Friday, April 29, 2016

Acts

The human writer is Luke, whom Paul called “the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14). By simply comparing 1:1-2 with Luke 1:1-4, it is obvious that Luke is the writer. He wrote Acts sometime after Paul’s earliest ministry in Rome because that is where its history ends in 28 (early 60’s AD). Luke was with Paul until his death (2 Tim. 4:11) and we know Paul’s ministry continued after Acts 28. So why did Luke stop the record where he did? Because the book of Acts is the record of the fall and diminishing of Israel. God set His chosen nation aside through a transition as He called out a believing remnant from among them. Acts concludes with the end of that transition. 

The Gospel of Luke records “all that Jesus BEGAN both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up”. The book of Acts takes up the history where the Gospel of Luke left off and records what Jesus CONTINUED to do from Heaven through the Holy Ghost sent down to empower the apostles. By comparing how the Gospel of Luke concluded (24:36-53) with how the book of Acts opens (1:1-12) it is clear that Acts is the sequel to Luke. Therefore the same kingdom program of Israel recorded in the Gospels continues into the book of Acts. 

The message to Israel in the Gospels was “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. The kingdom of heaven is a literal and visible kingdom that the God of heaven will establish on the earth (Dan. 2:44). Christ will rule from the throne of David in Jerusalem and Israel will be a kingdom of priests with authority over the nations. But, the Jews rejected their King and crucified Him. Many wrongly think that God set Israel aside at the time of the cross and began this present dispensation. However, consider what Jesus prayed from the cross (Lk. 23:34). Both Christ and Peter (Acts 3:17) said that the Jews crucified their King in ignorance and therefore they are given an opportunity to repent. If we are going to understand the book of Acts we MUST understand that it records a renewed offer of the kingdom to the nation of Israel (Acts 3:19-21). 

We must also understand that Acts is not a book of doctrine. It is a historical record of God moving from Israel to the Body of Christ; from the gospel of the kingdom to the gospel of the grace of God; from the ministry of Peter (1-12) to that of Paul (13-28). Acts is a TRANSITION book because one dispensation is fading out (Law) and another is fading in (Grace). The popular view of Acts is that it is primarily the record of the birth and growth of the church in this age. They assume that it contains the doctrine and practices of the church in its purest form. We are told that we should seek to follow the pattern in Acts. 

Problems:
1. Which message should we preach to those who want to know how to be saved, Acts 2:37-38 or 16:30-31? 
2. Where and to whom should we preach? Should we, like the 12, begin at Jerusalem (1:8)? Or should we, like Paul, depart from Jerusalem and go far hence to the Gentiles (22:21)?  
3. Should we preach to the Jews only (11:19), to the Jews first and then the Gentiles (18:6), or to everybody alike? 
4. Do we receive the Holy Ghost several years after repentance and baptism (2:4), immediately after repentance and baptism (2:38), after the apostles from Jerusalem lay hands on us (8:14-17), before baptism (10:44-48)? 
5. How are we to handle money? Should we sell all our possessions and have all things common with the church (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-35) or should we work to supply for our needs (20:33-34)? 
6. Should we expect miraculous deliverance such as Peter’s release from prison (Acts 12:7) or imprisonment in chains with Paul (Acts 26:27)?   

Trying to use the book of Acts for doctrine can be very dangerous! This transitional book is like a bridge that takes us from one dispensation to another. We are not supposed to park on a bridge, we will get run over! Many religious groups go through Acts picking and choosing verses that seem to support their beliefs. The Campbellites teach that water baptism is essential to salvation and so latch on to 2:38. The Charismatics take the tongues in Acts 2 but ignore 2:44-45. 

The correct view of Acts is that from beginning to end it is primarily the account of the fall of Israel. It explains step by step why the chosen people had to be set aside and salvation sent to the Gentiles apart from them (13:46; 18:6; 28:28). It reveals why the commission of the 12 had to be suspended and another apostle raised up to go to the Gentiles with the gospel of the grace of God. 

