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The Gospel of God (Part 2)

by Paul Knecht

FROM PART ONE IN MAY WORD&WORK

Section VIII The Mystery

Abraham,  being a man  of faith fit into God’s  purpose  and to him God offered the World (Ro. 4:13) and the holy city – the world’s capital, prepared of God for those who believe in the work He works ”in our days.”  This was promised through and To “Abraham’s Seed. He did not say seeds but one seed (Galatians 3:16-19) and that seed is Christ. But a great error was made..  Israel believed that all that were  of Israel  were thus heirs of Abraham’s promise. (Romans 9).  They did not know that the purpose of God will be wrought by ELECTION that no man should boast. It was NOT the children of flesh that are to be reckoned for a seed but those who walk by faith. The promise of a restored world, to be owned and ruled was made to an elect group – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc., and Christ.   Christ is the heir – now, while it was revealed that He would be a Light to the Gentiles etc.  IT WAS NEVER REVEALED THAT GENTILES – (SEPARATE from Christ, etc.”)  Eph 2 would ACTUALLY BE JOINT HEIRS WITH MESSIAH – FELLOW PARTAKERS OF THE PROMISE (WITH Christ) fellow members of the Body –  ( CHRIST’S OWN BODY)  AND Fellow heirs with Him!  To sit down with him  in his throne – to share that Portion that is to be divided “among the strong!” The great mystery is the creation of The One New Man: :  composed of Jesus Christ the HEAD-AND-ELECT FROM BOTH JEWS AND GREEKS, the body; one seed.  (Gal. 3) “And if ye are Christ’s then area ye Abraham’s seed, heirs according to  PROMISE “ Romans 4 —   “the promise made sure all the seed Heb.6 – “Where in God, being minded to show more abundantly unto the  heirs  of the promise, the immutability of his counsel,  with an oath ..that WE may have strong encouragement ..etc.”  Paul before Agrippa said he was to be judged FOR THE HOPE OF ISRAEL – ‘THE HOPE OF THE PROMISE MADE OF  God unto our Fathers.” Acts  26.  In other words, an election of Gentile men of the faith is offered the SAME promise that the election of Jewish men of faith held.

God offers the same promise to men of faith to day that He offered to Abraham and his seed, Christ. Grace upon Grace!  Such promise of course could NEVER have been made EXCEPT GOD had devised a way to make men righteous:  a way by which ANY man could be made righteous.  New God life could be created in any man by uniting that man vitally and actually with the Christ, such that Christ in  you,  ( the Mystesry – Col.) is the description of one  living by faith.  Then of course those deeds requiring judgment had to be care for.  God’s Christ had to die to make payment for sins.  But “the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith preached the Gospel before hand unto Abraham saying in thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” So Gentiles, because justification is by faith can be joint heirs with the Christ, in as much as we are one with Him and participate in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Section IX Ishmael

Abraham had 2 sons. Both inherited – (Gen.21) Isaac being a child of promise, born of faith typifies the elect who participate jointly with Abraham and Christ in the Kingdom. Ishmael- born of the flesh typifies fleshly Israel: “And also of the son of the handmaid will I make a nation because he is thy seed.” (Gen 21:13)    But both did not inherit together.  (Gal. 4)  We, are children of promise: Fleshly Israel, even though restored, will not inherit with us, for we shall reign as one in Messiah, over them, and over all the world.

Most of the prophecies concern the restoration of Israel after the flesh.

Section X  The Law.

It is spiritual.  It answers to the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Israel, as Adam, felt that she could do all that God commanded.  It was given to bring men to Christ – to reveal our need of a saviour.  However, Christ did not come to destroy or annul it – but that it (ie. That which is ordained in the law) should  be fulfilled in us – Not independently of God– but by the  very presence of  God in us.  We are out from under the law – ie. Not obligated to earn salvation by it.  We are under grace – failures are not fatal – even while the old covenant was in force  if a man would acknowledge  his dependence on God,  failures were not fatal – (cp David.)  The weakness of the law was flesh: the remedy was not an alteration of the law but a new birth for man. The law, expounded on by Jesus, shows that kind of conduct that is indispensable if life is to continue.  Those who would live eternally must  be enabled  to live in such a way that life  can continue.  The one commandment, “thou shalt not kill,” involved much more than the act of murder: it included the matter of anger and contempt.  It required men to hold life in the highest possible esteem.  The entire law is fulfilled in the Christian – out of Gratitude by the Holy Spirit.  “:Love…is the fulfillment  of the law.

