Category Archives: Apostle Paul

The Spiritual Order of Paul’s Church Epistles – William R. Newell 1918

 We believe that the order of arrangement of Paul’s Epistles to the Churches was Divinely established; and that there is a progress of spiritual experience from

Romans to II Thessalonians

ROMANS: Righteousness without Works

In Romans, man is shown without righteousness: “There is none righteous, no, not one.” This involves man’s fundamental relation to God. Christ is set forth a propitiation, and by His death releasing man from the necessity of a righteousness and holiness of his own. Christ becomes his righteousness, and a believer has the witness of the Spirit that he is God’s child.

I CORINTHIANS: Wisdom without Education

 In I Corinthians the subject is wisdom. The words “wisdom” and “wise” occur in the first four chapters twenty-five times, and the words “foolish” and “foolishness” some eight times! The wisdom of the world is “foolishness,” – therefore God’s “wisdom” is revealed (2:6-16). In 1:30 we are seen as of God – we that are in Christ Jesus who was “made unto us wisdom from God;” which indeed includes “Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption” but Christ is looked at as our Wisdom. Indeed, in 2:16, “We have the mind of Christ.”

 II CORINTHIANS: Power without Strength

In II Corinthians we find Christ our sufficiency. The key verses here are 12:9-10: “When I am weak then am I strong,” and, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Many believers never find that God alone is their strength along every line. Paul found it! (Read 1:8-10).

 We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us (4:7-11).  Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day (4:16). Our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus (7:5-6).

Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (12:9).

GALATIANS: Perfecting Without Religion

The Galatians are seeking to be perfected, but it is by turning back to religion, by observing “days, and months, and times, and years” (4:10-11).  “Are ye so foolish, having begun in the Spirit, are ye now perfected in the flesh?” (3:3). But Paul goes clear back to Romans six truth, and testifies to these Galatians,

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me (2:20).  He goes back to the truth of II Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

There he sets before us the proper rule of life of the believer in words which completely set aside “religious life,” whether Jewish, Romish, or Protestant. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God (6:15-16).

 EPHESIANS: Men on Earth Seated in the Heavenlies

 In Ephesians the marvelous secret is opened out by which all true believers in Christ Jesus are made alive with the raised and glorified Christ – raised up with Him and made to sit in the heavenlies (no longer in the earthlies as were Israel) and made indeed to become the fullness of Christ our Head, Who fills all in all.

 PHILIPPIANS: A Sample Believer Runs the Course

 In Philippians we see Paul as a sample believer of all these glorious truths, running the wonderful “course” toward that coming “day of Christ” (1:6, 10)! Saying, as he runs, “To me to live is Christ” (1:21); exhorting, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (2:5-8); crying, as he runs, I count all things to be 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 from God by faith; that I may know Him, the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings, becoming conformed unto His death. I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus … I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded … For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven … I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me … My God shall supply all your need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Chapter 3, entire; 4:13, 19). Paul’s word in 3:17, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample,” is the key of Philippians. By the grace of God certainly, but none the less true, Paul was enabled to run the Christian race in all its fullness!

 COLOSSIANS: Heavenly Men on Earth Filled with His Fullness

 In Colossians we see heavenly men on earth – yet holding fast the Head in heaven, and becoming filled with His fullness. All the fullness of God dwells bodily in Christ, with Whom believers’ lives are hid in God, and Christ becomes the object of all the believer’s thoughts and affections. Since you are raised together with Christ, Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God (3:2-3).

 The believer is content not to be known or manifested until the glory of Christ comes. Four desperate foes oppose this mystery of faith of holding fast the Head in heaven while walking on earth: beguilement through enticing words; philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men; the ritual observance of outward ordinances and holy days; the worshipping of angels (2:4, 8, 16, 18).

 I & II THESSALONIANS: The Believer’s Blessed Hope

In I and II Thessalonians Paul gives us the believer’s hope – the personal return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord! Wherefore comfort one another with these words (4:16-18).

