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PAUL OR MATTHIAS - THE 12TH APOSTLE (PART 2 of 4)
By: Joseph E. Gollwitzer


Where does the apostle Paul claim the office of  Judas?  Paul clearly defines a new apostleship to the Gentiles.  The original twelve, before the age of Grace did not deal with the gentiles other than through the house of Israel.
 

Matt 10:5-6  These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:  But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

After the Lord Jesus ascends into Heaven we find the apostles still speaking to and confining their ministry to Jews:
 

Acts 2:39  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.

In Galatians 2:9, Paul and the circumcision apostles agree:  Paul and Barnabas will go to the heathen and the twelve will confine their ministry to the circumcision.

The apostles at this point are clearly obeying their command to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  And do what?  Preach the kingdom so that they would receive it:
 

Acts 2:30  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.

God's long-suffering with his children, Israel, allowed him to continue to offer them the Kingdom even after they crucified His Son.  And had the Jews accepted this, the 70th week of Daniel would have started as prophesied.  However, as we know, God intervened with something unforeseen by His prophets, the Age of Grace.

We can define what Peter, the apostles and all the rest were doing:
 

Acts 2:42  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Acts 6:4  But we will give ourselves (the twelve, vs 2) continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.


What word are they talking about, the Pauline Epistles?  Of course not.  The word they received from the Lord Jesus to preach the Gospel that He gave them:  "The kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Does Paul cease from manual labor like the twelve to give himself continually to prayer and to preaching the Kingdom?  No, quite the opposite.  We will explore this in more detail in the discussion of Paul's unique apostleship.

The office given to Matthias in Acts 2, was clearly and only the office given to, and vacated by, Judas Iscariot, the one who delivered the Lord Jesus to be crucified.  The study of Judas himself and his relationship to Jesus and the twelve is not part of our study here.  The point here is that Scripture does not link Paul's apostleship to Judas' apostleship.
 
 

II.  Peter's Preparation

The main character in the events surrounding the choosing of Matthias is the Apostle Peter.  It is important to study this man and his actions in this matter.

The Lord Jesus and his disciples, in the account of the Last Supper/Betrayal by Judas, went to the mount of Olives.  Twice he gave the disciples (including Peter) instructions to pray:
 

Luke 22:40  And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
Luke 22:46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation


Instead of entering into prayer, we find the disciples all sleeping, and needing to be awakened as Judas and the multitude approached.

Contrast this to the beginning of the book of Acts, where we find the same group after Jesus has ascended into Heaven:
 

Acts 1:15  These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication......
Acts 1:24  And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen.


Peter, as will become abundantly clear, is a changed man in the book of Acts.  In the gospels we find him in the garden not praying as the Lord Jesus commanded so that he would not fall into temptation,  then in Acts, we find him praying so that he would know just what to do.

In the garden he is sleeping, in Acts he is leading a  group in obeying scripture.

We don't find Peter, prior to Acts, directing his actions by scripture.  Instead, we see him an impulsive, passionate man, given to rash acts and statements:
 

Mark 8:32,33 And he (Jesus) spake that saying openly.    And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.  But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he  rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan:  for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men..

It has been said that Peter was a changed man after Acts 2:1, the day of Pentecost.  However, it seems more reasonable to point  to Acts 1:14 to find a Peter that now "savourest the things of God".

The Peter we find in Acts is "continuing" in prayer, and, before he moves to action, is bringing the scriptures to bear:
 

Acts 1:16  Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled which the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was a guide to them that took Jesus.* ref PS 41:9
ref:  Ps 41:9  Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
Acts 1:18  Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity.....
ref:  Zechariah 11:12  And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear.  So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of Silver.

Acts: 1:20  For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate....

ref:  Ps 69:25  Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents.

Acts 1:20 ....and his bishopric let another take.

ref:  Ps 109:8  Let his days be few; and let another take his  office.

Is Peter quoting these scriptures capriciously?  Has he offered these Old Testament verses simply to support his own version of right and wrong?

The implication of disagreeing with Peter on the choosing of Matthias opens to question his entire understanding of scripture.  And more than that, the principle of looking to scripture to comment on scripture!

Prophesy would have no meaning without the fulfillment.  And so, reading Peter (or anyone involved in the choosing of Matthias), do we say now that these men do not understand the scripture at this point and we cannot hold their interpretation as valid?

But what does scripture say about the Apostle's understanding of the scriptures?
 

Luke 24:45  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

The book of Acts is a continuation of the book of Luke.  To end Luke with Peter understanding the scriptures, and have Acts begin with Peter not understanding the scriptures is a dangerous leap of logic.

One must also reckon with the fact, as we previously discussed, that Peter and the group were praying.  If their thinking in the choosing of Matthias was so far off and their actions misdirected, who were they praying to?

A principle of Bible study when determining  the character of a person, is to watch for key words such as worship or prayer as an indication of their heart and acceptance before God.

