This video is presented by Curt Crist, pastor/teacher of ‘Welcome To Grace Ministries’: welcometograce.com
The Bible used is a King James Bible (KJV A.V. 1611). The King James Bible is NOT copy-right protected! It can be downloaded for free at: http://www.bibleprotector.com/KJB-PCE-MINION.pdf
Complete notes below, watch the bible study and read along. Enjoy!
We’ve been looking at the book of Acts in light of Paul’s statement; that believers ought to be following him today. We see that statement made more than once, we actually see it three times. Two appear in first Corinthians and we find the third in Paul’s letter to the saints in Philippi:
1 Corinthians 4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Philippians 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
Paul wants us to follow him, but for very good reason, he is the apostle of the Gentiles. He said he magnifies his office, called out by the ascended Lord of glory who continues the ministry after his ascension, to the apostle Paul for the Gentiles. Each of Paul’s statements is made within a specific context, so there’s a specific context that points to the way we’re to be following Paul. We cannot take all of these passages together and say they all point to Paul’s special or unique Gentile apostleship. Context must decide in what manner Paul would have us be followers together of him.
Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
This statement is made within a specific context; Paul would have every grace age believer follow him in the particular quest he mentions here; “pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. Paul is not talking about his unique Gentile apostleship, in verse 17. He’s not speaking of the mystery, revealed to him for grace age saints. That is not the context of Philippians 3:17, that context has nothing at all to do with magnifying Paul’s office as the apostle of the Gentiles or about the truth that had been hidden from ages and generations, until it was revealed to this new apostle Paul to proclaim it to us. Philippians 3:17 is not about making all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, and it’s not about the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery. The context of Philippians 3:17 leads us in an entirely different direction. When Paul speaks of pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus, we find the context to be the words that he spoke back in verse 10:
Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
It’s important we understand that when Paul states “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample (or pattern)” in verse 17, it’s within the context of verses 10 and 14; Christ sacrificed self for the sake of others. That’s what his death at Calvary was all about. Paul’s talking about being made conformable unto Christ’s death in Philippians 3:10.
Closely related passage to the type of sacrifice Paul has in mind in this passage sits in Romans 12:
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
This has nothing whatsoever to do with gaining salvation, or maintaining salvation. You couldn’t affect either of those with all reasonable servers you could render. Romans 12:1 has to do with the reasonable service of the believer, in light of the the service that Christ performed on everyone in the world’s behalf. It’s simply been given to man to either accept or reject what Christ has already accomplished at Calvary. The service of the believer today then, is to be based upon appreciation of what Christ has already done, and the security that we have in him, rather than apprehension based upon a supposition of what God may or may not do in the future for us. It doesn’t come as a surprise to us who understand rightly dividing the word of truth, in what Christ has accomplished for us, that many people involved in religion’s domain are dealing with God on the basis of probation, rather than salvation. Satan’s ministers of righteousness are continually offering people probation. Listen to this definition of the word probation and you tell me if religious folk, are not dealing with God on the basis of probation.
A period during which somebody’s suitability for the job or other role, perhaps heaven when it comes to religion, is being tested. Have u ever thought about God testing your suitability, to see whether or not to take you to heaven? We’ve all grown up in religion, and that’s been the idea with most of us. What do Satan’s ministers of righteousness want people to think? The idea being set forth by most, is that God is making a list and checking it twice. Where have we heard that expression before? Not just to see who has been naughty or nice, but to see who can muster sufficiently sincere sorrow for sin, that they pledge devotion to God by dedicating themselves to turn away from all sin and never commit sin again. Then God must make a decision in their minds, whether or not to save that individual. Their suitability for heaven, we might say, depends upon their turning away from all of their sins. If we will simply dedicate ourselves to no longer to sin, that’s the idea. God testing over and over again the validity of that dedication. He’ll know if we’re truly devoted to him, then God will be able to finally make a decision as to whether or not we’re heaven worthy. That’s the idea in and in most folks mind; it’s the idea being promoted by ministers of righteousness.
