Sunday, June 27, 2010

God Speaks through His Son and the Twelve Apostles John D. LaVier

God Speaks through His Son and the Twelve Apostles

John D. LaVier

Hebrews I : I states that in time past God spoke to the Jewish patriarchs by the prophets. In the next verse we learn that in the end of these days God has spoken by His Son, or literally "en huio" (in Son). In a moment we will comment on this, but first note the words "God ... hath ... spoken." This is a most sublime and satisfying statement. We have not been left in ignorance and uninformed, for God has spoken. "Hear, 0 heavens, and give ear, 0 earth; for the Lord hath spoken" (Isaiah I :2). It is tragic that while heaven hears and hearkens, the earth turns a deaf ear to the Word of God. People eagerly tune in the scientist, economist, or politician to get some word of hope or assurance, but seldom tune in to the voice of God spoken in His Word by His Son. In ancient times God spoke to man "by the prophets" who were simply the instruments He used. Now He has spoken "in (His) Son." The Son is the Word of God. The prophets prefaced their message with "Thus saith the Lord" while the Son could declare "I say unto you." William R. Newell has written: "Astonishing it was, indeed, even in that' old time,' that the infinite, eternal, glorious God should speak unto dust and ashes such as man is! But this wondrous fact of God having spoken in past days is to prepare us for a more stupendous statement: God did at the end of these days speak unto us in (the person of His) Son .... Nor is it to have the Son Himself here speak to us, God speaks; and lo, the Son is there! 'This is my Beloved Son! ' God does not in Hebrews say, 'Hear Him.' Nay: the Son does not speak to us in Hebrews, but God speaks concerning Him."

In light of the above it can be said that when the Son was here in the midst of the Hebrew nation the words He spoke were not His own, but the words of God the Father. Deuteronomy 18: 18-19 is the great prophecy of Messiah, the prophet who would be raised up like unto Moses, but far greater than Moses. It reads: "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which He shall speak in my name, I will require it of him." This is none other than the Son of God and when raised up in Israel He came speaking the words which the Lord God had put in His mouth for that people. An apostle is one sent from the face of another and who comes bearing the words of the one who sent him. The Lord Jesus is likened to such in Hebrews 3: 1, "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus." The Lord Jesus was the Apostle, the One sent of the Father and bearing the Father's message. Many times in the Gospel of John the Lord is referred to as being sent of the Father. He said, "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me" (John 6:38). He also stated that the words He spoke were not His own but the Father's who sent Him. "Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me" (7: 16). "For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what 1 should speak" (12:49). "He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings; and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father's which sent Me" (14:24). It thus appears that the words spoken by Jesus when here among men, in some Bibles shown in red letters, were not really His own words but the words of the Father who sent Him. If we want the words of the Lord Jesus, the resurrected and ascended Christ at God's right hand as Head of the Church, they are to be found in the thirteen letters that came from the Holy Spirit inspired pen of Christ's apostle, the Apostle Paul, who could say, "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord" (I Corinthians 14:37).

The precursor of Christ was John the Baptist. His ministry was one of preparation. The word "prepare" denotes a leveling and straightening of the road as when an Oriental monarch comes on his journey. John preached "the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins" (Mark 1:4). He went before, calling men to repentance and making ready a people prepared for the Lord. The Lord began His public ministry immediately after His baptism and the temptation in the wilderness and we read: "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4: 17). This was the message also preached by His forerunner (3:1-2) and by His apostles (10:7). The kingdom proclaimed as being at hand was the kingdom promised to David and predicted by all the prophets, when David's throne would again be occupied, when the law would go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Some years ago along the highways in Pennsylvania there were a number of billboards with this same text, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." While one might admire the zeal of those who placed these signs it would have been much better to have used a text relevant to the divine program in effect today and which would have contained God's way of salvation for the sinner. The kingdom was at hand back yonder because the King Himself was at hand, for there can be no kingdom without a king. The Lord Jesus Christ was then present as Israel's King, and if He had been recognized and owned as King, that prophesied and long-awaited kingdom would have been ushered in. Instead, the leaders of the nation said, "We have no king but Caesar" and "we will not have this man to reign over us." Because of their unbelief the kingdom program has been suspended for a season and one would be out of the will of God if preaching the gospel of the kingdom today.

In the Scriptures we are told that the Jews require a sign and when Christ was here among them they were given plenty of signs to render them without excuse. In his Pentecostal message Peter said, "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know" (Acts 2:22). These miracles, wonders, and signs performed by the Lord Jesus gave abundant witness as to His Person. He said, "The works which the Father hath given Me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father hath sent Me" (John 5:36). Also, "Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the very works' sake" (14:11). His works should have proven to them that He was all He claimed to be, the Messiah and the Son of God. He had power over disease, demons, and even death. Many did believe on Him because of His works. We read, "And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will He do more miracles than these which this man hath done?" (John 7:31). There is another verse, John 2:23, which reads, "Many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which He did. " The next verse, though, reads, "But Jesus did not commit himself unto them." A faith that rests simply upon signs and wonders does not bring salvation to anyone; only a personal faith and trust in the Saviour will do that. These people seemed only concerned with the startling and spectacular, and belief that is based upon such as this is always shallow and evanescent. Wondrous as were the miracles and signs perfonned by Jesus there were other witnesses to His Person than these. There was the witness of John Baptist, who identified Him as the Lamb of God and the Christ. There was even the witness of the Father in heaven, who on three occasions spoke, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hearye him." There was also the witness of their own Scriptures, for the Lord told them, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me." The wonders and signs wrought by the Lord were precisely what Isaiah prophesied the Messiah would accomplish. "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing" (Isaiah 35:5-6). Those of Jesus' day who did not believe were without excuse, and those of the present day who fail to believe have even less excuse, for they now have the completed Word of God and the testimony of countless Christians down through the centuries.

