Who is Our Apostle? #3

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” (Romans 11:13 KJV).

Behold, the verse that most have never noticed in the Bible!

The objection can be heard. How can Paul claim to be “the apostle of the Gentiles?” Were not the 12 sent to all nations (Gentiles)? What about what Jesus told the 12 Apostles in Matthew 28:19-20? “[19] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Indeed, but this is to be understood in light of Jesus’ words in Luke 24:46-48 and Acts 1:8.

Luke 24:46-48: “[46] And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: [47] And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. [48] And ye are witnesses of these things.” And, the companion verse, Acts 1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” The 12 Apostles were not to preach to “all nations” until they preached to all of Israel first! National, converted Israel would then evangelize “all nations.”

Scripture is clear that the 12 Apostles conducted a ministry with Israel at the forefront of God’s dealings with man. However, as we will see, Paul’s apostleship involved the fall of Israel, she no longer being at the head of God’s program for mankind. That is, rather than the 12 Apostles converting all of Israel and then all of Israel reaching the Gentiles, Paul was reaching the Gentiles without nationally-converted Israel. Hence, Paul’s apostleship should in no way be confused with the 12 Apostles’ ministry, and neither should it be seen an extension of it….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did King Saul die?

Who is Our Apostle? #2

Monday, June 26, 2017

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” (Romans 11:13 KJV).

Behold, the verse that most have never noticed in the Bible!

Friend, I will be very frank with you. If you are going to adopt the position of “every promise in the Bible is mine,” you have set yourself up for—literally—your worst nightmare. You will stumble over one Bible contradiction after another. You doubt this? Just look around at the professing church—all that spiritual confusion and impotence is because they embraced the “everything-in-the-Bible-is-mine” philosophy! Do you still want to follow through with it?

Consider this partial listing of Bible contradictions people often gripe about. Those in Matthew 5:18-19 are commanded to teach the law; Romans 6:14-15 says we are not under the law but under grace. Mark 16:16 teaches water baptism is necessary for salvation; Romans 3:28 says faith in Jesus alone, without works, is enough for salvation. Exodus 20:8-11 demands Sabbath-day observance; Colossians 2:16 says the Sabbath day is unimportant.

Genesis 17:9-14 teaches physical circumcision is necessary in having a relationship with God; Galatians 5:6 and Galatians 6:15 say God does not care about physical circumcision and physical uncircumcision. James 5:14-15 guarantees physical healing after the anointing of oil; there was neither physical healing nor anointing of oil for ill Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:23 or sick Trophimus in 2 Timothy 4:20. While this list could be expanded, there is enough here to see the “all-the-promises-in-the-Book-are-mine” mentality is utter preposterousness. There are mutually exclusive promises!

Friend, do you really want to claim all the verses in the Bible as applicable to you? If you persist, you go right ahead—no one will stop you. Still, you should be further warned that, you will eventually find yourself fallen into unbelief, waffling between “yes” and “no” on dozens of Bible issues. In fact, you give it long enough and you will throw away the Bible in exasperation! Innumerable church members have already done so, and while I urge you not to do it, you have free will and you must make a choice. You can either believe today’s Scripture, or disbelieve it….

Who is Our Apostle? #1

Sunday, June 25, 2017

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” (Romans 11:13 KJV).

Behold, the verse that most have never noticed in the Bible!

Recently, a friend in the ministry dealt with a church-going man. When she asked him who our apostle was, however, he had no idea. Rather, he said, “All 12 Apostles were our Apostles. All the Bible is applicable to us.” This is a common misconception, and unmistakable testimony that the professing Church actually does not study the Bible. They just presume to know it.

Today’s Scripture is clear that Paul is a special apostle in the Bible—he is “the apostle of the Gentiles.” Ephesians chapter 3 affirms: “[1] For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, [2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:….” Notice how Paul did not teach the same doctrine as the 12 Apostles. The “dispensation of the grace of God” was committed to him so he could give it to us Gentiles. It did not say “the dispensation of the grace of God” was given to the 12 Apostles.

Furthermore, the Apostle Peter admitted that Paul knew doctrine that he had a hard time understanding, for Paul had special wisdom given exclusively to him. Second Peter 3:15-16: “[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

In 1 Corinthians chapter 3, the Holy Spirit led the Apostle Paul to write: “[10] According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. [11] For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Notice the “wisdom” given to Paul….

The Price of Christ #2

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

“Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment” (John 12:3 KJV).

How much should Jesus Christ be worth in the eyes of Christians?

