The Church During Acts
When did The Church begin if not in Acts?
This teaching section groups together studies that help to illuminate how many students of the Word see that the rejection of Israel at Acts 28 was a crisis but few if any look upon it as of vital importance. They seem to have come up to the closing chapter of the book of Acts, and then turned back to epistles like Corinthians as the basis of their assembly and their hope, whereas, when we come to Acts 28 and realised that it is a new frontier and that a new sphere of blessing lays beyond, we can simply say: " let us cross over, and see this good land "‘.
All Scripture is revelation and comes to us in three forms:
Doctrinal Truth,Dispensational Truth,Practical Truth.
Doctrinal Truth embraces all that has been revealed concerning the Being and Attributes of God, and all that God has done, commanded, promised or foretold in Creation, Law and Grace. ‘All have sinned’ is true under whatever dispensation we may be called. ‘God is Just’ is as true under grace as it was under law. ‘To the Jew first’ was true during the period covered by the Acts, but cannot be put into practice since the dismissal of the Jew in Acts 28. This latter statement therefore comes rather under the next heading.
Dispensational Truth takes note of the purpose of the ages, the changes that have been introduced since Creation, such as may be denominated the Dispensation of Innocence, Law, Kingdom, Grace, Church, Mystery, etc., and the office of Dispensational Truth is to decide whether any particular doctrine - be it command, promise, calling or prophecy - does or does not pertain to any particular individual. Dispensational Truth would lead the believer to distinguish between the blessing which says, ‘The meek shall inherit the earth’, and those blessings which are described as ‘all spiritual’ and to be enjoyed ‘in heavenly places’.
Not until doctrine has passed the test of Dispensational Truth, can Practical Truth put in its claim. It is obvious that the people of Israel, called to be a royal priesthood and a holy nation, with its sphere of influence in the earth, could not be called upon to put into practice the injunctions of Ephesians 4 to 6. In like manner, the Church of the One Body has no guarantee that obedience to the special truth of that calling will result in blessing in ‘basket and in store’. Those who are under the law, must have a very different form of practice from those who are under grace.Only by loyally preaching and teaching the truth of God as related to these three aspects can we hope to become workmen who need not to be ashamed, for only by so doing shall we ‘rightly divide’ the Word of truth.To all who discern ‘things that differ’ (Phil. 1:10 marg.) and who seek to obey the injunction ‘rightly to divide’ the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15) we very warmly commend the following studies, terms and Scripture references, that are employed in making known Dispensational Truth, believing that it will prove a tool in the hands of the ‘unashamed workman’ and that it will be of great service to both teacher and student alike.A word or two may be of service relative to the method adopted in our teachings:
Structures. - Where the meaning of a term can be illuminated by the structure of the section in which the term occurs, that structure is given, and as the scope of a passage is of first importance in the interpretation of any of its parts, these structures, which are not ‘inventions’ but ‘discoveries’ of what is actually present, should be used in every attempt to arrive at a true understanding of a term, phrase or word that is under review. The Structures in God's Word are not a mere Analysis evolved from the Text by human ingenuity, but a Symmetrical Exhibition of the Word itself, which may be discerned by the humblest reader of the Sacred Text, and seen to be one of the most important evidences of the Divine Inspiration of its words.For these Structures constitute a remarkable phenomenon peculiar to Divine Revelation; and are not found outside it in any other form of known literature.This distinguishing feature is caused by the repetition of subjects which reappear, either in alternation or introversion, or a combination of both in many divers manners.This repetition is called “Correspondence”, which may be by way of similarity of contrast; synthetic or antithetic.The subjects of the various Members are indicated by letters, which are quite arbitrary and are used only for convenience. The subject of one Member is marked by a letter as is the repetition of it is marked by the same letter. These are always in line (vertically), one with the other.When the alphabet is exhausted, it is repeated, as often as may be necessary.The Structures God has set forth form a telescopic view of a section of verses, a chapter, a whole Book and even the entire Bible. All are thus expanded, divided, and subdivided, until chapters and paragraphs, and even verses and sentences, are seen to form part of a wondrous whole, giving a microscopic view of its manifold details, and showing forth the fact, that while the works of the LORD are great and perfect, the WORD of the LORD is the greatest of His works, and the most perfect of all His Creation is “perfect” also (Psalm 19:7 and Psalm 138:2).Greek and Hebrew words. - Those readers who can read the Greek and Hebrew originals of the Scriptures will understand the English transliteration adopted, while those readers who have no knowledge of the original languages will be encouraged to follow the argument, and refer to the Concordance and Lexicon by the fact that Hebrew and Greek words are printed with English letters. We have employed italic type for both Hebrew and Greek words, but we have not attempted to differentiate between long and short vowels, printing the ‘o’ in logos or lego alike, although in logos the vowels are short, while in lego the ‘o’ is long. Again in order to avoid confusion, the spelling of Hebrew words follows that employed in ‘Young’s Analytical Concordance’.
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