When reading the Epistle to the Hebrews it is important to recognize that it is written to the Hebrews and not to members of the Body of Christ. This epistle will come into full prominence in the future when God begins to deal again with the Hebrew nation. Hebrews 2:3 reads: "How shall we (Hebrews) escape, if we (Hebrews) neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us (Hebrews) by them that heard Him." The reference here is to a salvation which was first of all offered to the Hebrews by the Lord and then later confirmed unto them by those who had companied with Him and had heard Him, i.e. the Twelve Apostles. As the Lord spoke to the people He was certainly concerned about their individual salvation, but implicit in the good news of the kingdom which He preached was national salvation, when Israel would be saved out of the hand of their enemies and would finally enjoy the exalted status destined for them. National salvation was in the mind of Zacharias when filled with the Holy Spirit he said, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began; that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us" (Luke 1:68-71) . National salvation was in view when the prophet wrote, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" ( Jeremiah 23:5-6). When the Lord Jesus was here, sent to Israel, this national salvation was offered. They had only to acknowledge Him as their Messiah and Deliverer, but this they would not do. Then through the Spirit-filled apostles the offer was confirmed, authenticated, made anew. Again they not only neglected, but rejected, this so great salvation, and for them there was no escape and it is evident how the nation has suffered as the result.

As stated above the expression in Hebrews 2:3 "by them that heard him" refers to the twelve Jesus had chosen to be apostles. One of the twelve was Judas, who betrayed the Lord, and He must be replaced. Israel had brought about the death of Christ and some might think that then and there God was through with that nation, and that shortly after on the Day of Pentecost a new program was introduced and the Church of this dispensation had its historic beginning. This was not the case. At the cross the nation Israel rejected Christ but He had not yet rejected them. There was to be a renewed offer of the kingdom to the twelve tribes so it was necessary to have twelve apostles to confirm Christ's message to them. Therefore, the first thing after Christ's resurrection and ascension was to choose one to take the place of Judas. Some tell us that God did not recognize the choice of Matthias and so He later chose Paul to take Judas' place. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to Acts 1 :21-22 the one to be chosen must have companied with the Lord throughout His ministry and to have been an eyewitness of His resurrection.

Paul was an eyewitness of His resurrection but most certainly did not accompany the Lord in His earthly ministry. The ministry of the twelve at Pentecost and thereafter was simply a ministry of confirmation, whereas Paul's ministry was a ministry of revelation. To him only was revealed the new truth of the dispensation of the grace of God and the calling out of the Church, the Body of Christ. The twelve confined their ministry to Israel. With the exception of Cornelius and his household there is no record of the twelve preaching to a single Gentile, while on the other hand Paul could boldly state, "For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office" (Romans 11: 13), and again, "That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God" (15:16). Further, it is evident from 1st Corinthians 15: 5-8 that Paul shows himself as separate from the twelve and having no connection with them. It is evident also that God set His seal of approval upon the choice of Matthias, for twelve men stood up on the Day of Pentecost and all twelve were filled With the Holy Spirit, and, just as the mighty works performed by Jesus of Nazareth testified as to His heavenly origin, so Hebrews 2:4 informs us that as the twelve went forth to confirm Christ's message their ministry was accredited of God by signs and wonders. These were the signs of an apostle affirming they were divinely sent. These sign gifts were in evidence as long as God was dealing with Israel as a nation. That time frame ended with the close of the transition period, which coincided with Paul's arrival at Rome and the abrupt ending of the book of Acts.

Peter's message at Pentecost and thereafter was practically the same as that of John the Baptist. Both preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. John called on the nation to repent, to turn again to God, because the King and His kingdom were at hand. Peter called on the nation to repent of having rejected and put to death their King. Peter did not preach the gospel of the grace of God to his Jewish audience on the Day of Pentecost. When they cried out "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" he did not tell them we are saved by grace plus no doing on our part. He told them to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. Newell writes: "After the Jews had crucified their Messiah, God gave the nation another great national offer of salvation. This is the opening story in Acts. Israel was not yet fully rejected. Note, now, that when they say, 'What shall we do?' Peter does not say: 'Believe,' as Paul does to the Gentile jailer in Acts 16, but 'Repent'' Change your mind about Jesus of Nazareth, and confess Him as Messiah in baptism.'" A most prominent word in the preaching of the kingdom gospel was the word "repent." We should not confuse this word with penitence, or sorrow. As Newell indicates above, the word metanoia means to think differently or to have second thoughts, and in this regard it may be said that repentance automatically accompanies faith. The sinner hears the gospel concerning the work of Christ on his behalf, and believing, putting his faith and trust in the Saviour, is saved from all his sin. At the same time, perhaps unconsciously, there has been a change of mind on his part, no longer rejecting but now accepting. Sir Robert Anderson has a good word on this: "Faith and repentance are not separate acts to be successively accomplished by the sinner as a condition of his salvation. But, in different phases of it, they represent the same God ward attitude of soul which the truth of God, believed, produces. Salvation there cannot be without repentance, any more than without faith; but the soundest and fullest gospel preaching need not include any mention of the word. Neither as verb nor noun does it occur in the Epistle to the Romans, God's great doctrinal treatise on redemption and righteousness. And in the Gospel of John, pre-eminently the gospel book of the Bible, it will be searched in vain for a single mention of it. "

 Also Read

Israels Future - John D. LaVier

How God Saves Men
Believing Christ DIED, that’s HISTORY.
Believing Christ DIED for YOU SINS and Rose again that’s SALVATION.
ead Acts 16L31 Romans 1:16, and 1. Corinthians 15:1-4

(A 10 Minute Video)

 Posted By Cecil and Connie Spivey

E-mail this BIBLE STUDY to all your friends 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

HAVE YOU ANY ROOM FOR JESUS? - by Pastor Charles Wages

Pastor Charles Wages 

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:7)

The truth found in this scripture is familiar to many and unknown to many more. It's real impact is lost upon an unbelieving world. We all need to be reminded of our Lord's birth and the events surrounding it.

