Who Are the Others? You and Me!

“In the Gospel of John, Jesus discusses his calling by saying that there were to be other people besides those of the first century who would hear his voice, And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd– John 10:16). Jesus is the good Shepherd and the great Shepherd and the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls and the chief Shepherd (John 10:14, Hebrews 13:20, I Peter 2:25, and 5:4). Today, you are among those others to whom Jesus was referring. Reading the words of Christ is easy, but it is an entirely different experience to actually hear his sweet voice that speaks directly to our hearts with inspiration that always strengthens believing with a heavenly calmness. Our Savior’s voice encourages, exhorts, and edifies men and women who answer his call to walk with him who walks with the Creator.” ~LMJ~

Peter – Revealing Our Stewardship of Grace

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The Apostle Peter, who had walked on water with his Lord and Savior, wrote I and II Peter. Peter was a great man of God, contrary to what some believe and write about. It is true that he emphatically denied that he knew who Jesus was (without being in Peter’s shoes ourselves and facing what he had to face, it would be impossible to imply that anyone could have done any better).

It is true that he continually made mistakes. Peter rebuked Jesus once (at least Peter was man enough to speak his mind), and another time he swore that he would stand with Jesus no matter what the situation or consequence, and then he told Jesus that he was quitting the ministry and going back to his fishing profession.  Peter was an eyewitness of the actual sufferings of Jesus Christ. As we know from the Gospels and the Book of Acts, Peter continued getting back up, leaving us today with his example of a steward of the grace of God.

Peter was one of the greatest believers in the first century. The Word of God is so wonderful to show us the heart and life of Peter who typifies what could be any believer today who continues endeavoring to walk with God. Because we are not perfect, thankfully God only asks us to try and walk in His love, while His grace and love covers for our mistakes.

We will all blow it from time to time, but knowing that we have God’s divine grace in our lives, we may continue rising above those circumstances that caused us to screw up in the first place.

The Epistles of Peter express many wonderful truths; one that we will highlight today is our stewardship of grace given to each believer with the love of God, so that we may continue to rise up and walk with God while helping others along our way.

Peter experienced the grace of God upon his life, and so it is fitting that Peter wrote about God’s grace and our stewardship that came with Jesus Christ because Peter thoroughly understood and was thankful for the grace he enjoyed.

I Peter 4:8-10:
-8: And above all things have fervent charity {intensely given love} among yourselves; for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
-9: Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
-10: As every man {every believer} hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

One of the wonderful things that set the Christian apart is having spiritual love which God has given to us. Spiritual love covers when we sin, for our shortcomings, and when we are weak in our believing, and these combined are the multitude of sins that God’s love covers.

No one is perfect, yet God’s love is; thus the Word of God encourages us to extend love with spiritual intensity to each other, and as Jesus taught, this love proves first to ourselves that we are his disciples, then shows others that we are his disciples (John 13:34-35).

This is why Peter stated “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned {without discrimination} love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (I Peter 1:22). Love not only covers a multitude of sins, but also purifies the soul of the lover, causing him to be pure before his Maker!

We have received the gift of God’s love, which was manifested in the life of Christ, and has been given to us in and by grace. God’s love encourages us to minister the same love to each other. This is our stewardship of grace.

“Manifold” means that the grace of God is multifaceted, like the life of Jesus himself, or like the morning sky changing into hundreds of pastel colors ever so slightly with every moment and with every blink of our eyes. God’s divine grace is always forgiving, and is always given to us with love, and this we can minister one to another, proving God’s grace and love to be genuinely true and gentle as God continues holding us in His loving arms.

I Peter 4:11 – If any man speak {about the manifold grace of God}, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth {we can speak authoritatively because God has given to us His grace}: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion {strength} for ever and ever. Amen.

Jesus Christ is who made grace available, “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Jesus, being the true subject of Scripture, continues revealing to us how to enjoy and walk within our divine gift from the Father.

When we speak the “oracles of God” i.e., the declaration of God’s grace, then we reciprocate back to our God – glory, and we discover the praise and strength of him who brought to us God’s grace – Jesus Christ.

God has given every believer a great ministry, Our Stewardship of Grace to enjoy and share with one another. What a marvelous standing we have in God’s family, and with him who gave his all for us, Christ the Lord.

The Alpha and Omega – The Beginning and the End, the First and the Last (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Revelation 22:13:
I {Jesus Christ} am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

The phrases Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last were well known to the people in the biblelands. Besides the obvious usage of alpha and omega as the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, they also have a dynamic representation in the Scriptures.

The following Alpha and Omega story was told by Bishop K. C. Pillai, DD (c. 1900–1970), who converted to the Christian faith from Hinduism in India. He had a wealth of practical understanding in so many customs of the biblelands. Dr Pillai opened up a new and fascinating field of study from the customs, cultures, and manners of the people in the biblical lands, having lived and learned them from his childhood. Dr Pillai taught and inspired many in the United States until his passing. (Three of his published works are cited at the end of this study.)

