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How Should I Study My Bible

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How Should I Study My Bible

By Obed Kirkpatrick

 

First you must have the right Bible. The Bible you read is as important as the attitude you take in your search for truth. Time will not permit me to go into a detailed comparison of the many Bible translation; so I will simple state that the King James Bible will be the preferred text in any discussions in the following pages.  If you prefer something other than a King James Bible, please read both and compare.( Click here to see my Booklet on the King James Bible)

 

Question: How should I study the Bible?

Answer: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15.

A high IQ is not a prerequisite to learning what the Bible teaches. Read the Bible and allow the Holy Spirit to direct you.

If you are a new Christian or if you have been a Christian without the benefit of having sat under a teacher of truth; you might not be aware that there are at least four views as to when the Church the Body of Christ began.

“What is the Church the Body of Christ?” you ask.  It is the saved who are destined to reign with Christ in heaven, and that my friend is very important to a deeper understanding of Bible truth. So when did the church the body of Christ begin?

  1. Covenant theology teaches the church of the Old Testament and the New Testament is one and the same.
  2. Most fundamental evangelicals and many dispensationalists teach that the Body had its beginning on the day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts chapter two.
  3. There are other dispensationalists who recognize the distinctive ministry of Paul and take the mid-Acts (Acts 9-13) position for the starting point.
  4. Then there are those dispensationalists that take the position that the Body began with the setting aside ofIsrael, which we find taking place in Acts 28.

Why is it important to know the beginning of the body of Christ? Because there are Scriptures written specifically to that group of believers as there are Scriptures written specifically toIsrael.

I hope the information given in this outline will allow you to make an informed decision based upon Scriptural evidence alone.  My prayer is that you will allow the Holy Spirit to guide you through the following pages without any preconceived ideas from your denominational ties, if you have any.

You need to be a Berean.  Bereans, as categorized by Paul were searches of the Scripture.  They would listen to whatever a teacher taught with an open mind but before they believed what was said they would check the Scriptures whether the words were true. Acts 17:10-11: And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These (Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Although translators have broken the Bible into two segments, Old and New Testaments, there are two other divisions that will help you achieve your goal to find truth: those divisions are prophecy and mystery. Prophecy deals with the promise of God to the nationIsrael. It is centered around the promise made to Abraham about a land inheritance and the coming Messiah though the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Mystery concerns several secrets God chose to hide from the Jews until He revealed them to the Apostle Paul.  The mystery primarily concerns God’s dealing with the Gentiles, whereas prophecy concerns the nation ofIsrael, or the Jews.

To get a thorough understanding of God’s plan from eternity past to eternity future, I have provided a time chart for you to use. We will refer to it often, so I suggest that you study it thoroughly.  I am not asking you to agree with it at this time, but it will give you a better understanding of the premises presented in the document. (Click here to view my Time Chart) You might want to print the page as we will be refering to it often.

Since we have stated the Bible concerns the promises made to Israel and to Gentiles, we will begin our detail study with the focus on Gentiles.

 Ephesians 2:11: Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 2:12: That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

You will notice I have underlined the words “Time Past.”  The “time past” of verse 11 is referring to a period of time prior to Paul writing this letter to the Ephesians. It is also in reference to a period of time when the Jew considered the Gentiles to be an abomination. Whether or not that is true, it was the consensus thinking for that day and time. Here is an example of that:

Matthew 15:21-27: Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s (Israel) bread (Gospel of the Kingdom) , and to cast it to dogs (Gentiles). And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.  (Parenthesis added)

In Ephesians 2: 12 I have underline the words “at that time.”  This refers to time past and Gentiles in the preceding verse.  These Gentiles of time past were:

1)    Uncircumcised,

2)    Without Christ, being

3)    Aliens from thecommonwealthofIsrael, (an alien is an outsider)

4)    Strangers from the covenants of promise, (The covenants of promise made to Abraham and passed on through Isaac and Jacob)

5)    Having no hope, and

6)    Without God in the world.

