The Elements of the pattern of church service and life can be seen in scripture

The elements of the pattern of church service and life can be seen in scripture.

True worshippers are to worship in truth and spirit (John 4:24), by the Spirit of God (Philippians 3:3). True believers remained in the teaching of God (2 John 1:9). They would have obeyed God as opposed to rebelled against God (1 John 3:10).

Men, women, and children would have gathered together to hear what was being taught – It may have been that only children who were old enough to understand who were in church service (such as those who were age 12, the age of when Jewish boys have their bar mitzvah, which happens to be the age of Jesus when he was in the temple courts sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions) (Deuteronomy 31:12; Nehemiah 8:1-3; Luke 2:41-47; Luke 18:15-17; Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:20-21; 2 John 1:1).

They met together on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). They met in the temple courts, in people’s homes, beside rivers, in synagogues, and in lecture halls (possibly schools) (Acts 2:42-47; Acts 16:13; Acts 19:8-9).

The church leaders were male elders and male deacons and female deaconesses (Acts 6:2-8; Acts 16:13; Romans 16:1; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-10).

The communion supper (also known as the Lord’s Supper) was observed (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:18-32).

Prayers were offered up to God alone, in harmony with the will of God (1 Corinthians 14:15–16; Nehemiah 4:9; Matthew 6:9,;1 John 5:14).

Songs were sung to the glory of God and thanks to God was given (Ephesians 5:19-20; Psalms 95, 96, 98).

A free will collection was taken (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:7). The Church was not involved with business (Matthew 21:12–13).

Sometimes church discipline occurred (Matt. 18:17).

The Scriptures were publically read (Colossians 4:16; 1 Tim. 4:13), and the Word of God was proclaimed (Acts 20:7; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; 2 Timothy 4:2).

Indeed, each had a hymn, a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:28).

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1 Peter 4:1-11

1 Peter 4:1-11

“Attitude, Ascension, Administer”

 

Today’s message is taken from 1 Peter 4:1-11. If you’ve been following along in this series, you know that this was written to believers in various churches in what is now Turkey about 64AD, just a few years before Peter’s crucifixion. It was written to encourage the readers during difficult times to endure and live lives that were worthy of the name of Christ.

Earlier, Peter wrote about how we need to submit to whomever God has placed in positions of authority: government, employers, husband. Peter said we need to love and live holy. He also said that all Christians need to “live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing.”

Peter reminded us that We need to always be ready to give an answer for our hope: we are saved through faith in the resurrection of Christ, and we are baptized as a symbol of accepting what Christ has done for us.

 

1Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude,

Matthew 26:36-44. BECAUSE of what Christ has done, BECAUSE Christ not only was ready to suffer for our sins, but also because Christ DID suffer in his body for our sins, we need to have the same attitude. 1 Peter 1:13. We need to be prepared. We need to ready ourselves. Ephesians 6:10-18. We need to be prepared for battle! The battle is not with other believers . The battle is with the enemy! We need to arm ourselves with the same attitude that Christ had.

 

because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.

Romans 6:6-7. Christ was crucified, when we believed in Him, we too were crucified with Him. The idea is that though we may suffer doubt or not want to do what God has in mind for us, we need to be faithful. We need to battle our bodies if it comes to that, and do what God has called us to do. We need to remember that we have been crucified with Christ! If we remember that, then we can remember that we no longer NEED to sin. We have the ABILITY, through the Holy Spirit, to live as though we are dead to sin. We need to live like it.

 

2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires,

Romans 8:5-10. A Christian MUST not live the rest of his life here on earth driven by the urges of the world. We must NOT be distracted by television, by radio, by what we read – unless it is the BIBLE. We must NOT be living like we used to live, or even like we might sometimes want to live. We need to live like Christ lived!

 

 

 

but rather for the will of God.

John 6:40; Romans 12:2. The main thing God wants is for people to believe in what He has done! The fact that God loves us so much that he sent his son to die for us so that people who believe could have eternal life with HIM shows what God’s main ‘will’ is.

But the other major will of God is that we not stay like we were. We need to be transformed! We need to be changed! And the way we are changed is NOT by just going to Church on holidays or even once or twice or seven times a week. No – we are changed by learning about God – who he is, what he has done, what he will do, what he expects. We are changed by being in a relationship with Christ, by walking with Christ daily. We are changed by praying day and night – hour by hour – minute by minute. We are changed by being with other maturing Christians who will challenge us to not be stuck where we are. We are changed by reading the Bible and letting the Word of God change us.

 

3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.

Debauchery is defined by the dictionary as “extreme indulgence in sensuality“. Lust is defined as “an intense longing or craving”. Drunkenness is obvious – drinking to excess. Orgies is defined as “a sexual encounter involving many people”. [1] In the New Testament times, sometimes going to pagan temples involved drunken orgies. Carousing is going to parties of drunkenness. Detestable idolatry is putting ANYTHING in the place where GOD should be in your life. Don’t be like the world! BE like Christ!

