July 2014

A Great Omission in Doing the “Great Commission”

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded youand lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20, NKJV)

Many well-intentioned people, over the last centuries, have braved adverse terrain and climate, hostile races, lack of funds — even at the peril of health and life — in order to fulfill “the Great Commission” as Jesus declared it in Matthew 28:18-20 and elsewhere in the New Testament.

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Peter Knew “The Holy One”

In Acts 3:11-26 we have a narrative about the apostle Peter’s encounter with the crowd of Jews who had seen an undeniable miracle in the healing of a congenitally lame man who, because of this physical condition, had been driven to beg for alms in the temple area.

Lest the astounded people would conclude that it was through Peter’s power and godliness that this lame beggar could now walk and leap and praise God, Peter explained who the real source of this miracle was: Jesus. “Jesus…you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses” (verses 13-15).

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The True Christ

Almost 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ had prophesied: “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). [See: Beware of False Prophets and Predestination.]

The future time in which this alarming prophecy was to take place is explained in verses 1-3. The disciples of Jesus had pointed out to Him the buildings of the temple in Jerusalem. [This temple, rebuilt by Zerubbabel after it had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:8-17; Ezra 3:8-6:15), is known as the "second temple." Later this temple was refurbished and embellished by King Herod (as John 2:20 indicates and as Josephus writes in his Wars of the Jews, Book I, Chapter XXI, Section 1). This was the temple in Jesus' day. The first or original temple, which Nebuchadnezzar destroyed, was that built during King Solomon's reign (1 Kings 5-6).]

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The Law of Christ

“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  (Galatians 6:1-2, NKJV)

Many who read and profess to believe in the Bible take the above-quoted verse to mean that, for Christians, only “the law of Christ” needs to be observed — as against the “law of Moses” (the Old Testament).  In fact, for a long time it had been the practice of many evangelical organizations to issue in their mission fields only the New Testament (with perhaps the Old Testament books of The Psalms and The Proverbs added at the end of the New Testament copies).  [See: Moses and Jesus -- Are They Contraries?].

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