Missions and Acts - Covenantal Approach?

Kaitiaki's picture

Basically this is just a "what do we learn about the Church from Acts?" thread. As we watch Paul and Barnabas and then Paul and Silas building the Church in Acts, what can we learn about their concept of the Church as a whole? Robert suggested my original plan was too cumbersome so asked me to create new threads.

Thread Moderator - Kaitiaki

Jesus said he was sent to seek and saved the lost sheep of Israel - yet he still had a place for Gentiles who were present when he was preaching. When the new Church began in Acts i took a sign from God before the Apostles were prepared to take the Gospel to the Gentiles at all. Then when Paul did, he went first to the Jews and then to the Greeks. We explore this aspect of his method of missions.

The process Paul used (The Jews first and then the Greeks) may set out a policy we should keep in mind for missions outreach. Do you think this was a deliberate policy? Do you think he began with those who, not only should have been the easiest to reach with the truth but also, were the ones who should join with him in the further work of outreach? What part did their greater accountability under the covenant have to play in his use of this policy?

ElderDad's picture

Do followers of Judaism honor God?

Dear Beemanlee,

(This posting is way too long, but I don’t know how to shorten it.) I do agree with much of what you say about Jesus, but we seem to be looking at two different portions of Scripture. Yes, Jesus was a Jew. Yes, our salvation (Jew or Gentile) comes through the Jews. Yes, the Jews are God’s chosen people with whom to dwell in Old Testament times and with whom He will continue to deal with special love (including loving discipline) according to prophecy. My issue is not with the Jews. It is with the “leaders” of the Jews (can the blind lead the blind?) who practice the anti-Christ theologies and practices of Judaism. They strain at a gnat.

Matthew 8:23--Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye tithe mint and anise and cummin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy, and faith: but these ye ought to have done, and not to have left the other undone. 24Ye blind guides, that strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel!

I recommend a reading of the whole chapter of Matthew 8. The air was “blue with smoke” through that series of “Woes!” It's shocking to have this chapter read aloud with emphasis.

According to historical narrative, it was probably during the Babylonian captivity that the Jews stopped pronouncing the name of YHVH. The scribes developed a notation incorporating the vowels of Elohim into the consonants of YHVH. It was generally pronounced Adonai, which is the title Lord, rather than the personal name of the Deity. Regarding the current habit of writing G-d or L-rd, there is plenty on the Internet, but basically it boils down to “honoring” God by not taking a chance on allowing His name to be erased (such as by losing data from a computer). (This makes the current issues slightly different from the old pronunciation issue.) One such Jewish writer with a website was frustrating over the fact that this spelling method could result in the splitting of the words at the end of a line in case where autowrap is in play. My proposal to him was to try writing these words in a word processing program, such as MSWord or WordPerfect, using the hard dash (in WordPerfect it is and the hyphen key), then paste it into the online document. These communication techniques are not required by Scripture, but are incorporated into Judaism by those who believe they are honoring God. John 5 tells us what Jesus said about whether these very religious folks honor God.

John 5:18-24;37-44 (ASV) records:

18For this cause therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only brake the sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 19Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father doing: for what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner. 20For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and greater works than these will he show him, that ye may marvel. 21For as the Father raiseth the dead and giveth them life, even so the Son also giveth life to whom he will. 22For neither doth the Father judge any man, but he hath given all judgment unto the Son; 23that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father that sent him. 24Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life.

37And the Father that sent me, he hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form. 38And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he sent, him ye believe not. 39Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of me; 40and ye will not come to me, that ye may have life. 41I receive not glory from men. 42But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in yourselves. 43I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 44How can ye believe, who receive glory one of another, and the glory that cometh from the only God ye seek not?

If we believe what Jesus said is true, the followers of Judaism who have not received Jesus Christ as Savior, believing that He is God the Son, are followers of error. They do not honor God, no matter how much they want to or believe that they are. The only way to honor YHVH is to honor the Son, accepting that He has the authority and power to do anything and everything that the Father does.

In John 8:37-45 (ASV), Jesus also said:

37I know that ye are Abraham's seed: yet ye seek to kill me, because my word hath not free course in you. 38I speak the things which I have seen with my Father: and ye also do the things which ye heard from your father. 39They answered and said unto him, Our father is Abraham. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. 40But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I heard from God: this did not Abraham. 41Ye do the works of your father. They said unto him, We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I came forth and am come from God; for neither have I come of myself, but he sent me. 43Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word. 44Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and standeth not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof. 45But because I say the truth, ye believe me not.

With this having been said, I will suggest that Paul’s policy might be appropriate. When dealing with the Jews, be as a Jew. That is why I made what I hope was a helpful suggestion to the author of a Judaistic website regarding how to hold G-d together. Paul criticized Peter for bringing Judaism into other situations. In this instance, I believe that following this convention of the Judaistic anti-Christian community is inappropriate on a “public forum” dedicated to Protestant theology.

If feeling this way about what Jesus said is egotism, as proposed by another poster, I will admit to guilt in that area. Jesus was a Jew and (I believe) the author of the Old Testament through His various writers. But Jesus did not embrace Judaism, because it did not embrace His Father.


Dave S.
Senior Moderator, Volunteers for Proofreading
2 Tim. 3:16--All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.