Now we understand that Jesus Christ is our Lord, that Christ is head over all things to the church, and that it is Christ in us, we need to clarify a few distinctions between him and God. Jesus Christ's role is as head over all things to the church, he runs the ministry, he is the president of the body of Christ. His elevated position however, does not make him our father, we don't pray to him, he does not meet our needs, he does not bring deliverance, and he does not heal us. Let's take a stroll through the book of Acts to see some of this.
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost [holy spirit] had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost [holy spirit] not many days hence.
Who gave the orders to the apostles here? God or Jesus Christ? Jesus Christ did. There is absolutely no possible way anyone could claim God was giving this information to the apostles. Jesus Christ is head over all things to the church and here we see him carrying out his responsibilities by giving instructions to the apostles. These were the preparations for the launch of the Administration of Grace in the days leading up to Pentecost, so this is basically the first occurrence of Jesus Christ being head over all things to the church. It is Jesus Christ giving the orders to the apostles, not God. First occurrence sets the standard, the precedent for this administration, and this has not changed. Jesus Christ is our Lord just as he was the apostles' lord. He gives the orders regarding all things concerning the church of God because he is the head of it.
On the day of Pentecost, Jesus Christ did not send the promise of the Father, God did. Jesus Christ is not God and God is not Jesus Christ, they both have responsibilities and we need to understand the distinctions between them. God is our father and supplies all our need, while Jesus Christ is responsible for all things concerning the church.
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
That was an interesting question the apostles asked. Note that they didn't ask if God was going to restore the kingdom to Israel at that time, they asked if he was going to do it. The apostles knew beyond question that Jesus Christ was their Lord, their boss, their commander in chief, their CEO, their head, the man whom they took their orders from regarding all things concerning the church.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost [holy spirit] is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
According to Acts 1:8 we are not witnesses for God, we are witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ. At that time it wasn't available for anyone to be a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ, because the holy spirit had not yet been given. It logically follows then that witnessing is not teaching the bible because the apostles were already doing that.
Preaching and teaching is not witnessing. Being a witness of the Lord Jesus Christ can only be done after receiving into manifestation the gift of holy spirit, by manifesting the Christ in you. As you manifest the Christ in you, you are a witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Knocking doors and annoying people isn't witnessing, it's just being an asshole (unless you've had revelation of course, when it would be appropriate).
And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost [holy spirit], whom God hath given to them that obey him.
Manifesting the gift of holy spirit is witnessing to these things. Of course, the apostles having lived and worked with Jesus Christ were also eye witnesses of him. None of us have ever met Jesus Christ personally or spent time with him, so we can't be witnesses in that sense, we can only be witnesses by manifesting the Christ in us.
The believers in the first century were called Christians because they were always manifesting the gift of holy spirit and talking about the Christ in them. They were known, somewhat derogatively, as the Christ ins, hence Christians. It is Christ in you the hope of glory. If you want to witness to the Lord Jesus Christ, then you are going to have to demonstrate God's power to people, which is most easily done by speaking in tongues.
1 Corinthians 14:22a
Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not:
This doesn't mean you walk down the street speaking in tongues out loud to everyone you meet, it means you demonstrate God's power as you have opportunity. If you walk by the spirit, this will all fall into place and make sense. Let's head back to the day of the ascension.
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he [Jesus Christ] was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Jesus Christ may have gone up into the sky, but he is still our Lord, he is still the head over all things to the church to this day.
Jesus Christ is very real, he is up there, he is doing his job, carrying out his responsibilities. Why didn't God appear to Paul on the road to Damascus? I'll tell you why, because it wasn't his responsibility. Jesus Christ had a chat with him because it concerned the church, it was part of his responsibilities as head over all things to the church. Well, it wouldn't have been very wise for a believer like you or me to approach Paul outside Damascus with a bible and invite him to a home church meeting, would it?
