Many of you might not know that I have a hobby called cross country racing, otherwise known as Hare Scrambles racing. This type of racing involves a dead engine start and a race through the woods and other obstacles on dirt bikes that lasts for two hours. This is very similar to what is called Enduro racing. I bring this up to talk about a comparison. Paul uses comparisons all the time in his books to help us understand concepts. Most of you know our Christian walk is compared to a race by our apostle Paul. My racing number is 924 which comes from the verse in 1 Corinthians 9:24 talking about running that ye may obtain. In Bible study as in racing the start it vitally important. In racing this give you the advantage of being able to sprint quickly to pull ahead of your competitors. In Bible study the start is learning the basic concepts that will enable you to understand what you are reading. Unfortunately, we were taught wrong when we started. We were taught about context, but never about the context that really matters. We were taught that if it’s in the New Testament then it’s our information. The Bible DOES NOT teach this. We were taught that the OT was for Israel and the New Testament is for us. The Bible DOES NOT teach this. (Jer 31:31-34, Eze 36:22-28, Heb 8:8-10) So we were taught wrong from the very start. After the start of a race, you enter the woods on a 6 to12 mile course. There are small arrows stapled to trees that guide you through the woods. So, not only are you riding as fast as you can through the woods, but you are also looking for small arrows to keep you on course. Sometimes there are other signs like an X to show you where not to go or Danger signs to indicate a dangerous obstacle ahead. Some of the guidance or arrows most of us were given about Bible study were pointing in the wrong direction. Let me give you one example. Many churches and pastors give new converts the advice to read the book of John first as you start to learn about the Bible. Gideon's and other publishers publish the book of John specifically for this purpose. This Gives new converts the WRONG directions and NO warning of the danger ahead. The book of John is the WRONG place to send a new convert!!! The book of John is Old Testament in doctrine, directed to Israel, includes WORKS for salvation, describes the offer of the kingdom to Israel, and DOES NOT teach salvation is by grace alone through trusting in the shed blood of Jesus. Yet, we were directed to read this book first! (Jn 4:22, Jn 5:29, Jn 12:13-15, Jn 20:9) Salvation in the book of John is about believing Jesus is the Christ, the King of Israel and trusting in his NAME, NOT HIS BLOOD. (Jn 20:31) No, there is NO CROSS in John 3:16. We were sent in the wrong direction from the very start of the race. In a cross-country race when you get lost in the woods you loose precious time going the wrong direction and you must find your way back to the course. In our Christian life we have lost so much precious time riding around in the woods because the course was marked wrong for us. The arrows were pointed in the wrong directions! When we study scripture, we must PAY ATTENTION to the arrows. The context you and I were NEVER taught is the context of Prophecy and Mystery. Prophecy relates to what God is doing with his earthly people Israel. Mystery relates to what God is doing with his heavenly people the Body of Christ. Most of Christianity has been trying to win their race by following Israel’s arrows. You’re on the wrong course! Your arrows are found in Paul’s books. There is where you find the Start, the directions, the guide, the warnings, the course, and most importantly where the finish line is. I pray you find your way. If your lost it’s not God’s fault. It might not even be your fault. You might have been given the wrong arrows? But it is your responsibility to find the right course. Paul set the course for you to follow based on the information Jesus gave to him. You will be held accountable for how you build upon what Paul started. (1 Cor 3:9-10) Time is short, don’t race the wrong course. (“Dirt Adventures” on YouTube if you want to see me race) (Paul’s 13 books – If you want to get on and stay on the right course)
And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause? I Sam 17:29
David standing among his brothers at a battle with the Philistines asked this striking question; is there not a cause? There was a cause, and David was up to the challenge. Eliab was wrong in his opinion of David’s motives. In his frustration and lack of action he took his anger out on his little brother. As we know David stepped up to the challenge. Most every Christian that has cracked a Bible a few times or has attended a church here or there can recall details of this confrontation between Israel and the Philistines and of course, David and Goliath. Let me show you about a man with a cause just as important as David’s and just as misunderstood by others.