It is a known fact that there were some Gentiles in Old Testament times that had favor with God.  However, it is also a known fact that the Jew had more favor, as is seen in the following: Genesis 12:1-3:

  1. 1.    Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
  2. 2.    And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
  3. 3.    And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

The only way a Gentile could receive the blessings of God was if they would blessIsrae and do works of righteousness. Using the positive and negative form of rationale, (with every positive statement there is a negative alternative and vice versa) a Gentile would not receive the blessing of God if they did not bless Abraham’s seed.

The Bible is very clear that at one time the Jew had an advantage over the Gentile.  Let’s look at a few passages of Scripture.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16.

What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” Romans 3:1-2.

Paul had a commission from the Lord: “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and to the Children of Israel.” Acts 9:15

Paul made numerous efforts to show the Jews he was commissioned of God, but there were too many hard liners against the message he preached.  “And he went into the synagogue and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way (Pauline doctrine revealed to him by the Lord) before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” Acts 19:8-10

Even though it broke his heart that his fellow Jews would not believe the message he preached, he started teaching primarily to Gentiles who did not believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

In Acts 19 and 20 we see two groups of Gentiles:  Those who blessedIsraeland those who did not.

  1. There were a group of Ephesian Gentiles meeting in the synagogue who were blessingIsrael and therefore were partakers of the covenants of promise.
  2. There were a group of Ephesian Gentiles who were idol worshippers and they did not like Israel and therefore they were not partakers of the covenants of promise, they were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and without a relationship with the true and living God.
  3. Careful study of Romans, 1st and 2nd Corinthians and Galatians will reveal that the majority of these people to whom Paul was writing were Gentiles that were partakers of the covenants of promise, and they were also members of the Church the Body of Christ, the foundation laid by Paul.

Look at 1 Corinthians 3: 10-17:

10    According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

11    For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12    Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

13    Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

14    If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

15    If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

16    Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

17    If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

a)      Paul laid the foundation of the temple, which is you and me – the Church the Body of Christ.

b)      It is NOT the laying of the foundation of the gospel, as some believe, for the gospel was laid out (it was hidden) in the Old Testament Scriptures.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4:

1.  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2.  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4.  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

I have underlined the words “according to the Scriptures.”  This can only mean Old Testament Scripture.

c)      The foundation that Paul laid is for the Church the Body of Christ – who is the temple of God, or if you will, the dwelling place of God in this present dispensation. 1 Corinthians 3:10-17, listed above, matches perfectly with Ephesians 2:19-20: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;” as well as with 2 Timothy 2:19-20: “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.” The foundation that Paul laid is also Jesus Christ, as He relates to the Church the Body of Christ,  for it is built on the same foundation as the Jews, but there is a difference.

d)     Anyone who does not believe the gospel of Christ that Paul preaches is not a member of the Body of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

e)      The foundation of the Church the Body of Christ which Paul preached has to do with the order of resurrection. “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Col. 1:18

f)       And Paul’s preaching of resurrection is different from that which Peter preached. “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:” (2 Tim. 2:8) Paul preached being resurrection to be seated at the right hand of God – in Heaven.  Peter preached being resurrection to live with Jesus, the King, on earth.

When speaking concerning the Jews, Paul, in his letter to the Romans said: “I say then, Have they (Israel) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them (Israel) to jealousy.” Romans 11:11. (Parenthesis added)

We see that God, in His wisdom, raised up Paul to be an apostle to the Gentiles, knowing that eventually it would provoke the Jews to jealousy and then perhaps they would turn back to God.

God knew Israel would turn from Him, as we see prophesied in Deuteronomy 32:15-21:

15      But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.

16      They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.

17      They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.

18      Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.

19      And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.

20      And he said, 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.

21      They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.

What most people do not realize, but I want you to see:  it was God’s intention to make the Gentiles a special people even before he called Abram out of Haran.

 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us (Gentiles) with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Ephesians 1:3-6. The word Gentiles is added by me to emphasize to whom the passage is written.

