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.

Our Heavenly Calling

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The first three chapters of Ephesians shed much light on what God has given to His Church, and to the individual believer. The last three chapters’ guide God’s Church on how to apply in practical living what God has so freely given to us. In Ephesians 3:19, God’s Word says that we have the love of Christ, and with the love of Christ we can know that we have been “filled with all the fullness of God.” How can believers truly fathom what it means to be filled with all of the fullness of God?  How can we grasp that (collectively) we are the actual habitation of God Himself?  How can we believe that we are quickened together with Christ and can we really understand that we were raised up together with Christ and how can we know that we are seated together with Christ?  How is the Church of God fitly framed together and how are believers built together into the household of God? The last three chapters of Ephesians reveal to us the “how” to know, apply, and enjoy all the spiritual knowledge in what God’s Word says we have.

Ephesians 4:1 – I THEREFORE, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation {calling} wherewith ye are called,

Paul referred to himself as “the prisoner of the Lord” because the love of Christ had captured his heart and Paul with his entire being belonged to Christ. The very first instruction on the practical side of Ephesians is to hear with our hearts God’s calling, to recognize His beseeching, and to desire His imploring of us to walk within the heavenly calling that God called us to walk worthy in:

Ephesians 4:2-3:
-2:  With all lowliness {humbleness} and meekness {to God’s Word} with longsuffering {patience toward others}, forbearing {uplifting} one another in love
-3:  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

“Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit” is a continuous effort to live with the love of God, especially towards our fellow believers who have also been called into God’s Church.  To walk worthy of our heavenly calling, the Church must endeavor to have a spiritual unity in the bond of peace with one another. “The bond of peace” that believers can experience is literally coming to an understanding of who Jesus Christ is, for he is our peace (Ephesians 2:14), and he is what we all have in common with each other. When we begin walking worthy of God’s calling, then we will begin enjoying and also applying His divinely given spiritual love. God’s love builds up the believer as well as promotes the true spiritual unity that we all have together in and with Christ.

Ephesians 4:15-16 (Amplified*):
-15:  Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, loving truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one).
-16:  For because of Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts {you and I}), closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied {by God}, when each part [with power adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building itself up in love.

* Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

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:

Hebrews – Revealing Our Heavenly Calling

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The Book of Hebrews presents convincing arguments to Christians who were formally from the nation of Israel, to show them that with God’s grace they could walk with the freedom of our heavenly calling (Hebrews 3:1), rather than by the works of the Law, which they were used to practicing.

Hebrews reveals Jesus Christ as Israel’s true high priest for sin, and that Jesus fulfilled the inner heart’s desire of men and women to walk with God, because with Christ the walk of grace becomes significantly more abundant through the absence of the Law.

Hebrews contains more Old Testament quotations than any other book in the New Testament (which were taken directly out of the Septuagint version, which is a Greek Text, rather than from the Hebrew Text).

One way to look at Hebrews when reading is to see the first seven chapters as though one were standing outside (and on the grounds of Old Testament Law), and peeking in the windows of a glorious mansion and seeing all kinds of wonderful things (in God’s grace). Then from chapter eight onward it would be similar to being inside this mansion, but rather than sitting on the furniture and really appreciating what’s inside (rather than noticing all wonderful things that God has given to men and women in grace, revealed to the believer in the Church Epistles), one would stand at the window and focus on what was outside (the Law), only the Law seems to have vanished away.

Hebrews details many truths that can prove beyond any doubt that Jesus was indeed the Messiah and that he was the substitute in every detail so that Israel (as well as anyone in the world) could receive the blessings that emanate from God’s grace. This may help give you a wonderful mind picture when reading Hebrews.

In Hebrews we see Jesus Christ, who was perfect in all that he accomplished for every believer, as he completely fulfilled the Law and revealed our heavenly calling that is founded and built upon God’s divine grace and presented to us to enjoy.

Hebrews 13:5-9:
-5: Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have {in grace}: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. {the Amplified Bible reads: I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax my hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]}
-6: So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
-7: Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith {believing faith} follow, considering the end of their conversation {in the Word of God that they speak and more importantly the Word of God that they themselves follow and practice}.
-8: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.
-9: Be not carried away with divers {many} and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

“Meats” does not mean food, but rather strange doctrines that feed the mind, and which bring no profit whatsoever into one’s life.

The Christian believer is always better off to have their lives flooded with God’s grace, and grace literally means that we have received unearned, undeserved favor from God above. The reason that we can establish our hearts with grace is because we are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8), rather than any works that we might do or have done.

We are all partakers of our heavenly calling, given to us in grace and enjoyed by us the more we come to appreciate that our hearts can be established by God’s grace.

