UNDERSTANDING THE SCRIPTURES
Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
The question that the Evangelist Philip asked the eunuch is the issue of this article. Acts 8:30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
The issue was not, “Do you comprehend mentally the wording of the sentences?” But he was asking, “Do you have spiritual understanding of God’s revelation as set forth in this passage?” And the solution both then and now is found in that which the Holy Spirit did through his witness. Acts 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. For the scriptures are not about religion. They are about the Person of Christ! Here are the Person of the Word’s instruction concerning our approach to the inscripturated word: John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
Something should stand out to us in the knowledge that he, the very Word, who is very God, (John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.), never wrote a single syllable of the Bible! For the letter of the law killeth, and he is the spiritual embodiment of the Word! 2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
For if the Holy Spirit does not reveal Christ to the heart from within, then the words on the pages of the scriptures will only produce a works-oriented religion! And never one soul has ever been brought to the regeneration of salvation by works! Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. The source of salvation in justification is grace alone. But the course of salvation in sanctification is a God ordained walk.
Here are the Lord Jesus’ own words defining his own words! John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
But just the opening of the scriptures is not enough for the soul’s salvation! The preaching of the word, even in the Holy Spirit, without the quickening to life by the Lord, only brings illumination, which renders a deeper condemnation! John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. For the Lord uses the workings of the devil to keep that light from a deeper work! 2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
It is the gift of faith, granting belief of the Lord Jesus Christ as one’s personal savior, that causes the hearing of the gospel to be made effectual in salvation. 1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For that bestowed faith comes from a personal, inner ‘hearing’ of the voice of the eternal Son of God, calling the soul from death unto life! Rom. 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
The sinner MUST be drawn by the effectual voice of God as a ‘new creation’ in Christ, just as the world was called into existence by that same powerful word! Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
There is no calling upon God for salvation except there is first a belief granted to the heart by sovereign grace alone! Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
For just as there must be life in the womb before there can be a birth in the natural, so there must be life imparted in the impregnating of the soul by the Holy Spirit before there can be a spiritual birth! John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
And those who hear the preaching of the gospel without a belief upon the Son of God are actually said to be those who have tasted the good word of God but finally fall away. Listen to their plight: Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
There are those, like the way side hearers that, due to the deceptions of the devil, come to no belief. And there are others who are said to even have a temporary belief, but due to the shallowness of their attentiveness, have even that to ‘fall away!’ Luke 8:12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
We must always remember that God uses but one ‘tool’ to effect the filling of the realms of both outer darkness and eternal glory. And that is the gospel! 2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? The true gospel preacher is to be faithful in his mission, not successful in the ‘winning’ of souls! He listens for the approving words, “Well done thou good and ‘FAITHFUL’ servant.” – not, ‘successful’! For God and his gospel cannot be unsuccessful! Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Listen to the Lord Jesus set forth his mission in this regards: John 9:39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. 40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? 41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
Those religionists who think themselves to understand and perceive God by their own efforts and religious practice, shall be rendered blind by the gospel word. Saul of Tarsus experienced a taste of this blindness that he might see the glories of Christ by sovereign grace and not by supposed ‘works of righteousness’ which he had done! And only those, poor admitted sinners, who know themselves to have no ability to see, shall receive the gift of faith which evidences things never before seen! 1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
When our Lord Jesus stood to read in that synagogue in Nazareth, someone well said that he read his biography which was written by his own inspiration to Isaiah some 800 years earlier. And then he said something that had never been heard on planet Earth before. Luke 4:21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. The Person of the Living Word had now accomplished the very jot and tittle of that portion of the written word. For at that very instance the word was made flesh and dwelt among us in a different way than in the Incarnation! John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
For here the power of the gospel was set forth! For not just saying, but the actual doing of the word while saying it is the ‘formula’ for the releasing of the powerful and effectual gospel among mortal man! For saying and doing not, is the formula of disaster in the matter of the house built upon the sand! Matthew 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. 28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
And the religious boys in that day had no authoritative preaching, for they say, and do not! Matthew 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. And the Lord’s men go forth teaching what they have been commanded to obey themselves! Thus setting forth the effectual working of the gospel from faith to faith! Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Romans 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. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Obedience in the matter of preaching is absolutely essential to the furtherance of the gospel! Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men.
For only these are those who themselves are fruitful in the preaching ministry. And only these are those who have access to building on the true foundation! Matthew 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Pastor Gene Breed January 5, 2104