Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 17
ACTS CHAPTER 3, 4, & 5
I am never afraid to tell people my doctrinal position, and never claim to have all the answers, but I trust the Holy Spirit has kept me from error in any way. I never claim to be right and everyone else is wrong, but we have found that so many people have been freed of traditional teaching, and have gotten a brand new lease on Scripture, when they began to realize how all of these things are chronologically unfolding. Now let’s pick up again in Acts Chapter 2, the last verse. Peter has been preaching to the Nation of Israel, and has been trying to convince them that the One they crucified was indeed their Christ, King, and Messiah. Many of them had been convicted, and as we saw in verse 41, three thousand on the day of Pentecost had repented of that sin, and were baptized. Then we saw in verses 42-46 that they sold all that they owned to put it into a common kitty so that all of them might live on that fund.
“Praising God, and having favour with all the people (true Christianity is that way. We stand for what we feel is the truth, but not in a contentious way. Too many times we put ourselves in a position where we are known for not getting along with people, and that is not a Christian testimony at all. These Jewish believers also had a lot of opposition from fellow Jews who were unbelievers and totally against this movement). And The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Here the word Church must be defined.
The word translated Church in our Bible comes from the Greek word “ecclesia” It’s where we get the word ecclesiastes or ecclesiastical which pertain to religious hierarchy. But the Greek word `ecclesia’ translated `Church,’ is also translated `assembly.’ Be careful. Not every time you see the word `Church’ in Scripture is it the New Testament Body of Christ. You have to learn to separate and put things in their rightful place. And every time you see the word `Church’ don’t try to lump it all into one category. For example turn over to Acts Chapter 7. Seven years after Pentecost we find Stephen preaching also to the Nation of Israel. He is addressing Jews. And Stephen goes all the way through Israel’s history, starting with Abraham and brings them on down through time. Let’s start with verse 35. I want you to get the true setting. I had one gentleman write from the television audience that I was all mixed up, that the Church began clear back with Moses. Bless his heart, he just didn’t know his Greek.
“This Moses whom they refused (that is the Israelites in Egypt), saying, `Who made thee a ruler and a judge?’ the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush. He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.”
Stephen is making the allusion that Moses was just a forerunner of The Christ. He was a type of Christ. And this is what Stephen is trying to emphasize. That the second Deliverer, Christ, they had crucified. I want to show you the setting he is referring to, when Israel had come out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea and were encamped around Mount Sinai under Moses’ leadership.
“This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, `A prophet shall The Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.'” That was Moses speaking to the Israelites. Then Stephens says: “This is he (Jesus), that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai,…”
Was that a New Testament Church? Why of course not. But this gentlemen had the idea that the Church began back there in Sinai. That wasn’t a Church as we understand the Church, but rather at Sinai it was a called out assembly. That is also the word `ecclesia.’ Israel was a called-out assembly. God called them and led them out of Egypt, encamped them in Sinai, and they became a called-out assembly. Not a Church. They didn’t have deacons, or Bishops, or Pastors, they were under the Law of Moses. But it’s the same word, only used in a different way. And while we are still in Acts let’s turn to Chapter 19, where this same word “ecclesia” is not translated `Church,’ it’s translated `assembly,’ but it’s not a Godly assembly.It’s an ungodly assembly. Paul and Barnabas are in Ephesus and there has been such a turning from idolatry to Paul’s Gospel that the makers of idols saw their businesses going down the drain. So there is a big uproar. And they trying to get the emotions of the idolatrous Ephesians to turn on Paul and these new converts.
“And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, `Great is Diana of the Ephesians.’ And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.” What do you have? A mob. A riot.
“And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.” Paul they will kill you. “Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly…” (Ecclesia)
Is that a Church? Hardly. But it was a called out assembly, because who had called them out? The Silversmiths. When you see the word `church,’ you don’t automatically think it’s the Church as we know it, or as Paul refers to it as the Body of Christ. In Acts Chapter 2 the word `ecclesia’ was a called-out assembly and that is indeed what the Jewish believers were. They separated themselves from the mainstream of Judaism. They believed that Jesus was The Christ. They were assembling themselves in fellowship and breaking of bread. And they are a called-out assembly. They are also a Church. But not necessarily the Body of Christ.
Turn to I Corinthians Chapter 12. Here we have a new connotation. This called-out assembly is not usually called the Church in Paul’s writings, but it’s the Church which is His Body, or the Body is the Church. And that is what qualifies it, although it is the same Greek word `ecclesia.’ The Church today is a called-out assembly Who’s Head is in heaven, as the Head of the Body. And we are the Body. That’s a big difference. Peter doesn’t teach or know that in Acts. Peter makes no mention that Christ is the Head of this called-out assembly, and that these Jewish believers are part of Him. It’s as important to see what the Scriptures do not say as what they do say.
