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Introduction to Personal Bible Study - Videos (2007)

4 short introductory video studies First recorded in 2007, posted to GodTube in 2010  These short videos were made nearly 14 years ago. ...

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Recognizing the Purpose of the Four Gospels and to Whom They are Given

Question: Are all the commandments in the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) for us?

Short answer: no for Matt, Mark, Luke... John is a mix. We must separate that which is for the Kingdom and that which concerns having Life through His name (John 20:21-32).

John was written specifically so those that believe can have "life through his name." It records part of the Kingdom ministry (John the Baptist, etc.) and then moves on to the Lord identifying as a guest at the wedding (John 3, compare Matthew 22).  

A generic such as "love your neighbor" is universal, but specific commands in the synoptic gospels are for either the individual addressed or for Israel. He specifically forbade the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew) to be preached outside of Israel or to any Gentile, etc.  And that gospel has no cross (Matthew 10). Surely this command and this gospel is not for us. Neither are we commanded, as they were in that passage, to heal th sick and raise the dead.

Summation: Gospel of the Kingdom is for Israel only, it has no cross, its is of the earth. This is most clearly seen in the Gospel of Matthew.

The so-called "Great Commission" was given to the disciples. It's parallel in Acts 1 clearly concerns the continued preaching of the Kingdom to Israel. The risen Lord taught the enlightened disciples for 40 days and they had only one question, and it concerned the restoration of the Kingdom in Israel (Acts 1:6). That was what he was teaching those who will one day "sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel" (another promise in the gospels we cannot "claim"). The command in the commission was to "start in Jerusalem."

People today say  things like, "Topeka is MY Jerusalem!" No, it's not. Jerusalem is Jerusalem. We must be careful how we handle the inspired Word of Truth. 

The twelve apostles never went to Gentiles. Only Peter, once, to graft in gentiles for the specific purpose of making Israel (note, there was still an Israel) jealous (scripture makes this clear). Paul teaches that these gentile believers could be "cut off" from that Israel (her promises). Now, do we preach that today? Can I come to your church and tell Gentile believers that if the become haughty against Israel they will be "cut off from the root (Israel)"? No. What men do is allegorize all these things. I can't preach Rom 11 and I can't preach Matthew 10, etc.

To Israel pertain the covenants, promises, fathers, etc. (Rom 9). There was still an Israel, not some "Gentile spiritual Israel" etc. That makes no sense.

Peter follows Pentecost (a Jews-only event) with an offer to "Ye men of Israel" in Acts 3 (there was still an Israel and he calls them "brethren") that if they repented, God would send Christ to restore all things (the restoration [apokathístēmi, restore to a former state] of the Kingdom in Israel, Acts 1:6, Acts 3:19, ("so that times of refreshing may come"). Again, can I preach Acts 3 today?

Just as I do not follow the Lord's "command" in Matthew 4 and Matthew 10 concerning the Gospel of the Kingdom, nor do I reject gentiles and preach to Jews only (Matt 10, Matthew 15, Acts 11, etc.), I do not preach Peter's message in Acts 3 or Paul's message in Romans 11. Nor do I separate Gentile and Jewish believers and impose Leviticus 23 on them. Nor do I tell Jewish believers to circumcise their children. But the Apostles and the Holy Spirit dis all these in the Acts.

  • I do not preach "the hope of Israel" today. 
  • I do not limit myself to only those things spoken by Moses and the Prophets( as Paul did. He testified to this at his trial). 
  • I do not go to Jews first as Paul did. 
  • I do not meet Jewish leaders and teach them about the Kingdom. 

As late as Acts 28, Paul was till doing this last one.

So when they [Jewish leaders in Rome] had appointed him a day, many came to him [Paul] at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.

The gospel we preach today was revealed to Paul alone, unknown by Moses and the Prophets. It was "hidden" from BEFORE the foundation of the ages, whereas the gospel of the Kingdom was revealed SINCE or FROM the foundation of the ages. In this age, our hope in the far above the heavens where Christ sits at the right hand of the Father. 

The gospel of the Kingdom concerns the earth and the land and the people and the priesthood. Both the Old and New Covenants deal with Israel, in the land, as a "nation of priests." Priests for whom? The nations (Gentiles).