That’s probation, not salvation.
Your devotion to God is not what saves you and your dedication to turn from sin will not accomplish your salvation either. Nothing wrong with either one of those things, but neither will save anyone. Your heaven worthiness does not come from your devotion to God. It doesn’t come from your devotion to turn away from your sin. It comes from the all sufficient devotion of Jesus Christ on your on your behalf, when he bore your sins at Calvary, died for those sins, was buried and rose again the third day. Jesus Christ, our Savior, took the sins of the world upon himself and he was judged for those sins; past, present, future and rose from the dead, as God the Father guaranteed that his Son’s cross work satisfied his justice for all the sins Christ died for. Some will try to convince you that the word “world” there, simply means the world of some….that he only really died for some. Now, that’s great theology if you feel like you’re the one, two or the elect some.
1 Timothy 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for ALL, to be testified in due time.
He didn’t use the word “world” there, he used the word “all”, so while that’s a belief system it has no validity in Scripture. God is not testing or proving people today, in order to make a final decision as to whether or not to save them, or to keep them saved. All of the saving work that God could possibly do, he’s already done through the cross work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He now holds forth the reconciliation that Christ’s cross work accomplished, in his mind, offering man the choice to either accept or reject that gift of salvation. Again the reasonable service of the saved today, comes from an attitude of appreciation, not apprehension. Appreciation based on the reality of salvation, not apprehension based on religion’s message of probation. Presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God has nothing to do with getting saved or staying saved. It has everything to do with dying to self, in order to serve those who are already saved. It’s a judgment seat of Christ/Bema of Christ issue. It’s an issue for either the reward or a loss of reward, that will be available for believers at the judgment seat of Christ. Believers today need to understand the extent to which we serve others, is the same extent to which we serve our Savior today. It’s the same thing. In our union with Jesus Christ, God’s Son, we are the body of Christ.
Ephesians 5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
All who take God at his word concerning the all sufficiency of the cross work of his Son, are joined to the Savior, at the very point of their belief. Corporately and individually, we are the body of Christ.
Romans 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
We like to think of ourselves as being in union with Christ and the members of Christ’s body. and all that means for us, but we’re equally members one of another if we’re in the body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
If you want to serve Christ today, you’ve got to serve his body. You serve Christ today to no greater degree, than your service to the members of his body, to the member actually that you like the least, in my opinion.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Let me show you that very same Greek word translated “service” in Romans 12:1, in two other passages and you get the flavor of what Paul telling you here. First look with me at Hebrews 10:2, where the very same word is used. The context here in Hebrews, is the sacrifices offered in Israel’s day, in their year-to-year Temple worship to God, otherwise known as the divine service of the Jews.
Hebrews 10:2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
The word translated “service” in Romans 12:1 is from the same word translated “worshippers” in Hebrews 10:2. That’s because the word “service” in Romans 12:1 means “divine service”, which is what the word “worship” in Scripture is all about. “Oh, I thought that was about going some place, singing and putting your hands up in the air?!” That’s not what it’s about in scripture. Your reasonable service is your reasonable worship today, and your reasonable worship to God comes to the degree that you serve his body; wherever they are. This is no “once a day-one hour-two hour” type of thing. This an is an “everyday-all day long” type of thing, as we serve one another.
In Romans 12:1, the sacrifice of self on behalf of others, is translated “service”; the same word translated “worship” elsewhere in Scripture, so if you want to worship the Lord, you must serve his body. That’s what he considers worship.
Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
What’s the word again? Translated “worship”, the same word translated service in Romans 12:1, in connection with presenting our bodies a living sacrifice.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service/WORSHIP.
