Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: The New Beginning

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The New Beginning

1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:1-11).

Acts chapter one takes place in the 10 days between the ascension of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell all those truly trusting in the finished work of Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection. Acts chapter one records the final occasion of Christ's post resurrection appearances to His disciples (this does not include His appearance to the Apostle Paul). The most important aspect of Acts chapter one is that it records the last events transitioning from the Mosaic Covenant to the beginning of the New Covenant in Christ’s blood (I Cor. 11:25) recorded in Acts chapter two on the Day of Pentecost in the celebration of the Feast of the Firstfruits and the beginning of the Church Age in the “church of the firstborn” (Heb 12:23).

These 10 days transition us to the Day of Pentecost and the Day of the New Beginnings. The vast majority of teaching I have heard on the text of Acts chapter two has focused upon the numbers of souls saved and the miracle of the disciples speaking in tongues. Although these are important, they are not the emphasis of the transition. On the Day of Pentecost Christ would create a new order of human existence where there would be full union with the Divine Nature and the human nature in the body of “born again” believers. The New Creation (“the regeneration”) was directly connected with the Divine through the indwelling of believers with the Holy Spirit of God. This New Beginning made Spirit filled believers the conduit through which God would supernaturally work.

The Apostle Paul refers to this new order of human existence as the “new creature” (II Cor. 5:17), which is the foundational Truth for New Covenant believers becoming the “ambassadors for Christ” whereby Jesus has “committed unto us the “word {Logos} of reconciliation {restoration to Divine favor}” which connects every believer to the responsibility of the “ministry of reconciliation” (the idea is the responsibility of the attendance of the servant to the restoration of souls to Divine favor through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the salvation and discipleship of individuals). This “ministry of reconciliation” is to become the occupation of every “born again” believer as we remain in this world.

We pick up in Acts 1:8 regarding the primary ministry of the Holy Spirit’s supernatural work through the yielded believer. After the Day of Pentecost, the glorified Christ Jesus would be able to literally live His Life through the body of the yielded believer (Rom. 6:11-13, 12:1-2, & Gal. 2:20). We are told clearly that “ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Christ had already taught the disciples this purpose earlier in their discipleship. Christians do not need to tarry for the Spirit or wait for the Spirit since the Day of Pentecost. He has already come and is now waiting on us to yield to Him so He can do what He came to do through us. We simply need to be filled and then move in the direction of our expectation.

"13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you” (John 16:13-15).

Clearly, according to John 16:13-15, the indwelling Spirit of God is the conduit through which the Christ-life is intended to flow through the life of the Spirit-filled believer and into the world. The indwelling of believers with Spirit of God became a new direct link of the spiritual realm of God with the physical/material world of mankind. The primary purpose of God in establishing this conduit of grace was so that God could be glorified within His fallen creation (meaning that God could be known and experienced in all of His wondrous attributes and character as a Person and could interact directly with humanity through the lives of Spirit filled believers). The believer was expected to so thoroughly know the Word of God that the Spirit of God could literally speak the Word of God through the mouth of the believer to the reach lost and disciple believers. The Spirit of God would supernaturally bring to the remembrance of the Spirit filled believer those things that believer had learned from the Word of God.

The great Truth of Christ’s resurrection transcends the mere restoration of what He was before His resurrection exponentially. Jesus was resurrected in His glorified humanity and, in His glorification, created a New Existence/Creation within the fallen first creation. The intent of this New Existence for all believers “in Christ” is that there is the availability to us presently, in this existence, a portion of the New Life that is ours in this New Creation “in Christ.” The connecting link to this supernatural aspect of our New Life “in Christ” is the indwelling Holy Spirit of God and the filling with the Spirit of God. Through this connecting Link, every believer could become the conduit through which the power of God could flow directly into the fallen creation in a supernatural way.

15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:15-23).

The means of the appropriation of “the working {energeia; the supernatural energy of God} of His mighty power” is the filling of the Spirit of the indwelling resurrected, glorified Jesus Christ, “the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.” The resurrection power of Jesus is that New Life that now flows through the “Vine” to the “branches” that Christ speaks of in John chapter 15. Whatever “branch” receiving that power by being connected to the “vine” WILL PRODUCE FRUIT. We might call this Pneumatological Kinesis. Kinesis is the movement of an organism or cell in response to a stimulus, the rate of movement being dependent on the strength of the stimulus. The stimulus is the filling with the Spirit of God conditioned on total yielding (Rom. 6:11-13 & 12:1-2). The potential in the power of God that is released through this Kinesis is communicated in Ephesians 1:19 by the words “exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe.” The words ““exceeding greatness” intend to convey an immeasurable and infinite resource in the power of God given to believers through the resurrection/glorification of Jesus Christ and available to us, and through us, in the conduit of being filled with the indwelling Spirit (similar in scope to the “unsearchable riches of Christ” in Eph. 3:8b).

In his Epistle to the Colossians, Paul refers to this “fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:23) in terms that correct the false doctrine of other mediums or mediators through which the believer is, or can be, connected to the Divine Person, Power, and Potential of God’s creative power.

19 For it pleased the Father that in him {Jesus} should all fulness dwell; 20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister” (Colossians 1:19-23).

In verse 19, the Greek word translated “fullness” (pleroma) was understood and used by the Gnostics to denote various mediatorial images, angels, or spiritual beings that were each believed to give a partial revelation of God. Therefore it was necessary to have “knowledge” of all these mediators in order to have a FULL knowledge of God.

When Paul told Timothy (I Tim. 2:5) that Christ was the only “mediator between God and men” he was denying the whole foundation of Gnostic beliefs. Some continue a form of Gnosticism in praying to saints (invoking them to act on their behalf), angels, the dead, and to Mary. There are two primary characteristics of the “fullness” of the Godhead in Christ.

1. In Jesus we find the totality of Divine powers and attributes. Everything that God is, Jesus is.

2. The “fullness of the Godhead” dwells “in Christ.” That “fullness” is permanently at home in Christ Jesus. Christ Jesus is the permanent residence of the fullness of the Godhead. The idea conveys the permanency of the union of God and man in the Person of Jesus.

Beginning on the day of Pentecost in the indwelling of the believer with the Holy Spirit, that “fullness” of that Godhead that resides in Christ also resides in the believer’s body and is released through the overflow of the filling of the Spirit. This filling is what defines and triggers Pneumatological Kinesis.

The fullness of the Godhead “in Christ” is a provision for mankind’s benefit (Colossians 1:20-23). Again the Gnostics taught that there could only be a partial completion of the work of salvation. Therefore a person could never be fully saved, because the angelic mediators could only provide a partial reconciliation. The emphasis of verses 20-23 is that the security of a believer’s salvation is based upon an already accomplished reality. Jesus has provided complete reconciliation to God.

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Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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