Eph 3:1 ¶ For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
Paul’s cause concerns us, the Gentiles. Paul loved and tried to win as many of his brethren as he could but, his office (Rom 11:13) was the Apostle of the Gentiles. NO, Paul was not a missionary. The word missionary is not even a Bible word.
2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
Most Christians have not heard of the dispensation of the grace of God that was delivered specifically to Paul by the resurrected Christ. (Col 1:25)
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
Paul’s information was kept hidden in the mind of God until after the resurrection and NOT revealed in the Bible until Jesus gave it to Paul. (I Cor 2:7-8)
4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
The mystery information of all the things the cross accomplished for us was never revealed prior to Paul. Without Jesus giving Paul the mystery, we would still be left with no hope (Eph 2:11-16) Peter preached the cross as horrible news and as a murder indictment, but Paul glories in the cross.
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
“not made known” “now revealed” these are easy phrases to understand. Let them stand as they are.
6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
The mystery of Jews and Gentiles in the same body was never revealed in the Old Testament or the gospels. No Jew in the OT would ever have believed there would be a time when he was on equal ground with a Gentile. This is mystery information that was only revealed by our Apostle Paul.
7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
Paul was given the dispensation of the grace of God because it was not revealed prior to Paul. Everyone knows about Paul’s thorn in the flesh but almost NO ONE knows WHY Paul was given the thorn in the first place…. God gave Paul the thorn in the flesh because of the abundance of revelations Paul was receiving about this present age of grace we are in now. God needed to keep Paul humble. (II Cor 12:1 + 7) These revelations are exactly how Jesus is to be preached today (Rom 16:25)
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
“unsearchable” means untrackable. You can't find what Paul is saying prior to Acts 9 in scripture. This is exactly why Paul uses the word mystery 20 times in his books. Mystery means secret in the Bible.
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
This is why I do what I do. Because I am told to teach the mystery of Christ specifically. You should wonder why you have most likely NEVER heard the mystery taught in your church when YOU are supposed to be teaching about it and making all men see it.
10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
The mystery is the fact that God made Satan look like a fool when Satan helped crucify Jesus. Satan helped open up the door of mercy and grace alone to everyone. (Rom 11:32) This is exactly why Satan HATES the mystery and has twisted church doctrine over many years until now if you mention the mystery Christians think you are making something up. The Bible has PLENTY to say about the mystery, your pastor probably doesn’t.
11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
The mystery was hidden in the mind of God from everyone including Satan since BEFORE the foundation of the world and revealed by Paul our Apostle. (Col 1:26) As mentioned before this was to trick Satan. Paul calls this the manifold wisdom of God. (Eph 3:10)
12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
We can have this boldness and confidence when we understand the Bible. God intended YOU to understand the Bible and you don’t need a seminary or Bible college to do it. You need to trust God at his word and believe the Bible literally the way we teach it here at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship every week.
Read Colossians 2:1-3 very closely. I ask you: What provides the “full assurance” of understanding according to the Bible? Is it a pastor, deacon, professor or lawyer? It is the acknowledgment of the mystery. The treasures of wisdom and knowledge CAN BE FOUND if you would only believe the Bible literally. Every verse literally and learn the mystery of Christ as ONLY revealed by Paul our Apostle. Jesus is our Lord and Savior and Jesus chose Paul to reveal his will for us. (Acts 22:14) I ask you to trust your Bible. I ask you to trust the Holy Spirit MORE than things you believe only because you have heard them repeated over and over. You only have the treasures of wisdom and knowledge to lose. Choose wisely.
