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A LOOK AT THE FIRST CENTURY CHURCH

Part 3

Review:

Heb 4:12

12 For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.      AMP

 

            Constantine (280-337), the Roman Emperor and his mother, Empress Helena, built many pagan temples. After his conversion in 313, he continued his custom of building, but this   time it was “Christian" temples. They simple(y) went from worshiping the pagan gods to   the memorializing (of) the dead saints. Many pagan buildings were later converted to           churches This was really the official beginning of recognizing buildings as churches.

            We want something we can see and someone to represent us… something physical. Whether we are building a building to reach the sky as the tower of Babel or an edifice to hold our pastor’s meetings on Sunday… we want our own building. 7

Jesus himself stressed the importance of the "scriptures" to our walk with Him.

                Mt 5:17Think not that I am come to destroy the law , or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.     KJV

or as the amplified says;

                Mt 5:17Do not think that I have come to do away with or  undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them.                               AMP

 

What makes this so hard to understand? Jesus make it plain when he was questioned by one of the lawyers about eternal life.

                Lk 10:25-28

                25 And then a certain lawyer arose to try (test, tempt) Him, saying, Teacher, what am I to do to  inherit everlasting life [that is, to partake of eternal salvation in the Messiah's kingdom]?

                26 Jesus said to him, What is written in the Law? How do you read it?

                27 And he replied, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. [Lev 19:18; Dt     6:5.]

                28 And Jesus said to him, You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live [enjoy active, blessed, endless life in the kingdom of God].        AMP

 

So where in the world did Jesus get this answer and for the most part where did the lawyer get the response he gave to Jesus question? Guess where, the law!

                Lev 19:18 You shall not take revenge or bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. [Mt 5:43-46; Ro 12:17,19.]    AMP

 

                Dt 6:5 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might.         AMP

 

Always remember that the only "Scriptures" that existed before the 5th century was the "Law(Teachings of Moses), Psalms(poetry of David) and the Prophets(prophetic foretelling of Yeshua HaMascheach coming).  There were by then also a few letters and some other writings circulating. So what this means is, the entire so called New Testament was built on the foundation of the then known "Scriptures". Even Paul alluded to and taught everything he knew from the Old Testament. I propose to you that Jesus and all the disciples were taught out of the "scrolls".

 

Lk 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book , he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book , and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

KJV

NT:975

GREEK> biblion (bib-lee'-on); a diminutive of NT:976; a roll:

KJV - bill, book, scroll, writing.

NT:976

GREEK> biblos (bib'-los); properly, the inner bark of the papyrus plant, i.e. (by implication) a sheet or scroll of writing:

KJV - book.

(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

The letters make reference to the "scriptures" as well:

NT:1124

GREEK> graphe (graf-ay'); a document, i.e. holy Writ (or its contents or a statement in it):

KJV - scripture.

(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

Now remember, Paul and Peter were martyred during the first century, at a time when the Romans put down the Jewish rebellion that destroyed the temple and Jerusalem was sacked. So where are they getting their inspiration from? One was a Pharisee and the other walked with Jesus. They both were filled with the Holy Spirit and wrote by Divine revelation of the "scriptures" that were then in existence.

2 Ti 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.   KJV

And...

2 Pe 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.                            KJV

And on a final note, Jesus validated the "scriptures" Himself when he was walking to Emmaus with the two disciples after His resurrection.

Lk 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.                 KJV

 

Pretty strong words for two "disciples" who walked with Jesus. So, how much more should we, almost 2000 years disconnected from Messiah's discourse with these two, pay more attention to the things of "The Law"?

This is only surface stuff. We need to deal with matters of the soul and heart of man. This has absolutely nothing to do with man's spiritual condition. It all deals with man's walk on this earth which we live out in the flesh or human nature. These directives in the "Law" deal with the flesh nature and the simplest way to illustrate this is Jesus died as a "man" for us so we could have access to God's throne room by the power of the Holy Spirit and His shed blood.

So God's grace is His empowerment for us to walk in the earth and do the "works" of Jesus and greater works because we as the "Ekklesia" can do as a unified body of believers more than Jesus could do in Israel as one man, and a Jewish man at that. All of this is found in the "scriptures". The Gospels, Acts, Epistles and Revelation are just an unfolding of the Word of God in the scriptures.

We owe it to ourselves to prayerfully study the "Old Testament" scriptures more deeply and lovingly. God reveals Himself there and enlightens us in the "New Testament".

The writer of Hebrews stated the importance of the scriptures this way.

                Heb 2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and  was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; 4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own   will?                KJV

And again I reiterate....

                Heb 4:12 For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing ine of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts   and purposes of the heart.          AMP

I suggest reading the account of Steven in Acts 6 and 7. Here is a young Hebrew man, schooled since childhood in the "scriptures" inspired by Holy Spirit expounding the "scriptures" whose face shown like an angel. Yet the proud hearts of those listening could not receive his report.

We need to get back to that time, now.

Am I saying you need to become a Jew?   ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Am I saying you should leave your current fellowship?   ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Am I saying the "Old Testament" is important today?      ABSOLUTELY YES!