I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel of Christ #3

Saturday, May 12, 2012

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16 KJV).

Paul is not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ because it is so powerful that it can save anyone and everyone… from Jews who murdered their Messiah, to pagan Greeks who worshipped idols.

The Gospel of Christ, first preached by the Apostle Paul nearly 2,000 years ago, has saved millions. Paul received that special message directly from the resurrected, ascended Lord Jesus Christ: “But I certify [guarantee] you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11,12).

This Gospel of the Grace of God (Acts 20:24) has saved two groups of people: Jews who rejected and murdered their Messiah-King Jesus, and pagan Greeks (Gentiles) who, unlike the Jews, did not even have God’s Word (the Old Testament Scriptures; Romans 3:1,2). It saved Jewish Saul of Tarsus, who became the Apostle Paul, and it saved us formerly pagan Gentiles.

Although unbelieving Jews could not receive salvation in Israel’s prophetic (kingdom) program after Acts chapter 7 (cf. Matthew 12:31,32), they could receive salvation in our Dispensation of Grace, the mystery program, by trusting Paul’s Gospel, the Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Before our dispensation, salvation was almost limited exclusively to Israel (Matthew 10:5-7; John 4:22; Acts 3:22-26): non-Jews were to receive salvation in Israel’s kingdom (Matthew 25:31-34; Matthew 28:19,20).

When Israel rejected her King, her kingdom was postponed; through Paul’s ministry, salvation went to the Gentiles without redeemed Israel (Romans 11:11-13). Now, Israel’s works-religion (Judaism) is inactive. Today, God is saving Gentiles, not by their conversion to Judaism (as in time past), but by them trusting Christ Jesus as their personal Saviour; God is saving Jews, not by having them keep the Law (as in time past), but by them trusting Christ Jesus as their personal Saviour (today’s Scripture).

I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel of Christ #2

Friday, May 11, 2012

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16 KJV).

Why is the Gospel of Christ given “to the Jew first, and also to the Greek?”

From Genesis chapter 12 (Abraham’s salvation) to Acts chapter 9 (Paul’s salvation), God dealt almost exclusively with Israel. During those 2,000 years, God dealt with mankind on the basis of physical circumcision (Jew) and physical uncircumcision (Gentile) (Ephesians 2:11,12).

During these centuries, the Old Testament prophets reminded Israel of her coming King (Deuteronomy 18:15; Isaiah 9:6,7; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Zechariah 9:9; et al.). When Jesus Christ presented Himself to Israel in the Four Gospels, He came to establish His kingdom on earth, for Israel to then evangelize the pagan Gentiles (Exodus 19:5,6; Isaiah 60:1-3; et al.). Nonetheless, Israel rejected Jesus in unbelief, demanding His crucifixion on Calvary (John 19:15).

After Jesus Christ resurrected, Israel still rejected Him by persecuting and ignoring the Holy Spirit-filled twelve apostles who were calling Israel to repentance and faith (Acts 3:12-26; Acts 4:8-31; Acts 5:29-42; et al.). With uncooperative Israel finally murdering her prophet Stephen in Acts chapter 7, God turns to the Gentiles without Israel (Romans 11:11,12). The ascended Lord Jesus Christ saves Saul of Tarsus (Paul) in Acts chapter 9, commissioning him as his apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13).

From Acts chapter 9 to Acts chapter 28, Israel is “diminishing”—losing her special status before God (Romans 11:12). Thus, in the cities Paul visits in the book of Acts, God has him go to the local synagogue to preach the Gospel of Christ to Jews first: “Brethren [Jews], you have killed your Messiah Jesus, and your kingdom program is falling away, so you can only be saved now by becoming a member of the Church the Body of Christ!” Once these lost Jews refused to listen, Paul preached salvation in Christ to local pagan Greeks (Gentiles) (Acts 9:20-22; Acts 13:5, 14-52; Acts 14:1-27; Acts 17:1-34; Acts 18:1-11,18-21; Acts 19:8-10; Acts 28:20-31).

Dispensational Doctrine on Display

Thursday, May 3, 2012

“First, I thank God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8 KJV).

Why does God not immediately take us home to heaven once we receive salvation in Christ? Today’s Scripture gives us a clue.

