Rightly Dividing the New Testament – II Timothy 2:15 – Part 2

Summary:

Most Christians wrongly divide the word (IITim.2:15) by saying, “The Old Testament is for the Jews, the New Testament is for us.” But much of the New Testament is for the Jews too! Matthew 1:21 says the Lord would save “His people” in Israel (Lu.2:32) from “their” sins. Not until Paul do we read He’d save all sinners (ITim.1:15). So divide the Bible between Paul’s epistles and the rest of the Bible!

In Matthew, not even the Lord Himself said He’d die for all sinners (Mt.20:28), and that didn’t change at Pentecost (Acts 5:30,31). That shows that even in the fifth book of the New Testament nothing changed from the Old Testament (Isa.53: 8). Nothing changed until Paul (ITim.2:6). God always intended to save all men, but no one “testified” of that till Paul. That’s why he’s “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Rom.11:13).

The next verse in Matthew that shows it was written to Jews is Matthew 3:1,2. The “kingdom” John preached was the one Daniel predicted Christ would set up on earth after defeating the kingdoms of men (Dan.2:44). John said it was “at hand” 2,000 years ago, but it didn’t come because the Jews rejected their kingdom when they rejected their King. But that kingdom was for Israel anyway (Acts 1:6), not us.

Unless you realize that, you’re going to think like Jehovah’s Witnesses think, that that kingdom is where you’ll live eternally. Your apostle Paul says that instead, God will “change” your physical body so it can live in heaven (ICor.15:50-52). That change will come at the Rapture (Phil.3:20,21), when your body will be made like unto the Lord’s resurrection body, so it can do the things His body could do, like ascend to heaven on its own power (Eph.4:7-10)!

Matthew also teaches water baptism (Mt.3:5,6). We know this was a Jewish ordinance because the Pharisees didn’t ask John what he was doing, as if he were doing something new. They asked him why he was doing it (John 1:24). They knew what he was doing, for they baptized their priests (Ex.29:4). They asked him why he was baptizing if he wasn’t Christ because they knew their Messiah would someday come and baptize all Jews to make them “a kingdom of priests” in the kingdom of heaven (Ex.19:6). But you won’t be a priest in that kingdom, so you don’t need to be baptized with water.

The healing found in Matthew 6:23 was also for Jews, for priests couldn’t be lame or blind, etc. (Lev.21:17-21). No one today can heal “everyone” like Peter did (Acts 5:16), so we know God’s not giving men the gift of healing. You may want to be healed, but God wants you to know that His grace is sufficient for you in times of infirmity (IICor.12:8,9).

Matthew also says to pray “Thy kingdom come” (Mt.6:10), but we should pray “Thy church go in the Rapture!” Matthew says to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (v.11) but they were heading into the Tribulation that would have come if the dispensation of grace hadn’t interrupted God’s prophecies, and they’ll need daily bread when they can’t buy it (Rev.13:17). God will send them the daily bread of manna (Mic.7:14,15). That’s why Matthew records the Lord as saying to “take no thought” about your next meal (Mt.6:28); but you have to take a lot of thought about it (IIThes.3:10-12).

Matthew says you have to forgive others to be forgiven by God (Mt.6:12-15), despite the unforgivable things that will be done to believers by the beast in the Tribulation. They will have to forgive Antichrist’s government and submit to it because the beast will be a chastening tool in God’s hand, so to resist his government will be to resist the powers that be that are ordained of God. But forgiveness is a work, it is something you can “do” (Mark 11:26), and salvation today is “not by works” (Titus 3:5), it’s by “the washing of regeneration.” Our apostle says we should forgive others because we’ve already been forgiven by grace (Eph.4:32). That calls for “rightly dividing the word of truth!”

The Anniversary of a Church – 2 Kings 22:1-17

 

Summary:

Israel’s high priest Hilkiah was looking for money in the temple to pay the men repairing the temple (22:1-7) when he found a Bible (v.8). He read it, then read it to Israel’s king (v.9,10). Calling it “a” book suggests he didn’t know what it was. That means Israel’s priests must have stopped reading the Bible to all Israel every 7 years as Moses said (Deut.31:9-12), and that led to neglecting it altogether.

When King Josiah tore his clothes after hearing the Bible read (II Ki.22:11), that suggests that he’d never read it before either. That means the kings before him had stopped reading it every day as Moses told them to do (Deut.17:14-19), and that too led to neglecting it altogether. If pastors disobey I Timothy 4:13, the Bible may be lost to us as well.

Josiah rent his clothes because he’d just heard the Bible say that God would punish Israel in some very specific ways if they disobeyed Him, and when he looked around, he saw those specific punishments, and knew that God was judging them. We’re not under the law that said God would punish His people for disobedience (Rom.6:14), so even if you do see the specific judgments of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 in your life, or in your land, you can know that God is not judging you. You’ll still reap what you sow (Gal.6:7), but that’s just the natural consequence of your sin.