Turn to Galatians 5:19-21. When we focus on the things that used to interest us, that used to drive us, we are not focusing on God. We need to remember that GOD did it, and we need to move past the things that the world does, or that we used to do, or that we still do. We need to not do things that keep us from God, instead we need to focus on God.

 

4 They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.

The word for ‘abuse’ is literally, blaspheme[2]. The people who did not believe lied about those who did. The believers Peter wrote to suffered shame and abuse at the hands of unbelievers, because of what they did. BECAUSE the believers would not participate in what was normal life for so many unbelievers, they were ridiculed. The same is true today. Often we get funny looks or snide comments for not living like people who do not know Christ. But you know what, if what those people say is true, change so that its not. If its not true, then ignore it, count it a blessing, and serve the Lord.

 

5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Turn to Matthew 12:36; 2 Timothy 4:1; John. 5:24. God will judge the world, through Christ. If we have Christ, then when we are examined, we will not pay the ultimate price – because Christ already paid it. We will not be condemned. However, if you do NOT claim Christ as your savior, then you will be condemned to hell. Its real. Its final. It may sound harsh – but its not. It doesn’t have to be that way for you. If you do not know Christ, then accept what he has done for you. If you accept that you are not perfect (that you’re a sinner) and that you can’t get into heaven on your own merits or works, that you need what Christ has done – if you believe that Christ is the only way to heaven and that he died for your sins so that you could be with him in his Father’s house in heaven, then you are saved and will not be condemned.

 

6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead,

Romans 1:18-23; Acts 17:26-27; 2 Peter 2:5. The Holy Spirit preached to the people around Noah in those times. The prophets preached to the people of Israel. People can see evidence of God in the world.

I’ve heard a story from a missionary who was delivering the the “Jesus” video in remote parts of the Ukraine. After showing the video, one old woman came forward weeping, and she related a story of how she had dreamed three nights before of a man coming to her telling her that she would learn the way to be with God – and it was the image of the same man who was the actor who played Jesus. She accepted Christ fully then and there!

People always have an opportunity to know God. But they have to WANT to know Him.

 

so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body,

            People WILL be judged based upon the choices they make in THIS life. If you choose Christ, then you will not be condemned. But if you choose to NOT accept Christ, if you put it off until you die, then it will be too late, and you will in fact be condemned to the lake of fire.

 

but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

But once you’ve accepted Christ, you need to live according to the Word of God. You need to live with the Holy Spirit guiding you. You need to have the right inside to match the outside. Going to church will not save you. Being the child or parent of someone who claims Christ will not save you. You need to be saved through faith in Christ. At the instant that you have this faith, you are saved. And once you are saved, you need to LIVE like it! You need to not be jealous, or spiteful, or wanting revenge, or trying to “get yours”. You need to be humble, meek, loving, kind, respectful, honest.

 

 

7 The end of all things is near.

Mark 13:31-33. Christ is going to return soon – we do not know if it will happen in a minute, or a day, or a year, or when it will happen. But the end of all things is near. We need to live like it. We need to keep our eyes on Christ and the future we will have – not be bogged down with pain and suffering and worry in this life. The end of all things is near.

 

Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.

Because the end of all things is near, we need to be sober minded – clear headed. And we need to be in control of ourselves. We need to not be driven by fear. We need to not be driven by greed. We need to not be driven by jealousy. We need to not be driven by lust. We need to not be driven by anything other than the love of Christ. If we do that, then we will be able to pray and pray effectively.

 

8 Above all, love each other deeply,

1 Corinthians 13:4-7. love = agape (same word, both passages). Self-sacrificing love – where one CHOOSES to love rather than has an emotion of love. This is the type of love where one chooses to do what is right for someone else, in this case other believers.

1 John 3:10-13. You should be identified by love. You need to be identified by the love you are supposed to have within you – the love of Christ. If you do not FEEL love, that’s ok. Sometimes we need do the action before the emotion comes. Sometimes we need to feel the emotion before the actions come. But you need to pray to God to help you love your brothers and sisters in Christ. You need to live according to the Spirit of GOD.

 

because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Are you someone who gets easily angered or frustrated by others? Are you someone who wants to TEACH everyone the RIGHT way? Do you need to talk about the weaknesses or failures of others, or their children? Turn to Proverbs 10:11-12; Proverbs17:9. We need to be people who love each other. We need to express that love by NOT stirring up dissention. Is what you have to say said in an attitude of love? Is what you have to say said in private, to the person who needs to hear it, rather than to your “friend” or “the pastor” (before you have gone to the person you have an issue with)? I’m not saying you should never go to someone else when someone is in sin, but there is a process for that. Have you followed that process? Do you know that process? If not, I suggest you find out and then follow it. But the first thing to do is PRAY for that person and that situation and yourself.  Be sure you are acting in love, not out of any other motivation. Love one another – for THAT is the will of God.

 

9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Turn to Matthew 25:40-46; Matthew 10:41; Luke 14:12-14. Love of and for Christ involved helping those who need help, especially believers. Does a pastor need a place to stay? Does a missionary need a place to sleep? Does a believer need a place to stay? Hospitality would be you making an offer to put him up, either at your place or to pay for a motel room.

