Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Faith, Hope & Love P30 (06-24-20)
To really appreciate and understand this mystery, Christ in you, your hope of glory, that is for both the Jew and the Gentile, let us learn something about the background of who the Jews and the Gentiles were in the time period of the Old Testament, and of the time Jesus walked the earth until the day that the first Gentile received the Holy Spirit just like the Jews at Pentecost did. That mystery was not revealed until God revealed it to the apostle Paul. Even though the truth of that was in the heart of God, and there are even scriptures spoken through the prophets of a promised light unto the Gentiles, that was not understood. What Jew, who had the law and the prophets and the ceremonies and the traditions of Moses, could comprehend a Gentile coming to faith the same way as the Jew? As bad as we observe things happening even in the United States today, with same-sex marriage and the flaunting of homosexual perversion, that was nothing compared to temple prostitution and statues of various goddesses erected along with the barbaric violence of the Gentile world of that time period in the Old Testament. A brief observation of Greek culture reveals a lot.
But Jesus came and exposed the hearts of all men, that all of us are in darkness, that there is no one who is righteous. The Jew could not make himself righteous before God by observing the law. The law only made him conscious of his sin. The Gentile, who had not the law, his own conscience testified against him, was also dead spiritually, without the Spirit of God living in him. So, when the righteousness of Christ was revealed, a righteousness that is by faith in Him, both Jew and Gentile people ultimately believed the message of Christ Jesus, and were set apart and made into one new body, the Ekklesia, made up of all those who are born again. That is what the Ekklesia, or church, is, those who are set apart by God.
Both the Jew and the Gentile were set apart from the world they were in, the world of darkness and into the light of Christ Jesus, a new life in Christ Jesus, who is the head of the body. When the Gentile was saved, he was set apart from the whole world just like the Jew was set apart. The Jew was set apart from the Jewish tradition and religion in order to be born again. The Gentile was set apart from hedonism to be born again. Both were set apart from what they were a part of. The Gentile was totally a part of being a heathen. The Jew was totally a part of being religious. Both of them were set apart from both of those things, in order to be born again.
There was a plan of salvation in the heart of God before the foundation of the world. God brought salvation to the Jew and He brought salvation to the Gentile. All of this was predestined, foreknowledge in the heart of God. That is what predestination is about, not you’s and me’s, but the Gentile world and the Jewish world. All of that was predestined in the heart of God and revealed ultimately to the apostle Paul, this marvelous plan, that Christ in you, your hope of glory, is for both Jew and Gentile, that both are saved the same way, by faith in Christ Jesus.
So, we have to understand these truths. What was going on back then? Was Israel saved that way? No. When you are saying Israel, you are talking about the political system. You are talking about leadership. You are talking about the people who control what you are supposed to think, and do. Were they saved that day? No. Were people saved that day? Yes. Absolutely. Just like today. You can see that in churches today who rule with an iron fist. Is that leadership saved? No. Are people in that congregation saved? Some are and some are not. You could be in a cult. Mormon teaching is contrary to true biblical teaching. The Jesus in the Mormon bible is not the one of the bible. Do you think a person sitting in a Mormon church could not be born again? I believe absolutely they could. They do not know what is going on up there any more that I knew what was going on in a liberal church. I could care less what they believed. I did not believe anything and assumed they did to either. But I could have been born again there. When you are talking about Israel, you are talking about a nation, a whole political realm. Were they saved? No. Were people saved? By the thousands. They were called out of darkness into light, called the Ekklesia.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
They met in small groups and they began to learn about this person called Jesus. The apostles became the ultimate teachers of that message, that marvelous message of Christ Jesus. Salvation by faith, his death on the cross to take away the sins of the world, all of these things. The resurrection and without the resurrection we are to be pitied of all people, and are still in our sins.
1 Corinthians 15:16-21
16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.
Do you suppose that even Peter and the rest of the disciples, Andrew and the others, had a full knowledge of revelation overnight? No. Absolutely not. They walked with Jesus for three years and Jesus proclaimed the New Covenant, but it was not explained yet. How could it be explained until it occurred? How could you say, “I am going to die on a cross and forgive everybody’s sins” and everybody says, “Okay”. But then when you die on a cross, and then Jesus is hanging on the cross, bleeding and dying, saying, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do. Telelestai, paid in full”. Then ,only then can you say, “Oh, that is what it means”.