The king sent men to ask the prophetess Huldah about what he’d heard in the Bible (IIKi.22:12-14). She told the king that God was about to send even more punishment (v.15,16), because they were worshipping other gods (v.17).

Christians today do too! Many of our Pentecostal brethren worship tongues, many of our Baptist brethren worship baptism, and 7th Day Adventists worship the sabbath. But the worst idolatry is found among grace believers, many of whom worship the grace message. If you don’t agree with

them on every detail of the grace message, they judge you.

For example, church anniversaries are observances of a church’s birthday, and every time birthdays are mentioned in the Bible, someone dies (Gen.40:20-22; Mt.14:6,10). So some grace believers don’t observe birthdays. Paul is on neither side in this issue (Rom.14:5).

Paul also doesn’t care if you eat meat or herbs (14:1,2). God told Adam to eat herbs (Gen.1:29), but later told Noah he could eat meat (9:3), so we know we can eat “all things” too (Rom.14:2). But Paul adds not to “judge” or “despise” brethren who feel differently about this (14:3).

When grace believers do judge or despise one another over these issues, they are judging “another man’s servant” (14:4), for our brethren in Christ are all His servants. He will judge us at the Judgment Seat of Christ (14:10). If we judge one another in the meantime, we are virtually pushing Him off His judge’s bench and saying, “I got this. I can do a better job of judging my brethren than You can.” You wouldn’t do that at the Judgment Seat of Christ, so don’t do it now!

God is able to make that brother “stand” in that day (14:4). Grace believers often think—and sometimes say to other Christians—“Just wait until we stand before the Lord. He’ll straighten you out, and then you’ll believe as I do!” But Paul says “he shall be holden up” by God in that day, not you.

That’s because no matter what your position is when it comes to issues like this, God is on the side of grace—and we should be too! We’re all smiles when we read Romans 1-13 where we learn how gracious God has been to us. Our smiles sometimes fade though when we read Chapter 14, where God says to be as gracious to others as He’s been to us! But if you miss that point, you miss the point of the Book of Romans, for you miss the culmination of Romans in Chapter 14. And you missed the point of the grace message.

Joshua Gives a History Lesson – Joshua 24:1-33

 

Summary:

Joshua began to rehearse Israel’s history in Shechem, for that’s where the nation got started. It’s the spot where the father of Israel first entered Canaan (Gen.12:1-5). So this history lesson marked a fresh start, a chance to begin again after all their rebellion against God, and this time get it right.

Abraham’s kindred worshipped other gods (Josh.24:2), so God called him away from them (v.3cf.Gen.12:1,2). God chose him to make this fresh start after the tower of Babel (Gen.11) because he had a faithful heart (Neh.9:7,8), a heart like David’s (Acts 13:21,22), that never messed with idols. No wonder God called Abraham to make this fresh start! And now, 500 years later, God was making another fresh start with Abraham’s seed in Shechem, the place where Abraham got his fresh start. God gave him Isaac (Josh.24:4), but Isaac let his wife worship idols (Gen.31:19). Then they went to Egypt (Gen.24:4) and were surrounded by idols.

After “a long season” (Josh.24:6,7) of 40 years in the wilder-ness, you’d think they’d forsake idolatry, but no (Ex.32:3,4). God wanted to kill them all for this and make another fresh start with Moses (Ex.32:10). He was testing Moses to see if he remembered that He’d promised to make a fresh start with Abraham, and Moses passed. So Israel remained God’s people, and He fought for them (Josh.24:8-10). When Balaam couldn’t curse Israel, he taught Balak how to curse them by enticing Jewish men to worship his pagan women, and Jews were soon worshipping their gods. God slew 24,000 of them because of it, and only Phinehas stopped Him from killing them all (Num.25:1-10). God continued to fight for Israel when they got to the Promised Land (Josh.24:11-13).

Once in the land, you’d think they’d finally be free of idolatry, but Joshua wouldn’t have had to tell them to forsake their idols if they had (Josh.24:14). And there was no better place to bury their idols and make a fresh start than in Shechem,

where Isaac buried his wife’s idols & all others (Gen.35:4).

The Jews swore they could serve God (Josh.24:15-18), but Joshua kept telling them they couldn’t (v.19), because to serve God you had to keep His commandments (Josh.22:5; IKi.9:6,7) perfectly (James 2:10,11) or be cursed (Gal.3:10).

When Moses gave the law, the Jews said they could keep it (Ex.24:3). God let them try—and they failed! Joshua tried to get his Jews to admit they couldn’t serve God by keeping it by pointing out they couldn’t get past the very first commandment (Josh. 24:20 cf. Ex.20;2,3). They ignored their history and so were doomed to repeat it. It didn’t take long (Judges 2:11,13). Even after 70 years in captivity, we know the Jews still thought they could keep the law, for they were “cursed” when they agreed to it again (Neh.10:29). Here in Joshua 24, they insisted they could keep it (24:21-23).