Acts may be divided into 2 main sections. In the first part of the book Peter is prominent and the center of work is Jerusalem (1-12). In the second part of the book Paul is prominent and the center of the work is from Antioch (13-28). There are some distinctions about his ministry during the transition as he worked to get a remnant out of Israel. 

Understanding the book of Acts is essential to understanding the New Testament. If we were to study Matthew-John and then go right into Romans we would be very confused! The key to Bible study is right division (2 Tim. 2:15). The main division in the Bible is between Prophecy and Mystery (Acts 3:21 with Rom. 16:25). The book of Acts reveals the transition between the prophetic kingdom program of Israel and the mystery program of the Body of Christ. The mystery is not dealt with doctrinally in Acts because it was the Lord’s will for Paul to make it known and not Luke. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

John


In the first three Gospels the Lord Jesus is presented as King, Servant, and the perfect Man. The incidents, words, and works are selected, in each Gospel, which support their emphasis. Matthew, Mark, and Luke present the Lord on the side of His perfect humanity. That is the reason for their being what is called "Synoptic" (same view) and for the marked difference between them and the fourth Gospel in which the presentation is on the side of His Deity (no genealogy, birth, temptation, agony in Gethsemane). The four Gospels do not contradict but compliment each other as together they present one portrait of our Lord. There is no need to try and harmonize them or separate the first three from the fourth. It seems obvious to me why John would be so distinct since he emphasizes Christ as God. Of course, Christ is seen as King, Servant, Man, and God in all four Gospels. 
 
Writer: John was the son of Zebedee, a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee, and was the younger brother of James. The brothers worked with their father until Christ called them to follow Him. They were two of the twelve apostles that Christ chose on earth and sent to Israel with the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 19:28). Peter, James, and John are sometimes referred to as the “inner circle” because Christ seemed to set them apart from the twelve. He is known as the beloved disciple because in his Gospel he referred to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. He never refers to himself by name, perhaps because he was writing to glorify Christ. 

Although the Gospel of John seems more compatible with Paul’s epistles than the other three Gospels there is nothing in the scripture to suggest that John became an apostle to the Gentiles or the Body of Christ (Gal. 2:9). He wrote his epistles after his Gospel (much he says in his epistles is based on what he wrote in his Gospel) and there is doctrine in his epistles does not match doctrine in Paul’s epistles (1 Jn. 2:24). The Gospel of John is a record of the earthly ministry of Christ and so irregardless of when it was written we know it does not reveal the mysteries that Christ later revealed through Paul from heaven. Things that are similar are not the SAME. It is easier to read Pauline doctrine into John than the other Gospels because of the emphasis on believing but we must be careful not to anticipate revelation. 

When: Most commentaries say that John wrote his five books (Gospel, epistles, Revelation) in the 90’s AD but that is tradition and cannot be proven from the scripture. For example, most think he was exiled on the Isle of Patmos in 95 AD but he said that the Lord sent him there to receive the book of Revelation (1:9). We KNOW from internal evidence that he wrote his Gospel before 70 AD (Jn. 5:2, note that it says "there IS", that pool would not have been there after 70 AD because that is when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem). 

Theme: The Gospel according to John presents Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God (10:22-33). There is a clear emphasis on the deity of Christ throughout the book (something in every chapter, 1:1, 14). The apostle John calls Christ the Word seven times (1:1, 14; 1 Jn. 1:1; 5:7; Rev. 19:13). Christ is the Word because He reveals and declares the invisible God to man (1:18). John plainly stated why he wrote the book (John 20:30-31). Many think that John is written primarily to the Gentiles but SIGNS are for the Jews (1 Cor. 1:22). Luke was actually the Gospel written for the Gentiles which makes sense because he was a co-laborer with the apostle to the Gentiles. The profession of faith required to enter the kingdom is to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Matt. 16:16-19; Jn. 1:49; 6:69; 11:27; Acts 8:35-37). That is NOT a sufficient profession to be saved in this age! Yes, we need to know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, but specifically that He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again for our justification. Also, the gospel of the kingdom requires works to prove faith (Mk. 16:15-16; 1 Jn. 2:4; 5:13). 
  
