1st Century Believers In The 21st Century


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This is a teaching for modern day Christians who long for the faith, power, and love that was once delivered to the 1st century saints (apostles).

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1st Century Believers In The 21st Century

  1. 1. Table of Contents Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: Holy Scriptures Chapter 3: Building on a Solid Foundation Chapter 4: Believing-in and Following Jesus Chapter 5: Filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit Chapter 6: Caring for the widows, sick, those in prison, poor and orphans Chapter 7: Giving the testimony of the Lamb and obeying the Commands of Elohim Chapter 8: Strong emphasis on home fellowship and personal ministry Chapter 9: New and Old testament scriptures are Living Words Chapter 10: Building a foundation on Jesus’s teachings and ministry Chapter 11: Embracing the Feasts of Elohim Chapter 12: Not replacing the commandments of Elohim for the traditions of man Chapter 13: Living a Set-Apart life as living sacrifices Chapter 14: Shining His light of love, grace, kindness, forgiveness and personal sacrifice Chapter 15: Being ready for Jesus’s return About Author Come Visit Us
  2. 2. Chapter 1 Introduction Christian believers read the New Testament scriptures with more intent to change their lives than any other set of written documents in the past 2000 years. It is with good reason that we obsess with every word spoken by our Savior, every act carried out by the apostles, and every epistle sent to the first churches. The New Testament serves as the corner stone of Christendom. Many of the first century Christian believers either knew Jesus personally during his life and ministry, or they received testimony second hand from one who did. From the time of Jesus’s ministry until now the world has become a better place because of the love, peace, grace, and kindness that Christian believers express through the Holy Spirit. But since the first century Christianity has undergone many changes, some good and some not so good. With that being said, our Savior did not come to start the multitude of Christian denominations that exist today or to develop a religious system of “one day a week” passive participation. The Savior was born, lived, suffered, died, and rose again so we could establish a personal relationship with our creator Elohim, as well as with Himself. Salvation is a free gift, which was accredited to us through faith in Jesus, by which the Holy Spirit (counselor), sent by Elohim, lives in us so we can live a life filled with love for our neighbor and love for Elohim. As we study the New Testament scriptures our hearts and spirits are quickened for the same fellowship, faith, power and purpose as the first century believers recorded. By studying the New Testament scriptures we can begin to see some unique characteristics of the first century believers. This document outlines scriptural references and some brief explanations as to their relevance for 21st century believers … that is … you and me. Table of Contents
  3. 3. Chapter 2 The Holy Scriptures Before we begin it is important to identify the basis for understanding the meaning conveyed in the Holy Scriptures. First, we need to understand that all scripture, old and new books, are not in conflict with one another. It is the human reader, who may lack insight or understanding … not the Living Word. The Living Word is given to us for the purpose of understanding how much our Creator and Savior love us, and to help us live our lives in a manner which He meant for us to live. Before moving on to the rest of this chapter it is important to mention that bible knowledge is not a prerequisite to salvation. As important of a role the bible has played in Christianity, its purpose is to point us to God and not to replace Him. The process of interpreting scripture is covered extensively in a variety of theories called “hermeneutics”, or theories of interpretation. Below is a list of items to consider when seeking scriptural understanding; 1.the author of a document 2.the original audience of the writings 3.culture in which it was written 4.the time period of the writing 5.correlation and relationship of a particular scripture to the document it was written within 6.correlation and relationship to the entire Bible 7.language the original document was written 8.effects of translation and/or transliteration into other languages All these criteria can help the reader understand the message of Elohim, yet it is even more important to remember that the Living Word is exactly that … living and relevant to all generations for teaching, reproving and encouraging (2Tim 3:16). For example, the book of Revelations was written near the end of the first century, in a Semitic culture, and was addressed to seven churches in Asia minor …. and the book is still as relevant and powerful today within the context of the eight hermeneutical points above. The challenge of course with the book of Revelations is interpreting the use of symbolism and creative writing style of the Apostle John. A reader should also use at 2-3 witnesses to establish a fact or truth (Due 19:15, 2Cr 13:1). This was established by Elohim and is still in use today in our legal systems. When we say 2-3 witnesses this does not mean people necessarily. The testimony we seek is from biblical writings of Moses, Prophets, Apostles, our Savior, as well as the rest of the bible writings which are considered scriptures, but not necessarily prophetic in nature. If we are exploring a particular biblical concept we need to triangulate the validity and meaning of the concept with at least 2 or 3 biblical reference points, or we risk misinterpreting the true meaning intended by the original author and Elohim.