The clear implication of Acts:1 is that the group was united before God in prayer and that they were seeking to move in the will of God in their next action.
 
 

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PAUL OR MATTHIAS - THE 12TH APOSTLE (PART 3 of 4)
By: Joseph E. Gollwitzer

III.  Qualification Of An Apostle

One would be hard-pressed to make a list of exemplary qualities that would lead anyone to choose the men that Christ chose as Apostles.

Without question, Judas was an Apostle.  His assimilation into the group and ministries of the twelve was so complete, that at the last supper, he is pinpointed by the Lord Jesus as the betrayer, and no one picked up on it.  More than that:  the rest of them were asking if they were the traitors.

Many a misguided sermon extol the energies, education and qualifications of an unsaved Saul of Tarsus.  The implication is that God "redirected" all of Saul's assets into a new
saved Paul.

Paul himself comments on this:
 

Philippians 3:8  .....for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.

The clearest qualification of apostleship is their choosing by God Almighty:
 

John 17:12  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name; those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled.

The Greek definition of apostle is:  a delegate, an ambassador of the gospel;  officially a commissioner of Christ (with miraculous powers): messenger, he that is sent.  Strongs #652.

We can see from the translation that the office of apostle focuses and receives its qualifications, not from the office holder, but from the "commissioner", the Lord Jesus Christ.

Trying to find out why Christ chose the men He did would be a wasted effort.  Noting His instructions to them, however, will be of great value.

We find in Matthew the account of the choosing of the apostles.  Here they are told for the first time where to go, what to do and how to do it:
 

Matthew 10:6-8  But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils:  freely ye have received,  freely give.

The 12 apostles were only to go to the house of Israel and not directly to the Gentiles.
 

Matthew 10:5  These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not.

Are the Gentiles excluded by this command?  Most certainly not.  Until the apostle Paul,
any person who would enter the kingdom of heaven would need to enter by the system that God had set up, that is,  through his people Israel:
 

Genesis 18:18  Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

Throughout scripture we find a distinction, existing or removed, between the Jew and the Gentile.  The Jew being God's people chosen to receive the kingdom.  The Gentile being the heathen whose only hope of entering the kingdom was through Israel.

What were the apostles to do?  Preach!  Preach what?  That the kingdom was at hand!
At hand meaning that it is right in front of them, not far off, not at some unknown future date, but right here and now.

To prove the message and their commission, the apostles were given miraculous powers to heal, raise the dead and power to cast out devils.  This is consistant with the life as it will be in the kingdom:  no sickness, no death, Satan bound.  The children of Israel did indeed taste of the ages to come:
 

Hebrews 6:5  And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

What would have been a successful conclusion to the apostles mission?  That all Israel would accept Christ as Messiah and the Kingdom "at hand" would arrive.

Even after the death of the Lord Jesus, the apostles had no other focus:
 

Acts 1:6  When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

The mission that the Lord Jesus gave to the 12 did not change immediately after his death.  They were to tell God's people, and through that vehicle, all people of the world, who Christ was:
 

Acts 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:  and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

We find Peter, in Acts 2, being filled with the Holy Spirit, understanding the Scriptures, preaching to Jews, from all over the world, that the Jesus they crucified was the king!

Peter reminds them of the miracles of Jesus and the apostles, showing them who Christ was.  He makes it abundantly clear that this is David's son, who is to sit on David's throne and rule as their king.
 

Acts 2:30  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;
Acts 2:36  Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.


The importance of pinpointing the message that the 12 were preaching is that we can understand that Paul's apostleship was not the same, and that Matthias was chosen to carry on a work and message not given to Paul.  God's program in the first part of the book of Acts was still what Paul refers to as "Times Past":  the 12 were still calling for Israel to receive the kingdom.
 

Acts 2:39 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.

What promise?  God's convenant with Abraham.  The Messiah was to come and save the Jews, and make them the ruling nation of the world.

John the Baptist was to make Israel ready, calling them to repentance, baptizing them as a sign of cleansing.  The apostles are doing the same even after Christ's death:
 

Acts 2:38  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.

 Note that Peter's call is to "every one of you" (Jews from all over the world).  Scripture tells us the number that responded:
 

Acts 2:41  Then, they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

We now see a distinction among those that heard the message:

 A:  every one of you
 B:  they that gladly received

This message by Peter was one of God's last offers to His people to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their King.  Sadly, only three thousand accepted, making the total number of Jews we know accepted Christ as Messiah about 3,120.

Had they all accepted, Daniel's 70th week would have begun. They did not!  God instituted a new dispensation of grace.  The dispensation given uniquely to Paul, not the twelve.

Do we find Paul preaching that the kingdom of God is  at hand, or salvation is through the Jews?  No, his message is different.  Also, the people who he is to give the message to is changed:
 

Acts 16:31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Paul now preaches faith as the only condition for salvation.
 

I Timothy 2:7  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.

