Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Dividing the Word of Truth (RD00)

    'Rightly Dividing the Word'

2 Tim 2:15  Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
    It is the duty of every Christian to be diligent in rightly divide the word of truth. To be able to rightly divide the word of truth, we must accept that the Bible is the word of God, which is infallible. Scriptures must be used to interpret scriptures.
    To be accurate in rightly dividing the word of truth, we must have a good knowledge and understanding of the 'whole counsel of God', which constitutes God's attributes, covenants, ways, promises, plans, works, dealings, judgments, teachings, commandments and directions in the OT, and the teachings, words, commandments, sayings and parables of our Lord Jesus and the Epistles of the Apostles in the NT.
     When the word of truth is rightly divided, it harmonizes with the rest of the scriptures. 
    'Wrongly dividing the word of truth' will result to wrong doctrines, distorted truth and heresies. Some of these are being taught in churches today.

Wolves in Sheepskin
Act 20:28-30  Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
    The Holy Spirit has anointed all born again Christians to shepherd the church of God or Body of Christ. Christians must expose all wrong doctrines and heresies to prevent sheep from the destruction of the salvage wolves.

In this series R (Rightly Dividing the Word), together let's look into doctrines (one by one) where the word of truth had been wrongly divided resulting in the propagation of so many wrong doctrines and heresies.

Jesus in the Flesh (RD01)

    'Rightly Dividing the Word'
2 Cor 5:16  Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.
     Paul (Saul of Tarsus) had never met Jesus in the flesh, and his knowledge of Jesus was from the religious leaders who presented Him as a rebellious false teacher and false Messiah.
   As a devout Jew and an upright and zealous Pharisee, he went all out to destroy this new deviate sect of Jesus, thinking that he was doing God's work.
Act 8:3; 9:1  As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison... Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest..

Jews' Understanding of Jesus
 Isa 53:4  Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
     The religious leaders taught Jews that Jesus was a rebel and heretic who claimed Himself as the Messiah. God punished Him by having Him crucified.
     So Paul like the rest of the Jews believed that Jesus (in the flesh) was a rebel, and His sufferings and death on the cross was the judgment and punishment of God for being a heretic.
    Since Paul was blinded by the lies of the religious leaders, he could not see Jesus as the Messiah coming as the Lamb of God, who offered Himself to be chastised for their transgressions and iniquities so that they could be at peace with God.
Isa 53:5  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

Taking 2Cor 5:16 in Context
2 Cor 5:15-16  and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.
    After Paul's conversion, he realised that he was wrong in believing Jesus was a rebel and heretic, and therefore confessed that he would no longer have this wrong perception of Jesus (now we know Him this no longer)
    Not only that, Paul promised that he would no longer judge anyone based on their conducts before their conversion (old man), because he had earlier erred in judging our Lord Jesus.
    We, too, must not judge a brethren by the persecutions, problems, sufferings, pains and even death, that he is enduring. Jesus out of His love for us went through all these for our sake, which Paul thought were God's judgement on Him.
    Paul taught that as a Christian, he is no longer the worldly, sinful and rebellious old man, but a new creation with the Holy Spirit in him. He should no longer live for himself but for our Lord Jesus, who died and redeemed him from the fire of hell, by keeping His words and commandments.
2 Cor 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Note - Do not revile, persecute nor judge any Christian based on his old conduct as a non believer, but rather regard him as a new creation in Christ.

Jesus, Lamb of God (RD02)

     'Rightly Dividing the Word'

Mission of Jesus"
John 1:29  The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
     The Word was made flesh so that Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, was crucified as the sinless and perfect Lamb of God for the remission of men's sins.
I Pet 1:18-19  knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
Born as Sacrificial Lamb
Luke 2:7  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
    Jesus was born amongst the animals (as a lamb). He was wrapped in swaddling cloths, which was used to prevent the sacrificial animal from getting blemishes. He was the perfect sacrificial Lamb without any blemish. 
    He was put in a manger as food (Bread of life and Word of God) for the animals (sheep). Jesus' word is the Word of Life, which every Christian must feed on 
Mat 4:4  But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"

Jesus the Sinless Jew
     Having been circumcised on the eighth day, Jesus became a Jew. For a Jew to be sinless, he must keep the Mosaic Law. For Jesus to be sinless so that His precious blood can cleanse men's sins, He had to keep the Mosaic law and believe the prophets.
    Under the Mosaic law are the moral and religious laws.

