Jesus Calling Out the Church.

For the last three years I have received further understanding from the scriptures concerning ‘The Messiah’s Secret’. The Holy Spirit has revealed more concerning the question as to why Jesus did not return with the generation of the Apostles? This blog is the most recent that I felt I must share with my brothers and sisters in Christ’s body, the Church.

Matthew recorded the disciples asking Jesus the question about the signs of his return and the last days. It is followed by Jesus telling them that God the Father only knows when he will return. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”[1] Jesus continues and gives the example of Noah being commanded by God to build an ark, as God was going to flood the land. Noah went through the process of building the ark and filling the ark with animals and all kinds of creatures. We understand that God was grieved in his heart at the depth of humanities wickedness. Every intent of thought in the heart was continually evil. Noah walked with God and believed God when God said he was going to destroy the earth with a flood.[2] Jesus seems to stress that the flood came upon them suddenly. “For in seven days I will send rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights. . . And after seven days the waters of the flood came upon the earth.”

Matthew continues, Jesus’ parable, “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time.”

The faithful and wise servant, the apostle Peter, at Pentecost proclaimed the food, the good news that would bring Spirit and life to thousands of people, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him (Jesus) both Lord and Christ (Messiah), this Jesus whom you crucified.”[3] After he had spoken 3,000 Jews and pros accepted Jesus as their Messiah and were baptised into Jesus’ baptism receiving the Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ warning, “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Truly, I say to you that he will set him over all his possessions. But if that evil servant says to himself, “My master is delayed and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with the drunken, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know. And will punish him with the hypocrites, there men will weep and nash their teeth.[4]

The Sadducees, the leaders of the Sanhedrin in their attitude towards the apostles were like the people in Noah’s day, they did not believe Noah’s message about the flood  and the Sadducees did not believe that Jesus was their Messiah. When they heard of the miracles and healings taking place at the hands of the apostles. Luke records their response, “But the high priest rose up and all who were with him, that is, the party of the Sadducees, and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the common prison.”

The Sadducees were expecting the Messiah to be a man like Moses: a great leader and who would keep the law and circumcision. Theydid not believe in the resurrection of the dead.[5] The continuing discussion by the Jewish Christians over Gentile circumcision and keeping the Laws of Moses, I believe the Jews could see the church was divided on this issue. The apostles message fell on deaf ears.

Peter did not like being challenged by questions that caused him to step out of line with the law. Yet, when he received the vision at Joppa he stepped out in faith and accompanied the two men to Gentile Cornelius home, where after hearing about Jesus Cornelius and his whole household received the Holy Spirit and were baptised. Peter afterwards was criticised by the Circumcision Party for eating with uncircumcised men. Peter gave his account of the vision he had received from God and his meeting with Cornelius and his family. Peter realised that the Holy Spirit had come upon them, in the same way as the apostles and followers had received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Peter said to them, “If God gave them the same gift as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to withstand God?[6] Paul’s letter to the Galatians reveals that Peter at Antioch, sat and ate with the Gentile converts, but when James arrived with other members of the Circumcision Party, Peter separated himself from the Gentiles.[7] Peter in his second letter wrote, that Paul’s words were found to be hard to understand.[8]

Paul’s ministry was to the Gentiles, in his letter to the Ephesians he writes, “The Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”[9]

Paul taught faith and grace, “A Christian is not under law, but is under grace.” Faith in Jesus that he is the Son of God, the Messiah. Jesus is the final sacrifice for sin and it’s causes. Matthew 18: 6. Through repentance and faith we die to sin and by grace we are raised in the likeness of Jesus’ resurrection. The same message to the Jews in the churches he and Barnabas had planted. On Paul’s visit to the church at Jerusalem, Paul was and instructed by James, the Lord’s brother and the elders not to teach that Jews that were among the Gentiles to forsake Moses or calling them not to circumcise their children or observe their customs.[10] Instead of uniting the church by faith and grace, the apostles at Jerusalem were separating the Christian Jews from the Christian Gentiles.

I believe Jesus did not return within the lifetime of Jesus’ apostles because of the continuing insistence, by the Jewish leaders of early church over Gentile circumcision and keeping the Laws of Moses. 

At some point the apostle’s mission to the circumcised Jews and to the uncircumcised Gentiles had to be united before Jesus’ return, becoming one in Jesus the Messiah.

Jesus prayed for his disciples, “Holy Father, keep them through your name those whom you have given me, that they may be one as we are one.”[11] Jesus continued praying for those who believed the apostles words about him. They would also become one with Jesus and the Father. Jesus’ prayer, “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they all may be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”

The Jewish peoplewho believe through the apostles’ word and those who believed their words about Jesus were both Jews and Gentiles. United, becoming one in belief that Jesus is the Son of God and the Christ.[12] John in his first letter wrote, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in Christ.” [13]

John the last remaining apostle

John wrote in his gospel, “He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to those who did believe in his name, he gave them power to become children of God.”[14] 

John gives us a clear statement of fact; Jesus came to his own people as their Messiah, but the leaders of that generation failed to recognise Jesus as their Messiah.                                                                                                           The Jewish leaders failed to recognise the prophesies that related to the death of the Messiah. John recorded the prophesies that he saw for himself were fulfilled at the scene of the crucifixion of Jesus. He writes, “He who saw it borne witness -his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth-that you also may believe. For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of him shall be broken.” And again, another scripture says, “They shall look upon him whom they have pierced.”[15]  The Psalmist and Zechariah’s prophesies that spoke of the death of their Messiah.