We have already determined that the 12 were not to go unto the way of  the gentiles.  Clearly Paul had a different mission.  We also find that the apostles and Paul did not formally agree on the different missions until a number of years after Paul's conversion:
 

Galatians 2:9  And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

Was this when Paul first knew that his apostleship had a different focus than the rest?  No, from the time of his conversion we find that Paul was now to go to the gentiles:
 

Acts 9:15  But the Lord said unto him (Ananias), Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

 
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PAUL OR MATTHIAS - THE 12TH APOSTLE (PART 4 of 5)
By: Joseph E. Gollwitzer

IV. Paul's Qualification and Mission

No one, even just glancing at the scriptures, would ever come to the conclusion that Paul was not an Apostle.  All the signs that the twelve displayed when Jesus walked on this earth, and afterwards, were also displayed by Paul.

Paul does not claim the office through any authority other than that of God Almighty.
 

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;)

The difference between the 12 and Paul lies not in the office itself , but in how God is dealing with the world i.e.. "dispensation".

The preaching of the 12, as we have discussed, concerned the kingdom which was to be established here on earth as prophesied.  Paul had a new message, the literal, physical, visible earthly kingdom of  Christ was no longer the issue.  A mystery was revealed to Paul: an age of grace, completely hidden from all men until now.
 

Romans 16:25  Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel ,and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

Compare this to what Peter and John preached:
 

Acts 3:21  Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

Paul is not saying "my gospel" to personalize his ownership of it.  The truth is, this new dispensation of Grace was given uniquely to Paul, and to us through Paul.  It is "his" gospel in distinction to the good news preached by the 12, (the kingdom of heaven is at hand).

The discussion of the uniqueness of the church age and God's program for this present time,  is too vast to approach here.  Suffice it to say, to miss the importance of what God has revealed to Paul, for Paul to teach us, is to miss the point of Paul's role as the minister or caretaker of this dispensation.
 

Colossians 1:25  Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God;

The Lord Jesus chose 12 Jewish men, who are to reign over the 12 tribes in the future kingdom of Christ on this earth.  At no time do we find any of the twelve setting aside their standing as a Jew, partaker of the convenant with Abraham.

We, however, find that Paul takes his "Hebrew of the Hebrews" status, and rejects that standing in favor of  what he now has in this age of Grace.
 

Philippians 3:8-9  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win christ, and be found in him not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.

Paul's epistles clearly distinguish the change God has made from dealing with man through the law, and now through Grace.  Clearly, many of the errors and problems Paul deals with are due either to the mixing of law and grace or the outright return to law for justification before God.

Paul's most important qualification for Apostleship is that it is God's will:

2nd Corinthians 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Jesus christ by the will of God,....

Paul also clearly understood his unique mission:

Titus 1:3  But hath in due times manifested his work through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our savior.

Paul's qualification for apostleship was not only distinct but superior to the original 12.  Superior in the sense that God has issued a new dispensation, the prior program is now suspended until the rapture of the Church.

Does Paul preach that the kingdom is at hand or that salvation is of the Jews?  Peter and the other apostles certainly did.  What does Paul say about the difference between him and the 12?
 

Galatians 2:6  But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me:  God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:

How can it be that the 12, to whom so much was revealed and entrusted, could not tell Paul anything new or indeed, increase his understanding?  Instead, Paul instructed the 12:
 

Galatians 2:7  But contrariwise, when they saw the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

We find here that Paul now teaches the 12 about the mystery.  Before this meeting only the gospel of the circumcision (salvation is of the Jews) was understood.  From this point on, Paul is teaching something new and different, the age of Grace.

It also appears that three men were the first to understand:
 

Galatians 2:9  And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas, the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

There is without a doubt a clear distinction between Paul and the 12 as far as mission.  In fact, Paul needs to publicly rebuke Peter when  he , in practice, returns to separation between Jew and Gentile.

The Body of Christ is not instructed to follow the 12, but instead to follow Paul:
 

Philippians 3:17  Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

If  the Body of Christ were called to imitate the 12, we would have to distinguish between Jew and Gentile again.  That is not the case now, but will be after the rapture when God's time table/prophetic program, is again set in motion.
 
 

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PAUL OR MATTHIAS - THE 12TH APOSTLE (PART 5 of 6)
By: Joseph E. Gollwitzer

.  Did Peter Act Alone?

Peter clearly is the main character in Acts chapter 1, but who was involved in the choosing of Matthias?
 

Acts 1: 13-14 identifies for us the Apostles, Mary, Jesus' brethren and "the women".  We then get a more general count of the group:
Acts 1:15  And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty.)


The purpose of this point is that the text is making perfectly clear that what is being done in Chapter 1 of Acts is being done by a group acting in unity.
 

Acts 1:14  These all continued with one accord....

The reader should now ask:  who are these, and what are they continuing?

We need to look back to the start of Acts to find the noun to which the pronouns following refer:
 

Acts 1:2  ... had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

From this point until verse 10, this same group is described by 18 pronouns until identified by another title by the two men in white apparel:
 

Acts 1:10  ....Ye men of Galilee....

