Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

I love the verses in Luke the first chapter where the beloved physician explains to Theophilus why he wrote his account of Jesus Christ in the gospel of Luke.

Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning who were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.  Luke 1:1-4 

Luke then begins his gospel with the visitation of Gabriel to Zacharias telling him about the birth of his son John, the forerunner of the Messiah as promised in Isaiah.

The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.  Isaiah 40:3

Luke ends the gospel with Jesus’ ascension into heaven and the disciples spending their time in the temple in Jerusalem worshiping God, waiting for the promised Holy Spirit.

“Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”  And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.  Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.  And they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.  Luke 24:49-53 

The history of Jesus Christ contained between the opening and closing verses of the gospel of Luke were written by Luke under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to give us certainty about the truth in which we have been instructed.   All of Scriptures instructs us in the truth about Jesus Christ from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation; the prophecy of the Scriptures centers upon the Person and work of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  Twice in the book of Revelation John tried to worship the angels who showed him the many wonders recorded in that book.  Both times the angels prevented John telling him to worship God.  Their responses to John reveal this purpose of the Scriptures.

And I fell at his feet to worship him.  But he said to me, “See that you do not do that!  I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus.  Worship God!  For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  Revelation 19:10

Now I, John, saw and heard these things.  And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.  Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that.  For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book.  Worship God.” Revelation 22:8-9 

The prophets wrote about Jesus Christ and the angel says that Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.  Prophecy is centered upon Jesus and His message.  Those the angel identifies with are the ones who have the testimony of Jesus and who keep the words of the book of Revelation, and by extension, the whole of the Bible.  As those who are the called of God through faith in Jesus Christ and love God’s Word, as we share the Bible with others we must make sure that we hold to His message at all times; Jesus Christ is the Author!  The Revelation of Jesus Christ is an excellent book to turn to for Christ’s Person and message.

Jesus Christ is returning to this earth which is made plain in the book of Revelation.  Here we see the exaltation of Who He is and what He has done for us.  Much of this sweet doctrine is found in the first chapter of Revelation.  We can see from its verses that Jesus Christ is the Highest One, the Lord God Almighty:   

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him.  And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him.  Even so, Amen.  “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”;  I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia:  to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”;  And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.  But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.  I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.  Amen.  And I have the keys of Hades and Death.  Revelation 1:7-8; 11; 17-18

Throughout the Scriptures the deity of Jesus Christ is proved over and over again; here in the first chapter of this book we see the culmination of that revelation.   Jesus Christ, the ever living Son of God, as the Lord God Almighty will return to this earth and establish His kingdom, ending the reign of the devil, destroying His enemies and bringing His promises to fruition.  Jesus, as the all-powerful Eternal One, has through His earthly ministry defeated sin, the devil and death, and will return to establish His righteous reign on Earth overthrowing the rebellion of sinful mankind. 

Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing?  The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.”  He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.  Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure:  “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill Zion.”  “I will declare the decree:  The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.  Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.  You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’” Psalm 2:1-9 

Throughout the book of Revelation we see the judgment that Christ executes against His enemies.

In Revelation chapter 19 we see the promised wrath of God meted out to His enemies and those who persecute His saints through His beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse.  And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.  His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns.  He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.  He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God.  And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.  Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.  And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron.  He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:  KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.  Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “come and gather together for the supper of the Great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people free and slave, both small and great.  And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.  Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.  These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.  And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse.  And all the birds were filled with their flesh.  Revelation 19:11-21 

This is the literal fulfillment of God’s judgment upon those who hate and harass His children.  Just as the Lord judged the nations who did harm to His people Israel, so He will complete that judgment in answer to the prayers of His people.

When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.  And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”  Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.  Revelation 6:9-11 

Jesus Christ is the Avenger of His saints and will judge all who have hated and harmed His people, unless they repent of their sins and turn to Him.  Praise God He not only is the Dispenser of God’s wrath but also the Deliverer from sin.

Returning to chapter one of Revelation Jesus Christ reveals that He is our Savior from sin and Deliverer from death.

John, to the seven churches which are in Asia:  Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.  To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen. Revelation 1:4-6 

Jesus Christ’s redeeming work is the reason that He has the authority to loose the seven seals of the scroll in which is the judgment and recovery of the earth.

