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All Scripture Is Profitable,

 

But not all Biblical directives and practices apply to Christians... God has always had a program (call it a "policies and procedures directive") for individuals, and He also has a "directive" for two "Corporate entities"---namely the nation of Israel and the Church, The Body of Christ.

 

God has always had a method for individuals to become rightly related to Him (Call it declared righteous, being saved, establishing peace with God). This method has always consisted of believing God (or, stated another way, exercising faith in God's Word). The ultimate object of this faith (even if not understood by "early man") has always been Jesus Christ--either in anticipation of His blood sacrifice or in acknowledgment of His perfect sacrifice. (Hebrews 10:14) The result is always the same--the gift of eternal life with God. (John 3:16).

 

After a person has been declared righteous (justified), their walk (sanctification) is also based upon faith. Stated on a practical level, a person can't do anything (works)
to get saved, and can't do anything (legalism) after they are saved to improve their standing before God. A believer's walk is made effective when the believer dies to
self and sin (his natural, sinful life)/is crucified and he is resurrected with Christ residing with Christ in the heavenlies. (Ephesians 2:6) All of this is possible only when
one exercises faith that they were dead spiritually but are now risen in the power of Christ alive spiritually in Christ, their source of eternal life. (Colossians 3:1-4).

 

God has a historic program for the nation of Israel (made up of the Jewish people) and for the Church (Bride of Christ, made up of believing Jews and Gentiles)--the two corporate entities in His master plan. Israel is an earthly people, and the Church is a heavenly people. God has, does, and will deal with these two corporate entities in different ways. (Hebrews 1:1-3, 3:1-3).

 

God chose the nation of Israel to be His special people, and His plan for them is an earthly Kingdom with their King being Jesus Christ. The nation of Israel rejected Christ at His first coming, they rejected the Kingdom message of the disciples following the resurrection, and they will get a third chance to receive the Kingdom after Christ's Second Coming--at which time the earthly Kingdom will be established with Jesus Christ as King.

 

The initial phase of this Kingdom will last 1,000 years with members of the Bride of Christ (the Church) ruling with Christ on earth. (Revelation 20:4-6). Following the 1,000-year reign, a new earth will be formed and Old Testament 'Saints" and those Jews saved during the Millennium will spend eternity on the New Earth. (Revelation 21:1-4)

 

The Church (believing Jews & Gentiles) was formed following Pentecost and will continue to grow until the Rapture. (1st. Thessalonians 4:16-17). Membership is for all
who receive the gift of eternal life by faith in the blood sacrifice of Christ on Calvary's Cross for sins in the life of the recipient. The Church will be resident in the New Heaven following the end of the millennial reign of Christ on earth. (Revelation 21:10-27).

 

There is great confusion in the Church today regarding two key issues: (1) How does the individual believer walk worthy of God? and (2) What is the mission and the methodology of the Church today? The confusion over the individual believer's walk with God lies in a lack of understanding the difference between law and grace. The confusion over the role of the Church in the world lies in a lack of understanding of the distinction between the Bride of Christ and Israel. (Bride of Christ: Rev. 19:7), (Israel: Rev. 21:3)

 

For over 1,000 years the Roman Catholic Church was responsible for individuals failing to be saved (justified). Everybody was wrong, and one man set the record straight--Martin Luther. He studied the Scriptures and rightly divided the Word of Truth, making it clear that individuals were saved by grace through faith and not by works of righteousness which man did (Romans 3:20-24). Unfortunately, there remained a second problem relating to the individual believer, which remains to this day. Believers now understand they are saved by faith, but they need a "modern day Luther" to search the Scriptures and convince the Church that believers are not sanctified by works but by faith alone! (Romans 3:28).

 

Simply put, the Christian can do no good thing of himself, but through Christ he can do all things. (All the good done in the flesh is wood, hay, and stubble). Most have
totally missed the mark in this arena; they lead Bible studies, serve as missionaries, give money to the poor, you name it, but they do it in their own strength and it therefore is not acceptable to God--even though the work may be used of God in the life of a recipient! (Philippians 3:7-9). Until a believer (a saved person) comes to realize this important truth, they will be a total failure in terms of spiritual growth.

 

Victory comes in being dead to self and alive unto God. Until Christ becomes the Life of the believer, the believer will lack power and holiness. (Galatians 5:24) Put in more understandable terms, God is not interested in a believer doing, doing, doing; He is interested in a believer being, being, being--being conformed to the image of His Son,
which will result in the believer doing the will of God with power. (Romans 8:29) For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

 

The second key error in Christendom today concerns the mission and methodology of the Church. The first contributor to this error is lack of discernment concerning the
place of Israel and the Church in "God's economy", but is compounded by individual believers incorrectly discerning the place of law and grace in their lives. (Romans 3: 28) For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. (Romans 5:17) For if, by the trespass of the one man, (Adam) death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, (Jesus Christ).