Why was there "no room in the inn?" Let's consider just a few reasons. One reason could be the gross ignorance of God's Word by the people, and therefore a lack of spiritual insight. The innkeeper could have known that the prophets had told of the coming of the promised Messiah and how He would be born. The prophet Micah proclaimed:

"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel: whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." (Micah 5:2)

Even old wicked Herod was able to find out where Jesus was to be born (Matthew 2:1-6). Also, the faithful Simeon waited patiently for our Lord`s coming into this world and was there when the little baby was brought to the temple. Isaiah, the prince of prophets, wrote some 700 years before the birth of Christ:

"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14)

Isaiah further prophesied :

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment, even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." (Isaiah 9:6-7)

It is amazing, yet tragic, that even in our time there seems to be widespread ignorance of the real meaning of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is another reason that the innkeeper was not prepared and therefore had "no room." It is that he was too busy. This was the time of registration and taxing of the citizens of that part of the world (Luke 2:1-5). Business at the inn was excellent and therefore pressing. He wasn't too concerned about the condition of those who applied for a room. He wasn't personally concerned about the guests and those who needed a room. This reminds us of the hymn we often sing which says,

Room for pleasure,
Room for business,
But for Christ, the crucified,
Not a place that He can enter,
In the heart for which He died.

The business world capitalizes on the birth of Jesus. It is hard to even have time to think of His wonderful birth, death, and resurrection. Other names, other interests, other people take first place. What is the celebration all about? No time, no thought, no room for the Saviour who loves us so much! Do we recognize His glory among all the glamour and glitter?

Another reason why there was "no room" in the inn is that the world has changed and corrupted His Name. We are not told whether the innkeeper inquired of the names of Joseph and Mary. No doubt, he wasn`t interested enough to say, "What are you going to name your little baby?" The Hebrew people were very particular in giving names to their children that were descriptive and significant. For instance, Benjamin means "son of my right hand." Obadiah means "servant of Jehovah." Immanuel means, "God with us." His earthly name, Jesus, means "Saviour," and is the theme of the Bible. The name "Christ" means "Anointed One," the promised One who would come to His people Israel. His full title or name is now the Lord Jesus Christ. What a wonderful name! It led Peter to say,

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

His name is above every name. The apostle Paul was led to exclaim,

"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11)

Is there room in your heart and home for this gracious, glorious Person? Are you lacking in spiritual understanding? Are you too busy? Are you not aware of the great significance of His name? Let's think soberly, soundly, and scripturally concerning His birth and have room for Him. In fact, He should fill our lives.

Mp3 Studies By Pastor Gregg Bing

Grace Bible Church  (Click Here)

How God Saves Men
Believing Christ DIED, that’s HISTORY.
Believing Christ DIED for YOU SINS and Rose again that’s SALVATION.
ead Acts 16L31 Romans 1:16, and 1. Corinthians 15:1-4

(A 10 Minute Video)

 Posted By Cecil and Connie Spivey

E-mail this BIBLE STUDY to all your friends 

STEPPING STONES TO TRUTH A Dispensational Approach by Charles Wages

It is interesting and instructive that our English word “faith” is only used twice as a noun in the Old Testament! The words faithful, faithfully, and even faithless are used to describe or to tell how Israel reacted to God, but Deuteronomy 32:20 and Habakkuk 2:4 are the only ones that point out a fact. The first tells of Israel’s lack of faith to a faithful God. This is especially remarkable in view of what God had done for them and that He is a God of Truth.

“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” (Deut. 32.4)

In the same line of thought, He says in Moses’ song,

“I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.” (Deut. 32:20)

So the first use of the noun faith is in a negative sense — “children in whom is no faith.” The second use in Hab. 2:4 reads,

“Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”
Williams in his Student’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures writes,

“In verse 4 the righteous man and the unrighteous man are contrasted. As to the unrighteous, either Israelite or Chaldean, his soul was lifted up and not upright in him, and his doom should be death. As to the righteous, his soul was humbled, for he lived by faith and should enjoy everlasting life. The one was self-relying, the other self-renouncing,”

This expression, “the just shall live by his faith,” is used three other times in the Word of God, all in the writings of the apostle Paul. There is a giant step of faith from the Old Testament passage to the ones in Paul’s writings. The passage in Galatians 3:11 is especially revealing.

“But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident; for, the just shall live by faith.”

Also, in Romans 1:17 we read,

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”

The expression, “from faith to faith,” is especially helpful in understanding progressive revelation of Truth, but also in making progress in our walk for God. This results in real progress in faith. How? 

Consider four dimensions of progress in faith.
* Israel in the Old Testament and under the law to New Testament truth
* From a lower to higher degree of faith in God.
* From past truth to present truth to future truth.
* From His faith (subjective) to our faith (objective).

A believer in Christ can really take a step forward in his or her personal faith by considering Abraham. That great step of faith he took in obeying God, even to offering his only son Isaac, is encouraging to those of us who have a few small trials or tests. This account of Abraham is found in Genesis, chapter 22. We learn in Romans, chapter 4, that we can walk in “the steps of that faith.” Not in going through or performing every act of Abraham, but by exhibiting our trust and dependence upon the God of glory. We must keep in mind that Abraham’s offering of his son, Isaac, only pictured or typified the once for all sacrifice of God’s Son on Calvary. God had faith in the perfect obedience of His only begotten Son. The Son had implicit faith in His heavenly Father. This is the basis of all faith. This allows us to have complete confidence in the finished and completed work of salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. This, also, allows us to look away from self to the Saviour. It allows us to act by faith on those things God says are real for today. In accepting the faith of Christ, we do away with,

* Self deceit in thinking or believing we are sinlessly perfect in the flesh or that sin is not real.
* Self deception in thinking and believing we can save ourselves by “our own way.”
We have to remember that the Scripture says,

“There is a way which seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Prov. 14:12)

Also, in Proverbs 12:15,
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkens unto counsel is wise.”

As we step from one dispensation to another in the studying of God’s Word, our faith in His Word should be strengthened. As we advance on understanding how God has dealt with people in the various ages, it makes us to appreciate God’s great plan and purpose for all His children. The dispensations become “Stepping Stones to Truth” and help us to say, “Let us have faith in the One who always keeps faith with us.”


