Friday, February 16, 2007

The First Principles of Christ

The Mystery that was hid in God Part 2
Click here for part 1

(Hebrews 5:11-6:3) Of whom we have many things to say, and hard of interpretation, seeing ye are become dull of hearing.(12) For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food.(13) For every one that partaketh of milk is without experience of the word of righteousness; for he is a babe.(14) But strong meat belongeth to them that are full-grown, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

(6:1) Wherefore leaving the doctrine of the first principles of Christ, let us press on unto perfection; not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,(2) of the teaching of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.(3) And this will we do, if God permit.

Paul explains that Christians that are only partaking of the milk of the word have not grown up into perfection. This is mind boggling when you consider what the milk of the word is.

Paul wrote that the milk of the word is: repentance from dead works, faith towards God, teaching of baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. Paul said to move on from these elementary things and grow up into perfection.

He wrote the book of Hebrews to the Jewish believers, those that knew and understood the law and their customs. They were learning that the rituals and festivals that were done in the law by the flesh, were pictures of what was to be fulfilled in the Spirit and showing signs of things that were to come. (Leviticus 23:4) These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. (Notice that they were the Lord’s feasts.)

In Matthew 26:26-29 Jesus was showing the disciples what the Passover feast was really all about. That he was the Passover Lamb, the bread represented his flesh and the wine represented his blood.

And Paul also explains the spiritual meaning of the Passover meal.

(1 Corinthians 10:2-4,11) and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; (3) and did all eat the same spiritual food;(4) and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them: and the rock was Christ.

(11) Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come.

(1 Corinthians 10:15-18) I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. (16) The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? (17) seeing that we, who are many, are one bread, one body: for we are all partake of the one bread. (18) Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

This was an example of those things done in the natural, or “flesh”, are fulfilled in the spirit.

The 15th Chapter of Acts shows us a picture of the Jewish believers in Jerusalem. It was 20 years after the descent of the Holy Spirit in chapter 2. Some still wanted to teach the Law of Moses. There was a great dispute among them as to what would be required of the Gentile believers who had never kept the law. But after Peter had spoken: (Acts 15:8-10) “God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;(9) And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. (10) Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?”

They agreed not put the burden of the Law on the Gentile believers.

You can see the growing knowledge of Jesus Christ and the mystery (which had been hidden) in the later Epistles of Paul, Peter and John. So much so that by the time Paul wrote the book of Philippians 12 years later, he considered all his own righteousness that was done in the flesh according to the law was of no value. In fact even “count them but dung”.

He Wrote:
(Philippians 3:3-10) For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.(4) Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:(5) Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;(6) Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. (7) But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.(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 the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win 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 6:1 Paul said not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and faith in God. These are the dead works of self righteousness which is of the law and not of faith in God. He said to move on from there.

Hebrews 6:2 Paul said to move on from the teaching of (1) baptisms, (2) laying on of hands, (3) resurrection of the dead and (4) eternal judgment.

Let’s use the example of baptisms,

The water baptism of John: {(Mark 1:4) John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.(Acts 13:24) When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.}

The baptism of Jesus, his death and resurrection {(Mark 10:38) But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink the cup that I drink? or to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?(Luke 12:50) But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!}

The baptism of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11) I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire: (Mark 1:8) I baptized you in water; But he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit.

Paul did not baptize many people before he wrote 1Corinthians and it appears he didn’t baptize anyone since. (1 Corinthians 1:17) For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not in wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made void.

Jesus did not baptize anyone: (John 4:1-2) When therefore the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (2) (although Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples). It was the Lord’s disciples that baptized.

Let us grasp the depths of Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

Paul said: (Ephesians 4:5) “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” It is all about the Lord. NO flesh will have the glory, it all belongs to him.

We see the progression away from anything done in the flesh by man. We see man disappearing and Christ appearing. This is the beginning of perfection. John the Baptist said, “I must decrease so he can increase”.

This is the resurrection that Paul wanted to obtain to:

(Philippians 3:10-15) that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death;(11) if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead.(12) Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus.(13) Brethren, I count not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before,(14) I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.(15) Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye are otherwise minded, this also shall God reveal unto you:

Until we are full grown and to a measure of the fullness of Christ, (Ephesians 4:11-13) He gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (12) for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ:(13) till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

“I must decrease so he can increase”.