206 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 2 - Book 18 - Acts 4:37

206: Acts 4:37 – Lesson 1 Part 2 Book 18

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 18

ACTS 4:37

In Acts Chapter 3, we have Peter and John healing the lame man by using the name of Jesus in verse 6. And immediately in verse 8, the lame man leaps to his feet and goes with them into the Temple. And in verse 9 all the people see him walking.

Acts 3:10

“And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.”

Now what amazes me, especially with the Nation of Israel, is that throughout their history they had seen manifestations of the power of their God and it seemed to have so little effect on them. Even coming out of Egypt with the tremendous miracles that were surrounding them… the pillar of fire by night… the pillar of cloud by day to give them shade… God holding back the Egyptian army… opening the Red Sea and many other miracles. Yet it seemingly didn’t sink in what a great God they were under. And that’s the way it was all the way through their history – miraculous event after miraculous event. And it just seemed to roll off like water off a duck. And then you come to Christ’s earthly ministry, miracle after miracle for three years. In fact John tells us there were so many that the world couldn’t hold all the books it would take to record them. And still they couldn’t comprehend Who He was. And now again, this event we are reading about is only days after His Crucifixion, probably 7-10 weeks. And they can’t comprehend a lame man being healed? This is amazing to me. Now verse 12:

Acts 3:12,13

“And when Peter saw it (the amazing reaction of these Jews) he answered unto the people (watch the language here, and don’t let anybody push in here what isn’t in here. There is no mention of Gentiles, there is no mention of anything except the Nation of Israel. And Peter says), Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?” Now look at verse 13. Is that Gentile language? No.

“The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob (did those names mean anything to Romans? Or the Greek philosophers? But it meant everything to a Jew. They hung everything on Abraham! And this is what Peter is saying), the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up,…”

In our last lesson, when Jesus spoke to the Twelve up there in Northern Israel, I hope you caught it that when He was relaying to them the things that would take place, He said He would be beaten and scourged by what people? By the Gentiles. But here, Peter is laying the blame on Israel. So I always have to be careful that people don’t get the idea that only the Jews brought about His death. We all know better than that I trust. The Jew participated in it. They demanded it, but Rome carried it out. And that’s exactly what Psalms 2 foretold. Jew and Gentile together would reject Him and put Him to death. When I emphasize that Peter is pointing the finger at Israel, I’m not taking away the Gentiles part in it all.

Unfortunately, Martin Luther evidently rode on this. He hated the Jew with a passion in spite of all his great spiritual enlightening. For Martin Luther said it was doing God a favor to kill a Jew, or burn down his business. Some of you are aware of the Nuremberg trials after Hitler’s holocaust. Those Nazis used the writings of Martin Luther to substantiate what they had done to the Jew. And it wasn’t until the last year or two that officially some of the Lutheran bodies have been apologizing for that. The Roman Catholic Church for centuries referred to Jews as Christ killers and they were sincere in making that charge. They, too, have been apologizing and making amends just the last few months with the present day Nation of Israel for this attitude over the centuries. But, no doubt, Peter does point the finger. Verse 13 again:

Acts 3:13-15

“The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up. and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you (Barabbas); And (you) killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.”

The language here is so totally opposite of what Paul speaks of in His letters. Paul never points the finger at Jew or Gentile and says you killed The Christ. But Paul tells us for example in the Book of Galatians Chapter 1. and in Ephesians Chapter 5, the following:

Galatians 1:4

“Who gave himself for our sins,…”

Ephesians 5:25

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”

See the difference? Peter doesn’t say that. Why? These things were still hidden in the mind of God, and consequently, Peter couldn’t go any further than what God had revealed. Now I need to make a point. Let’s talk about faith for a moment. Biblical faith is taking God at His word. If faith is taking God at His word, what does God have to do before we can believe what He says? God has to say it. He has to reveal it. You can’t place your faith in something that He has never said. That’s why Peter is in perfect accord with Almighty God here. He is not out in left field by confining his remarks to Israel, or by accusing Israel of what they have done. Because God has not said a word yet, that they are not under Law, but Grace. Romans 10:17 backs me up. So many times (and I have found it in my teaching years) people come up and say, “Can’t we assume that the Twelve knew that Christ was going to die and be raised from the dead, and make it the Gospel they preached? Can’t we just assume that they knew that.” Absolutely not. You can’t assume what God is going to do or say. We have to wait until He’s spoken it, then believe it like Deuteronomy 29:29 said, “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God:…” But the things He has revealed are for us.