1. The Moral law
     In the moral law, Jesus must not eat unclean food. He must not enter the homes of Gentiles nor eat with them. He must not commit sexual immorality nor worship idols. He must not cheat, deceive nor harm fellow Jews. (Please read the book of Deuteronomy)

Mat 10:5-6  These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: " Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
     Since Jesus must not cause His disciples to sin, He and His disciples must not reach out to the Gentiles but only to the Jews only.

2. Religious law
Mat 8:4  And Jesus said to him, "See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."
     Jesus observed all the religious law. He kept the feasts and even sent the healed leper to the temple to offer the gift as commanded by Moses. 

John 8:28  Then Jesus said to them, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things."
    Jesus was the sinless and perfect sacrificial Lamb of God. He did not sin because He kept the words of the Father. Likewise, Christians can overcome sin if they abide in the words of Jesus.

John the Baptist's Mission (RD03)

    'Rightly Dividing the Word'

Luke 1:16-17  And he (John the Baptist) will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
    John the Baptist was sent to prepare the Jews for the Lord in His presence. Just like the prophets of old, his mission was to turn the Jews back to the lord by leading them to repent of their evil ways.
    With true repentance, the Jew will keep His law and commandments. Similarly, a born again Christian will joyfully keep His words and commandments.
II Kings 17:13  Yet the Lord testified against Israel and against Judah, by all of His prophets, every seer, saying, "Turn from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets."

Devout Jews were Saved
Luke 1:76-77  "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins,
    Once a Jew has repented and keep the Mosaic law, he will be able to know and understand the salvation provided by the Messiah for the remission of their sins.
    Our Lord Jesus also said that when a Jew believed and obeyed Moses, he would believed Him and be saved.
    This was fulfilled in Act 2. When Peter preached the gospel of grace, 3,000 devout Jews believed and accepted Jesus as their Saviour and they were later baptized.
John 5:46-47  For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"

Kingdom of Heaven is Near
Mal 4:5-6  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."
    John the Baptist was sent in the spirit of Elijah to earn the Israel before the end of God's Covenant or Mosaic law.
    John preached repentance and the kingdom of heaven is near meaning that the Jews will soon meet their judgments at the end of Mosaic law. The godly Jews would inherit the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 3:1-2  In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"

Godly Jews Inherited Heaven
Mat 27:50-53  And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
    At the death of Jesus, the veil of the temple was torn into two - signifying the end of Judaism and the Old Covenant or Mosaic law made obsolete.
     After the resurrection of Jesus, the Jewish saints of the Old Covenant were raised from the death to inherit the kingdom of heaven with Him.

Gospel of the Kingdom (RD04)

    'Rightly Dividing the Word'

Jesus Preached Kingdom Gospel
Luke 4:43-44  but He said to them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent." And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.
     Jesus believed God sent John the Baptist to preach repentance and the gospel of the kingdom to save the Jews from damnation when the Old Covenant had finally ended.
    Since He was also sent by God to preach the gospel of the kingdom, He humbled Himself to John the Baptist as the last OT Prophet, by preaching John's kingdom gospel.

Kingdom of Heaven Fulfilled
Matthew 10:5-7  These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: "Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'
    Since the kingdom of heaven was near with the coming judgement of God upon the Jews under the Mosaic law, so out of their love John, Jesus and the Apostles were fervently preaching the gospel of the kingdom.
    The very day that Jesus was crucified, it was the great and dreadful day of the Lord for the Jews, when the Old Covenant was obsoleted or terminated by God, thus ending the Mosaic law.
    After the resurrection of Jesus, the saints of the Old Covenant rose from the graves and they inherited the kingdom of heaven thus fulfilling the prophecy that 'the kingdom of heaven is near'
    With the termination of Judaism, Jews were no longer the people of God. Being unsaved, and like the gentiles, they needed Jesus for salvation. So Jesus warned them that unless they repent of their wicked and evil ways, all of them would be cursed for only devout Jews (those who believed Moses), would believe and accept Him as their Messiah.
John 8:24  "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."