But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep, Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”  And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.  Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.  Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full incense, which are the prayers of the saints.  And they sang a new song, saying:  “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”  Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousands, saying with a loud voice:  “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”  And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:  “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!”  And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.  Revelation 5:5-14  

The Holy Spirit, Who is intimately bound up in the testimony of Jesus Christ to the saved and lost alike, is   depicted as the seven Spirits because of His complete and thorough disclosure and revelation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Apart from His divine intervention no sinner would receive the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He has redeemed and washed us from our sins with His blood, and made us kings and priests to the Lord God Almighty.  Apart from Jesus Christ’s work of salvation, His death on the cross for our sins and His resurrection from the dead, there would not be any hope of reconciliation between God and us.  Those who reject Jesus Christ and His salvation consign themselves to His eternal wrath poured out upon them in hell.  As the One who has redeemed us, He watches over, rebukes, exhorts and encourages us as His children.  He judges the church and discloses those who are His and those who must repent and put their faith in Him.

In the first, second and third chapters of Revelation Jesus Christ stands as the judge of His church and sends believers warnings and commendations.  The revelation of Himself given to John in chapter one is repeated in the opening letters to each of the seven churches to reiterate His position as Judge of His church

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia:  to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”  Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me.  And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.  His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right had seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.  And when I say Him, I fell at His feet as dead.  But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.  I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.  Amen.  And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.  Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.  The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands:  The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.  Revelation 1:10-20

Jesus is the One who walks in the midst of the churches and gives His message to them.

“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:  Revelation 2:1

He knows the church and the difficulties His children face as they give faithful witness to Him.

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life:  “I know your works, tribulations, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.  Revelation 2:8-9  

He commends our faithful work for Him and warns us against our error. 

“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:  I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is.  And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.  But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.  Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.  Revelation 2:12-15

He judges the false teaching and ungodliness that the church, we as His children, let stand in our midst.  He promises to render to each one according to their conduct.  He knows and rewards His children who are faithful to Him.

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira, write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass:..”I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts.  And I will give to each one of you according to your works.  Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden.  But hold fast what you have till I come.”  Revelation 2:18, 23-25  

He warns those who have an appearance of spiritual life, but are in fact dead and exhorts them what to do about their apostasy. 

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars:  “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.  Be watchful , and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.  Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent.  Revelation 3:1-3 

Jesus commends those who hold fast to Him and His word. 

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says he who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no on opens”.  “I know your works.  See I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.  Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie-indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.  Revelation 3:7-9 

He offers repentance and fellowship with Him for those in the church who are lost. 

“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:  I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot, I could wish you were cold or hot.  So them, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”…”As many  as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”  Revelation 3:14-16 & 19-20

As we rightly divided the word of truth we will see Jesus Christ, His Person and His work.  We will see that He not only is Savior and Lord, but also Judge.  We will see that He recompenses those who oppose Him and harm His children.  We will see that He praises His faithful followers and rebukes the counterfeit.  We will see that He calls us to live by a holy standard and reproves the ungodly, exhorting them to repent and believe.  As we rightly divide the word of truth we will see Jesus as the Faithful and true witness Who condemns those who reject His word and warns His children to stay true to Him by avoiding and rejecting their apostasy.  As God’s beloved children we must wholeheartedly embrace the revelation that God has given to us in the Holy Scriptures and know that all of God’s Word glorifies Him and His Son Jesus Christ.             

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6 Responses to Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

  1. Dear Eliza, As usual,your writing is very good. I would like to share some ideas that may help to bring even more clarity to Luke’s Gospel. In verse 2 we see that Luke was like an investigative reporter. He was not an eyewitness, but he interviewed many eye witnesses. In the book of Acts,
    it was the same, until he started stating that he was among the believers. As with Luke’s account of Luke, he was also an investigative reporter in Acts. Two scriptures are great for supporting your writing. Check out 1 Cor 1:18 and 1 Cor 2:14. They show the necessity of the intervention of the Holy Spirit in every instance of an unbeliever come to faith in Jesus, because the gospel meant nothing to unbelievers without the help of the Holy Spirit. Please keep up the good work.
    Blessings to you.

    John 17:3
    Pastor/Equipping The Saints
    equippingthesaints@outlook.com
    http://gravatar.com/cchurchchurchblog
    http://cchurchchurchblog.wordpress.com/

    Like

  2. Eliza says:

    Dear Pastor,
    Thank you . God’s Word is powerful and clear. By His Spirit He shows us the truth and leads us to Himself. He commands that we handle His Word carefully and for His glory. We must declare the whole counsel of God whether encouraging with His love or warning of His judgment. God bless you:)

    Like

  3. themusicprofessorguy says:

    Amen, and amen.

    Like

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