Since Adam, all who have Life, have Life by grace alone through faith alone. That is not the issue. The issue rests on the hope in front of believers. We do not look for an earthly kingdom or a land or a temple, etc. Israel has and will. In that regard, the Lord was "sent to none, but to the lost sheep of the House of Israel."

Today, we don't ignore people based on race. But the Lord did. And we don't call other races "dogs." Israel were the children (son's, heirs of the promises), not Gentiles.

“I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

That is, I was not sent to YOU. Since Adam (before Abraham) Gentiles could have Life, but the Kingdom is for Israel alone.

“It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

The Gentile woman approached him by calling him " O Lord, Son of David!," yet she had no right to use that title with him (and neither do we). So, he ignored her. The lovely and loving Lord Jesus ignored a woman crying out to him. But when she persists and calls him only "Lord," he allows her to proceed.

Again, if we say "Matthew is to us," then we have to obey these commands (and others like Matthew 10, etc.). Matthew is the Gospel of the King. The Lord doesn't even mention he must die until chapter 16, and even then they don't believe him... AND... he forbids them to tell anyone. Where is our gospel today in Matthew? A Kingdom for Israel only? A gospel to Israel only? No death, burial, and resurrection gospel? In its context, Matthew is clearly not to us (and not even to Gentiles). For us?

Matthew is certainly FOR us, but not TO us. In Matthew, do we really want to be "son's [children] of the Kingdom?" I don't. The Lord warns them that some will be "cast into outer darkness.

But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. -The Lord Jesus Christ (Matt 8)

That's not me and that warning is not for today. It is for Israel in context of the earthly Kingdom.

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. 
-Matt 4

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 
-Matt 9

The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
-Matt 11

None of these are about the death, burial, or resurrection of the Lord. The Gospel of the Kingdom is good news for Israel. She was in sin, but there was still hope. That hope is their New Covenant (Jer 31) which is for "Virgin Israel" (cleansed).

So, what will they preach throughout the land and when will this be?

But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. 
-Matt 24

Do we teach men must "endure to the end?" to enter into Life? To the end of what? This is still the same "Gospel of the Kingdom" and it will be the witness to the nations. This was spoke to the future judges in Israel, just as Matthew 28 is spoken to them, just as Acts 1 was spoken to them.

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately... 
-Matt 24

All the works passages in Matthew have to do with the Kingdom, they're not some clever word-play and secretly mean salvation by grace through faith. They mean what they warn. They are judgments of "sons" and "servants." That does not involve us. These works judgments are for Israel. The Son of David and the Judges on the 12 thrones will judge them.

“Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." 

Note that in Israel's "regeneration" there is judgment (not for Life, but for placement in the Kingdom). However, in regard to the regeneration in the current age:

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit... 

That is the hope I preach to all men, not the Kingdom Gospel of Matthew. And after they come to a knowledge of the death, burial, and resurrection of the LORD for their sins, and after they rest in that finished work, then I can introduce them to the ministry and revelation given to Paul alone for this age. 

The hope found in Christ alone for resurrection from the dead and then the hope of sitting with Christ in the heavenly places. Both come by faith in the revelation of God in his word and through his servant. 

Monday, April 17, 2023

Very Quick Thought on the "Jesus Revolution" Film

I'm a second generation product of the Jesus Movement. My brother, who is 10 years my senior, was in college in the 70s and was wonderfully saved. Catholic school his whole life (including university) and he was introduced to the Savior while in college. His faith worked its way into my family.

Being a huge music fan, he introduced me to the likes of Keith Green, Phil Keaggy, and Larry Norman. I then found Petra. First time I ever heard a gospel invitation was at a Petra concert (confused me a bit at the time). I attended Creation Fest at the end of my sophomore year in college (1986) with my sister. My brother got me to read scripture.

When I finally surrendered to the true gospel in 1991, I could see it all working around me and in me. 

Chuck Smith is a main character in "Jesus Revolution." I've enjoyed Chuck Smith's ministry (and a number of Calvary Chapel teachers) over the years.