 The believer who knows himself righteous (Romans), having the mind of Christ (I Corinthians), who has learned to glory in his weakness (II Corinthians), and to walk by the rule of the new creation, knowing that he was crucified with Christ, Who is now living in Him (Galatians), and who sees with Spirit-enlightened eyes the heavenly character and calling of the Church (Ephesians), and is becoming a follower of Paul in the race – running the course unto Christ – “the day of Christ” (Philippians), who is holding fast the Head, paying no attention to those who would delude him with persuasiveness of speech and make a spoil of him through “philosophy” and would judge us in “religious” things or rob us of our prize by turning us to a self-humility that fails to hold fast the Head (Colossians): such a believer is ready indeed for the blessed hope of our Lord Jesus Christ’s return (I & II Thessalonians)! (1918)

Pattern of our Salvation …

By Stewart Topping …

Timothy 1:12-17 (KJV) 12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; 13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. 17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

This week let’s take apart this portion of scripture; I have highlighted the three key areas I want to discuss.  We know the letter was written to Timothy, who was a young preacher. This is the first letter of three letters that are called the Pastoral Epistles that were written to establish the basics of the early Christian Church.  I think the most important thing for Paul would be to establish salvation.

How to receive it, conditions, etc.  Remember you cannot build the Body of Christ, the spiritual body, without having the cornerstone of faith is Jesus.

Here are the 3 key areas of Paul’s message in 1 Tim. 1:12-17.

1. for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry Who was before a blasphemer, and a, persecutor and injurious but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
2.  Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
3.  that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long suffering for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

Paul will use himself as example for a really good reason.  First Paul did not consider himself to be worthy to be in Ministry or even to be saved, because of who he was and what he had done in the past.  He considered himself to be unworthy and on his way to Hell. I went to the dictionary to get clear definition of these words, after looking them up, here is what I found.

This explained who Paul was during the time he persecuted believers.  These believers were Jewish believers with faith in the name of Jesus and still practicing the law.

  • Blasphemer: To speak of (God or a sacred entity) in an irreverent, impious manner.
  • Persecutor:  To oppress or harass with ill-treatment, especially because of race, religion, gender, beliefs.
  • Injurious:  Causing or tending to cause injury

We do know that Jesus came into the world to save sinners; He was the prophecy of the Old testament from the time of Adam till the end of the Gospels;  Genesis 3:15 (NKJV) 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”Until the death of Jesus on the cross;1 Thessalonians 5:9 (GW) 9 It was not God’s intention that we experience his anger but that we obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The thing that is important about Paul’s message is how Paul’s conversion is the center of our faith in Jesus.

Paul was allowed to receive through Grace his salvation because he was ignorant in his unbelief. Paul says in; 1 Timothy 1:16 (NKJV) 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.

In me first Paul says … Paul was the first converted with the new message of believing in the Death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  He became a pattern to those that believe.  We are to continue to use the same pattern concerning salvation.  When you build a house you make a pattern to cut the first stud.  If you change and use one that was cut from the pattern then it may change the length but if you use the pattern for the cutting of all the studs then all of them will be the same length.

If a woman was to make 5 dresses she would make a pattern and proceed to cut five dresses from the same pattern, this way all dress would be identical.  If she used one cut from anything other than the pattern it would not be identical. That’s why it is important to receive your salvation from the one who is the pattern for our salvation.

Paul made it very clear in; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (NKJV) 1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

If Paul is the pattern for our salvation and he says in 1 Cor. 15; 1-4 that his gospel (good news) by which you are to be saved is to believe in the Death, Burial and resurrection of Jesus. Then that is the way we must believe.  This is why we have so many different ways to heaven, people use different Pattern for how we are to be saved. We want to make peace with God; we should expect God to provide a way of salvation and a clear path to that salvation.  Paul was a committed man in his belief towards God, but it was wrong.  God did not hold it against him because he was ignorant in his belief.

So now Paul is the Pattern of someone who received salvation from God because now his belief is correct.

Paul gives us the understanding to how we must believe in God’s salvation. First we must believe that God is.

Think on this verse.  Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. What is the reward?

1.       Peace with God.
2.       Salvation.
3.       Receiving the Holy Spirit, seal of God’s promise.

Prophecy and the Mystery

By Stewart Topping …

All prophecy is for Israel except in a few cases.  The first prophecy was after Adam and Eve had sinned in the garden.  Genesis 3:15 (KJV) 15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.  This prophecy has been for filled by the death of Jesus.

Only a few chapters later the next prophecy for Israel, was given to Abraham.  Genesis 17:2 (KJV) 2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. This linage was very important in order to preserve the blood for Jesus.  The Law which was given to Moses was to provide teaching to the now Nation of Israel to be trained in the Law. Romans 7:7 (KJV)  What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

The Law was only a schoolmaster, no one could live by the Law.  The Law was to prove that the Nation of Israel needed a savior.

