The Gospels: Part 3 of 16 – Rightly Dividing The Word OF God.

John 1:1-4

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

In Part 3, we’re going to take an overall look at the Gospels.  Let’s take a look at some of the history that lead up to the most momentous event of all time:  The Son of God taking on human flesh.


In Part 2 we discussed how God divided up the Bible based on which group of people with whom He was dealing.  In Genesis chapters 1-11, He was dealing with the Gentiles. From chapter 12 all the way through Acts chapter 1,  He was dealing with Israel, though he did occasionally intersect with non-Jewish people.

During all those many centuries of dealing with them, they were exiled a number of times because of their rebellion and disobedience.  Though God sent judges, prophets, and even allowed them to have kings, they constantly rebelled and were exiled a number of times.

When they ultimately failed as a nation, God handed the reigns over to the Gentiles.  First was Babylon followed by the the Medes and Persians, Greece, and finally the Romans, who were in power when Jesus was born.  It was during this time that the Gospels were written.

The Synoptic Gospels.

The Synoptic Gospels.

Matthew, Mark and Luke are known as the “Synoptic gospels.” The word, “Synoptic,” is derived from two Greek words: “Syn,” meaning together; “optic,” meaning eye.  In other words, they are “seen together.”  These three parallel each other in many respects and are written from a more Jewish perspective.  

Remember what we talked about in the introduction?  Take note of TO WHOM the passage you are reading or studying is written.  The Gospel of Matthew was actually written specifically TO the Jews.  Mark directed his Gospel TO theRomans, and Dr. Luke, the only non-Jewish writer of the Bible, wrote TO the Greeks.

The Gospel of John, however, is not like the others at all.  It was written TO the whole world.

The Ten Virgins.

Parable Of The Ten Virgins.

Because Matthew was written in particular TO the Jews, it is not a big stretch to see that the parable of the Ten Virgins, for instance, is not about the Church at all, as some preach.  It’s about Israel just prior to our Lord’s return.  Part of the confusion stems from thinking that, because “Virgins” are mentioned, it must mean the Church.  They forget that Israel is also called “Virgin daughter.”  (See Isaiah 37:22)

Many Jewish people today are coming to faith in Christ in these last days.  By the time the rapture happens, only about half of natural Israel will be saved, depicted by some lamps filled with oil (the Holy Spirit) and ready to go up, some not. The half with empty lamps will be left behind to endure the Great Tribulation.  When Jesus returns, the entire nation will get saved in a single day.

Misapplied Scripture.

Here’s the problem with applying this parable to the Church:  If you insist on doing so, you must be consistent and say that only half of those who are honest-to-goodness, born again, blood-on-the-doorposts-of-their-heart believers are going up.  The other half will be left behind!  Well that’s awful!  How do you tell who is who?  If the criteria is person’s level of faithfulness, how faithful is faithful enough?  How do you know whether or not you are in the “going up group?”

The so-called “experts” who hold such a belief generally maintain that there is a certain “criteria” for who is going up and who is not.  Ever had these (annoying) folks go around asking you if you are “Rapture ready,” meaning you have met their (imaginary) “criteria?”  Betcha if you ask them if they’d tell you they’re in the “going-up group,” (predictably) believing themselves to be, “Rapture ready,” so-called.   The truth is, those “standards” are nothing more than the devil’s lies unwittingly circulated by well-meaning preachers.

The Only Criteria.

In light of the following passage their nonsense “criteria” makes NO SENSE:  “Then we who are ALIVE AND REMAIN shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:17)

There is no other qualification than this: That believers be “Alive and remain.” There is no mention of commitment level, degree of  faithfulness, involvement in Christian service, or the lack thereof.  There is also no mention of being “Awake,” either.   Just be “Alive and remain” when He calls for us and you are going UP!

Now, when Jesus calls for us, many on earth at the time will will be alive because it’s normal for them to be, meaning they are alive during their normal life span.  But there will be those who are older who have so learned to walk in Divine health, they are alive way past the time they would otherwise have died.  They will be the ones “Remaining.”.

Here’s another common misconception:  That day will not take us by surprise, Church.  Yes, it will come as a thief in the night, but you and I are not of the dark.  We are children of the day, according to 1 Thessalonians 5:5.  See what I mean about “context?” It is so VITALLY IMPORTANT.

Can The Curses Of The Law Affect The Church?

