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I received the following question:
1 Cor 9
19. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
21. To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
22. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
23. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
Would you please explain this passage? When Mid-Acts is presented with evidence that Paul was still operating under the Kingdom program during the Acts period, they use this passage to explain away things such as Paul preaching to the Jews, Paul performing signs and wonders, and Paul taking a Nazirite vow.
Thank You for your help,
Of course. This passage is a favorite of those who want to justify all kinds of things. Some will say that they should drink with the drinkers, party with the partiers, gamble with the gamblers, and do every sort of out-of-control or worldly thing just to get in good with people in order to win them to Christ. I even read one girl who promoted “missionary dating” and suggested believers should be willing to sleep with their unsaved boyfriends or girlfriends, all for the purpose of winning them to Christ. She said it hadn’t really worked yet, but the boyfriend she was sleeping with at the time said it was interesting and he was thinking about it. (!) Yet this is not the point of what Paul is saying. Paul was not a Jesuit, and he did not believe that the ends justify the means. We cannot do God’s work using wicked methods. Read the rest of this entry »
Who is writing what to whom − when, where, and why?
“what” – JAMES
“who” – Written by the apostle James, “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1). The name in Greek was Iakobos (Jacobus/Jacob), but was translated as “James” in the KJV and other early English translations. This James was identified as “the Lord’s brother” (Galatians 1:19).
“to whom” – To the leaders (ekklesias – out-positioned) of “the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad.”
“when” – During The Great Scattering described in Acts 8-12 (A.D. 40s).
“where” – Written from Jerusalem.
“why” – The purpose of James was to address the leaders (ekklesias) of those who were scattered during The Great Scattering, the second period of Acts, following The Great Unity. It was written to deal with issues that the believers were facing, such as personal trials of faith, the conflict between rich and poor, and the hypocrisy of those who said they had faith and yet did not act upon it. Read the rest of this entry »
We have been examining the fact that the Acts period foreshadows the kingdom of God in the miracles that were worked at that time. Many of these reflect various conditions that will prevail on earth during the coming kingdom. We have seen that the healing of the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the temple in Acts 3:1-10 foreshadows the healing and health that will be enjoyed by all in the kingdom of God, as we see in Isaiah 33:24 and 35:6. The shaking of the house in Acts 4:31, directing the apostles in how they were to act, foreshadows the direction God will give men in the kingdom in Isaiah 30:21. The deaths of Ananias and Sapphira foreshadow the punishment that will fall upon evildoers in the kingdom in Psalm 101:5, 7-8. The release of the apostles from prison in Acts 5:19-20 foreshadows the setting of the prisoners free in Isaiah 42:1,7. The conversion of Paul on the road to Damascus in Acts 9:3-6 foreshadows the enlightenment of sinners in Psalm 25:8, 51:31, and 64:1-10. This brings us up-to-date to our current examination.
Next, the amazing story of the resurrection of Tabitha in Acts 9:36-42 foreshadows the Manifest Kingdom of God to come. Read the rest of this entry »
In our last message, we saw how the beginning of the Acts period foreshadowed the coming, manifest kingdom in many ways. Both start with a sound, both include signs of fire, both see God’s chosen representatives powerfully marked out for all to see, both involve the pouring out of the power of the Holy Spirit, and both break down barriers that exist between people in this world. Thus we saw that, in many ways, the beginning of the Acts period foreshadows the beginning of the kingdom of God.
Yet there are other ways besides how it started in which the Acts period foreshadows the future, manifest kingdom of God. One way is in the unity that existed during Acts, particularly during the earliest time when all believers were together in one large group. We read of this unity in Acts 2:44-45. Read the rest of this entry »
In my message, “The Theme of the Bible,” I expressed the opinion that the kingdom of God is the theme of the Bible. The reality of God’s coming government on earth is the goal toward which God is working and the theme upon which all His works are hinged. Ecclesiastes 3:14 declares:
14. I know that whatever God does,
It shall be forever.
Nothing can be added to it,
And nothing taken from it.
God does it, that men should fear before Him.
This verse does not tell us that whatever God does lasts forever. This cannot be, for we know that God’s dispensations and works with mankind change. For example, we know that God at one time put the man He created, Adam, in a garden in Eden and commanded him to tend and keep the garden. As long as he did not eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, he would live perpetually and enjoy the world God had given him. Yet Adam ate that fruit, so what God did in placing him in the garden did not last forever. Therefore, we can assuredly say that all things God does do not always last forever. What is this passage telling us, then? Read the rest of this entry »
In John 4, if Jesus went to the Samaritans, why did He apostello His apostles to go not in the way of the Gentiles or even to a Samaritan city. Sellers liked to compare His apostello with His 12’s apostello in that “As my Father has sent me, so I send you.” Can this be looked at as an exception just like the Syro-Phoenecian woman and Cornelius, as Gentile exceptions to His apostello to the Israelites in the land?