One of the ironies, to me, of the criticisms of the film and of Chuck and Lonnie Frisbee by so-called conservative teachers is that I believe my theology is a lot more conservative than the critics'. When I came to Christ, I stopped playing music for a couple of years. When I started playing again, my local assembly (for the most part) was not very encouraging. They were hung up on ties and pianos (you know, the stuff the Bible is concerned with). What may seem conservative and fundamental on the outside is often very extra-biblical or even anti-biblical

The one weakness of the 1970s movement that seems to have persisted in some corners is its obsession with taking care of the poor (the social gospel). Obviously, helping the poor is a good thing, but it led to rise of men like Tony Campolo. Even Keith Green had to write "Grace By Which I Stand" after his demolishing of the gospel in his song, "Sheep and the Goats" (a song which sends people to hell for "what they did and didn't DO!," Keith's emphasis).

Not that I expect musicians to necessarily be the best Biblicists, we must acknowledge that some of those artists did go off the rails. John Michael Talbot became a Catholic. Joe English went the other way and now preaches ties and hymns for salvation. DC Talk got caught up in the "red letter" movement and parts of the "Social Gospel." Phil Keaggy has waffled, even to the point of endorsing the Catholic Catechism which condemns him as an ex-Catholic. Etc.

All movements of God get corrupted and usurped to one degree or another at some point. But I think Chuck stayed true to the end and many of the Calvary teachers have carried the torch.

I recommend the movie and I choose to see the many wonderful things that have come from the 1970s Jesus Movement. Satan has his ministers ready to corrupt the truth, but that has always been true and will always be true until the Lord comes. Mormonism and the Jehovah's Witness movements started after American revivals and during times of widespread fundamentalism. 

Let us rejoice over the sinner who comes to Christ and protect the gospel of the grace of God above all things. Petty denominationalism creates a foothold for Satan and his ministers. We should surely seek to understand and interpret scripture as accurately as possible, but we must never move from the foundation which is the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ alone. 

Saturday, April 15, 2023

God Did Not Permit His Holy One to Experience Decay

But regarding the fact that he has raised Jesus from the dead, never again to be in a state of decay, God has spoken in this way: ‘I will give you the holy and trustworthy promises made to David.’ Therefore he also says in another psalm, ‘You will not permit your Holy One to experience decay.’ For David, after he had served God’s purpose in his own generation, died, was buried with his ancestors, and experienced decay.
 -Acts 13:34-36 

Do not miss a key point both Peter and Paul make in the Acts, after the resurrection: Christ did not decay! The resurrection is the great undoing of the curse. Adam brought death AND decay into the world. In Adam all die. Dust you are and unto dust you shall return.

The Lord Jesus Christ is not a triune being on his own. His life (breath, spirit) went back to the Father, and who he is went to the abode of the dead, Hades. All believers, when they die, in the state of death, are said to be in Hades. But the Lord Jesus clearly stated, unequivocally, that he was in the “heart of the earth” for three days and three nights. He was nowhere else. He was not simultaneously in heaven, mythical “hell”, and in the tomb.

The victory of Easter is the great undoing of the curse! Though we die, though we decay, in Christ we have the power of resurrection working in us. We will receive a celestial body in the resurrection to replace this terrestrial body of dust.

In the great resurrection chapter, 1 Cor 15, Paul points us to his only use of “hades.” Hades is used of believers. Victory is in the hope of resurrection, and not before. The great WHEN/THEN of the resurrection. It is in resurrection that we “put on immortality” and not before (scripture teaches that God ALONE has immortality).

“So WHEN this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, THEN shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 
“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

When we teach that believers go to heaven upon death or that God is somehow torturing people in “Hades” upon death, we rob from the glory of the resurrection. Our future resurrection is not just a footnote. It is the glorious victory over the curse of sin and death!

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

-2 Timothy 1:9-10 

The Lord did not die for his own sins, he died for our sins. The Lord claimed victory over that death by not decaying. Death had no power over Him. The glorious victory in the resurrection set the stage for the destruction of the "last enemy," death.

One day, death and Hades will be destroyed from the earth. Death will be no longer, no one will be in a state of death. All these wonderful things are possible because the Lord Jesus Christ took our sins upon himself at Calvary, died in our place, then undid death and decay and freely offers the power of his resurrection to all who will simply come and believe!