The most important book in the world is the Bible. The Bible is centered around the most important Person in the world, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is important because He is God manifested in the flesh. Christ came to reveal the purposes of God the Father. These purposes are written down in the Bible, thus revealing the mind of God.
The teachings of Christ are related to three different time periods—past, present, and future. He is God’s spokesman to the human race. We must notice the contents of each in order to understand the Bible.
I. THE PAST TEACHING OF CHRIST
The Lord Jesus was born under the Law of Moses (Galatians 4:4). When He ministered to Israel, and it was exclusively to them (Matthew 15:24), everything He did and said was according to this Law (Matthew 5:17). The Law of Moses was given to Israel some 1500 years earlier, and it regulated the whole life of the Jew as well as the Nation of Israel.
God’s good news to Israel was called the Gospel of the Kingdom. Various miracles attended its preaching, and remission of sins was by water baptism. The feast days, the various commandments, the many sabbaths were all part of the Jew’s religion which is called Judaism.
II. THE PRESENT TEACHING OF CHRIST
The ministry of Christ did not stop with His ascension in the first chapter of the book of Acts. Christians have failed to realize that when Saul is saved in Acts 9, a NEW ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ is begun by God, and this NEW ministry ushers in this present age of grace. Saul’s name is changed to Paul, and he is designated as the Apostle of the Gentiles (Romans 11:13). He is given revelations from the risen Christ, and these are the revelations embracing Christianity. Christianity presents:
1. A New Gospel—the Gospel of the grace of God. This gospel is completely separated from water baptism (1 Corinthians 1:17). This gospel presents faith in Christ as the only requirement for salvation (Romans 4:5; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 2:8,9).
2. A New Organism—the Body of Christ, the Church, composed of all believers saved by the grace of God in this present dispensation.
3. A New Body of Divine Truth—known as the Revelation of the Mystery (Romans 16:25). It was kept secret, hid in God until revealed to Paul. This is how Christ is to be presented today.
4. A New Period of Time—the Dispensation of the Grace of God, also known as the Dispensation of the Mystery (Ephesians 3:2,9). This is the Bible name for today’s age.
5. A New Apostle—Paul. He is our Apostle, not Peter nor John or any other. The authority of Christ for this age has been committed to Paul.
6. New Blessings—spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). This is according to the Mystery.
All of this truth came from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (Galatians 1:11,12), and Paul was chosen by Him to write down His revelation TO US in his epistles. This body of truth is complete in itself. There are hundreds of commandments contained in Christianity to guide Christians in their lives. And only in Paul’s writings do we find that the entire Law of Moses, the past teaching for Israel, has been ABOLISHED by Christ on the Cross (Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14).
III. THE FUTURE TEACHING OF CHRIST
The Book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible, is the teaching of Christ concerning the future of Israel and the world. The events in this book will begin AFTER this present age is brought to a close at the Rapture of the Church, the Body of Christ. The bulk of the book contains the judgments of God upon the human race because of unbelief. All the rebels against God will be purged out beginning with Israel and reaching to all the Gentiles. Christ revealed this to the Apostle John (Revelation 1:1,2). The book closes with the new heavens and new earth of Isaiah 66:22, and prophecy will have been fulfilled.
POPULAR ERRORS CONCERNING THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST
Much error has been propagated in respect to the teachings of Christ. This has caused a lack of Bible study and has made the visible church a weak witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of these errors are:
1. The idea of a Judeo-Christian heritage. Christianity is not an outgrowth of Judaism. Christianity is entirely separate from Judaism.
2. The idea that Christ preached Christianity to Israel. This is utterly false. He preached Judaism to His earthly people.
3. The idea that the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John present Christianity because they deal with the earthly life of Christ.
4. The idea of only one gospel in the Bible. The Bible never states there is only one gospel. The Gospel of the grace of God is far different than the Gospel of the Kingdom. Those that preach the Gospel of the Kingdom are misleading the public, for they are really preaching Judaism rather than Christianity. See Galatians 2:7.
5. The idea of resurrecting the Law of Moses and forcing it on the Gentiles as a way of life.
6. The idea that being Pauline in doctrine and practice is an extreme interpretation. Many times Paul told the early Gentile believers to follow him (1 Corinthians 4:16; 11:1; Philippians 3:17). Following Paul is following Christ.
7. The idea that we are to follow Christ in His earthly life. Paul plainly stated that we are not to know Him after the flesh (2 Corinthians 5:16). This would be glorying in the flesh (1 Corinthians 1:29).
8. The idea that Law and Grace can be mixed together and make believers strong in the Lord.
9. The idea that the Bible only presents the eternal, changeless principles of God. Some of God’s principles have changed, and this makes all the difference in the world.
10. The idea that Judaism and Christianity are to be harmonized into one religion.
The only way revival can come is to get back to Pauline truth. This happened in the past, Martin Luther being the prime example as he saw the light on Paul’s presentation of justification by faith alone in Christ.
If your pastor is not preaching the Lord Jesus Christ according to the Revelation of the Mystery, he is not preaching God’s truth for today.
All the world is going to be judged by Paul’s gospel (Romans 2:16), and you better make sure you have been saved by CHRIST ALONE or you will have no hope of spending eternity with Him.
Christian friend, you better believe what God has revealed to the Apostle Paul before you go to be with Him or you will suffer for it at the judgment seat of Christ. If you have to change your mind about some interpretations as being Bible truths, you will profit immensely by it. Don’t let a closed mind and attitude keep you from enjoying the spiritual blessings of Christianity found in Paul’s writings.