Consecration of Levites (18)

“Replacement Theology?”-NO! “Inclusive Catholic Theology”.

Sung Psalm 135:14-21

Reading Isaiah 66:15-24

In this prophecy the wicked idolatrous Israelites indulge in abominable worship and lifestyle and will be cast off (vv17,18a), whereas God calls (gathers-Isaiah 43:5)) his elect from all (Gentile) nations(v18b). The Scriptures in both Old Testament and New Testament fulfilment are replete with this message. Isaiah 65:1, Romans 10:19-21, Deut.32:43, Luke 4, Matthew 21:43, Acts 13:46-48, Romans 11.

Stats

Why does God leave his chosen people (physical Israel) to gather in a universal (catholic) church from the Gentile nations?

  1. He is God of creation and made all peoples.
  2. Christ must have his inheritance and marry his bride of all nations.
  3. He hardens the angry reprobate Jews.
  4. He provokes Jews to jealousy and always saves a remnant.
  5. He keeps his promise to Abraham.

Christ and his ambassadors are a light to the nations (Isaiah 49:6). God monergistically (all alone) gathers his elect irresistibly. Salvation in these verses is a “seeing of God’s glory” and since the glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 40:5, John 1:14) it is revelation of him and as we look to him we are changed into his image (II Cor.3:18).

Acts 12

Herod’s persecution, Peter’s deliverance and Herod’s death.

We believe the persecution mentioned in the first verse occurred about the same time as the famine that Agabus prophesied namely around 43AD.
Herod was a title given to the kings not a name and the Herod here is Herod Agrippa (see charts) who also executed John the Baptist.

Herods

He was the son of Herod the Great who killed the babes of Bethlehem and he reigned over most of Israel (Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Perea). He was an Edomite.
He sought to please the Jews (especially Jewish leaders) and this was why he persecuted the apostles and the church and killed James (Boanerges and son of Zebedee).
He imprisoned Peter with a view to executing him and Passover was when Jerusalem was filled with zealous Jews from all over Israel and beyond. Perhaps he thought to stamp out the church.
We presume the church prayed for Peter’s release, witness in prison and likely his impending martyrdom. Surely Peter’s release was answered prayer!
We believe Peter was at peace enabled by grace to trust his Saviour (Psalm 4:8, 119:165 etc).
The angel who delivered Peter was a messenger of the Lord Jesus Christ (v11).
Sequence of events: light in prison, angel smites Peter, angel instructs Peter, Peter’s chains fell off, angel further instructs Peter, Peter follows angel out of prison, gate opens, they walk through the streets, angel leaves.
Peter thought it was a vision but after the angel left he realised what he was experiencing was real.
The Jews expected Peter to be killed. He went to Mary’s house (mother of John Mark and Barnabas’s sister) to see the other apostles and all the disciples to tell them the news and encourage them. The interaction between Rhoda and Peter was funny. Peter commanded that his news be told to James (the Lord’s half brother), and then he went presumably to another believer’s house.


The soldiers were terrified because they knew the penalty for allowing prisoners to escape was death and this is what happened because Herod was a cruel man.
Herod left Jerusalem for Caesarea possibly to escape awkward questions from Jewish leaders and went there because of displeasure with the inhabitants of the region. The local populace got his secretary on their side desiring peace. Herod subsequently gave a speech on a planned day arrayed in royal apparel no doubt speaking of his greatness and reign over the people desiring to impress and subdue them. Their reacion was either foolish flattery or outright deception (sent by God-II Thess.2:11) as they attributed divinity to him.


God struck him down immediatley (cf Ananias and Sapphira) because he proudly and wrongfully accepted glory that belongs only to God (Isaiah 42:8). Compare also Nebuchadnezzar reduced to madness (I Peter 5:5). The immediate judgment empasized prompt punishment by God which in other cases is postponed (Rev. 6:10). It was the angel of the Lord who smote Herod (cf Egypt, Assyrian 185,000 etc). He died of an overwhelming worm infestation, most likely over a few days and appropriately because pride consumed him first.
The church work of preaching and teaching prospered and it grew.
Barnabas and Saul returned to their home church in Antioch (chapter 13) after passing on their benevolence in Jerusalem.
John Mark was related to Barnabas, propably a nephew and son of Mary (Col.4:10).