Did this mean that God intended Israel to be a second class people? God forbid! For Paul also was informed by the Lord that even though Israelwould fall, their fullness would be complete in due time. “Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?” Romans 11:11

It must be noted, according to the prophecy of Deuteronomy 32, the Lord would hide His face fromIsrael for a period of time.  This time period would come to be known as the Dispensation of Grace, the period of time in which we now live.  Israel is Lo-ami (not my people) today. She has gone a whoring from God, and God has been provoked to anger and turned His back on her.  And He will not bring her back into favor until the time of the fullness of the Gentiles.

In real time, today, Israel is cut off from the blessings of God Almighty. In the eleventh chapter of Romans, the olive tree represents Israel’s privileges and unbelieving Israel is that broken branch. For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;” Romans 11:16-17.

In Acts 28:24-28, we see that Israelbecame Lo-Ami. “And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

When the setting aside ofIsrael happened, a new hope was extended to the Gentiles. Ephesians 3:1-6:

  1. 1.      For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
  2. 2.      If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
  3. 3.      How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
  4. 4.      Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
  5. 5.      Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
  6. 6.      That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

This new hope for Gentiles means that the religious privileges for Israel have been set aside – temporarily. It also means that God can fulfil His commitment to the Gentiles which he had planned before the foundation of the world. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” Ephesians 1:4.

We have seen that in “Time Past” there were a group of Gentiles who were alienated from God, but in the following passage we are introduce to two new words: “But Now.”  What is their significance?

Ephesians 2:13-18:

13    But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

14    For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

15    Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

16    And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

17    And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

18    For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

In verse 13, the “but now in Christ Jesus” is set in contrast to “time past” as mentioned in the verses 11 & 12. The people, to whom verse 13 addresses used to have no hope, now have a hope.  Those who were without God now have God. Those who were aliens from the commonwealthof Israeland strangers from the covenants of promise are now made neigh by the blood of Christ. Why?  They have been reconciled (v. 16) by the cross. 

Notice it does not say they were reconciled at the cross. The believer, who studies the Word of truth rightly divided, will see that the Jew was still the means of hope up to and until the time of their being set aside. These people were reconciled BY the cross.

Those Who First Trusted vs. Those Who Trusted At a Later Date

Look at the following verses. Ephesians 1:9-13:

9        Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10    That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

11    In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

12    That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

13    In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

  1. In verse 12 we are apprised of a group of believers who first trusted in Christ.
  2. In verse 13 we see another group of believers who also trusted. Paul refers to those on as “ye”.
  3. Both groups of people are members of the Body of Christ.

Ephesians 2:1-7:

1        And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

2        Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

3        Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

4        But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

5        Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

6        And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

7        That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

After having read the verses above, you should have noticed several things in the passages. The people listed as “ye” were dead in trespasses and sin and walked according to the world and Satan. You will also notice in verse 5 that they were saved by grace. You should have also seen that the first group of believers had problems with the flesh and were children of wrath the same as the “ye” group.

Both groups are loved by God and have been quickened together with Christ and raised up together to sit in heavenly places, thereby indicating that both groups were a part of the Body of Christ.

Ephesians 2:8-16:

8          For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9          Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10      For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

11      Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

12      That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

13      But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

14      For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

15      Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

16      And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

These two groups of Gentiles had some issues among themselves, and Ephesians 2:14 says there had been a middle wall of partition between them that was now broken down. Then in verse 15 we find this wall had been abolished by Jesus Christ.  The verse explains it was the law of commandments contained in ordinances that had been abolished and had been the problem between the two groups of Gentiles.

In Ephesian 2:16 that the reconciliation of the two groups was a result of the death of Jesus Christ.  Notice the passage says “by the cross.”  It does not say the reconciliation occurred at the cross. I know that to be true because of what Peter said in Acts10:28: “And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”  Peter knew that law of commandments contained in ordinances was still very much in operation for the Jew.

