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#119 ACTS AND THE MIRACULOUS [CURT CRIST]

10 Apr

Hey.

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

E-SWORD (Bible application)

Complete notes below, watch the bible study and read along. Enjoy!

Daniel,

youtube.com/romansthruphilemon

PLAYLIST: #116-119: UNDERSTANDING THE BOOK OF ACTS

#119
ACTS AND THE MIRACULOUS [Curt Crist]

Join us for ‘Welcome to grace’, where we will discover together the distinctiveness of Paul’s Apostleship, through the rightly divided word of truth. Now, join pastor and Bible teacher Curt Crist, as we explore the unsearchable riches of Christ!

Our text for our study today will come from chapter 15, verses 15 through 23, in the book of Romans. We’re jumping away from Philippians and Acts. We’re in the book of Romans, we’ll read the entire passage to get the overall view and then we’ll start our study.

Romans 15:15-23
15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,
16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.
18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,
19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:
21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.
22 For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.
23 But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you;

When we go through the epistle here, verse by verse, we come to those sections where it seems there’s so much detail, but this detail here pertains to what what Paul was doing in the book of Acts. It jumps out at us, because we see why some of the things are taking place in the Acts period.
How many have had the opportunity to help with put out a brush fire? I [Curt] remember those days (this was long ago for me, as I was growing up, about 10 years old, and we lived in a town called Zephyrhills, Florida. Brush fires were a common thing. Somebody would go out, and they would burn the garbage, and wind would come up…flat land and plenty of dead brush and before long it was out of hand and everybody was running to grab a broom, a towel, whatever they could find help to put out that brush fire. It would happen, and it would happen quite often, and then before long the fire trucks would come in, they would help also. Anything to keep that fire from spreading, because there was nothing in its way but dead brush. The interesting thing about trying to fight a brush fire, is that they would run along in front, the fire truck would arrive and they’d hit the patch in front of where all the men were lined up putting out the fire, but as soon as you moved on, just a little ways, what would happen? You would be looking back (I understand it’s the same thing that happens with large forest fires today) and what you thought was put out, has jumped up again, and now somebody is having to run back and put out a new brush fire and to get that fire under control. So it was always someone’s responsibility to keep an eye out behind them. What’s happening behind us? Is there a flare up that we need to take care of. Most pastors can tell you today, (I [Curt] can certainly attest today) that putting out hot spots, as we would call them, is one of the occupational hazards of the ministry that we have, as ambassadors of grace. There’s an occasional need to put out a brush fire too. One pastor said “I spend a lot of time putting out fires. I try to help solve a little problem here, or a little problem over there, and I think I’ve taking care of it. Well, back on track again and just when I began working in a different area, I find that the first problem I thought had been resolved has popped up all over again.” How does this play into what we’ve been looking at so far, in the study of the book of Acts and Paul’s statement…three times; ‘be followers of me’? Well, the Apostle Paul had his share of brush fires. When you go through an epistle (verse by verse) and you come to see those sections where it seems ‘you’ve already covered much of the detail, sitting in those sections’. Some folks say “well, have we not covered that already?” or “you’re repeating yourself here and there”. It’s because brush fires keep cropping up, when it comes to the people who hear our message, just as they did in Paul’s day. “What about this, what about that passage, what’s happening here, what’s happening there?” It’s interesting, and not only interesting, but crucial that we understand why things are happening and taking place in the book of Acts. Well, this is one of those passages we’re looking at today. We’ll try to glean all we can from the seven verses here, and see what’s happening. Paul is putting out what we might call hot spots. He’s back trying to get the blaze under control. Based upon what we’ve seen so far, he found it necessary to fight these brush fires, concerning his unique ministry and message in the age of grace, over and over again. God gave to Paul a special ministry and God is validating it, through Paul and the things that Paul is doing. Paul is having to repeat himself as to his unique role and ministry in the age of grace. Paul is grabbing what I call the doctrinal extinguisher, to challenge that had sprung up regarding the authority of his apostleship. God validated Paul’s apostleship. God made it easy for the folks to see, during that Acts period, the validity of Paul’s ministry and message, so Paul grabs the canister, he has got the canister in hand here; doubt quenching foam of the truth we might call it, and he’s ready to spray it on these hotspots that have come up.

Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

Jesus Christ came in relation to God’s program and plan with Israel, for the earth. He came confirming those promises to the fathers. He was a Jew under Law and he came in connection with the Jews under law, teaching them what they had not gained through their performance, which was righteousness. He was pushing them forward to understand that truth, and confess that they had never earned their righteousness through their performance. When we come to Romans 15:8 we see Paul saying “ Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” . That goes hand-in-hand with Christ’s statement in;

Matthew 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

In contrast to that now, after the Jewish nation rejected their King (we’ve been watching it in Acts), God in his grace set that program on the shelf. He didn’t do away with it entirely, he just pushed it forward, he postponed it. He set it on the shelf for a time, and he reached out to the leader of the rebellion against him; Saul of Tarsus, and he saved him. He made him to be a minister, and he calls himself the minister of the uncircumcision (I should say the Holy Spirit called Paul that). Notice the contrast in verse 16, where Paul says;

Romans 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

The gospel of God, not the good news of the impending kingdom, not the gospel of the kingdom. That program had been pushed aside.
What was the gospel of God? Jesus Christ was alive; he had risen from the dead! They had crucified him, he had died, he was buried, he had risen from the dead. He was the Son of the living God. The deity of Jesus Christ.

On the one hand, Christ ministered to the Jews. That was during his earthly ministry, but they rejected their land and the kingdom that was promised to them, and now God begins a brand-new program, with a brand-new apostle; the apostle Paul. That’s where we find ourselves in verse 16 here. Paul has begun to apply the canister of the truth of his unique and special Gentile apostleship, and he’s doing it in one of the epistles that he wrote during that Acts period. In the next three verses, 17 through 19, the doctrine that is going to come out of this fire extinguishing canister, we could say, is doctrine that concerns Paul’s power. Where did he get the power to perform his ministry?

Romans 15:16-18
16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.
18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,

Based on Paul’s special commission, which he described in verse 16, he now goes on to give the reason that he has to glory, or to boast. Verse 17; “I have whereof I may glory”, in other words; “I have something special to boast about, I have a reason to boast”, but what does he have to boast about?

17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which [“I have personally accomplished”. Is that what it says? Is Paul boasting about his own personal achievements here in this passage? Not what the verse states at all. Paul had a reason to boast alright, but notice why:] pertain to God.

You see, this has nothing to do with the power of Paul, but with the things which were accomplished through Paul, by someone else. Who was that someone else?

Romans 15:18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,

So Paul is de-emphasizing himself here, believe it or not. We tend to hang on to Paul; his ministry and message, we hold fast to the form of sound words that he taught teaching us, the Gentiles in an age of grace, a new dispensing given him by the ascended Lord of glory. We got to be very careful, because we will be accused of this, of not elevating Paul the man, of not worshiping Paul the man, of not being more desirous of Paul the man, than we are of being desirous of knowing our Savior in heaven. A lot of people do that, they say “I wanna go where Paul was”, and I’ve thought that myself, you know, no desire really to go Israel where Jesus walked. “I want to go where Paul walked”, but Paul did nothing that the ascended Christ did not empower him to do, and give him to do, in his unique ministry among the Gentiles. So the elevation is still of our ascended Lord of glory; Jesus Christ. Paul is de-emphasizing himself here, but he’s emphasizing Christ. He’s pointing them to the power behind his ministry, that’s what he’s doing here. Since they’re questioning his apostolic authority, he’s redirecting them to the power source of his ministry. After all his ministry had not been his idea, it had come from Christ himself, and there’s something else sitting here as well;

Romans 15:18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me [….“and the twelve before me”. Is that Paul’s statement? No, he doesn’t say that either.], to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,

Paul is distinguishing between what Christ had wrought through him, and what Christ had been accomplishing or had accomplished through the 12 before him. So in other words; “I’m not going to talk about the accomplishments of the other apostles. I’m not going to talk about what they were doing or why they were doing it. Why not? Because he’s emphasizing his own distinctive ministry and message; his apostleship. Now on what basis do we say that?