Firstly, God has temporarily left us Christians on earth because He wants to reach the world’s lost people with the Gospel of Grace (salvation). God reaches lost people (those outside of Christ) by using Christians, those who know His Word (the Bible) and are willing to share it with unsaved, hell-bound people.

For example, God saved the Apostle Paul in order to reach us pagan Gentiles with salvation (Paul did not go to heaven until 35-plus years after salvation). Paul was sent to us Gentiles “to open [our] eyes, and to turn [us] from [spiritual] darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that [we] might receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in [Christ]” (Acts 26:18).

Secondly, God has temporarily left us Christians on earth because He wants us to reach other Christians with sound dispensational Bible study. God wants all Christians to experience the grace life, or Christ living in them (Galatians 2:20), and this only happens when we understand and believe God’s Word dispensationally.

For example, in today’s Scripture, Paul commended the Roman believers, whose lives communicated sound doctrine to the whole then-known world! The Romans believed the grace message, and then, by faith, they let God’s Word work in them (1 Thessalonians 2:13) to transform their minds (Romans 12:1,2) and then their lifestyles (Romans 6:1-23). The Thessalonian believers also had lifestyles that encouraged other Christians to pursue sound doctrine and acceptable Christian service (1 Thessalonians 1:5-10).

Lost people (and sadly, even some Christians) will never read the Bible. However, when we apply sound dispensational (Pauline) Bible doctrine to our lives by faith, these individuals will see sound doctrine in practice (see Philippians 4:9; 2 Timothy 3:10). The great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ will be glorified, for lost and saved will see dispensational doctrine on display.

Matthias or Paul? #2

Saturday, April 14, 2012

“And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:26 KJV).

We dare not deem Paul as Judas Iscariot’s replacement for three reasons. Firstly, Paul does not qualify for Judas’ replacement (Acts 1:21,22). Secondly, asserting that Paul is Judas’ replacement is a blatant denial of Paul’s unique ministry as “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13); contrariwise, the twelve were Israel’s apostles (Matthew 10:5-7; Galatians 2:9). Thirdly….

Jesus clearly stated, “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come (Matthew 12:31,32; cf. Mark 3:29; Luke 12:10).

Israel obviously blasphemed against Jesus (“the Son of man”) by demanding His crucifixion, albeit God forgives them (Luke 23:34) because in Acts chapter 2, God pours out His Holy Spirit on the apostles. If Israel rejects the apostles’ preaching in early Acts, they will blaspheme against the Holy Spirit (who is working in the apostles). In Acts chapter 7, Israel murder her prophet Stephen (who is filled with the Holy Ghost; verses 51,55).

Now, unbelieving Israel has nowhere to go (they have committed the “unpardonable sin” that Jesus predicted). According to the Old Testament, God’s wrath is nearing (cf. Acts 7:55,56; Psalm 110:1; cf. Psalm 68:1,2). One of those Holy Spirit blasphemers was Paul (Saul of Tarsus) (1 Timothy 1:13): Paul encouraged Stephen’s murder (Acts 7:58–8:3).

Matthew 12:31,32 says the Apostle Paul cannot be forgiven in Israel’s program (dispensation). In order to save Paul, God postponed His wrath and created a new dispensation, our Dispensation of Grace (2 Peter 3:9,15,16).

Jesus said the twelve apostles would rule in Israel’s earthly kingdom (Matthew 19:27,28). Matthew 12:31,32 explains that Paul can never enter Israel’s earthly kingdom (the world to come), so Paul is not one of the twelve apostles.

Behold, God’s Abounding Longsuffering!

Monday, April 9, 2012

“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (1 Timothy 1:16 KJV).

Imagine seeing the entire universe. Zooming in, we see the Local Group, a massive coalescence of dozens of galaxies. In the Local Group, we find the Milky Way, and in the Milky Way, we find our Solar System, eight bodies and their natural satellites orbiting Sun. One of these eight bodies is Earth. Earth, the “blue and green marble,” appears very peaceful and hospitable. Beware!! The chief occupants are sinners!

