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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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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

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


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 XIII

“House Work”

Follow up to Dennis’ question: Is Christianity a religion?

This is a difficult question to answer because I wasn’t in on the original conversation.
Therefore, I’m not certain in what context the word Christianity is being used here.
But I’ll do the best I can. 

·         The word Christian is used to identify a person who follows the teachings’ of Jesus Christ.
·         Christianity” is: the religion that follows Jesus Christ’s teachings; and all Christian people considered as a group.  (two best definitions)

The answer to the question above is: Yes, Christianity is a religion, according to Webster’s Dictionary.

But there is a significant difference between a religious group and “Christianity.”
And this misunderstanding centers on God’s Grace.

What’s another word for Religion, traditions! 

My how people “love” their traditions; and they’ll fight to preserve them.
I will use the Apostle Paul and the Jews as an example. 

Paul was proud of his Jewish traditions and so were his brethren.
Truth is they should have been ashamed of them instead.  The Mosaic Law was meant to demonstrate their sinful ways, the Priesthood and the animal sacrifices their need for a Savior.  But the Jews missed the point God intended to make and instead or realizing the truth of these things the Jews took pride in them. 

Religion became a god to them.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

Galatians 1

14: and I was advancing in Judaism (religion) beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions

And:

Philippians 3

6: Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

As Saul puts it, he was just so zealous for the Jews' religion that he persecuted the church of Yahshua in order to protect Judaism from departing from the traditions of the fathers.

Saul was willing to murder people in order to preserve and to protect his “traditions.”

Religion is a system of dos and do nots with some “hope” added into the mix.

Maybe, just maybe, if you do enough down here on earth, and if you don’t break too many of their regulations and rules, god will notice and if he is having a good day he’ll let you into his heaven.  That’s religion in a nutshell. 

Oh religion is pretty on the outside and it’s meant to be just that.  They have lots of stain glass, big buildings, colorful vestments, gold candle sticks galore, incense burning everywhere, and more ceremonies than you can count.  It’s all glitz and glamour but in reality it is without substance.

"Man's way to reach God is religion; God's way to reach man is Jesus." 

For by grace are you saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  Not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.    (Ephesians 2:8-9)

What the world’s religions do not see and are therefore missing is this. 

Romans 5

8: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Bringing this behavior down to our human level of understanding, this is how much God love us (His creation), while we were yet sinners, our Creator died for us.

This sacrificial act begs the question why?  Here’s the simplified answer.
Jesus gave up His life to restore the relationship between God and His creation that was broken when Adam willfully sinned in the Garden of Eden.  In addition, Jesus death delivered the world from the curse of sin and death.

So then, we Christians, who believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried in the tomb for three days, and then rose again on the third day, according to the Scriptures, are saved based on our faith in what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross.

So this is what I mean when I say Jesus Christ is a “personnel” Savior.

2 Corinthians 5

14: For the (what’s the next word) love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for (how many) all, therefore all died (to sin and death),

15: and He (the Lord Jesus Christ) died for (how many) all, so that they might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

That’s as clear as daylight is to dark my friends.
Jesus Christ went to that Roman cross and there He suffered and died for all.

Every man, woman, and child’s sins has been paid for in full; past, present, and future.

View this concept in light of other religions.  If you look at other religions, you see gods who do not care about individuals.  In other religions the goal is to please their god(s) enough to be accepted into heaven or whatever they believe the ultimate goal is.  
The love flows in one direction: towards their god.

Jesus, however, is different.  He comes to each one of us personally. 
He speaks to each of us individually and relates to us on a personal level.

This means that he wants to know us as individuals--he wants to be loved by us as individuals.  Jesus wants to establish a personnel relationship with us as individuals.

This, ultimately, is what a relationship is the giving and receiving of mutual love and respect. 

I pray this has helped you understand the difference between being partnered with a religious group and being in a personnel relationship with Jesus Christ.