The law did not disannul the promise of Abraham in any way whatsoever.  Its purpose was to make men realize they cannot live independently of God.  No does some’s  lack of faith, or all to be found liars, lessen the faithfulness of God.

Section XI  The new Covenant

The new covenant, long promised by the prophets is a covenant requiring nothing of the flesh.  It, as the old belongs to Israel.  It clearly included the new birth.   “I will put my laws on their heart…”  “a new heart will I give them” etc.  Any teacher of Israel should have understood the necessity of the new birth.  Jesus rebuked Nicodemus because he did not understand.   All those things commanded under the old, have genuine value in the new.  For example – the old had its priesthood, sacrifices, tabernacle and the law – each one vitally defective.  Under the new covenant, these defects are remedied.  The feasts days, etc.  are shadows of the things yet to come.  We Gentiles, who were strangers from the covenants of promise are now fellow citizens with the saints.  Circumcision – a removal of a small portion of flesh is now seen in its true meaning – the fleshly nature  cut off in the circumcision of Christ (Col 2)  Even the old covenant revealed its meaning however – “ Circumcise  the foreskin of your heart..”  Because “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God” – the new birth – (i.e. Gift of the Holy Spirit) is an absolute necessity, – both for the power of life and for the resurrection or translation of the body.  “Except one be born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.”

Section XII Apostolic preaching

First, John came declaring the Kingdom of heaven was at hand. This kingdom is the one seen by Daniel and the prophets: God’s kingdom ruled by God’s man in such a way that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven, and God is all in all, the Kingdom to which the anointed is heir.

Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom – in all their cities and villages.  The 12 and the 70 were sent out to preach this same message.  Jesus spoke of the Kingdom about 115 times as recorded in the Gospels.  So prominent was the kingdom in their thoughts that the blood atonement and the forgiveness of sins at the time of his death does not seem to have entered their minds.  After his resurrection he spent 40 days (Acts) speaking the things concerning the kingdom of God.  The Cross was determined of God for one specific purpose – the means whereby the Kingdom of God could be established.  Jesus had already warned them that the Kingdom would not immediately appear, by a parable. The Kingdom of God had come nigh them. When they asked about when the kingdom would be restored he told them they were not to know but that he would send them the Holy spirit:   that necessary  blessing  promised in the prophecies of Joel and others unto the restoration of the Kingdom of God.

Peter declared this outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost to be the fulfillment (age long) of the promise through Joel.  He then proceeds to show why the anointed could not be held in death: just as Abraham foresaw the resurrection of the heir AS A NECESSITY  TO THE FULFILLMENT OF GOD’S  PROMISE,  so David knowing that God had swore with an oath to set a descendant of his on the throne, KNEW  that since the Christ  would HAVE TO DIEHE WOULD HAVE TO  RISE FROM THE DEAE- else God could not keep his oath.  The fact that the crucified Jesus was resurrected proves that he is the Christ and Lord.  He has now ascended to the Father and procured the gift of the   Holy Spirit  and  is only this moment waiting until his enemies be made the footstool of his feet – before  returning to begin his reign.  Little wonder they cried out in despair.  But Peter was able to tell them that even such as they could receive the Holy Spirit unto the inheritance of the kingdom (see Old Test. and New)   and remission of sins by being united with the Christ in his death and life.  This is the Gospel: i.e. thru the atonement, men can inherit the Kingdom.

Peter’s sermon in the 3rd of Acts presents the very same message speaking of His return at the times of the restoration of all things.  To reveal to Israel that Jesus the Christ was to satisfy the deepest longings of a believers heart – FOR this CHRIST is a world ruler  and as a member of his own race, the Jew would SHARE  his glory – “the wealth of all nations” ..etc.

