Friday, October 19, 2018

Beware of the Mutilation (U49)

Act 15:1-2 And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.
    Paul after His miraculous conversion and the direct teaching and revelation from God while in Arabia realised that the Old Covenant was made obsolete by the New Covenant of grace, which was given to both Jews and Gentiles. The Gentile converts were enjoying the grace of God - without any law except for their repentance from idolatry and wickedness and their obedience to the teachings of Jesus.
    But those so-called godly converts from Jews and Pharisees, were trying to impose Mosiac Law upon Christians, which Paul and Barnabas strongly opposed this heresy.
Act 15:5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."

Doctrines of the Apostles
Act 15:28-29 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.
    The council of Elders in Jerusalem under the guidance of the Holy Spirit confirmed that all Christians are to observe the doctrines of the apostles (teaching and commandments of Jesus) with the addition of the instructions given by God since the days of Noah. No Christian is allowed to observe the law which was made obsolete by the blood of Jesus in the New Covenant.

Evil Workers and Mutilation
Phi 3:2-3 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
    Paul realised that from within the church, many church leaders would become wolves introducing all types of heresies. Judaism (mutilation of the flesh) would be one of them to send Christians to damnation.
Act 20:29-31 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. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

Synagogues of Satan
Rev 2:8-9 "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, 'These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan."
    When God condemned this church (gathering of Christians) to be the synagogue of Satan, then the worships in this church are abominable to Him. Christians must worship God in Spirit and in truth (in the presence of our Lord Jesus), so this church must be like synagogues, which practise some sort of Judaism or Jewish cultures, sacrifices and feasts, which are cursed and are abominations to the Lord.
    Since our Lord Jesus had fulfilled all Jewish sacrifices, feasts, Sabbaths, law, etc. He cannot be present whenever the church practises any part of the Law or Judaism - the sign of unbelief of His fulfillments.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Things to Abstain From (U48)

Discipling by the Apostles
Mat 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
    The disciples of Jesus went out to preach the gospel of grace to both Jews and Gentiles, baptised all those who believed and then discipled them by teaching them to keep all His commandments or the apostle's doctrines.
Act 2:41-42 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Doctrines of the Apostles
Act 15:24, 27-29 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, "You must be circumcised and keep the law" —to whom we gave no such commandment—... We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.
    All Christians must follow the teachings of our Lord Jesus only, and they must not observe the law in the Old Covenant, which was made obsolete by the New Covenant of the blood of Jesus shed on the cross.
   However,  they must continue to observe the followings:-
1. abstain from things offered to idols
The Gentile converts had given up idolatry upon their salvation, and they were reminded not to eat food offered to idol in temples along with idolaters.
2. from blood,
3. from things strangled
Gen 9:3-4 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.
    After the flood, God had given all animal as food for man except that we must not eat blood nor meat with blood not drained out such as those animals strangled to death.
Note - Pork and other unclean food were forbidden only under the Old Covenant but they are clean for Christians under grace.
4. from sexual immorality
Mat 19:5-8 and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so."
    God joined Adam and Eve together in marriage, and forbid anything to separate any married couple - so no divorce, adultery nor sexual immorality.

Gal 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them."
    Any Christian keeping any part of the Law is under the curse or damnation. I thank God that the word of God is perfect for the things (4 items above) that Christians are to abstain from, were instructions given since the time of Noah and not under Mosiac Law.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Second Remnant of Jews (U47)

Isa 11:10-11 "And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious." It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left...
     The crucifixion of our Lord Jesus obsoleted the Old Covenant, thus sending all Jews to damnation. As prophesied, only a remnant would be saved. So at Pentecost out of God's grace, the Holy Spirit (New Spirit) was poured upon all the devout Jews for they spoke in tongues. 3,000 Jews accepted the Lord and were baptized. These were discipled and with the change of heart (new heart) they preached the gospel of grace to other Jews.
Eze 18:30-31 "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord God. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?

