Monday, October 19, 2009
Just Call Us In the Body of Christ Not Some Denomination
Who WE Are
Last week, we studied ‘Who Israel Is and How Israel Began.’
This week, we’ll see ‘OUR IDENTITY’ .... ‘Who We Are.’
We’ll begin by thinking back .... to compare them with us.
When Jesus called His disciples, He made them fishers of men:
Mark 1:17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I
will make you to become fishers of men.
Today, we have a different calling .... in the body of Christ:
2 Cor 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become
For now, Israel (the circumcision) no longer enjoys favored
nation status with God. He sees them the same as us:
Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any
thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Through Paul, we learn that God took Jew and Gentile and
merged us into one body --- an entirely ‘new’ entity:
Eph 2:14-16 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and
hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments
contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of
twain one new man, so making peace;
16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the
cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
1 Cor 7:17-20 But as God hath distributed to every man, as
the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in
18 Is any man called being circumcised? (a Jew)
let him not become uncircumcised.
(Obviously, he can’t put his foreskin back on. This is
not talking about the medical technique ‘foreskin restoration.’
Rather, it means that a Jew doesn’t turn into someone he’s not.
He doesn’t become a Gentile .... it’s just that God does not recognize
a Jew as having any advantage today over the Gentile,
according to Rom 3:1,2.)
Is any called in uncircumcision? (a Gentile)
let him not be circumcised.
(Obviously, we shouldn’t take up physical circumcision.
We don’t become spiritual Jews. We are not ‘spiritual Israel.’
Neither do we convert to Israel’s religion, Judaism.)
19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing,
but the keeping of the commandments of God.
20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was
Part of our identity in understanding right division ....
is to realize which of God’s commands we are to keep. We, as
new creatures, are NOT under Israel’s LAW program:
Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are
not under the law, but under grace.
We are to discern that it is through PAUL’s writings ALONE
that we get our ‘marching orders’ from God:
1 Cor 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual,
let him acknowledge that the things that I (Paul) write
unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
Whereas, while on earth, Jesus told His disciples to follow Him:
Matt 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make
you fishers of men.
Matt 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will
come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and
Matt 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and
sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure
in heaven: and come and follow me.
None of those verses belong to us. They’re not our program.
In the but now, Jesus, from heaven, instructs us to follow Paul:
1 Cor 11:1 Be ye followers of me (Paul), even as I also am of
1 Cor 4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me
Phil 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me (Paul), and
mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
The WAY we are to follow Paul .... is according to
and the preaching of Jesus Christ
--- not by way of His earthly ministry ---
but, the way Paul preached Jesus:
Rom 16:25,26-a Now to him that is of power to stablish you
according to my (Paul’s) gospel,
and the preaching of Jesus Christ,
according to the revelation of the mystery,
which was kept secret since the world began,
26 But now is made manifest,
Paul did not preach Jesus according to Jesus’ earthly ministry:
2 Cor 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the
flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet
now (that’s the ‘but now’) henceforth (from now on) know we
him no more.
Contrary to popular opinion,
we are not to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.
We are not to follow the PATTERN of His earthly ministry!
In the ‘but now’ program, we have a different pattern.
Paul is our pattern. We are to follow Paul:
1 Tim 1:16 Howbeit for this cause I (Paul) obtained mercy, that
in me (Paul) first Jesus Christ might shew forth all long suffering,
for a pattern to them which should hereafter (from now on) believe
on him to life everlasting.
Israel’s program was phased out because of their lack of faith:
Rom 11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and
thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
In Romans chapters 9-11, Paul explained what happened to
Israel, and why they are no longer prominent in God’s program:
Rom 11:30-32 For as ye (Gentiles) in times past have not believed
God, yet have now (that’s the ‘but now’ time) obtained
mercy through their (Israel’s) unbelief:
31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your
mercy they also may obtain mercy.
32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might
have mercy upon all.
During the dispensation of grace, Israel lost favored nation status.