The context of the passage is that this unique group, not the people in general, are getting instructions concerning the return of Christ, the kingdom , what their role is, where they are to be and with whom they will be dealing.
 

Peter, then, when he stands up to speak, continues to identify this particular group:
 

Acts 1:17  ...numbered with us...
Acts 1:21 ...which have companied with us...

Acts 1:22  ...he was taken up from  us...a witness with us...

Luke, in narrative also continues the pronouns identifying the group:

Acts 1:23  And they appointed...

Acts 1:24  And they prayed

Acts 1:26  And they gave forth their lots....

Acts 2:1  And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Acts 2:2  ... where  they were sitting.

Acts 2:3  ... appeared unto them...sat upon each of them.

Acts 2:4  ...and they were all...


One cannot follow the text of the choosing of Matthias and come to the conclusion that Peter alone is responsible for what is going on.

It appears scripture is revealing the opposite:  That this little flock was moving in concert.  There is no indication that a forum existed wherein an individual would keep silent over wrong doctrine.

The implications of  Matthias' choosing being an act out of the will of God, and in disobedience to the instructions of the Lord Jesus, indicts the entire group of believers in Acts 1 and 2.

Assuming that they were wrong, when did they go wrong?  Was it when they were praying with one accord?  Was it when they agreed with Peter's use of scripture?  Was it in the casting of lots?

Again, assuming they were wrong:  what do we say about the praying?  The context supports that they all moved ahead firm in the belief that this was God's will.  We then, must now approach scripture and question whether or not anyone praying, worshipping or claiming to know the will of God, is actually in the will of God, apart from the context of the passage.

Again, assuming they were wrong:  where is repentance?  How can such a group, giving God the credit for leading them in a wrongful act, claiming that the scripture supports this sinful deed, move ahead, receive the Holy Spirit and the power promised by the Lord Jesus, and become witnesses to the uttermost parts of the earth, without having changed their minds about their sin?

Is repentance assumed?  If so, where does one insert it?  And if we can insert repentance anywhere we choose to make the text fit our doctrine, why can't we do the same anywhere we please in the Bible?

To assert that all the believers were wrong to choose Matthias for whatever reason, and that scripture is silent as to their repentance over the act, is a dangerous practice in the study of God's word.

One would think that with so many people involved, and the events of early Acts being so critical to the understanding of the Church age, somewhere, someone in scripture would speak against what happened!
 
 

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PAUL OR MATTHIAS - THE 12TH APOSTLE (PART 6 of 7)
By: Joseph E. Gollwitzer


VI.  Lots

Much can be made of the way a choice was made between Barsabas (Justus), and Matthias. It has been offered as proof against the action that by using lots, they were, in fact, leaving the decision up to chance.  Certainly God would not show his will in this manner.

Scripture, however, speaks of "lots", not as a game of chance or a device by which the lucky one wins.  Clearly, lots were used to identify something, and most often the identification was considered to be the will of God.

Today, if someone offered to throw dice, and somehow interpret the results to identify the will of God, we would disregard them as failing to understand God's word. Also, we would call to question their doctrine that would allow such an act.

How then, do we deal with:
 

Acts 1:26  And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

The answer comes from seeing when this is taking place and by whom the lots are being used.  Knowing this, we can look to scripture to comment on scripture.
 

1 Corinthians 1:22  For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

Aaron, the high priest was instructed to use lots, thus knowing the will of God in choosing the scapegoat, dealing with the people's sin:
 

Leviticus 16:8  And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats, one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat.
Joshua, speaking for the people, would use lots seeking to determine what to do:

Joshua 18:6  ....that I may cast lots for you here before the Lord our God.

Joshua 18:8 ...that I may here cast lots for you before the Lord in Shiloh.

Joshua 18:10  And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord:

King David, as well, understood the working of God through lots:

1 Chronicles 24:31  These likewise cast lots....in the presence of David the king.


One of the most familiar passages concerning lots is:
 

Jonah 1:7  And they said every one to his fellow, come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us.  So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.

In this case, we do not have the priests, leaders or kings casting the lots, but heathens, who had just called upon their gods for rescue.

If God, in times past, spoke through lots, and Peter, the 10 other apostles and  the balance of the 120 were not to be part of choosing a new apostle, why doesn't scripture tell us that the lot fell on no man?  Is this passage to be understood as the one time that God was not speaking through the lots?

Suffice it to say, scripture shows that God did indeed reveal his will through the use of lots.  And, unlike modern day gambling, there is no grumbling about the results.  Whatever the process was in casting lots, the results were final.  When lots were cast to determine God's will in a matter, the answer was received and believed.

It appears that those using lots understood that they were indeed going to receive an answer, and that, that answer was not to be questioned.

Again, knowing that in Luke the Lord Jesus opened the apostles' understanding of the scriptures, and that lots are used throughout those same scriptures:  how can we then say that the casting of lots regarding Matthias was an impetuous, wrongful act?