“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)

A giant step is taken in God’s Word from the Mosaic law to the grace and truth in Christ Jesus. (John 1:17) However, it should be understood that the law given by God to Moses did not end or culminate with the coming of Christ. The scripture teaches,

“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.” (Romans 15:8)

We learn from this and other scriptures that Christ’s earthly ministry was principally to the Jews and in order to confirm promises made unto the Jewish fathers beginning with Abraham. Also, we learn from Matthew 10:5-6 that He instructed His disciples to “go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” In addition, we find the Jews continued practicing the law during the period covered by the book of Acts.

The law of Moses was the result of the “law of sin and death.” The “law of sin and death” was the result of Adam’s sin. Romans 5:12 says,

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”

God in His great divine plan for the ages, sent His only Son into the world to fulfill or completely live the law and die for the sin of the whole world! What good news! What great love! This allows the apostle Paul to state emphatically,

“Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

Of course, we must understand that this love is first and foremost the love of God manifested at Calvary. This was the means of “fulfilling” the law of sin and death and the law of Moses. A great step was taken. It was now fully shown, not what man needed to do, but, what God had done through Christ.

Now in this “dispensation of the grace of God,” we who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ should show forth the love of God, and holding forth the light of His Word. In other words, step into the full light of His wonderful “law of love.” John, chapter 15 should be read in view of God’s law of love. We are told to,

* Continue in His love (vs. 9)
* To let joy remain in us (vs. 11)
* Evidence love by keeping His commandments (Word) (vs. 14)

Further, we are to walk (take steps) in love. The gentle admonition, in Ephesians, 5:1-2 is so appropriate, now,,

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.”

These verses instruct us plainly “how” to walk — in love. They tell us “who” makes it possible — Christ. The basis for our walk in love is that God loved us first.

“We love him, because he first loved us.” (I John 4:19)

God doesn’t just love us because we respond and receive His love, but I John 4:10 states,
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

And then we read in Romans 5:8,

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
In Ephesians 5:8-10, we are told to “walk as children of light.” Not just to walk in the light, as we are told in I John 1:5-7, but to walk “as” children of light. The emphasis here is on the walk or the steps we take in our life. We were once darkness, but now we are light and cannot become darkness again. However, it is possible for an enlightened believer to “walk” in darkness, therefore we are admonished to “walk as children of light.” Romans 13:11-14 should be read in connection with this truth.

Dispensationally, we are not under the law but under grace, (Romans 6:14-15) It is tragic how many people still labor religiously under their interpretation of “the law” given to Israel. Many who have seen their freedom in Christ, persist in trying to live the law or at least parts of the commandments, judgments, and ordinances given to Israel, but not to the Church, the Body of Christ. Until, the “step into the grace” of God is taken, we will be stopped in our tracks by not “rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” (H Timothy 2:15)


Dispensationally, spiritually, and in actuality, we, as members of the Body of Christ, are not under “law” but under “grace:”

“For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” (Romans 6:14-15)

But what is meant by the repeated expression, “we are not under the law, but under grace?” The word “grace” is first found in Genesis 6:8 when we are told,

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

Also, the word “grace” is used close to 40 times in the Old Testament, and it is significant that the expression, they “found grace” is used about 27 times. For instance,

* Noah found grace (Genesis 6:8)
* Jacob found grace (Genesis 33:10)
* Joseph found grace (Genesis 39:4)
* Moses found grace (Exodus 33:13)

And Jeremiah tells us,

“Thus saith the Lord, the people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him rest.”

God is and has always been gracious. But what about the scripture that says,

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)

This was God’s wonderful way of fully manifesting His grace in the person of His Son. We are told in John 1:16, “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” How marvelous to see the grace of God!
God’s Great Grace Is In Contrast to Debt

Debt can be defined and described as, “that which is legally due.” Someone must pay that debt and we are plainly told in Scripture that, “the wages (pay off) of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) Mankind could never pay such a tremendous and overwhelming debt even by working a lifetime. This led the apostle Paul to write,

“Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace but of debt.” (Romans 4:4)

God’s great grace tells us that the debt has been paid in full. Christ has died for our sin! Debt speaks of something not paid. Grace speaks of that debt having been fully paid.

“Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:” (Romans 5:20)

God’s Great Grace Is In Contrast to Works

There is nothing wrong with working unless its purpose and direction is wrong. There are several kind of “works” spoken of in Scripture.

* works of the law (Galatians 3:10, Romans 9:31-32)
* dead works (Hebrews 6:1, 9:14)
* of Babylon (Revelation 18:6)
* of Devil (John 8:41,44)
* of flesh (Galatians 5:17-21)

This puts even more emphasis upon that familiar but most important passage in Ephesians 2:8-9,
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

The “works of the flesh” can really be seen in the passage of Galatians 5:17- 21. Everyone in the world should read this. Also, the “works” idea has so pervaded modern religion that one hardly hears the glorious gospel of God’s grace proclaimed. What a tragedy! The best man can do leaves him in the worst condition — lost.

“Free from the law, 0 happy condition, Jesus has died, and there is remission. Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall, Grace hath redeemed us once for all.”

Now a giant step further should be seen, other than just the difference between law and grace; debt and freedom; and works and grace. We must see the “dispensation of the Grace of God” proclaimed by the apostle Paul as a revelation not made to men of other ages. The book of Ephesians, chapter three needs to be read in this regard. This involves God completely breaking down the “middle wall of partition” (Ephesians 2:14) between Jew and Gentile and creating an entirely new entity, the Church, which is the Body of Christ. This great truth was not made known to men of other ages, but was hid in God until revealed to and through the apostle Paul. (Ephesians 3:5-11, Colossians 1:24- 29). What a “step of grace.” Now it can be fully stated that salvation is by grace and grace alone! Also, that when a poor lost sinner trusts the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, the Holy Spirit baptizes that one into Christ (I Corinthians 12:13) and adds him or her to the one true church, the Body of Christ. We are now “complete in Him” (Colossians 2:10), nothing needs to be added, and nothing to be taken away. He has taken our sins in His own body (11 Corinthians 5:21), and we have been made the righteousness of God in Him. Now we are ready to “step into the future” with Him!