 

10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Corinthians 12:4–11, 29–31; Romans 12:6–8 (more concrete example: Matthew 25:15-30; Luke 19:13–26). Each of us is different. Each of us have different gifts from God. We have different interests, talents, and spiritual gifts. Love for Christ and others involves you using what God has given you for the good of the church universal and the local church. If you love Christ, you will seek out the gifts God has given you and use them for the glory of God. Using your gifts for God’s purposes is the will of God. Administer God’s grace in the ways that God has given, or is giving, you.

 

11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.

A preacher should teach the word of God. A Bible teacher should teach the word of God. A prophet should preach the word of God – and any prophecy of the future MUST be tested by what the Bible says and whether or not the prophecy comes true (once a false prophet, always a false prophet). A believer should talk to people about God, using the word of God. All of us, who open our mouths, need to speak the very words of God! And we need to not be apologetic about it, we need to be bold about it, so that people recognize the power of God. I’m not saying be ‘in your face’, or rude, but be strong and sure of what you say.

 

If anyone serves,

he should do it with the strength God provides,

Acts 6:2-4 division of labor. Again, when we serve God, which is supposed to be daily, we need to rely on HIS power, not our own. Whether we serve tables, or clean the church, or print bulletins, or preach, or teach, or call people, or pray for others, or visit others, we need to do it in GOD’s power. When we do it in our own strength, we will tire and weaken and our attitudes will suffer and we will not be up to the task. But when we pray, and rely upon God, it is amazing how before we start, we might not have any energy, but somehow there’s always enough for God’s work.

 

so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.

Everything you do needs to bring God praise through Jesus Christ. People need to look at your life and praise God. They need to look at your volunteerism and praise Christ. They need to look at your attitude and praise Christ. They need to hear your words and praise Christ. They need to look at your private life and praise God.

 

To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. [3]

Always remember, the praise and glory always go to God. His is the power that lasts eternally. He is the one who created everything. He is the one who sustains everything. He is the one who gives what we need. He is the one who works all things for the good of those who love Him. He is the one who loves us all. We need to remember, even when things are hard or difficult or bad, God is good. We need to thank him and praise him and let others know where our faith lies.


[1] Merriam-Webster Online.  Available 4/17/2005 [http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=debauchery&x=0&y=0]

[2]Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[3]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (1 Pe 4:1). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Acts 14

Day 14, Acts 14.

The start of this chapter shows Paul and Barnabas speaking in such a way that many people believed.  Wouldn’t it be awesome to be used by God to speak in such a way that many people believed? Of course, there were still those who did NOT believe, and these people stirred up trouble. Yet, the apostles relied upon the Lord (who used signs and wonders done by the hands of the apostles to testify to the word of His grace).

 1  In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks. 2 But the Jews who disbelieved stirred up the minds of the Gentiles and embittered them against the brethren. 3 Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands.

But while many believed, and there were signs and wonders, some did not believe. Some were bitter – so much so that they decided to make an attempt to kill the apostles. Instead of standing up and trying to convince the unbelievers, they ran. They fled and continued to preach the gospel.

4 But the people of the city were divided; and some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. 5 And when an attempt was made by both the Gentiles and the Jews with their rulers, to mistreat and to stone them, 6 they became aware of it and fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe, and the surrounding region; 7 and there they continued to preach the gospel.

Then Paul saw that a lame man had faith to be healed, and Paul told him to stand on his feet. And he did! What does the fact that Paul saw the lame man had faith to be healed imply for us today? Coupled with the fact that Jesus could do few miracles in his hometown because they had little faith (Matthew 13:53-58; Mark 6:1-6), it seems God chooses to limit His miracles to those with faith. We simply must trust God.

8 At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. 9 This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be made well, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he leaped up and began to walk.

The people of Lystra responded by beleiving the apostles were gods. Paul and Barnabas told the truth about who GOD is, and that they were not God. They told the people that they had come to preach a gospel of needing to turn to “a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; 17 and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”

It was only with some difficulty that they were able to stop the Lystra folks from offering sacrifices to them. Of course, then Jews came from places the apostles had been previously and stirred up the people. They dragged Paul out of the city and stoned him until they thought he was dead. He got up and went to Derbe  and preached the gospel. Then “they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,  strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith.” They appointed elders in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”

Fasting is not something the church today does much of. This is a spiritual discipline we need to work on to get our minds on God.

Finally, back in Antioch, they reported all things that God had done with them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.

We should give thanks for what God has done in opening a door of faith to those who were not Jews. Without which, many of us would not have had the opportunity to be saved.

Chosen before formation, appointed before birth

Many people believe that all they need to do is be part of the family of God. But Jeremiah is an example of someone God has called to do more than simply be.