I think it is like the book of Revelation to me. I do not think anybody understands it. I do not know why people study it the way they do. I do not think you will understand an ounce of it until it has been revealed to you. I do not think it has been revealed. People act like it has been revealed and try to figure it out. Some people might be getting pretty close to it. We are not going to know what it is in that book until it has been revealed. On that day, we will say, “Oh, that is what it means”. That does not mean truth has not been around. It has been there all along. It has just not been revealed to us yet.
As all of this began to take place and salvation began to occur, then Peter went to the Gentiles. He went to Cornelius, the first Gentile that was converted that we know of. Who did that? Peter did that. You say, “I thought Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles“. He was not around yet. Peter did that.
In Acts 10, you can read the entire account of how the Spirit came to indwell Cornelius, and the Gentiles with him. But here is an excerpt of the end result of hearing and believing the message of life in Christ Jesus, the gospel that Peter shared with them.
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
God is not sitting around saying, “I cannot save any Gentiles until Paul comes along. Listen. As long as the gospel goes out, whoever is in hearing distance of it is coming to Christ. Even if a rock cries out or a donkey spoke in the Old Testament, God wants to reveal the truth to men. God is not sitting around being thrilled about who is giving out the message. Paul does not save anyone. Peter does not save anyone. None of the apostles save anyone. You and I do not save anyone. It is the word of God that enables us to be born again of the Spirit. It is truth of the word of God that penetrates the heart of man regardless of who gives it out.
17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
All of a sudden you have this Jewish population, who have been Jewish all their lives. Now, they are born again and their Savior was Jewish. How thrilled do you think they will be saying the Gentiles can be saved when they think the reason we are saved is we have been good people. “We followed the laws to the best of our abilities, and at least we kept all the ceremonies”. The Gentiles had not done any of that. I wish everybody that had difficulty with this should just go over to Greece for a week, and look at the heathenist viewpoint of the Gentile world and was back in those days. Just see the history of it. The Gentiles were multi-worshipers of their gods. They had gods of sex and of this and that. They had their temples with goddesses, and thirty foot statues that they say fell out of heaven. You had everything under the sun going on, even temple prostitution. You talk about hedonistic. If you think America is bad, and it is, it is the best place of any place in the world to be. This is a very immoral nation but among English speaking nations we are about as good as you get. That is sad to say. That is the way it is. Back then, the Gentile was totally hedonistic. The thought that these Gentile heathens could come to know their Savior! Their Savior. He is Jewish. He is our Savior. That was unthinkable to a Jew.
I want to amplify this for a moment. When we were in Israel the last time, one of the greatest, I think, discoveries in archeological discovery and of information took place as we visited a town called Sepphoris is a town right across the valley of Armageddon and right across from Nazareth where Jesus was born. You could walk or take a donkey across there. But it is not a long trip at all. It is an easy trip. Sepphoris was one of the two rabbinical schools in Israel. One rabbinical school was in Jerusalem and the other in Galilee in Sepphoris. The head of that rabbinical school was Mary’s father. That was a known thing. It has been verified. It was Mary’s father who was the head of the rabbinical school in Sepphoris. Jesus lived just across the valley from there.
People wonder what happened to Jesus from the age of twelve when he dazzled all of the people in the temple, all of the leaders and the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and all of them in the temple between the age of twelve when he began his ministry at the age around thirty. That is exactly the number of years that it takes to go through rabbinical school. How could you imagine that Jesus’ grandfather, who was head of the rabbinical school in Sepphoris, just right across the valley from where he lives, that Jesus did not spend those years in rabbinical school? Also to understand that he was referred to as a rabbi. Mary even called him a rabbi. You could not call a man rabbi unless they had graduated from a rabbinical school, and had gone to rabbinical school. When you enter into a rabbinical school, and you graduate from there, you are able to be called a rabbi just like if you graduated from your doctrinal program in a school that you can call someone doctor. So when Jesus was referred to as Rabbi or teacher that would have been an impossibility with the strictness and high regard that was held of rabbis in Israel. To call someone rabbi who wants a rabbi would have been unthinkable.
So when you wonder what happened to Jesus during those silent years. It was never mentioned in the scriptures. But it is obvious what happened to him because of the number of years from the time of twelve. That is when you enter into this schooling until the time he went to ministry around the age of thirty. That is the number of years it takes to get out of rabbinical school. It is very interesting to me.