Philip declared unto the Samaritans THE CHRIST – certainly he taught of the humility and suffering But – the all inclusive statement of Philip’s preaching reveals its most prominent aspect: preaching good tidings concerning the Kingdom.  Should we assume that in preaching to the eunuch he preached a different message?

Paul declared that Jesus is the Son of God .. proving that this is the Anointed – (Messiah).

Peter, at Cornelius’s house did not fully grasp the mystery (cp, his actions at Antioch.).  Even so he spoke of the good tidings of peace by Jesus Messiah!  (Of course he told of the remission of sins for apart from this one cannot inherit the kingdom).  But Jesus was presented as Lord – The Judge (ruler) of the living and the dead – i.e. the anointed.

Paul to the Jews at Antioch of Pisidia spoke of Israel’s history declaring that God had brought unto Israel a Saviour (this word was used in Judges to denoted national deliverance. Personal sin results in national difficulties –i.e, the problems of nations are the direct results of sins of individuals. Hence “a saviour” does not detract from or change the picture of the Christ’s work as given by the prophets) Paul shows how this Anointed one was slain but God raised him from the dead.  Then the true significance of the resurrection is seen; “We bring you good tidings (Gospel) of the promise made to the fathers that God hath fulfilled the same unto OUR CHILDREN (ie, not immediately) IN THAT HE RAISED UP JESUS…NOW NO MORE TO RETURN TO CORRUPTION”, The significance of the resurrection is – “I will give you the Holy and sure blessing of David.”  This is the very same message Peter preached.  The resurrection confirms the “blessing of David” – ie that his seed should occupy his throne forever.  This is the prime significance of the resurrection! They were then admonished to repent, and shown that thru this man is proclaimed remission of sins.  They were further warned from Hag 1:5 When they rejected his message this same message was given to the Gentiles – and the elect believed.

Acts 14:22 Their hope was to enter the kingdom.

Acts 15 shows the disciples understanding Gentile acceptance from the passages promising the restoration of the Davidic kingdom.  Paul was in trouble in Acts 17 for preaching another king—one Jesus.  The sermon at Athens – introduction to a Living God, was never finished.  It was cut short at the mention of resurrection – hence Paul did not get to reveal the significance of this resurrection beyond that statement that the resurrected man would judge the world; a world ruler.

Paul’s and Apollos’ messages were summed up in a short statement in Acts 18 – “testifying…that Jesus was the Christ –(Messiah)”  Apollos, knowing nothing of the baptism of Jesus was only shown the way of God “MORE ACCURATELY.”  His basic message was correct! He was proving that Jesus is the Anointed.  Paul’s message at Ephesus – “…reasoning and persuading as to the things concerning the kingdom of God..” Paul said to the elders of Ephesus later that he “went about preaching the Kingdom.” This is the all inclusive statement of the message Paul preached. Of course it includes the cross; the cross is unto the kingdom. Paul’s hope was not changed one whit after becoming a Christian (Christian means that which pertains to Messiah) Acts 26:28.  The hope of the church is the same hope that faithful Israel cherished over the years.

The last chapter of Acts finds Paul speaking to Roman Jews.  “for because  of the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.”  He testified to the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus both from the LAW OF MOSES AND FROM THE PROPHETS. You cannot preach the gospel without first showing men the Christ from the Old Testament.  Furthermore, the Gospel is GOOD NEWS.  Nearly ALL O.T. prophesies of the Christ are devoted to the coming Kingdom of God.  This is the good news that the apostles preached.

When the news was rejected this message “this salvation” was sent unto the Gentiles.  To  Gentiles Paul was “preaching the kingdom of God…and the things concerning the Lord Jesus Messiah “.  Paul showed Gentiles and Jews alike the promise of Joint Heirship with Christ.  You do not find the apostles laying the “DARK BACKGROUOND of hell to make their message GOOD NEWS! It is GOOD NEWS OF ITSELF!  This ends the book of Acts.