 The Christian today needs to understand that the scriptures are complete.  We should not be looking for, or expect to receive a sign from heaven.  Every instruction in righteous living is already given to us in God's word.

Understand, in the age of Grace, in which we now live, there is no Jew or Greek, no distinction among men in God's eyes except saved and lost. So, while the Jews require a sign, there will be none, but we have something greater:
 

1 Corinthians 1:23  But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks, foolishness;

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PAUL OR MATTHIAS - THE 12TH APOSTLE (PART 7 of Cool
By: Joseph E. Gollwitzer


VII.  Twelve / Eleven

We often refer to the 12 apostles as "the twelve", indicating the unique importance of the office and the finite number of the group.

In scripture we find "the twelve" used as a number and/or title, i.e.:
 

Matthew 26:14  Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,

Here Judas is identified to the group of 12, the other 11 not being present.
 

Matthew 26:20  Now when even was come, he sat down with the twelve.

Here, all twelve apostles are present and identified as a group.

Understanding when twelve, (or eleven) is used as a number, a number/title or a title alone,  will help identify what scripture says about Matthias' apostleship.

After the death of Judas, Matthew, Mark and Luke refer to the "generic" group as "the eleven."

Only John, of the 4 gospel accounts, uses "the twelve" after Judas' death:

 
John  20:24  But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

Here, it appears, "the twelve" is used for the identification of Thomas' apostleship.  We know that Judas is dead and that "his bishopric" was to be taken by another. Giving Thomas the title "one of the twelve" does not negate the fact that he was 1 of 11 other men who were also "one of the twelve."

Paul also used the term, "the twelve":
 

1 Corinthians 15:5  And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

Why is the apostle Paul indicating that "the twelve" are witnesses to the resurrection?  Scripture plainly tells us that the number was now eleven:
 

Luke 24:9  And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

The answer could be in what tense we read 1 Corinthians 15:5.  If Paul is pointing to people who can attest first hand to the fact that Christ rose from the dead, wouldn't his argument be much more credible if his witnesses could indeed give testimony?

He alludes to this fact in the next verse:
 

1 Corinthians 15:6  After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

Paul is telling the Corinthians, you can verify my words with the twelve apostles and most of  over 500 people, not all, because some are impossible to talk to now.

Paul is saying, not the twelve, solely as a title, but the twelve, alive and present on the earth as he wrote those words.

If scripture means what it says:
 

Acts 1:26 ...and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Then Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:5 is also numbering Matthias with the eleven.  There is not a problem calling Matthias as a witness to the resurrection because:
 

Acts 1:22  Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness of his resurrection.

In fact, Paul is calling on the very qualification that Peter preaches  Judas' replacement must have.

If the principle is true that scripture is the best commentary on scripture, then Paul here agrees with the all those in Acts 1, that Matthias is to be counted as one of the twelve.

If  "the twelve" of  1 Corinthians 15:5 is a title for the 11 men, then, what is  "the eleven" of Acts 2:14. Is it also a title for the same group?  Again, we have a problem with scripture not saying what it means.

There should be no dispute that the apostolic offices, chosen by God, number only 12, and that those 12 have a position in the kingdom to come, in relationship to Israel:
 

Matthew 19:28  And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Luke 22:30  That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Also, these 12 offices will be elevated for all eternity:
 

Revelation 21:14  And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the lamb.

Is it any wonder that the 12th office needed to be filled? The desire to fill it with Paul's name does injustice to his position as apostle to the Gentiles and his mission of  being the household manager of the dispensation of Grace.
 
 

VIII.  Peter's Failures

Preachers and "scholars" alike have extolled the humanity of Peter by calling out the times in scripture he has done wrong.  The next step in giving us encouragement is to then site his position as apostle, writer of scripture and witness to the life and cross-work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The point here of  discussing the record of Peter's failures is to contrast them to his "error" in Acts:1.

Peter had an amazing response, when shown by the Lord Jesus that he, (Jesus) would suffer, die and rise again:
 

Matthew 16:22  Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord:  this shall not be unto thee.

The text then leaves no doubt as to the error of Peter's words and the wrong reasoning behind them:

Matthew 16:23  But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me Satan:  thou art an offence unto me:  for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Peter also makes promises he will not keep:
 

Matthew 26:33  Peter said unto him, though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee...

Of course we know the response of the Lord Jesus, and the events that took place during the trial and crucifixion:
 

Matthew 26:34  ...before the cock crow, thou shat deny me thrice.

Peter again, at the last supper, is wrong concerning the Lord Jesus washing his feet, and is immediately corrected:
 

John 13:8  Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet.  Jesus answered him, If  I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

Paul rebukes Peter in the matter of compelling the Gentiles to live like Jews.  The text makes clear that it was not just Peter, but other Jews as well, including Barnabas, that were in error.
 

