Saturday, June 23, 2012

THE ORDER OF THINGS

My God, the God I worship is the God of order.  There is a being that likes to generate chaos or confusion, but he is not a god - he is a fallen creation, a fallen angel.  There are many Godly orders that have been ordained.  The "natural order" with all of it's cycles and relationships. The "angelic order" with the angelic hierarchy that helps categorize the different levels of powerful spiritual servants of God.  The "spiritual order" of laws that the Spirit set which cannot be reversed - like the Law of Sowing and Reaping.  However, there is an order that does not necessarily have a name but exists none-the-less.  I will call this order - "Jews Got Dibs On Life Order".

This order is exemplified through the life of Paul.  When Paul and Barnabas entered Pisidian Antioch and taught, they had some initial success.  However, the next day when Paul and Barnabas were going to continue, there was a large crowd amassing to hear their words.  Jealousy quickly set into the hearts and minds of the Pharisees and the Pharisees turned against Paul and Barnabas by "talking abusively" about them.  Paul took this opportunity to let them know the Divine Order of things because of their rejection.

"On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.  When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and talked abusively against what Paul was saying.  Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.  For this is what the Lord has commanded us: " 'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.' " - Acts 13:45-47

This kind of scenario occurred two more times in the Book of Acts.  The next time was reported in Acts 18:4-6 as Paul was meeting up with Aquilla and Priscilla in the city of Corinth.

"Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.  When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.  But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles." 

The last time I noted Paul having this little chat with the Jews was when he visited Rome in chains.

"They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: "The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet:  " 'Go to this people and say, "You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving."  For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'  "Therefore I want you to know that God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!" - Acts 28:25-29 


Can you see the pattern or order that was developed and implemented?  If not, Romans 2:9, Romans 2:10, and Romans 1:16 will spell it out for you. 

"There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile;" - Romans 2:9

"but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." - Romans 2:10

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." - Romans 1:16 

There is an order of things - first for the Jews then for the Gentiles.  "Therefore" usually means - as a consequence.  And the last part of the Acts 28:29 verse is no different.  Many Jews missed the wonderful first visit of the Messiah.  Many Jews and Gentiles today still miss the significance of Christ's first visit.   The consequences of the bad choice(s) we make in life - evil - comes first to the Jews, then to the rest of the poor decision makers of the world.  The consequences of the good choice(s) we make in life - " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' " (Luke 10:27) - comes first to the Jews, then to the rest of the smart decision makers of the world.  The very salvation of the body, mind, and soul was extended by Christ to the Jewish people first.  BUT, Hallelujah!  Salvation through adoption to the rest of the world was made possible through that same once-and-for-all, awesome sacrifice that Jesus made on the Cross and the victory He claims Out of the Grave! 

The Jews were born into all of God's blessings and promises.  God declared this and made it so through Abraham, Issac, Jacob and this family line (Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-6).  Over the many years, the Jews have been a complaining people, a demanding people, and a "stiff-necked people" (Ex. 33:3, 5; Deut. 9:6; Acts 7:51).  But this did not stop God from viewing them as the apple of His eye and using them for His national purposes.  It was prophesied that once the Messiah did visit the first time as the suffering servant - first for Israel, then the Gentile (rest of the world) - that God's dealings with His people as a nation would pause until the next body of believers, The Church, was taken out of the picture, Raptured - "snatched" away to Paradise (Daniel 9:24-27; 2 Thessalonians 2:7).  Then Jesus would resume an intimate, national relationship with Israel as He worked with them - "to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy." (Daniel 9:24) 

Right now The Age of the Church continues.  True Believers in Jesus Christ, who are not Jewish by natural birth or spiritual birth, are adopted kids of the King.  "In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." (Ephesians 1:5-6)  More adoptions into the Kingdom of God are happening every day.  That is just the kind of awesome God Christians have but unfortunately do not choose to see.  Those Gentiles that will hear and accept the message of what Christ has done for them has not maxed out yet.  Once the total number of Gentile believers has been accounted for by God in the Kingdom, Jesus will begin dealing with Israel once again.  "Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:25)  However, somewhere between the full number of Gentiles having been "come in" and when Jesus begins dealing with Israel again is the Rapture of The Church. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)  But only He knows the total number and who that last Gentile believer will be to accept Him as their personal Savior.  I am just so elated that I am adopted!

I am no longer a part of the family I was spiritual born into - Sinful.  I no longer have as a spiritual father - the father of lies, Satan.  My tendencies do not gravitate toward rebellion against God anymore!  I am a new member of a new family.  I am a new creature all because of what Christ did for me.  "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)  He paid the price for my righteousness - my right standing with Him and His Father and His Spirit.  My right standing, my everything is found in Jesus - "It is because of him [Father God] that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption." (1 Corinthians 1:30) 
Even though there is an order to things - even the people who would hear the message of salvation first (Jews) - believers in Christ Jesus must not stop telling the Good News (Gospel) about Christ's first visit and awesome adoption plan He offers!  Praise God for His nature - The God of Order.  Praise God for The Order of Things.  Praise God for my Adoption!