  4. 4. Another area of strong consideration for understanding the bible is the Holy Spirit, which in many theories is minimized, or discarded altogether. It is important to remember that no prophet, or at least one sent by Elohim, developed and crafted prophesy on their own (2Pe 1:20). We must make sufficient room for the Holy Spirit to “bare witness”, or we end up stifling the Author of the written testimonies. The scriptures are Living Words with a Living Author, who graciously sent His counselor (Holy Spirit) so that we may be led into all truth … if we are willing to listen and believe what the spirit is saying (Jhn 16:13). The Holy Spirit is our greatest resource for understanding the bible, but it is also the greatest point of vulnerability. Satan has become very good at mixing bible truth with false doctrine. The method by which we make room for the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth is by reading, fasting, praying, mediating and applying the Word of God. This is where a 21st century believer may need improvement. We cannot fully know God and live-out the purpose He has for us by simply attending church on Sunday. The bible is spiritually coded so that when you mature in the spirit, new biblical meaning and understanding is opened up to our minds and hearts. Just ask anyone who has studied the bible for a long time and they will confirm that a single scripture has taken on new and deeper meaning for them as they have matured as a Christian. The challenge with maturing as a Christian is that it does not happen on its own like maturing as a human baby into an adult. It takes effort and hard work to grow spiritually. Some final points for understanding the basis of the first century believer is the alignment of the whole bible into a living message from a loving Creator to his creation. Lack of harmonious alignment is due to a lack of human understanding and not the Living Word. It is pretty common to have many interpretations of a written document, yet the author of any document typically has one message. Ten different people can read a scripture and walk away with 6-7 interpretations, yet only one is accurate to the purpose of the author. Fortunately, when Jesus returns He will clear up any differences and/or questions we have with the meaning of a particular scripture … for He will open our minds to the scriptures and answer our questions (Luk 24:45). Table of Contents
  5. 5. Chapter 3 Building on a Solid Foundation… Jesus Crucial to a first century believer is establishing Jesus as the foundation of their faith, doctrine, and lives. An individual will be able to withstand many trials and storms in their life by building on the firm foundation of Jesus’s teachings, words, and life. Not only is a rock foundation considered to be structural sound, but it is also the way we can find joy, peace, love and happiness in our lives. He is the rock of our salvation and the capstone of our temple … or bodies. What exactly are we building? We are building our lives, our families, testimonies, and the body of the Messiah (other believers). Starting with our own lives, we need to deny ourselves in order to follow Jesus and to have a deep level of fellowship with our creator (Mat 16:24, Jhn 12:26). We are a work in progress, only being able to grow closer to Him if we are willing to walk away from worldly, or carnal attributes of this existence. The scriptures say that we will find our lives, if we are willing to lose our lives (Mat 10:39), meaning we will find our true selves and purpose in Him if we are willing to deny ourselves the false purpose of this carnal world. What are we denying? With the same attributes that we love Elohim we should deny ourselves in the same manner… with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Mar 12:30). We should therefore capture every thought in Christ, provide our bodies as living sacrifices (Rom 12:1), commit our souls to loving one another (Luk 10:27), and build up our strength to endure long suffering and a bold existence of Holy living. The final point for building on a foundation is that we start with Jesus’s words and teachings, and use those as the primary basis for interpreting all the other scriptures. This fundamental premise establishes who you follow. In the first century the apostle Paul scorned the believers for dividing into sects and claiming to follow him, Cephas, or Apollo (1Cr 3:4). This is not to down- play the importance of Moses, prophets, and apostle, but more importantly to put them in their proper perspective as servants to the Most High. Jesus is the Living Word in the flesh. He came and interpreted the Torah and commandments accurately. He understands the meaning and purpose of human existence, from the beginning to the end, and He served as Elohim’s perfect example of human existence. Table of Contents