In Ephesians 2:15 we see that with the abolishing of the enmity, the law, these two groups could be made one – become one new man. This new man had not been in existence before.  The body of Christ was fragmented because those who first believe had an obligation to continue to observe certain ordinances.  Look at the following passages.

James is speaking in Acts 15:19-21: “Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” He is telling the Jews that Gentiles who had turned to God should not be troubled, but they should be asked to refrain from things strangled and from blood.

Acts 16 1-3: “Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.”  Because Timothy was part Jew, Paul thought it best the he be circumcised, thereby observing the ordinance of circumcision.

Galatians 2:1-3:  “Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.”  Paul did not consider having Titus circumcised since he was a Greek (Gentile)

When Paul began his ministry, he was trying to be all things to all people.  He did not want to offend the Jew, nor did he want to burden the Gentile with Jewish commandments.  His early ministry was filled with instances where the Jewish hierarchy was always questioning his authority and the validity of his message. By the time he wrote the Ephesian Letter God had revealed unto it was time to quit appeasing the Jew, for they had been set aside (become Lo-Ami).

As we ‘ve mentioned before, the letters Paul wrote to the Romans, Corinthians and Galatians were filled with things they were to do, in the hopes that by doing them they might not offend the Jew and thereby help them see the truth.

The Gentiles who first believed and those who believed later were all part of the Body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14:  “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.

1 Corinthians 12: 27-31:   “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?  Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”

You will notice that in Paul’s early ministry there were categories of importance.  There were those who had certain gifts.  But it was evident that all the people did not have all of the gifts. It should also be note that when Paul lists the gifts in Ephesians, he eliminates quite a few of those listed in 1 Corinthians 12.

Ephesians 4:8:  “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.”

Ephesians 4:11:  “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

When the two groups of Gentiles become the “new man,”  one does not think of himself as getting better or worse but the same.

Ephesians 3: 1-3, 6:

“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 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; (as I wrote afore in few words,… That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

The Body of Christ is a unified body of believers and one of its goals is to become a perfect man.

Ephesians 4:11-16:

11      And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12      For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13      Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

14      That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

15      But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

16      From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of

17      every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

This perfect man in Ephesians 4:13 is the same one new man of Ephesians 2: 15: “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

That man is made perfect and new by the breaking down of the middle wall of partition, and both of them becoming united in one body in Christ Jesus; and none being better than the other, none having the restrictions of ordinance being imposed on them.

The reason it is necessary to become this new and perfect man is stated in Ephesians 4:14:  “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, …”

If you are a Christian, you have probably been more confused about ordinances than any other topic. Should we do this or shouldn’t we?  How do we do it?  When do we practice it.  In what name are we doing it?  This issues that arise over baptism and communion have been the reason many in Christendom have left the church., and that is so sad. Why? They were abolished by the cross.

The second chapter of Colossians gives a pretty good picture of the condition of the new and perfect man. Colossians 2:6-23:

6             As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

7             Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

8             Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

9             For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

10         And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

11         In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

12         Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

13         And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened

14         together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

15         Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

16         And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

17         Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

18         Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

19         Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

20         And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.

21         Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

22         (Touch not; taste not; handle not;

23         Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

24         Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

What do these verses say about those of us who are members of the Body of Christ?

v. 10            We are complete in Christ

v. 11            We are circumcised with Christ

v. 12            We are buried with Christ in Baptism

v. 12            We are dead with Christ

v. 13            We are quickened together with Christ

v. 13            Christ has forgiven ALL (not just a few) my trespasses

v. 14            Christ blotted out the ordinances that were against us, nailing it to His cross

v. 15            Christ spoiled Satan and his follower’s hope when he was resurrected

v. 16            Christ warns of those who would impose restriction of the law

v. 18            Christ said do not listen to those who would have you get involved in angel worship

vs. 19-23     Since you are dead with Christ, buried with Christ and risen with Christ, you are not to be concerned with the perishable things of this world.  To do those things only proves you have a will power, something in which you can boast.  Doing them does not bring honor to you.