Note another important distinction here too, in that Jesus Christ did not teach Paul anything, he sent Ananias to do that. Why? Simple, because the ministry of reconciliation is not Jesus Christ's responsibility, it's ours. If someone wants to learn the word, they have to come to us or we have to go to them. God isn't going to teach them and nor is Jesus Christ. It's not their job, and nor is it the angels' job either. God gave the ministry of reconciliation to us, it's our responsibility.
There is a fabulous little truth buried here when it comes to home churches being self governing in that God honours responsibility. When God gives someone a responsibility, it is theirs and theirs alone. He does not interfere, and neither does Christ, so I can assure you that neither of them would give revelation to any counsels of men to interfere in your affairs. Sure, if you're off the word and need confrontation you may find a prophet in your face, or if you've been hurt by the world and need patching up you may find a pastor knocking at your door, but they will be there because they walk by the spirit, not because a council of men sent them. And another thing, they will only be there to do a specific job, they will not be there to tell you how to run your home church because that's your job. The gift ministries are there for the mending of the saints, the work of the ministry, and the edifying of the body of Christ. If someone with a gift ministry is also a home church leader, they have two very different responsibilities in the body of Christ. Distinctions folks, we need to be clear on who is responsible to do what.
When God gives you someone to raise as a disciple, he expects you to do your job. Those people are your responsibility, that's why God gave them to you. If you start a home church, that church is your responsibility and any revelation regarding it will be given to you because it's your responsibility. If God gives you a gift ministry, that is a special gift to the church and you are responsible to stir up that gift and use it to look after God's kids. God honours responsibility and there is to be no interference from any outside man-made structures of leadership. Christ is our head, not men, and that's why God refuses to dwell in temples made with hands.
Not many days later on the day of Pentecost, Peter had this to say after they had received the gift of holy spirit and manifested it to the people in the temple by speaking in tongues.
This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost [holy spirit], he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Who made Jesus Christ our Lord? God did, therefore we are to submit to Jesus Christ as our Lord, our boss, the head over all things to the church. That is what God expects of us. The word of God is the will of God, remember?
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive [lambanō] the gift of the Holy Ghost.
How we are born again isn't by confessing God as anything, it is by confessing Jesus Christ as our Lord and believing God raised him from the dead. Being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ is to receive the gift of holy spirit, at which time we are spiritually washed and receive the righteousness of God. To lambanō the gift of holy spirit is to manifest the power of God, which starts with speaking in tongues. Moving on, Acts 3 has some intriguing and important information.
Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.
And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;
Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.
And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.
And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive [lambanō] something of them.
That cripple was expecting to lambanō something, to receive something into manifestation. The use of lambanō indicates he wasn't just looking for money. It couldn't have been money he was looking for as folks didn't take their wallets to the temple. The man was looking for healing. Peter was obviously given the green light and energised the Christ in him.
Then Peter 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.
Why didn't Peter heal him in the name of God? Don't just skim over this, stop and think about it. We say Jesus Christ is our Lord, but do we really believe it?
And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.
And all the people saw him walking and praising God:
The man was healed in the name of Jesus Christ, but notice that God got all the glory. This is so important to recognise. Peter didn't get the glory, and Jesus Christ didn't get the glory, God did. There are some clearly defined distinctions here. We operate the gift of holy spirit by our own freedom of will and manifest the power of God, Jesus Christ is our Lord, the head over all things to the church, and we do everything in his name, yet it is always God who gets the glory. We don't look for praise from men, and we certainly don't worship Jesus Christ even though he is our Lord.
And he [Jesus Christ] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
Jesus Christ is the preeminent one, the head of the body, our Lord, the head over all things to the church. We must keep the distinctions between God and Jesus Christ clear in our minds if the word is to live.