The passage from Acts into Romans marks a vital change.  Please note carefully.   We are to “handle aright the word of truth.” The 4 Gospels are devoted to the presentation of Jesus, the man of Nazareth, AS THE CHRIST, the Son of God.  The book of Acts records Apostolic Gospel preaching to Jews and Gentiles of all walks of life.  These messages summarize the life of Jesus and set forth the significance of his entrance into the world: that is, that he is God’s anointed – the promise to the fathers are now confirmed by his blood atonement and resurrection:  he is coming again to establish the Kingdom of God.  All of which is summarized in the statement – “..I went about preaching the kingdom.”  After leaving Acts, the Redeemer is spoken of emphatically as the Christ.  All dispute as to whether Jesus is the Christ is now over for NO EPISTLE WAS WRITTEN TO AN UNBELIEVER.  ALL ARE WRITTEN TO PEOPLE  who had  HEARD, BELIEVED,  and  ACCEPTED  the Gospel- had CONFESSED JESUS TO BE THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GIOD and were thus builded upon the ROCK.   Hence ORIGINALLY the term “Christ” in the epistles was a meaningful  term.  Further it must  be remembered that any reference to the GOSPEL in the epistles is made to those who already understood and accepted the GOSPEL.

 Hence  – those references  may be expected to be brief:  to formulate a definition of the Gospel from statements taken from the epistles for presentation to the world is to offer words and ideas to unbelievers that they cannot understand! Without the background of the Gospels and Acts nothing in the epistles can  be UNDERSTOOD and WITHOUT THE BACKGROUND OF THE Old Testament one cannot understand enough from the Gospels and Acts to intelligently make the confession he must make before entering the church: namely: that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God.

Primarily The Epistles reveal the HOW of justification by Faith and what practical results MUST FOLLOW, containing many exhortations to Godly living thru the Holy Spirit.  It is a mistake to look for the Gospel message first in the epistles.

Furthermore the resume of the Gospel found in I Cor 15 DOES NOT END IN VERSE 4.  This is not even the end of a sentence! All of the chapter is the Gospel.  Its main point is the resurrection.  Verse 3 declares that MESSIAH died for our sins.  Paul had already taught these Gentile believers who Messiah was and that Jesus is Messiah.  Note the almost exclusive use of the term Messiah (Christ) in this chapter.  Clearly MUCH  preceded the resume of I Cor. 15. I Cor 15:1-4  is incomprehensible to one who does not understand the term “Christ” and does not know that Jesus is the Christ!.  Also the very fact that there is no passage in the epistles of explanation about the kingdom is the greatest proof that they had been thoroughly  made acquainted with this teaching from the START for Paul constantly refers to the Kingdom  in the epistles.  So deeply was the kingdom hope implanted within them that all Paul needed to do was to mention it.  Even in sarcasm he said, “..already ye are filled, already ye are become rich, ye have come to reign without us” ! I Cor . 6.  Paul shows that since we are to judge the world we must learn to judge! If Christ himself did not judge after the sight of his eyes, etc. could WE? No – we must learn to judge as HE judged: through the power of the Holy Spirit which made him “The Christ.”

In all the epistles the warning goes forth that the UNRIGHTEOUS SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM.    The purpose of Messiah’s coming was to make men righteous so that we could inherit the Kingdom.  Paul’s good news was an invitation to men to inherit the coming Kingdom of God.

Other aspects of the work of God are dealt with in the letters.  The word “Gospel” occurs 99 times in the K.J.V. of the New Testament.  71 times there is no indication of the actual content of the Gospel.  However the other 28 times some modifying phrases indicate content or purpose such as –‘The Gospel of the Grace of God’ ( Acts 20:24)  ‘The Gospel of Peace’ – 2 times (Eph 6:15, Ro 10:15) ‘The gospel of the glory of the blessed God’ (I Tim.1:11), “the everlasting Gospel”  (Matt 4:23, 9:35, 24:14, Mk 1:14)  Five times it is called “The Gospel of God”  (Ro 1:1, 15:16, I Thes. 2:2, 2:8. I Peter 4:17).  Fourteen times it is “the Gospel of Christ” –This is by far the most emphasized: the Good News of Messiah.  (Two of this fourteen say Gospel of Jesus Christ)   But are we to conclude that each of these is a different Gospel?  Paul declares there is just one Gospel – (Gal. 1) preaching Any other brings the curse.  This is repeated for emphasis.  Every N.T. preacher preached the same Gospel: Gospel of the Kingdom.  Every sermon did not perhaps include all the aspects of this Gospel for it is not a message that can be presented in 15 seconds as so many try to do: every recorded Gospel message DOES present the hope of this Kingdom however!  Peter’s only reference to His death on Pentecost was to point out their Guilt in its connection: NOT TO  explain the atonement.