Jeremiah 1:4-5

4 Now the word of the LORD came to me saying,

5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you;
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

In Jeremiah 1:4, we see that GOD spoke to Jeremiah. This is an interesting statement, because many people today want to say that God does not speak to people, or that you need to see a psychiatrist if you hear God’s voice. But has God changed? James 1:17 tells us He has not and does not change.

So then, we see Jeremiah says that GOD spoke. Not only did God speak, but God spoke to a man and said “before [He] formed [Jeremiah He] knew [him].” Note – GOD formed Jeremiah in the womb – it did not happen by accident. It did not occur by chance. It did not occur simply because a man and a woman decided to have a child. No, it happened because GOD did it. God opens and closes wombs (Genesis 20:18; 1 Samuel 1:5-6). More than that, God forms people in the mother’s womb – its not simply an automatic process, but is something God does (Psalm 139:13Ecclesiastes 11:5Isaiah 44:2Isaiah 44:24Isaiah 49:5). And God knew Jeremiah before He formed him in the womb – God is outside of time, space, and creation. God declared and made Jeremiah holy and appointed him to be a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah’s calling was to tell the people what God told him to say.

All of us have such a calling, and some of us respond in the same way Jeremiah did:

Jeremiah 1:6

6 Then I said, “Alas, Lord GOD!
Behold, I do not know how to speak,
Because I am a youth.”

Jeremiah found an excuse to claim he could not do what God had called him to do. In this case, Jeremiah said he was just a kid and didn’t know how to speak. Many of us find excuses to not do what God wants. But God has an answer to our excuses, just as God had an answer to Jeremiah’s excuse:

Jeremiah 1:7

7 But the LORD said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
Because everywhere I send you, you shall go,
And all that I command you, you shall speak.

God said his excuse was not good enough. :) We can’ simply say I cant do it. Because God said it and that’s good enough. If God says it, then we can do it. Why?

Jeremiah 1:8

8 “Do not be afraid of them,
For I am with you to deliver you,” declares the LORD.

Because God will be with us and will deliver us – just as He promised He would do with Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 1:9

9 Then the LORD stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me,

“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.

God touches our mouths and makes us able to say the words He needs us to say.

Jeremiah 1:10

10 “See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To pluck up and to break down,
To destroy and to overthrow,
To build and to plant.”

The words of a minister of God can have powerful effects. God appointed Jeremiah over nations and kingdoms to prepare the people. The people would be plucked, broken down, destroyed, overthrown, built and planted. God will accomplish HIS plan. God would use Jeremiah to accomplish HIS goal.

Will you be used by God to accomplish HIS plan? God has a call upon you.  Are you willing to respond to God’s call? It is not about you but about God. It isnot YOUR plans that matter – if they are not the plans of God, what does it matter? Whose plans do you think will prevail, yours or Gods? Step up now – recognize the truth and respond to God’s call upon your life in obedience. God will provide you what you need when you need it.

What is the gospel?

So many times we hear people ask, “Are you saved?”, “Do you want to say a prayer to receive Jesus in your heart?”, “Do you know the gospel?”.

Is the gospel about asking Jesus to be your friend? Is the gospel simply talking to Jesus? Is it simply believing God exists? What IS the gospel? Does it matter?

If people are trying to from point A to point B, they must know the way to get there. So, if we are telling people how to get from point A to point B, we must be explicit and detailed and correct in what we say, otherwise people might get (or stay) lost. So, if you look at a mapping program or website and give it your current address and the address to which you are traveling, it will show you step by step what is needed for you to drive from A to B. Of course, it will leave out some steps, such as getting into your car and starting it, because it is assumed you know to do that. But if you have never seen a car, nor know how to drive one, the instructions would have to take those things into account.

Galatians tells us that if someone does not teach the gospel as presented by Paul is cursed.

The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon has two Greek words translated as ‘gospel’. The first, euvannelizo, is described here:

Strong’s Number: 2097
Original Word Word Origin
euaggelizo from (2095) and (32)
Transliterated Word TDNT Entry
Euaggelizo 2:707,*
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
yoo-ang-ghel-id’-zo Verb
Definition
  1. to bring good news, to announce glad tidings
    1. used in the OT of any kind of good news
      1. of the joyful tidings of God’s kindness, in particular, of the Messianic blessings
    2. in the NT used especially of the glad tidings of the coming kingdom of God, and of the salvation to be obtained in it through Christ, and of what relates to this salvation
    3. glad tidings are brought to one, one has glad tidings proclaimed to him
    4. to proclaim glad tidings
      1. instruct (men) concerning the things that pertain to Christian salvation

It is found here:

Matthew 11:5 (NASB)

5 the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.

Luke 1:19

19 The angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.

Luke 2:10

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid ; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people ;

Luke 3:18

18 So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people.

Luke 4:18

18 “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,

Luke 4:43

43 But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.”

Luke 7:22

22 And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard : the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.

Luke 8:1

1 Soon afterwards , He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him,

Luke 9:6

6 Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.

Luke 16:16

16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John ; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.

Luke 20:1

1 On one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him,

Acts 5:42

42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept *right *on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

Acts 8:4

4 Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.

Acts 8:12

12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.

