True Religion Isn't "Mysterious"
Posted in the Quitman Forum
#1 Feb 4, 2013
True Religion Isn't "Mysterious"
E. R. Harper
There is an idea in the world that religion is a mysterious affair and therefore cannot be understood. Because of this belief, there has arisen an erroneous principle in religious teaching with respect to man's salvation.
It is thought that since it is a mysterious affair, man cannot understand God's plan for saving men and hence he has to wait and pray for the direct operation of the Holy Spirit to come into his heart and remove this mystery and destroy the "Adamic sin" that has blighted his life, and the proof of all this is "his feelings" in the matter. In other words, he will know when he is saved and when the mystery has been revealed by the way he "feels."
This is either true or it is not and it should interest all of us to know just what the mystery was that was connected with the salvation of the world. That the above idea is wrong, I am certain and that we may be able to arrive at the proper understanding of what this mystery is, I am confident.
In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he gives an explanation concerning the mystery of religion that becomes the hope of the world and especially of the Gentiles. In his explanation lies the entire principle of man's salvation and the "how it is to be brought about." Hear the letter as Paul gave it:
"For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs and of the same body and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ, to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be made known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him." (Eph. 3:1-12).
to be continued
#2 Feb 4, 2013
From this reading it is clear that there was a time when all this was a mystery to men but now it has been revealed. To whom was this a mystery? To us or to those before Paul's day of preaching? Paul says, "which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men." Not in our age, but in other ages this was a mystery.
This question then arises: "Why is it not a mystery to us today?" Hear the answer given by Paul: "How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ." It is plain to see that the reason for its not being mysterious now is that Paul had this mystery revealed to him from heaven and he in turn wrote it down that if we will read we may also know what that mystery was in other ages.
Just what is a mystery, anyway? It is anything we do not understand, but when it is explained the "mystery" part of it is gone. With this plain statement by Paul that he received this mystery and then wrote it that as we read we may understand what it is, how do we become so confused in matters of religion as to think it is all yet draped with mysterious utterances so that no man can understand, much less be able to teach others? Because of the above theory we are told we have to wait for the Holy Spirit, in some supernatural way, to operate upon us and reveal to us, in this mysterious manner, the truth of the Lord. Friends, read the revelation of the apostles, and you can understand what it is, for Paul said in so many words, "you may understand when you read." He knows. Try his suggestion. It works.
Let us now examine this mystery to see if we can find out just what it was that God would not reveal unto the sons of men in other ages. It must have been very important to have remained in the mind of God for so long a time before revealing it. Here is the mystery: "That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel." Not one thing is said here about a "mysterious operation of the Spirit upon the hearts of men to convert them," but that by the "gospel" the Gentiles were to become one body with the Jews. This was to be accomplished not by the Law of Moses with Moses as lawgiver, nor by the Gentiles' Patriarchal worship, but by the "gospel" of which Paul said he was given authority to preach to the Gentiles.
Ladies and gentlemen, permit me to digress here long enough to say this: If you and I would stop telling our Jewish friends that they are still God's chosen people and the Lord is yet to come to this earth and gather them out of the nations of the earth and with them rule the world, but would tell them what Paul, a Jew, has told both them and us, that we both must enjoy the promises of this mystery by being in one body and that we get into this one body by obeying the gospel alike, we would be doing them a great favor.
Paul has been given this mystery and the mystery, correctly understood, is the hope of the world, both Jew and Gentile. That was the purpose of this revelation of the mystery, to show that both Jew and Gentile shall receive the promises in one body, the church, and that by the gospel.
#3 Feb 4, 2013
Paul wrote to those Ephesian Gentiles that once they trusted the gospel that they heard, and that would be the gospel given unto him by Christ, that they were sealed by the holy spirit until the day of redemption. They cannot lose their salvation.
Do you believe that? If not, where does Paul tell these Ephesians that they can become unsealed?
Since: Aug 11
#4 Feb 11, 2013
How did the Ephesians become Christians?
You will find the Ephesians were baptized not once, but twice.
That is far from faith "alone" salvation.
#5 Feb 11, 2013
Those "certain" disciples at Ephesus in Acts 19:1-5 were Jews that were baptized unto John's baptism. Not any Gentiles in that group of Ephesians. Paul then laid his hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
The Ephesian letter is written to idol-worshipping Gentiles who heard that Christ died for their sins, was buried, and resurrected for their justification. That is the gospel that was preached unto them and what they trusted. They were sealed BY the Holy Spirit when they believed and trusted the gospel.
