Tuesday, May 27, 2014

ABC's of Right Division Series by Dr. Wayne Stewart - Listen or Watch!

This study is presented by Dr. Wayne Stewart and it is intended to help the Christian understand the basics of the principles of rightly dividing the word of truth which is mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:15 "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."  This is a fundamental skill if you as a Christian is going to handle the word of God accurately.  All scripture is written for our learning providing us doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.  It is very important to understand what is written to...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


I recently read an article by Charles Welch in the Berean Expositor (begun to circulate in 1909) that considers the plight Gentiles believers that had been allowed to share the hope of Israel's kingdom glory coming in their lifetime found themselves in when they realized Israel had been cast aside by God as pronounced by the Apostle Paul at Rome (Acts 28:23-28).  I'll share it with you here and I know you'll find it enlightening as I did:

Taken from http://www.charleswelch.net/be.htm:

The Dispensation of the Secret. pp. 52-54
When this series of studies was commenced we desired to set forth the wonderful truth contained in the Prison Epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and II Timothy), but we found it necessary to prepare the way by showing the position of the pentecostal dispensation, its kingdom and Abrahamic connections, and the great division that occurred in the dispensational dealings of God recorded in Acts xxviii.
Election and predestination, a choice that antedates all time, and unconditional purpose are at the very threshold of this dispensation (Eph. i.). Why is this? Let us endeavour to place ourselves in the position of the Gentile believers somewhere about A.D. 68-70. Let us suppose that we have been brought out of heathen darkness into light and liberty through the ministry of the apostle Paul. We had heard of that glorious kingdom which was to be set up over all the earth when the Son of God and Son of man should reign upon the throne of David. We had bowed before the teaching that we were but wild olive branches grafted into the true olive tree; that the “Jew first” was the divine order (Rom. i. 16), and that “in that day” not the Gentiles, but Israel, shall be a kingdom of priests. Very willingly we took our appointed place, glad that we Gentiles should find any place of blessing at all. We earnestly joined our prayers with the apostles that Israel might repent, so that the long promised kingdom, with all its blessing, might be set up.
Imagine our consternation when tidings came to us that the apostle Paul had been inspired by God to pronounce the words of judgment written in Isa. vi. upon the apostate nation. How would this affect us? Could the blessings flow to us if the channel were cut off? What was our dispensational position now? Were we still to look for the return of the Lord, and the setting up of the kingdom? None could answer the question, until one day a letter written by the apostle Paul came to our little assembly (the Epistle to the Ephesians). Therein we read no more of earthly blessings, or Abrahamic promises, but heavenly, and a secret purpose hitherto unrevealed. How we praised the infinite wisdom and grace that, out of such apparent failure, could bring forth such a glorious treasure. We did not quibble about predestination; it was the word of our salvation. We did not seek to explain away “chosen in Him before the foundation of the world,” for it answered all our misgivings as to our relationship with Abraham. We no longer looked forward to “inheriting the earth,” nor to the “heavenly country,” nor to the “city that cometh down out of heaven,” for we read that we were “blessed with spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ, according as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. i. 3, 4). “Who blessed us. . . . according as He chose us.”
This is the key to all favour in this dispensation of grace. In whom did He choose us? In Abraham? No! In Christ. Abraham is never mentioned by Paul after Acts xxviii. When did He choose us? Since the foundation of the world? No! Before. What are the blessings? Are they connected with an earthly kingdom? No! They are “all spiritual
blessings,” and all “in the heavenlies.” Before the apostle could unfold the subject of the great mystery and the truth of the one body, he must first reassure his hearers that their case was not so hopeless as they may have imagined. He had to tell them that although Scripture itself was silent as to any hope of blessing apart from Israel, yet that upon Israel’s defection the Lord had revealed a purpose of grace hitherto kept secret, that these things were but the working out of His eternal purpose.
Two mysteries in particular are referred to in Eph. iii. 2-9, viz.:-- 1. The mystery of Christ.
2. The mystery of the
present dispensation,
the one being more completely revealed than ever before; the other being revealed for the first time in the history of man. The one, to many apostles and prophets, the other, to one - Paul. Care is required in reading the passage which contains these statement, otherwise we shall be making Scripture contradict itself. We set out the scriptures in their harmony and structure, showing the difference there is between the mystery concerning Christ and His heavenly glories, and the mystery concerning the present dispensation.
If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward, how that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery,
(as I wrote afore in a few words (viz. Eph. i. and ii.), whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit),
that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs and fellow-members of the same body, and fellow-partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel whereof I was made a minister.
The structure of the passage will help to show this distinction even more clearly. A | 2. The dispensation of the grace of God.
B | 3. The mystery made known to Paul. C | a | 4. The mystery of Christ.
b | 5. Apostles the ministers (plural). C | a | 6. The mystery of the dispensation.
b | 7. Paul the minister (singular). B | 8. The mystery made known by Paul.
A | 9. The dispensation of the mystery (R.V.).
Vitally connected with the “mystery of Christ,” which involves His ascension far above all principalities and powers, is the mystery of the present dispensation, which gives us the standing and hope of believers now. Eph. iii. 6 contains a condensed summary of the essential elements of the “dispensation of the grace of God,” the “dispensation of the mystery” given to Paul.
Those who have access to the original will not have failed to observe the threefold repetition of the little word sun, meaning “together with.” “That the Gentiles should be heirs together, and a body together, and partakers together of His promises in Christ through the gospel.” One has only to read such passages as Rom. xi. 24, 25; Isa. lxi. 5, 6, &c., to see that Eph. iii. 6 introduced something entirely new. It was no secret that the
Gentiles should be blessed through Christ, but nowhere in the pages of the Old Testament Scriptures is there anything to lead us to believe that a dispensation was reserved by God in which He would bless Gentiles in entire independence of Israel, and bless them together with any Jewish believers on an entirely equal footing, absolutely ignoring all distinctions of circumcision or uncircumcision, dispensing His favours in pure grace, and lifting the whole sphere above the distinctions of flesh or earth to the possession of spiritual blessings in heavenly places, in harmony with a choice and a promise that was made before the disruption of this world’s system—a promise made before the age-times.
Eph. iii. 2-9.
2. If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
3. How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
4. Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5. Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
6. That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
7. Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8. Unto me, 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;
9. And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
Rom. xi.
Isa. lxi.
24. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
25. For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

5. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
6. But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.
Berean Expositor Volume 1
Some differences between the dispensation before Acts xxviii. and that which followed.
“When that which is PERFECT is come, then
that which is PARTIAL shall be done away” (I Cor. xiii. 10).
pp. 25-29
In our preceding articles we have been considering various passages of Scripture which tend to show that the present dispensation began when Israel was set aside by the apostle Paul in Acts xxviii., and the Gentiles became peculiarly the objects of grace. In this article we shall endeavour further to demonstrate the difference between the earlier epistles written before Acts xxviii. and those written later. We first of all call attention to the testimony of the inclusion and exclusion of certain words. Christ is never referred to as “Shepherd” by the apostle Paul, and after Acts xxviii. the Lord’s people are not called a “flock,” or referred to as “sheep,” whilst in the Gospels, Acts, Hebrews, and Peter all these titles are used. Israel were, and will yet be, “the sheep of His pasture.”
The following list speaks for itself, the Holy Spirit definitely keeping certain words and phrases within the bounds of the various dispensations.
Expression used.
Before Acts xxviii.
After Acts xxviii.
I & II Thess., I & II Cor., Gal., Romans
Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians.
I Tim., II Tim., Titus.
To baptize
Baptism (
baptisma) Lord’s Supper
The loaf (in connection with the Lord’s Supper) The cup (in connection with the Lord’s Supper) Gifts (charisma) (referring to “Gifts of the Spirit”) Miracles
Interpret, interpretation, interpreter Healing
To circumcise
\ As

/ Gifts. /
1 2 - - - - 2 - - - - - - - - - - 1 6
- - - - - - - - - - 2 - - - - - 2 - -
Many more could be added, but we feel that this list will be sufficient to make it clear that there is an appreciable difference between the economy obtaining from Pentecost to Acts xxviii., and that commencing at the close of Acts xxviii. and still continuing, which is called by Paul “The dispensation of the grace of God to you-ward” (Gentiles).
It will be remembered that in our last paper we found that in I Cor. xii. the one body was explained as being “partial,” in contrast with the “fulness” of Eph. i. 23. Upon examining this subject more closely we shall see that during the pentecostal or transitional period, the essential elements of the one body are found scattered through these earlier epistles, but not gathered together and invested with the new and full meaning, as is the case in Ephesians. The unity of the Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father. In this wonderful seven-fold unity the triune God is given His place.
In I Cor. xii. 4-6, in connection with the diversities, administrations, and operations of the gifts which formed the basis of the ecclesiastical body of I Cor. xii. 12-27, we read that it is the same Spirit, the same Lord, and the same God who worketh all in all. In verse 13 we read, “For by one Spirit are we baptized into one body.” In I Cor. viii. 6 we read, “Unto us one God, the Father. . . . and one Lord, Jesus Christ.” In I Cor. xiii. 13 we read, “And now abideth faith, hope, and love.” The words printed in italics are the seven wonderful components of the unity of the Spirit, not yet, however, brought together in order, nor invested with their higher meaning.
I Cor. xii.
4. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

12. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

14. For the body is not one member, but many.
15. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16. And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17. If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18. But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19. And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20. But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23. And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
25. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
Had the nation of Israel repented, and the kingdom would have come as a consequence, these passages would have exactly fitted the prophecy of Zech. xiv. 9, “And the Lord shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one.” As it is, the kingdom is in abeyance, and instead of one Lord being King, He is exalted as Head of the church, His body; not “over all the earth,” but “in the heavenlies,” for “earthly things” (John iii. 12) are connected with regeneration and the kingdom of Israel.
The one body of I Cor. xii. is essentially and inseparably connected with gifts. Such gifts as are there described are absent to-day, and it is as foolish to endeavour to regulate an assembly to-day by I Cor. xii., as it would be to try to navigate a sailing-ship with the regulations and orders suitable for a steamship.
“All these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will, for as the body is one and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also the Christ; for by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body. . . . and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
The fact that all had a gift is compared to a body having many and varied members, yet all composing one body. The words, “all made to drink into one Spirit,” refer to the promise of John vii. 38, 39:--
“He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water; but this He spake of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive, for the Holy Ghost was not yet (received), because that Jesus was not yet glorified” (compare Mark 16:14-20; Acts 2:33).
It seems hardly possible that an intelligent Christian should teach that “drinking into one Spirit” meant partaking of the Lord’s Supper, but we mention it here in order that any reader who may have received this interpretation may give the passage a prayerful and contextual re-consideration.
A question arising out of what we have been considering is, Does the term “The baptism of the Spirit” of the pentecostal dispensation mean the same as the baptism of Eph.4? We sometimes meet a Christian who tells us that he has “received the baptism of the Holy Ghost,” or that he is “praying for the second blessing.” “Second blessings” are delusions, resulting from undispensational views. The believers’ charter commences (Eph. i. 3) with the fact that God “hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings.” The book of the Acts gives us very clear data as to what the baptism of the Spirit meant in pentecostal times. Acts i. 5 and xi. 14-16 make it quite clear as to what the term refers:--
“And began to speak with other tongues” (Acts 2:1-4).
“When Simon
saw. . . . the Holy Ghost was given” (Acts 8:18). “They heard them speak with tongues” (Acts 10:44-46).
spake with tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:6).
Almost without exception miraculous gifts followed the baptism of the Spirit, but such is nowhere hinted in the epistles written after Acts xxviii. Ministering the spirit and working miracles is connected with justifying faith in Gal. iii. 5,6. Is it so now? The one
baptism of I Cor. xii. is essentially connected with miracles and supernatural gifts. Is it so now? Do members of the one body possess the power to prophesy, speak with tongues, take up serpents, and drink deadly things unhurt? Why not? Do Christians really believe the words to be true of themselves; “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover?”
The baptism of the Spirit in pentecostal times was subsequent to salvation, often by the space of days, weeks and months, whereas Eph. i. 13, 14 says that “we are sealed upon believing with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the earnest of our inheritance.” Eph. ii. 15, 16 links the one body with Calvary; “For to make in Himself of twain one new man.” “That He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross.” When the Holy Spirit quickens a dead sinner into life, He at the same moment links him for ever with Christ. This union with the risen Saviour makes the believer a member of the one body, and neither the laying on of hands can confer, nor the excommunication of men take away this blessed grace-given position. This difference between the baptism of the Spirit before and after Acts xxviii needs careful consideration. The one body of I Cor. xii was evidenced by “signs and wonders.” The unity of the Spirit is without any such evidence; it is among the things “not seen” yet “eternal,” which are seen by faith.
Some have made havoc of truth by the failure to realize that the one body of Eph. iv. is not the same as I Cor. xii. If we look for corporate unity on earth we shall be sadly disappointed, but if we obey the Word of truth, and “endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit,” we may expect blessing as a result.
Jn. iii. 12
If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
Acts i. 5 Acts xi.
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
14. Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.
15. And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
16. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
14. Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
15. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
19. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

20. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the Promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.