This good news, the Gospel, is God’s offer to ANY man that he can be heir to the kingdom of God on a joint basis with the seed of Abraham which is Christ! Now the MEANS whereby this is accomplished – Messiah’s blood atonement – making possible remission of sins and the Gift of the Holy spirit –is now effected.  Preaching remission of sins without preaching the kingdom inheritance IS NOT preaching the Gospel anymore than preaching baptism without preaching remission of sins would be preaching good news. The Gospel is the power of God.  God has ever motivated men by offering them something better than they have.  Moses looked unto the recompense of reward.  Abraham was offered a much better possession than Ur of the Chaldees afforded.  Christ ENDURED the cross .. for the joy set before him.  When God makes a man a promise GOD assumes all responsibility for the fulfillment of the promise requiring only that men believe that promise.  Believing God’s promise creates incentive to get along with God – when ANY man wants to get along with God – making him able to do so is not a problem to GOD – the cross was determined from the foundation of the world.  God knew He could make men righteous through the cross and the blood if he could only create the hunger and thirst after righteousness that is NOT A NATURAL CHARACTERISTIC OF ADAMIC MAN.  To create this desire for righteousness you can warn him of HELL. God forbid that this should ever be the gospel!.   The preaching in Acts utterly repudiates Escape from HELL as the MAIN or first objective of the Gospel.   Yet before remission of sins  is good news HELL   must be proclaimed: hence if remission of sins to escape judgment is the Gospel – the first message must be hell. This is not apostolic procedure.  I believe in hell and in teaching hell: After a man has been offered the PURE GOOD NEWS  that GOD’S  true Christ will give him the kingdom, being shown of course if interested, how  thru the blood he can inherit  the kingdom.   If this is rejected – then hell is the only alternative.  As Peter, on Jesus invitation issued forth upon the water NOT KNOWING HOW BUT BELIEVING Christ’s invitation all sufficient – so men, if they know  and believe  only the Kingdom promise of God and set  forth trusting  God  (not themselves) to secure it to them – God  CAN save such.  He did this throughout the ages of the old testament.  They (Nor we) did not understand all the hows of His promises.  Real faith in God will accept a promise of His without any understanding of How.  Nicodemus wanted to know how a man could be born anew. This is the MEAT of the word. (Not kingdom teaching) and is found in the epistles.  Paul had taught the Corinthians about the Kingdom yet he had fed them with milk Not with meat.

 Section XIII  Conclusion

The Gospel is the good news that God’s Christ has appeared confirming His promise to establish the Kingdom of God – offering it as an inheritance to EVERY CREATURE.

The BLOOD ATONEMENT – is a means to an END: as prominent as it is – it is MEANINGLESS and RIDICULOUS  to people apart from the understanding of its purpose and the identity of the Jesus who effected it.  By applying statements from I Cor it is argued that the cross is the “center” of gospel preaching.  I maintain that this is another error resulting from failure to “handle aright the word of truth” –  (see above).  Every such statement refers to Christ  (“A Messiah”  I Cor 1:23)  crucified and CANNOT BE UNDERSTOOD  apart from the  Gospel of the Kingdom and the identity of Jesus.

Omitting NOTHING that is scripturally taught pertaining to the cross and its redemption – I plead that those who have shifted the center  from the Christ and the Kingdom (other scripture seen in this light) to the cross (with prophecy as a “non-essential to salvation”) may carefully consider these truths and return to the scriptural center and the Gospel of God.  When we tell people they will be “saved” let’s tell them what salvation is.  Let us quit preaching IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE!  – “CHRIST” is a GREEK word!  Let’s tell people about the anointed – what he was anointed with and why:  to what inheritance he is therefore entitled and from what throne it shall be ruled.

