Tag: stuart

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 17

Some might object to calling the ?seven? in Jerusalem prophets.? Remembering ?He set some in the church; first apostles, then prophets?Ephesians 4:11, tells us WHEN this was done??when He ascended!!?? When Jesus ?rode on a cloud to the Ancient of Days,? Daniel 7:13-14; Acts 1:11, ?He was brought near before Him.? And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom? as we hear the words of the Ancient of Days; ?Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.? A scepter of righteousness (the standard of acceptance in Thy kingdom is obedience to the commands of Thy covenant) is the scepter of Thy kingdom.? Hebrews 1:8-12? Much to the chagrin of the pre-millennialism, God, the Father calls the Church of Christ, CHRIST?S KINGDOM.? Christ IS NOT COMING BACK to ?set up a kingdom? when returns the second time!!!!?

???? So, in the early church at Jerusalem, we see the apostles delivering the rules and regulations of the new covenant and prophets preaching the message, getting to the hearts of the listeners.? Stephen lost his life and Philip went to Samaria, then to the Eunuch, and finally, Luke records him being in Azotus, then Caesarea. Acts 8:40? ?To some this sounds like a filler that Luke used?read on!! ?Philip was raptured to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Azotus (near the site of ancient Ashdod, about 20 miles from Gaza).? It was about 60 miles from Azotus to Caesarea.? The plains of Philistia and Sharon are included in this area, as are many towns including Lydda and Joppa.? Perhaps, we can trace some of the effects of Philip?s evangelistic work in the appearance later in Acts of flourishing churches in both these towns (see Acts 9:32; 36).? It was a field of evangelism sufficient to occupy many years of Philip?s time.? Evidently, it seems Philip made this his headquarters from this time, on.? It was at Lydda that Peter, by the power of God, the Holy Spirit, healed Aeneas and at Joppa (Japho in Joshua 19:46, famous for its visit by Jonah) that he raised Dorcas from the dead using the same command Jesus used in Mark 5:41.? It was from Simon?s house in Joppa that Cornelius sent for Peter!!? With this kind of notoriety, no wonder Cornelius bowed down to worship Peter!!? By the way, it is recorded that a bishop from Azotus was present at the councils of Nicea (where Constantine (the first Papa of Roman Catholicism) divided the Church of Christ causing the Roman Catholic church to break from our fellowship in 314 AD) and then at another council at Chalcedon at even a later date! ???

???? The next mention of prophets of the New Testament is in Acts 13:1-4.? It might be that three of these brethren are well-known to the church, today, the others are not.? Saul and Barnabas, we know. It is said that Niger, meaning black, was none other than the son of Simon, the Cyrenian who carried Christ?s cross. Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26??? Then, there was brother Lucius; known for being the first member of the body of Christ to bring the gospel to Antioch, Acts 11:20.? Finally, there was Manaen who was brought up with Herod the Tetrarch (Herod Antipas, who killed John the Baptist).? He was said to have literally been a foster brother of Herod who had grown up in the castle with him!!? ?It is said of the effort of these prophets that ?the hand of the Lord? was with them.?? This phrase frequently was used in the Old Testament of the mighty manifestations of the power of God in behalf of His people.? This was the same phrase that was said of Philip in Samaria in Acts 8:5-8 as he ?confirmed the Word?!!? As David was king before he sat on the throne so Saul of Tarsus work was made successful by the providential working of the Almighty which Saul had to wait to do?SO??then departed Barnabas for to seek Saul?!! ?Saul had waited, now was the time.? Some have never learned this lesson!!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 16

When Philip went to Samaria in Acts 8, under what authority did he journey?? He was not an apostle for he had not been with the Lord from the baptism of John (see Acts 1:22)? Some venture among us that Philip had this special gift through the ?laying on of the apostle?s hands,? but did that empower Philip with his message?? Both Philip and Stephen had had this ?laying on of hands? but so did Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas.? Did anyone hear of these other brethren prophesying or working miracles as did Stephen and Philip??? Did the ?laying on of the apostles hands? authorize the prophets message (Acts 6:8 and 8:6) or did the miracles not function as in our preaching, today, when we use a book, chapter, and verse to prove the delivered message??? Is there any record that Philip when at Azotas or as he went through until he came to Caesarea, not work miracles to sustain-prove his message??? I have some of the best in helps on the book of Acts, but none of them prove what I cannot find in the text.? Did these brethren receive this ability to speak from the ?laying of the apostle?s hands??

Is it not interesting that these brethren were already in an established function and were known as ?the seven? as the apostles were known as ?the twelve????? Don?t forget that the seven filled a void in service the apostles could not, should not, and did not attend!!? It is said of Stephen, as well as the other brethren, that they were qualified, already ?full of faith and of the Holy Ghost? BEFORE the apostle?s hands were laid on him, this was a requirement laid down by the apostles!!