Acts 8:25

25 So, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.

Acts 8:35

35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.

Acts 8:40

40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea.

Acts 10:36

36 “The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)-

Acts 11:20

20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus.

Acts 13:32

32 “And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers,

Acts 14:7

7 and there they continued to preach the gospel.

Acts 14:15

15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things ? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, WHO MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM.

Acts 14:21

21 After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,

Acts 15:35

35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and preaching with many others also, the word of the Lord.

Acts 16:10

10 When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Acts 17:18

18 And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, “What would this idle babbler wish to say ?” Others, “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,”-because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.

Romans 1:15

15 So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

Romans 10:15

5 How will they preach unless *they are sent ? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS !”

Romans 15:20

20 And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation ;

1 Corinthians 1:17

17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.

1 Corinthians 9:16

16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion ; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.

1 Corinthians 9:18 (note that in this passage two different words are translated gospel. But I have only linked to the one for the Strong’s number 2097).

18 What then is my reward ? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

1 Corinthians 15:1-2 (note that in this passage two different words are translated gospel. But I have only linked to the one for the Strong’s number 2097).

18 What then is my reward ? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

2 Corinthians 10:16

16 so as to preach the gospel even to the regions beyond you, and not to boast in what has been accomplished in the sphere of another

2 Corinthians 11:7 (note that in this passage two different words are translated preached and gospel. But I have only linked to the one for the Strong’s number 2097).

7 Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you without charge ?

Galatians 1:8-9

8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed ! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed !

Galatians 1:11 (note that in this passage two different words are translated gospel and preached. But I have only linked to the one for the Strong’s number 2097).

11 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.

Galatians 1:16

16 to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood,

Galatians 1:23

23 but only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.”

Galatians 4:13

13 but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time ;

Ephesians 2:17

17 AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR ;

Ephesians 3:8

8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,

1 Thessalonians 3:6

6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think *kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you,

Hebrews 4:2

2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also ; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.

Hebrews 4:6

6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience,

1 Peter 1:12

12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven -things into which angels long to look.

1 Peter 1:25

25 BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.” And this is the word which was preached to you.

1 Peter 4:6

6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.

Revelation 10:7

7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets.

Revelation 14:6 (note that in this passage two different words are translated gospel and preach. But I have only linked to the one for the Strong’s number 2097).

6 And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people ;

The second word translated as gospel is euaggelion:

Strong’s Number: 2098
Original Word Word Origin
euaggelion from the same as (2097)
Transliterated Word TDNT Entry
Euaggelion 2:721,267
Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
yoo-ang-ghel’-ee-on Noun Neuter
Definition
  1. a reward for good tidings
  2. good tidings
    1. the glad tidings of the kingdom of God soon to be set up, and subsequently also of Jesus the Messiah, the founder of this kingdom. After the death of Christ, the term comprises also the preaching of (concerning) Jesus Christ as having suffered death on the cross to procure eternal salvation for the men in the kingdom of God, but as restored to life and exalted to the right hand of God in heaven, thence to return in majesty to consummate the kingdom of God
    2. the glad tidings of salvation through Christ
    3. the proclamation of the grace of God manifest and pledged in Christ
    4. the gospel
    5. as the messianic rank of Jesus was proved by his words, his deeds, and his death, the narrative of the sayings, deeds, and death of Jesus Christ came to be called the gospel or glad tidings

These are the verses which have this particular word:

Matthew 4:23

23 Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.

Matthew 9:35

35 Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.

Matthew 24:14

14 “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Matthew 26:13

13 “Truly I say to you, wherever *this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”

Mark 1:1

1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Mark 1:14-15

14 Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand ; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Mark 8:35

35 “For whoever *wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever *loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

Mark 10:29

29 Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake,

Mark 13:10

10 “The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.

Mark 14:9

9 “Truly I say to you, wherever *the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”

Mark 16:15

15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Acts 15:7

7 After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren *, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.

Acts 20:24

24 “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.

Romans 1:1

1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,

Romans 1:9

9 For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you,

Romans 1:16

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Romans 2:16

16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

Romans 10:16

16 However, they did not all heed the good news ; for Isaiah says, “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT ?”

Romans 11:28

28 From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers ;

Romans 15:16

16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:19

25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past,

Romans 16:25

25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past,

1 Corinthians 4:15

15 For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.

1 Corinthians 9:12

12 If others share the right over you, do we not more ? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ

1 Corinthians 9:14

14 So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.

1 Corinthians 9:18 (the first use of ‘gospel’ is 2097)

18 What then is my reward ? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

1 Corinthians 9:23

23 I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

1 Corinthians 15:1

1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,

2 Corinthians 2:12

12 Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ and when a door was opened for me in the Lord

2 Corinthians 4:3-4

3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

2 Corinthians 8:18

18 We have sent along with him the brother whose fame in the things of the gospel has spread through all the churches

2 Corinthians 9:13

13 Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all,

2 Corinthians 10:14

14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we did not reach to you, for we were the first to come even as far as you in the gospel of Chris

2 Corinthians 11:4

4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.