They used to be God’s elect nation .... but not anymore:
Rom 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the
Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon
Rom 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of
Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no
Both Jew and Gentile now have a ‘one-ness’ that had never been
possible under Israel’s program, in which they were God’s chosen:
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond
nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in
In the new man God created .... nationality, race, gender, or
creed doesn’t matter:
Col 3:10,11 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in
knowledge after the image of him that created him:
11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew,
circumcision nor uncircumcision,
Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free:
but Christ is all, and in all.
A Greek, in a wide sense, embraced all nations (not Jews)
that made the language, customs, and learning of the Greeks their
own. The primary reference is to a difference of religion and worship.
The Greeks classified a person to be a Barbarian when they
were a foreigner ignorant of the Greek language and because they
spoke a strange language rudely and harshly.
A Scythian was regarded as the wildest of the rough Barbarians.
The issue of us being ‘one’ BODY of Christ is only found in
Paul’s epistles. We’ll go through several verses about it:
Eph 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are
called in one hope of your calling;
Col 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the
which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
Rom 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every
one members one of another.
We don’t ‘go up front, sign a card, get water baptized, and
join a church’ to be a member! God makes us a member when we
believe the gospel of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection:
Eph 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth
with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
Eph 5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of
We get in the body as members by spiritual baptism:
1 Cor 12:12-14 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.
Just as we have a spiritual baptism, we also have a spiritual
circumcision, which is part of our identity:
Phil 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in
the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in
This next passage shows both our spiritual circumcision and
our spiritual baptism:
Col 2:11,12 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision
made without hands, in putting off the body of the
sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
12 Buried (put all the way in and covered up) with him in baptism,
wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith (something
you can’t see) of the operation of God (God performs this
baptism --- not a preacher), who hath raised him from the dead.
The body of Christ .... is who we are.
Paul, and only Paul, wrote about it.
Through Paul’s writings we learn our identity!
A diplomat represents his government to others. That’s how
we work for God:
2 Cor 5:20, 21 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as
though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead,
be ye reconciled to God.
We talk to people and tell them how they can be reconciled
to God. The next verse explains the Great Exchange:
Jesus Christ took all our sin on Him and died to pay for it.
He gives us all His righteousness, when we believe it:
vs. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;
that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
We see OUR Great Commission just a few verses before, in:
2 Cor 5:18,19 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us
to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,
not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed
unto us the word of reconciliation.
As good will ambassadors,
we are to teach Christ’s D.B.R. so folks can be reconciled to God.
Jesus paid a debt He did not owe ....
because we owed a debt we could not pay.
Thus, we should live our lives unselfishly to bring glory to Him:
Rom 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the
flesh, to live after the flesh.
When we recognize ‘who we are’ in Christ, it brings great relief:
Rom 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to them
which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made (not
‘set’) me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the
flesh (Christ did for us), God sending his own Son in the likeness
of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who
walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
We CAN .... and we OUGHT to praise the Lord with our life:
Rom 6:11-13 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead
indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should
obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of
unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those
that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of
righteousness unto God.
Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into
death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory
of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Knowing Christ already paid our sin debt, and we are forgiven
gives us motivation to honor Him with our lives:
Gal 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil
the lust of the flesh.
We are designed to be God’s children when we believe the gospel:
Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that
we are the children of God:
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ
Unlike Jews being physically born into a covenant relationship
with God -- God purposed to bring us into His family by adoption:
Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by
Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
We are workers for God. It is very important that we work
correctly .... so that we build according to the BLUEPRINT
God gave us through Paul:
1 Cor 3:9,10 For we are labourers together with God: ye are
God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me (Paul),
as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation (that is, on
Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the MYSTERY ---
Rom 16:25), and another buildeth thereon. But let every man
take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
We are God’s project .... He works IN us, as well as through us:
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus
unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should
walk in them.
Phil 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath
begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus
People are wrongly divided ....
because the scripture is not rightly divided.
Let’s know who WE are .... and who we aren’t!
This is David Dowell, saying, “Think about it!”
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