I have read many of our brethren who taught these men to be the ?first deacons?!!? This makes no sense, for these men to have been deacons; there first were seven (this always means perfection).? This is not just a coincidence, nor was it luck.? The apostles were delivering the ?word of God? and it has been inferred by some that they were the only ones preaching the gospel at this time?this cannot be sustained, these men were ?full of the Holy Ghost??? If these brethren were the ?first deacons? then all deacons thereafter would have to be full of the Holy Ghost BEFORE THEY WERE APPOINTED IN EVERY CONGREGATION, something that is not even mentioned for the elders!!? They would be better qualified than the eldership under which they were serving.? They would have been set in the church BEFORE any elder would have been, they would have to been married men with children, there would have had to have been elders before them or they could not have been schooled in the art of working with the families of the church (these men were also ?full of wisdom,? again, a qualification that the eldership does not have), and there would have been no greater degree (1 Timothy 3:13) to which these deacons could have attained for they were already BETTER QUALIFIED than any elder they could have served under!!? Finally, there would have been deacons before there were elders?the word ?elders? was the synechtoche (a part standing for the whole) that the Holy Spirit had Paul and Barnabas ordain in every congregation on their second visit to the new congregations of the Lord, Acts 14:23.? So, without too much effort, we are in enough trouble making these men ?deacons?!!? What we are not in trouble with, though, is that these men were qualified, known as qualified, and were classified, were already functioning WHILE, AS, DURING the time the apostles were giving the ?Word of God? to the assembly!!? James did not send someone like Barnabas to check on their message as he did in Acts 11:22-23.? Let me introduce to you the first mentioning of the prophets, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, a like group that was in the church at Antioch in Acts 13:1-3!!? It had to begin first, at Jerusalem, remember?!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 15

We have come to the end of a study which I hope has been interesting and informative to you.? I am sure someone else has done a better job with this in other times in the history of the Church.? Prophets are mentioned in the New Testament with little or no elucidation.? They receive no understanding from the readers of God?s Holy Book.? That they were ?set? in the church as were the apostles, evangelist, pastors, teachers, etc., so there must have been a need they fulfilled.? Like the many other things we use in the New Testament Church (unleavened bread as an example), their background comes from a study of the Old Testament understood by its early readers.? If the ?pattern? shown Moses included this office/work, so must its ?reality!!? ??Not apart of ?that which was perfect,? this position existed in the dispensation that existed immediately ?for our learning.??

???? They were not ?apostle apprentices? and were never ?checked on? by the apostles or the churches from which they were sent as in Acts 11:23, but often functioned simultaneously with the existing church or apostle and did the preaching in that place (as we see the prophetical work in the study of Stephen, in Acts 7.? It was not coincidental that the Jews found Stephen; he was on the debate team that ministered for the church at Jerusalem!! Acts 7:9; 13:1-4; 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus).? Some Churches of Christ don?t even consider debate; much less have a team training as ?the defenders of the faith.?? They are afraid of hurting feelings and not defending the great God who died for them!!? They don?t study denominationalism and its damnable lies so they can defend the precious, pure ?river of Life.!!? Like the apostle Paul, Stephen was ?set for the defense of the gospel? and it cost him his life, not just his relationship with his denominational mother-in-law!! 1 Peter 3:15; Psalms 139:17-24; Philippians 1:12-19; 3:18-20? ?????????

???? These brethren had a role or function in the church that has been amalgamated by ?love advocates? and the ?feelings-oriented.?? They were in a fight for their lives and the existence of the Church of Christ; they were soldiers, not cowards!!? They had to get the brethren ready for the ?wiles of the devil? for the week to come and were ?charged? (this is the stirring up of the heart commanded of God to the prophets) by the apostles to do so!! 2nd Timothy 4:1-5; Titus 1:5-11 ??The church of the first century and all other centuries have to ?fight, the good fight of faith,? not put the brethren to sleep in the pews, entertain their children with gold fish, or put on a musical!! ???The Holy Spirit called out- named those who had this job to perform, and these prophets did not set down after 15 minutes of preaching or be fired!!? Some even ?continued until midnight!!?? The baton has to be passed on; we do not have to re-light the torch if it has continued to burn bright in the hearts of the preachers/prophets of God!!? God pulled the plug on the church at Laodicea. They were fat and happy on their way to Hell. Jesus said the preacher would not ?earnestly contend and defend the faith once delivered to the saints!!?

???? When Peter ?lifted up his voice? in Acts 2: 14; his message came from a heart that had already been put in prophet gear ??Neither Satan nor all the demons of Hell; not even his wife,? his mother-in-law, or a good paying job) could stop him!!!? He couldn?t stop until they crucified him upside down!! ?There was no aire of a funeral home or a comedy routine; sinners repented and saints held on to their seats fearing the Lord would return and they would fly off to glory before the preacher had finished his message!! Preachers, baptize your message with the fire-power of the Holy Spirit.? If your audience is made up of members of the Church of Christ, it won?t bother them; the Holy Spirit lives in them!!
If not, maybe they will repent and be baptized SO the Holy Spirit will move in!!