What a shame that these days “church language” defines our doctrine. Preacher boys grow up hearing and then just repeating the wrong things they heard. One of these things is the INCORRECT idea that you, your preacher, or a singer is “anointed” today. This word fits in with all the praise and worship mentality churches are full of today but shouldn’t we let the actual words in the Bible dictate our beliefs? If you want the truth, lets do a SIMPLE study together. Matt 10:17-20, Luke 12:11-12 and Luke 21:12-15 are all promises to the little flock of believing Israel that THEY would be given words when they need them while standing before councils and being condemned or persecuted. They were NOT to premeditate on what to say, but they would be given the exact words to say when they need them. Move forward to Acts 4:1-22, 5:27-32, 6:9-7:60 to see this promise being fulfilled as disciples of Jesus spoke words the councils could not resist and were “cut to the heart.” So, we clearly see this promise in practice. Now look to the back of your Bible to the Hebrew epistles that Israel will need to study during the Tribulation and you find the “Unction” and the “Anointing” mentioned in 1 John 2:20 and 2:27. The definition of anointing is to “know all things” Please read all these verses!! Don’t take my word for it! The specific purpose for anointing is to KNOW ALL THINGS and to NOT need teachers. This is a DIRECT contradiction to what Paul teaches! Paul says we must STUDY to be approved of God! Paul says we are to TEACH others so they can TEACH more people. So, you are left in a conundrum. You can choose to believe your pastor is anointed and he knows everything OR, you can choose to believe Paul. Anointing is ISRAEL’s promise. WE DON’T know everything. We need teachers that rightly divide. The idea a pastor or singer or anyone else is anointed is commonly taught and believed in many if not most churches today. No one is anointed today! NO ONE knows all things today. This gift of being able to speak things you were never taught or can’t remember is a promise to Israel and you are not Israel. Anointing might be taught by preachers today to fool churches to believe they have some special authority over them. This is unfortunate. I tell you all the time to be skepticle! Do I believe in anointing? Absolutely I do. Here is the difference. I believe it the way the Bible actually teaches it. A promise to believing Israel of special knowledge they will need during the tribulation and the last times leading up to the tribulation. We ARE NOT in the last days of prophecy! We are living in the age of grace that your Apostle Paul calls the mystery. There is NO unction or anointing today. Why? Because we need to study, and we need teachers, and we need to teach others to be approved by God. (2 Tim 2:15) If we have the anointing today, why do we go to Sunday school? Why do we sit in church? Why do we buy books about the Bible? Every time we steal something that was promised to Israel and force it into the mystery time in the Bible only confusion results. Israel will need the anointing during the tribulation, and only they will truly get it. It’s not active today. How do I know? You're studying, aren’t you?
Does the Bible say what it means or not? This is a valid question. Christianity today by and large follows the allegorical interpretation of scripture. Once you assume for yourself what belongs to Israel in the Bible you create hundreds if not thousands of problems and contradictions that were not there before. Now you need explanations for all the verses that don’t make sense. Here is where the theologian steps in. We trust these men to make sense of the problems in scripture WE CREATED! We read the verses with our predetermined ideas and then wonder why we can’t understand the doctrinal issues in the Bible. Replacement theology has infiltrated ALL the denominations to differing degrees. ALL the denominations and non-denominational churches today I know of assume things that belong to Israel in scripture. Hence the need for commentators and highly educated people to tell us what the verses mean. I teach and implore people every Sunday to believe the verses AS WRITTEN. ALL the verses! This means being willing to believe the Bible OVER the years of denominationalism we have been indoctrinated into. Paul tells us we need teachers. Teachers should be held accountable to God’s word rightly divided. God’s word rightly divided is the answer to all the confusion we see today. We don’t need theologians held up as the be all end all answer to Bible understanding. Why, because they can’t answer all the questions. Jesus did not question the OT prophets so why are you? Jesus believed the OT prophets as I do. The apostle Paul was called a heretic as I am for believing my Bible. The OT teaches Messiah would come TO ISRAEL! Why then must you say that Jesus didn’t do this? Why then must you say Jesus EARTHLY ministry was to Gentiles when he said it wasn’t? My advice to you is stop listening to commentators, theologians and preachers and start believing the Bible EXACTLY as it is written. The OT teaches that when Israel ACCEPTED the Messiah that Israel would minister TO US. This is the plan Jesus came to fulfill. This is what the Bible actually teaches for itself. This is why Jesus WAS NOT ministering to gentiles, because ISRAEL COMES FIRST. This is exactly why Jesus had to come to Paul and send him to the Gentiles. Because our hope was resting in Israel’s OBEDIENCE. When Israel rejected the messiah that left us with NO HOPE, resulting is Jesus himself calling Paul and sending him to the Gentiles with a NEW MESSAGE of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. If you keep these two distinct and separate ministries where they belong, they both are clear and easy to understand, NO theologians needed. If you mix these two ministries, you better have a theologian on call because only confusion can result. Look around you. All the denominations arguing over BASIC doctrines. You can see clearly! You can understand! Separate what God has separate in the Bible and it all will make sense. YES it is this simple.