Romans 10:17

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

The Word of God isn’t some mish-mash floating around in the ethereal. The Word of God is something that The Almighty God has spoken. The Old Testament prophets were constantly saying that. The Word of The Lord came to me, Ezekiel will say for example. And what did Ezekiel do? He believed it and wrote it. And during our Lord’s earthly ministry, when He spoke these things, if the Twelve were supposed to understand it, He made it clear and they could believe it. God always does things for a purpose. In Acts Chapter 3 God hasn’t said a word yet about shutting down the Temple, that they are no longer under Law, but under a new manifestation of God’s Grace. He didn’t expect Peter and the eleven to believe something He hadn’t said. So never think they must have been negligent in their duty. They didn’t know that God was going to turn to the Gentiles and call out a people for His name and call it something totally different. “The Body of Christ” There’s not a word in here of Church structure or a word concerning the Gospel based on Christ’s death, burial, and Resurrection. It’s still all based on Who He was. Remember Peters confession in Matthew 16.

Matthew 16:13-16

“…Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, `Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias, and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.’ He saith unto them, `But whom say ye that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, `Thou art The Christ, the Son of the living God.'”

And remember Martha speaking with Jesus, just before Lazarus is raised from the dead.

John 11:25-27

“Jesus said unto her, `I am the Resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die, Believest thou this?’ She saith unto him, `Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art The Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.'”

And how about the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts Chapter 8. Philip had explained about Jesus to this fellow.

Acts 8:35-37

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, `See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?’ And Philip said, `If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.’ And he answered and said, `I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'”

The Ethiopian Eunuch doesn’t say, ” The one who died for me and rose again.” That hadn’t been revealed yet. Their statement of faith was believing that Jesus was The Christ, The Son of God, The King of Israel. Now back to Acts Chapter 3, verse 15. Peter says:

Acts 3:16

“And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong,”

What is Peter neglecting to mention here? We think His death, burial and Resurrection. Peter is only reminding these Israelites Who Jesus really was. And it was to be faith in that Name that made this man whole. Now verse 17:

Acts 3:17

“And now, brethren, I wot (know) that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.”

For this we must go back to Israel’s ancient history, back when they were under the Law, and the year of Jubilee, the cities of refuge, and so forth. If someone killed a person the penalty was death. But if someone killed a person by accident and he was being accused, he could run to a city of refuge and at that city, if the city fathers determined that he had killed that man in total ignorance, they would send him back home a free man. Now you see all through the Crucifixion account from Christ’s own words from the Cross, which were, “Father forgive them.” Why? “They know not what they do.” What was Christ pleading? Their ignorance.

Peter says, “You killed him but you were ignorant, you didn’t know what you were doing.” I call it “God’s loophole” for the Nation of Israel. Because, had they known Who they were killing, God would have had to destroy them. Another reference is I Corinthians Chapter 2. Here we have the Apostle Paul with the same basic truth. Not only concerning Israel but even Rome, the Gentiles.

I Corinthians 2:7,8

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery (see there’s that word again. It pops up throughout all his epistles. Which is a secret that has been revealed to him), even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:” I’m sure that he is speaking of himself.

“Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they know it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” So where did God put them? Ignorance. They didn’t know. Otherwise God would have zapped the whole human race – Jew and Gentile alike. Now back once again to Acts Chapter 3. So Peter claims that same thing. And so does Stephen. Stephen, when he was being killed, said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Ignorance.

Acts 3:17,18

“And now, brethren, I wot (know) that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But (the flip side) those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.”

Anytime something is written in prophecy it has to be fulfilled to the last jot and tittle, or it would make God a liar. Always remember that. Every written prophecy has to come to pass. So this is what Peter is saying. Christ had to die, because prophecy had foretold it.