Sadly, yes; but it isn’t meant to be our heritage; only the blessings, since Jesus paid for EVERY curse.

Sadly, MISinterpreting and MISapplying scripture puts people under bondage to the Law, thinking they must “DO GOOD” in order to get right with God or be acceptable to Him.  This has the unfortunate and unintended consequence of allowing the curses of Deuteronomy to operate in the lives of those who believe this to be true, rather than God’s blessings.

Then we have, in Matthew 24, another long line of examples of MISappliedscripture.  If you study this chapter carefully, notice that Jesus says “Pray that your flight be not on the Sabbath,” in verse 20.  Tell me:  Who keeps the Sabbath?  It isn’t us, Church:  It’s the Jewish people.

This entire chapter is not about the Church at all.  Looking for a message from Jesus to the Church?  I suggest you check out the upper room discourse found in the Gospel of John.

Beautiful Pictures Of Jesus.
As I said, Matthew was written specifically TO Jewish people.  Should we, as non-Jews, even bother to read it?  Again, Yes!  Of course.  We learn still learn from it and be blessed.  Just take care not to apply things to the Church that are meant to be applied only TO the Jewish people.

Contained in all four Gospels are the most beautiful pictures of our Lord Jesusand His life in the flesh.  If you’re interested in an in-depth study on that topic, you may follow the link below to a series about them.  Why study the Gospels?  Because the brighter, clearer picture you have of this wonderful Jesus, the more warmed and blessed you will be!

The Gospel Of John:  In A Class By Itself.

Why is The Gospel of John is in a class all by itself?  The main reason is that everything that he wrote was penned AFTER Paul was martyred in 68 AD.  95% of his Gospel is not found anywhere else.  The Gospel of Mark, conversely, is 95% in reverse.

By the time John put pen to paper and wrote his Gospel and letters to the Church, God had suspended–temporarily you understand–the program with the Jews the way it had been suspended for the Gentiles back in Genesis 11.  As He had promised to do, He turned back to the Gentiles and began dealing with them again.  This time, His program succeeded because of Jesus!  Through Him, He created the most successful organization in the history of the world:  The Church.  Founding this organization had been His intention all along, you see.

But just because Israel’s blessings were suspended, don’t think for an instant He has forgotten her.  HE HASN’T.  In these exciting last days, He has begun to turn back to His brethren–natural Israel–and is saving and blessing them in numbers greater than ever before in history!

John’s Added Benefit.

Unlike the other three “Jewish secretaries,” John had the benefit of ALL of Paul’s teachings.  The others, though they met Paul later on, did not. That’s why John is so UNlike the other three.

The full up revelation of the Gospel of grace was committed only to the Apostle Paul, which is reflected in only in John’s Gospel.  Where else do you find the phrase, “God so loved the world?”  Nowhere.  It is unique to John.

Paul  was also the only one to whom the mystery of the “Harpadzó,” or rapture, of the Church, was given.  Back then, it was still somewhat of a mystery, although no one knows when it will occur.  The Apostle Peter made the remark of their “beloved Paul,” in 2 Peter 3:15-16 that he taught some things that were “Hard to understand.”

Kind of strange isn’t it that Peter who, walked and talked with Jesus IN PERSON, did not grasp these things.  What Divine irony that the most legalistic Pharisee of all time, who never even met Jesus in person, was the one given the full-up revelation!  But that’s our God!  I don’t think we quite understand Him just yet!

Teachers Of False Doctrines.

John was the youngest of all Jesus’ disciples and the only one who wasn’t martyred, interestingly enough. God preserved him to a ripe old age to ensure there would be someone around who was an eye witness of Jesus’ earthly life.  Why was that important?

You see, after Paul died, many teachers of false doctrines arose.  In his final words to the Ephesian elders, Paul said, in Acts 20:29-31, “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.”

Another Gospel.

These “wolves” did not come in teaching people sinful practices, mind you.  THEY CAME TO PERVERT THE GOSPEL WITH THE LAW.  The entire book of Galatians deals with this topic.  These are the “Perverse things.”

One of the most infamous of those false doctrines was “Gnosticism” which, by the way, is still around today, UNFORTUNATELY.  It’s proponents teach that Jesus did not really come in the flesh but “In spirit.”  They maintain that we all have a “Christ spirit” within us, whatever the heck that means.  Other false teachers maintained He was “just a man,” not Divinity.

John on the Isle of Patmos.