  6. 6. Chapter 4 Believing-in and Following Jesus This first point is one that is not debatable; Jesus is the son of Elohim, the Living Word that came as flesh and served as our sacrifice for sin. Believing in this one point is the corner stone of Christianity … Jesus is the son of Elohim, who came in the flesh, died on the cross for our sins and rose to life on the third day. There is a Savior who was prophesied to come and save the world from sin, and to lead its inhabitants back to their Creator through faith in His life, death and resurrection. Let’s take a look at our witnesses … remember we need at least 2 credible witnesses from the scriptures. [Deu 18:15 NIV] - “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.” [Isa 42:1 NIV] - "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.” [Luk 14:27 NIV] - “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” [Mat 16:24 NIV] - Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” [Mar 10:21 NIV] - Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." [Jhn 12:26 NIV] - “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” We must understand that being a disciple of Jesus requires two components. Those two components are believing He is the Messiah and following Him. Jesus said that we should believe and follow Him. Following Him means obeying His teachings, not just chasing after Him with our own doctrines and teachings. Following Jesus also means He is the Lord of your life and not just our Savior. There were many in the first century that believed He was the Messiah, but few that followed Him during His ministry, so do not be surprised if you find yourself in the few that actually adapt your life around Jesus’s teachings. Table of Contents
  7. 7. Chapter 5 Filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit The prophet Joel prophesied about the spirit that would be given to believers, with our Savior commanding the apostles to wait in Jerusalem until they received the promise spoken of by Joel. We will also find that the Holy Spirit was given to the people of Elohim all throughout history, from craftsmen working on the Ark, 70 elders of Israel, Samson, all the prophets, John the Baptist and so on. [Eze 36:27 NIV] - “And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” [Joe 2:28 NIV] - "And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” [Zec 12:10 NIV] - "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” [Mat 3:11 NIV] - "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” [Luk 11:13 NIV] - “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” [Jhn 7:39 NIV] - “By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is very important to Christians. The Holy Spirit is a gift given to all Christian believers so they can live in constant communion with God. Unfortunately many squelch the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives by completely ignoring the presence and communion with God through the Holy Spirit. A Pastor’s sermon can become their own messages instead of God’s message when they do not listen carefully to the Holy Spirit. Christians continue to live as slaves to sin when we do not consult with God through the Holy Spirit and recognize the work of the Holy Spirit in our personal lives. We should make decisions in life after fasting, prayer and communion with the Holy Spirit. In some situations you will have a profound encounter with God’s will and heart for your life and in other situations God may seem to be silent on a matter. Our role is to yield our lives to the one who gave us eternal life, not create demands on God to answer every request. Our experience has been that God may not answer every prayer the way we want Him too, but He hears all prayer and promises to be with us always, even when we make our own decision in a situation. Table of Contents
  8. 8. Get Full Publication To access the full version of this publication please visit at FirstCenturyMinistry.org. The remaining chapters include: Chapter 6: Caring for the widows, sick, those in prison, poor and orphans Chapter 7: Giving the testimony of the Lamb and obeying the Commands of Elohim Chapter 8: Strong emphasis on home fellowship and personal ministry Chapter 9: New and Old testament scriptures are Living Words Chapter 10: Building a foundation on Jesus’s teachings and ministry Chapter 11: Embracing the Feasts of Elohim Chapter 12: Not replacing the commandments of Elohim for the traditions of man Chapter 13: Living a Set-Apart life as living sacrifices Chapter 14: Shining His light of love, grace, kindness, forgiveness and personal sacrifice Chapter 15: Being ready for Jesus’s return Les and Tracy King Come Visit us at: FirstCenturyMinistry.org Table of Contents