Our holy and righteous Creator, Jesus Christ, is currently looking down from heaven, and He sees us humans, some of the most wretched, miserable, and selfish creatures. Mankind’s sin has so complicated His simple and “very good” creation (Genesis 1:31). Earth, viewed from outer space, seems so appealing… until you consider its residents—the wicked human race. We (mankind) have caused God such indescribable grief. Once, God was so “grieved” by man’s sin that He literally sent a global flood to destroy the earth and most of the human race (Genesis 6:5-7).

We may never fully understand it, but God had such pity on us that He came to rescue from our sins. He became a Man, Jesus Christ, to save us from ourselves, to die for our sins. God even knew most of mankind would totally disregard His sacrificial death, but He had such longsuffering, mercy, and grace that He still went to Calvary’s cross to purchase our salvation. God in His abounding grace, mercy, and longsuffering is still tolerating wicked mankind.

The Apostle Paul, before salvation, was anti-God. Saul had God’s people imprisoned and/or put to death; he hated Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13,14; Timothy 1:13). And yet, as today’s Scripture teaches, God saved Saul, “shewing forth all longsuffering.” If God could save His chief enemy, Saul, and make him Paul our Apostle, and if He could save us wretched infidels who still enjoy sin, we exclaim, having eternally thankful hearts, “Behold, God’s abounding longsuffering!”

Our Gospel Hid #1

Friday, February 10, 2012

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

How does Satan, “the god of this world,” keep our gospel hidden from lost people? Does he use drugs, alcohol, fornication, and the occult? According to the context of today’s Scripture, he uses something far subtler, what you would least expect.

God’s Word exposes the heart of Satan’s policy of evil. Previously, the Apostle Paul stated that he has “renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully” (verse 2). Where was this “dishonesty” and “craftiness?” Paul explains, “nor handling the word of God deceitfully.” It was in religion! Before Paul’s salvation, he, as a Pharisee (Jewish religious leader) and participant in Satan’s religious system, had used God’s Word (of all things!) to send people to hell (Galatians 1:13,14; Philippians 3:3-7). Thankfully, Paul claimed, “Now that I am saved, I have given up that foolishness!” Sadly, today, preachers still use the Bible to guide over 100,000 people to hell every day! How?

Satan hides the Gospel of God’s Grace (what God has done for you at Calvary) by having you focus on religion (what you can do for God at church). These “ministers” (!) of Satan (2 Corinthians 11:13-15) tell you that Christ died for you, but that you need to work for salvation (Acts 15:1-5). How deceptive! They mention Christ (sounding godly), but they are totally anti-God because they exalt man’s efforts to please God (thereby ignoring the sufficiency of Christ’s finished crosswork). God warned against this “false gospel” in Galatians 1:6-9. God’s attitude toward one who preaches this heretical gospel: “Let him be accursed [removed from fellowship]!!!”

The Gospel of the Grace of God says you can do nothing, nothing, nothing to merit salvation.

Friends, either Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection are sufficient for our salvation, or He is dead for nothing (Galatians 2:16,21)!

Preach the Gospel of the Grace of God!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14 KJV).

Saints, God has entrusted us with the greatest message of all time, “the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24), so that we can preach the greatest Person of all time, Jesus Christ. “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord…” (2 Corinthians 4:5a). As today’s Scripture indicates, if the lost world is to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, they need us to first preach this wonderful message to them!

According to James 2:17-26, God had always demanded faith and works for salvation (Abraham was the one exception; Romans 4:1-5). But, when we come to Paul’s ministry in Scripture, God declares that Sabbath day keeping, water baptism, physical circumcision, tithing, and animal sacrifices are no longer required for salvation.

Today, in the Dispensation of Grace, God is not operating Israel’s works-religion. The good news of God’s grace is that we can be saved solely by God’s grace without us doing anything but trusting in Christ alone! “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). Until Paul, God had never revealed a message like our Gospel of Grace: the Gospel of the Grace of God declares what God did for you because you are unable to do anything for God. We can be saved without works today!

The Gospel of Grace is 1 Corinthians 15:3,4: …how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” Jesus Christ shed His sinless blood to pay for your sins, He was buried to put away your sins, and He was raised again for your justification (Romans 4:25). Place your faith in Christ  alone, and He will save you forever. Then, preach the Gospel of Grace for others to hear!