Key words: believe (101 times) and world (80 times) - The kingdom program of Israel has a world-wide scope (Ps. 22:27-28). Repentance is emphasized in the other Gospel records (not mentioned in John) but believing is emphasized in John. That is not contradictory but complimentary because those who truly believed on Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God also repented. The Gospel of John does not reveal the gosepl of the grace of God (5:28-29; 15:1-10). That was was revealed through Paul (Gal. 1:11-12).

Outline:
1) Prologue (1:1-14)
2) Witness of John the Baptist (1:15-34)
3) Public Ministry of Christ (1:35-12:50)
4) Private Ministry of Christ to His Own (13-17)
5) Sacrifice of Christ (18:1-19:42)
6) Manifestation of Christ in Resurrection (20) 
7) Epilogue (21) 

The Gospel according to John is marked by sevens which is fitting because seven is God's number of perfection. The most familiar are the seven “I am” statements of Christ ("I am the bread of life" etc. Ex. 3:14; Jn. 8:58) and the seven signs. Christ did many public signs but God inspired John to record seven (21:25). There was an eighth miracle after His resurrection but that was just for His disciples. 

1) Water into wine (2:1-11) 
2) Healing of noblemans son (4:46-54)
3) Healing of the paralytic man (5:1-9)
4) Feeding of the 5000 (6:1-14) – recorded in all 4 gospels 
5) Calming the storm (6:15-21) 
6) Healing the blind man (9:1-7)
7) Raising Lazarus (11:38-45) 






Friday, April 15, 2016

Charity Abides but Signs Ceased

1  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

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.

3  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8  Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.


That this great chapter is known as the “Love Chapter” is rather odd seeing as the word love is not used once in the entire chapter. God knows the word “love.” He used it over 300 times in the Bible but 28 times He chose to use the word “charity” instead of “love” and it is not an “unfortunate translation” as the so-called scholars would have us to believe (modern versions change charity to love). Those that object to the word charity in the King James Bible complain that people today think of charity as simply a handout to the poor. If we study Bible words in their context we will not need a dictionary because the Bible defines its own words. Using modern definitions for biblical terms is a great hindrance in understanding the Bible. According to the scripture, charity means much more than helping the poor because Paul said it’s possible to give away all our goods to feed the poor and yet have not charity (v.3). 

The word charity, as it is used in the scripture (21 of 28 by Paul), is love of a certain spiritual quality that should be demonstrated among Christians. It is much more than an affection, it is an action. It is a love that abounds in spiritual knowledge and judgment (Phil. 1:9-11). It is contrary to human nature and can only be produced by the Holy Spirit in and through us. There are different kinds of love in the Bible and the context always determines the meaning. We DO NOT need to know Greek to understand the differences in love. Most of us have heard about the different Greek words for love; especially phileo and agape. We are told that phileo always refers to human love but agape to God’s love. Actually, those words are used interchangeably in the New Testament. Everything God wants us to know is revealed in the King James Bible because it is the perfectly preserved word of God (Ps. 12:6-7). Why would He hide things from us in the Greek? We don't know Greek and neither do most of the teachers and preachers that claim they do! 

Most preachers and teachers isolate this chapter from its context and pretend that it’s just a warm and fuzzy passage on love. Actually, the passage is a rebuke. This charity chapter is sandwiched between two chapters on spiritual gifts and so in order to understand it we must consider it in light of its context (12:1; 14:1). For example, when Paul said that knowledge shall vanish away (v.8) he was not referring to knowledge in general but to the spiritual gift of knowledge. It is interesting that the church at Corinth was a carnal church full of problems and yet it came behind in no spiritual gift (1:7). Spiritual gifts were not gifts that God gave to spiritual saints who prayed through to receive them. They were supernatural manifestations that the Holy Ghost gave to every believer (12:4-11). They were to be used for the edification of believers and as for signs to the unbelieving Jews (1:22; 14:20-22). The sign gifts are no longer given because they are no longer needed:
The complete Bible is completely sufficient for our edification (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
Israel has been set aside in judicial blindness (Rom. 11:25). The gospel of the kingdom is not being preached in this present age and so the signs of the kingdom are not being manifested. They will be manifested again after this age in the future tribulation period when the kingdom is once again at hand.  