Next study (DV) August 31st 8pm

New Testament Priests (16)

New Testament Priesthood

Sung Psalm 141|:1-5 (note refs to incense)

Reading I Peter 2:1-10 (note esp.vv5,9)

We have incontrovertible Scriptural evidence that all believers in the New Testament age are priests.

What was the work of Old Testament priests? What is the New Testament equivalent?

  1. Offered sacrifices……we offer ourselves, praise, thank, do good works, share (Heb.13:15).
  2. Offered incense……we pray for ourselves and others.
  3. Light the lamp………walk in the Spirit.
  4. Prepare the showbread and eat it……we partake of Christ in the Lord’s Supper.
  5. Teach………we teach one another.
  6. Pronounce clean/unclean……we discern between good and evil.
  7. Judge……we judge all things.

Hebrews 10:19-25 is the most extended teaching on our New Testament priesthood, full of typology now realised in us.

The major prophets clearly allude to the end of ceremonial law and the New Testament age, see Isaiah 61:6 where true believers who are in Christ (vv1-3) are made priests and this includes Gentiles (Is.66:21).

Malachi 3:3 speaks of Christ purifying a priesthood which must be his church and I John 2:2 and 20 show that our anointing as priests is lifelong.

The permanent offices in the New Testament church all include elements of priesthood-pastors teach (office of prophet), elders rule (office of king) and deacons (office of priest who mercifully dispense aid), (Heb. 2:17, Acts 6)

New Testament believers are consecrated priests (15)

New Testament believers are priests

Our consecration as (prophets), priests (and kings) is more like Christ’s consecration than the O.T. priesthood. There is no hereditary transmission and no public ceremony (it is an invisible consecration).

The Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 12  Q32 http://www.prca.org/about/official-standards/creeds/three-forms-of-unity/heidelberg-catechism/the-second-part/of-god-the-son/lord-s-day-12

We are consecrated in Christ. No ecclesiastical hierarchy or sacerdotalism as with the Roman Catholic false priesthood. Luther was clear, “Every Christian is a priest.” There will also be no future literal Jewish millennial priesthood as this is not only a misinterpretation of scripture but  would be an absolutely  retrograde step (Heb.6:12-19).

Proof of the universal and catholic priesthood of believers:

  • I Peter 2:9-we are a royal priesthood
  • Revelation 1:6- we are made priests by Christ, by his redemption and are such here and now on earth.
  • Revelation 5:10- we will be a catholic priesthood (meaning universal-from every tribe and nation), in the new heaven and earth (future eternal state).

Revelation 20:6-again these are priests here and now in the NT age but in their spirit in the  intermediate state (after their first resurrection at death) in heaven.

So as prophets, priests and kings (the latter two offices always being linked in the N.T.) we function to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, use our lips to  praise and thank God and offer our prayers as intercessors for others.

Acts 11:1-30

Acts 11:1-30

Peter reports to the church in Jerusalem because certain Jewish leaders were critical of his association with Gentiles in Caesarea. Some of them accused him of associating and eating with Gentiles which was a traditional addition to God’s law. These men were called the “circumcision”. Their accusation was correct but unjustified. This tells us that many in the New Testament church were zealous converted Jews who kept the law but were ignorant of the fact that ceremonies were passing and the church was becoming catholic or universal (see also Acts 15:24 where the same thing is repeated and 21:21-25 where Paul makes a small concession to them).

Peter logically recounted in detail the events in Joppa and Caesarea to show God’s providential hand in them. He gives three arguments that Gentiles are to be included in the church:

  • The Holy Spirit was poured out on them
  • Christ said his disciples would be baptized with the Spirit
  • The gift of tongues was seen as proof

The church at Jerusalem had nothing to say because Peter proved that the events were orchestrated by God and should be cause for gladness not criticism and that Gentiles as well as Jews were granted repentance and eternal life.