Must you be in a building on Sunday morning or any other morning, to do that? You can be anywhere at all times and worship God, because it has to do with your service to his body. If you want to worship God, you must serve the body of Christ. That’s what worship is all about in the age of Grace. God wants our worship to be horizontally oriented in this dispensation. That’s our reasonable worship today according to our apostle; the apostle Paul, and all the while the religiously oriented suppose it has to do with that make self; feel good about self. “While we’ve gone to church, we’ve raised our hands high in the air, or at least lifted them chest high, with palms raised upward for the more modestly minded, and we sung all about how we love Jesus….and we come out feeling all smug and smitten as we carry our Bibles to our cars.” All the while avoiding some of the ones who stepped on our toes, perhaps the previous week, or that we are not particularly comfortable being around. We’ve sung songs that have lifted us to the rafters, but when it comes to serving others in the body of Christ, we hang onto our druthers.
If Satan has ministers of righteousness, and Paul tells us that he does. If Satan, with his desire to be just like the most high God (not different from, but just like), is working in a realm called religion, and Paul tells us that he is. If Satan has his own gospel, a counterfeit so cleverly contrived that people link their righteousness to their religious practice, then do you not suppose that Satan would misdirect the word “worship”, to that which satisfies the emotions and self, rather than serves the brethren? I believe so! We go in needing a touch, we sing until we tingle and all under that banner labeled “worship”. The people are swaying, the bands are playing….God must really get the picture that he’s the prize package of our mind….at least today, because it’s the day that we come to worship him. Perhaps he’ll remain satisfied until next Sunday, when we return to do it all over again, and it goes on and on and on, all across the country. Understand that I’m not trying to rain on anybody’s grave, not trying to denounce folks across the land. We’re definitely not condemning music or singing (I happen to enjoy both music and singing), I just want you to understand that the concept of worship from the pen of Paul, is not how religion paints it today. I don’t believe dying to self, in order to serve another, which Paul calls are reasonable worship in the age of Grace, and which is to be conducted on a daily basis in our lives, is what some are calling worship today. If you don’t think worship, as that word is used in “religianity”, is all about serving emotions, rather than serving men, cease to singing for a time, and see if you can begin to count the empty pews. Again this is not a condemnation of music or singing, it’s about understanding worship as it comes from the pen of Paul.
Someone recently pointed me to 1 Timothy 2:8;
1 Timothy 2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
This individual said “there it is, you can read it for yourself, we’re to sing with our hands held high upward. That’s what changed my life” The the context of this passage is not singing, it’s praying, and there’s something else you might find interesting about 1 Timothy 2:8; William MacDonald points out that in the Greek there are two words which may be translated “men”. One word means ‘mankind in general’, whereas the other word means ‘men in contrast to women’. It is the second word used here, isn’t that interesting? Paul speaking specifically about men and prayer in this passage, although women can certainly pray. He’s not talking about singing at all in this passage. Isn’t it interesting that he doesn’t have to remind the women to pray?! His focus is on the men here, and understand that when Paul talks about lifting up holy hands, he isn’t telling men that they should have their hands lifted towards the ceiling, while they’re praying. That’s not his point at all. If that’s if that’s what you’ve taken from this passage, you are taking something that isn’t sitting in this passage. Paul isn’t talking about physical posture while you’re praying, he’s talking about the manner of life of the man who’s praying, when he talked about lifting up holy hands. He’s not saying “get your body in a certain position, and make sure the hands are pointed upward….and then the current can run all the way to God”. That’s not Paul’s intent here. Holy hands is used in a figurative sense in this passage with the emphasis being placed on the character of the person doing the praying, not the holiness of the of the soft tissue, the muscle, the fat, the bones, the ligaments; that form that which lies beyond our wrists.
