THE BOOK OF ACTS continued…
The SALVATION AND COMMISSIONING OF THE APOSTLE PAUL marks a dispensational boundary line of supreme importance (See the “Grace Chart” Time line)
PAUL’S UNIQUE MINISTRY AS SEEN IN HIS EPISTLES:
ROMANS 11:11-13 I say then, Have they (
) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their FALL salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? 13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I (Paul) AM THE APOSTLE OF THE GENTILES, I magnify mine office: Israel
Romans 15:15-16 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, 16 That I (Paul) SHOULD BE THE MINISTER OF JESUS CHRIST TO THE GENTILES, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
EPHESIANS 3:1-9 For this cause I PAUL, THE PRISONER OF JESUS CHRIST FOR YOU GENTILES, 2 If ye have heard of THE DISPENSATION OF THE GRACE OF GOD WHICH IS GIVEN ME TO YOU-WARD: 3 How that BY REVELATION HE (CHRIST) MADE KNOWN UNTO ME THE MYSTERY; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That THE GENTILES SHOULD BE FELLOW-HEIRS, AND OF THE SAME BODY (OF CHRIST), and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me (Paul), who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I (Paul) should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD HATH BEEN HID IN GOD, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
GALATIANS 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) Galatians 1:11-12 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me (Paul) is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but BY THE REVELATION OF (FROM) JESUS CHRIST.
GALATIANS 2:7-9 But CONTRARIWISE, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me (PAUL), as the gospel of the circumcision was unto PETER; 8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) 9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me (Paul) and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that WE (PAUL AND BARNABAS) SHOULD GO UNTO THE HEATHEN (GENTILES), and THEY (THE TWELVE) UNTO THE CIRCUMCISION (Israel).
ROMANS 16:25-26 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to MY (Paul’s) GOSPEL, and the preaching of JESUS CHRIST, according to THE REVELATION OF THE MYSTERY, which WAS KEPT SECRET SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
COLOSSIANS 1:25-27 Whereof I (Paul) am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil (Gk., pleroo, complete)the word of God; 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of THIS MYSTERY among the Gentiles; which IS CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory:
1 Timothy 2:4-7 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of THE GENTILES in faith and verity.
Titus 1:1-3 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; 2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN; 3 But hath in due times MANIFESTED HIS WORD THROUGH PREACHING, WHICH IS COMMITTED UNTO ME (PAUL) according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
C. THE BOOK OF ACTS HAS THREE PIVOTAL POINTS
- The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost upon the Messianic Believers Of
- The Outbreak of
’s leaders Against Stephen with his being stoned to death Israel
- The Outgoing of Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God” … to the Gentiles
1. The OUTPOURING of the Spirit Acts 2:14-21 – Note God’s “I will” statements quoted at Pentecost.
Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in THE LAST DAYS, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
Note above that Pentecost is not the beginning of something, but rather “the last days.” Thus Peter goes onto quote the Lord; “And I will (yet to come in the Tribulation) shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: (Acts 2:19)
Plainly the Spirit had been poured out… now the wrath of God was on the way!
At Pentecost: Acts 2:4, 6 And they were all (120 people) filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues (Gk., glossa, known languages) as the Spirit gave them utterance. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
In the Tribulation and Millennium speaking in “known languages” will allow preaching “the gospel of the Kingdom.” This ability to speak in other known languages (“Tongues”) will be a divine reversal of Genesis 11:7-9 when the language of the world was confounded at
into many tongues. Babel
Zechar 8:20-23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: 21 And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. 22 Yea, many people and strong nations (Gentiles) shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in
, and to pray before the LORD. 23 … In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we (Gentiles) have HEARD that God is with you. Jerusalem
Thus, One Jew at that time be able to speak of the things of God in 10 Gentile languages.)
The outpouring of the Spirit is evidentiary proof that the resurrected Jesus Christ has been exalted by the Father as His King and that His Kingdom to be established upon the earth is ready to be established.
Acts 2:30-33 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell (Hades), neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore BEING BY THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD EXALTED, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, HE HATH SHED FORTH THIS, WHICH YE NOW SEE AND HEAR.
But then also the time of the arrival of “the wrath to come” (Matt 3:7) and the establishing of the Messiah’s Kingdom had arrived – thus Peter preached and warned. (It was NOT known that God would interrupt
’s program and insert “the dispensation of the grace of God” for the Gentiles)” Israel
Acts 2:34b-46 – The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
The official offer of the Kingdom had arrived! The question for
Israelat Pentecost was simple: Will you be part of the believing remnant of (“the little flock” of Luke 12:32) or not? Israel
Acts 2:37-40 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, REPENT, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and YE SHALL RECEIVE the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
One day, in “the Kingdom,” the lifestyle of the Messianic Kingdom on earth will be put on display, successfully. E.g., “having all things in common” in obedience to Luke 12:32-33, Matt 5-7, etc.