Romans 15:19
19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

2 Corinthians 12:11-12
11 I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.
12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

In both passages Paul mentions mighty signs and wonders; the miraculous, but here in Romans 15 he says; “I’m not going to glory, or talk about the things that were wrought through others. Those mighty signs and wonders were different, they came from different people for a different purpose. I’m only going to glory in the things which Christ had wrought through me”. Because Paul is proud of himself? I think we all know better by now. Not because of that at all, but because he’s proud of the unique and special apostleship to which he had been called. A special office. Paul had a distinct ministry and he’s emphasizing his ministry in Romans.

Romans 15:20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:

The 12 had preached Christ according to his kingship over Israel, and in connection with that land; the promised kingdom where the king would be ruling and reigning. Paul was preaching Christ according to the revelation of the mystery. Two quite different things! Two totally distinct and unique aspects of the very same foundation, the foundation behind both of those things: Jesus Christ. Now understand though, one being Christ as King of the earthly kingdom, and in connection with the land promised Israel. The other being Christ as head of the body, head of those with a heavenly citizenship. That would be believers of the age of grace. Same foundation; Jesus Christ, the foundation of both programs, but two distinctive and special aspects of that same foundation. Paul’s point is the that he never built upon the foundation that the 12 before him had set forth. That had not been Paul’s commission. In other words, he never went to kingdom saints, trying to convert those who had accepted Christ as Messiah, trying to convert those who were part of that earthly kingdom promised in that land, over into body of Christ Saints. There’s a very real good reason why the body of Christ is never called the bride of Christ in scripture, why you never see the bride of Christ mentioned by the apostle Paul. There’s a difference, but that’s another study. Paul never went to try to convert believers, those who accepted Christ’s Messiah ship, and change them over to body of Christ Saints. You don’t see him going to synagogue for that purpose. Paul went there to find unbelieving Jews where he could lay his foundation; according to the revelation of the mystery.

1 Corinthians 7:17-18
17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.
18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.

This has to do with what was going on with those who were obeying the law, during the Acts period, who were part of Paul’s assemblies. It also has very much to do with kingdom saints not being converted over into the body of Christ assemblies.

1 Corinthians 7:19-20
19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.
20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

Why?

It was not Paul’s purpose to preach to circumcision saints. Keep in mind that folks of both programs were living at the time Paul was writing these things. People who had been born under that law program were still alive. People who had been part of the earthly kingdom program were still alive. The earthly kingdom saints marching in place, in a sense, because their program nationally had been put on the shelf. Paul was not interested in reaching the circumcision saints with his message, not at all. The unbelieving of Jewish heritage, those folks were up for grabs as far as Paul was concerned, so Paul could try to bring them to a point of belief, and he did that. It was the first group he always approached when he went on his office journeys, but never did he try to make kingdom saints out of these unbelieving Jews he ministered to during the Acts period.
His interest was that he might might save some of them, as he said, that’s what they wanted to find. He wanted to find unbelieving Jews, who he could convert into body of Christ saints. That they might become members of his program, the program he was commissioned to lead. That’s his point in Romans, he’s saying “I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ had not wrought through my ministry”. Now there was another point here that can be made. Not only was Paul only reaching unbelieving Jews, not Jews of another program, but the purpose was for winning some of these unbelieving Jews over through jealousy. Things were happening to the Gentiles that were supposed to be happening to the Jews. This had been part of Peter’s program with the Jews, now some of these things were not only validating who Paul was and his apostleship, the Gentiles were saying “we’ve got to follow Paul, because his apostleship is being validated by the Holy Spirit”, not only that, but Jews where these things were supposed to be occurring and were not any longer, in connection with them getting their land, could be jealous that the Gentiles were being given what rightly belonged to the Jews. Not their land or their promise of an earthly kingdom, but some of the spiritual benefits that had belonged to the Jewish program.