*****

 The Covenant Gospel and Paul’s Gospel of Grace – Part XIII

It’s good to have you all back here again for the purpose of Bible study.

We left off looking for “patterns” in Scripture, or similarities between Paul and another individual to see if we could find a plausible answer to these missing 3 years.

We found one in the man named Moses.
Admittedly, we didn’t get very far with this in our last lesson but let’s review:
 
·         Moses spent 40 years in the Arabian wilderness before God called him into service.
 
·         Moses was an educated man (Acts 7:22).  And a Prince of Egypt.                                But he wasn’t ready for the ministry God had planned for him.

·         The Apostle Paul spent 3 years in Arabia Wilderness. 

·         Saul was an educated man as well.  He was raised in Jerusalem and taught by Gamaliel, a doctor of the law.  Gamaliel was well respected by the people and was considered to be the greatest teacher of the law of the day (Acts 22:3).

·         Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin the same bloodline as King Saul – the first King of Israel.  FYI:  After the death of Solomon, the only two tribes who remained loyal to King David were the tribes of Benjamin and Judah (1 Kings 12:20).

·         Paul was a Pharisee; a religious leader (Acts 23:6). 

·         Despite all these credentials Paul wasn’t ready to serve the Lord Jesus Christ just like his complement Moses. 

The significance of the number (3) in relation to Paul’s calling and his ministry cannot be overlooked, in my opinion and therefore it will be considered: 
                                 
#3 = three stands for that which is solid, real, substantial, complete, and entire.

·         All things that are especially complete are stamped with this number three.
Remember this please – we’re coming back to it.

The mountain of God is located in Arabia.  It’s called Mount Sinai.
Moses

Exodus 3

1: Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  (Mt. Horeb and Mt. Sinai is the same mountain.)

2: The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.  (Skip to verse 4)

4: When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses!”   And he said, “Here I am.”

5: Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing (the entire mountain) is holy ground.”

6: He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”  Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Clearly Moses knew and understood he was conversing with His creator!
The voice coming from this bush is Jehovah!  The Great I AM of Scripture.

I need to point out at this time that the Creator God, the “I AM,” and Jehovah of the Old Testament are the Lord Jesus Christ of the New Testament. 

Some of you may not be aware of this Truth.  Let’s go to Scripture.

Colossians 1

15: He (Jesus Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

16: For by Him all things were (what’s the next word folks) created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him.

17: He is before all things, and in Him all things (read carefully) hold together.

Not only did Jesus Christ create everything seen and unseen out of nothing He “holds” it all together.  Nothing, not one star or planet is ever out of place.

A good juggler on stage may keep a half dozen items moving and in the air at any one time, but the Creator God keeps billions and billions of stars and planets up and  moving, all the time, and He’s been at it for centuries. 

So, Moses is conversing with His Creator on Mt. Sinai and there’s a good reason for this.
God has determined that now is the time to free His people from their bondage in Egypt and Moses is going to be the one to bring this message to Pharaoh.

According to God’s Prophetic Program, and this is how He chooses to deal with the nation of Israel, they would be in a land “not their own” for a period of 400 years.

And they were delivered out of slavery, as God said, 400 years to the day. 
But we should check to see what the book says.

Genesis 15

13: God said to Abram, (its still Abram.  God has not changed his name to Abraham yet) “Know for certain that your descendants will be (what) strangers in a land that is not theirs, (read carefully) where they will be enslaved and (what) oppressed (how long) four hundred years.  (The Jews became a nation while they were enslaved in Egypt.  When they left Egypt, they numbered almost 6.5 million people.)
 
14: “But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions.  (This prophecy came true as well.  Egypt paid the Hebrews to leave.  The Hebrews left Egypt with great wealth.)

This was to be Moses Mission/Ministry however you wish to describe it.
For God said:

Exodus 3

10: “Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.

As I said earlier, that’s just for starters. 
Moses “ministry” becomes more difficult as time goes on.

(To be continued)

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