What a step — all the way from earth to heaven! This happens in “the twinkling of an eye;” in a moment of time! It takes “light” one year to travel six trillion miles. That is about 63,000 times the distance from the earth to the sun! God, who created light or brought it into being (Genesis 1:3), and created “the heavens and the earth,” is able to transport his children to Himself in a moment.

Let’s consider this “step into the future” in two ways. First, what happens when a person believes in the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Saviour, and secondly what happens to the believer at death or at the coming of the Lord for His Church, the body of Christ.

In one explanation of what God has done for those who have trusted Christ, we are told,

“Giving thanks unto the Father, who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:12-14)

We see that this is a past transaction. That is, He has already (past tense) made us partakers of the saints in light, delivered us from the power of darkness, and already translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son. This took place the moment we trusted the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. How beautiful are the words of the Lord Jesus in John 5:24,

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

All of this has already taken place in the life of the believer in Christ! It would take ages and pages to account all that God has already done for His believing children. Suffice it to say, that all that is needed to place us in the glory, in His presence, has already been accomplished by the power of God. 

The book of Ephesians, chapter two, tells us that we have been

* quickened together with Christ (by grace ye are saved)

* raised up together with Christ
* seated together with Christ
* created in Christ Jesus unto good works

We didn’t have the strength to take this giant step. God did it for us through Jesus Christ. As far as salvation is concerned, we can’t or shouldn’t try to “walk in the steps of Jesus” as the song writer wrote. We couldn’t take the first step. All we could do or should do, is give up and let God, through His power, save us, and prepare us for heaven. So, we are now, as believers, people of the future. As far as our salvation, all has been done for all eternity to come.

However, we are still here on earth in earthly bodies of clay. How can we get to heaven and how long will it take? If it takes light a year to go six trillion miles traveling at tremendous speed, what about our going to heaven? How long did it take God to save us, when we believed in Christ? How long did it take Him to make us new creatures? How long did it take the Holy Spirit to baptize us into the church, which is His body? We can only say, instantaneously, in “the twinkling of an eye.” Faster than sound, faster than light!

Christ in us is our hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27) Christ is our “door” to heaven. Christ is our “step” into glory. Christ is our future. The wonderful verses in Philippians 3:20-21 are both inspiring and instructive,

“For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven: from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

As far as our earthly or human life is concerned, we have to say with James 4:14,

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

However, we don’t have to rely on our human reasoning or feeling. It is only in God’s Word that we can be sure concerning the future. Though we can’t possibly explain in our own human words, we can believe God when He says through the apostle Paul,

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (II Corinthians 5:8)

How? Please reread Philippians 3:20-21 along with I Thessalonians 4:13-18. What a future! How wonderful to know the Lord Jesus Christ and to know we have eternal life (I John 5:10-13), and that where He is we shall be also. And, further to know that we shall see Him and be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (I John 3:1-2).

 How God Saves Men
Believing Christ DIED, that’s HISTORY.
Believing Christ DIED for YOU SINS and Rose again that’s SALVATION.
ead Acts 16L31 Romans 1:16, and 1. Corinthians 15:1-4

(A 10 Minute Video)

 Posted By Cecil and Connie Spivey

E-mail this BIBLE STUDY to all your friends 

Friday, June 25, 2010

God Speaks Through Patriarchs and Prophets - John D. LaVier

God Speaks Through Patriarchs and Prophets

John D. LaVier

In our study of the Word we are told to test the things that differ, and in the next several lessons we will be looking at the ways in which God has spoken, the messengers He has used, and the various messages suited to the different ages. It is reasonable to assume that the Creator would not leave the creature in ignorance of his Maker, but there need be no assumption because the Scriptures plainly declare that from the very beginning, and in every age, God has revealed Himself and communicated with mankind. He has ever been desirous that men should know Him. The knowledge of God is the goal of redemption and all prophecy anticipates the day when the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth and when all shall know Him from the least to the greatest.

God has spoken again and again but men have closed their eyes to the truth and stopped their ears to the divine message. In Romans 1: I 8-21 the ancient world is seen. That world was the antediluvian world and also the world thereafter which ended in the judgment at Babel. Verse 18 reads: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness." It is to be noted here that they had the truth, and the ungodliness that kindled God's anger was not the ungodliness of ignorance but the ungodliness of a conscious and deliberate suppression of revealed truth. The next verse shows this to be the case. "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them." The knowledge of God was manifest in them. God had shewed it unto them, and they not only had the witness of His words but the witness of His works as well. Before going any further, however, we need to be reminded that we should not apply these passages exclusively to the world of old. God is still speaking today and the present world, by and large, turns a deaf ear to His words and even attempts to hold down the truth lest others should hear.

Even if God had not spoken in other ways, which He had, His everlasting power and deity are clearly seen in His creation. "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." The psalmist had this in view when he wrote: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard" (Psalm 19: 1-3). Creation bears a mighty testimony to all men everywhere. It says clearly and plainly that there is a Creator, and this Creator is God, and as God is then to be worshipped and served. This is the everlasting gospel mentioned in the Revelation which is simply that God is the Creator. "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; '" and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters" (Revelation 14:67). In Isaiah 40:26 we are challenged to lift up Our eyes on high, to view the starry heavens, to consider the vastness and the intricacy of the universe. In doing so the question comes to mind; how did all this happen? Did it just come together by chance? Common sense precludes the answer to that question. We must say that behind it all is One who is infinite in wisdom and power, and we are introduced to Him in the 28th verse as "the Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth. "

When God put Our first parents in the garden prepared for them He did not leave them uninformed. He told them they were to be fruitful, to multiply, and to replenish the earth. They were, under God, to have dominion Over the restored creation. They were to be trained under the paternal care of their Maker to godliness and usefulness. What precious fellowship they must have had with the Lord as He oft came to converse with them. We do not know how long this state of Edenic innocence continued but the record seems to indicate it was brief. Sad to say they listened to Satan's lies and sinned and fell, but even after their sin God did not abandon them. He came seeking them and finding them. Then, instead of the death of the sinners, which was deserved, it was the death of an innocent substitute, no doubt a lamb. "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them" (Genesis 3:21). Instead of the death of the sinners there was the death of a substitute, and now they were cleansed and clothed. What a beautiful picture. As sinners we deserved the wages of sin, which is death, but the Lord Jesus Christ died in Our place. Trusting Him we are cleansed from every spot and stain by the precious blood of the Lamb of God shed on the cross of Calvary, and we are clothed in the garments of salvation, the robe of God's righteousness in Christ.