Acts 3:19,20

“Repent ye therefore (the same format that he chose in Acts 2:38) and be converted (change your direction and thinking), that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:

Now if God is going to send Christ back to earth, then we now know from the Book of Revelation (and we didn’t get the time element for the Kingdom from the Old Testament or even in the early part of the New Testament), that here again is the ability of God to keep things secret until He revealed this to the Apostle John who wrote Revelation. When Christ returns and this Kingdom is set up and becomes viable and visible, it wouldn’t be immediately eternal, but would last 1000 years. But see nothing in Scripture indicates that thousand year time frame until we get to Revelation. The final revealing. But here Peter is speaking in terms of the Kingdom promised all the way back to Abraham. That when their Messiah would return, based on Israel’s repentance and believing Who Jesus is, then yes, God would have sent Christ right here in verse 21. But first there had to be that seven-year period of Tribulation spoken of by Daniel the prophet. Now that is the time of restitution that is spoken of here.

Acts 3:21

“Whom the heaven must receive until (a time word) the times of restitution (tribulation) of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

Now what’s the Old Testament full of? That before The King and Kingdom could come on the scene, Israel especially would have to go through those seven horrible years of restitution of all things. And what was it? The lifting of the curse, the Tribulation and the defeat of Satan, and the earth would be regenerated and made glorious and beautiful again for that Kingdom reign. So Peter is in full agreement with the Old Testament. That yes, Christ had gone back to the Father’s right hand. Psalms 110:1, “Come sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your foot stool.” That would be during the Tribulation. And Peter is expecting it. We are all capable of forgetting the bad things if we want to. But very seldom will we forget the good things. Now if you remember in the closing remarks of the Gospel of John, Jesus indicated that Peter would suffer a very ignominious death. But I’m sure at this point in time Peter has totally forgotten about that. He is totally enraptured with the idea, that if he could just see Israel repent and yet believe Who Jesus was, then their Messiah would return and they could yet have the Kingdom. The Twelve could then take their seat ruling the Twelve Tribes of Israel as Jesus had promised. Let’s look at it again in Matthew Chapter 19. I told you it’s hard to forget the good things, and Peter is remembering this. I’m sure he has forgotten what kind of death he would die. But this part was ever present in his mind, and you can’t blame him. He could see it just over the horizon. He knew there would be seven years of bad times, but the end would be worth it.

Matthew 19:27

“Then answered Peter and said unto him, `Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?'”

Now Peter had his Salvation, that wasn’t what he was asking about. He’s wanting to know what he’s going to have for rewards. I left my home and fishing business to follow you. What am I going to have? And The Lord didn’t rebuke him. He answered him.

Matthew 19:28

“And Jesus said unto them, `Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration (that’s when the earth will be regenerated and brought back to like it was in the Garden of Eden) when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory (King of Kings), ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.'” Is that plain language? Why, you can’t get it any plainer than that. And you see this is what’s on Peter’s mind. Oh if Israel would just repent and be converted and recognize that the One they killed was their Messiah.

There is nothing in here about the power of the Resurrection. There is nothing in here about the shed blood Atonement, although in the mind of God that was all there. But God is still dealing with the Nation of Israel if they would repent of their nation’s sins, and just believe Who Jesus was, God would have brought in the Tribulation to run its course; Christ would have returned and Israel could have had their Kingdom. Then Peter and the eleven knew when that was fulfilled then they could take the Gospel of their God of Abraham to the Gentile world, but not until. And that is what you have to keep in mind. These twelve men do not leave Jerusalem. Not even under pressure. Why? Because it’s to Jerusalem, to the Mount of Olives, that their King was going to imminently return.

And then to see what was to happen after His return, let’s go back to a verse in Zechariah 8 (other examples are Isaiah 49:5,6 – Isaiah 59:20 through 60:3 and many others in the Old Testament). For now we’ll just study this one in Zechariah Chapter 8. After Isaiah has said that the Gentiles would be coming to the light of Israel, and that Israel’s light would be The Messiah, then in fulfilling of all of that we have the following.

Zechariah 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; 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. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts (where) in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.'” Now verse 23: You can’t kick this out of your Bible. Here it sits in concrete:

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; `In those days (when Israel will have her King) 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 (why?): for we have heard that God is with you.'”

The `you’ here is believing Israel. A redeemed Israel. A regenerated and repentant Israel. And remember Exodus 19:6 says every Jew was to become a priest. And what’s a priest? A go-between. And so every Jew had the prospect of being a priest of God to the Gentiles.