How the kingdom of God was fulfilled?
Luke 17:20-21  Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you."
     Our Lord Jesus reiterated that He would suffered and be killed, and on the third day He would rise from the dead and this is the gospel of grace in the New Covenant of His blood 
    Immediately after His resurrection, He appeared to all His disciples. Thomas was the last of His Apostles to believed His resurrection. After all His Apostles had believed and accepted the gospel of grace, Jesus gave each of them the Holy Spirit of redemption, thereby starting the Body of Christ.
    With God, who is the King of kings, establishing His kingdom in each Apostle's physical body as His temple, this fulfilled the prophecy of the kingdom of God is at hand
John 20:21-22  So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."

Mark 4:11  And He said to them, "To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables,
    The death of Jesus ended the Old or Mosaic Covenant, meanwhile His death also started the New Covenant of His blood.
   The resurrection of Jesus fulfilled the kingdom of heaven when the saints of the OT were taken back to heaven. At the same time it fulfilled the kingdom of God with the King of kings establishing His kingdom within the physical body of each Apostle.

Fulfilled the Prophets (RD05)

    'Rightly Dividing the Word'

Believed John the Baptist
Mat 3:13,16  Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.
    Jesus submitted Himself to the last OT Prophet John the Baptist, by being baptized by him. 

Jesus Believed the Prophets
Hos 6:6  For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
    Not only did Jesus submit to John the Baptist but also to the other prophets. One example was the woman caught in adultery, He showed mercy instead judgment (or sacrifice)

Repentance By the Prophets
Jer 25:4-5  And the Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear. They said, 'Repent now everyone of his evil way and his evil doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord has given to you and your fathers forever and ever."
    All the warnings of the prophets were the same:- 'everyone to repent from his evil ways, otherwise judgment with calamities. But unfortunately the Jews refused to listen.
    John was sent to warn the Jews by preaching repentance and the end was near (kingdom of heaven is at hand). All those who rejected the gospel would die in their sins (damnation).
Luke 3:8-9  Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."

Fulfilled the Prophets
Mark 1:14-15  Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."
    After John the Baptist was put in prison, Jesus with His disciples continued to preached and baptized the repented Jews so that more Jews would believe Jesus and be saved. 
    Since Jesus had believed the Prophets and had taken over the ministry of John the Baptist, who was the last Prophet, thus by this very action Jesus had fulfilled the Prophets.
    Since our Lord Jesus had fulfilled the Prophet, then any Jew, who is a born again Christian, having believed and accepted the gospel of grace has already kept the Prophet in Christ Jesus.
Mat 5:17  "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill."
Note - will share later how Jesus fulfilled the law.

Gospel of Christ (RD06)

    'Rightly Dividing the Word'

Gospel Taught by Jesus
Luke 24:46-47  Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
     For the sake of saving as many Jews as possible, Jesus and His disciples preached John's gospel of the kingdom until His crucifixion.    
    The gospel of the kingdom of heaven was fulfilled with the Mosaic Covenant made obsolete at the death of Jesus and after His resurrection the OT saints rose from the dead to inherit the kingdom of heaven.
    The gospel of the kingdom of God was fulfilled with the establishment of the New Covenant of His blood at the death of Jesus. After His resurrection, He set up the kingdom of God in every physical body of His Apostles thereby establishing the Body of Christ.
     The gospel of the kingdom was fulfilled at the death and resurrection of Jesus, and since it was no longer applicable anymore, our Lord Lord Jesus had been teaching His disciples the new Gospel of Christ in the New Covenant of His blood.
    This new gospel of the grace of God consists essentially of Jesus' sufferings, death and His resurrection on the third day. This gospel was given by the risen Christ for all His disciples to preach to all nations.
Mat 16:21  From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.

Paul Confirmed His Gospel
I Cor 15:3-4  For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: 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,
    For many years, Paul had been preaching the so-called mysterious gospel of Christ, which was given to him by revelation. Finally, he went to Jerusalem to check with the Apostles of its accuracy with the gospel of the grace of God taught by Jesus. 
    He was overjoyed that he had not preached heresy for his (my) gospel was the same as that taught to His disciples by the risen Lord.
Gal 2:2  And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain.
Gospel of Christ Preached
Acts 2:32,36  "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses... Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
     Peter preached the gospel of Christ of Jesus' death and resurrection where 3,000 devout Jews were saved and later the Centurion and his family were saved having heard the same gospel from Peter.
    Paul preached the same gospel of Christ using the OT prophecies to prove that Jesus whom they crucified, was indeed the Son of God and Messiah for He was resurrected from the dead.
Acts 13:16,30,33  Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, "Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen:.. But God raised Him from the dead... God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.'