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:

Thessalonians – Revealing Our Comfort in Hope

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The Epistles of I and II Thessalonians have tremendous revelations that help strengthen the believers’ stands in the Christian faith.

The church in Thessalonica was a model Church in that they stood firm with the teachings given to them by Paul, Timotheus, and Silvanus, though they were persecuted for their faith in Christ.

Thessalonians has an underlying theme of detailing the hope which is the coming of Christ and the gathering together up to him in the clouds above to enjoy new bodies that will be given at that time. Hope always gives believers patience and great expectation for that very special day when Christ returns to gather us up to him, and then further up to meet God face to face.

Thessalonians were the first Epistles written by Paul, yet they are placed last, not only in our English Bibles, but in all the manuscripts that are in existence today. Thessalonians reveals that which comes last, “the gathering together” (I Thessalonians 4:13-18), which gathering comes at the end of the grace period as is expressed in all of the Church Epistles.

Still the teaching of Thessalonians was the first teaching given to the believers because it brought to them a great comfort in the hope of Christ’s coming for them (as he is coming for us).

I Thessalonians 2:19 – For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

The word “presence” represents the personal presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we will see him as he really is, just as the Apostles along with more than five hundred other disciples had seen him after he was resurrected before his ascension into heaven (I Corinthians 15:6). Being in the presence of Christ is our great hope, and is our joy in the here and now.

The “crown of rejoicing” will be a gift that believers will receive when we meet the Lord at his coming for having hope today, which also gives us daily joy in knowing the truth that he is absolutely coming back for us.

Not only can we receive a “crown of rejoicing” for having Christ as our hope, but if we “love his appearing” (of which some fear greatly), then we will also receive a “crown of righteousness” (II Timothy 4:8).

Of course many unbelievers fear that glorious day, others doubt that he is ever coming, and unfortunately many Christians fear the day of all days, about which we never need have any fear. Jesus Christ loves us and he is excited about his coming for us (after all he has been waiting nearly two thousand years), and as we bask in our hope, then we can be excited as well.

One further note on crowns: in the world we know that crowns belong to kings, queens, and royalty. We, being the children of God, are royalty in His eyes. However, these crowns that believers can receive (five in all), the Word does not fully explain what they really encompass or what they will mean to the believer in heaven, but this we do know, that crowns in the Bible are spiritual crowns and they represent receiving authority and power.

I Thessalonians 5:8-9:
-8: But let us, who are of the day, be sober {minded}, putting on the breastplate of faith {believing faith} and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
-9: For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

In the future when Christ returns we can receive the crown of rejoicing, and here today on earth while we are patiently waiting, our God encourages us to put on a “helmet” to protect our minds from doubts, worries, and fears, because our helmet is “the hope of salvation” and this is our hope in the coming of our Lord and Savior for us.

Then, we can replace our protective helmet with the glorious “crown of rejoicing.” (Pretty cool, huh?)

II Thessalonians 2:16-17:
-16: Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us {hey – we certainly are loved in good company, by heaven’s holiest}, and hath given us everlasting consolation {comfort} and good hope through grace,
-17: {to} Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

We have good hope through God’s grace, we have comfort in our hearts, and God can and does establish our lives before Him so that we may enjoy the good Word of God and the good work that was given to bless our lives.

When we look to the Savior and our heavenly Father we will discover their love, which originated out of heaven (John 17:24-26), and they reveal Our Comfort In Hope, freely and graciously given to us today.