Galatians 2:11  But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

In this last instance we have to be informed about the misdeed so that we can understand the rebuke.

If Paul needs to explain Peter's error and correction here, why is he silent about the choosing of Matthias?

If scripture time and again leaves no doubt as to the error of Peter's thinking, words and actions, how can it be silent in Acts:1?

If we can read error in Acts:1, and blame Peter for it, do we then suspect error in other accounts concerning Peter's preaching and leadership?  The implication is that we cannot trust the apostle Peter and fear that he is leading us astray in every situation.

The danger of making such a stand on the silence of scripture is a dangerous practice that will allow any interpretation to be given.
 
 

IX.  Theophilus

If you were to receive a letter from someone, you would expect that the writer would want you to understand what was written.

So it is with Luke and Theophilus:
 

Luke 1:3-4  It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
Acts 1:1  The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began to do and teach,

A fair question to now ask is: what was Theophilus to understand concerning the choosing of Matthias?

If Luke has perfect understanding, and explains in order the events of the life of Christ and the Acts period, why would he be silent on the correction regarding Matthias?

Imagine the book of Acts being read by Theophilus and he reads how Matthias was numbered with the eleven and comes to the conclusion that he will not number Matthias with the eleven.  How is it reasonable to assume we are to read Acts: 1, understand that all that is taking place is error, and then move on to Acts: 2, not having any inclination that the error was corrected?

When Theophilus read:
 

Acts 1:24 ....Thou Lord, which knowest the hearts of all (men), shew whether of these thou hast chosen,
Should he have understood that God was not part of this?  That he wasn't about to show anything concerning these two men?  Would he be expected to read what is written and understand the opposite?  It seems that if Luke wanted Theophilus to know that Matthias was not to be chosen, he would have set it forth in order like he said he would.
 
 
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PAUL OR MATTHIAS - THE 12TH APOSTLE (PART 8 of 9)
By: Joseph E. Gollwitzer


X.  Conclusion

Simply working backwards from Acts 1:26, the numbering of Matthias, at what point can anyone say, "here is where they went wrong!"?

Can it be the lots?  How then can you separate the action from what went on before, and how do you resolve the Old Testament use of lots?

Can it be in the praying and calling God to choose between the two men?   How then do you deal with the prayer that got them to this point?

Is it limiting the choice to those who had part from the beginning?  No, because God could have said no, wait.  Besides that, getting to the point of choosing has to be as wrong as the choice.

Was it wrong for Peter to reference scripture?  If so, then he did not have an understanding of the Bible in spite of what scripture says.

Was the error somehow conceived by the group?  Paul lays claim to a position not given by men:
 

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;)

But can't Matthias make the same claim?:
 

Acts 1:24 ....Thou Lord, which knowest the hearts of all (men), shew whether of these thou hast chosen,

And, once you have isolated the error, when does it stop?
 

The implications of reading into scripture what is not there, are mind boggling.  Matthias certainly is the 12th apostle.  Chosen correctly to take the office vacated by Judas.

Paul is also an apostle.  Chosen by God to be the minister of a new dispensation:
 

Acts 9:15  ...for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

The people of Israel are God's earthly people, with an earthly kingdom, primarily earthly promises and earthly blessings.  The Body of Christ is God's heavenly program with spiritual blessings and one household manager, the apostle Paul.
 
by: Joseph E. Gollwitzer
7/1/96



 
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« Reply #97 on: November 26, 2003, 09:25:43 AM »

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PAUL OR MATTHIAS - THE 12TH APOSTLE (PART 1 of 4)
By: Joseph E. Gollwitzer



A contention exists as to whether Paul was the new 12th Apostle chosen by the Lord Jesus Christ to fill Judas' office, or was it Matthias, from the account of Acts:1.
The purpose of this paper is to lay out the clear meaning of  Scripture in this matter with the hope of  correcting wrong doctrine.
 
 

I.  Peter's Contention To Fill Judas' Office

A key element in understanding the importance of  a "12th" apostle is the fact that God ordained the office of Apostle.  These men were given a unique ministry so that while they were counted as disciples of Christ, they were also distinct as to power, authority and mission above the others.
 

Matthew 10:1  And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickeness and all manner of disease.
Ephesians 2:20   And (you, the Ephesians), are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner .


Some of the elements unique to apostleship shall be explored later.  There is no dispute that the individual with the "rank" of Apostle not only had special training, responsibilities and authority, but also, a fixed position in the ages to come.
 

Matt 19:28  And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Note:  In Ephesians chapter 2 we find, "times past":  pre-body of Christ, prophesy program.  "But now":   body of Christ, mystery program, dispensation of grace.  "Ages to come":   post "but now", continuation of prophesy program.

Peter's intent then, in Acts 1, was to fill the office given to Judas, and vacated by Judas' death.
 

Acts 1:20  For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein:  and his bishopric let another take.

The importance of this being an existing office, needing to be filled, and not a new position, created for whatever purpose, is this:  Paul never lays claim to Judas' office.