Paul didn't lay his hands on these Gentiles, like he did those Jews. That would have been rather difficult since he was in prison in Rome when he wrote the Ephesian letter.
Rightly divide the word of truth.
Since: Aug 11
#6 Feb 25, 2013
When reading (Eph. 2:8) just remember the Ephesians became Christians in (Acts 19:1-6)(Rom. 6:16-18).
They were baptized twice.
This means they were not saved by faith "alone".
1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.(Jas. 2:24)
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?(Jas. 2:20)
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.(Jas.2:17)
Why do people teach a DEAD FAITH can save?
#7 Feb 25, 2013
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
The CoC and the Pentecostals always leave out verse 6 when quoting Acts 19, fearing that someone would notice that the 12 had to have Paul lay his hands on them in order for them to receive the HG, and didn't get the HG from some bathtub.
Paul is long gone, folks.
Since: Aug 11
#9 Mar 2, 2013
My point was dealing with WHEN the Ephesians were saved (Acts 19:1-5).
They were baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27)(Rom 6:4).
Since there is now only one baptism according to (Eph.4:4,5) only water baptism exist today.
We must understand that the epistles were telling Christians how to live their daily lives as sanctified people of the Lord.
The book of Acts records the history of the early church and how the alien sinner becomes a child of God.
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.(Rom 6:16-18).
#10 Apr 9, 2013
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.(Jn 8:31,32)
Since: Aug 11
#11 Apr 23, 2013
Just to show how some people are prejudice.
Are you sure all COC people "ALWAYS" leave out verse 6 when referring to (Acts 19:1-6)?
For those who may read this.
*People you must be listen very well and be sure to ask for a verse for everything someone teaches.
(Acts 17:11)(Jn 5:9)(1Jn 4:1-6)
W ,I am sure you were just joking (in part) when you made the remark above about the Holy Spirit being imparted to another person (in bath water).
We (the CoC) teach the following -
6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.(Acts 6:6)
18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands ...(Acts 8:18)
*We (CoC) teach the Holy Spirit was to be passed on to another person by the laying on of the Apostles hands just as the scriptures above teach.
No Apostles ---> Means no passing on of gifts and this means the gifts ceased.(1Cor.13:8)(Eph. 4:11-14)
Allow me to make another point while on this subject.
There is a great difference between the gift (singular) and the gifts (plural) found in the NT.
The gift (singular) referred to in (Acts 2:38) will lead you back to the PROMISE God made Abraham. It is speaking about the forgiveness of sins for Jew and Gentile alike according to the WILL of God.
Note the following scriptures -
Blotting out -(Col. 2:14)
16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:(Eph. 2:14-16).
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.(Heb. 8:6-13)
for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.(Jer. 31:31-34)
(Gen. 12)- Land, SEED and Nation Promise.
16 Now to Abraham and his SEED were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.(Gal. 3:16)
For anyone who may contend that the gift in (Acts 2:38) is teaching that each and every person who was baptized (in water) according to the scriptures recieved the Holy Spirit I have a question for you -
Why did those in (Acts 8:1-13) not have the Holy Spirit?
Notice please WHY Peter and John went to Samaria.
14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
*Well how did the Samaritans recieve the Holy Spirit if not by water baptism?
17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
(Acts 6:6)(Acts 8:18)
(Acts 17:11)(1Jn 4:1-6)
#12 Sep 30, 2013
God does communicate with man today right?
#13 Sep 30, 2013
Through a King James Bible.
#14 Oct 24, 2013
(Jn 20:30,31)- Joh 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: Joh 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God;
(Eph. 3:3,4)- Eph 3:3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Eph 3:4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
Yes God communicates with man through the word (the bible).
*The bible tells us why God does not speak directly with men today.
*The Lord did not tell Saul how to be saved in (Acts 9:1-6) rather He told Saul to meet a man and he (Ananias) would tell Saul what he MUST DO to be saved.
*(2Co 4:7) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,...
This treasure = the gospel.
Earthen vessels = men
Heavenly vessels = God, Christ, Holy Spirit and Angels.
* During the New Testament Law heavenly vessels do not tell men how to be saved. We find the reason for this in (2Tim. 2:2) and (1Cor.1:21)(2Cor.4:7).
... it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.(1Cor.1:21)
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
Show these scriptures to any preacher who tells you God spoke directly to him and told you to do something.
Since: Jan 10
#15 Dec 4, 2013
Here's a sermon on Jesus being our King.
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