The IIth chapter of Hebrews is God's hall of fame. In it are seen great champions of faith, both men and women, noble characters all. The word "faith" is mentioned twenty-four times, and since faith comes by hearing theWord of God, it is proof that God has been speaking. In the opening verses (4-7) we are introduced to three great men of faith. The first is Abel and we read: "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain." When the first creature was put to death so that Adam and Eve might be clothed it was probably then that God infonned man that henceforth approach to Him and acceptance must be on the basis of blood shed and a life laid dOwn. Believing, Abel carne in the God-ordained way arld was accepted. Here is faith's Worship and also faith's witness, for "he being dead yet speaketh." The next one mentioned is Enoch and we read: "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him; for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." Enoch lived in a wicked and ungodly age. Told of the judgment that was to come he began to walk with God in separation from the surrounding sin. Here is faith's walk, which was pleasing to God, and in him also we see faith's witness for Jude tells us that Enoch was a prophet and warned of the judgment that was to be visited on the ungodly. The third man of faith was Noah and the record states: "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." Made aware of the coming judgment, and given God's blueprint, he began building the great judgment-proof ark. This is faith's work and again is faith's witness, for while working Noah was witnessing as a preacher of righteousness. In all of this are lessons for us. By faith we are to be worshiping, walking, working, witnessing, and waiting for the realization of our blessed hope. It is to be noted also from these heroes of faith that man was not left uninformed: God was speaking and man was without excuse.

In times past God spoke to men in many different ways. With Abraham His friend He spoke face to face, as in Genesis 17: 1 when He appeared to Abraham, introducing Himself as Almighty God (EI Shaddai). The same was true with Moses. We read: "And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend" (Exodus 33: 11). He also spoke to Moses out of the burning bush and to Balaam by means of a dumb animal. He spoke to others in dreams, or visions, and sometimes by angels. In this present dispensation of the grace of God there is no longer any need for Him to speak in this fragmentary manner. We now have the completed Word of God containing all we need to know, and all believers have the Holy Spirit indwelling them to be their teacher and to lead and guide them into all truth. What a treasure we have in this Book, the Bible, the Word of the Living God. The psalmist said, "Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name" (Psalm 138:2) and if God has thus magnified His Word we ought to do likewise. We need to read it, study it, hide it in our hearts, walk in obedience to it, and make it known to others. As we read and study the Word it is God speaking to us, and as we pray it is us speaking to God. There should ever be this two-way street.

During Israel's long history God was speaking to the Hebrew fathers by the prophets (Hebrews I: I). Referring to this it is written: "And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by His messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place" (2 Chronicles 36: 15). This long line of prophets and messengers stretched from Moses to John Baptist. Some may think the only task of the prophet was to predict future events. This was far from the truth; his main business was to foretell, to tell forth the Word of Jehovah, rather than to foretell.

The prophet's work was opposite that of the priest. Whereas the priest spoke to God on behalf of man, the prophet spoke to man on behalf of God. He was God's spokesman. Really, the ministry of these prophets was twofold. First it had to do with the people's spiritual condition, oft charging them with their sin and idolatry and calling on them to repent and turn back to Jehovah, and warning them of the judgments which would be their due if they persisted in their wickedness. Then secondly they reminded the people of God's faithfulness in Israel's past history and of the promised blessings which would eventually come to the nation on the basis of God's covenant with them. Also, as in all the Scriptures, the great burden of the prophetic writings had to do with the person of God's Son, the Messiah and coming King of Israel. The Apostle Peter wrote that Israel's prophets "testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow" (I Peter I: 11). In other words they prophesied of two great events, which were the two advents of Christ; His first coming to suffer and die in putting away the sin of the world, and His second coming in power and glory to reign over the nations. This was brought out in the Lord's words to the two disciples on the Emmaus road. He said, "0 fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken; ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory" (Luke 24:25-26). Christ will enter into His glory when He returns to establish His kingdom on earth; when He will be enthroned and when the government will be upon His shoulder. Peter spoke of this prophesied kingdom with its attendant blessings as "the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:21). Praise His name, that day is coming, when our blessed Lord Jesus will have His rightful place.

Major Whittle refers to this in his hymn:

Our Lord is now rejected, and by the world disowned,
By the many still neglected, and by the few enthroned;
But soon He '// come in glory, the hour is drawing nigh,
For the crowning day is coming by and by.

Another subject dealt with by Israel's prophets had to do with the brief period of time preceding Christ's coming to establish His kingdom. This is the time of Jacob's trouble, referred to by the Lord as the Great Tribulation. When God discontinued His dealings with Israel and began calling out the members of the Church, the Body of Christ, then and there the prophetic clock was stopped. When the Church has beencompleted and removed from this earthly scene by way of the Rapture the prophetic clock will begin ticking again. God will be working again with Israel, Abraham's seed, and He begins by bringing them into and through the worst time of trouble they have ever experienced. "Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it" (Jeremiah 30:7). This is the time of kingdom preparation and Jacob (Israel) is being prepared for the prominent role they will have in that kingdom as head over the nations. God says, "I will bring them through the fire, and refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried" (Zechariah 13:9). With their dross removed the Lord promises "it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, 0 house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing" (Zechariah 8: 13). All of God's purposes for the earth are to be worked out through Israel, and this time of Jacob's trouble is Satan's final effort to exterminate the Israeli and defeat the purpose of God. It will be a day of wrath; the wrath of Satan and Antichrist directed against God's covenant people, while at the same time the wrath of God visited on their enemies. God says: "And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee" (Jeremiah 1:19). Zephaniah refers to this day of trouble as "a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness" (1: 15) but shortly afterward they will hear the cry: "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee" (Isaiah 60: 1 ). Israel will be saved out of that day of wrath, even as the three Hebrews were saved out of the fiery furnace. The Body of Christ, however, will not be saved out of, but saved from that fearsome time, for they will never enter into it. Members of Christ's Body are waiting for their Head from heaven, even Jesus, who delivereth us from the wrath to come. "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" (l Thessalonians 5:9).