Philippians 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
The context is Paul’s desire to be made conformable to Christ’s death. That’s the manner which we’re to follow Paul. Christ wasn’t singing on the cross of Calvary, Christ was dieing there, there’s a very real difference…
Christ was willingly giving himself on behalf of others. That’s our reasonable worship Paul tells us. He was sacrificing self for the sake of others. How often do we do that? That’s what the believer’s labor of love is all about in this dispensation, according to our apostle. It’s a BEMA-seat/judgment seat of Christ issue. You see his “follow me” statement in Philippians 3, is not about his unique and special Gentile apostleship and the mystery committed his trust for us, although it’s related in that we are to serve Christ’s body, which is our reasonable worship today. The body of Christ is indeed a part of the mystery, but Paul is not pointing out the uniqueness of his Gentile apostleship or the mystery of the a creation called the body of Christ. He’s pointing out the reasonable service of the grace age believer in this passage. The sacrifice of self in Philippians 3, is closely connected with the “sacrifice of self”-statements Paul makes in Romans 12, and that’s the context of Philippians 3, where he says “be ye followers together of me”.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
How many of us do that? Everything’s about self, it’s all about “how this makes me feel”, “how this satisfies my need”, “this fills my want” and do we not all want our want satisfied?
Measure of faith; Faith’s standard, that we put others on the throne and we take self off the throne of our lives. We see how the saints in Philippi need to become followers of Paul, in being made conformable into Christ’s death. Philippians is a rebuke epistle, gentle rebuke, but a rebuke epistle, based upon love and body truth doctrine. Let love be without dissimulation or hypocrisy. We say we love others, we tell folks “we love you”, but do we really love them when it comes to the demand that each of us make for satisfaction of self?
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Philippians 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Paul is not pointing to his unique Gentile apostleship, with his statement in Philippians 3:17, as he tells his readers to be followers together of him. He’s talking about his quest, to be made conformable unto Christ’s death; a living sacrifice for the sake of others, that unbelievers might come to understand the gospel of the grace of God, and that believers might be edified as we take self off the pedestal of our thinking, and live in service to the others, the body of Christ, around us while we’re here on planet Earth.
1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
You see these mixed bag assemblies, in Paul’s day? There was offence being taken by some.
1 Corinthians 10:33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
So again, Paul is not pointing us here, to his unique Gentile apostleship, but to his service on behalf of the body of Christ. I find it interesting that two times of the three where Paul says “be followers of me”, it has to do with service to the body of Christ. We all know that the body of Christ is a part of the mystery revealed to Paul, but the point here is not Paul’s unique apostleship, or the mystery, it’s service to the body. Am I telling you that none of Paul’s statements as to following him, are related directly to Paul being the unique apostle of the Gentiles in a previously unprophesied age of grace?
1 Corinthians 4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
1 Corinthians 4:1-2
1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
Here it is! This is the context of Paul’s unique Gentile apostleship, and the mystery committed his trust, for us today.
1 Corinthians 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
What gospel would that be, Paul? The gospel that Paul calls “my gospel” in Romans 16:25. Not the same body of good news taught to Israel. This is Paul’s unique good news message for the age of grace.
Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
Not according to prophecy or the searchable riches of Christ, but according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret since the world. Paul did not preach the gospel of the kingdom during his earthly ministry. What did Paul preach? Christ died, was buried, and rose again from the dead, but that wasn’t the gospel of the kingdom. That wasn’t the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. What was that good news? The kingdom of heaven is at hand, repent and be baptized; “change your minds Israel, you’ve never gained your righteousness through that contract (the law). Change you minds about that and confess you’ve not done that! The kingdom is within your reach.” That’s the gospel of the kingdom, and Paul didn’t preach that. Paul taught that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day, and that would be common to both programs. If you want to see where your gospel is, if you want to take people to what the Bible presents to them as the good news from God to them, take them to 2 Corinthians 5:18-19. You couldn’t take them to better two verses. This is the two verses to always begin with, when you’re dealing with people that you don’t know whether or not they’ve accepted what Christ accomplished for them at Calvary:
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ [at Calvary, God was God and is God], reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them [Why not? Because he imputed them to his Son.]; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Is reconciliation past tense, present tense or future tense in that passage? I think it’s obvious to all of us that had any English here, it’s past tense. The vast majority of Christendom so called today, thinks he is imputing their trespasses unto them and they hope that that time will come in their lives, when the good things will outweigh the bad, and possibly they’ll make heaven. If they could just get God to forgive the sin in their life, if they could just get God to forgive the new sin in their life, they could keep in good stead with God, but the fact is God is imputing how many sins of the world today?! If you believe what the Bible tells you, he’s imputing no sin to anyone today! Why? He imputed all sin to the person of his Son. The issue is not your sin, the issue is whether or not you will accept what Jesus Christ, the Son, accomplished for you at Calvary. That’s the issue on the table of God’s justice today.
