The Knowledge of Christ (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Once there was a man who hated Christians. He persecuted them at every opportunity; he put them into prison, and gave his vote to have them executed by stoning them to death. He carried written permission from the leaders of his day to go anywhere, into any home, and forcefully drag out men and women and take them to jail. From the depths of his heart he loved God, and walked faithfully and blameless before others who believed in his religion and he somehow did this with a clear conscience. Yet he was a very religious man who prayed and worshiped the same God we pray and worship. He believed in his heart that the Christian movement came from the pits of hell.

I have no doubt that I would not allow him into my home or around my friends because his very presence could mean death. He thought in his heart that he was a great believer and that he was doing the right things before his God as he personally anticipated the coming of the Redeemer.

This man lived in the first century as a Pharisee, he had the best schooling that money could buy. He also had the right credentials as he sat under the greatest, first century teacher of the Old Testament Scriptures, named Gamaliel (Acts 5:34, Acts 22:3), and he was one of Gamaliel’s favorite pupils. This man was Saul, also known in the Scriptures as Paul (the difference in the two names is that Saul comes from the Hebrew spelling, while Paul is from the Greek).

Acts 22:4 – And I {Paul} persecuted this way {this way represented the followers of Jesus Christ who was, is, and shall always be “the way, the truth, and the life” John 14:6} unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.

I Timothy 1:12-13:
-12: And I {Paul} 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 {an insulter}: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

Ignorantly in unbelief means that Paul did not have the right information to believe correctly, even with all his religious training in the Scriptures which foretell and announce the coming of Christ, the promised Messiah. Paul completely missed the truths in the Scriptures that reveal Jesus Christ to be the promised Redeemer and the Savior of humanity.

One day when Paul was on the road to Damascus he, for the first time in his life met Jesus Christ, and as we know from the Scriptures, Paul had an immediate change of mind and heart, because he for the first time in his life saw the true spiritual realities of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to Paul in Acts 9:5 “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest!” Can you imagine?

Personally — if I were Paul — this meeting would have given me a heart attack! Yet, Paul recognized the error of his ways, changed his mind, and he became one of the greatest believers this world has ever known, he received perhaps more revelation and inspiration than any man or woman has received in all of history.

The great Apostle Paul from that day forward dedicated his life to teaching and showing others the depths of God’s grace, love, and forgiveness. Paul helped believers receive an understanding of the healing Word by preaching Jesus Christ, who in turn reveals the righteousness of God to our inner hearts, as His Word continues blessing our lives with spiritual truth.

Philippians 3:8-9:
-8: Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered {or allowed} the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ {there is nothing as precious as learning about Christ},
-9: 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 of God by faith:

Discovering our Lord and Savior in the Word of God is a rewarding adventure in this life as Jesus said, the Scriptures testify of me (John 5:39). It is Jesus who opens up our understanding to the Word of God, so with him the words in the Word begin making perfect sense. Luke wrote: ”Then opened he {Jesus} their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45).

II Peter 1:2:
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.

Grace and peace is something we may expect to receive simply by going to our Bibles and looking for the knowledge of Christ, who is according to I Corinthians 1:24, ”the power, and wisdom of God.”

Grace and peace being multiplied in the Apostle Paul’s heart is what changed his life around and presented to him great deliverance, and this will also bless us with the inner comfort of having grace and peace in our hearts through discovering the wondrous knowledge of Christ.

The Knowledge of Christ (The Shorter Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Once there was a man who hated Christians. He persecuted them at every opportunity, put them in into prison, and gave his vote to have them executed by stoning them to death. He carried written permission from the leaders of his day to go anywhere, into any home, and forcefully drag out men and women and take them to jail. From the depths of his heart he loved God, and walked faithfully and blameless before others who believed in his religion and he somehow did this with a clear conscience. He was a very religious man who prayed and worshiped the same God we pray and worship. He believed in his heart that the Christian movement came from the pits of hell. I have no doubt that I would not allow him into my home or around my friends because his very presence could mean death. He thought in his heart that he was a great believer and that he was doing the right things before his God as he personally anticipated the coming of the Redeemer. This man lived in the first century as a Pharisee, he had the best schooling that money could buy. He also had the right credentials as he sat under the greatest teacher of the Old Testament Scriptures (“Gamaliel” Acts 5:34; Acts 22:3), and he was one of Gamaliel’s favorite pupils. This man was Saul, also known in the Scriptures as Paul (the difference in the two names is that Saul comes from the Hebrew, while Paul is the Greek).

Acts 22:4 – And I {Paul} persecuted this way {“this way” represented the followers of Jesus Christ who was, is, and shall always be “the way, the truth, and the life” John 14:6} unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.

I Timothy 1:12-13:
-12:  And I {Paul} 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 {an insulter}: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

“Ignorantly in unbelief” means that Paul did not have the right information to believe correctly, even with all his religions training in the Scriptures which foretell and announce the coming of Christ, the promised Messiah. Paul completely missed the truths in the Scriptures that reveal Jesus Christ to be the promised Messiah, the Redeemer, and the Savior of humanity. One day when Paul was on the road to Damascus he, for the first time in his life, met Jesus Christ, and as we know, he had an immediate change of mind and heart, because Paul for the first time in his life saw (mentally perceived) the true spiritual realities of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to Paul in Acts 9:5 “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest!” Can you imagine?