Here's something for you to think about. What if Jesus Christ's torture, crucifixion and death was him showing us what we have to do to get born again? Can you imagine that? Jesus Christ was beaten for two days until he was no longer recognisable as a human being, then he was dragged up a hill and nailed to a tree where he hung for six hours before dying. Would it have been unreasonable for God to demand we go through the same in order to redeem ourselves? What if that had been the only legal way to pull it off and Jesus Christ died to show us what we had to do?
Thankfully we don't have to give our lives as dead sacrifices, we are to be living sacrifices.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
I'm rather thankful Jesus Christ went through all that for me so I don't have to. Aren't you? Well, speaking in tongues is giving thanks well. We are to be living sacrifices by renewing our minds so we can demonstrate God's power and prove the good, acceptable and perfect will of God. Look at Philippians.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him [Jesus Christ], and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
We are to confess that Jesus Christ is our Lord, which is to the glory of God the father. Those who confess that God is their Lord are full of horseshit. We are to believe the word, and the word says that Jesus Christ is our Lord, that God has given him a name which is above every name, that he is the preeminent one, the head over all things to the church.
After Peter had healed the cripple, he had an opportunity to teach, and there is much we can learn from it.
For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
Moses foretold that God would raise up a prophet, referring to Jesus Christ, that we are to hear in all things he says unto us. Either this is the word of God or it isn't. Either this is the truth, or lets just forget the whole thing. Jesus Christ is our Lord, our boss, our head, and it is him we take our orders from. We are to listen to the Christ in us. To follow men in temples made with hands is to walk away from God's word. It is hewing out broken cisterns to contain our religion. It is turning your back on the living God because it is putting your trust in the work of men's hands, it is putting your trust in the flesh.
Immediately following Peter's teaching in the temple after he healed the lame man, the Sanhedrin sent men to arrest the apostles and throw them in prison. The next day they were dragged before their council and interrogated. The Sanhedrin demanded to know by whose authority they had healed the cripple, which they obviously considered to be a crime. The god of this world expends a great deal of time, money, and resources in making people sick, diseased and crippled, and he doesn't like them being healed. To him, it is a criminal offence. Well, what do you expect from the world? Here's Peter's response to those religious creatures.
Then Peter, filled [plethō] with the Holy Ghost [holy spirit], said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,
If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
The use of plethō in verse 8 indicates that Peter energised the gift of holy spirit, the Christ in him. These words came from the Christ in him. We are to hear Christ in all things, remember? How do you think Christ talks to us? Through television? Through Facebook?
This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved [made whole].
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
When we walk by the spirit with Christ as our head, then and only then can we be super conquerors and have the power to do all things through Christ which strengthens us.
After this confrontation with the religious leaders, Peter and the others returned to the believers and told them what happened. The account gives us more extremely important information.
And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, [God, thou art the creator] which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord [Jehovah - God], and against his Christ.
For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
And now, Lord, [God] behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost [holy spirit], and they spake the word of God with boldness.
Who did Peter and the others pray to? God or Jesus Christ? They prayed to God. There are distinctions here between God and Jesus Christ that we must keep clear in our minds. Jesus Christ is our Lord, the head over all things to the church, but he is not God. Jesus Christ does not supply our need or answer our prayers, that's God's job. We pray to God.
Be careful [full of care, worried] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
God is our father, and it is God we pray to and it is God who supplies all our need. Jesus Christ is our Lord, the head over all things to the church. We must keep these distinctions clear in our minds.
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Ephesians also has important information in this regards.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Women are to submit themselves to their own husbands as if he was the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians doesn't say women should submit themselves to their husbands as if he was God. Christ is our Lord, our head, our boss, and that's the relationship a husband has with his wife. He isn't her God, he's simply the boss of that relationship, the one responsible for its direction, the one with the authority to lead.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
The leadership structure in the body of Christ, the church of God, is Christ to us as individuals. When a woman marries, that changes to Christ to her husband to her. This is the leadership structure for the Age of Grace, the Administration of the Mystery. It is not Christ to the president of some ministry, to a board of directors, to your country coordinator, to your home church leader, then to you. See it? We all walk with Christ as our head. Anything else is a broken cistern.