2 Corinthians 11:7

7 Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you without charge ?

Galatians 1:6-7

6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel ; 7 which is really not another ; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

Galatians 1:11

11 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.

Galatians 2:2

2 It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain.

Galatians 2:5

5 But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.

Galatians 2:7

7 But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised

Galatians 2:14

14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews ?

Ephesians 1:13;

13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation -having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 3:6

6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,

Ephesians 6:15

15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE ;

Ephesians 6:19

19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,

Philippians 1:5

5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.

Philippians 1:7

7 For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.

Philippians 1:12

12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,

Philippians 1:16

16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel ;

Philippians 1:27

27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel ;

Philippians 2:22

22 But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.

Philippians 4:3

3 Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Philippians 4:15

15 You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone ;

Colossians 1:23

23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven,and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

1 Thessalonians 1:5

5 for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction ; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

1 Thessalonians 2:2

2 but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.

1 Thessalonians 2:4

4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.

1 Thessalonians 2:8-9

8 Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. 9 For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.

1 Thessalonians 3:2

2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith,

2 Thessalonians 1:8

8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus

2 Thessalonians 2:14

14 It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 1:11

11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

2 Timothy 1:8

8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,

2 Timothy 1:10

10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

2 Timothy 2:8

8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel,

Philemon 1:13

13 whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in myimprisonment for the gospel ;

1 Peter 4:17

17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God ; and if it begins with us first,what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God ?

Revelation 14:6

6 And I saw  another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people ;

So euaggelizo means to bring good news and euaggelion is good news.

But just what IS this good news? The easy answer is that God the Father sent His Son (Jn 3:16-18). But a fuller answer is:

We must believe God exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). God is one (Dt 6:4). God the Father sent His Son (Jn 3:16-18) to suffer and die for our sins (1 Cor 15:3), so those who believe can have eternal life (Jn 3:16), because of repentance and forgiveness of sins through Christ Jesus (Acts 2:38; Acts 5:31).  God reconciled us to Himself through Christ (2 Cor 5:18), making peace between God and man through Christ’s blood shed on the cross (Colossians 1:20).  God raised up Christ on the third day and made Him visible (Acts 10:43). And part of the good news is that the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:1-4), and He seals us until the day of redemption (Eph 4:30). According to Paul, we must repent, turn to God (through faith in Christ) and this will cause us to have deeds appropriate to repentance (Acts 26:20).

In short, we must believe God exists and sent His Son to suffer and die for our sins, and if we have faith in God and in what God has done for us and will do for us, we are and will be saved.

JESUS VS PAUL #1: SALVATION FOR JEWS ONLY?

The following is from JESUS VS PAUL #1: SALVATION FOR JEWS ONLY?

(1) Jesus–“Go not into the way of the Gentiles” (Matt. 10:5) and “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 15:24), and “…for salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22) versus Paul–“For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts 13:47) and “from henceforth, I (Paul–Ed.) will go unto the Gentiles” (Acts 18:6) and “that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it” (Acts 28:28) and “that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles” (Rom. 15:16) and “that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8) and (Acts 20:21, 26:17-18, 20, 23, 22:21, Rom. 1:5, 13, 3:29, 11:11-13, 15:9, Gal. 2:2, 7-9, 3:14, Eph. 3:6, 1 Tim. 2:7, 3:16, 2 Tim. 4:17). Jesus told his followers not to go to the Gentiles and Paul countermanded the order.

The site linked to above is one which has a number of apparent discrepancies between what Jesus said and what Paul said. They do not appear to truly be looking for ways to reconcile what appear to be differences. Instead, they seem intent on showing that Christianity should not be following the word of God. Joel, a friend of the blog, pointed them out to me and asked if I’d be willing to take a shot at clearing up some of the points made on that site, along with him. And yes, they are actually numbered. So I figured I would start at the beginning. To do so, we need to look at each quote in context.

I will use the NIV translation, as it is easier to read than the KJV.

Matthew 10:5-20

5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.

11“Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

17“Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Notice, Jesus DOES tell the disciples to go to Israelites and not to the Gentiles. But also notice that he said, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.” And then notice why: “It will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.” Jesus sent the disciples to the Jews only because they were the one’s from among whom the Savior of the world was born, and they would have the first chance to accept what God has done. But Jesus knew there would be some who would reject what God was doing. Even so, they had “first dibs”. This would allow God to be shown as having shown mercy and grace – the Jews would not be able to say, “I did not know” or “I was not given a chance.” Jesus sent his followers to those from whom he came, and they were given a chance to accept what God had done. Some would accept it, but some would not.

Let us now look at the next passage mentioned in the apparent discrepancy, Matthew 15:24, but in context.