Objections are always raised that one need not understand “all” of this before he can be saved.  How much then MUST one understand in order to be saved?  The “good confession” upon which the church is built and apart from which one IS NOT ON   THE FOUNDATION (hence is NOT SAVED)  is that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.  Since the Gospel is the good news of the Kingdom and must be believed before one can be saved – and since the confession demands that one believe Jesus to be the Christ .. I maintain that one must – (1) have enough knowledge of O.T. prophecies (“Paul reasoned from the scriptures”.. O.T.) and (2)  of the historical person – Jesus, and (3) of his supernatural life and the resurrection TO INTELLIGENTLY  AFFIRM HIS IDENTITY  before uniting with him in baptism: one may never fathom all of the ramifications of this confession.  All of this may be set forth in a very short time – and only GOD can open ones heart to grasp it!  It will not BE ACCEPTED BY THE masses – BUT THE elect will believe.

The analogy between marriage and acceptance of Christ is often offered to prove that you need understand very little before “being saved” because learning more later does not invalidate the initial act.  However – in at least ONE very important point these two are NOT analogous: Marriage is made effective by and act regardless of mental attitude.  Baptism, however, is utterly MEANINGLESS APART FROM the FAITH.  Thus unless it is an act of faith it does not put one into the Messiah.  Faith is believing God – what must we believe?

One may argue that he has faith in a person – and need not understand “all” of that.  True – we do have faith in a person  and may never understand  it all – BUT: SALVATION – SINCE IT IS BY FAITH DEMANDS SOME UNDERSTANDING:  the question is HOW MUCH? At the entrance to the church every man must be stopped – BEFORE he can become a member of the BODY OF MESSIAH he must confess that Jesus is the Messiah the Son of God.  To bring people “into the church” with any other or any less understanding than this – is to build on something besides the ROCK. DO NOT BE GUILTY IN THIS AFFAIR. The “Church of Christ” would not be split as it is if prophecy had not been given a “nonessential” status regarding salvation.

To maintain that you need not understand the confession is ridiculous:  (God condemned Israel (Is 29:23) because their fear was “learned by rote” – i.e. NOT UNDERSTOOD) or that you need understand only part of it is also ridiculous. To say that you need only understand that Jesus is the Son of God and you can be saved is to ignore the great bulk of the Word of God.  Scriptural emphasis is overwhelmingly upon the fact that Jesus is Christ:  He is referred to as Christ incessantly after it is established that he is Christ.  It is occasionally mentioned that he is the Son of God.  The confession calls for both – and both must be sufficiently understood to make and intelligent confession.  This confession is a statement of THE faith of the church.  It is little wonder the church plays so fast and loose with the world!   No building can be stronger that its foundation:  this foundation has been regarded very superficially – and for the most part only half of it has been built upon!.

This confession that Jesus is the Christ is a blanket acceptance of the O.T. promise concerning the Kingdom of God.  It immediately makes one a sojourner and a pilgrim in the present age.  It denies all hope that the worlds problems can be worked apart from Divine intervention.  Thus if proclaimed it brings forth the wrath of proud men of the world who have refused to have God in their knowledge.  To keep silent about the kingdom of God is to court the friendship of the world:  and this is enmity against God.

Gospel preachers bear testimony to Jesus – and “the testimony of Jesus is THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY”!  The seed sown in Matthew 13 is “the word of the kingdom.”  “When any one heareth the WORD OF THE KINGDOM and UNDERSTANDETH IT NOT-..”  Satan snatches it away.   This is he that was sown by the way side: MEN MUST  UNDERSTAND.

If you deny these affirmations please prove your denial scripturally and reveal that truth scripturally in whatever points we differ.  If we need not understand Peter’s confession to be built on the rock please offer proof from the scripture and state what we must believe in order to be on the rock.  (from scripture of course).  I want very much to know and to preach the truth and will readily recant in favor of any more scriptural position.

Please send your comments!

 

Note: this transcribed message is just as it was originally written and delivered.  Paul S. Knecht went home to be with the Lord in 2012. 

 

 




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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33