John does not record in his gospel, this conversation between Jesus and his disciples about the signs of his coming. I believe John realised when he wrote his gospel that Jesus would not be returning within the apostles’ generation. John writes, “He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.” It was a national calling to the Jewish nation, to receive Jesus as their Messiah and King. The Jewish leaders did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God as he claimed to be and that he was not their Messiah. The apostles were arrested and at their trial Peter and the apostles testified before the council. “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”[16] In response to hearing Peter’s words the Sadducees threatened to kill the apostles.

John knew that God’s New Covenant redeemed the individual person, through faith in Jesus’ blood paying the price for our sin and its’ causes.

John writes, “But to those who did believe in his name, he gave them power to become the children of God.” The Lamb of God has redeemed whosoever, from knowing about God to knowing Him in a personal way. Jesus in his prayer stated, “Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee, since thou hast given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life, that they know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”[17] God had included all people who believed in Jesus. John wrote, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” These anointed words have brought many Jews and Gentiles to know God as their personal Saviour.

John continued, “Who were born, not of blood nor the will of the flesh nor the will of man, but of God.”[18] John like Paul discerned that the Gentiles who were not descendants of Abraham were included in the New Covenant. God had fulfilled his promise to Abraham. “And by you (Abraham) all the families of the earth shall bless themselves.[19]

John is saying it is now personal salvation. “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor the will of man, but of God.[20] John remembered Jesus’ prayer and discerned that Jesus had included the Gentiles who would believe the apostles’ testimony and the words and prophesies that they had seen fulfilled in Jesus and those prophesies that are yet to be fulfilled.

The Holy Spirit preparing the church for Jesus calling out of the church.

Mark writes,”But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.”[21]

Matthew recorded Jesus’ words that Jesus related to the apostles and followers being gathered up by the angels at his appearing.

Jesus said, “Two men will be in the field; one taken, and one is left. Two women will be griding at the mill; one is taken, and one is left. Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”[22]

I believe Jesus points to personal salvation of the two people taken up from different places: the man in the field and the woman grinding at the mill.  The man and the woman taken up from the earth was in response to Jesus calling out his church. I believe that both believed that Jesus is the Son of God, that he is the Messiah.

Those who were left were lost, perhaps they had not continued in their belief in Jesus, or they believed that Jesus was just a prophet.

The Holy Spirit is preparing Christians for Jesus calling out of the church. The heart of every Christian wholly Christ centred.

Jesus words, “A house divided against itself will not stand.” A Christian’s belief in Jesus’ identity is paramount, it is necessary to be wholly truthful about our beliefs. If we maintain, and not waver over our belief in Jesus, we will be in the house of the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as the Triune God, ‘Elohim’ and Jesus is Lord – Jesus is Jehovah. Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.”[23]

Both John and Paul wrote that every Christian is a member of Christ’s body. John recorded Jesus’ words concerning Jesus’ body being the temple of God. In conversation with the Jews “Jesus said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you will raise it up in three days!” But Jesus spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore, he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.”[24]

 The apostle Paul gives reference to the church and its’ members being the temple of Christ’s body. Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”[25]

Paul also wrote in his letter to the Romans, ”For just as the body is one and has many members and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit, we were all baptised into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free and were made to drink of the one Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit uniting of the body of believers.

The Ecumenical Movement was founded in 1910 at the World Missionary Conference in Scotland.

(Ecumenical – promoting or relating to unity among the world’s Christian Churches).

The Anglican – Methodist Covenant 2001.

Common statement of the Formal Conversations between the Methodist Church of Great Britain and the Church of England (GS1409).

“The Revd. Prebendary Dr Paul Avis General Secretary for Christian Unity. 2003. Paul Avis states,“They were not tasked with constructing a unity scheme but rather with taking significant bilateral step towards the ultimate goal of the full visible unity of Christ’s Church.”

For the Church to fulfil Jesus’ prayer of the church being one in Christ. We will at some point in the future remove, put aside the denominational labels.

Paul maintains personal salvation in the body of Christ when he writes, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”

In his letter to the church at Rome he writes, “For as in one body we have many members, and not all the body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, though many are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.”  [26]    

Salvation means – Individually every Christian has been redeemed from sin and it’s causes, through repentance and faith in Jesus. We are raised up in forgiveness, in the likeness of Jesus’ resurrection. We are complete in Christ, the seed of faith planted in our heart through faith in Jesus.[27] The seed is watered and receives nourishment through the living words in the Bible Each Christian is Christ-like having his Spirit and the Holy Spirit’s gifts.

Thank you, Jesus, for your revealed word, may it be to all who read this book, a lamp to their feet and a light to their path. May it bring understanding to those seeking to know why Jesus kept his death and resurrection a secret. Giving hope to those who are being called by God to witness Jesus’ resurrection and the gift of eternal life.

[1] Matthew 24: 36

[2] Genesis 6: 5-8, 14-21. 7: 4,10.

[3] Acts 2: 36. John 6: 63.

[4] Matthew 45-51.

[5] Acts 23: 6-10.

[6] Acts 11: 1-17.

[7] Galatians 2: 12

[8] 2 Peter

[9] Ephesians 3: 6

[10] Ats 21: 21.

[11] John 17: 11,20, 21

[12]  Romans 2: 9, 10.  3: 29.

[13] 1 John 4: 15.

[14] John 1 v 11

[15] John 19: 35-37. Psalm34: 20. Zechariah 12: 10.

[16] John 5: 16-18, 28-32.Acts 5: 17,18,27-33.

[17] John 17: 1-3.

[18] John 1: 11-13.

[19] Genesis 12: 3.

[20] John 1: 11-13.

[21] Mark 13: 24-27

[22] Matthew 24: 36,40,41

[23] John 10: 30

[24] John 2: 19-22.

[25] 1 Corinthians 3: 16.

[26] 1 Corinthians 12: 27. Romans 12: 4,5.


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