How does God put the doctrines, the teachings that we are to believe and we are to preach into the church? He naturally does it through Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ is the head of the church. So, here is a basic teaching of the doctrine, in I Corinthians the 1st chapter, and in verse 10 where the apostle Paul to the church of Corinth said (I Corinthians 1:10), "Now I beseech you brethren, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing." He doesn't want John speaking one thing, and Henry something else, and Paul something else, and then there's somebody else, something else.
We are commanded to all speak the same thing. Now that thing must come from God, and not from the desires of men. Do you agree with that? Or do some of you think it should be the desires of men, contrary to God? The Corinthian church was not in harmony. Notice a little further here, in the very next verse: (v11) "For it has been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you." Now God doesn't want these contentions. He doesn't want these differences of one saying, "Well, I don't like that doctrine, and I want to get this watered down, and I want that changed."
(v12) "Now this I say, that every one of you saith," and this seemed to be all of them, "I am of Paul, or I am of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ." So that was the trouble in the church at Corinth. Now if everybody teaches what he believes, and the way he sees it, we'll have nothing but terrible confusion in the church. Our teachings and doctrines must come from God! And how does that happen? Well, God shows it to Christ, and then Christ puts it in the church, and I'm going to show you how.
God Has Always Worked Through One Man Now God has always worked through one man. In Acts 7, verse 38 (Acts 7:38): "This is he that was in the church in the wilderness," back in the days of Moses. The children of Israel are called the church that was in the wilderness. Now in Old Testament language, they are called the congregation of Israel, but "congregation" and "church" mean the same thing. They're just two different English words that have the same meaning, exactly. Now the question is, how did God put truth in the church of the Old Testament?
Let's go clear back there. He called Moses especially. Moses didn't seek God, but God had this burning bush there, and that little incident, and he talked to Moses. Now some in Israel began to challenge Moses and his leadership, back here in Numbers 12: "And Miriam," who was the sister of Moses and Aaron his brother, "spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married." They didn't like that. Well now, you see, they said that they had to take it in their hands to correct it. Well, God was the one to correct him, if he had done wrong.
And God had not corrected him for this. "For he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, Hath the Eternal indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath he not spoken also by us? And the Lord heard it. And he said, Hear now my words. Wherefore then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?" God said we ought to be afraid to speak against his anointed, and the one that he has chosen and called, and put in to lead his Work. Now that was in the church of the Old Testament.
Now next, we'll come to Numbers 16:1. "Now Korah, and Dathan and Abiram, and On, sons of Reuben, took mean, and they rose up before Moses with certain children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly." Now these were people in high positions under Moses. Moses had appointed them as God had directed. "...famous in the congregation, men of renown, and they gathered themselves together against Moses, and against Aaron, and said to them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Eternal is among them. But wherefore then lift you up yourselves above the congregation?" They denied that God had put them in that place.
We come over to verse 25 (Numbers 16:25): "And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins. (v28) And Moses said, hereby shall ye know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, for I have done none of them by my own mind." Yet they said that he had made a leader, himself. Then (v32) "the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained to Korah, and all their goods. And the earth closed upon them, and they perished from among the congregation."
Jesus Chose Twelve Disciples Now I've shown you that he dealt with one man. And I'm telling you that he has always dealt with one man, at a time! Now look at the New Testament. Jesus chose twelve disciples, didn't he? And you will say that they were all equal. Or will you? And they were to be taught. A disciple is one, a student, a learner, one being taught or one learning. So while they were disciples, they were really in school, learning, and later they graduated, shall we say, and they became apostles. Now, many have not realized that God has always dealt with people through one man.
Now let's come to a little of that. A few things that I think we've read over and over and over, and have not stopped to realize, and put together. So we'll turn now to the 4th chapter of Matthew, and verses 18 and 19 (Matthew 4:18-19). "And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers." Now this is the first account of Jesus choosing a disciple, and the first one's name was Simon Peter. Notice he was named first. "So Jesus said to them, Follow me, and I'll make you fishers of men."
Simon Peter Was The Leader Now then, we come a little farther, into Matthew 10 and verse 2 (Matthew 10:2). And of course, you all know that that is where it mentions the apostles and their names. "Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: the first..." Who was the first? Who is number one? "The first, Simon, who is called Peter," and then he went on and named the others. But I want to show you that Peter was always first in a way that I think we've read over and never quite grasped it, and never quite realized it before.