In Paul's 13 letters he often lays claim to the office of Apostle given to him by the Lord Jesus Christ.  At no time does he refer to the "12th" position, vacated by Judas.  This fact does not demean Paul's apostleship.  This fact indicates that Paul's apostleship was different than the 12. (A point to be explored later)

Upon the completion of the casting of lots, (which from the context seems to include the 120, not just the 11), Matthias was now considered the "12th" apostle.
 

Acts 1:26  And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Why be concerned with an exact number of apostles?  Why not let the remaining apostles carry on with their work?   The answer is in the verse prior to the one we just quoted:
 

Acts 1:25  That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.

When the Lord Jesus came to this earth it was to establish his kingdom.  John the baptist prepared the way as foretold by scripture.  Thus we find Old Testament believers waiting for the kingdom.  Over and over again in the 4 gospels:  the issue is the kingdom.

In Matthew 10, we find the Lord Jesus is giving the twelve finite instructions of their mission and deportment.
 

Matt 10: 6-7  But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The Lord Jesus himself established the 12 offices.  In the ages to come we find that these same men will each be judging the tribes of Israel, and that even their names are eternally inscribed in the physical foundations of the New Jerusalem.
 

Rev 21:14  And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the lamb.



Good Study Bro.

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« Reply #98 on: December 04, 2003, 04:04:20 PM »


James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Some say they contradict each other, that James teaches salvation by works and Paul salvation by grace.

Which one is right?

Both are!

James is not written to the church the body of Christ it is written to Israel.

Notice: James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

These verses do not contradict one another. One passage is written to Israel the other to the church the body of Christ.

"Grace & Peace"

The problem with this interpretation and many of the dispensational approaches to scripture interpretation is that you end up having James and Paul preaching two different Gospels.  I have found a good rule of thumb for testing any theory such as yours is can I build a case for it from the Words in Red.  If Christ didn't teach it then I am not going to let someone dig it out of the the apostle's illuminating writings because all they did or could do was build on what Jesus laid as a foundation.

As far as works go Jesus taught the need for repentance and following Him, both of which involve works, so I believe they play apart in our acceptance of the free gift of grace.  He knocks but we must open.  

Even the apostle Paul in Second Thessalonians said that the Gospel was more than just Good News, that the Gospel itself was to be obeyed, and obedience implies works.  
2 Thess 1:8
8In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

It comes down to this - You cannot truly believe in someone if you do not obey their message, and it is only through a true faith that we can properly and fully accept the free/gracious gift of salvation.
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« Reply #99 on: December 04, 2003, 05:23:52 PM »


James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Some say they contradict each other, that James teaches salvation by works and Paul salvation by grace.

Which one is right?

Both are!

James is not written to the church the body of Christ it is written to Israel.

Notice: James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

These verses do not contradict one another. One passage is written to Israel the other to the church the body of Christ.

"Grace & Peace"

The problem with this interpretation and many of the dispensational approaches to scripture interpretation is that you end up having James and Paul preaching two different Gospels.  I have found a good rule of thumb for testing any theory such as yours is can I build a case for it from the Words in Red.  If Christ didn't teach it then I am not going to let someone dig it out of the the apostle's illuminating writings because all they did or could do was build on what Jesus laid as a foundation.

As far as works go Jesus taught the need for repentance and following Him, both of which involve works, so I believe they play apart in our acceptance of the free gift of grace.  He knocks but we must open.  

Even the apostle Paul in Second Thessalonians said that the Gospel was more than just Good News, that the Gospel itself was to be obeyed, and obedience implies works.  
2 Thess 1:8
8In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

It comes down to this - You cannot truly believe in someone if you do not obey their message, and it is only through a true faith that we can properly and fully accept the free/gracious gift of salvation.


"He that is ignorant of Paul's gospel, cannot have certainty of his own salvation nor lead others into assurance Paul is Christ's messenger sent to you and to me by a Risen Christ." By Paul; we know the promise "Which God, That Cannot Lie, Promised Before The World Began!"

Grace & Peace
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« Reply #100 on: December 05, 2003, 04:31:24 AM »

QUOTE A4C:
"He that is ignorant of Paul's gospel, cannot have certainty of his own salvation nor lead others into assurance Paul is Christ's messenger sent to you and to me by a Risen Christ." By Paul; we know the promise "Which God, That Cannot Lie, Promised Before The World Began!"

AMEN!!!!

Brother Love Smiley
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« Reply #101 on: December 17, 2003, 05:44:08 AM »

The Great Blunder Of The Church


The ritualism of Romanism came as a result of that which began in the day of the apostles. Read the issue of the Jerusalem council, in Acts 15, and note the question in Acts 15:10 and decision of that council in Acts 15:24 to 29. We quote the question:
Acts 15:10

"Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?"

Then note the words from the Holy Spirit by the pen of Paul: "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." Galatians 5:9. The ritualism, fanaticism, religious legalism and "salvation by works" movements in Christendom have come as a result of the leaven of Judaism, mixing Israel's program into the "grace" program which the risen Christ gave to Paul.