The law was a covenant, a contract that required “witnesses” (24:22), like Moses had when he gave the law (Deut. 31:12-26). God told them to incline their heart to Him (Josh. 24:23), knowing they didn’t have a heart in them that could (Deut.5:27-29). God later told them to make themselves a new heart (Ezek.18:31), knowing He’d have to do it for them in the kingdom (36:26,27). That’s the fresh start that’ll stick!

Moses gave the law in the beginning of his rule to see if they could keep it, then again at the end of it after they proved they couldn’t. Joshua gave it in Joshua 8 to see if they could keep it, then here after they proved they couldn’t. God gave it in the Old Testament to see if they could keep it, and will give it again in the kingdom with the power to do it.

Joshua ends by talking about Joseph (Josh.24:32) because Joshua and Joseph were types of Christ. Both died at 110 (Josh.24:29 cf. Gen.50:26). Joshua was Israel’s savior, Joseph was the world’s savior. Eleazar (Josh.24:33) was to Joshua what Aaron was to Moses. Moses and Joshua were lawgivers, Aaron & Eleazar saved them from the law’s curse

Joshua Addresses Israel’s Congress – Joshua 23:1-16

 

Summary:

Joshua called for a meeting of Israel’s leaders (23:1,2), reminded them of how good God had been to them (v.3-5), and told them that “therefore” they should have the “courage” to obey God and not turn to the right or to the left(v.6).

That’s a Bible idiom similar to making a beeline. Bees move right and left to gather nectar, but once they are full, they make a beeline for the hive. And once you know how spiritually full God made you in Christ, it’s easier to serve Him without turning to the right or left to the world’s temptations.

It’s natural not to make a beeline, but God can overcome what comes natural, as he did when the Philistines stole the ark. God cursed them with hemorrhoids, but they weren’t sure if God was judging them. So they hooked two cows to a cart, put the ark on it, and locked their calves up. They knew the cows would naturally stick around to nurse them. They learned He was judging them when instead He over-came their natures (cf.Isa.11:6,7) and the cows took the ark home without turning right or left (ISam.6:12). And God can overcome your sinful nature to serve Him as well.

God particularly wanted the Jews to serve Him by steering clear of pagans (Josh.23:7), because that led to worshipping their gods. The best way to do that was to not even “mention” their names. I know Christians say you should learn about Allah to witness to Muslims, but God told the Jews not to learn how the heathen worshipped (Deut.12:30)—or even mention their gods (Ex.23:13;Ps.16:4). Christians won’t stop, but God will stop them in the kingdom (Hos.2:17).

You see, when God remarries Israel (Rev.19:7,8), He isn’t going to want to hear the names of His wife’s former lovers any more than any husband would, and we see this forbid-ding of mentioning their names typified here. You needn’t read the Book of Mormon to know how to witness to a Mormon. If you have a Bible, you have everything you need to do that good work (IITim.3:16,17). God wants you “simple” concerning the evil in religious books (Rom.16:17).

Joshua told them not to “swear by” those gods (23:7) because men “swear by the greater” (Heb.6:16). So if they swore by Baal to convince a pagan something was true, they’d be admitting Baal was greater than God. That sometimes led to forsaking God completely (Jer.5:7), but it usually led to sinfully worshipping both (Zeph.1:4,5). This could be avoided if they’d “come not” at pagan women (Josh.23:7), i.e., marry them (cf.Ex.19:15), and instead, “cleave” to God (Josh.23:8cf.Gen.2:24;Deut.10:20).

To motivate them to cleave to God, Joshua warned them that God will punish them if they don’t (Josh.23:9-13). When verse 12 says not to “go in unto” their women, that’s another warning not to marry them (cf.Ruth 4:13). The wisest man in the world disobeyed this warning and paid the price (IKi.11:1-5). If you marry someone who worships false gods, when you’re “old” like Solomon, you’ll end up worshipping Allah, or Buddha—or more subtle gods, like the god of materialism. If “covetousness…is idolatry” (Col.3:5), then materialism is a religion you want to avoid too. You may never literally sacrifice your children to materialism (cf.Ps. 106:34-39), but letting them grow up as materialistic as your unsaved spouse condemns them to the slow death of a lifetime of covetousness.

To further motivate his people, Joshua reminds them that not one good thing of all God promised to give them had failed (Josh.23:14cf.21:43). But they were under the law that said God would curse them if they disobeyed Him (Lev.26), so Joshua ends with a warning about that (Josh.23:15,16). But under grace, all God’s promises are unconditional (IICor.1: 20). Paul promised to return to Corinth but couldn’t, so they said he took his promises lightly. Paul used that to say that the Lord will keep His promise to return for us, and not one good thing of all He’s promised us will fail in heaven!