In rightly dividing the Word of truth it is needful to distinguish between that which was prophesied and that which was not prophesied, or kept secret. As already stated the prophets spoke of the two comings of Christ. They spoke of His first coming to suffer and His second coming to be glorified, but they did not know that between the two comings there would be a dispensation of grace that has already lasted almost two thousand years. This was a secret known only to God. Not only did the Old Testament prophets know nothing of this but even when the Lord was here as Israel's King, offering the kingdom to them, He did not make this secret known. When Israel persisted in their rejection of Him,both before and after His death and resurrection, God turned away from that nation, called out a new apostle and made the secret known to him. That was the Apostle Paul. The truth concerning this present dispensation and God's purposes in it was revealed to and through Paul and this truth is found only in his inspired writings. The prophets and others before Paul knew nothing about the Church, sinners saved by grace alone, baptized into Christ and made members of His Body. Paul wrote: "If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward; how that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery ... which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men" (Ephesians 3:2-5). Paul wrote again concerning the Church: "whereof! am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints" (Colossians 1 :25-26). One looks in vain to find any reference to the Church in the prophetic writings. The Church was a mystery (secret) until revealed through the Apostle Paul.

Also Read 

Israels Future - John D. LaVier

 How God Saves Men
Believing Christ DIED, that’s HISTORY.
Believing Christ DIED for YOU SINS and Rose again that’s SALVATION.
ead Acts 16L31 Romans 1:16, and 1. Corinthians 15:1-4

(A 10 Minute Video)

 Posted By Cecil and Connie Spivey

E-mail this BIBLE STUDY to all your friends 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Work of the Lord Jesus Christ - By John D. LaVier

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the One referred to in Isaiah 57: 15 as "the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy." As a member of the Holy Trinity the Lord Jesus Christ was from etemity in the form of God. "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law." There was a twofold purpose in Christ's coming out of etemity into time and to the earth His hands had made. First of all, He came to be the Redeemer, the Saviour of the world, to put away man's sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Then, secondly, He came to set up His kingdom on earth; that kingdom which had been prophesied and long awaited, when Israel would be head among the nations and when the Lord Jesus as their Messiah would be on David's throne and ruling in righteousness. God had made a covenant with David assuring him that one of his seed would sit on his throne and that his kingdom would be unending. The Lord Jesus was that promised seed. He was "made of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Romans 1:3). The angel said to Mary, "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end"

(Luke 1:31-33). He came to take the throne, but instead of the throne wicked men put Him to death on the cross. But death could not hold the Prince of life and on the third day He rose triumphant from the grave. In Peter's Pentecostal message he said that David prophesied Christ's resurrection, and that God had swom with an oath to raise up Christ to sit on his throne. Thus Christ was raised up twice in the midst of Israel. In His incarnation He was raised up from Mary's womb to sit on David's throne, and in His resurrection He was raised up from Joseph's tomb to sit on David's throne, and the day is surely coming when He will sit on David's throne and rule over Israel and the nations.

The first question in the New Testament was asked by the wise men following Jesus' birth. They came to Jerusalem saying, "Where is he that is born King of the Jews?" (Matthew 2:2). At the triumphal entry the people shouted His praise and cried, "Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord" (John 12: 13). At His death on the cross the superscription was written over Him, "Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews" (John 19:19). John Baptist was Christ's forerunner and he came preaching "the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2). When the twelve apostles were sent forth they were told to preach "the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 10:7). There can be no kingdom without a king and the reason the kingdom was then at hand was because the King was at hand. When here in the flesh the Lord Jesus was here as King of the Jews and during that time His ministry was restricted to the Jewish people. He instructed the twelve not to go to the Gentiles but only to Israel (Matthew 10:5-6). He told the Syrophenician woman that He was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24). In fact, He told her that it wasn't proper to take the children's bread (Israel) and cast it to dogs (Gentiles). Many Gentiles become upset when they hear that, but not this dear Greek woman. She told the Lord that what He said was the truth; that as a Gentile she had no claim on Israel's Messiah, that she would be content with some crumbs.

In John 1: II we read, "He came unto His own." His own were the chosen, covenant people, the nation Israel. He was a man approved of God among them by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in their midst. Christ told them, "The works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me" (John 5 :36). In addition to the testimony of His works there was also the testimony other Scriptures. The Lord said, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of Me" (John 5:39). The holy writer had them in mind when he wrote they had "tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come" (Hebrews 6:5). The miraculous powers shown by Christ were a foretaste of the coming kingdom. Surely they should have known Him, but how tragic the words that conclude John 1: II, "His own received him not." At times the multitude did throng His way and even shouted His praise, but mainly for the loaves and fishes or to see a miracle. The above verse from Hebrews indicates they were like many in the churches today, who are only "tasters" and not "drinkers." They have never knelt to drink deeply at the well of salvation, just a bit of a taste, a mere profession, and perhaps soon turn away.

John Bunyan has written an article titled "Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners .. or .. the Jerusalem Sinners Saved." In it he points out that the first ones to whom the gospel was preached after Christ's resurrection were the very ones who had rejected Him and demanded His death. On the day of Pentecost the Apostle Peter charged this Jewish audience with having crucified Jesus, the Christ. When they were convicted and cried out "What shall we do?" he told them to repent and to be baptized for the remission of sins. This is not God's message for today, but it was for that time. Thousands of those Jews, both then and later, responded to the message and were forgiven, but there was not national repentance. Israel had rejected Christ but He had not yet rejected them. On the cross He had prayed, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23 :34). The Father heard and answered that prayer and Israel was forgiven and given another opportunity. In a later message to the leaders of the nation Peter stated, "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins" (Acts 5 :30-31). Israel was being given one more chance to receive their King but turned a deaf ear. The purpose of the book of Acts is not to show the birth and growth of the church, but to show the decline and fall of Israel, and the reason they were set aside. The book of Acts is also referred to as covering the transition but there is really no transition in the early chapters. The kingdom which before had been preached is now offered but is violently refused. Israel's rejection of the renewed offer reaches its peak with the stoning of Stephen, for immediately thereafter we begin to see a movement away from that nation.