Also it was interesting that in that part, in Sepphoris, was a growing city. A growing city that was being made and developed. That meant a lot of carpentry work would have been being done in Sepphoris. Of course Joseph was a carpenter. Jesus also was a carpenter. It would be very likely that he would be doing some of those duties while he was in rabbinical school if that was allowed. I do not know whether it was allowed or not. But the discovery of these things is a marvelous study. Sepphoris was a beautiful city.
I say that for this reason. When the Jews first came to Jesus as their Messiah. That is what they were looking for, the Messiah. To them, the Messiah was going to be a Jew. Jesus was a Jew. Jesus was a rabbi. He was intelligent. I imagine, in rabbinical school, he drove the professors out of their minds, by having the true insight as to the meaning of the word of God rather than the letter of the law. He knew the Spirit of love. I imagine he was somewhat of an outcast in regard to that. I can imagine that very easily. Regardless, no one could argue with his wisdom. When Jesus was crucified on a cross and was raised from the dead. To the Jewish people, who knew the scriptures, they responded. Those whose hearts were opened who believed that Jesus is the Messiah that was written about. That is who Jesus claimed to be, the Messiah.
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you – I am he.”
For the full account of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, read John 4. To the woman at the well, the one you are talking about, Jesus said, “I am he”, the Messiah. It was all here. We have had the information. We have the bible explaining this. Now the Jewish Messiah has come. He is Jesus. We know a little about him, but we have seen the miracle. We believe in him. That is how you are saved and that is through faith in Him.
8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
What does that have to do with those hedonistic Gentiles? They do not know anything about this stuff. They are over there worshipping Athena. What do they know about anything? When we realize prejudice, you saw prejudice against the Gentile world that was unbelievable. For example, in Samaria, you would take long trips, miles around Samaria, to go from Galilee into Jerusalem. You would not even walk on that side of the lake where the Gentiles were. In Samaria, there were a lot of half-breeds, half Jews and half Gentiles married to each other. They were hated by the Jews. When you went back to the days of atonement, nobody went through Samaria. Jesus did and everybody was shocked. Everybody went around it. That is what I call prejudice. “You are not going to drive through that place. I am not going to go through that. I am going to drive around it”. It was not because they were fearful of being beat up or burnt or fire balls on their donkeys or anything else. It was because they hated the Samaritans. That is the story of the good Samaritan in John 4. Those stories are well documented in the scripture. They hated the Samaritan. That is what is called prejudice.
The Jews had a tremendous prejudice against the Gentile world. If you and I were brought up in Israel with the Jewish laws, outward righteousness, and then you saw this hedonistic practice of the Gentiles, you too would be prejudiced. It would be like going into Sodom and Gomorrhah saying, “Oh well. Let us try to blend in”. No way. There is prejudice there. They are hedonistic. They are going to ruin society. They can pervert our children and our thoughts. They come in with all kinds of sinful behavior, thoughts and books and destroy humanity. That is what sin does.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
When sin enters into a world unleashed with no restrictions, it is just a matter of time before society is going to go. That is why God gave laws to Israel. You obey these laws, you will preserve society. When you deny them, your society will go by the wayside.
1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
The hedonistic Gentiles were fearful. We were fearful to be involved with them. They are people that do not have our morals and do not have our traditions. We are fearful of them. So, I want nothing to do with them. So all of a sudden Peter goes up and tells everybody this Gentile named Cornelius had been converted. You can imagine what good news that was! Who would believe it? Yet the bible talks about how the Messiah has come to save the whole world. So you scratch your head and say, “Does that mean just Jews or does that mean the Gentiles as well?” You read the scriptures and it says Gentiles. In my Old Testament, it says Gentiles. That was a new thought and new understanding even though prophesied in the scriptures all along.
5 This is what God the Lord says –
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:
6 “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
7 to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
Because of the fact of the Holy Spirit of God living inside of Peter, and the other apostles, they went and they shared the message and the Gentiles became saved.
Now, we look at this and we say, “Now, when that Gentile was saved, was he set apart?” Of course he was set apart from the whole world just like the Jew was set apart. The Jew was set apart from the Jewish tradition and religion in order to be born again. The Gentile was set apart from hedonism to be born again. Both were set apart from what they were a part of. The Gentile was totally a part of being a heathen. The Jew was totally a part of being religious. Both of them were set apart from both of those things, in order to be born again.