SUMMARY REVIEW OF THE BOOK OF Acts (starting at 32 minutes)
Acts is an account that covers a period of some 30 to 32 years, not written about the events on specific day, or month, or even one-year. It covers a span of 30 to 32 years. Dr. Luke wrote around the close of Paul’s ministry, somewhere around A.D. 65. He has previously written the gospel bearing his name, around A.D. 63, according to Usher’s dating. Keep in mind, because this is a point that’s often forgotten; Luke was not a member of the 12 apostles, as most want to believe. We see Matthew-Mark-Luke-John, so we assume that he is. It’s often taught that he was a Gentile, but other scholars say that he was just like Paul; Jewish. We are not told when Luke came to believe, but it really doesn’t matter. Luke was a traveling companion of our apostle Paul and when Paul wrote the last of his epistles; his second letter to Timothy (that finished off his writings), Paul said “only Luke is with me” (2 Timothy 4:11) I think it’s very fitting; Luke was a medical doctor, and with all the apostle to the Gentiles had to undergo, that the Lord afforded Paul with a doctor as a traveling companion. It’s interesting that we find the parable of the fig tree, in the gospel bearing Luke’s name. In that parable we know that God was giving Israel a one-year extension of mercy, to produce the righteousness that the law contract called for, indeed that Israel had sworn they would do. According to Usher, that parable was given in A.D. 33, at the close of Christ’s earthly ministry. It really makes no difference when you date the close of Christ’s earthly ministry, you’ll find chronology all over the board today, with everyone trying their hand at it. Understand if you push back the date of the close of Christ’s ministry, you have to push or pull everything else back accordingly. If we go by Usher’s dating, Israel’s one-year extension of mercy to be dealt with on a national level; as a holy nation, as a kingdom of priests, that extension of mercy came to completion at or shortly after the stoning of Stephen. I for one believe Paul was on his way to Damascus, from that stoning, when the ascended Christ encountered him on that road. According to Usher, Saul was saved the very same year that Stephen was stoned; A.D. 34. This validates Paul’s statement in
1 Timothy 1:16 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.
We’ve used the culmination of that one-year extension of mercy to Israel nationally; the parable the fig tree in the book of Luke. We held that alongside Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks of years, the time remaining in that program where God would deal with Israel as a nation. We tied that with the Leviticus 26 curses promised Israel. We put all of those things alongside Paul’s statement in 1 Timothy 1:16, and we concluded that the body of Christ program, which God planned before the foundation of the world, began with the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, on his journey to Damascus. There are those who say the body of Christ program didn’t begin until Acts 13;
Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
The only problem that I find with that view, is Usher’s dating. If Usher is correct, this separation in Acts 13 took place around A.D. 44, some 10 years after Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. We have a problem with the one-year extension of mercy do we not? That certainly changes the one-year extension to Israel nationally, in Luke 13. It changes Daniel’s 70 weeks of years; Which would have to mean that Daniel lied; Which would have to mean that Gabriel lied to Daniel; Which would have to mean that God lied to Gabriel. I don’t think any of that took place! I think when he said “let it alone this year also”, it went that year also, and it concluded with Paul’s journey on the road to Damascus, when the ascended Christ called out Paul and converted Paul. Paul took Christ at his words there, on the road to Damascus, and something brand-new began, called the body of Christ. God dealing with all men alike today on the same footing. Makes no difference where you’re from, nationality, whether you are male or female. All must come alike today, according to belief in what Paul calls his gospel; that God was in Christ reconciling the entire world to himself, not counting men’s sins against them. Why again? He counted them against his Son, and he’s given us that message to take to the world. The world thinks he is counting their sins against them. They say “well, if you don’t lose your salvation, you lose your fellowship, and you don’t wanna lose your fellowship because if you do you’ll lose your fellowship, you might lose your blessings, and if you lose your blessings, you might even get some spankings”…..