Wow, what a statement. No doubt some already took offence to this statement. The fact remains that your beliefs don’t matter. Christians today have learned the quick way to end any conversation about religion is to just say; “Well I just don’t believe that”. I have heard this one quite a few times. Let me be clear, God’s word rightly divided matters and what you or I believe does not. What is my proof? The FACT that within 30 miles of your house there are dozens of churches that read the SAME BOOK and believe DIFFERENT THINGS. What do we do, we simply just rattle off the phrase I don’t believe that; when you in most cases have NEVER studied the doctrine and beliefs of all those other churches. How then can you say you don’t believe it when YOU DON’T KNOW. As I have said before; do you really want the truth? If so, then why do you bury your head in the sand and pretend that you can’t be wrong when you really don’t know if you are? The fact is, if the other churches could show you your wrong would you have the guts to admit it and change? I can answer for you; Most of you by a long shot would not. At church you have friends, positions, titles, reputation, security, comfort, and people telling you, that you can’t be wrong every Sunday. Most Christians won’t even entertain the idea that they might be wrong about doctrinal things. But here is the truth; What about all those little things you read and heard over the years that didn’t make sense or you can’t understand? What about the times when you spoke with others and they showed you verses you can’t handle? All the questions you have but never ask or ever come to an understanding of? What about all the UNANSWERED prayer? What about all the “promises” you hear preached but you have never seen realized in your life or the life of others? Shall I go on? No, I actually will stop here. Please for once think critically about these things. Don’t you want an answer? The confusion comes from the lack of properly applying scripture written TO YOU. The confusion comes from falsely applying promises and scripture found in the Bible that IS NOT written to you. Rightly dividing the Bible as we do here IS THE KEY to understanding the Bible. Not just the verses pastors repeat over and over Sunday after Sunday! ALL THE VERSES. Paul tells us to rightly divide the Bible. You can pretend your preacher does this but I know better. I know how many churches actually do this. They are few and far between. This is because when you start to properly APPLY the Bible your tradition and pet doctrines start to fall apart. You start to see religion fall apart. You face YOUR PRIDE square in the eyes! For most this is where you turn back. We have to protect our pride at all costs. I was wrong about many things. Since I understand this, I understand pride is the main deterrent to a proper understanding of the Bible. PUT IT TO THE TEST. Give truth a chance. Your beliefs DO NOT COUNT because the dozens of churches that surround us full of sincere people CAN’T all be right. Right division brings clarity to all the confusion. ASK the tough questions! Stop hiding from those doubt’s you have. Apply the Bible as it tells you to and you will get the answers you are looking for. Beliefs don’t mean anything if they are based on scripture not written to you. As I like to say: YES, it is this simple.