I Corinthians 12:12
“For as the body (human body) is one, and hath many members and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” What are we talking about? The Church which is His body. It doesn’t matter what country that believer is in tonight, they are members of that Body. That wasn’t true before.
I Corinthians 12:13
“For by one Spirit (it’s capitalized, so Who is it? Holy Spirit) are we all (from the least to the greatest. As we become believers we are placed into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. Some believers are far more spiritual than others. But regardless, if you are a believer you are in the Body of Christ. I’ve got a couple of fingers that were partially clipped off at one time. But they are still part of my body, they are not perfect but it’s still me. And the same way with the Body of Christ. And that is what Paul is using here as a picture. That not every believer is all that he should or could be, but nevertheless he’s still in the Body of Christ) baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free (it makes no difference, our station in life); and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
I Corinthians 12:14
“For the body is not one member, but many.” Go to Ephesians 1. Paul constantly makes reference to the Church which is His Body (the word `ecclesia’). Still a called out assembly, but with one difference, this Church has the Head in heaven, and the Body is on earth. But the two can’t be separated.
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:”
“Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,”
“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church.” What Church? “Which is his body (do you see the difference?), the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
That word `fulness’ in the Greek also means `complement.’ We are the complement of the Head. It’s the same word, only in the Hebrew, in Genesis when Eve was given to Adam. She was given to be his complement, a part of him. That is why Paul brings in the physical marriage relationship between husband and wife as the beautiful picture of Christ and the Church which is His Body. I’m pointing this out to show that Peter doesn’t address anything like this at all. None of this was ever revealed to Peter. Peter doesn’t even mention the Body of Christ, and Peter doesn’t mention being baptized into the Body of Christ. He hasn’t had that revelation yet, and is unaware of it. So he is merely talking about a called out assembly of Jews who have separated themselves from the mainstream of Judaism by virtue of believing that Jesus was The Christ. Now Ephesians 5. Remember, Paul only writes to believers. And it’s usually a Gentile congregation. There were some Jews in them I’m sure, but it’s predominately to the believers who are members of a Gentile congregation.
“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto The Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church:…”
The Bible never gives authority for the husband to downtrod his wife. She is never to be his slave and servant, but she is a part of him. They are one. This is the Biblical teaching. Paul by inspiration is making it so plain. The husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church. To the Church, Christ’s the Head of the Body, and is never referred to as The King of the Church. But rather our Saviour. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but to be scripturally correct He is not The King of the Church, but rather the Head. And what a difference that makes. If He was our King, we would be His subjects. Paul never intimates that we are subjects that have to bend to His every command, but rather we are part of Him. Just like the wife is part of the husband. Verse 24:
“Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”
Now husbands we are to have the same attitude toward our wives as Christ has to the Church. A husband with that kind of attitude will never have a divorce problem. You see, there is a whole different attitude when we treat our wives as Christ treats the Church. And what is that? Total love, even to the place that He died for her. I often wonder how many American husbands today would die for their wives? Would we really be able to say that I love her so much that if I have to give my life for her I will gladly. Now that is the real test. But that is how much we are to love our wife. Now read on:
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”
Do you realize that Scripture never tells wives to love their husbands. Never. I know Peter tells the mothers to teach their daughters how to love a husband. But it’s never commanded the woman to love your husband. But husbands are commanded to love their wives. Why? It all goes back to Adam. God created Adam with the ability to love his helpmeet. But He also created in Eve the ability to respond to that love. And that’s what God does with us. When He saves us and places us into the Body, we are going to have the ability to love Him in return. And so many people miss this. How can you get this excited about The Bible, and Christian life? Well, unless you have experienced it, you can’t explain it.
“That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” Not baptism water but rather with Scripture.
“That he might present it (the Church, an ecclesia, called-out assembly) to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as The Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones (because we have been united just like husband and wife), For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”
“This is a great mystery (that’s why Peter couldn’t comprehend so many of the things that were revealed to Paul. Remember, Peter wrote in II Peter that Paul wrote things that are hard to understand. Peter doesn’t realize the full impact of this yet. That we as Gentiles believers are made one with Christ), but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” The Body of Christ.
“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
Now isn’t it amazing that Paul in these series of verses constantly flips back and forth with the parallel of Christ and the Church, with the husband and wife. Why? Because it is a perfect synonymous relationship. Christ is the same to us as the husband is to the wife and the husband and wife relationship is the same as Christ and the Church. But remember Peter doesn’t bring any of this up in Chapter 2 of Acts. He can’t, nor was he expected to, because this hadn’t been revealed yet. Back to Acts 2:47. We will go into Chapter 3 next lesson. Lets read verse 47 once again:
“Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And The Lord added to the church (called-out assembly of believing Jews) daily such as should be saved.”