Acts 11:19-21, 25 Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord...Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul.
     After the death of Stephen, the disciples dispersed throughout the middle East and led many devout Jews to the Lord.  Synagogues were filled with Christians and this was the fulfillment of Jewish remnant being saved in many countries. Gentiles (possibly outside) were allowed to listen to messages shared in synagogues. By then many Gentiles were already saved.
Acts 13:42-43 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation had broken up, *many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas*, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

Acts 13:44-46 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. But *when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul*. Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles."
    By then almost all the devout Jews were already saved. The leftover unrighteous Jews opposed the gospel and persecuted Paul and Barnabas. So Paul and Barnabas turned to the Gentiles, who were hardly touched.

Acts 14:1 Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed.
    Since then Paul and Barnabas preached to both Jews and Gentiles in New fields where many were saved.

Acts 14:23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
    The intellect Paul with God's wisdom and knowledge was able to set up the church governance by appointing elders in each church.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Remnants of Israel (U46)

3 times God will call the remnant to rebuild the Temple of God

1st. Remnant to rebuild Temple
Ezra 9:8-10 And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage. For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem. And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken. Your commandments
    When God took the Israelites out of Egypt, His covenant with them as His people was that He would dwell among them. They must keep all the feasts with sacrifices before the temple of God and observe all His law. Because of their disobedience, God allowed the temple to be destroyed and His people to be scattered.
    During their captivity in Babylon, God sent the Jews back to rebuild the temple of God in Jerusalem led by Ezra and the devout remnant.

2nd Remnant with Temple
Isa 1:9,12-14 Unless the Lord of hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we would have become like Sodom, We would have been made like Gomorrah... "When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies— I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.
   At the death of our Lord Jesus, God left the defiled temple of God, thereby making the Old Covenant and Judaism obsolete, thus abolishing all sacrifices, Sabbath, feasts and the law, and condemning all Jews and Israelites to damnation (spiritual death) .
    Immediately after the resurrection of our Lord (Root of Jesse) He gave all His disciples (remnant) the Holy Spirit thereby establishing the temple of God and the New Covenant with His blood.
    At Pentecost, 3,000 Jews and later all the devout Jews in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the middle East and also Cyprus and Crete (Islands of the sea) were saved. All these Jewish converts were the 2nd remnant of Israelites whose physical bodies were the temple of God.
     The grace of God was also extended to Gentiles in Christ Jesus. Apostle Peter was the first to reach the Gentiles (Roman Centurion and family) and later to others. (Please read the book of Acts)
Isa 11:10-11 "And in that day there shall be *a Root of Jesse*, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious." It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hamath and the islands of the sea.

3rd Remnant in His 1,000 Rule
Jer 23:3-4 "But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking," says the Lord.
    This will be after Rapture when 144,000 Israelites will be saved for Jesus Millennium Rule.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Salvation from Jerusalem (U45)

New Jewish Converts Discipled
Act 2:41-42 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
    At Pentecost, when Peter preached the gospel of grace, 3,000 devout Jews in Jerusalem were saved. Many of those saved were from Judea and also from foreign land. Immediately, they were discipled by the Apostles and they also partook the holy communion. By the time they left Jerusalem, these new converts were able to preach the message of the cross, conduct baptism and even teach some of our Lord's teachings. When these new Christians went back in their foster countries, they would be able to evangelize the Jews in their synagogues. Meanwhile in Jerusalem, the apostles continued to displayed the mighty power of God that the shadow of Peter could heal the sick.

Salvation reached Samaria
Act 8:1,5,14 Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them
     After the death of Stephen (Saul was still a youth) the disciples dispersed from Jerusalem with Philip going to Samaria. The Jews there were ready to be saved. Peter and John went there to disciple these new converts.
    Many years later when Saul had the power to lead in persecuting Christians, more disciples left Jerusalem. Thank God that Saul was converted and after that Christians could live in peace.
Acts 9:31 Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.

Distant Places herald Gospel
Act 11:19-21 Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.
    Some disciples went to distant land and many devout Jews there were converted.