My fellowship was not established with God Almighty based on my performance, commitment, abstentions and promises. My fellowship with God Almighty was based on my union with his Son, that took place the moment I took God at his word concerning what his Son accomplish for me, at Calvary. I’m joined to his Son. The Bible tells me I’m complete in him, could I lose my fellowship being complete and hid in Christ?! I think not. The only thing I could lose would be my understanding of that, if I got into some false teaching, but I couldn’t lose the fellowship, because my understanding doesn’t take me away from Christ. I’m in Christ according to having previously believed Paul’s gospel, so I cannot lose my fellowship. If he’s not counting sins against me, I cannot lose my fellowship for another sin. Not only that, I cannot lose my blessings, because God has already poured them all. How many blessings do we have according to the apostle Paul?
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with ALL spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
We’ve been blessed with ALL spiritual blessings in heavenly places; in the place of our citizenship which is heaven. We’ve already been blessed with all those blessings, we’ve simply not, in most cases, come to learn what they’re all about, but we’ve been blessed with them already, according to Paul. Now, if I’ve been blessed with all spiritual blessings, how many do I stand to lose? None! See how all of that collapses, when I accept this idea of conditional forgiveness/forgiveness on the installment plan; a little forgiveness here, a little forgiveness there, the need for new forgiveness for new sin. That’s the atonement program of Israel, not the reconciliation program of the body of Christ! We need to understand that forgiveness was all upfront and all-inclusive. It took place when Christ said that it is finished. God knows about it, and he wants us/humankind to know about it, because they think he’s alienated from them, in his mind, when they sin. He put all that sin on his Son long before those people were ever born, and now he wants them to accept that reconciliation. God is not holding or charging that sin to their account.
If I were in a depression and I was hungry, and I came to you and you owned a grocery store, and I said “I know you love me and my family, we would go way back and I need some groceries because I’m hungry, would you keep a tab for me?” If you said “I’ll keep a tab for you….a small tab for you”, and I brought you my bag of groceries and my little grocery list. You began to fill the groceries from the shelf; the flour, sugar and maybe some eggs, whatever you put in the bag, and you’d send me on my way, but you were keeping a tab for me…and would I one day to be expected to pay that tab?! This is how religion paints how God’s dealing with men today, but 1 Corinthians 5:18-19 says he’s not reckoning it to your account. God is not keeping a tab! If someone else came into your store and said “don’t keep a tab for [your name] any longer, give him everything free, shower him with whatever he wants, put it in the bag, here’s all the money up front”. Would you be just in charging me with that tab later on? Is that not how religion thinks God is dealing with them?!
God is keeping a record of every word, thought and deed to hold against those who refuse to believe him?! I say that’s not the case. I don’t see that Scripture. He cannot be keeping a record of every thought, word and deed, if he’s not reckoning it to your account. Why? Because every thought, word and deed that was miss word, thought and deed went on to his Son. His Son paid for it, satisfied his justice for it, died for it, put that out of God’s sight forever and rose again. If you want God to view you today, you got to be in his Son. How can you get into his Son, and have all of his righteousness freely imputed to your account? By simply taking God at his his word, concerning what his Son accomplished for you at Calvary. It’s as simple as that, and it requires nothing more than that you saying “I’m taking my stand where God takes his”. When he says he’s satisfied with what Christ did for my sins, when Christ died for them all your sins were all future. When God says he took all of your sins, and placed them on his Son, when you say “I’m going to take my stand there” = Saved! Not only saved from all those sins, you’ve already been saved from (Son issue, not sin issue), you’ve accepted your salvation at that point. At that very point, he’s not going to allow anything to mess with your mind and change your thinking. He seals you with the Holy Spirit of promise, until that day when you get your new body. You are sealed with the Holy Spirit, you won’t break God’s seal.