205 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 1 - Part 1 - Book 18 - Acts 1:1

205: Acts 1:1 – Lesson 1 Part 1 Book 18

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Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 18

ACTS 1:1

Transcriber’s note: As I transcribed this lesson, I noticed this is also where we started in Book 17, Lesson 3, Part 3. But after reviewing the study, I found that although the Scriptures are the same, Les has used a different approach and his commentary is completely different. I think you will find it to be very enjoyable as I did.

We just got back from Indiana and Ohio where we got to meet and share with so many of you, our viewers. It just thrilled our hearts. It was so nice to put a face on a name that before we had just known by letter or telephone. In Ohio we had a chance to speak to a Christian High School, and for about three hours those kids just ate it up. We had hands in the air by the dozens constantly. And it was hard to stop even after three hours. It was exhausting. I was totally beat when I got out of there, but what a thrilling experience to see those kids come alive and search the Scriptures. The headmaster was in my class that night and he said, “You know Les, they didn’t stop all day long.” He said, “They were still looking up Scriptures all afternoon.” The third and fourth grade were taken out after the first hour and they complained all day long because they couldn’t stay and participate. When people begin to see what the Scriptures say it inspires them.

I hope as you study with us that a spark will ignite and you’ll have that desire to study the Word. If you can prove me wrong from Scripture, that I’m not teaching correctly, then I’ll have an open ear. Because everything I teach, I teach from God’s Word, under the direction of the Holy Spirit. But I’m so confident that after all these years of teaching, and seeing so many people literally turned around, either by Salvation, or seeing their Christian life become exhilarating, then I know what I teach is the Truth. Now open your Bibles to Acts Chapter 3.

In our last program we were in Acts Chapter 2, and I closed the program with the definition of the word `Church.’ Whenever you see the word `Church’ in the New Testament it is not always applicable for the Church which is the Body of Christ. Remember the word Church came from the Greek word “ecclesia” which is translated “a called out assembly.” Moses with Israel in the desert was a called out assembly. Stephen in Acts Chapter 7 refers to them as a Church in the wilderness. And we know that wasn’t the New Testament Church by any stretch of the imagination. And I feel the same way with these Jews in Jerusalem. They have not heard the Gospel of Grace as we know it. They have not comprehended that the death, burial, and Resurrection of their Messiah was now intended to go out to the Gentile world. And so they are still correctly confining it only to the Jew and I’m going to show you in a little bit why they are and why God is having them do just that.

So as we go out of Chapter 2 into Chapter 3 nothing has changed. It’s still an extension of the Old Testament program, only The Messiah that they should have and could have accepted as their King in His earthly ministry, they have crucified. God has raised Him from the dead; called Him back to glory to sit at the Father’s right hand; but He’s still dealing with the Nation of Israel under that same set of circumstances that began with John the Baptist. So Peter admonishes in Chapter 2, ye men of Israel over and over. I’ve told my classes for over twenty-four years, how can you push Gentiles into those verses when Gentiles are not even mentioned. I maintain that is all still very Jewish. Now let’s read:

Acts 3:1

“NOW Peter and John went up together into (the church on the corner of First and Grand? Did they? No. But where did they go? To the Temple. The Temple hasn’t been closed down, they are still practicing the Law; no one has told them they didn’t have to. And not only did they go to the Temple but on the required hour. See how that is stipulated? These men are still under that Jewish habit and ritual of going to the Temple at the ninth hour to pray.) the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.”

Now there is nothing that stipulates in this Church Age that at such and such an hour you and I must go to prayer. The Muslims do, they have their hour of prayer throughout the day. Now as Peter and John go to the Temple there lay a lame man. Verse 2:

Acts 3:2

“And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the Temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms (beg) of them that entered into the Temple.”

We know that The Lord Himself must have passed that lame man during the three years of His earthly ministry. And the reason He never healed him was the Sovereign God does everything with a purpose. In John’s Gospel, when Lazarus was sick, and Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that he was sick, what did Jesus do? He purposely delayed responding to them so that Lazarus would die. Then Jesus could go back and raise Him from the dead. Had He gone immediately, as Mary and Martha had wanted Him to, then Lazarus wouldn’t have died and we wouldn’t have had that account. But you see everything is done for a purpose, even today. This lame man had been lame from his mother’s womb and he was over forty years old. And so Jesus had purposely bypassed him so Peter and John could precipitate these series of events that are now going to take place. Now verse 3:

Acts 3:3-5

“Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the Temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, `Look on us.’ And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.”