Matthew 15:22-28,

22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”

23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”

27“Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

28Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Again, Jesus DID say he was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. Some might say he was rude, but I think it more likely that Jesus knew what would happen and let it play out. Part of it may have been that Jesus was using this experience to teach his followers – nothing Jesus did was without purpose. The Jews of that time thought highly of themselves and less of Gentiles. His followers had to recognize the difference, and recognize what Jesus did. Note that the woman said essentially that even the crumbs of what GOD provides is worth having. Some might think this ugly, but if you think about it, she was showing her faith in God – even the littlest thing Jesus could do would be great. Because of her faith, her daughter was healed. Jesus did not ignore her, but granted her petition made in true faith. This is how it is with God. Many people ask for things, but only some of those prayers are actually made in faith, or are in the will of God. And it is THOSE requests that God grants. In healing the GENTILE woman’s daughter, Jesus was showing that it is FAITH in God that matters, not who has it.

But getting back to the point, Jesus said he was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel. His purpose was not to heal people. His purpose was to show the lost sheep of Israel that God was fulfilling prophecy among them. So, he focused his time and effort upon those to whom he was sent. He was sent to a specific people, at a specific time, for a specific purpose. In fulfilling the purpose of God, Jesus was showing obedience to God.

Now the next verse in question is even easier to explain.

John 4:22

You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.

Note that Jesus did not say, “salvation is FOR the Jews.” Rather he said, “salvation is FROM the Jews.” Salvation came through the tribe of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The latter was renamed Israel.

Genesis 32:28

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”

Jesus was descended from Jacob (Matthew 1:2). The people were known as Israelites. So yes, salvation in the form of Jesus of Nazareth came from the Jews. Notice that in John 4:7-42, Jesus again did not ignore those who were not Jewish. In this chapter, Jesus was clear that He was the Messiah, the Christ.

Now, before we get into the verses from or about Paul, let us look at what Jesus said to his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20

18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Note, Jesus told the disciples to go to ALL nations. While Jesus had been sent to the lost sheep of Israel, his followers were sent to everyone. It was not just Jews to whom salvation had come, but to everyone who believed. we see this in John 3:16-18,

16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Now we will look at when the Jewish believer began to more fully understand that the truth of salvation was not intended just for the Jews – not by looking at Paul, but at Peter in Acts 10:9-48.

9About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

14“Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

15The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

16This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

17While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.

19While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three[a] men are looking for you. 20So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”

21Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”

22The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” 23Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.

Peter at Cornelius’ House

The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along. 24The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”

27Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.29So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”

30Cornelius answered: “Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”

34Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right36You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

39“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree,40but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

44While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

Then Peter said, 47“Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

In the above chapter, we see that Peter had a vision that whatever GOD calls clean is clean (vs 9-19). Peter realized that God does not show favoritism, as we see in verses 34-35, “Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” Then we saw in verses 44-48 that while Peter was telling them the gospel, the Holy Spirit came upon all who heard the message, even on the Gentiles. Then they were baptized. So, while Jesus was sent TO the Jews, He was sent FOR everyone who believed, Jew and Gentile alike.

Now let us look at some of the passages concerning Paul in context.

Acts 13:13-48

13From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem. 14From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. 15After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue rulers sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak.”

16Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! 17The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt, with mighty power he led them out of that country, 18he endured their conduct for about forty years in the desert, 19he overthrew seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to his people as their inheritance. 20All this took about 450 years.

“After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. 22After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

23“From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised. 24Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. 25As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you think I am? I am not that one. No, but he is coming after me, whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’

26“Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. 27The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. 28Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30But God raised him from the dead, 31and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.

32“We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers 33he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:
” ‘You are my Son;
today I have become your Father. 34The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words:
” ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’ 35So it is stated elsewhere:
” ‘You will not let your Holy One see decay.’

36“For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. 37But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.

38“Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. 40Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:
41” ‘Look, you scoffers,
wonder and perish,
for I am going to do something in your days
that you would never believe,
even if someone told you.'”

42As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath.43When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.

44On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and talked abusively against what Paul was saying.

46Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
” ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'”

48When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.

Notice that first Paul went to the Jews, spoke in the synagogue, concerning the fulfillment of prophecy in verses 16-42. But we see in verse 45, the Jews did not like the attention Paul was receiving and were jealous. Paul told them in verse 46 that they had to speak the word of God to them FIRST. And since they rejected it, they turned to the Gentiles, because God had told them they were to take salvation to the ends of the earth. It was not just for Jews, but for everyone. But Paul went first to the Jews, as Jesus had done. God will be shown to have been gracious and faithful.

Now let us look at where Paul said he would go to the Gentiles, Acts 18:5-8

5When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 6But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

7Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. 8Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.

Again, note that Paul first went to the Jews and then to the Gentiles, after the Jews opposed Paul. This was his custom. We can see this in Acts 17:2

As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures

It wasn’t that the Gospel was only for Jews or for Gentiles. It was the Jews were given the first opportunity to respond in faith. Then the Gentiles were given the opportunity. Perhaps this was because Paul was Jewish by birth, but was an apostle to the Gentiles. Regardless, we see the pattern even when Paul was being held prisoner in Rome, awaiting his trial before Caesar. First he spoke to the Jews, but he tells us that their hearts had become hardened, just as God had said would happen in Isaiah 6:9-10. And that was why Paul wanted the Jews to know that salvation was sent to the Gentiles.