Evidently the carnal Corinthians were competitively comparing their gifts and using them for self-promotion and glory instead of the edification of the church. They esteemed tongues (always refers to actual languages) as the best gift but Paul showed them that prophecy was better because it was more edifying (12:28-31; 14:39-40, tongues always listed last). In chapter 14 Paul laid down rules for tongue speaking and prophecy in the church (14:27-40). Just like the carnal Corinthians, those that claim to have the gift of tongues today magnify it as the best gift and are out of order in how they try to exercise it (women not permitted to speak with tongues). But we who rightly divide the word of truth know that NOBODY has the gift of tongues today because all of the sign gifts have ceased. 

When spiritual gifts were in operation Paul taught the church to covet (i.e. desire, 14:1) the best gifts which would’ve been those most edifying to the church. Yet, even then he said there was a more excellent way. The gifts were good but charity was and is the best way to serve the Lord. The gifts ceased but charity remains.

The Preeminence of Charity (vs.1-3)
With God it is not just about what we do but why we do it. He tries our heart. Everything we do in the ministry must be motivated by charity or it is of no spiritual and eternal value (1 Cor. 16:14)! The things mentioned in these verses might impress men but not God! Eloquent speaking without charity is just a noise. Knowledge without charity puffs up (8:1). Could someone really give all their goods to feed the poor or even give their body to be burned without charity? Lost men have been known to do these things in a vain effort to earn salvation! Great preaching and teaching without charity is nothing. Great singing without charity is nothing. Giving great amounts of money to the ministry without charity is nothing. 

A Portrait of Charity (vs.4-7)
Paul gives us 15 characteristics of charity (7 positive and 8 negative, balanced) to show us what it looks like. It is a portrait of Christ! All of these characteristics will be demonstrated in the life of a believer that is walking in charity. No wonder Paul calls charity the “bond of perfectness” (Col. 3:12-14)! We will walk in charity if we are walking in the Spirit. Our self-centered flesh cannot live this way! God is more interested in us walking in charity than talking about charity. Charity is the solution to most problems in the local church because it will cause us to put others before our self. These characteristics were lacking at Corinth because they were carnal. None of us have arrived in this area. We must continually follow after charity (14:1) and seek to abound in it (2 Thess. 1:3). 

The Permanence of Charity (vs.8-13)
In these verses Paul contrasts that which is in part (spiritual gifts) with that which is perfect and shows how the former was temporary and would give way to the latter when it arrived. When we have that which is perfect we no longer need that which is in part. The big questions is, what is “that which is perfect”? Many think its referring to the rapture and our glorification with Christ. If that be true, then prophecy, healing, miracles, and tongues are still in operation today.  

The gifts of prophecy, tongues, and knowledge were about divine revelation. But what God revealed to the saints through those gifts was only in part. Contextually, then, that which is perfect must refer to the same thing that was in part: REVELATION. Paul wrote this epistle during the transitional Acts period. He had already received revelations from Christ but was anticipating more (Acts 26:16; 2 Cor. 12:1, 7). The full revelation of the mystery fulfilled the word of God (Col. 1:23-26). Regardless of when the books of Hebrews through Revelation was written (I personally think they were all written during Acts) they are in line with the prophetic kingdom program of Israel that had been spoke by the prophets since the world began (Acts 3:21). But the mystery was kept secret and hid in God since the world began until it was revealed through Paul (Rom. 16:25). With the full revelation of the mystery came the completion of God’s revelation to man. The apostle Paul had the gift of healing during the Acts period but one of the last things he said by inspiration of God proves that there came a point that he no longer had that gift (see 2 Tim. 4:20). 