Acts 3:6

“Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee (note carefully: I’m going to read it differently from what your Bible says only for the sake of making an impression. “In the name of Jesus Christ Who has died for your sins, and has been raised from the dead get up and walk.” Is that what Peter says? No. He says): In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”

Peter doesn’t even mention His death, burial, and Resurrection. For us today this is the epitome of everything that God began to do when He created Adam and Eve. And that was to bring the world to a knowledge of the crucified, buried, and risen Christ. But Peter has never been told that. And why do I say that he doesn’t know it yet? Because God has not revealed that. It is still a secret, and will be revealed to the Apostle Paul a little later.

Let’s stop and look at some of the references about God’s ability to hide things. First to the Book of Deuteronomy. God never told everything all at once, but revealed a little bit at a time all the way through the Bible. And the only way we can study Scripture correctly is with the idea that only periodically does God reveal something that those Old Testament people didn’t understand. The same with Peter and John in these early chapters of Acts. They still haven’t had an understanding of what God was going to reveal in the death, burial, and Resurrection of Christ. As of yet all they understood was that He was The Messiah; He was The Son of God; He had proved it with His miracles; but it was only for the Nation of Israel. It wasn’t that God had overlooked the Gentiles. Not at all. But He was going to use that favored nation to reach out to these pagan, idolatrous Gentiles at the appropriate time.

Deuteronomy 29:29

“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God (I make the point that the term of Deity, “The everlasting God,” is capable of hiding things. Even the Psalmist asked the question, “Lord why do you hide these things?” Well, He’s Sovereign, and has the right to do as He pleases); but those things which are revealed (keep that word `revealed’ in your mind. Another word that comes from the same root is `revelation.’ Paul is constantly referring to the revelations that he got from the risen Lord) belong unto us and to our children…”

Not that much had even been revealed to Moses. But as much as had been revealed they were to believe. Now let’s go to Luke 18, verse 31. This shocks people the first time they see it. John tells us the same thing. This passage occurs in Northern Israel just shortly before the Passover and the Crucifixion. It’s the end of Jesus’ three years of earthly ministry.

Luke 18:31-33

“Then he (The Lord Jesus) took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, `Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles (the Romans), and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on. And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.'” Is that plain language? It’s as plain as you can get it. But look at the next verse:

Luke 18:34

“And they (the Twelve, who had been with Him for three years) understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”

Who hid this from the disciples? God did. It wasn’t time for them to know. This immediately substantiates that they had no idea when He was hanging on that Cross, that three days later He would be alive. I’m always making the point, had they had any understanding that He was going to die, and yes, He would be buried, and yes, on the third day he would be raised from the dead, where would they have been that early Sunday morning? Outside the tomb! But they weren’t; they had all given up, and thought it was all over. When Mary Magdalene went to dress the Body with the spices, she was bewildered because the Body was gone. She had no idea that He was alive. God had purposely hidden these things from them, because He is going to reveal them in His own time, and use faith in Jesus’ death, burial and Resurrection as the Gospel for the Gentile Church. It would be revealed to the Apostle Paul. Always remember Peter and the eleven preached only what was revealed to them. Paul preached what was revealed to him. This will open the Scriptures to you. Let’s look at another occasion in the Gospel of John Chapter 13.

John 13:6,7

“Then cometh he to Simon Peter; and Peter saith unto him, `Lord, dost thou wash my feet?’ Jesus answered and said unto him, `What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.'”

Let’s go all the way to Ephesians Chapter 3, to the writings of Paul. He writes from a different perspective. He writes now as one who has had these revelations revealed to him. And that’s the word he calls it – `revelation.’ And in Chapter 2 Paul has just written about Salvation. For example, in Ephesians 2:8 he says:

Ephesians 2:8

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” And now Ephesians Chapter 3, verse 1:

Ephesians 3:1-4

“FOR this cause (in other words everything he had just written in Chapter 2 concerning our Salvation). I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,” That’s us as believers today.