A new group of people were formed on the earth. From God’s vantage point there are only three types of people on the earth; Jew, Gentile, and Ekklesia, or church, made up of both Jew and Gentile, saved identically the same way, by faith in Jesus Christ. The barrier was torn down to the Jew, showing people all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. None are righteous. No, not one. Even though you think you are, you are not.
12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;
To the Gentiles, even though you are as unrighteous as you can get, there is hope of righteousness through faith in Christ Jesus. Both of them come to Christ the same way. Has Israel, as a political nation, as a political entity, come to Jesus? Of course not. They are on the back burner.
25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:
“The deliverer will come from Zion;
he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
Are people saved? Yes, every day. People in Israel, just like back then, are saved today. What are they? They are called out. They are the Ekklesia, the called out ones. Before a Jew came in, there was an Ekklesia. After they came in there was still Ekklesia. The difference is, it is now made up of Jew and Gentile, slave and free.
10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, [male or female], but Christ is all, and is in all.
Are you saying the gospel went just to the males? And there was no church until the females came in? No. That is ridiculous. The Ekklesia was formed upon the day two people came to Jesus. There was an Ekklesia, called out ones for the purpose of what? The Ekklesia was called for the proclamation of the Messiah for salvation. The entire world, slave or free, Jew or Gentile, male or female, proclaimed the good news of the gospel.
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Now we see the Ekklesia, the called out ones, is now made up of both Jew and Gentile. Before the Gentiles came in, the Ekklesia, the called out ones, were called out of darkness into light. They were Jews. When the Gentiles came in, there was a Jew and a Gentile. Both of them called out of the same darkness, called out of the same lostness, called out of the same spiritual death, into the same spiritual life into the same light of Christ Jesus. Both now, the barrier between them is gone. Both of them now have been made new into one new man.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace
To the Jew, receiving salvation was no mystery particularly, outside the fact they had no clue who the Messiah was. After he was there, they learned that this was the promised Messiah, and they were born again by placing their faith in Him. The Gentile knew nothing about anything. Yet he heard about Jesus and placed his faith in Him. This is the mystery that is talked about in the scripture.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment – to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
So the time God had pre-planned, He made known to us this mystery that the Jew and the Gentile alike could become one person. The same Jew who had Christ in them, who was their hope of glory, that is also true of the Gentile, that Christ in you is your hope of glory. He did this to bring all things under one head, who is Christ Jesus. You do not have a Jewish Messiah and a Gentile Messiah. You do not divide up one kingdom and another kingdom. We are brought under one head. The church of Jesus Christ, the Ekklesia, is the kingdom of God. He is the king and we are the subjects, both Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female. There are not two of them. There is only one. There is Israel as a nation. There is the United States as a nation. Russia is a nation. There are nations all over the place. The nation of Islam is an Islamic nation. They do not believe in Jesus Christ and nor are they really favorable to the Jews. So you have nations. So does that mean there are not born again believers living in those nations? Absolutely not. There are born again people living in those nations. There is not a Christian nation or a Christian Jewish nation. Israel is a Jewish nation. That is what it is and it was formed for that. We are not talking about nations. We are talking about people.
11 In him we were also chosen
Now he is talking about Gentile.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
In order to have a mystery, you have to have a plan. The plan of God was that the Gentile was predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ identically the same way as the born again Jew was, that was in His plan. You could not have a mystery unless it was in His plan. The mystery is that the plan has now been revealed. That is what is called a mystery. The mystery did not make the plan. The mystery revealed the plan. The Gentile people were predestined in that plan.
12 in order that we [Jews], who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also [Gentiles] were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation.
There are not two plans of salvation. There is no messing around with the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven. It is not there. We are talking about salvation. God brought salvation to the Jew and He brought salvation to the Gentile. All of this was predestined, foreknowledge in the heart of God. That is what predestination is about, not you’s and me’s, but the Gentile world and the Jewish world. All of that was predestined in the heart of God and revealed ultimately to the apostle Paul, this marvelous plan.
When God reveals something to somebody, the person is not the hero. The plan is the hero. My salvation is not greater than my savior. The messenger is not greater than the message. The warmth of the sun is not greater than the sun. We are in error when we start worshipping at the foot of a man instead of at the foot of the message. In Him, we, Gentiles, were predestined according to the plan of God .
12 in order that we [Jews], who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also [Gentiles] were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation.
When you believed, you were marked [Jew and Gentile] in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.
That is such an encouraging message to us.
19 Consequently, you [Gentiles] are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
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