and the Lord Jesus Christ is the Author.
The risen Lord has given us sound doctrine through the Apostle Paul, and yet many
Christians, with their “eyes” wide open, choose to go their own way. 

Lest you think this is only my opinion, please allow me.  Scripture reveals truth.

II Timothy 4

2: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

3: For the time will come when they (Christians) will not endure (what) sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own (what’s the next word) desires, (you could substitute the word lusts without harming the text.)

4: and will turn away their ears from the (what) truth and will turn aside to myths (myth = a widely held but mistaken belief).

 Who doesn’t believe we are seeing this activity taking place in our homes, in our communities, in the workplace, and in our churches?  Open your eyes.

o   There are gay and lesbian pastors preaching in the church.  
o   Homosexual marriage is approved by many church denominations.
o   Contraception devices are being given to children as young as eight years old with parent approval.    
o   The divorce rate among Christians is greater than 50%.  Our children look at this figure and we question why they are disillusioned about marriage.  Consequently, they choose to live together out of wedlock because they believe that separation at some point is inevitable.  “Try it before you buy it” is their motto.
o   Many churches have “drifted” away from the doctrinal teachings of the New Testament.  Some of these churches have even denied the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, and salvation by grace alone through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. 
o   Many Christians have a “liberal” perspective on abortion.  What does this mean?

Every conception creates a human life and God loves and honors that human life and wants it to develop to its full potential.  Every abortion is tragic insofar as it ends a human life.
Every woman's life is dear to God as well.  God loves the mother as much as the child and wants childbearing to be a joy for her.  God never values the child above the mother (as most anti-choice advocates do) nor the mother above the child.

In some circumstances, bearing a child would bring great hardship to the mother and to others in her family.  In such a case, one may have to weigh whether the cost of bringing a new life into the world is justified when the impacts on other lives are considered.   This is a never a judgment to be made lightly, nor is there a simple rule one can follow, as the circumstances vary so much from one situation to another.  All things considered, in some circumstances it is better not to continue the pregnancy.  (Just as, in some circumstances it is better not to continue a marriage.)
Abortion A Liberal Christian Perspective

  • Four out of ten Christians surveyed believe that Satan is only a “symbol” for evil.         He does not exist.
  • 25% of the Christians polled believe that Jesus was a sinner
  • 40% of Christians surveyed believe the Holy Spirit is only a symbol for good.                 He does not exist
  • One out of five Christians denies the accuracy of the Bible.                                          Another 5% aren’t sure what they believe.

These folks have rejected “sound doctrine.”  They accept and believe “myths” instead.

Saul was an intelligent man.  He had the Old Testament; the prophecies included.
Saul also had the benefit of witnessing Jesus teach in public.  If he did not see the miracles firsthand, I know he heard about them. 

But Saul was blind to the truth as many are today.

2 Corinthians 4

3: And even if our gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,

4: in whose case the god of this world (Satan) has (what) blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  (Satan does exist.)

Acts 9
9: And he (Saul) was three days (There’s the number 3 again.  Jonah was a rebel.             How much time did Jonah spend in the great fish’s belly…three days is the answer.   For those 3 days Saul was) without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10: Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.”  And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”

11: And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying,

12: and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.”
13: But Ananias answered, “Lord I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem;

14: and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”

15: But the Lord said to him, “Go, (In other words, stop right there!  Do not question My authority) for he is a (what) chosen instrument of Mine, (Saul was selected by the risen Lord as He did the other apostles for His service.  The one important fact to bear in mind about Saul’s ministry is this.  Saul was chosen beyond Israel’s territory on gentile ground.  Where were the 12 apostles chosen?  I’ll let you research this one.)
to bear My name before the Gentiles (If you know you’re Bible, then you understand that this is a significant change in God’s program.  Salvation has not been preached or offered to the gentiles) and kings (this was fulfilled - Acts 25:23; 26:32; 27:24) and the sons of Israel;

16: for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
(Saul would suffer.  Some say to make up for all the harm he caused to those he persecuted.  In any case, he would eventually be martyred)

17: So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be (what) filled with the Holy Spirit.”

18: And (how soon) immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized;

19: and he took food and was strengthened.

 (to be continued)

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