Religious organizations want their members to be obedient to the doctrine of the physical church.  They are constantly bombarding members with you must be baptized, you must go to confession, you cannot eat certain foods, and you must not associate with a certain crowd.  While some of these might be good for you physical bodies, they do nothing for improving the spirit.  Ritualistic tools used in worship are not of God for the Dispensation of Grace, the period of time in which we now live.

The Scripture says that when Christ died, ordinances died.  Who are you going to believe, the Bible or a church ordinance? Christ fulfilled the Law.  To continue observing ordinance is to rebel against the Word of God. We are to put away earthly things and think about heavenly things.

Colossians 3:1-4:

1          If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

2          Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

3          For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

4          When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

And why do you suppose we are to think about heavenly things? Because we are already there spiritually. Ephesians 2: 6: And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Conclusion:

The Church the Body of Christ had to have begun with Paul. Why? Israelfailed in her responsibility to be the spokesperson for the Lord Jesus Christ, so God raise up Paul to be the apostle to the Gentiles. Romans 11: 13: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” So the Body of Christ could not have begun before Acts 9. Paul was called to present the gospel to the uncircumcised Gentile and Peter and the twelve were called to present the gospel to the circumcised Jews.

Galatians 2:7-9:

7          But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

8          For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)

9          And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. 

Let me show you how I divide the Book of Acts.

Chapters         City                Figure                 People                      Gospel Paul Preached

  1-12               Jerusalem         Peter                      Jews                              Gospel of God

13-16              Antioch          Paul & Others      Jews & Gentiles         Gospel of Christ

17-28               Rome              Paul                      Gentiles                          Gospel of the Grace of God

Do not get the impression that I believe Paul three separate Gospels, he did not.  But for the purposes of teaching, I want to show you how his teaching progressed according to the revelations (plural) he received from God.

2 Corinthians 12:1: “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 12:7:  “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

In acts 9, Paul is on his way to Damascusto capture followers of Jesus. “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”  Acts 9:1-2.

But instead of capturing followers of Jesus he becomes a follower of Jesus.

12      And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;

13      Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

14      And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

15      This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

16      Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

So, Saul is saved and God says that he is a pattern, someone to be followed,  to Gentile believers.

In early Acts Saul/Paul preaches what we have labeled the Gospel of God.  “And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” The Gospel of God is simply that Jesus was the Son of God. Saul had authority from the Jewish High Priest to bring people who confessed that Jesus was the Son of God back toJerusalem for trail of heresy.

So Saul began to teach exactly what the disciples were teaching about Jesus. First Peter, “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16: 15-16.

And then Philip, Acts 8:5: “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.

Acts 8:29-37:

29      Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.

30      And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?

31      And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

32      The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb

33      dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:

34      In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.

35      And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

36      Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

37      And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

38      And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

The passage the Eunuch was reading was Isaiah 53:7:  “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” So, the Old Testament predicted that Jesus would come and die for the sins of many.

So Saul begins to teach to the ones he was sent to destroy. “But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.” Acts 1:23.

Peter, Philip and Paul are proving that Jesus is the Christ of prophecy. “But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

Paul goes into theArabian desert.  Galatians 1:15-18:

15         But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,

16         To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

17         Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

18         Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.   

If we are following Paul’s teaching in Acts, this coincides with the events of Acts 9: 23-25: “And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

When he leaves the desert, he comes back to Damascus.  “Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.” Galatians 1:17.

Soon after he arrived in Damascus, he goes Jerusalem.  “Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.” Galatians 1:18.

Following the events in acts, we see this in Acts 9:26-29:  “And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.

You cannot preach the Gospel of Christ without preaching the Gospel of God, but you can preach the Gospel of God without preaching the Gospel of Christ.  What do I mean by that statement?  There are some who will tell you that Jesus was the Son of God without saying that He is the only way you can have remission and blotting out of sins.

There are those who say you must be water baptized for remission of sins, and then they quote Acts 2:38:  “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” In other words, there are those that still believe you must do a work before you can be saved.  And since baptism is a work they practice that belief.