Today is four years since we started our assembly. About seven years ago I looked for a church in my area that rightly divided the scriptures. There was none. I was surprised at the time that there were no churches that believed their Bible literally that way I had been learning to. Now four years after starting our church I am no longer surprised. It seams to me that most Christians today will fight for their beliefs but have no idea if they are fighting for the truth. Why? Christians today won’t listen to anything outside of what they currently believe to be true. This is akin to telling the Holy Spirit “I know it all, let me just coast through the rest of my life sitting in this pew and being content.” I know this to be true because in the last four years on numerous occasions I have tried to share the mystery of Christ with Christians and the pride of denomination, education, and experience shows up immediately. There is a reason Paul told Timothy to not let anyone despise his youth. Once Christians get older, they become so set in their ways they won’t listen to any criticism of their beliefs. When you become hardened to a challenge to your beliefs you have become cold to the Holy Spirits teaching in the worst possible way. You have decided you have nothing else to learn and you sit proud of all the years you have under your belt. There are people sitting in our church every week that have studied their Bibles for decades and sat under preachers with higher education that have learned something different. We have learned that sitting in church week after week for 40 or 50 years MEANS NOTHING if you were being taught the Bible so as to defend denomination and agenda instead of learning the Bible itself. Your experience as a Christian does not prove nor guarantee you know your Bible as written. The people in our church have learned to be open to God’s word and to let it have free course because we have seen the doctrines that we were taught fall apart when compared to the Bible believed literally. We have at the same time seen doctrines become so easily understood when you remove man’s ideas and agendas. Salvation is clear and easy to understand once man’s agendas are removed and God’s word is rightly divided. We are open to criticism because CRITICISM makes us prove whether we are standing in the TRUTH. I do not hide from criticism. In the last 4 years I have seen how easily people become offended when you challenge their beliefs over and over. I read the criticism others write about the literal interpretation of scripture. The problem is Christians will not listen to my critique of their trust in pastors that get paid to defend their denomination. Paul tells us “knowledge puffeth up.” We know the verse, so then why can’t we see our own pride as we so easily dismiss the critique of others. I understand we are conditioned to be prideful every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. I understand when you sit in a building multiple times a week where everyone believes they are right it becomes almost impossible to listen to a challenge of your beliefs. All I can tell you is once you learn to rightly divide your Bible, you will never be the same. Only then will you come to realize how your pride has hindered your growth. Growth does not come by experience alone when is comes to scripture. Growth comes by understanding the scripture as God intended. Trust me, there is a big difference. Give yourself the freedom to be wrong, it might just change your life.
In a Christian world where preachers and teachers stand in front of large crowds of people in nice suits and beautiful buildings I can tell you Christians are less knowledgeable than ever. How can I say this? There are several reasons but I’ll mention just this reason today. People sit in churches all across America and listen to “preaching” every Sunday and CAN’T tell you what the gospel is. As we worked on our new building this past week, we had the opportunity to talk to a young man in his 20’s and I personally asked him what the gospel is. More specifically, how is a person saved today. This young man who was well spoken and knowledgeable of the Bible could not tell me how a person can know that they are saved. If I told you the type of denominational churches he had attended or visited in the past you all would know them. How can it be that this young man can have attended churches in his lifetime that most would call “fundamental” or even “Bible believing” churches and he DOES NOT know the gospel? How is this possible? I tell you this, it’s not his fault. Most Christians trust their preachers and teachers too much. As you know, I tell you to be skeptical of what you hear from anyone. I tell you find out for yourself. I tell you that you will give account of YOURSELF. Stop trusting your eternal destiny to a preacher that was trained at seminary to use the Bible to defend his chosen denomination. This is what seminaries do you know. We have failed to clearly explain the gospel to those sitting under us. Why? The failure to rightly divide the Bible leaves most Christians mixing the gospel of the kingdom given to ISRAEL with the gospel of the grace of God that was delivered to the Apostle Paul. This leaves Christians saying things like we must “ask Jesus into our heart”. There is NO VERSE with this phrase in it in the Bible. And you don’t have to ASK to be saved, you need only BELIEVE. You can find scores of verses in Paul’s books where we are to believe to be saved. NO PRAYING REQUIRED. Just belief in what Jesus accomplished on the cross. The clearest verses in scripture showing how a soul is saved are found in Ephesians 1:13-14.
Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Notice the order of salvation. After you hear the gospel (Paul’s gospel of the grace of God) you put your belief and trust in what you heard. Once you believe and trust you are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Spirit Baptism). Notice this DOES NOT require asking, just believing.