Now, let's see, Matthew 16:13 "When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Who do men say that I, the son of man, am?" And Simon Peter is the one who spoke up. He was the leader. "...answered and said, Thou are the Christ, the son of the living God." Now let's read on. "And Jesus answered and said unto him," now not to the other disciples. He's talking right now to Simon Peter. "Jesus said unto him, Blessed are thou, Simon bar-Jonah," that is, the son of Jonah, "for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you," no human being or man, "but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee..." Who is he speaking to? "...Unto thee," Peter! Have you ever noticed that? "I say unto thee, Peter, that thou art Peter..." You see? He isn't saying this to the other apostles. "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock..." Now "Peter" means Petra, it means a small stone, but "the rock" means Christ. "I will build my church."
Yes, because the church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ the chief cornerstone. "I will build my church, and the gates of hell," which means the grave here, "shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee..." Now who's he talking to? "Thou, Peter." He doesn't say, "To all of you," the others, in this place. "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou," Peter, "shall bind on the earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Now then, in another place, Jesus was talking to all twelve, and said that what you bind will be bound in heaven, and what you loose shall be loosed in heaven. But here, he specifically said that to Peter. Now in a sense, that applies to an apostle anywhere, at any time. And I realize that that can apply to me today.
[Commercial break: The Plain Truth Magazine] Next, notice, in Matthew 18, verse 15 (Matthew 18:15). This is one of the places. There's a place in Luke, I'm sure, too, where it speaks to all of the twelve. In Matthew 18: (v1) "The same time came the disciples to Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the Kingdom?" Now there is a conversation between the disciples — that would mean the twelve — and Jesus. And then in verse 18: "Verily I say unto you, whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Now there he said it to the whole twelve. But at least it is apostles, and not the church as a whole.
Simon Peter, Lovest Thou Me Now then, next, let us come to John 21 and verse 15 (John 21:15): "So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?" Now he spoke to Peter, and about Peter, more than any of the others. Peter was unquestionably the leader of the apostles. "So Peter saith unto him, Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. And Jesus said to him then, Feed my lambs. Then again he saith to him again the second time, Simon son of Jonas, lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Why yes, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. And he said unto him, Feed my sheep." Now that, feeding his sheep, was given to Peter, to be the head over the feeding of the flock, and not to the twelve actually. Of course, I presume that to some extent it meant the twelve too. But this literally is speaking of Peter, and not the others. It's putting Peter first.
Now let's go on into the book of Acts. I just wanted to show you that even through the time of their training as disciples, Peter is mentioned first in many ways. Next, let us come to Acts 3:1: "Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer. And a certain man, lame from his mother's womb, was carried, and they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, and asked alms of them." Now "Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked alms." He was a beggar. And here again, it's Peter, not John. "And Peter, looking into his eyes, upon him with John, said," that is Peter who said it, "Look on us." And the cripple gave heed unto them, expecting to receive some money or something.
Then it was Peter who said, "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!" And the mighty miracle happened. So that was the voice of Peter. Now coming to verse 11 (Acts 3:11): "As the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's," right at the temple. "And," verse 12, "when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel you this?" This great speech, and this converted another 2,000 people, and it was Peter, not the other apostles.
We just come right on to the next chapter now, in Acts 4 and verse 8 (Acts 4:8). "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said unto them, You rulers of the people and elders of Israel, if we in this day be examined of the good deed that we have done to the impotent man," that is, healing that cripple, "by what means he is made whole, be it known unto you and to all of the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth whom you crucified, whom God raised up from the dead, even by him doth this man stand before you whole. This is the stone that set at naught by you elders, which has become the head of the corner," of the chief cornerstone of the foundation of the church. "Now when," in verse 13, "they saw the boldness of Peter and John," but Peter was the spokesman. Peter is the one who does the, takes the lead every time.
Shadow of Peter (Acts 5:12) "Now by the hands of the apostles," in this case it means all of them, "were many signs and wonders wrought among the people, insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least, the shadow of Peter," it doesn't mention the other apostles, "the shadow of Peter passing by, might overshadow some of them so that they would be healed."
Turn to the 9th chapter, and verse 32 (Acts 9:32): "And it came to pass as Peter passed throughout all the quarters, he came down also the saints which dwelt in Lydda. And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole. Arise, and take up your bed. And he arose immediately. And all that dwelt there were amazed by what they had seen."
Now the 38th verse: "And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him to men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. Then Peter arose and went with them." (v40) "Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down and prayed, and turning him to the body, said, Tabitha, arise! And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive." I had never until recently put all of these scriptures together, and when you get them all, it's just "Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter," all the way along.