Bishop Pillai told the story of what the Alpha and Omega meant to the people of the first century as follows. “When a foreign nation was about to attack a certain region, they who were about to be assaulted would commission a messenger who would then run throughout the different towns and villages and herald the warning of the danger. This messenger would yell out: I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, your first and your last warning that the enemy is coming, then he would run on to other villages and towns in the enemy’s path and repeat this warning.”

This was perhaps similar to Paul Revere’s ride when yelling out: The British are coming! The British are coming! The messenger was the only one who would come; there would be no other messengers to follow, and thus he was the first and the last. Then the people could either prepare for the imminent danger of attack on its way or reject their only chance to defend themselves.

In the Bible, the Alpha and Omega is in reference to Jesus Christ who brought the one and only salvation for all men and women. Jesus is the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega, our messenger traveling in prophecy throughout the Scriptures from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, and thus he is the Beginning and the End. We can track God’s messenger, the “forerunner,” Jesus Christ, through the entire Word of God, for he is the Golden Thread. Jesus is spun into every fiber of prophecy in the tapestry of life, as he runs through and spans the ages of time in Scripture revealing him as man’s complete Savior.

Acts 4:12:
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name {than Jesus Christ} under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

When Jesus had told the Apostle John that he was the Alpha and Omega in Revelation, Jesus was saying that he was the only hope of the ages, the only entrance into the everlasting graces of the Creator.

In the Gospels, Jesus preached about the end of the world, and the termination of life as it currently exists (Matthew 24:3ff). The Alpha and Omega heralds out that through him there is a harbor of refuge and a heavenly entrance, giving those who will believe on him a safe passage (Matthew 13:25-30, 36-43, and John 3:16-21), for he is humanity’s preservation and salvation.

Jesus Christ is the one great subject in the Word of God, for he is the prophesied Promised Seed of the woman. He is the Master’s master key who unlocks the divine revelation in the Word of God. The entire Bible is about him either directly or indirectly. Everything written in the Scriptures is subject to him and centers in and around him. Whether the references are explicit or implicit, the topic of all the content of the Bible is Jesus Christ, and without him, man cannot fully understand or appreciate the Scriptures in their fullness or detail, for Jesus is the mediator between God and man.

With the Alpha and Omega revealed in the Word of God, we can further learn that through Christ, man has his own Genesis, his beginning commencing in divine purpose and fully completed as is revealed in the Book of Revelation with culmination into an eternity of divine grace. The Book of Revelation is the complement and completion to the Book of Genesis; without the Book of Genesis the Book of Revelation would be incomplete and left wanting, and vice versa.

What completes all that was written in the beginning (in the Book of Genesis) is Jesus Christ (in prophecy). What fulfills all that is written for the end (in the Book of Revelation) is Christ Jesus (in fulfillment of prophecy).

To illustrate, in the Book of Genesis, we learn of man’s banishment from Paradise and expulsion from the tree of life (3:24) while in the Book of Revelation, we see man welcomed back again into Paradise with free access to the tree of life (22:14).

In Genesis, the curse of the ground and man’s curse is pronounced (3:14, 17) while in Revelation we find no more curse at all (22:3).

In Genesis, we encounter man sentenced to sorrows, sufferings, and death (3:17, 19) while in Revelation we witness man’s acquittal and freedom to live life without sorrows, sufferings, and death (21:4).

In Genesis, there is night (1:5) while in Revelation there is no more night (21:23).

In Genesis, we observe the sun and moon for physical light (1:16) while in Revelation we see that we do not need the sun and moon because we will be living in the light of God (21:23).

In Genesis, we come across the seas (1:10) while in Revelation there are no more seas (21:1).

In Genesis, we have a river for the Earth’s blessings (2:10-4) while in Revelation we have a river for the new Earth’s blessings (22:1-2).

In Genesis, we have the entrance of sin and man’s fall from grace (3:14, 17) while in Revelation we have the end of sin and man’s complete restoration into God’s grace (21:3, 22:3).

In Genesis, we have the rainbow as a visible token of God’s covenant with the Earth (9:13) while in Revelation we have the rainbow in recognition of God’s covenant (4:3, 10:1).

In Genesis, we have the marriage of the first man ― Adam (2:18-23) while in Revelation we have the marriage of the last Adam ― Jesus Christ (19:1-9, also see I Corinthians 15:45).

In Genesis, we have man driven from Eden (3:24) while in Revelation we have man restored to a new paradise (22:1ff).