Israel had rejected the testimony of John Baptist, of the Lord Himself, of Peter and the twelve, and now there is one final appeal through Stephen. The answer to this entreaty was to stone Stephen to death and this marked the end of Israel's day. To Israel God had said, "All day long have 1 stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people." Israel's long day as the God-favored nation is at an end. A new apostle, Paul, comes to the fore and through him a new program is inaugurated, with Israel set aside and God's message of grace and reconciliation proclaimed to the Gentiles. And yet, God seems loath to turn away from His covenant people and during the remainder of the book of Acts, the transition period, the message still goes to the Jew first. It is not until the Lord's message through Paul has been proclaimed from Jerusalem to Rome that Israel is finally off the scene. There we have the solemn pronouncement of Acts 28:28, "Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it." Stephen had concluded his message by saying, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God" (Acts 7:56). The Lord Jesus is later seen as seated, but up to this point the resurrected Christ is seen standing, waiting patiently and longingly to discern what Israel's response will be to the renewed offer. If there had been national repentance He would have returned to earth to bring in "the times of restitution of all things" (Acts 3:20-21). When the offer was refused the heavenly Father said to His Son, "Sit thou at my right hand, until 1 make thine enemies thy footstool" (Psalm 110:1).

When God turned away from Israel He reached down and laid hold of the most bigoted Jew of all, Saul of Tarsus, who was the leader in the persecution of the believers. This was the Apostle Paul and he became Christ's emissary to bear the message of salvation to the Gentile world. The dispensation of grace was ushered in with Paul and now there is no longer any difference between Jew and Gentile. The Scripture says: "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:12-13). What a grand word is that word "whosoever." None are excluded, all are included. Any sinner, regardless of race or place, who calls upon the name of the Lord, will be saved. And every such sinner, at the moment of their salvation, is baptized by the Holy Spirit of God into the Body of Christ. This is the one true Church, composed of all the redeemed. In relation to this Church the Lord Jesus holds a new office. In Ephesians we read that God "hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all" (I :22-23). Also in Colossians 1: 18, "And He is the head of the body, the church." Christ is not the King of the church and is never given that title. He is the Head of the church. No pope, priest, prelate, preacher or potentate is the head. Man may be at the head of some human religious organization, but the Head of the true church is the crucified, risen, ascended Christ at God's right hand.

Dr. Bultema said that God put the key to the Scriptures right on the threshold. The very first verse in the Bible states: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Then as we study we learn that God has a purpose for the heavens and also a purpose for the earth. He also has a people for the heavens, and a people for the earth, through whom His purposes will be consummated. Israel is His people for the earth, while the church is His people for the heavens. Members of the church do have a blessed hope, a bright anticipation, and it is not an earthly hope, but heavenly. The hope of the church has to do with that realm "far above all." Dave Breese recently wrote in his paper: "Jews and Gentile proselyte believers (those saved under the kingdom program) will inherit a redeemed earth. By contrast, the Body of Christ will rule the universe in eternity." The apostle wrote: "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2: 13). God's day of grace will close when Christ comes in the Rapture to call every member of His blood-washed church into His presence. In that great passage in Thessalonians we read of the Lord descending from heaven with a great assembling shout and every child of God being caught up to meet Him in the air and to be forever with the Lord. Our blessed hope is fully realized 111 those three words "with the Lord."

0, Blessed! 0 thrice blessed word!
To be forever with the Lord,
In heavenly beauty fair!
Up! .. Up! .. We long to hear the cry!
Up! .. Up! .. Our absent Lord draws nigh!
Yes, in the twinkling of an eye,
Caught up in the radiant air.

Following the Rapture of the church there will be a time of trouble on earth unparalleled in human history. This is the time of Jacob's trouble, the Great Tribulation. We have been noting the changing roles played by Christ and here again we see a change. No longer will He be stretching forth His hands and beseeching men to come and be reconciled. Then it will be quite different. "Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure" (Psalm 2:5). In that day men will pray to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Revelation 6: 16-17). How much better to come in time; to flee to Christ, the Eternal Rock of Ages, and find in Him a hiding place and shelter from the coming storm. And Christians should be redeeming the time, because the days are evil; and reaching out to the lost, snatching them out of the fire.

The Great Tribulation will conclude with the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Writing to the suffering saints at Thessalonica the apostle assured them that the day of their vindication was coming, when their enemies would receive the due reward of their deeds. He wrote: "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (II Thessalonians 1:7-8). The Lord will be coming on this occasion not to suffer at the hands of His enemies, but to trample them beneath His feet; not to die in weakness on a tree of shame, but to sit on the throne of His glory. Great voices in heaven are heard to proclaim, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 11: 15). He comes as the All Conquering Sovereign, accompanied by the armies of heaven. In Revelation 19 is pictured His majestic return, and in verse 16 we read: "And he hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." When Britain's Queen Victoria was crowned, she said, in expressing the desire to be present on that future occasion, "I should so love to lay my crown at His feet." She knew that when the Lord Jesus came it would be as a King - the King of David's Royal House and Dynasty. She knew the government would be on His shoulders and that she would acknowledge His authority. One of these days all the kings and rulers of earth shall cast their crowns before Him. It will be the Coronation Day of Christ. The whole earth will tremble at the shouting and the tumult. It will be the grandest day in human history and may God hasten it. Amen!

Recovery Of Truth - O'Hair - YouTube
 How God Saves Men
Believing Christ DIED, that’s HISTORY.
Believing Christ DIED for YOU SINS and Rose again that’s SALVATION.
ead Acts 16L31 Romans 1:16, and 1. Corinthians 15:1-4

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 Posted By Cecil and Connie Spivey

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