Luke recalls that after Stephen died great persecution broke out and many disciples scattered over the Roman Empire going as far as Crete, Cyprus, Libya and Antioch. These believers, some of whom were preachers, preached to Jews only because of their similar background and language (carrying on the ministry of Christ and the apostles to the lost sheep of the house of Israel). Grecians were Jews who spoke Greek, who likely came from outside Israel. When the church in Jerusalem heard about conversions outside, they sent Barnabas to assess, as far as Antioch where most were converted. The grace of God (v23) is his power to save (Titus 2:11). Barnabas is described as a good man, full of the Holy Ghost and of faith. He went to get Saul from Tarsus because Saul was very knowledgeable in the Scriptures, an apostle and a teacher, who alongside him, taught and established and built up the church making them disciples.

Apparently, the minister of the church in Antioch and possibly outsiders there, nicknamed the disciples “Christians” or Christ-ones. We do not know if this name was an insult or compliment.

There still were extraordinary prophets in the New Testament church because the canon of Scripture was not finally fixed. These men got direct divine revelation and were able to say, “Thus saith the Lord.” Agabus prophesied a famine in Israel which happened sometime between 43 and 46AD. The disciples in Antioch decided to send money to the Jerusalem church because of their unity and care and we need to respond in the same way today.

Next study (DV) August 11th at 8pm Acts 12:1-25

Acts 10 (continued)

Acts 10:1-48 (cont)

In the Old Testament clean animals (Lev. 11) could be eaten and used for sacrifices but unclean ones could not. But note that Noah after the flood was not constrained by these ceremonial laws which only were binding from the time of Moses to Christ.

Peter was commanded to kill and eat but he refused believing as he still did, that the law had to be kept. The Lord then in the vision said that he should not call these animals common or unclean and reinforced the message by making it happen thrice which may well have reminded Peter of his denial three times and Christ’s question, “Do you love me.” It is worth remembering that these food laws had stood for 1400 years.

The messengers from Cornelius arrived straight after this which was very providential. We cannot tell how the Spirit spoke to him but we can distinguish between the uncreated inaudible voice that created the worlds by Christ the Word of God and the created voice heard for example at Christ’s baptism and many times in the New Testament e.g. Acts 13:2. Peter needed reassurance he should go and we also need to remember that the Jews had added unbiblical rabbinic tradition to their law even forbidding social association with Gentiles.

By illumination and deduction Peter realised that he ought not to call any man unclean. The messengers came because of Cornelius’ request as he awaited instructions from God’s messenger. When Peter arrived there was a house full of Cornelius’ family, friends, servants and perhaps soldiers showing how influential he was. Note that the message was to show them how they could be saved subjectively by conversion (c.f. Acts 16:31) because we believe both he and the jailor in Philippi were born again prior to their conversion experience.

Cornelius overdid his welcome of Peter and was rebuked because only God must be worshipped (c.f. Rev.19:10). Peter reminded Cornelius that Gentiles were still considered unclean and not God’s people (c.f. Eph. 2:12 and I Peter 2). He surmised that the unclean animals represented people and asked again why he had been sent for, to which Cornelius replied about his vision and his expectation of a message from God.

God does not respect persons, meaning he does not treat any differently because of race, station or anything else (c.f. James 2:1 and I Tim.2:4) men of all kinds are part of the church and this Peter now knew because he speaks of “all nations”. By the way Peter really ought to have known this by the great commission in Mathew 28:18-20 and Christ’s saying in Matthew 21:43 but he did not understand. Peter emphasises his being a witness to underline his apostolic authority and truthfulness.

He states that God’s word sent was the gospel of justification by faith in Christ (Romans 5:1) through which forgiveness comes and this is attested to in the prophets e.g. Isaiah 53.

The Spirit was poured out on these Gentiles just as at Pentecost in a public and obvious way as they spoke in tongues and openly praised God. The Spirit used the word as his power and it is always the case that word and Spirit must work together to accomplish God’s purposes. The Jews looking on were astonished as they still felt they as a nation had a monopoly on God’s kingdom and salvation. Water baptism is the outward sign of inward Spirit baptism. Peter stayed to instruct them because he was commanded to make disciples not just converts!