Galatians 3:24-25 (KJV) 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

So what else has Paul said concerning the law; Romans 6:14 (KJV) 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.   Believes are not under the Law but under Grace.  If you are under grace then you have believed the following;

1 Corinthians 15:1-3 (KJV) 1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:  this according to the scriptures is prophecy for Israel.

Isaiah 53:5-12 – He was cut off out of the land of the living (v8), his soul was made an offering for sin (v10), he poured out his soul unto death (v12). This was fulfilled in Jesus’ death according to Acts 8:32-35; Luke 22:37.

What did Jesus say: Matthew 10:5-6 (KJV) 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: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Why did Jesus say this;

1. John 1:17 (KJV) 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
2. Matthew 15:24 (KJV) 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
3. Matthew 5:17 (KJV) 7 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

Now let us take what Jesus said as the truth, He was sent by God to Israel to fulfill the prophecy concerning the Law, and the Law only.  He didn’t want to destroy it.  Well how do we know he fulfilled it.

John 19:30 (KJV) 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

He said it is finished because he had fulfilled the law.  This is why after Israel refused Jesus as Christ and King, Paul was given the Mystery, which stated the dispensation of Grace. Grace does not require anything of the Law, because the Law died with the death of Jesus.  It was like the wages of sin has been collected and paid for with the death of Jesus.   The age of grace started the “Body of Christ”.

Romans 6:23 (KJV) 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God iseternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Mystery is something that Paul revealed; Him is Jesus and my Gospel is Paul

Romans 16:25 (KJV) 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,

Look over the following list of Prophecy and the Mystery.

Prophecy

1. Concerns a kingdom; a political organization (Dan. 2:44; Matt. 6:10).

2. The kingdom to be established on earth(Jer. 23:5; Matt. 6:10).

3. Christ to be its King (Jer. 23:5; Isa. 9:6, 7).

4. The kingdom prophesied “since the world began” (Luke 1:68-70; Acts 3:21).

5. Israel to be given supremacy over the nations (Isa. 60:10-12; 61:6).

6. The Gentiles to be blessed through Israel’s instrumentality (Gen. 22:17, 18; Zech. 8:13).

7. The Gentiles to be blessed through Israel’s rise (Isa. 60:1-3; Zech. 8:22, 23).

8. Prophecy mainly concerns nations as such (Isa. 2:4; Ezek. 37:21, 22).

9. Prophecy concerns blessings, both material and spiritual, on earth (Isa. 2:3, 4; 11:1-9; etc.).

10. Prophecy concerns Christ’s coming to the earth (Isa. 59:20; Zech. 14:4).

11. In prophecy salvation by grace through faith alone is not contemplated.

12. The proclamation of the prophetic program com- mitted particularly tothe twelve (Matt. 10:5-7; Acts 1:6-8; 3:19-26).

13. The prophetic program revealed through many of God’s servants (Luke 1:70; II Pet. 1:21).

14. Old testament writers frequently did not under- stand the prophecies made known through them (Dan. 12:8-10; I Pet. 1:10-12).

The Mystery

1. Concerns a body; a living organism  (I Cor. 12:12,27; Eph. 4:12-16).

2. The body given a position in heaven (Eph. 1:3; 2:5-6; Col. 3:1-3).

3. Christ its living Head (Eph. 1:19-23; Col. 1:18).

4. The body chosen in Christ before the world be- gan, but “kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 1:4-11; 3:5-9).

5. Jew and Gentile placed on the same level before god (Rom. 10:12; 11:32; Eph. 2:16,17).

6. The Gentiles blessed through Israel’s obstinacy (Acts 13:44-46; Rom. 11:28-32).

7. The Gentiles blessed through Israel’s fall (Acts 28:27,28; Rom. 11:11,12,15).

8. The mystery concerns individuals (Rom. 10:12,13; II Cor. 5:14-17).

9. The mystery concerns “all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies” (Eph. 1:3; Col. 3:1-3).

10. The mystery explains Christ’s present absence from the earth (Eph. 1:20-23; Col. 3:1-3).

11. Salvation by grace through faith alone lies at the very heart of the mystery (rom. 3:21-26; 4:5; Eph. 2:8,9).

12. The proclamation of the mystery committed par- ticularly to Paul (Eph. 3:1-3,8,9; Col. 1:24-27).

13. The mystery revealed through one man: Paul (Gal. 1:1,11,12; 2:2,7,9; Eph. 3:2,3).

14. Paul both understood and longed that others might understand the mystery revealed through him (Eph. 1:15-23; 3:14-21;
Col. 1:9-10; 2:1-3).