Now, in the last half of verse 18, Paul gives his goal and his mission. He’s telling us why Christ had wrought these things through him.

Romans 15:18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,

“To make the Gentiles obedient”…now that’s an interesting statement. Obedient to what? What is it that Paul was trying to get the Gentiles to obey? Did you know that Paul identifies this very clearly for us here? Most folks would think “the law, he’s trying to get the Gentiles be obedient to the law”. Not at all! Paul explains very clearly what he wants them to believe and to be obedient to.
In Romans 1 and 16, Paul tells us what he wants the Gentiles to obey. It’s very important to see this, because there are a lot of folks, as I said, who would say “let’s obey the word of God”, but they don’t bother to identify what portion of the word of God is meant for their obedience. They just lump it all together, and they come out with some sort of convoluted conglomeration of two very different programs, mixed altogether. Paul doesn’t make a mistake here, he very clearly identifies what the Gentiles are to obey.

Romans 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

For obedience to what does it say here? For obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name. When you see the definite article “THE faith”, Paul has a specific belief system in place. He’s not talking about faith in general. He’s not talking about believing that there was a man named Jesus Christ. Paul identifies two things here “by whom we have received grace”. What kind of grace? We know from Paul’s other writings, he’s talking about the distinctive grace that was given him. What grace is it Paul?

Ephesians 3:2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

Not only was a special dispensation committed to Paul, he was given that unique and special apostleship concerning that special dispensing, that he was to be doing. He mentions both there in Romans 1! So what does he want the Gentiles to be obedient to? THE faith! What he’s telling us here, is that we Gentiles in this dispensation are to obey that message of grace that was given to Paul for us. We’re to obey the message of grace that Paul preached. That’s why Paul said numerous times “be ye followers together of me”. That’s what we’re to obey.

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,

This is the unique truth for this age! It’s called the mystery/ the secret.. Paul called it ‘the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery’.

Romans 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

It was always the obedience of faith! It was never anything other than the obedience of faith. It wasn’t obedience to the law of Moses, in order to get those folks saved. It was simply the obedience of faith; it was taking God at his word. It has always been taking God at his word, but if God told you to do something to prove that you are taking him at his word, you would definitely do that thing. Today he’s telling us;

Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

God is not giving you things today, in order for you to have an opportunity to prove or disprove that you’re taking him at his word. Today our service comes not out of apprehension to any of those things. Our service today comes based solely on our appreciation for what Christ has already done. Christ fulfilled the law for us, so we are identified with the righteousness of Christ the moment we take God at his word; obedient to the faith, concerning what Christ accomplished on our behalf. Paul called it the ministry of reconciliation. We should all understand what it is. God is reconciled where the sins of the world are concerned. Why? Because he imputed those sins to Christ, that all who would believe what he imputed to Christ, that that resolved the sin issue forever, would be joined to the person of his Son and have his righteousness freely counted to them, or imputed to their account. That’s what we are to obey today; the obedience of faith, the message committed to the apostle of the Gentiles, the apostle Paul. Paul was given that unique body of truth for the age of grace. So you see, when Paul talks about his task here, in chapter 15, as that of making the Gentiles obedient, he’s not talking about obedience to the law of Moses. He’s talking about obedience in regard to his special unique message and apostleship. He’s not talking about obedience to all the Old Testament rules and regulations, or obedience to the religious rituals and practices connected with God’s program with the nation Israel, in connection with their promise of the land. He’s talking about obedience to the Pauline Revelation. Now, in verse 18 and 19, Paul gives three methods that he used to lead the Gentiles to obedience; to believe in his unique apostleship and message.

Romans 15:18-19
18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,
19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

There they are, the three things the Holy Spirit, through Paul, used as validations of his ministry. First of all he said by word, now what would that mean? Well, this would have to do with Paul’s preaching, teaching and proclamation of the revelations he was receiving from the ascended Christ. See how Paul is extinguishing a possible brush fire here, as far as his unique apostolic authority is concerned. That’s his point. He went from town to town proclaiming the truth, that was committed to him by the ascended Lord of glory. Part of becoming obedient is hearing the word of God.