In vs.11-12 Paul used two simple illustrations to show how spiritual gifts must give way to God’s perfect revelation. Just as a man should no longer speak, understand, and think as a child, we who have God’s perfect revelation have no need or desire for partial gifts. Just as those who can now see their image clearly in a mirror would no longer need a darkened mirror that they used in the past, so we who rejoice in the full revelation of the mystery have no need or desire for partial gifts. Those who seek the sign gifts today are acting like children and their understanding is like a darkened mirror. 

Faith, hope, and charity abide but prophecy, tongues, and knowledge have failed, ceased, and vanished away! Paul mentions these abiding virtues together at least eight times in his epistles. Charity is the greatest of these three because it energizes the other two and will outlast them. One day our faith will become sight and our hope will be realized but charity will abide forever.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The King James Bible Versus The Modern Versions

The following is taken from a new tract that I have written on the superiority of the King James Bible. 

The scripture gives many of the same titles and attributes of the Lord Jesus Christ to itself. For example, both are called “the Word of life” (Phil. 2:16; 1 Jn. 1:1). Therefore to attack one is to attack the other and to exalt one is to exalt the other. There must be a Bible available today that is pure, perfect, and powerful (Ps. 12:6-7). The Lord Jesus Christ and the Bible are both called “the Word of God.” Words are needed to reveal and declare. Christ reveals and declares the Father (Jn. 1:14; 18). The Spirit inspired the scripture to reveal and declare Christ. There is an inseparable bond between the incarnate Word and the inspired word. One is God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16) and the other is God manifest in a Book (2 Tim. 3:16).

All three members of the Godhead are equally God but it is clear in the scriptures that Christ was sent to glorify the Father and the Spirit was sent to glorify the Son (Jn. 7:14-18; 16:12-15). The Holy Spirit, who inspired the scripture, glorifies the Son of God who is central in all the scripture (Jn. 5:39; 15:26). Therefore we know that any religious group that denies the deity of Christ or diminishes Him in any way is not of God and any Bible that does the same is also not of God. It is a fact that the King James Bible honors and glorifies the Son of God more than all the modern English translations. 

All the modern English versions (like the NIV and ESV) attack and diminish the person and work of Christ to some degree. Those who defend the modern versions would say, “But they don’t do that in every passage!” Why would it be right or acceptable to do that even once? Would you let someone slap your wife or mother just once?! Some versions are worse than others, but just one error is serious! What if Christ had sinned just one time? This issue alone ought to be sufficient for any sincere Christian to reject the modern versions (not to mention the issues concerning the men, manuscripts, and methods). 

The spirit of Satan is at work in this world, especially in religion (Eph. 2:2; 2 Thess. 2:7). His great ambition is to be worshipped. He is envious of the true Christ. Do you think the Spirit of God led the translators of the NIV to call Satan and Christ by the same name (“morning star”, Isa. 14:12; Rev. 22:16)? Satan has been producing new versions with doctrinal leaven. Many think that I am crazy for saying such a thing but Satan is all about attacking the word of God. What was the first thing he ever said to man (Gen. 3:1)? He even had the audacity to attack the word of God when he was tempting the Word of God, Jesus Christ (Matt. 4:6)! THE ISSUE in the last days is inspiration of scripture (2 Tim. 3:13-17)! Please consider the following comparison of the KJB with some of the modern versions. 

The Deity of Christ
  • Mic. 5:2 But thou Bethlehem… out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. – “whose origin is from of old, from ancient days” (RSV), “whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (NIV), “whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days” (ESV) 
  • Matt. 20:20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him – “kneeling before him” (RSV), “bowing down” (NASB), “kneeling down” (NIV), “kneeling down” (NKJV),  “kneeling before him” (ESV)
  • Lk. 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. – “Jesus, remember me” (RV, NASB, NIV, ESV)
  • Rom. 14:10-12 … for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ… So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. – “judgment seat of God” (RSV, NASB, ESV), “God’s judgment seat” (NIV) 
  • 1 Tim. 3:16 God was manifest in the flesh… – “He who was revealed in the flesh” (NASB), “He was manifested in the flesh” (RSV, ESV), “He appeared in a body” (NIV)
  • 1 Jn.5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. – omitted in RSV, NASB, NIV, ESV 