 

One manifestation of this serious error is the emphasis upon the Kingdom. Believers who constantly refer to the Kingdom and their place in it, and believers seek converts to add to the Kingdom. All of this results from a total lack of understanding of God's dealing with Israel and His dealing with the Church (Philippians 3:20-21). To demonstrate the degree by which the typical believer lacks discernment in this matter, several dramatic examples follow:

 

The "Lord's Prayer" recorded in Matthew 6 and Luke 11 is not applicable to the Church; the prayer recorded in John 17 could be legitimately called the Lord's Prayer. The prayer commonly referred to as the "Lord's Prayer" is actually the "Disciples' Prayer" and was suitable for the disciples before Christ's death; but now that the Father's will has been done (Christ did it), it is not a suitable prayer for Christians.

 

The Beatitudes are not applicable to the Church, the Christian has already received these blessings as recorded in Galatians 5:22-23. The Great Commission is not applicable to the Church; ** the Church's commission is recorded in 2nd. Corinthians 5:18-19,1 Peter 3:15-2:9, Col 4:3,6...

 

The Tithe is not applicable to the Church; it was a law in the economy of Israel. Giving in the Church is to be governed by Grace; it is a gift of the Spirit (Romans 12:6-8, 2
Corinthians 8:7). These examples are not meant to imply that all "institutions" of the "Church" are not applicable. For example, believer's Baptism (immersion) and Communion (a memorial service) are very much a part of the Church. Believers Baptism: an outward sign, by immersion which signifies that first Corinthians12: 13 has occurred; For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body (Rom 6:3-4) --whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. The
Lord's Table; (Luke 22:19).

 

Errors in the "economy of the Church" result from taking John the Baptist's ministry, Christ's earthly ministry, and the apostolic Church's witness to Israel as part and parcel of God's plan and purpose for the Church. Israel first rejected the Kingdom when it crucified our Lord. (Mark 8:31,15: 31-32). It rejected the Kingdom for the second time when it denied the disciples' message to Israel following the Resurrection, ending with the stoning of Stephen and the appointment of Paul as the missionary to the Gentiles. So, the Kingdom is "on hold" until Christ returns, and the Kingdom message has nothing to do with the Church!

 

It should also be noted that there is another error that is a spin-off of the preaching of the Kingdom by the apostolic church. This is the error concerning the place of the sign gifts, which were manifested during the preaching of the Kingdom following the resurrection, (Acts 2:42-43). When the Kingdom was rejected for the second time and the mystery of the Church was revealed, the sign gifts ceased. The "Church's" approach is not only far off the mark due to the error concerning the Kingdom, but also is compounded as a result of the mixing of the law and grace error of today.

 

As a result of the law and grace error, Christians compile their lists of do's and don'ts, thinking that by obeying these lists they will draw closer to God and better their position in heaven. Wrong! The modern Christian has for the most part reverted to the law! The church teaches it is wrong to work on Sunday--but there are no days for the
Christian.

 

The church tells its members they must tithe to be in obedience--but we are to give as the Spirit leads us (the tithe per se has no place in the Church). The church puts great emphasis upon "doing”, but Christ is our Life. So we have programs, but lack godliness. Additionally, large arms of the church erroneously seek Kingdom blessings; hence the misguided emphasis upon prosperity--or the "name it claim it" gospel, -"word faith" movement, "inner healing" and psychotherapy doctrines invading church as well as seminaries.

Because the church and individual believers "do err”, there is a sense of restlessness among the brethren, a lack of unity within the church, and a high percentage of drop outs among new believers. Each of a multitude of groups claims a "handle on truth”, but as in Luther's day, we need to study to show ourselves approved unto God so that we may unlock the Truth that is ever before us but constantly eluding us.

 

*Italics represent added text to the original article by book author.

* A reason for the hope that is in you...the commission for the church is to give a defense for the hope within us (1 Peter 3:15). We are to "declare the excellencies of" God (1 Peter 2:9). We are to "speak forth the mystery of Christ" while letting our "speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that we may know how to respond to each person" (Colossians 4:3,6).

 

(This appendix was written by Mr. Wayne Heinke and edited for publication and is taken from the published work: “Not Afraid To Tell The Truth” by the author, Ken Schmidt. 1 excerpt from Part 1 of the Book; "Not Afraid To Tell The Truth”.

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