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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 helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not 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, September 2, 2012

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

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 X

Saul born an Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin, speaking the Aramaic and Hebrew languages from childhood, an ardent student of Pharisaism and a strict follower of the Torah also made great advances in Judaism beyond many of his contemporaries.

This man, this persecutor of those who came to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, had a personnel encounter with this same Jesus on the Damascus road. 

After that encounter, his life and his mission were significantly changed.

Saul was converted under the Covenant Gospel in the year 37 AD (approximately.) 
We know his conversion was genuine because both his personality and his life style changed 180 degrees.  But there’s more. 

After learning the “good news,” Jesus is the Son of God; Jesus is the Messiah…, Saul then boldly preaches Jesus to his brethren in Damascus.   

Think about it.  When someone hears a piece of “good news,” do they run home, shut the doors, the windows, and then hide?  I don’t think so.  What do they do? 
They want people to know what they know!  You can’t keep good news inside you!

Our family just experienced the birth of our grand-son.  Believe me – this is good news.  AND we did not keep the information to ourselves.  We told everyone we know.

Pertaining to the gospel of our salvation, we are NOT to keep silent.
We Believers are not members of a “secret society.”   We are to “share” our faith.
Others need to hear the “good news.”  The Apostle Paul writes,

Romans 10

15Bb: “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET (nothing attractive about feet really, especially when you consider the times.  The roads were dusty, people threw their waste in the roads, and the people traveled about either barefoot or wearing sandals.  Feet were filthy; but this is about people of faith) OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS (bearing the gospel) OF GOOD THINGS.” 

According to Scripture, “confessing” our faith is an essential part of our salvation process.  What does this book say?

Romans 10

8: But what does it say?  “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART” - that is, the word of your faith which we are preaching (and not something else totally different),

9: that if you (what) confess with your mouth (read carefully) Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

10: for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the (what) mouth he (or she) confesses, resulting in salvation.

There is a process.  Clearly then, once you become a Believer, you are to tell someone.
And you keep on telling people about your faith. 

I don’t mean to say you quit your job, stand on a street corner, and hit people over the head with your brand new Bible until they pay attention to you.  But believe me opportunities will show up.  Your responsibility is to be ready when it happens. 

We know Saul was ready.  We read about his “immediate” response after hearing the gospel.  He marched to a Jewish synagogue and unashamedly told them what he knew.  He preached “Jesus is the Son of God” to the Jews.

Now I’m not going to pretend to know the mind of another. 
But I’m going to presume that after Saul met Jesus on that road he was in a state of SHOCK or something to that effect.  Think about it.   Saul had just met Jesus. 
Jesus is Jehovah…the Creator God…the God Almighty. 

This Jesus who Saul had been at war with all these years is in fact God… 
Furthermore, Saul now realizes his Savior, the Messiah, had come, and not only did he miss it (along with the majority of the Israelite nation) but they are guilty of crucifying Him.  Saul was not himself.  I think he may have been experiencing some “fear” as well.

Saul persecuted Jesus Believers.  The faces of the men, women, and children he ran to ground and returned to Jerusalem to be tried by the Jewish Council for blasphemy were also on his mind, in my opinion. 

I’m also certain he remembered the voice of Stephen whose last words were, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”  Remember, Saul stood nearby holding the cloaks of the men who were stoning Stephen to death. 
Acts 8

1: Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him (Stephen) to death.

And then there’s this…

“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”  (Acts 9:4b)
Ever have a phrase running around and around in your head?  I bet Saul did.

I don’t want to labor the point I’m making here.  I just want you to be aware that Saul wasn’t sitting there in Judas’s home those three days without a thought in his head.

I also want you to be aware that these are real people we are reading about in the Bible.  I mention this from time to time because we tend to forget this truth.
Remember, Saul was three days without sight in the house of Judas.
He neither ate nor drank during his time there.  (Acts 9:9) 
But I imagine he had plenty of time to think, in my opinion.

Acts 9

19b: Now for several days he was with (who) the disciples (not the apostles) who were at Damascus,

20: and immediately he (Saul) began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He (Jesus) is the Son of God.”  (We all know by now, if you’ve been following this teaching series, that this is the message of the Covenant Gospel which is linked to the Abrahamic Covenant.  Another point I want to remind you of is this.  You aren’t going to find any gentiles in a Jewish synagogue.)

I know what some of you are thinking?
Why did Saul preach to the Jews and not to the gentiles?

The only gospel Saul is aware of (at this time) is the Covenant Gospel.
The only people, as far as Saul knows, that God is working with are the Jews.
This is all the information Saul has to work with at this time. 

Saul is NOT aware of his special calling (ministry) to the gentiles YET.
The Lord Jesus Christ has not revealed any “mysteries” to His new apostle yet.

Let’s not get ahead of Scripture.  Let’s not put anything in there before it’s time…
Some people do…

Saul, hoping to convince his fellow Israelites that they’d missed their Messiah, but it’s not too late – went about to each synagogue in the region preaching Jesus to them.
How did they respond to this man and his preaching?

Acts 9

21: All those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, “Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them (Jesus Believers) bound before the chief priests?”
(Were they more focused on the messenger or the message would you say?)

22:  But Saul kept increasing in strength (became bolder in preaching Jesus) and confounding the Jews (clearly Saul message is intended for Jew only.  I see no indication he preached to gentiles at any time) who lived in Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ (How did Saul do this?  He used the Old Testament.  It’s all he had.)

As Saul continued to preach Jesus to these Jews in Damascus, his confidence grew and so did his faith.  I don’t think it would be too much a stretch to say the Holy Spirit was leading this man too.  But what about his audience are they being swayed by Saul’s preaching?  What does the book say?

23: When many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him,
(These Damascus Jews planned to kill Saul just as soon as they could arrange it.)

24: but their plot became known to Saul (Saul’s preaching convinced a few Jews evidently and these new disciples warned him about the threat).  They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death;
(Saul was not going to be able to “sneak” out under the cloak of darkness.  Every exit was being watched.  But these Jews did not consider Divine Intervention.)

25: but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket.

26: When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples (not apostles), but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple.

27: But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.

28: And he was with them moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord.

29: And he was talking and arguing with (both Jew and Gentile – no!  Read carefully) the Hellenistic Jews (Hellenistic Jews = Jews who adopted Roman social/community practices, the primary group that made up the Hellenists were the Sadducees); but they were attempting to (do what exactly) put him to death.

30: But when the brethren learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus.

(To be continued)

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