The Virgin Birth of Christ
  • Isa. 7:14 …Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son… – “a young woman shall conceive” (RSV), “a young woman is with child” (REB)
  • Lk. 2:33 And Joseph and his mother… – “And his father and his mother” (RSV, ESV), “And his father and mother” (NASB), “The child’s father and mother” (NIV)

The Sinless Life of Christ
The Lord Jesus was angry with the unbelieving Jews (Mk. 3:5). The modern versions have Him condemning Himself with His own teaching by omitting, “without a cause” in Matt. 5:22 (RSV, NASB, NIV, ESV). 

The Blood of Christ
Sinners are redeemed by the precious and pure blood of Christ. Why would any Bible omit references to the blood of Christ? For example, the vital words, “through his blood” (Col. 1:14) are omitted in the RSV, NASB, NIV, and ESV.

The Resurrection of Christ
Christ gave His apostles “many infallible proofs” of His bodily resurrection (Acts 1:3). Modern versions water this down: “many proofs” (RSV, ESV), “many convincing proofs” (NASB, NIV). 

There are many other problems with the modern versions that we could point out. For example:
 
Doctrines attacked
  • Scripture – Modern versions mess up key verses on the scripture (Ps. 12:6-7; 2 Cor. 2:17; 2 Tim. 3:16)
  • Study – Modern versions change “study” and “rightly dividing” (2 Tim. 2:15)
  • Salvation – The apostle Paul taught we are justified by the “faith of Christ” (e.g. Gal. 2:16) Modern versions change those verses to say “faith in Christ.” 
 
Doubts
Modern versions have footnotes that cast doubt on whole passages like Mk. 16:9-20 and Jn. 7:53-8:11. There are many verses that are omitted and partial verses omitted. 

Contradictions and Mistakes
  • Who killed Goliath? David, Elhanan, or both (1 Sam. 17:51; 2 Sam. 21:19)?
  • Is the quote in Mark 1:2 found in Isaiah? (No, it’s in Malachi)
 
Why are there so many modern versions (hundreds have been published in the last 120 years)? God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). The publishers claim they produce new versions because they have access to better manuscripts and they want to make the Bible easier to understand. That is simply not true. They use corrupt manuscripts (2 Cor. 2:17). That the new versions are written in modern language does not mean they are easier to understand. The key to understanding the Bible is to be a real Bible-believing Christian (1 Cor. 2:14; 1 Thess. 2:13)! So, what are the real reasons?
1) Satan (Gen. 3:1)
2) Pride (correct the word of God, be your own authority)
3) Love of money (1 Tim. 6:10)

What have the modern versions produced as compared with the King James Bible? The King James Bible has been used of God for over 400 years to build strong Christians and churches. The modern versions have produced liberalism and apostasy. 

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7:20)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Luke


The Gospel according to Luke presents Jesus Christ as the perfect man. When Christ was born into this world the eternal Word became flesh. He was God and yet He was man. Luke traces the genealogy of Christ all the way back to Adam. The phrase, “Son of man” occurs 26 times (19:10). It is the longest book in the NT with 24 chapters, 1,151 verses, and 25,944 words. Luke writes with great detail and a very human touch. All the words of scripture are the words of God but the different styles of the different human writers are still evident. 

Who was Luke? He was a physician that evidently knew the Jewish apostles (Lk. 1:1-2) and became a faithful co-laborer of the apostle Paul (Acts 16:10; 20:5-6; chaps. 27-28; Col. 4:14; 2 Tim. 4:11; Phile. 24). Some think that he was a Gentile (Col. 4:10-14). If he was, he was the only writer of scripture that was a Gentile (Luke a Gentile name, Mark and Paul are Greek names but both were Jews). It is fitting that a physician would be the writer of the Gospel that emphasizes the humanity of Christ. 