[Commercial break: Why Were You Born?] Now I want you to pay particular attention this time, on this famous 15th chapter of Acts (Acts 15:1). It starts with the fact that some of them were up in Antioch. "And certain men which came down from Judaea, taught the brethren and said, Except you be circumcised after the manner of Moses, you cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabus had no small dissension and disputation with them..." Now here comes the disputation about doctrine. "They determined that Paul and Barnabus, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and the elders about this question." And now (v6) "the apostles and the elders came together to consider that matter." Now at first, the whole church welcomed them, but now they're having a meeting to settle this matter. "And when there had been much disputing," a great controversy.
Peter Settled It They had nothing but controversy. One man thought it should be this way, and another the other. It was Peter, then, that stood up. Now notice who settled it. "Peter stood up and said unto them, Men and brethren, you know how that a good while ago, God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel and believe. Now therefore, why tempt you God and put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. Then all the multitude kept silence." Peter had settled it. The others were arguing and disputing. Peter rose up and settled it.
Now, notice the next verse (Acts 15:12): "All the multitude kept silence and gave audience to Barnabus and Paul." What did they do? "Barnabus and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them." They merely gave them a report of what had happening, before they came there. The matter of this, from up in Antioch, was now settled as soon as Peter settled it. (v13) "James answered, saying..." Now James was the pastor of the local church at that time, the church at Jerusalem, which really was then the headquarters church. That's why they went up there. And naturally he's what today we would call the chairman of the meeting. Someone had to lead it out, and this was merely an official duty, but Peter is the one who set the doctrine.
Now then, "James answered and said, Men and brethren, hearken unto me. Simeon," or Simon meaning Peter, "had declared how that God had first did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name." In other words, Peter had settled it. "And to this agree the words of the prophets as it is written," and then he quotes quite a little from the Old Testament. And finally in verse 19: "Whereby my sentence is," and he just simply makes official what Peter had settled and had made true. "My sentence is that we trouble not them which from among the Gentiles are turned to God, but that we write unto them that they abstain from pollutions of idols, from fornication, from things strangled, and from blood. Because Moses of old time hath in every city," now this means even among Gentiles, "them that preach him being read in the synagogues every Sabbath."
In other words, many Gentiles were coming into these meetings on Sabbath. (v22) "Then it pleased the apostles and the elders, and then the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabus." Well, that settled the matter, that really covers that. But Peter is the one who made the decision. Now if you read it carefully, you can't get any other meaning out of it.
Gospel of the Circumcision Was Unto Peter Now, you come to Galatians the 2nd chapter (Galatians 2:2). Paul, just speaking about fourteen years after he went up to Jerusalem with Barnabus, took Titus with him, and he "went up by revelation and communicated unto them the gospel, which I preach among the Gentiles," which he had gotten of course directly from Christ. "But contrariwise," in verse 7, "when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision," in other words to the Gentiles, "was committed unto me as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter." that shows that Peter was the head of all of the apostles and at least, first of all, he was the head over all of it. And now that Paul was made the head over the Gentiles, Peter had later then gone on to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, which were in Western Europe and in England.
Now then, we come to Ephesians the 2nd chapter: (v19 - Ephesians 2:19) "Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens." Now these were Gentiles in Ephesus. "But fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God." That's family language, a household, in the family of God. "And are built upon," this is the church, "the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone."
Now I wonder if you have gone through the New Testament to see what prophets were in the New Testament, and what did they do? There is not a single prophet in the New Testament, that had input into the doctrine, but the Old Testament prophets did. And most of the prophets of the Old Testament were writing things that were never given to ancient Israel at all. Actually, when most of the prophets wrote, it was after both Israel and Judah had been sent into slavery. There was no way that these things could get to them. The book of Ezekiel, for example — he was among the people of Judah. He was at the River Kebar, and his message was to go to the house of Israel. And there was no way he could go to the house of Israel — he merely wrote the book.
And the message was for someone in our day to go to the house of Israel who knows that the house of Israel's here in the United States and England, and in Western Europe. Now really, what I'm saying is that all of the doctrine, all of what we believe, and what the church believed 1900 years ago, was put into the church by the apostles. They got some of it from the prophets, but it was put in by the apostles. That's why the church is on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and Christ the chief cornerstone. And it comes, now Christ had taught them directly. But Jesus Christ is word of God in person, and Christ's apostle today got the same truth from the word of God in print. And this says the same thing exactly that Christ said in person.
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