Many followers of Acts 2: 38 will tell you cannot be saved apart from water baptism. They err.  They prostitute the grace of God. “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.” Ephesians 2:8-9.

So, Paul preaches the Gospel of God plus starts adding the Son of God died for our sins. How was the Gospel of Christ .

revealed?  It was revealed to Paul from Old Testament Scripture and is manifest now by the prophets, for the purpose of obedience.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.

Even though the Gospel of Christ was in the Scriptures, it had been kept secret since the world began. Look at Romans 16:25-26:

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,

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:

The mystery in the passages above is not the mystery of the Dispensation of the Grace of God that you will find in Ephesians 3: 9:  “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:” The mystery in this passage was one hid in God and not in Scripture.

The mystery hid in Scripture concerns the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for the remission of sins. 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, Paul states that he came to simple preach Christ crucified. “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Why do you suppose God chose to hide this fact?  Because if Satan had known that Christ death would be to the saving of the world from death, he would not have been instrumental in Christ’s crucifixion. Look at 1 Corinthians 2:6-8.

6    Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

7        But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

8        Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

It was God’s plan for Jesus to be crucified so that He could destroy Satan, who has the power over death. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2: 14-15.

The ministry of Paul on his first missionary journey is preaching Jesus Christ, and Him crucified for the sins of the world. Even though that message can be found in the Scripture, it was not understood until God revealed it to Paul.

So, Jesus was turned over to the Devil to deliver the world from bondage. From 9: 00 am to 3: 00 pm God allowed Satan have the fate of Jesus in his hands, and our Lord was crucified for the sins of the world, thus confirming the New Testament.

Hebrews 9:16-18; 25-26:

16     For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

17     For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

18     Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.

25     Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;

26     For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

When Jesus was crucified, the Old Testament law was terminated. Hebrews 10:9-14:

9        Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

10    By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11    And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

12    But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

13    From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

14    For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

With Jesus’ death, the Old Covenant God made withIsraelwas taken away in order that a New Covenant could be established – withIsrael.  It has not been established yet forIsraelhas been set aside, become Lo-Ami.

But let us get back to the discussion of Paul’s ministry.  Paul wrote thirteen books: Romans through Philemon. Since we are tracing Paul’s ministry in the Book of Acts, you should know that Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians were written during Acts 18, 19 and 20.

A little earlier in this book, we stated that In Romans 11:11-18:

1.    The olive tree represented the religious privileges ofIsraelbut notIsraelperse.

2.    That unbelievingIsraelis the broken branch.

3.    A Gentile who fear God and did works of righteousness could be grafted in.

4.    The hope ofIsraelwas extended to the Gentiles.

You need to understand that the Gospel of Christ is to the Jew first until Acts Chapter 20.

Romans 3:1-2:  “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

Be very clear, the Jew HAD the advantage at one point in time and circumcision was profitable, especially for the Gentile who, by the act of circumcision became Jewish proselytes.  Salvation, in the beginning, was to the Jew first and those Gentiles who feared God.

Acts 13:16: “Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.

Acts 13:26:  “Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.”

That is what Paul preached in his early ministry.  The Gentiles that were being saved during this time period were partakers of the promises given to the Jews. Look at his teaching as recorded in Galatians 4:28:  “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.”

In Ephesians 2: 11-12 there are Gentile believers who were aliens from the commonwealth ofIsraeland strangers from the covenants of promise. If we use deductive reasoning, we can say that the saved Gentiles in the churches ofRome,Corinth,Galatia, Thessalonica and some inEphesuswere in the covenants of promise.  

In Acts 20:19-21 we read:  “Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you look at verses carefully, you will notice that repentance is toward God and not Jesus Christ.

Later on there were saved Gentiles who were not partakers of the promises of Israel. These are the ones Ephesians 2:12 addresses.  “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

These Gentiles had no hope of salvation, but something happened to change that.  Look at Ephesians 2 13:  “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

So we can summarize that there were two groups of believers in the church at Ephesians, those who first trusted and those who also trusted later on. “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” Ephesians 1: 12-13.  These two verses compare favorably with Ephesians 2:12-18.