The book of Luke was addressed to a Gentile (1:1-4, name and title, Roman ruler) and therefore has more of a Gentile audience in mind (4:24-30). For example, explanations of Jewish customs and localities are given, which Jews would not have needed (22:1; 23:51). This does NOT mean that the mystery of this present age is revealed in Luke! It is still a record of the earthly ministry of Christ and the mystery was not revealed at that time. The kingdom program of Israel includes the salvation of the Gentiles (Lk. 2:10-11, 25-32). The mystery of this present age is not that Gentiles are being saved but that believing Jews and Gentiles are baptized by one Sprit into one Body. The Gentiles are not being blessed through Israel (as in prophecy) but WITHOUT Israel! The earthly ministry of Christ is also important to the Body of Christ. If Jesus Christ was not the promised Messiah, the Son of God, His death on the cross would not have accomplished our salvation (Rom. 1:1-5; 16:25-26). Paul quotes Luke (1 Tim. 5:17-18; 1 Cor. 11:24-25). The books of the NT were being copied, circulated, and recognized as scripture in the first century (canon not formed at religious councils in 3rd century as catholics claim). 

God also used Luke to write the book of Acts after he wrote his Gospel (1:1). Comparing the last chapter of Luke with the first chapter of Acts clearly shows that Acts is the sequel to Luke (24:36-53; 1:1-11). The purpose of Acts is NOT to reveal the mystery but record the fall of Israel and the transition from the ministry of Peter to Paul. Luke records Paul doing the same signs as Peter (2 Cor. 12:12). 

Jesus Christ, the Son of Man:
I. His birth and childhood (1-2)
II. The beginning of His ministry, genealogy, and temptation (3:1-4:13)
III. His ministry in Galilee (4:14-9:50)
IV. His journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:27)
V. In Jerusalem (19:28-21:38)
VI. His rejection, suffering, and death (22-23)
VII. His resurrection and ascension (24)

Unique features, most of which goes along with theme of the humanity of Christ:
The first two chapters (birth of forerunner, birth of Christ, childhood) 
Emphasis on the prayer of Christ (7 occasions unique)  – expression of dependance on God 
Friend of sinners and outcasts (15:1-2) – examples of Zacchaeus, thief on cross 
Place of women, contrary to Jewish custom (Lk. 8:1-3; 23:27-28, 49) 
4 hymns of praise unique to Luke:
1) Mary’s (1:46-55)
2) Zacharias (1:68-79)
3) Simeon (2:29-32)
4) Angelic host (2:14)
11 parables unique to Luke:
1) Two Debtors (7:41)
2) Good Samaritan (10:30-37)
3) Importunate Friend (11:5-8)
4) The Rich Fool (12:16-21)
5) The Barren Fig Tree (13:6-9)
6) The Lost Piece of Silver (15:8-9)
7) The Prodigal Son (15:11-32)
8) The Unjust Steward (16:1-8)
9) The Rich Man and Lazarus (16:19-31)
10) The Importunate Widow (18:1-7)
11) The Pharisee and the Publican (18:9-14)
6 Miracles unique to Luke:
1) The Draught of Fishes (5:1-11)
2) The Widows Son at Nain (7:11-16)
3) The Woman with Spirit of Infirmity 18 Years (13:11-13)
4) The Man with Dropsy (14:1-6)
5) The Ten Lepers (17:11-19)
6) The Healing of Malchus (22:50-51)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Did Paul "Rebaptize"?

Acts 19:1-12
1  And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2  He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3  And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
4  Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6  And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
7  And all the men were about twelve.
8  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.
9  But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
10  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. 
11  And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
12  So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

When Paul asked these disciples if they had received the Holy Ghost since they believed he was not referring to the Spirit indwelling, baptizing, and sealing them as we know that He does for every member of the body of Christ upon salvation. That would have been a stupid question for a number of obvious reasons. The commentators that think this was what Paul meant try to change the wording of the question to make it fit their limited understanding . They change it to say, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?"