In Genesis, we discover Satan’s rebellion (between verses 1:1 and 1:2, also see Revelation 12:7-9, Ezekiel 28:15-18, and Isaiah 14:12, while in Revelation we are shown Satan’s final rebellion and destruction and a new Earth (20:7-10, 21:1). Please note in Genesis 1:1 the Earth was complete and perfect, created “not in vain” (Isaiah 45:18), but then in Genesis 1:2 the Earth became “without form and void” (Jeremiah 4:23). Then beginning from Genesis 1:3 through Genesis 2:3, God began putting the Earth back together for man. (See also II Peter 3:5-7, and See also the study titled: Geneses, written by the same author.)

In Genesis, we have the Earth created (1:1) while in Revelation we read that the Earth passed away (22:1).

In Genesis, we have the sun, moon, stars associated with Earth’s government (1:14-16), while in Revelation we have the sun, moon, and the stars associated for earth’s judgment (6:12, 8:12, and 16:8).

In Genesis, we have man created in God’s image (1:26) in charge over the earth, while in Revelation we have another man in charge over the earth in Satan’s image (13:11-16).

In Genesis, we have the future prophecy of “the woman” (Mary) and of her Son (Jesus) foretold as a future tense promise and their conflict with (the Dragon) the Serpent (3:15), while in Revelation we again have “the woman” (Mary) and her Son (Jesus) as a past tense reality of the promise fulfilled and their conflict with (the Serpent) the Dragon (12:1-6).

In Genesis, we have man’s dominion completely diminished and the beginning of Satan’s dominion (3:24) while in Revelation, we have Satan’s dominion ended and man’s dominion completely restored (22:1ff).

In Genesis, we have the doom of the Serpent pronounced (3:15), while in Revelation, we have the destruction of the Serpent executed (20:10).

Thus, we have the beginning and the end with all that was introduced (formed, made, and created) in the Book of Genesis 1:1-2:2 completely fulfilled in an endless life because of Jesus Christ, culminating in the Book of Revelation 21:1ff complete with a new Heaven and Earth.

Without Jesus Christ, both Books are just books – (and every book between, flawed!) – and man hasn’t a prayer, a hope, or a Savior. With Jesus Christ, man has a harbinger of true opportunity, a lively hope, and a risen partnership with and in Christ Jesus for all eternity. Both Books were produced generations apart and no amount of human genius or intervention could have schemed out this awesome bond with intellect only, for both Books are perfectly entwined way beyond what you or I could ever dream up.

The Book of Revelation for the Christian believer is not a disparaging book of doomsday (as we will learn through our series on The Golden Thread), but rather it reveals an incredible amount of good news, relinquishing fears and bestowing on humanity a magnanimous amount of spiritual insight regarding the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

We have Genesis, the Book of the beginning, and we have Revelation, the Book of the end; both complement and augment each other to reveal Christ as our Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. Jesus Christ fills to the full all the Scriptures and assures men and women of their salvation through his accomplished redeeming work.

The Bible, I believe, is His-story (God’s) in the making and that Jesus Christ is the true essence of His-story, man is the ultimate purpose and reach of His-story, and the Scriptures contain the true history of creation and man. It evidences the record from the dawn of time to eternal bliss, from the alpha of Lucifer to the omega of his total demise in the lake of fire, from the beginning of man and his struggle with sin and death to his ultimate victory in an endless life. The content within the Scriptures give an overview of all time showing the individual ages in the scope of the larger picture of eternity and man’s individual part he has in all God’s creation with the Savior.

Isaiah 43:10:
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant {Jesus} whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Before me and after me are representations of God ― the Supreme Alpha and Omega.

Between the Alpha and the Omega is the servant of God ― Jesus Christ, chosen: that ye may know and believe in God. Jesus is the “Servant” chosen to reveal God. Jesus makes known the heavenly Father to those who want to know, and they who discover Christ become genuine witnesses of God’s brilliant creative power.

It is interesting to note that the Book of Isaiah is within the core (or center) of the Bible, and from this center God said in Isaiah 48:12, “I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.” God is the Creator, and thus He is the Alpha and Omega of creation, while the Son of God is the Alpha and Omega to knowing Him personally Who has the power of creativity.

To truly know God intimately is to first know the Son, for in him we are lovingly shown the Father, “And such trust we have through Christ to God-ward” (II Corinthians 3:4).

II Peter 1:2-3:
-2: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.
-3: According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

What a honorable privilege we have to know Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and oh, how thankful we can become to have been given such wonderful understanding from the Word of God that reveals to our hearts the truth, the love, and the light of God Himself through the great revealer ― Jesus Christ.

*******

Pillai, K.C. Orientalisms of the Bible, Volume 1. Fairborn: OH:
Mor-Mac Publishing Co., 1969.

Pillai, K.C. Light through an eastern window. 14th Printing.
New York: Robert Speller & Son, 1976.

Pillai, K.C. Orientalisms of the Bible, Volume 2. Fairborn: OH:
Mor-Mac Publishing Co., 1974.

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.