You’re maybe familiar with men breaking seals that were performed by man. You’ll never break God’s seal; you’re saved forever when you take God at his word, concerning what Christ did for you at Calvary.
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
So if we go to A.D 34, the 1-year extension where God was dealing with the nation Israel, promising them a land and a piece of real estate, Israel as a nation is off the table. Now God can deal with Jews and Gentiles alike, all on the same level, Israel not sitting at the head any longer. One day in the future she will be, we’ll be out of here before that takes place, but right now in the age of Grace, God is dealing with everybody alike. If we go beyond A.D 34, we’ve done a terrible injustice to many scriptures; to those four accounts that have much involved with them: Leviticus 26, Daniel 9, Luke 13 (the parable of the fig tree) and Paul’s statement in 1 Timothy 1:16.
Nothing new began at Pentecost, where the body of Christ is concerned, because the body of Christ wasn’t in existence. When did Pentecost take place? Acts 2. Where was Paul converted when Israel’s program was finally put on the shelf, in A.D 34? Acts 9, you’ll read about the conversion of Paul, so don’t go to Pentecost to start something new, called the body of Christ. Why would folks go there for the beginning of the body of Christ? Because the Holy Spirit was promised and came at Pentecost, but did he come within or upon at Pentecost? Always it’s up on at Pentecost; empowering those folks to go through the next thing on their prophetic calendar, which was the tribulation and entrance to their promised earthly kingdom. The Holy Spirit came upon those folks.
John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
The Holy Spirit shall be in those kingdom saints day future, but today he’s in us, so that didn’t begin at Pentecost; Israel’s high holy feast day. That began later at another time, so at Pentecost Israel was still the focus nationally. Read through Acts 2, and you’ll see that as a nation Israel was at the head. The issue was still that earthly kingdom promised those folks, and the land promised to that nation, who would become a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. In Acts 2 you’ll see devout men, meaning Jews and Gentile proselytes to Judaism, from every nation under heaven, dwelling at Jerusalem for Israel’s high holy feast day; that feast day known as Pentecost. After Pentecost, in Acts 3, Peter is speaking to those same men; the men of Israel and of Judea, telling them if they only change their minds (repent) about the source of their righteousness. What had they sworn again? They could earn their righteousness through their performance, when God put them under a law contract.
Deuteronomy 6:25 And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us.
God was teaching them through their history “you’ll never earn your righteousness through your performance, you must cast yourselves upon me, not upon yourself”. Place no confidence in your flesh. How much confidence did Paul place in his? Not one bit. The issue at Pentecost is still Israel in Acts 3. Peter tells Israel; “if you’ll change your minds” (and he’s talking about the source of their righteousness never being the law) “if you change your minds about that, God will send your Messiah back to you, and the times of refreshing; the millennial reign can be yours. It could be in your grasp once again, if you’ll change your mind” Peter was in a very real sense digging and dunking, trying to get Israel to change their minds in Acts 3. Israel’s national and her religious leadership were one and the same, and that entire year from the parable that Christ gave in Luke 13, Israel had to change their minds about the identity of their Messiah, which takes us to the indictment delivered in Acts 7 by Stephen, as he surveys that nation;
Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
He wasn’t talking to a new body of Christ; a new church; the church for the age of Grace. He was still talking to Israel in Acts 7. Saul did not know, at the time of his conversion on that road to Damascus, just what he would be dispensing, because those revelations would begin to come to Paul. Remember he was given a thorn in the flesh, lest he be lifted up with over abundant pride at these revelations that Christ was giving him, to relate to the Gentiles;
2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
Paul spent a number of years (most scholars say three years) in Arabia, after he was converted;
Acts 9:31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
What churches?! The kingdom churches, that were now meeting publicly, and walking in fear of the Lord. These folks could come out of hiding now. They had to hide when Saul was persecuting them, searching them out, going with letters from the high priesthood of Israel to have them sought out and whipped and stoned. Dragged out of their places of worship, taken to Jerusalem. Some of them to be put to death. You wouldn’t be sitting in a sanctuary, as a Jewish believer in Paul’s day, before he was converted on the road to Damascus. You’d have to hide to do what you were doing, because Paul was searching them out, and having them either whipped or slain. They were in hiding, now they could come out of hiding. The kingdom saints could now worship openly, as that word was used in their religion. They could meet publicly without fear of Saul searching them out, for the purpose of having them hailed as the Bible says. Thrown in jail/prison or worse; put to death. God is through striving with Israel nationally, at this point in time. He’s through striving with their religious leadership, but he’s not through with individual Jews He’s going to try to reach them to become members of the body of Christ. Individual non believing, but very religious/devoutly religious Jews that had not accepted their Messiah. Now he’s going to go after these folks, through the apostle Paul, and those who take God at his word through Paul will become members of the body of Christ.
