Paul’s Acts EpistlesD. Earnest
During Paul’s journeys throughout the book of Acts he went to the Jew first because their repentance was of utmost importance. If the Jew had repented, the long-awaited Kingdom would have been restored and Christ would have returned to earth to sit upon His father David’s throne (Acts 3:19, 20). During Paul’s journeys he was commanded to go to the local synagogue of the Jews first and each time the Jews rejected the Lord’s message through Paul, he would turn to the local Gentiles in that region.
Paul’s Acts Epistles to the Gentiles are Galatians, 1&2 Thess., 1&2 Cor., and Romans. From the internal evidence found in each of these books, clearly the Kingdom with its’ hope of the return of Christ and the related promises and ordinances concerning that earthly Kingdom was clearly in view.
PAUL’S JOURNEYS TO THE GENTILES DURING THE ACTS
Region of Galatia
Acts 13:1 to 14:28
Paul writes Galatians and
Acts 15:36 to 18:22
Paul writes 1 and 2 Cor. and Romans
Acts 18:23 to 21:14
The following is a list of some of the doctrines and commandments to the grafted Gentile of the Acts period. Ask yourself, are you observing these things to the letter and do they apply to you today?
1. You are commanded to hand over anyone who commits fornication to Satan for the destruction of the flesh (1 Cor. 5: 1-5).
Do you know of anyone who is committing fornication? Have you turned them over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh? Some try to spiritualize this, but clearly death was the sentence and was no different than the fate of Ananias and Sapphira for lying to the Holy Spirit (see Acts 5: 1-10).
2. If you are rich in faith (Gal. 3: 8,9) then you are Abraham’s seed (Gal. 3:29) and blessed with your father Abraham in the New Jerusalem. Note: the New Jerusalem comes DOWN out of heaven to rest upon the earth (Rev.3:12, 21:10).
Is this your earthly hope? Are you Abraham’s seed?
3. You could be “cut off” if you boasted of your position as a grafted in Gentile, (Rom.11:18-22). Are you a grafted Gentile? Does this apply to you today?
4. Is the New Jerusalem your Mother (Gal. 4:26)?
5. You are commanded to observe 4 NECESSARY things, (Acts 15:20) “But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.”
Do you obey these commandments to the letter?
6. The Jew is FIRST in blessing. That would make you, a Gentile, second (see Rom. 2:10).
Rom. 1:16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the JEW FIRST, and also to the Greek.
Does this apply to you today? Are you in second place concerning the gospel of Christ. Why not?
7. During that time many believers were given the gift of healing, (1 Cor. 12:9).
Can you heal today without hesitation or know of someone who can?
8. You are looking for the hope of the Second Coming at the “last trump” (1 Cor.1: 7,8) You will be returning with Christ to the earth to judge the world with Him (1 Cor. 6:2). Is this your hope? Please see this article for further study.
9. Are you a partaker of Israel’s spiritual things? Rom. 15:25, 26
10. Do you take up offerings for Israel? Rom.15:26
11. Does the root (Israel) bear you and not the other way around? Rom. 11:17,18.
12. During the Acts there were 3 baptisms, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, a water baptism, and a baptism unto Christ’s death. See this article for further study. Yet, we read in Paul’s PRISON epistles that the Church has only ONE baptism (Eph.4:5). Why is it that you don’t observe all three baptisms in Paul’s Acts epistles?
Note: it has been said that Paul no longer baptized with water during the Acts. This is misleading. What Paul is saying in effect in 1 Cor. 1:17 is that his main purpose was to preach the gospel, not to baptize. Some understand that to mean that he stopped baptizing all together, but from the following verses it can be proven that Paul did not stop baptizing: Acts 16:33, 18:6-8, 19:1-6. Do you observe 3 baptisms?
13. Are you spiritual ministers of the New Testament (covenant)? Note: ‘covenant’ and ‘testament’ are the same Greek word, ‘diatheke’ (2 Cor. 3:6).
If so, you are commanded to “this do ye” and partake of the cup of the New Covenant (1 Cor. 11: 25,26) “TILL HE COME”. Have you ever partaken of the cup of the New Testament unworthily? If so, Paul wrote that those who did not partake of the cup would become “sick” and that some “sleep”. What do you think “sleep” means in 1 Cor. 11: 29, 30? For an answer see John 11:11-14.
14. Paul gave you ordinances to observe. Why don’t you observe them all at this time? 1 Cor. 11:2 says “Now I praise you brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.”
It has been shown that it would be difficult if not impossible to honestly observe ALL the doctrines commanded to the grafted Gentile of the Acts period shown above. Surely you are not allowed to pick and choose which doctrines and commandments you would like to obey if you believe that Paul’s Acts epistles are written to you. But if you find them difficult or impossible to obey, there’s no need to worry. All difficulties will be removed once the Bible student recognizes that a new hope and calling applies to the faithful Gentile today. This new hope, the Mystery, began when God “SENT” His salvation to the Gentiles (Acts 28:28) after the divorce of Israel in Acts 28:23-27. All ordinances have been abolished; read Ephesians 2.Eph. 2:
13. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
14. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16. And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
17. And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.Col. 2:
13. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14. Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which is contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.
And no longer is the Gentile blessed with father Abraham on the earth, but with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph.1:3, 2:6). The books written to this called out faithful company after Israel were set aside in blindness and the earthly Kingdom postponed are:
Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1&2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. We are told to set our affection on things above, not on things of the earth. You won’t find anything concerning Abraham or an earthly hope in those books. See this study for details concerning this hope.