When the Lord sent out His disciples in Matthew 10, he was not sending them with the same commission as He did when He sent them in the Acts period in John 20. That commissioning took place after His resurrection. It was then that He sent them as His Father had sent Him. And then they did go to the Samaritans (Acts 8:14,) and even to the nations (Acts 11:19-22, Galatians 2:11, etc.) It is clear that the commission of Matthew 10 only lasted until the apostles returned to Him (Luke 9:10,) and then it was completed. The commission of John 20 was a different commission, this time like the Lord’s commission. The Lord’s commission included going to the Samaritans, as we see in John 4. Read the rest of this entry »
I would like to remind my readers that I am a regular column contributor to the Word of Truth Ministry’s Bulletin. This last Bulletin, my article was on “Restoring Acts Period Conditions,” discussing the fact that many are trying to model their churches on what they believe the “Acts period church” was like. Yet is it really possible to restore the Acts period “church,” and is this even what we should be doing? Read this article at:
I received the following question:
I have a question concerning eternal life during the Acts period. It seems to me that any person putting their faith in Jesus Christ during Acts crossed over from death unto life (John 5:24). By this I mean that the death process ceased to be at work in them and it was replaced by the life process, i.e. aionian life flowing through them. Of course, they were still subject to death and if they committed a sin unto death it resulted in death, i.e. Ananias and Sapphira. Also during Acts God would use sickness as a form of punishment to bring wayward believers back unto Himself (1 Corinthians 11:30). All of this came to an end and was suspended (Philippians 1:6) when God completed His goal for the Acts period and began His Gracious Administration. Anyone putting their faith in Jesus Christ today does not have the same experience as the Acts believers, we do not cross from death working in us to life working in us, we have the hope of eternal life which will be granted to us at His appearing (2 Timothy 1:1 and Titus1:2) .
I wondered if you see eternal life for believers during Acts and after the same way as me?
This issue you bring up is one I addressed in my audio series on Romans.
I agree completely that the Acts period believer had passed over from death to life. That is, they had ceased to die, and even to grow older, I believe (although this last statement is harder to prove.) Paul describes this as the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus setting him free from the law of sin and death in Romans 8:2. Read the rest of this entry »
Nathan, I had not thought of this before but (my wife) and I were thinking about the triumphal entry of the Lord. These that are accompanying the Lord into Jerusalem are described as being a multitude. These were certainly followers of the Lord during His earthly ministry. They are the ones that you teach would not have turned against the Lord in a couple of days to have been part of the mob crying for His crucifixion. These would be the ones who had seen all His miraculous works. They had been healed, fed, and ministered to by Christ. Many, maybe all of these were made up of the ones who had submitted to God, concerning the Kingdom of God, ahead of time (metanoia) through John’s baptism. Why is it then in Acts 2, we see only 120 of His followers that were privileged to be part of the beginning of the “sending” of the Holy Spirit? Otis Sellers and yourself both make note in your commentary of Acts 2 that “there are now 120 believers,” then
in Acts 3 “there are now 3,120 believers, then in Acts 4 there are 5,000.” Is it right to call these the only believers at this point? Are we to discount the ones in Israel who had submitted beforehand with the “after-mind” of metanoia?
I understand that at the triumphal entry it is seen that the multitude is celebrating the entry into Jerusalem of “the King of Israel” John 12:13. They cry “He that comes in the name of the Lord,” and “blessed be the Kingdom of our Father David” Mark 11:9-10, Mat. 21:9. That is all they know about who He is. They have no clue that He will soon be crucified, let alone what the implications of His death are concerning forgiveness of sins. Clearly all recognize that something new is starting at Pentecost. What most of Christendom misses is that the new thing starting here is still Jewish and is a fulfillment of OT prophesies and has nothing to do with what is called “church” today.
What is also missing however, even among dispensationalists, is that Christ had not yet presented Himself as Israel’s Messiah. Until His death, burial, and resurrection, this was not revealed. Now however through the preaching of His “apostled” men, this is now being proclaimed. The Holy Spirit empowering these first 120 men clearly starts the Kingdom of God. Most of Christendom teaches that all had forsaken Christ and there were only 120 men that had stayed faithful. Maybe I’m wrong and there were only 120 that had stayed faithful. With that said, my questions are these: Read the rest of this entry »
I received the following question:
Nathan, in reviewing some of your material in early Acts I have a question.
We believe that it was not the masses of Israel but the leaders that had rejected and crucified Christ. We believe that it was a kangaroo court that convicted Christ and set Barabbas free. They had convicted Him in the middle of the night with His rejectors in the crowd crying for His crucifixion.
Why then is it that we see Peter in Acts 2 and 3 proclaiming to what seems to be the masses, their guilt of crucifying the Lord? Your comments on these chapters don’t seem to address this. Was wondering what I am missing.
I understand that if your leadership commits a heinous crime, the populous can be considered guilty. If our president took it into his own hands and nuked Canada, we as a nation would be considered responsible and would pay dearly for such an act. Is that what is going on here?
If as you so rightly teach, the masses that welcomed Him into Jerusalem at his triumphal entry could not possibly have turned on him in two days to call for His crucifixion. Why then is Peter’s message to what seems would be this same crowd, so convicting of their guilt?
Yes, it was the leaders who rejected Christ generally, and not the common people. Of course, this is the rule, but this is not to say that there were not some among the leaders who received Him (like Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea) and among the people who rejected Him (like those in decapolis.) However, it was generally true that the leaders were the ones who rejected Him. Read the rest of this entry »