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What is the Mystery Paul revealed?

By Stewart Topping …

All of us should understand the mystery that the scriptures talk about and to know why it is important to us as believers in Jesus Christ.  Don’t believe people or any Religion when they tell you no one knows the Mystery.  Look at what the apostle Paul said in Romans;

Romans 11:25 (KJV)  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 fullness of the Gentiles be come in.

He is telling us that we should not be ignorant of the Mystery.  Some Churches today will tell you that no one can know the Mysteries of God.  I am sure they never looked for it or studied the Bible.  It is clear as a window pane.  If you study and ask for God to help you understand; He will answer you!

It’s kind of funny what Paul is saying in this scripture; you should not be ignorant of the mystery; why because we may be wise in our own conceits.  Is it possible that conceit means we know it all?  Tough words for us to swallow, we need to read and take heed; because it will change our lives if we understand the Mystery. What we need to do is study and study; remember this verse;

2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) 15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

The words rightly dividing mean to separate not understanding.  So he is telling us to separate the word of truth.  God has different missions during history that he has planned in order to reach the people he created; these are called dispensations.  We live in the “Dispensation of Grace”.

The Jewish Nation had been trained for approx. 1500 years to expect the messiah.  Then when He comes on the scene what do they do, they put Him on the cross to die.  Why would you bring the message of the Law as the gospel when the Law was already fulfilled in Jesus?  You would bring the massage of the cross, the death, burial and resurrection.  We must understand the revelation that Jesus gave Paul for us.   Listen to what Paul said;

Ephesians 3:1-6 (KJV) 1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 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;

The nation of Israel lived in the Dispensation of the Law.  That required them to followl the Law that was given to Moses and then taught to the Children of Israel for them to follow.  What was the bases of the Law; the coming Messiah.  So when the Messiah then the the age of the Law ended.  We are not living in the same period.  Here are the 7 Dispensations or the Age; they are listed on the column on the right or for more detail go here >>.

Another important part of Romans 11:25 is the section that says that blindness has come upon Israel.  Why would God blind Israel?  This was spoken by the Prophet Esaias (Isaiah).  This is considered the reason that started the change in dispensations from the Jews to the Gentiles.

After the rapture God’s plan is to go back to the Jewish Nation with the final dispensation The age of Christ, which includes the 7 years of Tribulation and then the 1000 years of the Millennium where Jesus Christ, the King of the Jews will reign.

Acts 28:25-29 (KJV) 25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spoke  the Holy Ghost by Esaias (Isaiah) the prophet unto our fathers, 26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: 27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. 29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.

You can see that Israel was waxed gross and dull of hearing and their eyes closed.  Maybe they had already blinded themselves by their own conceit.  They read the scripture every day and in Chapter 53 of Isaiah which was the most read; but they still did not hear or see.   Rightly dividing means to rightly divide the way God would talk to us today; not through the Law but by His Spirit. Now here Paul is telling us that he was given the dispensation of Grace for us. We are in the Dispensation of Grace now.  Let’s look more into what Paul said:

Ephesians 3:2 (NKJV) 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you,

Since Paul is our teacher and because Jesus gave Paul the new program after Jesus rose from the grave. His message is for us today, for the Body of Christ.  The Dispensation of the Law was given by God for the Jewish Nation only.

Abraham was chosen to start a new nation dedicated to God because the human race had turned from God and no one was listening.  Act 28: 25-29}

Now let’s look at how we can join the “Body of Christ”, during the Dispensation of Grace.  The following verse says by one spirit; the Holy Spirit.  We are many members but one body.  We are baptized into the Body of Christ not by water baptism but baptism by the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 (KJV) 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.

We must realize that we become part of the Body of Christ when we are filled with the Holy Spirit and from that time forward we are not called Jews or Gentiles anymore.  Why, because God has started a new dispensation, the dispensation of grace.  In the next few weeks we will look at what makes up the new dispensation, “The Body of Christ”, and why Paul was given the Mystery.


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