AMEN!!!!

Brother Love Smiley
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« Reply #102 on: December 22, 2003, 01:12:01 AM »

Hi everyone,
I thought I would add my favorites.
www.carm.org    www.waltermartin.org
Many subjects covered.

God bless,
bluelake. Smiley
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RIGHTEOUS BEFORE GOD

"There is none righteous, no not one."
"How should man be just with God?"
(Romans 3:10 and Job 9:2)


Since man is a sinner and God is holy, how can they meet? Job asked this question thousands of years ago, and man is still asking how he may become righteous in the eyes of God, or how God might excuse him for his sin. Job's three friends each had a solution to the problem; each one had a different idea, but the foundation of all three was a salvation based on human works. So, today, men are still offering the same answers as did the three friends of Job.
First - Bring God down to man's level. That is Demonism.
Second - Evolve man to God's level. That is modernism.
Third - Put on a nice, outward appearance. That is ritualism.

There is always a way "that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12).

To Job's three friends, God said. "Ye have not spoken unto Me things which are right, like My servent Job." Therefore we conclude that Job knew the right answer and that his three friends were wrong. Job's answer was:
"For He is not a man as I am, that I should answer Him and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any DAYSMAN betwixt us that might lay His hand upon us both" (Job 9:32-33). In otherwords, Job said that there must be a MEDIATOR, or a go-between, if he was to be accepted by God. What kind of a mediator did Job need? What kind of a mediator does man need today?

First of all, that mediator must be both God and man, and not only that, He must also be a REDEEMER, in order to redeem man from sin. And Job could say: "I know that my REDEEMER liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth" (Job 19:25). In I Timothy 2:5 we read: "There is ONE MEDIATOR between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus." That One who was in the form of God, but made Himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servent, came in the likeness of men, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:5-8). By His death on the cross He became the Redeemer of mankind.

"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich" (II Corinthians 8:9).

How then, can man receive the blessings of this matchless work of grace? First let us see how it is not obtained:

NOT BY WORKS


"Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9)
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done" (Titus 3:5)
"All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6).
"For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God...Abraham believed God, and it (his faith) was counted unto him for righteousness" (Romans 4:2-3).

"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:5).


NOT BY THE LAW
(The ten Commandments)


"A man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ,....for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Galatians 2:16).

"If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Galatians 2:21).

The purpose of the law is to stop all mouths; and it is the instrument by which the whole world is proven guilty before God. See Romans 3:19-20.

The law curses. "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that continnot in all the things which are written in the book of the law to do them" (Galatians 3:10).

The law is called the ministration of death, "written and engraven in stones," in II Corinthians 3:7.

"The law was our schoolmaster, to bring us unto Christ" (Galatians 3:24). "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth" (Romans 10:4), and He "took it out of the way, nailing it to His (Colossians 2:14). And now - "Ye are not under the law, but under grace" (Romans 6:14).


"THEREFORE" -


"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Romans 3:28).

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).

"By Him (Christ) all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:39).

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

John Bunyan wrote the following lines: "The righteousness of God, that is a righteousness of God's completing, a righteousness of God's bestowing, a righteousness that God gives unto and puts upon all them that believe, a righteousness that stands in the work of Christ, and that is imputed both by the grace and justice of God, the righteousness by which we stand just before God from the curse, was performed long ago by the Person of Jesus Christ."

By grace we are saved - Eph. 2:8-9.
By grace we are redeemed - Gal. 3:13.
By grace we are brought near - Eph. 2:13.
By grace we are justified - I Tim. 1:15.


I have spent many hours reading all the studies you posted Ambassador, I loved them all. I just got to this one, thanks for posting it.

Your friend and Brother

The Crusader
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The Crusader
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« Reply #104 on: January 14, 2004, 05:09:52 AM »

My Favorite Web-Sites And Studies
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But Now org.
http://www.butnow.org/
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From QUESTIONS and ANSWERS

Q: How does the Holy Spirit work today in the Dispensation of Grace?

A: The Holy Spirit works today in the Dispensation of Grace through the written word of God.

Notice these passages: (emphasis is mine)

1Cor:2:10: But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

I Corinthians 2:13: "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."

1Cor. 2:14: But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are

foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The Holy Spirit teaches or works in us by comparing spiritual things with spiritual. That is, the Holy Spirit works through the ONE source that is spiritual, the written Word of God.

Paul tells us that we are to strengthen and renew our inner man (Ephesians 3:16, II Corinthians 4:16) through a daily intake of Godís Word rightly divided. This is accomplished by the Holy Spirit working in our inner man in conjunction with the intake of the written Word of God so that we may be strengthened.

Paul goes on to write in Colossians 3:10: "And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:" We gain knowledge by studying the Scripture.

Amen

It was short but sweet, thanks Ambassador.

The Crusader
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