Where do we read about disciples receiving the Holy Ghost after (or since) they believed?

John 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and satin unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you...
 
Acts 8:12, 15-17
12
But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost.
16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

In the case of the 12 apostles, they received the Holy Ghost as the Comforter before the ascension AND for power on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Ghost coming upon them (Acts 1:8) was the baptism with the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:5). It is described as the Holy Ghost falling upon them (Acts 10:44; 11:15). Peter said that the household of Cornelius "received the Holy Ghost as well as we" (Acts 10:47).

By comparing scripture with scripture this must be what Paul is referring to in Acts 19:2. Evidently he wondered why those kingdom disciples did not demonstrate the power of the Holy Ghost. He inquired as to the baptism (v.3) because he knew that those who repented and were baptized as kingdom disciples on or after the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 were to "receive the gift the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38). Not that Peter had a different baptism but that it had different results. John's disciples did not receive the Holy Ghost upon repentance and baptism.

When they told Paul that they had been baptized unto John's baptism (v.3) he simply reviewed what John had preached (v.4) and how his disciples were baptized in the name of the One that John told to believe on (v.5). If the "they" in v.5 is the 12 men Paul was speaking to in the passage, what was it in v.4 that would cause them to be baptized upon hearing it? But, if the "they" in Acts 19:5 refers to the "people" (v.4) John preached to, the "this" in v.5 would refer to John's preaching. Seeing that he preached "the baptism of repentance", this would make more sense. Unless you are going to just make stuff up and read something into the blank space between v.4 and 5, the "this" in v.5 must refer to v.4 and there is nothing in v.4 that would cause those men to be baptized again upon hearing it. Therefore, v.5 must refer to those that heard John. Then Paul laid his hands on them that they might receive the Holy Ghost and when He came on them (Acts 1:8) they spoke with tongues and prophesied (v.6). I believe that this is when they were brought "up to speed" concerning what all they didn't know had developed in the kingdom program. They actually brought themselves "up to speed" because they would have been speaking about the things of the Lord.

This incident demonstrated Paul's apostolic authority to the Jews that he immediately began to preach to in the synagogue (v.8). Paul always began in the synagogues with the "gospel of God" (Rom. 1:1-4; Acts 17:1-3). He would then preach the gospel of Christ to those that received the basic truth that Christ was the Son of God and was risen from the dead. It would be during his time in the synagogue that the 12 disciples that he laid hands on would have the opportunity to respond to the further light that he was preaching.

The text moves rapidly and does not allow for us to insert a long teaching session between v.4 and 5 that Paul would need to bring them up to speed in their own program and then teach them his gospel!

If Paul did rebaptize them it would be the only recorded occurrence of such a thing in the word of God. Why didn't he rebaptize Barnabas and the other kingdom disciples that believed his message and became members of the Body of Christ? Aquila and Priscilla were used of God to teach Apollos the way of God more perfectly. But the text allows for this to have taken some time. Why wasn't Apollos rebaptized? Some say that Aquila didn't have the authority to do it. Well, where are we given the authority to baptize? When Apollos came to Corinth (Acts 19:1) why wasn't he baptized there by the pastor of that established church?

If Acts 19:5 is the strongest proof that Paul had his own baptism, then that is a very weak and highly questionable position to take that is based on much assumption. We can't prove that those disciples were rebaptized. If they were, we can't even prove that Paul is the one who did it or even suggested it! We should never try to establish a doctrine on an unclear passage especially when there is NO other passage that teaches what we think that unclear passage teaches. Therefore, Acts 19:1-7 should not be used as a proof text to support rebaptism or the idea that Paul had his own distinct water baptism. Besides, Paul himself said that "Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel" (1 Cor. 1:17).

In the same passage Paul laid hands on them to receive the Holy Ghost, they spoke in tongues and prophesied, Paul preached to the Jews first, did special miracles (even sent out "prayer cloths") and cast out devils. What a pattern for today!

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