Personally – if I were Paul – this meeting would have given me a heart attack! Yet, Paul recognized the error of his ways, changed his mind, and he became one of the greatest believers this world has ever known, he received perhaps more revelation and inspiration than any man or woman has received in all of history. The great Apostle Paul from that day forward dedicated his life to teaching and showing others the depths of God’s grace, love, and forgiveness. Paul helped believers receive an understanding of the healing Word by preaching Jesus Christ, who in turn reveals the righteousness of God to our inner hearts, as His Word continues blessing our lives with spiritual truth.

Philippians 3:8-9:
-8:  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered {allowed} the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ {there is nothing as precious as learning about Christ},
-9:  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 of God by faith:

Joel – Revealing Our Heavenly Standing

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The Scriptures refer to the children of Israel who believe as the meek, and the meek will inherit the earth, “the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (Psalms 37:11). On the other hand, in the New Testament Epistles we learn that we inherit heaven itself and we will have free rights to visit and enjoy the earth.

The children of Israel hoped for and anticipated the kingdom of Christ to be restored and be given back to them. However, we, the children of God, are members of His Church (we are called to be members of the body of Christ), and have received in the present-tense our heavenly standing with God in Christ because God “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

The Book of Joel reveals to Israel that their glorious future is centered in and around mount Zion, and they will dwell there in eternal safety (Zion is a Hebrew word, while Sion is the Greek equivalent). Zion was the place where God desired to place His name, and was the place of the children of Israel’s spiritual homeland, and is the place where their future hope will finally rest.

Joel 2:32 – And it shall come to pass {still a future time for Israel}, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant {those who believed} whom the LORD shall call.

Israel anticipated this day of deliverance that “shall come to pass”; however, when Jesus Christ came to deliver them they rejected him and crucified him. Oh, I know that the Roman soldiers did the dirty work, but they did it for Israel as all four Gospels plainly teach us.  Peter, addressing Israel in the temple said, “ye {Israel} have taken {Jesus Christ}, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23)!

So the man who said “every Christian living today had a part in the death and crucifixion of Jesus” obviously did not read his Bible. “Then answered all the people {Israelites}, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matthew 25:25). You and I had nothing whatsoever to do with the crucifixion and humiliating, torturous death of Jesus; it is totally ludicrous to take the blame for Israel who insanely rejected their longed-for Savior and Redeemer and put him to death.  However, we have everything to gain by believing in his resurrection, because he now resides within our searching hearts.

Joel 3:17 – So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then {still future} shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers {unbelievers} pass through her any more.

This is obviously a future prophecy to and for Israel, and we know this because Zion in Jerusalem has three major factions fighting over it, as well as several minor groups all staking claims to that place. However, we in the Church of God have received a heavenly calling and standing.

II Corinthians 5:20 reads, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,” and an ambassador can only fulfil his mission in a foreign land. We are ambassadors here on earth today because heaven is our home, and in heaven is where we have Our Heavenly Standing!

We are physically here on earth as ambassadors for Christ, and we are spiritually seated at the right hand of God.  When Christ returns to earth, then, and not until then, will the prophecies of Zion be fulfilled for Israel, (including the future prophecies recorded in Daniel and Revelation).

However, today in grace our spiritual homeland is in heaven. Jesus said in Luke 13:35, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” He was teaching them that their temple was empty in Jerusalem because God was going to begin dwelling within the hearts of believers wherever they may be (John 4:19-24, Acts 7:48, 17:24;,I Corinthians 3:16), who today believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9-10).

Today, God’s blessings do not emanate out from the earthly temple at Jerusalem, but come out from the actual home of heaven’s throne and from God Himself. Hebrews 3:1 tells us in the Church of God that we are “partakers of the heavenly calling,” while Israel would be partakers of the earthly calling. And today, Israel’s calling is held off until our gathering together up to Christ; then and only then will the calling to Israel again commence.

Hebrews 12:22-24:
-22: But ye are come unto mount Sion {our spiritual homeland up in the heavenlies}, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
-23: {and we have come} To the general assembly and church of the firstborn {Jesus Christ}, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
-24: And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant {New Testament}, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel {who offered sacrifices for his sins, for Christ offered himself for our sins}.

Today in God’s grace we are members of His Church, which is the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:17-23, I Corinthians 12:27). We currently are already members of God’s family, being partakers of the heavenly Sion (Zion), with heavenly citizenship from above.

Galatians 4:26 reads “but Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” Jerusalem is our mother because we are born from above, from God’s heavenly home, and we are citizens, as opposed to the earthly “Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children” (Galatians 4:25).

When the calling of Zion in Jerusalem is again restored we read that “no strangers would pass through her any more,” and today it certainly is filled with strangers, believers, and unbelievers; this is why Romans 9:6 records, “For they are not all Israel, which are of {in} Israel.”

Christ Jesus will establish his Kingdom and restore the children of Israel in Zion at Jerusalem on God’s timetable, and this is still a future event (Acts 1:6-7).

Today, while that future prophecy still awaits Israel, anyone who will believe, Jew or Gentile (Galatians 3:26-29, Colossians 3:11) may partake of Our Heavenly Standing with God in Christ (Ephesians 2:6, 18-22), as we together in the body of Christ enjoy the more abundant life.