It is worthwhile reading into Acts 15 to see Peter’s account to the Jerusalem synod of these events.

Goals

 

Christ our Lord and the great Apostle Paul worked towards goals or targets that gave them purpose for their lives.

Christ’s aim was always to do the will of his Father (John 8:29) and preach and heal everywhere especially among the Jews. Paul in contrast was commissioned especially to preach to the Gentiles, even those never reached (Rom.15:20, II Cor.10:16)

Christ’s aim (cup) was the cross, resurrection and ascension-the ultimate joy set before him and the inheritance of all his redeemed for whom he died (Isaiah 53:10-11, Psalm 2:8, 74:2).

Similarly Paul speaks of his purpose (II Tim.3:10) and aim to know Christ more intimately, the fellowship of his sufferings (Phil.3:10-14) and the upward call (the mark or target he was aiming at, Titus 2:13) with the joy and crown of rejoicing being his many converts in the churches he planted on the last day (I Thess.2:19, II Thess. 1:7, II Tim.4:8) whom he aimed to present perfect or mature (Col.1:28,29).

Surely our aim is to zealously and sincerely praise him, get to know him better through the word, be faithful in our callings in the world and church and lay up treasure in heaven by our love and giving of ourselves and our resources to advance God’s kingdom.

Acts 9:36 -10:16

Acts 9:36-43
Raising of Dorcas
Dorcas (Greek) and Tabitha (Aramaic) means a gazelle.
She spent her time serving others by making clothes etc
Alms deeds were acts of giving-of clothes or the proceeds of sewing.
The believers in Lydda especially the widows were the objects of her charity.
Her body was washed and put in a room to allow mourning and perhaps because they expected a miracle.
The believers sent for Peter either expecting him to preach at her burial or raise her from the dead (Matthew 10:8).
Peter removed everyone wanting the miracle to be private and peace and quiet so he could pray.c.f. Jairus’ daughter in Luke 8:54.
Peter must have prayed that her soul would return.
Tabitha responded because she must have been alive and heard c.f. Lazarus in John 11 and Elisha and the boy in 2 Kings 4.
The widows are specifically mentioned because they were especially dependent upon her James 1:27. I Tim.5:3-4, 5:16.
Many believed because of the miracle and Peter’s subsequent preaching.
Simon the tanner’s work must have been unclean because he was touching the skins of dead animals. Perhaps Peter was coming to realize the Old Testament ceremonial laws were passing away but in any case this brother offered hospitality.
By the healing of Aeneas God was preparing the disciples, especially Peter for the in-gathering of the gentiles into the church.

Acts 10:1-16
Peter, Cornelius and the beginning of the inclusion of Gentiles in the early church.
Cornelius was a Roman soldier, with 100 men under him, stationed in Caesarea, a seaport town in the north of Israel. He was a devout proselyte and undoubtedly regenerate.
He and his family worshiped God through the Messiah they expected and gave generously to the Jewish synagogue. His devotion, alms-giving and prayers prove he was a believer but he needed confirmation of the gospel and that Christ had come through Peter. We guess he prayed for his family, his men and the Jewish nation. His prayers and good works are called a “memorial” showing that they were recorded and will be rewarded (treasure in heaven).
He saw an angel at 3 p.m. who spoke to him. He was afraid because angelic glory reflecting God’s holiness, brightness, purity, power and glory is awesome c.f. Moses, Joshua, Manoah, Isaiah, John and confirmed to him it was God speaking through him.
The angel commanded Cornelius to send for Peter and precise directions were given because any arranged meeting needs a precise time and place. So he did and his men walked or rode the 40 miles to Joppa.
Peter went up on the housetop at the regular Jewish time of prayer at the temple namely noon-see Psalm 55:17. His hunger may well have been related to the vision he saw of animals he was told to eat. A trance is a state of unresponsiveness and in this state he saw the vision (v.v. 17,19) of a sheet full of unclean animals
Next study (D.V.) June 29th Acts 10:17-48

 Ten Rules for Producing Unspiritual Young People

Ten Rules for Producing Unspiritual Young People

This Strength of Youth article was written by Rev. Ronald Cammenga and published in the October 1, 1983 issue of the Standard Bearer.