Acts 2:42-47 And they continued stedfastly in the (Twelve) apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And ALL THAT BELIEVED WERE TOGETHER, and HAD ALL THINGS COMMON; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Paul tells “the body of Christ” we have a different economic model from
’s noted above. 1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. Israel
2. Then came
Israel’s OUTCRY AGAINST STEPHEN - It was crunch time for “all the senate of the children of ” (Act 5:21), but they decided against God. Acts 6:15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him (Stephen), saw his face as it had been the face of an angel. Stephens’s was a special message from God to confront the nation’s leadership (see also Moses’ shining face when giving “the law”) Israel
commits the “unpardonable sin” – of rejecting the witness of “the Holy Spirit”! Israel
Acts 7:54-56 When they (
’s leaders) heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him (Stephen) with their teeth. 55 But HE (Stephen), BEING FULL OF THE HOLY GHOST, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus STANDING on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the SON OF MAN STANDING on the right hand of God. (NOT sitting, but “standing” ready to return to earth in judgment) Israel
Act 2:34-36, quoting Psa 110:1 makes clear that there is only one reason for Jesus to be “standing”; that is TO INITIATE HIS RETURN AT THE “DAY OF WRATH.” Isaiah 3:13 The LORD standeth up to plead, and STANDETH TO JUDGE the people. (See also Zech 2:13-3:1; Psa 2:1-5; 7:6; 9:19).
had rejected the Holy Spirit’s witness through Stephen’s words – this was unforgivable! Israel
Mat 12:31-32 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST SHALL NOT BE FORGIVEN UNTO men. 32 whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world (aion, age), neither in the world (age) to come.
Note the progression of
’s guilt in response to God’s threefold call to repentance. Israel
had permitted the murder of John the Baptist; Israel
had demanded the murder of Jesus Christ; Israel
3) Now also
committed the murder of Stephen. Israel
3. The OUTGOING to the Gentiles
1 Timothy 1:12-16 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; 13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 16 Howbeit for this cause I (Paul) obtained mercy, that in me (Paul) first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. (See also Eph 3:1-9)
Presently, though man has declared war on God long ago, the “day of wrath” has not yet arrived, because God has held back and delayed His wrath for two reasons.
1. Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them (
); for they know not what they do… Israel
Israel’s fall, God interrupted God’s timeline for . Christ then called and saved Paul from heaven, sending Paul with the heretofore secret “gospel of the grace of God” for the times of the predominantly Gentile “body of Christ.” Israel
Therefore God held the door open to “the Kingdom” for Israel into the early Acts period… that is only until they stoned Stephen (Act 7:58).
Then the Lord saved Paul and sent him with his new “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) under the new “dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph 3:2). This gospel is for ALL men, without distinction; it’s for all Gentiles and Jews who would “believe on Jesus Christ unto everlasting life.” Thus today, both the Jews and Gentiles, can be “saved by grace through faith… not of works” (Eph 2:8-9) and be placed them into the one “one body” of Christ where there is no more distinction. Today there is neither “Jew nor Gentile… for all are one in Christ” (Gal 3:28).
Now we can summarize the record of “the fall” of
Israeland the transition of God’s focus from to… the Gentiles with the new “dispensation of the grace of God,” as offered by Paul. Israel
’s Fall: Israel
Romans 11:11-13 I say then, Have they (
) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their ( Israel ’s) fall SALVATION IS COME UNTO THE GENTILES, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the DIMINISHING OF THEM ( Israel , is) the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? 13 For I (Paul) speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch AS I AM THE APOSTLE OF THE GENTILES, I magnify mine office: ISRAEL
God’s Turn to the Gentiles is Clearly Stated through Paul:
Acts 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you (Israel): BUT seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, WE TURN TO THE GENTILES.
Acts 18:5-6 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from
, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. 6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and (Paul) said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I WILL GO UNTO THE GENTILES. Macedonia
Acts 28:28 BE IT KNOWN THEREFORE UNTO YOU (
), THAT THE SALVATION OF GOD IS SENT UNTO THE GENTILES, AND THAT THEY WILL HEAR IT. Israel
Thus we see that things have changed. The timeline has moved from
’s program of “Time Past,” to the Gentile’s grace program of “But now,” which we live under today. Israel