We see Peter, while Paul is in Arabia, healing a man called Aeneas;
34 And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.
35 And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him [Aeneas], and turned to the Lord.
It’s interesting that nothing at all is said here, about being baptized for the remission of their sins, and nothing is said here as to Peter
preaching to these folks either. No preaching of salvation or baptism!
36 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.
37 And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.
38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.
Where was Paul?! He was still in Arabia at this point in time.
39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.
40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.
Look closely, see if you can find any mention whatsoever of anyone being baptized for the remission of their sins, in this account, or if Peter is preaching a message of salvation to anyone at all?!
42 And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord. [Peter had to do it.]
Do you see any mention about being baptized for the remission of their sins? Do you see any mention of Peter preaching the message of salvation; that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not counting their sins against them? You do not because it is not sitting there. You simply find people turning to the Lord, in response to a miraculous event. The fact in both instances of Aeneas and Tabitha, is that the story relates nothing of Peter’s preaching a salvation message to Jews and Gentiles proselytes to Judaism. You find nothing of Peter preaching salvation to anyone at all! That doesn’t come until Acts 10, when Peter receives the vision teaching him not to call unclean, that which God had already cleansed.
Acts 10:15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
Where does God send Peter? To the house of Cornelius, to the man named Cornelius.
Acts 10:28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
It’s here that the apostle Peter is given the sign necessary for the apostles at Jerusalem, to confirm the ministry of the apostle Paul. Peter was a kingdom saint; a member of that land promise, and God gave that kingdom saint a sign, that he was dealing differently with men at that period of time. Don’t look at Peter and say “it’s Peter so it has to be a kingdom program salvation” or “it’s a message that we don’t hear from Paul, so it has to be a kingdom program salvation”. Not so! God was dealing differently among men and Peter was simply given to see that. Evidence that God is working differently among men, and that Cornelius event proves that to the apostle Peter. In Acts 11 we find those who were scattered abroad, preaching the word to none but under the Jews only. The account says they were preaching the Lord Jesus. Obviously they knew nothing of the mystery, but does that really matter to become a member of the body of Christ? What were they preaching about the Lord Jesus? That he had died, was buried and rose again, and that’s all men were called upon to believe, prior to Paul getting the revelations from the ascended Christ to further that message, concerning the age of Grace.
We see Paul visiting three different areas: Asia first, then Greece and Macedonia, and finally Rome. In each area he goes to unbelieving, but devoutly religious, Jews. He preaches his message, the majority of the Jews chasing him away, and he he says “lo, I turn to the Gentiles” (a statement he made three times; Acts 13, 17 and 28) and he then preaches to Gentiles his saving message, and they all become members of the body of Christ assemblies, in those three areas.
Thank you for joining with us in your endeavor to discover the truths in God’s Word. Pastor and teacher Curt Crist and the entire fellowship of Welcome to Grace Ministries, would like to thank you for your support of this ministry of Grace. If you’re enjoying the teachings and want to share with others, please write us at: Welcome to Grace Ministries, P.O. Box 90, Penrose, North Carolina 28766. You may call us toll free at 877-770-7098 or visit us on the web at http://www.welcometograce.com. Again, thank you for joining us, and we look forward to hearing from you.