____________

In any great undertaking there are certain basic rules or principles which need to be followed if the endeavor is to be capped with success. The pilot must know the principles of aeronautics; the draftsman the principles of engineering; the surgeon the principles of human physiology. Such is also the case in the great enterprise of producing unspiritual young people. Here, too, one’s goal is most easily achieved, and success guaranteed, when these basic rules are taken into consideration. Application of these time-tested laws, either singly or in any combination, is sure to bring about the desired goal. Any consistency in applying the rules is sure to make the devil cheer and the world applaud. By the same token the Holy Spirit will be grieved and the cause of Christ’s church in the world dealt a severe blow.

What are these rules, the practice of which is most effective in producing unspiritual young people, a virtual serpent’s brood?

Rule #1. Parents should take little or no interest in the spiritual education of their children and young people. They should not be involved in teaching their children their catechism, their sunday school material, or their Bible material for school. The best excuse to use in implementing this rule is that you are too busy; after all, you’ve got to put food on the table. Instead of seeing to it that your children are prepared for school and catechism, just assume it. It doesn’t hurt either to take the position that Christian education isn’t really necessary, and that public school training is adequate. In carrying this rule out, parents should see to it that their evenings are so filled up with other activities that they simply have not time for their children. Careful application of the rule is sure to produce spiritually ignorant young people, young people who neither know nor are interested in the truth.

Rule #2. Beginning already when the children are very young, parents should give them anything that they want. Satisfy their every whim. Always buy them the very finest. See to it that they always have new toys. Dress them in the finest clothes. As soon as they can drive, buy them a new car. Lavish them with every extravagance possible. This is a most effective means of producing unspiritual young people. It is sure to make cross-bearing and self-sacrifice, things which are absolutely necessary to the Christian life, repulsive to them. When their faith requires of them self-denial, or even requires them to endure suffering, they are sure to deny their faith. When it becomes plain to them that the way into the kingdom is always a way of tribulation (Acts 14:22), they will want no part of it.

Rule #3. Cultivate in your young people a love for pleasure and entertainment. Tell them that, after all, we only live once, and so we ought to get the most out of life that we can. You can best do this by madly pursuing pleasure yourself. Instead of impressing upon them that life is a battlefield, tell them that life is a playground. Enjoy yourself with sports, or entertainments, or vacations. And if they should become involved in worldly amusements, so much the better. Their attending the movie or going to dances will only further your cause. Consistent application of this principle is sure to produce young people who are “. . . lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:4).

Rule #4. Set before your young people an inconsistent example. You know the old adage, “Do as I say, not as I do.” This is sure to work confusion and discourage the young people from living a life of obedience to the glory of God. Some examples. Tell your children that they must go to church regularly, but be irregular in your own attendance. Tell your children to obey those in authority over them, but you be quick to become angry at the boss, the policeman, or the elders. Tell them that they may not go to the movie, but you watch the movies and drama that come over the TV. Tell them that they must live chastely, but you read dirty novels and watch filthy television programs. This kind of life is sure to be offensive to the young people. They’ll notice the inconsistency immediately, and your example will speak louder than your words. This is an especially old and time-tested rule, that over the years has met with a great deal of success.

Rule #5. When your children do break one of God’s commandments, be sure that you don’t discipline them, at least not severely. You may, perhaps, scold them; but nothing more. You know what Solomon says, after all, in Proverbs 23:13, 14: “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” There is scarcely anything so destructive to our goal as the consistent and loving application of discipline. When it comes to your attention that your son or daughter is guilty of some wrongdoing, minimize the seriousness of their deed. And at all costs, protect them, even if they’re in the wrong. Cover for them and give excuses for their bad behavior. Make sure the teachers in the Christian school are aware of your disapproval of their disciplining the children. And if their bad behavior continues, don’t go to the pastor or the elders to seek their help. If the church should sooner or later become involved anyway, become angry and attempt to stand in the way of the church’s work. This rule, carefully followed, is sure to produce young people who are unholy and wicked.