1Co 15:1 ¶ Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
The gospel is simple and easy to understand when we follow our Apostle Paul. Salvation is trusting in the finished work of the cross, Jesus’ death burial and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins. NO water, NO works, NO rituals, I challenge you, I dare you to walk around your church and ask people what the gospel is and I pray you don’t get blank stares and long awkward periods of time as Christians struggle to find words to explain the gospel like I have seen. Preachers, YOU are at fault just like I was. For following tradition over the clarity that rightly dividing your Bible gives. We have failed because people walk in and out of churches every week that can’t articulate how a soul is saved according to the Apostle Jesus sent to US, our Apostle Paul. Jesus is our Savior; Paul is the Apostle Jesus sent to us with the message that saves a soul today in the age of grace. It is this simple. Are you teaching it?
If there’s a question Christians wonder about it is; What is God’s purpose for my life? What a shame that youth leaders in churches across the world teach kids that God has some kind of “special” purpose for their life. Kids then pray and wonder what this “special” purpose is, “waiting” on the lord. So, instead of actually DOING something they blindly pray and wait. We have been falsely led to believe we need to find God’s purpose for our life. Let me help you understand the truth. God DOES have a purpose for you. It’s not some special purpose that only you can fulfill because God planned it for you prior to birth as Calvin would teach. God’s purpose for your life is not something you must pray to find because you can actually just read it for yourself. Your youth leader and your pastor were wrong just like I was for a long time. God’s purpose is two-fold. He has a purpose for the EARTH and he has a purpose for HEAVEN. His earthly purpose WILL BE fulfilled BY ISRAEL. His purpose for the heavens WILL BE fulfilled by the body of Christ. Read about Paul’s “cause” below.
Ephesians 3:1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: 12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
YES!!! God has a purpose! I hope you read the words from Paul very closely. Verse 11 states his purpose was an “eternal purpose.” YES, I understand this means it’s not all about YOU, it’s actually all about HIM. It’s all about what HE is doing. Why must we make everything about me me me? God’s eternal purpose for YOUR LIFE is for you to share the manifold wisdom of God. Your purpose is to share the mystery of Christ to the world. We should be operating in “boldness” and “confidence” as stated in verse 12 above. Instead, we want to wait around and pretend God is going to “show me” my “special” purpose. If you just read the 12 verses above and can’t agree this is unbelievably special then I’m not sure what else I could ever say to help you see the truth. As I’ve said before, STOP PRAYING about God’s special purpose and start doing it. To fulfill God’s “eternal purpose” you must let go of your tradition and choose to follow Paul so you can truly understand what Christ would have you do now. Friends, it’s this simple. Stop praying about what the Bible clearly teaches you. Rather pray to God how thankful you are he made this plan for your life so EASY to understand. Throw away all those books about finding God’s will. There wrong. Get on board with what God is doing now. Jesus sent you a spokesman and Apostle specifically to guide you into his will. Why won’t you get on board?