The Gentiles of time past were partakers of the covenants of promise and the Gentiles of the “Now” times were not. Why?  Because has been given another revelation from God and he starts preaching the Gospel of the Grace of God.  Acts 20:24:  “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

The Gospel of the Grace of God is the Gospel of Christ but according to the foundation laid by Paul. A foundation that he started building in his early ministry, but was not consummated until God revealed to him the missing pieces. 

In 1 Corinthians 3: 10-11, we read: “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Now look at Ephesians 2:20:  “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

What we have here is Paul acknowledging that he is preaching Christ is the foundation, just as the apostles and prophets before him were doing, but he cautions those to take heed how one builds upon that foundation. The foundation that Paul built on Christ was a foundation for the temple, which is the Body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:19:  “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

That foundation built on Christ for the Body of Christ involved an order of Christ’s resurrection. 2 Timothy 2:7-8.  “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:

Peter also preached Christ as the foundation, but Peter’s foundation had Christ being resurrected to return to Earth and reign for 1,000 years.  Did Paul preach that?  No, he did not.  Paul’s preaching of Christ’s resurrection was all about Christ seated at the right hand of the father, far above all heavens. 

Ephesians 4:10:  “He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

Ephesians 1:20:  “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

That is why he wrote that followers of his gospel ought to set their minds on heavenly things and not earthly things. Colossians 3:1-4:

1          If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

2          Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

3          For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

4          When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

So, I know that Peter’s preaching of Christ and His resurrection are not the same as Paul’s preaching of Christ and His resurrection. If that is true, and it is, then I also know Peter did not lay the same foundation that Paul did.

Peter and the twelve were laying a foundation for the restoration of Israel to the land of promise, as is seen by their question in Acts 1:6:  “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

It is no wonder that the Lord did not answer that question directly, for He who knows all things, knew that God would raise up Paul before Israelwas restored.  Acts 1:7-8:  “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

*  The Gospel of the Grace of God is the good news that Christ died for ALL men.  1 Timothy 2:1-6:

1      I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

2      For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

3      For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

4      Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

5      For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

6      Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Titus 2:11-14:

11    For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

12    Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

13    Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

14    Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Titus 3 4-7:

4   But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

5   Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

6   Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

7   That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

* The Gospel of the Grace of God does not put restrictions on anyone.  When the Gospel of the Grace of God began to be taught by Paul, Gentiles did not have to blessIsrael, keep the law, or refrain from observing ordinances or things offensive to the Jew, as we saw in Acts 15:19-21:

19        Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

20      But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

21      For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

The middle wall of partition has been broken down,   (Ephesians 2:14-15:  “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;”)  and the two groups of Gentiles are now one in the Lord. 

There are those who teach that the two being made one are Jew and Gentile, but I think the evidence presented here shows otherwise.  You must search the Scriptures yourself to verify that.  I believe the two groups to be Gentiles who either kept certain ordinances or did not keep those ordinances. This was accomplished by what happen on the cross, and not necessarily at the time of the cross.

Final Conclusion:

  1. The Church the Body of Christ could not have begun at Acts 2 because said he laid the foundation for it and Paul is not saved until Acts 9.
    1. An integral part of this foundation concerns a resurrection in heavenly places. 2 Timothy 2: 7:  “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:
    2. Peter preached Christ resurrected to sit on an earthly throne.
    3. The Church the Body of Christ could not have begun at Acts 28 because Paul was laying the foundation before that, as is evident in 1 Corinthians 12: 13:  “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
    4. The Gospel of the Grace of God is mentioned in Acts 20 and in Acts 28 Israel became Loammi.
    5. True, there were some Gentiles being saved and becoming a part of the Body of Christ having blessed Israel, but they were part of that which was built upon the foundation laid by Paul.  Ephesians 2: 20  “And are built upon the
    6. foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
    7. So, we conclude that the Body of Christ had to begin with Paul immediately after he was saved in Acts 9.
    8. With the breaking down of the Middle Wall of Partition also came the dissolving of ordinance imposed on Gentiles who first believed.  When that happened, the Gentiles who were not partakers of the promise and those who first believe became one unified body.