John, as living, breathing, eye witness of Jesus, was able to say, “That which was from the beginning, which we have HEARD, which we have SEEN with our eyes, which we have LOOKED UPON, and our hands have HANDLED, concerning the Word of life…..We declare to you.”  In other words, “We touched Him, we heard Him, we saw Him! I heard Him say, “Before Abraham was, I AM.”  He could tell the people what Jesus actually said and refute any false conjecturing BECAUSE HE WAS AN EYE WITNESS.  

God also preserved him so he could write the book of Revelation.

Fully God And FULLY MAN.

Jesus wasn’t some ghost or spirit-like being. He was as human as you and I, yet without sin.  He was also FULLY GOD. This Gnostic teaching is why John makes such a strong point of saying, right in the very beginning of his Gospel, “And the Word BECAME FLESH  (not spirit) and dwelt among us, and we BEHELD His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

The Most MISIunderstood Chapter In The Bible.

We learned earlier how it is critical that we understand TO WHOM or OF WHOM a portion of scripture is written to or of whom it is speaking. Nowhere is this of greater import than in 1st chapter of 1st John.

ONLY in the beginning of chapter 2 does John use the phrase, “My little children.”  This phrase used solely when addressing BELIEVERS. It’s not mentioned anywhere in chapter 1 because he was speaking to NON-BELIEVERS.

I submit to you that the entire first chapter is written to non-believers, particularly those of the Gnostic persuasion. Therefore, 1 John 1:9 DOES NOT APPLY TO BELIEVERS.  It is a salvation verse.

We learned earlier how it is critical that we understand TO WHOM or OF WHOM a portion of scripture is written to or of whom it is speaking. Nowhere is this of greater import than in 1st chapter of 1st John.

ONLY in the beginning of chapter 2 does John use the phrase, “My little children.”  This phrase used solely when addressing BELIEVERS. It’s not mentioned anywhere in chapter 1 because he was speaking to NON-BELIEVERS.

I submit to you that the entire first chapter is written to non-believers, particularly those of the Gnostic persuasion. Therefore, 1 John 1:9 DOES NOT APPLY TO BELIEVERS.  It is a salvation verse.

Think about it: If the blood of bulls and goats was good for the next 12 months but you believe, because you were taught A LIE, that the blood of Jesus is only good until your next sin, that makes Jesus’ precious blood of LESSER VALUE THAN THE BLOOD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT SACRIFICES.  YUK!!! Another lie of the devil. 


No Mention.
Besides which, if it was SO IMPORTANT to constantly confess our sins, why does Paul not mention it even once ANYWHERE in his writings to the Church? If it was so critical, as some maintain, he certainly should have said something, particularly to the most immoral bunch of all: The Corinthians!

Did you know that during communion, some of them were actually having happy hour!?  Others of their number were going to temple prostitutes, for heaven sake!  But NOT ONCE does Paul tell them to confess their sins.

And another thing: What in the world did the church do before it had this, so called, “Revelation?” John didn’t write his letter until some 60 years AFTER the birth of the church. Did the believers who passed from this life before he wrote 1st John die in their sins?  I DON’T THINK SO!

To The Whole World.

Unlike the synoptic gospels, John’s gospel, was written to the whole world.  As I said earlier, you don’t see the phrase, “God so loved the world,” in the other three gospels.  Why?  Because the Jews didn’t realize at first that God wanted the whole world to be saved, not just them!  Yes, you read that right.  The Jewish people thought that the Messiah was ONLY for the Jewish people.  I’m glad they were wrong.

The verse below may shed some light on why they were a bit confused. Read what Jesus said when He sent out the 12 in Matthew 10:

“These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: ‘Do not go into the way of the Gentiles (non-Jews) and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But GO RATHER TO THE LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (Matthew 10:5-7)

What??  Did He say, “Do NOT go to the Gentiles??”  Most of you reading this probably are non-Jews, formerly Gentiles. That’s kind of a kick in the teeth, isn’t it?  Well that’s what it says.  Jesus did not allow His disciples to preach or even reach out to the Gentiles AT ALL, meaning any unbeliever who is not a Jew.  Aren’t you glad that the Church today is made up of both Jews and Gentiles?  Me, too!  Now, we are no longer either Jew or Gentile but a new creation: SONS!

If you’d like to continue this study, please join me for Part 4 of Rightly Dividing The Word Of God.  We’ll be discussing more on this topic and Jesus’ primary mission. You may follow the link below:

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