Rule #6. At every opportunity, be critical of the Christian school teachers, the elders, and the pastor. Make your criticisms known to your children, and the ill will you feel toward these people. Don’t hide your feelings toward them, and don’t honor them at least for their office’s and work’s sake. This, too, is most effective in producing unspiritual young people. It will encourage the same critical spirit in them. It will cultivate a low view of the church and the members of the church, and make it easy for them to leave the church later on. And this is what usually happens. Once out of the church and separated from the means of grace and the preaching of the truth, they are fair game.

Rule #7. Allow them to make friends with unbelievers, or at least do not strongly disapprove of their establishing these friendships. After all, you can reason, they can be a good and effective witness to these unbelievers in this way. Don’t stop them from running with these other young people who have no concern to live a holy life and no interest in spiritual things. When they are with these worldly friends, don’t be concerned where they are or what they might be doing. After all, they’re old enough to know better, and they can make their own decisions. We all know the influence a Delilah had on Samson. We all know that Israel’s making leagues and friendships with the ungodly Canaanites was instrumental in bringing about their apostasy from the Lord God. A most effective measure!

Rule #8. Don’t take any interest in the dating or courtship of your young people. This rule stands in close connection to Rule #7. Don’t warn them against being yoked together with an unbeliever. Don’t point out how this angers the God of marriage and is destructive to the purposes he has ordained for marriage. Take a light view of their leaving the church for the sake of a marriage partner. Don’t point out their calling to maintain membership in a true church, and don’t point out the importance of this for their children in the future. History has proved the effectiveness of this rule. Just call to mind the outcome of the sons of God marrying the daughters of men prior to the flood, or the result of the children of Israel marrying the ungodly Canaanites prior to the time of the judges. Applied consistently, this rule will surely have the outcome that the young people are weaned away from the church, their spiritual home and the source of the nourishment of their spiritual life.

Rule #9. Point out to your young people the importance of earthly success. Get them to see that they must succeed in life and establish a name for themselves. Their career has got to be the main thing. In the case of the young women, don’t set before them the blessings of establishing a godly home and being a joyful mother of children. Tell them that they ought at least first find fulfillment in some secular pursuit. Have the young men see the importance of success and advancement in the world. Their work must come first, the church and family, the things of the kingdom of God, must take second place. Once they have made spiritual things second place in their lives, it’s only a short step to giving them no place at all.

Rule #10. Set before your children the goal of becoming rich. Get them to see that money means power, and that money talks. Have them exert themselves fully, occupy themselves completely with getting rich. You know what Jesus said, that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into God’s kingdom (Matt. 19:24). You know what happened to Achan in the Old Testament. The apostle Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:9, 10: “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” In the parable of the sower, Jesus speaks of the seed that fell among the thorns as “. . . he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful” (Matt. 13:22). This is a particularly timely measure to employ in our affluent society.

These are the ten basic rules to be followed in the production of unspiritual young people. There’s nothing difficult or complicated about any of them. You might say, they come naturally. Apart from the intervening grace of God, their results are guaranteed.

Now test yourself. How many of the rules have you been following?

Were miracles all signs?

Can we prove that Christ’s (and the apostles’) miracles had spiritual significance?

Clearly they were all God’s work authenticating his messengers.
Everything Christ and the apostles did was to further the kingdom of God which is spiritual.
Christ came to redeem men and creation.
Everything in creation points to spiritual reality e.g. the sun-the Son, grass and food-the word of God, water and fire-the Holy Spirit, the blue sky-heaven, trees-Christian life etc.
Christ taught in parables using earthly things to teach spiritual truth.
Christ equates physical and spiritual healing e.g. blindness (John 9) where he speaks of physical and spiritual blindness, paralysis (Matt.9)-see below*, death (John 5 and 11) where resurrection of the soul by Christ in this life is equated with physical resurrection of the dead. These miracles were all signs signifying deeper reality. *Christ both healed a man and said his sins were forgiven simultaneously, both healings being God’s prerogative and one signifying the other.
Healing and wholeness are the same Greek word (SOZO- I Peter 2:24).
The huge catch of fish in John 21 pictures the apostles being used to catch men.