There is a difference between the Gospel of the Circumcision and the Gospel of the Uncircumcision.  The first was committed unto Peter and the 12 and the latter unto Paul.  WhenIsraelwas set aside the Gospel of the Grace of God became the means whereby all would be saved.  That is how you and I are saved today.

There is a difference between Prophecy, which pertains toIsrael, and the Mystery, which pertains to Gentiles.

The Mystery is multifaceted:

Why is it called the Mystery?

                    Romans 16:25; Ephesians 3: 1-10; Colossians 1:26: 4: 3

To who was it revealed?                                

                    Galatians 2:7, 8; Ephesians 3:2; Colossians 1:25

What the Revelation of the Mystery reveals or contains:

                      1.    The Formation of the Body of Christ

                             Romans 10:12, 13; 12:5; 1 Corinthians10 17;12: 27

                             Ephesians 4:4, 12; 2:6, 14-18; Colossians1:18;3: 15

                             1 Timothy 1:13-16            

                      2.    Dispensation of Grace

                             Ephesians 3 2, 9; Colossians 1:25

                      3.    Gospel of the Grace of God

                             Romans 3:24; Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:7

                             A.    Preaching of the Cross

                                    1 Corinthians 1:17, 18; Galatians 6:14; Colossians 1:20

                             B.    Forgiveness by the blood

                                    Romans 3:25: 5: 9; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1 14   

                             C.    Death, Burial, Resurrection of Christ necessary to Gospel of Salvation

                                    Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:15

                      4.    Temporary Setting aside of Israel

                             Romans 11:25

                             A.    Blindness

                                    Isaiah 6 9, 10; Acts 28:27, 28; Romans 11:11-15

                      5.    Equality of Jew & Gentile

                             Romans 3:9, 19, 22, 23;10:12- 13;11:32

                      6.    One Baptism

                             1 Corinthians 2:13; Ephesians 4 5; Hebrews 6:1, 2

                      7.    A New Commission to Preach                                             

                             Romans5: 10:11: 15; 2 Corinthians 5:14-20; Ephesians 2:12, 16                                                           Colossians1: 21

                      8.    Heavenly Position of Believers

                             Ephesians 1:3; 2:6; Philippians 3:20; Colossians 3:1-3

                      9.    Christ is the Head of the Body

                             Ephesians1:22, 23;5: 23; Colossians 1:18                         

                    10.    Coming of Christ in the Air

                             1 Corinthians 15:51-52; Philippians 3:20, 21

                             Colossians 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:13

                    11.    The Judgment Seat of Christ

                             Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10, 11         

                    12.    The Ministry of the Holy Spirit

                             Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 5:18                         

                              A.  We must not

                                    Ephesians4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19

The mystery committed unto Paul is different from the mysteries of the Kingdom, which is talking about theKingdomofHeavenon Earth. Israelwill have a home on the new earth whereas the Church the Body of Christ will live in the new heaven.

Mysteries of the kingdom: (Of heaven on earth)

Mark 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

Matthew 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Luke 8:10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

Mark 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

Revelation 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

Revelation 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

Revelation 17:5 And upon her forehead wasa name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

Revelation 17:7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

The mystery: (Hid in God and in Scripture)

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,

1 Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

1 Corinthians 2:715:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

Ephesians 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: Ephesians 3:3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (  as I wrote afore in few words,

Ephesians 3:4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

Ephesians 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Ephesians 6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

Colossians 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Colossians 2:2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

Colossians 4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

1 Timothy 3:9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

There is also a difference between The Mystery and the mysteries of God:

Mysteries:

1Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.

1Corinthians 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

1Corinthians 14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.