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

That’s why I like to use a lot of scripture in my teaching. It’s the word of God, that does the work of God! It’s the word of God that effectually works in the believer, who takes it in and accepts it as true. The fact of the matter is, the more we’re exposed to the word of God rightly divided, the more we become established or built up in faith. That’s what Paul meant by making the Gentiles obedient by word. Now let’s say somebody receives the word, they understand Paul’s unique ministry and message. They begin to understand the truth of reconciliation, but then they return to the denomination, to whatever belief system that that they’ve grown up under, where they like maybe the building, people, friendships, programs or the music and they sit under that for a while. What does that do to their obedience to the faith? The more we sit under untruth, the more we gravitate naturally toward that, rather than staying with what we are supposed to remain with, which is Paul’s words!

2 Timothy 1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

I used to think we can sit and filter, but I no longer believe that. I don’t believe you can sit and filter out. I believe their untruth is more likely to rub off on you over a period of time, than your truth will ever rub off on those folks.

Second thing Paul says here is “by deed”. First was “by word”, he proclaimed to them the message they were to believe, the second here he says “by deed”. Now, we’ve been watching that, have we not(?), during the past several lessons. Paul not only preached, they had his life to look at. Paul never injured their consciences. He never taught against the things those folks of his his program, of this dispensation; grace age believers, Paul never taught against the Jews among them, who had their consciences tied to those things of the Jewish law. Paul not only preached, they could look at his his life and they could see that he had integrity; “this man speaks the truth, he not only talks the talk, he walks the walk”. Paul never abandon those things which the Jews who were among him, had linked to their consciences, they were linked to Paul’s, but what did he teach? “You’ll never gain your righteousness through the doing of these things, that wasn’t the purpose of the law in the first place”, so Paul not only preached, they had his life to look at. Paul not only preached to the Gentiles, he practiced what he preached in front of the Gentiles. Paul backed up his words with his life.

Philippians 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

It’s one thing to say “here’s what you ought to do”, it’s quite another thing to do what you ought to be doing. That comes from what again? Back to the word, as that word transforms our thinking, and now we’re doing something, not because we have to do it, or were supposed to do it, or because the pastor pointed out a new nine, or ‘the faithful five’ for members of the age of grace. That’s being done all over the place today, but that’s not why we do them. We do them because God has changed our thinking about himself, ourselves and others, as we take in his word and dwell on that. Practicing and preaching agape/charity go hand-in-hand with having agape-type thinking, through the transformation of our minds. That comes through staying in the word, relating to God and others, as that word changes the way we think about them. Paul led by example in that area. That’s why Paul could say “be followers together of me”. Paul was following Christ in the sense of wanting to be related and conformed to the image of Christ’s death, on behalf of serving others. “Do it the way I do it” Paul tells us, that’s leading by deed. He even goes as far to say ‘mark them, or single those folks out, who lead by the deed. Single those folks out that you can see have transformed thinking, and that transformed thinking has affected their doing. Single these folks out, they’re following my pattern’ Paul said, so we’ve got by word and we’ve got by deed, and finally in verse 19 of 20, notice what he states here:

Romans 15:19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

This third method of validation of Paul’s unique Gentile apostleship, and the authority of that apostleship, is a critical one to understand! There are those today who are using this very passage, to say that God is working miracles in the church of this dispensation, and they point us back to what was happening at Pentecost. If you say the church the body of Christ did not begin at Pentecost, it began with Paul, they lead you back to this passage. “Here!” and they say “Paul did it, did he not?!”, just like they lead us back to the baptisms. “If Paul is the apostle for this age and he performed miracles, then miracles are a valid test of a valid ministry” these folks would say, therefore they tell us that speaking in tongues and miraculous healings are legitimate practices for the church of this dispensation; the age of grace.
They’re ready to jump on the bandwagon with everything that comes down the pike, and they claim that as being from God! The word “power”, you’ll hear it over and over in ministries that have to do with money. I call it miracles for money, and it’s out there, it’s implied of nothing else. “Step out on faith” they say, “give from what you do not have and God will give it back to you”, so we have investment believers out there. Investment Christians…. “We’re gonna give to God to see how he makes what we gave him grow back, as he gives back to us”. What’s the motivation for that? What’s the motivation for your giving there? Is it that others would come to know the gospel of the grace of God, or is it to enrich self through what God gives back to you, because you’ve thrown your seed faith his way? Isn’t it interesting that our apostle says “give from your abundance”, he doesn’t say “give from what you don’t have”?! He says “give from your abundance”, but the preachers out there saying give from what you don’t have; “Step out on faith, make a pledge. God will have to make it good if you make the pledge” are putting their address on the money you plant. The money goes to them and they’re enriching themselves, and we can see it over, and over, and over again. People believing everything that happens today comes from God, how do we answer that? When Paul began his Gentile apostleship, yes God did perform miraculous manifestations at the hand of our apostle, but two things are crucial for us to understand, if we’re not to fall into the heresy of much of current day religianity. We’re going to spend the balance of our time right here. What about Paul’s miracles? Well, first let’s take a quick look at the miracles of the kingdom program. Signs, mighty works and miracles were part and parcel of the kingdom program, and the promise of the land. That was the natural place for the miraculous. Why again? Because God had made a covenant with Israel to do those things. To look at that we need to go back to the book of Exodus, to sort of set the stage here. In this passage Moses was talking to God about Israel being a stiff necked people. He’s asking God to pardon their sin. Notice what God tells him here:

Exodus 34:10 And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible [a literally awesome] thing that I will do with thee.

Here the nation Israel is having the miraculous performed. Why? So that the nations might see what’s happening to Israel, and would want what Israel has. What did Paul tell us was the reason that he was going to the Jews first? To provoke them to emulation, now so the Jews can see what’s being given to the Gentiles, and Paul is trying to save some of them. Not only is Paul’s ministry and message being validated as authentic by the Holy Spirit, but now Gentiles can see things happening among the Gentiles! The Jews might say “well, that’s part of our Old Testament promises”, and the Jews might be provoked to jealousy; to listen to the message the apostle Paul is preaching. The awesomeness of God would be manifest in both a positive and a negative way, in regards to his earthly people. We see the listing of blessings and cursings, sitting back in Leviticus 26. Israel had only to look at their present-day circumstances, and they could know whether or not they were in God’s favor. Tell me was Israel obedient or disobedient when it came to the covenant? They were disobedient! Over and over again they merited, not the blessings, but the curses. It’s interesting though, in spite of the clear promises of the covenant, they always cried out “Why me?! Why me?!” when calamity struck.

Judges 6:13 And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.

What miracles would that be Gideon?! Well, what had God promised them?

Exodus 15:26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight [that’s dealing with God according to the law contract], and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

What kind of diseases was he talking about, in relation to Israel’s covenant? It’s not a pretty picture!

Deuteronomy 28:27 The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.

How would you like to go to your doctor today, have that thorough examination; puts a stethoscope on, sticks a light in your throat, looks in your ears, feels around the lymph nodes, and says “well, I’m afraid you got the botch of Egypt!”. It’s not something I want to hear! I don’t know what was, but I wouldn’t like my physician say “Oh my, I believe you have the botch of Egypt!”. I don’t know what it is, but I know I don’t want it. Is that health, wealth and prosperity? It’s what folks are preaching today, is it not?! The health, wealth and prosperity message, in regards to your planted seed faith….with the ministers address written on it! They had had to be in obedience to the contract, not partial obedience or lukewarm obedience, but solid obedience to how many of the commandments? All of them, if they’ve broken one, they’ve broken them all. How much health, wealth and prosperity did those folks earn or deserve, under their covenant?

Deuteronomy 28:59 Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful [or a wonderment, not good! ], and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.