About six days before His crucifixion, Jesus is in Bethany, a town one or two miles (1.6 or 3.2 kilometers) southeast of Jerusalem. He has raised Lazarus from the dead just a short time earlier (John chapter 11), and they are holding a supper for Jesus there in Bethany (John 12:1-9). Lazarus’s sister Mary (cf. John 11:2) anoints Jesus’ feet as recorded in today’s Scripture.

Mary took a “pound” (roughly a pint or 0.5 liter) of the very intense aromatic essential oil “spikenard” and poured it onto Jesus’ feet. She then wiped His feet with her hair. (You can grasp Mary’s humility by remembering that sandaled feet that trod hot Middle Eastern sand were quite filthy, sweaty, and smelly. Can you imagine wiping your hair on those feet?)

Spikenard, whose plant derivative is still unknown, was just as the Bible says—“very costly.” In fact, when Judas—the thieving treasurer of the apostles—saw what Mary did, he bemoaned, “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” (John 12:5). Verse 6 says, “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” Judas just wanted the spikenard sold so he could pocket the money!

The word “pence” in our King James Bible means the Roman coins called denarii. A denarius was equal to one day’s wages, so 300 pence was roughly ten month’s wages (the denarius was originally worth the price of ten donkeys, so 300 pence was 3,000 donkeys!). Mary recognized the great value of the Lord Jesus Christ: He was worth far more than the mere 30 pieces of silver (three or four months’ wages) Judas later received for betraying Him. May we Christians value the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ, as much as Mary did!

Bible Q&A #370: “How could Jesus say His killers knew not what they were doing?

The Price of Christ #1

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

“And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver” (Matthew 26:15 KJV).

How much is Jesus Christ worth in the eyes of lost man?

Let us read today’s Scripture within its context: “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him” (Matthew 26:14-16).

“Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me” (Matthew 27:3-10).

The 30 pieces of silver was enough to buy a field; it was an enormous sum of money. The King James Bible does not specify what types of coins the priests paid Judas, but the “30 pieces of silver” is estimated to be the equivalent of three or four months’ wages. According to the Mosaic Law, the price of a slave was “thirty shekels of silver” (Exodus 21:32). In the eyes of lost mankind, the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ, was worth nothing more than a slave!

An Eternal House in the Heavens #2

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1 KJV).

You may not see it, but God already does!

A dear friend of mine has been entangled in the “Charismatic Movement” for years. She thus boasts of her “gift of healing.” (Her husband and one of her friends both died of cancer years back.) Afflicted by chronic illness herself, she talks about how she has visited her sick and aging friends in nursing homes, praying and “laying hands” on them to restore their health. (She still visits the same people at those same institutions!) While she has a testimony of salvation in Christ, she is a most confused lady concerning the Bible. She always seeks “signs and wonders” to know God is working.

Friends, since it has utterly failed to uphold the Word of God rightly divided, the Church the Body of Christ is largely caught up in thinking and behaving like Bible skeptics. You ask an atheist what it would take before he or she would “believe in God,” and he or she will probably reply, “If only I could see this miracle happen or that miracle occur, I would believe in God.” In other words, “I will not believe unless I see God working.” Friend, do you know anyone like that in Scripture?

Why, chapter John 20 says of “doubting Thomas:” “[25] The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe…. [27] Then saith [Jesus] to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. [28] And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. [29] Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

If only we would “believe without seeing….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What Gospel message did Lazarus believe to wind up in Abraham’s bosom?

Sifted Saints #5

Monday, March 13, 2017

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31,32 KJV).

What is Satan’s goal here?

In his final meeting with the Ephesian church elders, Paul through the Holy Spirit issued a grave warning in Acts chapter 20: “[28] Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. [29] For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. [30] Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. [31] Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. [32] And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

Notice how Satan “sifts” members of the Body of Christ by having them overlook “the word of [God’s] grace” (verse 32). Thus they follow the Law, available in many forms—that is, 38,000 denominations! Splinter group after splinter group develops, until the distinction is no longer “Christian versus non-Christian,” but increasingly “this denomination versus that denomination.” So many precious Christian souls are entangled in such confusion and division!

As Satan attempted to “divide and conquer” the Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant, so he uses a similar strategy with us the Church the Body of Christ today. Remember, he attacked the Little Flock by focusing on its chief Apostle (that is, Peter). With Peter discredited, the Little Flock would collapse. Likewise, we see Satan attacking the Church the Body of Christ by concentrating on its leading Apostle (namely, Paul). There are “doctrines of devils” today aimed at questioning Paul’s grace doctrines, Romans through Philemon (1 Timothy 4:1-16)—people using the Bible but not “rightly dividing” it (2 Timothy 2:15). With the Bible not rightly divided, the Christians are divided and conquered!