Act 11:25-26 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
     Barnabas and Paul discipled the Christians in Antioch for a year and after that both of them were sent to distant land. God had already prepared all these places (using those converted during each feast) to preach in those synagogues and with signs and wonders, the Apostles captivated the people wherever they went.
Act 13:42-44 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Apostles Learning Process (U44)

Act 11:1-3 Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, saying, "You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!"
    Just before our Lord Jesus went back to heaven, He commissioned all His disciples to made disciples of all nations including Gentiles. But when Peter reached the Gentiles, these disciples forgot the commission of our Lord and instead confronted Peter for the salvation of Gentiles.

Gentiles' Salvation by God's grace
Act 11:15-17 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, 'John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?"
    The distinct physical evidence a Christian is the manifestation of the gift of tongue of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. So God used the gift of tongue to confirm their salvation. The moment the rest of the Apostles and elders in Jerusalem heard that the Gentiles were given the gift of tongue,  they were convinced.
Act 11:18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life."

Reluctance to reach Gentiles
Acts 11:19-21 Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.
    Though the disciples led many Hellenists (Greek speaking Jews) to the Lord, yet they will not touch the Gentiles who were also Greek speaking. When Barnabas saw the multitudes of new converts, he went to get Paul's help to disciple them.
Act 11:25-26 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

Persecutions by King Herod
Acts 12:1-3 Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread.
     The martyrdom of Stephen by the Jewish leadership did not scatter the Apostles, who preferred the comfort and respect in Jerusalem. Their job then was mainly to disciple the few converts in Jerusalem and also to evangelise devout Jews coming back to Jerusalem to worship in the temple of God during the feasts.
Note - God left the temple of God at the death of Jesus on the cross and since then every physical body of born again Christians is the temple of God.
   Revival were everywhere - in Judea, Samaria and neighbouring countries and yet these Apostles were still staying put in Jerusalem.
    The martyrdom of Apostle James and the persecutions of Apostles and church leaders in Jerusalem scattered them so that they could disciple the multitudes of new converts.

Immaturity of Disciples (U43)

The book of Acts of the Apostles, just like the historical books in the Old Testament, gave an accurate account of events, happenings, miracles, empowering and also the mistakes of His immature, anointed servants as they were being transformed into His image. From our repentance, obedience and humility we can receive His guidance and mercies and also the empowering for our transformation into His image.

Empowerment for Ministry
Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
    Our Lord commissioned His disciples to preach the gospel of grace to all nations. In Jerusalem, after they had been empowered with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, Peter an uneducated fisherman was able to convert 3,000 Jews to Our Lord Jesus.
Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the *boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled*. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

Comfort zone in Jerusalem
Acts 2:1, 5, 41 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place... And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven... Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
    All those devout Jews who became Christians on Pentecost, would have gone back home and preached the gospel in synagogues though they lacked knowledge and understanding of His word. Jesus' Apostles and disciples, who were discipled by our Lord Himself for the last three  years, were to teach and disciple the new converts. Unfortunately, they preferred the comfort and fellowship in Jerusalem thus ignoring the commission. God had to sacrifice Stephen in order to force His anointed out of Jerusalem, but the Apostles refused to leave.
Acts 8:1 Now Saul was consenting to his (Stephen) death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Reluctance to leave Jerusalem
Acts 8:4-5 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.
    Even though the Apostles refused to preach outside Jerusalem, God can use anyone who is available. So God anointed Philip. It was after Philip had converted Jews, then the Apostles left Jerusalem for Samaria.
Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them

Afraid to break Tradition
Acts 10:13-16 And a voice came to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." But Peter said, "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean." And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleansed you must not call common." This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.
     Our Lord Jesus commissioned every Christian to preach the gospel to all nations and yet these Apostles refused to eat or mix with Gentiles. Peter was only an unlearned and untrained fisherman. Had this vision been given to the Pharisees, they may condemned that it came from the devil.

Rom 7:11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.
    Brethren, the anointed Apostles did make mistakes and needed the crucifixion of the flesh.