The cause of much confusion among Christians today is caused by application, or more specifically the wrong application. We were taught to pay little attention, if any, to who is being spoken to in scripture. Teachers constantly want to find some way to apply every verse in scripture to us. Teachers ask; “what does this verse mean to you.” The Bible is very clear in most places about the group being spoken to. Are you paying attention to the application? You could save yourself much grief and frustration by figuring out who a verse applies to. More than 90% of the Bible applies to Israel. You could understand the Bible so much clearer just understanding this simple FACT. Jesus’ earthly ministry did not apply to you either. I say this because Jesus told us so. Jesus sent the Apostle Paul as his apostle to the gentiles. But even in Paul’s books there are times Paul talks specifically to Jews or is speaking about the Jews. This means you must constantly be reading to understand the application of the verses you are reading. MOST of Christianity does not do this. How can I know this? I have read the doctrinal statements of many different denominations. As I read these statements, I notice many verses taken from Israel’s context and inserted into ours. It’s been said every verse has three applications: 1. Historical 2. Spiritual and 3. Doctrinal. We can learn much about history from the Bible. We can gain spiritual insight about God and his character from scripture. Doctrine however is where the rubber meets the road. Doctrine is how we learn what to believe and how to believe. Sadly, most Christians were taught to get their doctrine from anywhere in the Bible they wish. Many verses have a doctrinal context we can learn from but, you must discern if the doctrine is yours for today or is it about Israel’s past or Israel’s future? Since MOST of the Bible is addressed to Israel or written about Israel, you MUST be careful to not apply doctrine to yourself that the Bible does not apply to you. Righty dividing the doctrine taught in the Bible is of utmost importance. Look around you. The vast majority of all the things Christians are confused about is caused by MISAPPLICATION. Many verses have doctrine in them but this does not mean the doctrine is for you or about you. I constantly say; “leave the verses alone” “God says what he means and means what he says” We must trust the Holy Spirit and stop changing the verses. We must learn to give the Bible free course in our life regardless of our statement of faith. A statement of faith is worthless is it is not based on verses WRITTEN TO US. God will restore Israel! Because he said he would. If your church statement of faith if full of Israel’s promises and Israel’s doctrine, it’s time to find a church that trusts God at his word.
When I was growing up Gilligan’s Island was a popular TV show. As you probably already know, every opportunity for the cast aways to get off the Island always ended up in defeat leaving them stranded on the Island. The Apostle Paul has something to say about cast aways. He asks a simple question in Romans 11:1. The question is “Hath God cast away his people.” Paul then very clearly answers his own question in verse 2 with, “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew” No doubt your church teaches doctrine every week that would seam to make the opposite argument that Paul does. By and large most churches today pay no attention to Paul’s statement. Churches that teach openly about the many guarantee’s God made to Israel of their restoration into their land are rare no doubt. Israel’s restoration does not preach well nor does it teach well I must assume. The Bible however OVERWELMINGLY teaches that Israel WILL BE restored into their land. Why I ask you would Jesus have quoted from the following section of scripture at the start of his earthly ministry if he never intended to do these things?
Isa 61:1 ¶ The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
4 ¶ And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
5 And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
6 But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.
THESE VERSES ARE NOT ABOUT YOU! The Bible gives these verses to Israel. Jesus said these verses to Israel. Paul believed these verses just as they are written. Why must Christianity take these verses guaranteeing Israel’s restoration and put them on cards and signs? I hear “beauty for ashes” in Christian songs and read it in Christian books but never in the context of Israel’s restoration. It’s a sad state of affairs in Christianity today that people have no problem rewriting scripture to give something they want to themselves. We complain each time Congress votes themselves a raise, while we take anything we want from Israel and apply it to ourselves. Stop stealing what is not yours. The reason you struggle understanding the Bible is because of application! Stop trying to apply anything you find in scripture to yourself. If the Bible does not apply it to you then it’s NOT YOURS. Understanding the Bible is this simple. Israel has not been cast away forever. Israel is temporarily blinded as Paul explains later in Romans chapter 11.
Ro 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Israel is spiritually blind right now while God is dealing with mankind in GRACE. This period of time Paul describes as a mystery. In other words, it was kept secret. God is showing mercy to everyone right now. (Rom 11:32) Notice this time we are in IS NOT permanent. In verse 2 of Isaiah chapter 61 shown above Jesus mentions the acceptable day of the Lord (Luke 4:19) but stops before mentioning the wrath Isaiah talks about. Why? Because Jesus knew about the mystery we are in now. Jesus knew the wrath comes later. These things become clear when we rightly divide the scriptures and leave God’s programs alone. All we do here is let God say what he says TO WHOM he says it. Then, we leave it TO WHOM it is given. Stop mixing things God made separate and the Bible will become understandable! If this sounds too good to be true, ITS NOT. God actually made it this simple.
Steve Schoenberger is a student of the Bible and the teacher at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship, A Mid-Acts Dispensational Bible church teaching the Bible rightly divided according the the revelation of the mystery delivered to the Apostle Paul