You see how important obedience to the contract was, and what God was showing them? “You’ll never be that obedient Israel! You swore falsely when you said you could do all these commandments, and that I could count you righteous according to your performance!” God is showing them their performance would never cut it. Disobedience to the covenant brought calamity upon calamity, when it came to human wealth and health. The best doctors around wouldn’t be able to cure them, according to verse 27, not even the best holistic physicians. No cure according to verse 27; “whereof thou canst not be healed”. The only one who could help these folks would be God himself, and in order for God to help them, they’d have to do what Leviticus 26:40 called for.

Leviticus 26:40 If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me;

They would have to confess that they had never lived up to the contract in the first place. They would have to confess the fathers before them had not lived up to the contract. Nowhere are they called upon, in connection with this confession, to list the sins they and the fathers before them did on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday. I suppose they probably didn’t know all the individual sins the fathers before them had committed. I certainly don’t know mine. They were to confess that they had not lived up to the contract for righteousness, and neither had any one of the nation Israel obeyed that contract sufficiently, to merit the blessing side of the contract, nor to get their land. When they made that confession, God would have mercy and grace on them, when it came to that land. They would have to confess their iniquity. God gave them opportunity to do that, over and over again. When Christ came to minister to Israel, God gave them an opportunity to make that confession.
He had given them that opportunity when John came, prior to Christ. “Make that confession. Get back to the contract if you think you’re living up to it, be perfect under it!”. Were they perfect? No!

Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

…he kept injecting mercy and grace.

Paul comes along and what is he doing?

2 Corinthians 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

The same thing, not the same thing he was doing with Israel, but he was validating Paul’s ministry, message and apostleship, through the things that Paul was able to do, so that was reason number one; a validation of Paul’s ministry. With Israel’s rejection of the messengers, God set that program aside. He began a brand-new program through brand-new apostle, Paul, but here’s the thing; The Jews required a sign. Did they not always require a sign?

1 Corinthians 1:23-24
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

God dealt with those folks according to signs. The kingdom program put on the shelf, and now God is dealing with individual unbelieving Jews, through Paul, having set his program with Israel aside. What were those individual Jews being given to see? Signs, and they can believe that Paul is indeed telling them the truth when he talks about his ministry, his message. We need to understand that as long as those folks were alive, and they were alive during that 30 year Acts period, Kingdom saints and Jewish folks who had been born under that law contract, who would’ve known about those promises, but had previously thought they were living up to them, they could see that God was doing something unique through a new man/person. I think for Peter to see the Holy Spirit fall on Cornelius, before anything was said about the remission of sins at all, or any confession, Peter could see the miraculous taking place at the house of Cornelius, but other things took place in regard Paul and his ministry. The kingdom program was on hold, but Jews who had yet to believe that Christ what had risen from the dead, much less that he was the son of the living God; Israel’s promised Messiah, were still alive. Paul was trying to reach these folks, and God was dealing with these folks through Paul, and as these folks began to see these things were happening among Gentiles, they might be provoked to jealousy or emulation, to believe Paul and his message and to follow after. This is why Acts is called a transition period.
Some folks think it is a transition in the sense that that program is alive and well in God’s mind until Acts 28, but that program was set on the shelf when we come to chapter 9; the conversion of Saul/Paul. God is still reaching individual folks, who had been part of that sign program.

Paul went to the Jews who had a familiarity with and in most cases were steeped in that law program, they could see the promises and now these things were happening to Gentiles around them, through Paul no less. It was during this period, and only during this period, that the miraculous was evident in Paul’s program. You see, God’s word to the Gentiles concerning his mystery program had not yet been written. Paul had not written, at this point, his epistles. These folks couldn’t open their scriptures and read about their new apostle, or about the mystery, because Paul had not written his epistles yet. They couldn’t turn to Romans through Philemon, and see what what God had in store for them. They were going to need something, would they not? Wouldn’t they need to be able to prophesy, prior to the revelation through Paul’s writings, of what was happening in their day? They were given that gift, we see it in operation in Corinth, while folks who had been born under that (kingdom) program were still living. God validated his new messenger and the message. He validated Paul’s apostleship in the same manner that he validated the ministry of the other apostles, through the miraculous. He was not only validating the message of a new and unique apostle, he was sending information regarding this new program, to the assemblies of that new program, before Paul’s letters were written. We’ve got to understand some of these things, if our doctrine is to be be correct. It’s crucial that we understand that the manifestation of the miraculous was time-limited, and didn’t go on forever. The folks who’ve been born under that law program, and the promises of the miraculous, were dying out. It lasted no longer than the time during which the Jews who had been born under that program, were still alive, and no longer the time it took Paul to complete his letters to the church, which was Christ’s body. You see, those miracles ceased after that period of time. How do we know that? Well, we have the scriptural evidence to prove it! Let me show you the contrast here. Consider Paul during the time when those folks, who had been born under the that program, were still living. If you want to picture this, you might think of the mystery program as being in the embryonic state, kinda like the caterpillar before the butterfly emerges. The walk of faith program is alive and well, but it’s operating in a cocooned stage of its existence. The mystery scriptures are not yet available, that’s why I say it is in a cocooned stage of its existence.