Hebrews 4:16 – Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need {and that time is now, and with the comfort we have knowing that God will not leave us alone, we may absolutely enjoy Our Heavenly Calling into God’s very own household – Ephesians 2:18-22}.

Matthew – Revealing Our Shepherd King

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

When the fullness of time finally came, Jesus Christ was born into this world (Galatians 4:4). Throughout the Old Testament there were many prophecies that would highlight his life, death, resurrection, and ascension as we have seen.

The Bible reveals four major prophecies, each of which each relate to a different Gospel. In Matthew. Jesus Christ is revealed as the king of Israel, and in this day of God’s grace Jesus is our Lord and Savior, and he is also our Redeemer.

In the Gospel of Matthew, we can learn how Jesus as the King and Messiah redeemed all of humanity.

In Matthew many parables relate to a king or the kingdom of heaven. The words “kingdom of heaven” (meaning the king’s reign from heaven), is used 32 times in Matthew, while “kingdom of heaven” is only used 10 times in the other three Gospels combined. In Matthew we have the fulfillment of the King of Israel who was God’s prophesied righteous branch.

“The kingdom of heaven” is Christ’s kingdom, for he was the King from heaven, while the words “kingdom of God” represents God’s heavenly kingdom that has no beginning and no end – spanning all time.

When Christ again returns to earth, he will fully establish his kingdom of which there shall be no end. However, today in grace we are citizens of the kingdom of God and in the future we will partake in the kingdom of Christ, for we are joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).

Today the kingdom of Christ is suspended until the King returns to earth to be the King of kings. Without the king’s presence on earth, his kingdom is held in abeyance. This is why II Corinthians 5:20 says that we are “ambassadors” in “Christ’s stead.”

There is no way that any one Gospel could fully explain the life of Jesus Christ; conversely, when we examine each Gospel and study them in the light that God’s Word reflects, then the true spiritual realities of Jesus Christ’s ministry will become known in a most positive and dynamic way.

Jeremiah 23:5 – Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch {offspring}, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. {Also see Jeremiah 33:15, Zechariah 9:9.}

This righteous branch that God would raise up would be a King, and God’s offspring and is a direct revelation not only to the life of Jesus Christ but also to the Gospel of Matthew.

In Matthew’s Gospel we have the royal (or kingly) genealogy from Abraham through Kings David and Solomon to Christ. The believers during the Gospel period had been hoping for this righteous branch who would be their king; however, they lacked understanding of what a king really was because they were used to the kind of kings that were despots or dictators, such as Herod, who was indeed the opposite of Jesus Christ.

A king from a spiritual point of view would be a pastor, someone who would love and protect his people, someone who would fight for the rights of his people, and someone who would be a leader showing them how to believe and accept God’s grace.

Jesus said in Revelation 22:16 “I am the root and the offspring of David.” David was the king of Israel, and Jesus being born through Mary (as the promised seed), had every legal right to inherit the throne of David.

Now David, what was he? David was a shepherd, he was called as a shepherd to be the king of Israel, this was the true spiritual function of a king – to pastor, to bind wounds, and to dedicate his life to protect his flock, as Jesus had done.

Matthew 27:11 – And Jesus stood before the governor {Pilate}: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.

The words “thou sayest” literally means you said it, or you got that right! Jesus knew who he was because he knew the prophecies written of him. Jesus further said to Pilate regarding this question of whom he was, “art thou a king then? Jesus answered {to Pilate}, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world,” (John 18:37).

God gave to Matthew the revelation to write about Jesus Christ as our shepherd king whom we can look to as “the author and finisher of our faith {believing faith}” Hebrews 12:2.

Matthew 22:37-40:
-37: Jesus said unto him {a lawyer who was tempting him}, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
-38: This is the first and great commandment.
-39: And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
-40: On these two commandments hang {suspend} all the law and the prophets.

Jesus as a loving King and as our example of a genuine shepherd lightened the loads that believers would carry by giving only two commandments that both relate to living in love.

It is enlightening to see how James wrote regarding this very subject of love by calling it the “royal law” in James 2:8. The reason that the law of love is royal is because it was given to us by the King.

Jesus Christ is our example of a genuine King whom we can continue looking to even today as Philippians 2:5 teaches us, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Jesus came into this world to teach and show us how to love God and man, as we continue learning how to enjoy the life of love that is called “a more excellent way” I Corinthians 12:31-13:13).

In God’s eyes we are royalty because we are His sons and daughters, and as we put on the mind of Christ we will discover Our Shepherd King who gave the ultimate sacrifice – his life – so we may receive and enjoy the more abundant life.