In our message to the radio listening audience on October 27, we finish one study and begin another. We finished the study about THE BEGINNING OF CHRISTIANITY and we took up an important study of the cross. One of the matters Jesus had to deal with as He went to Calvary for you and me was the taunting disrespect of His own people. How very SAD! How very much LOVE He showed us! How very important was His willingness to endure the mocking and the disgusting spittle on His face! How much you and I ought to love and worship Him for His great gift! You can listen to this presentation by clicking .
I once came across a great message from Joe Corley. On October 20, I used it to present a message to our radio audience about THE BEGINNING OF CHRISTIANITY.
Christianity did not begin as a practical religion until after the ascension of Christ. The stage had been set for the beginning of the Christian religion. Jesus had come, lived among men, fulfilled the law and offered a satisfactory sacrifice for sins. Jesus had been raised from the dead and in so doing He had supplied the life and vitality needed for the spread of Christianity. Now it would be possible to go forth with the important and exciting message that—WE SERVE A RISEN SAVIOR!!! The excitement and joy of such a message begged to be distributed far and wide. The apostles had been selected and trained for their work of spreading the message of salvation and recording the message. His final orders to His apostles were for them to remain in Jerusalem until the Spirit came (Acts 1:1-11). Jesus ascended to the Father (1:9-10), and did send the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, and Christianity had its birth (Acts 2).
Listen to the recording by clicking .
Today I listened to the latest offering from the PTP Podcast. I was impressed with this presentation from Matt Vega. He is a lawyer and he spoke about one particular lawyer that we read about in Scripture (Luke 10.25). To me, the most interesting and helpful point in his lesson involved an illustration he used from a USA Supreme Court case, not that well known. It involved a case in which a pardoned individual refused the pardon. Please listen and learn from this outstanding lawyer. Listen by clicking HERE.
Why did Paul go to Jerusalem in Acts 15? Would not the Holy Spirit have guided them in answer to their question? Another great question that was turned in by one of YOU. Let’s take a few lines to consider this excellent question. Will you study it with me?
It is certainly true that Jesus promised the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit to guide the apostles into ALL truth! Notice John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. And, John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. There should be no question in anyone’s mind whether or not the apostles (including Paul) knew every single thing that they needed to know to do the work of spreading the saving message. Jesus’ words make that perfectly clear.
So then, there must have been some other reason that a meeting took place in Acts 15. Let’s read it… Acts 15:1-2 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. (2) When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. Luke informs us here that certain Judaizing teachers were causing problems (dissension and disputation). They were seeking to bind parts of the Law of Moses upon Gentiles. Let us not for one moment think that Paul was confused about this matter or that he needed consultation with others before he could give his answer to these false teachers! Listen to what Paul wrote: Galatians 1:11-12 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. (12) For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. The truth of the gospel was revealed to Paul by Jesus Christ and he had the exact same authority and guidance that the other apostles did.
Back to Acts 15.1-2. Let’s ask the question: What word is the antecedent for the word THEY in verse 2? Who was it that determined that such a meeting was needed? Grammatically, it could be: PAUL AND BARNABAS. But contextually, that does not make sense because of the phrase: AND CERTAIN OTHER OF THEM. It seems the antecedent has to be THE BRETHREN of verse 1. Paul and Barnabas were quite willing to defend their position in Jerusalem or anywhere else. It was the brethren who were beginning to be influenced by the false teaching of the Judaizers. They needed some confirmation that the position of Paul was the true position.
Those false teachers had attacked the authority of Paul and Paul was thus forced to defend his apostolic authority. That is what he does in 2 Corinthians and Galatians. The thing that came out of the meeting of Acts 15 was recognition that Paul’s position was true and a letter was sent out to the Gentile churches (Acts 15.20). Paul had the SIGNS of an apostle (2 Cor 12.12) and none of the Gentile Christians ever should have questioned Paul’s teaching, but evidently some were in that sad state. Not only was the Judaizing doctrine a problem among the Gentiles, there were many Christians of a Jewish background who also were having difficulty with that particular doctrinal discussion. The doctrine was always WRONG and the Jerusalem meeting simply was one means of getting that message firmly presented among all brethren.
Paul went to Jerusalem for the meeting of Acts 15 because he loved the souls of men—he wanted that question to be answered once and for all, if possible.
Back in 1980 Jimmie Steele preached a sermon about THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISM at the Karns church. I used the points he made in his material to broadcast that excellent lesson to my listening audience in western Kentucky over WCBL, 99.1 on the FM dial and AM 1290. He made the following points in the study:
(1) The Doctrine of Baptism is a SCRIPTURAL DOCTRINE—It is divinely commanded.
(2) The Doctrine of Baptism is a controversial doctrine among many teachers of the religious world.
(3) Who is the Scriptural subject for baptism?
(4) The Scriptural ELEMENT of baptism, the ONE baptism, is WATER.
(5) The true doctrine of baptism requires ONE mode or method.
(6) Baptism has a scriptural DESIGN or PURPOSE.
(7) All unscripturally taught persons are scriptural subjects STILL for baptism.
Friends, let us make sure that we as individuals have been scripturally taught on the doctrine of baptism. Our souls are too precious for us to be weighed in the balances and found wanting in that final Judgment Day (Rom 14.10-12; 2 Cor 5.10-11; Eccl 12.13-14).
You can listen to that recording HERE:
The various names, titles, and descriptions of Jesus Christ in Scripture are so revealing and important to understand. Christology is the study of the Christ and is a subject matter that ought to be better appreciated than it generally is in our time. In the first chapter of John’s account of the life of Christ, we have an important picture of Christ which stresses how vital it is to have a relationship with Him.
Can you even imagine what it would be like to be in a place of total darkness? When my wife and I married (on our honeymoon), we visited an area in the Ozarks of Arkansas. One of the places there we decided to visit was a cave. I only learned later how very claustrophobic she was, but she went along willingly—at least I don’t remember dragging her into the cave. When we had made it down into the belly of the earth a good ways, our guide flipped a switch which turned off all artificial lighting. It was DARK! A kind of darkness you can almost feel. It was a kind of darkness you never would choose to remain in for more than a few seconds. By inspiration, John presents to us the Savior as being like the light switch being flipped ON after having a moment like we shared in that cave in the Ozarks. The spiritual darkness that exists outside of Christ is infinitely more horrible than being without physical light!
In one of my trips to India I took a day off and signed up for a bus tour to see the great Taj Mahal. My traveling companion, Royce Frederick, had already seen it, so I went on the trip alone. We left early in the morning from Delhi and returned that same night. As we were returning to Delhi, we stopped at a place to rest a bit and drink some coffee. The sun was beginning to set as we arrived at the rest area, when we left it was rather dark. I did not pay careful attention as I was walking in the dark, and did not see a step. I fell and injured my ankle. It began immediately to swell. Later it changed color to indicate quite a bit of trauma had taken place. I blame the darkness for my blunder. Had it been light, I would have seen where I was walking and would not have taken the fall. In a much more serious way, Jesus, like light, can protect us from falling in a different way that will affect our eternal destiny. John wanted us to get that picture.
On October 6 our radio program (Walking in Truth) centered on a study of John 1.9-13. If you would care to listen to that message you may do so my clicking .