Acts 9: Paul is saved.
Acts 14: He’s together with Barnabas, at Iconium.

Acts 14:1-3
1 And it came to pass in Iconium, that they [Paul and Barnabas] went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.
2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.
3 Long time therefore abode they [Paul and Barnabas] speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

Paul and the miraculous! A testimony of the authenticity of Paul’s apostleship, not only to the unbelieving Jews of the region, but also, as it says here, to the unbelieving Greeks. You see, during that time period Paul had the ability, through the Holy Spirit, to speak in previously unlearned languages (tongues), and also to heal the sick.

Acts 14:6-10
6 They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about:
7 And there they preached the gospel.
8 And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked:
9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,
10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.

Authentication of Paul’s apostleship, message and ministry. The mystery program is in a “walk by faith, not by sight” cocoon, as this new program’s messenger is being validated by the Holy Spirit.

Acts 19:11-12
11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

Paul always went to unbelieving Jews first. His ministry and his message is being validated, but you see Gentiles were having the same things happen to them. When we come to the end of Paul’s ministry time, where Jews who had been born of that program and under the promises that program, were no longer there, were no longer living, what do we see Paul say? What does he tell Timothy, in 1 Timothy, as that period is winding down and those people are dying off.

1 Timothy 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.

No prayer cloth! The cocoon is gone.

2 Timothy 4:20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.

We now have the completed word of God, for the dispensation in which we live; we have Paul’s epistles for the age of grace. The apostle makes it clear to us that for as long as this dispensation of God’s long-suffering and grace is in effect, we’re now subject to the sufferings of this present time. We have that in his epistles. In fact, to put it bluntly, because of the bondage of corruption, the status of our physical health is going to constantly vary. There are going to be times when we’re healthy. There are going to be times when we’re exactly the opposite. We’re going to be in and out of sicknesses, weaknesses and infirmities, according to Paul. Doesn’t sound anything at all like the time period prior to the completion of his epistles, to the age of grace.

Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

How many folks who are sick, and in their minds it’s worse perhaps than the botch of Egypt, how many folks have gone to the doctor, have heard the diagnosis, are suffering today, how many of those folks do you suppose are resting in 2 Corinthians 4:17 and Romans 8:18?
How many of us are looking to that hope, and not hope of recovering from a present-day circumstance? “For our light affliction”, what we’re going through in these 70 years; nothing! Most of us don’t go through anything until we’re in the latter years.

2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Paul’s apostleship, ministry and message validated at the entrance of his ministry, during a period of time while people who were connected to that program, in their minds and by having been born under it, but had not accepted Christ as Messiah, were seeing that things were happening, not only among the Jews, but among the Gentiles at the hands of this new apostle. Certainly a validation of his ministry and his message, but likewise they, these Jews who had not accepted Paul’s message, could say “what’s happening to them, and why is it not happening to us?” Paul was in hopes of reaching some of these people, with the new message that God had given him. That’s why we see the things that are happening are happening, during that Acts period.
We’re not to go back to the beggarly elements, we’re not to go back and try to walk by sight, when Paul say you’re walking by faith.

2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

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.

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