Acts 28:17-31

17Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. 19But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar—not that I had any charge to bring against my own people. 20For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”

21They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.”

23They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet:
26” ‘Go to this people and say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
27For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

28“Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”

30For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.


Rather than trying to deal with each passage in which Paul said he was an apostle to the Gentiles, I thought I would address the one which shows that Paul was assigned to go to the Gentiles, while Peter was assigned to the Jews. Galatians 2:7-9

7On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews8For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews.

Paul simply would go to the synagogue first and then to the Gentiles – since he was Jewish by birth and was an apostle to the Gentiles.

No, Paul was not countermanding what Jesus had said. Jesus had been sent TO the Jews, and salvation came FROM the Jews (through them). But it was FOR everyone who would believe.

Church leadership and structure

What follows is part of a conversation I had with someone regarding the Roman Catholic Church.

I wrote, “Where does [the] Bible say God established a special priesthood for the churches that is separate from the priesthood of the believers?”

He responded, “It doesn’t have to. But at the time of the founding of the church, there were bishops, the apostles, and believers. The apostles were clearly separate. The priests, again, are nothing more than the shepherd of their flock.”

It is not clear that bishop is a separate office than elder, see discussion below. I’d have added deacon (and possibly deaconess, depending on your translation) to your list. The apostles were essentially church planting missionaries who helped the local churches keep pointed towards Christ and using what God had written. But the elders led the local churches. There is no evidence of the elders being part of a universal hierarchy. The elders and deacons came from the local assembly. History shows elders would come together to discuss issues of doctrine.

I wrote, “Where does the Bible say that New Testament priests are ordained after the order of Melchizedek?”

He responded, “Psalms 110, might be 109 for you.
”

But that is CHRIST being a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek, which we see in Hebrews 5:5-6. No where does it mention others being made priests like Christ.

I wrote, “Where in the Bible do we find a requirement that pastors be celibate?”

He responded, “It doesn’t, but Jewish priests were required to be celebate prior to entering the holy of holies. But this is a discipline and there are married priests.”

Married priests are an exception, and to my knowledge, only those who were pastors/priests in a different denomination and married during that time are allowed to be married priests. It seems to me that requiring people to be unmarried to minister goes against what said in the Bible, given that Peter and others had wives (1 Corinthians 9:5), and that the requirements for elders/overseers and deacons included being married (1 Timothy 3:2, 12). See for https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/07/21/celibate-priests/ for more on this.

He went on describing “Holy Orders: The sacrament of holy orders is conferred in three ranks of clergy: bishops, priests, and deacons. Bishops (episcopoi) have the care of multiple congregations and appoint, ordain, and discipline priests and deacons. They sometimes appear to be called “evangelists” in the New Testament. Examples of first-century bishops include Timothy and Titus (1 Tim. 5:19–22; 2 Tim. 4:5; Titus 1:5). Priests (presbuteroi) are also known as “presbyters” or “elders.” In fact, the English term “priest” is simply a contraction of the Greek word presbuteros. They have the responsibility of teaching, governing, and providing the sacraments in a given congregation (1 Tim. 5:17; Jas. 5:14–15).
Deacons (diakonoi) are the assistants of the bishops and are responsible for teaching and administering certain Church tasks, such as the distribution of food (Acts 6:1–6).”

So the Catholic church teaches that Bishops and Priests are different offices, with different roles.

But while evangelists and pastors/priests/elders are different offices (Ephesians 4:11), a bishop is not the same thing as an evangelist. In fact, even though different Greek words are used for bishop (episcopoi) and priest/pastor/elder (presbuteroi), they are the same thing. We see this in Acts 20:17-28, where presbuteros is used when Paul called the elders together, Paul said that God had made them episkopos, or overseers, and they were to shepherd (or feed) the church of God. This can also be seen in Titus 1, where Paul used the term presbuteros and episkopos interchangeably – in verse 5 we are told Titus was to appoint elders (presbuteros), beginning to give the qualifications for office, and then in verse 7 we see that Paul said “For the overseer” (episkopos) and continues to give more qualifications. Their jobs can include directing the affairs of the church, take care of God’s church, preaching and teaching sound doctrine from the word of God, refuting those who oppose sound doctrine, anoint and pray for the sick, and protecting the sheep (Acts 20:28-31; 1 Timothy 3:5, 5:7; Titus 1:9).

The Greek word for evangelist is Euaggelistes. This is one who is a bringer of good tidings, one who is a herald of salvation through Christ who is not an apostle ( http://www.biblestudytools.net/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=2099&version=nas ). Their job is to preach the Word, correcting, rebuking, encouraging with great patience and instruction (2 Timothy 4:2). While the evangelist is a preacher, teaching people, he is not an elder or overseer, but an elder/pastor/priest is an overseer/bishop.

I do agree the deacon is to serve the church and help the elder/overseer/bishop/pastor/priest.

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