“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:”

“How that by [here it is] revelation he made known unto me the mystery [a secret]; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge [as a result of revelations] in the mystery of Christ)”

Ephesians 3:5

“Which in other ages (or generations, or administrations, or dispensations, they all come from the same root word) was not made known (do you see how plain that is in light of Deuteronomy 29:29, and the other references we looked at. It all fits so beautifully. These things were not made known because God was keeping them secret) unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;”

Ephesians 3:6-9

“That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 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. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world (Age) hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.”

Now you can’t get it any plainer than that. These things have never been revealed before, because they have been hidden. God has kept it secret and that is His prerogative. I’m doing this to show that when Peter and John go up to the Temple to pray, they had no concept of what we call the Church Age. They were still under the legal system of Judaism. They were still an extension of Christ’s earthy ministry, and when we get back to Acts and see the miracles they perform, it’s nothing different than that which Christ had been doing for three years. But let’s continue with keeping things secret until God is ready to reveal them. Turn to the Book of Colossians Chapter 1, verse 24. Remember Paul is writing to Gentile believers. Colossi is up in Asia Minor.

Colossians 1:24,25

“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church.” Do you see the difference in language? Here it is the Church which is the Body of Christ. This is the one you and I are acquainted with.

“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you to fulfil the word of God;”

Just as surely as God gave the Law to Israel through Moses, He also gave the Age of Grace to Paul for us the Gentile Body of Christ. The Scripture is so clear on that. God didn’t give Israel the Law directly, He gave it through Moses. Moses took it down Mount Sinai and then shared it with the Nation of Israel. Consequently in His earthly ministry when they came and asked Jesus doctrinal questions He didn’t answer them, but rather said, “You have Moses.” In other words, go back and read it yourself. You have all you need to know because Moses has written it. He has done the same thing for us today in the Church Age with the Apostle Paul. I know once in a while someone will complain that I make more of Paul than I should. No, I don’t. I don’t make any more of Paul than the Scriptures do, nor any more than they made of Moses. In fact, I maintain that Moses and Paul are the two greatest men other than Christ Himself in all of Scripture.

One Sunday morning, Iris and I heard a guest speaker in our church. He was a denominational leader with quite a few degrees behind his name. It just thrilled me as he opened his message by saying, “I’m going to be taking my message from the Apostle Paul, whom I feel is the greatest man that ever lived other than Christ Himself.” I’m even going to temper that. I don’t called Paul the greatest, but rather I put him on the same level with Moses. But I’m not alone when I say we have to listen to what this Apostle says because he is writing to us. To Gentiles. Now look what he says in verse 26. Look at verse 25 again first:

Colossians 1:25,26

“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery (secret) which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:”

Let’s go back to Acts Chapter 3. And in that light, as I understand the Scriptures, I say that Peter and John did not have any knowledge of the Church which is the Body of Christ. They are still associated with the Judaism that Christ dealt with, and that John the Baptist preached; that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Repent and be baptized by believing Who Jesus was. This is all that Peter and the eleven men here in these early chapters of Acts know.

Throughout these whole early chapters of Acts, many study Bibles will even head a chapter the “First Church,” or “The beginning of the Church,” or “The First Christians.” But there is not a word of church language in here. There’s not a word about deacons, bishops, and pastors. There’s not a word in here about how to behave in the House of God. So I don’t care what denomination people may be from, where do most local Churches get their idea of church government? From Paul. He describes the office of the deacon and elder. He describes the requirements to be a pastor. But here in Acts you don’t find anything like that. This is an extension of Judaism. Temple worship; prayer at the ninth hour; unlawful to go into a Gentile home; keeping the Jewish feast days; and now they are healing a lame man. Not on the power of the Resurrection, but on the power of The Messiah, The Christ, The Lord Jesus of Nazareth, The Son of God. And now read on:

Acts 3:6

“Then Peter said, `Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.'”

Appropriate? Absolutely. Because Peter and John are just continuing on with what Christ has been doing for three years. And that was the whole idea in Acts 1:8 when the Holy Spirit came, they were to have power. What kind of power? To do what Jesus had been doing. Remember Jesus told the Twelve that the Holy Spirit would not come until He left. And so the transition of power went from The Lord Jesus to the Holy Spirit. Now in the moment we have left let’s look at Acts Chapter 5.

Acts 5:30,31

“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel,…” Do you see that?

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