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
Read that again and think about it, Selah. Who is our Lord? God or Jesus Christ? Get it clear in your mind. In this case, we don't have to guess about it, because the next verse spells it out.
Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
If we think we do absolutely everything heartily only to God, we're not rightly dividing the bible. In fact, we're not even reading it correctly. God made Christ our Lord and it's him we serve heartily in all matters relating to the church of God. Think of it in terms of your earthly job. You leave home and go to work where you submit yourself to your boss. You work heartily for him and do whatever he tells you and in return you get paid. God is our father, and we live with him in fellowship, but when we go to work to do the things of the ministry, Jesus Christ is our boss. We work heartily to him because he's the one with the responsibility to run the church.
When reading the book of Acts, keep it clear in your mind who our Lord is. For example, who was giving the orders in Antioch here?
Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost [holy spirit] said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
Whose work do we do? To whom do we work heartily? Who is our Lord? Making Jesus Christ our Lord is not worshipping Jesus Christ as God, it is doing the word. He is our Lord because God made him our Lord.
A cautionary note is needed here. As we saw earlier in the class, the word Lord has been criminally tampered with and there are many forgeries in the bible where God is called our Lord when he is no such thing. Reading the context will usually make it easy to see when the word is referring to God or if it's referring to Jesus Christ.
Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost [holy spirit] to preach the word in Asia,
After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.
And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.
And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.
And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.
It says the Lord called him. Is this referring to God or Jesus Christ? Well, who is our Lord, who is head over all things to the church? As this situation is without doubt concerning the church of God, this has to be Jesus Christ giving this information because it would have been his responsibility. Try these next two verses for yourself.
Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:
For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.
It's not difficult, is it? That was Jesus Christ talking to Paul. What about healing? Who does the healing when we operate manifestations?
And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
See, God does all the healing, not Jesus Christ. We minister to people and heal them in the name of Jesus Christ. It is the authority in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord that backs off the devil spirit realm, but it is God who answers our prayers and heals us.
Who tried to stop Paul from going to Jerusalem? God or Jesus Christ? Read it and see for yourself.
And when he [Agabus] was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost [holy spirit - usage 2, the gift of holy spirit], So shall the Jews [Judeans] at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
Who tied to stop Paul from going to Jerusalem? I know we've always been taught it was God, but God is not our Lord and the church of God is Jesus Christ's responsibility, not God's. This situation of Paul going to Jerusalem lies clearly within Jesus Christ's responsibilities. Paul even tells us later that it was Jesus Christ he was talking to.
And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance [saw a vision];
And saw him [Jesus Christ] saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.
And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:
And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.
And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
See, it was Jesus Christ who tried to stop Paul from going to Jerusalem, not God. It was also Jesus Christ who later appeared to Paul while he was in prison.
And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
To close, let's look at one more astonishing record, where Paul is about to be shipwrecked on his way to Rome. They were in a storm so severe, the crew had chucked the cargo overboard and had given up all hope. However, Paul received revelation that they would all get to shore safely. Who gave that revelation to Paul? God or Jesus Christ? Before answering, think responsibility.
For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
In this case, God sent an angel and the revelation came directly from God, not Jesus Christ. Why should that be? The situation was obviously God's responsibility to sort out. Delivering us from situations like this is God's responsibility not Jesus Christ's, and I find it rather intriguing that this revelation didn't come from the Christ in him, it came from an angel sent by God. Jesus Christ is our Lord, but he does not answer our prayers, meet our needs or bring us deliverance and healing. Jesus Christ's responsibilities are limited to being head over all things to the church.
Keep these distinctions clear in your mind and teach them so these truths will live. This is new light that has not been known since the first century and we must teach it so it will never be lost again.
Chapter 72 - The Manifestation of Believing