THE BODY OF CHRIST
THE PILLAR AND GROUND OF TRUTH-
1 Timothy 3:15 “but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth – Exercise!
2 Timothy 2:15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
In our last lesson, we looked at the importance of being able to accurately and rightly divide God's word. We learned that God placed discernable markers, which divided His word into established righteousness, acceptable to Him. As we have looked at the divisions of the New Testament of Jesus Christ, let's now engage in an exercise in the application of these divisions.
We are going to examine the subject of God's plan of salvation!
As we have learned in the last lesson, the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), focused on the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in fulfillment of all that was said of Him in the Law of Moses, prophets, and the Psalms (Luke 24:44).
As John the Baptist and Jesus came preaching the kingdom of heaven was at hand (you cannot have a kingdom until there is a King on His throne!) – Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:15; so, anything said about conversion in these four books, would have been for the [coming] of the kingdom of God.
With this in mind, the Lord had much to say in [general] of the coming salvation to be offered prophetically by His redemptive work – Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; John 3:16-21; 4:21-24, etc…
We will also see that the Lord only spoke [specifically] of the plan of salvation just prior to His ascension, to His Apostles who would be sent with its message to the world, note:
Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen .
Mark 16:15-16 “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
Luke 24:47 “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
In these passages, the Lord specifically reveals the plan of salvation that the Apostles were to go into the world to teach. This also fulfills the prophecies concerning how men would come to the Zion of the Messiah, note:
Isaiah 54:13 “All your children shall be taught by the LORD, And great shall be the peace of your children.”
John 6:44-45 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.”
Jeremiah 31:33-34 “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
Hebrews 8:10-12 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
From the words of the Lord to His chosen Apostles we learn that all men must first be taught (which indicates the ability to comprehend, eliminating babies and other small children). We also learn that the taught must then believe what has been instructed. They are instructed to repent from what they are being called out of (the world – Acts 26:17-18). Everything being done was to be confessed as ‘in' the name of Jesus Christ, or by His authority (Luke 24:47 – “should be preached in His name”). They were to instruct the all must be baptized for the remission of sins, making them disciples, and unto salvation. They were then to be taught all that the Apostles had been taught in order to observe the commands of Christ as His disciples.
In the book of Acts; we learned, was contained the history of the establishment of the kingdom, and recorded how those who heard the Gospel preached by the Apostles and other converted to this task entered the kingdom. Here is a chart of this process, let's see how it matches the prior instruction of the Gospels.
In this chart we see the results of the preaching of the Gospel on those who believe and obey the instructions. There can be little doubt that all heard the same instructions the Apostles of Jesus were commanded to preach; that it was a universal message to all men, so they could all come to God through Christ on the same terms (this keeping God from showing any partiality – Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Galatians 2:6; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25; 1 Peter 1:17).
We have seen the instructions of God's plan of salvation come in preparation for the kingdom. We have now seen this plan revealed and seen the results. Now as the letters are written to Christians (those who have believed and obeyed the instructions), we should be able to read now of the plan of salvation as what these Christians had done (past tense), to enter into a relationship with God through Christ.
Romans 6:3-4 “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
Romans 6:17-18 “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
1 Corinthians 12:13 “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”
Galatians 3:26-28 “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 2:1 “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins”
Ephesians 5:25-27 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
Colossians 2:11-13 “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses”
Titus 3:5 “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit”
Hebrews 10:22 “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
1 Peter 3:21 “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”
Everything spoken to these Christians concerning God's plan of salvation in these epistles, is given to remind them of what they had done to enter into this relationship.
By this exercise we learn that the plan of salvation should be instructed by what was commanded to be preached in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John); what was demonstrated by those who heard that preaching and obeyed (Acts); and finally, by showing the reminders of what Christians had done to become disciples of Christ (Epistles).
This constitutes rightly dividing the word of God, and should be done in all subjects of righteousness. This practice would stop dead in its tracks, the doctrines of men who do not practice this exercise in righteousness.
Next: “Speak as the Oracles of God!”