Six Important Things To Understand

(Delivered March 15, 2006)

 

We’re in a very practical section in this study as Paul is talking about those who are partnered with him. He mentions a group of men and refers to them in a sense that he doesn’t number himself with them, but mentions them as people who’ve been very beneficial to him in the ministry. And understanding how he separates himself from them, and why he separates himself from them, is very practical for your life because these people have a doctrine, a hope, and a promise of God that is different than what God has offered you and me in his grace. And, when you understand who they are, what God has for them and as you understand that Paul seems to indicate that he’s not one of them, but that he’s with them in the Lord, then you’ll understand that their promises are not your promises and that their hope is not your hope but that God does have promises and hope given to you. You’ll then be able to go the scriptures and find out your instructions to fulfil God’s will for your life.

In Colossians, Chapter 4:10, “Artistarchus my fellowprisioner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabus, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;).” Two people are mentioned in this passage. Well, actually three, but Aristarchus and Marcus are the two he connects with the next person mentioned in Verse 11, “And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.” When Paul calls them “who are of the circumcision” did you notice that even though Paul is Jewish, he doesn’t call himself “of the circumcision”. He speaks of them as something separate from himself and the Colossian saints.

As he’s writing to the Colossian saints and sends greetings to them and names some people that are with him, he singles out these three/four people, (if you include Barnabus in the list ~ because he would fit), and he says, these are “of the circumcision”. So we stopped three weeks ago and started looking and asking, who is this group called “of the circumcision” that he seems to separate himself from? We realized that even though Paul taught against circumcision, there was a group of people who taught circumcision. In fact, their message was called The Gospel of the Circumcision. Paul’s message is called The Gospel of the Uncircumcision. So we started looking and started listing some very important things. If you catch these points now, not only will you have the clarity of right division and understand what God’s doctrine is for you, you’ll also realize that during the time when the Bible was written, there were two groups of people on this earth.

The first thing that you need to know is that with the salvation and commissioning of the Apostle Paul God began to do something distinct and different. Prior to the Apostle Paul, during the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ and when the Holy Spirit was first sent on the day of Pentecost, Jesus Christ had appointed twelve Apostles and was ministering to the nation of Israel. The hope and promises that God had made in the Old Testament was being fulfilled in the life and ministry of Christ. Even the coming of the Holy Spirit was a fulfillment of the prophecy that goes back to Joel.

Jesus Christ came to fulfill what was promised in the Law and Prophets to the nation of Israel. Then, with the raising up of the Apostle Paul, God began to do something different,

which is called the dispensation of the grace of God and he says it was a mystery that was never known before. This is not the fulfillment of what the prophets promised Israel but is something that God never said he was going to do but had now revealed to the Apostle Paul for us Gentiles. God has turned from Israel to the Gentiles. We’ve seen the verses. So, the first thing to understand is that when you come to Paul’s ministry, a new dispensation began. A new messenger, with a new message, to a new group of people began with Paul’s ministry.

The second thing that we said you need to understand is that when this new dispensation began, God’s attitude and his dealings with the nation of Israel changed. Any unbelieving Jewish person at the time of calling of the Apostle Paul, God’s attitude toward them is that they have fallen and are cut off. Beginning with the ministry of the Apostle Paul, Israel has fallen and God’s attitude toward them is that both Jew and Gentile are all under sin. Israel doesn’t have a special standing with God anymore, meaning unbelieving Israel. However, there are those who did believe during the earthly ministry of John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and during the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the first part of the book of Acts. Among the nation of Israel that did believe, they are called the elect because God chose within that nation to save the believing remnant of Israel. When Paul writes about Israel falling, it says the elect had obtained that which God promised them and the rest were blinded, had fallen and were cut off. Therefore, there is this group of people who have not fallen. Yes, God’s attitude toward Israel is changed, but it hasn’t changed toward the believing remnant. His promises to them have not changed but the unbelieving Jew has now been cut off and is now the same as the Gentile. Israel is actually referred to as enemies for the Gentiles sake so that God can reach out to the Gentiles (we looked at some of those verses but I just wanted to establish that.) Do this with me, go to Matthew 16:13, we’ll look at a verse that might help you at this point, as a lot of people really miss things like this.

When Jesus Christ was ministering (by this point in Matthew, the Ministry of Jesus Christ is already rejected, but not everyone has rejected it) he begins to ask some questions of his disciples, and it says in verse 13: “When Jesus came to the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” OK, you realize the nation of Israel for most part doesn’t know who he is. They think he’s reincarnated John the Baptist, or he’s Elias from the Old Testament, or Jeremias the prophet, or he’s some other prophet. But they don’t really know who he is. He says, who do you say that I am? Verse 16: “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The Christ, the Messiah of Israel, the promised one that we’ve been looking for, the one who is our prophet, priest and King; the one who’s going to establish the Kingdom and sit on the throne of David forever. So, Peter properly identified who he was. The Lord says this in verse 17, “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” (I would really take that to be through the prophets of the Old Testament.)

In John 5:39, Jesus said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” God the Father, through the prophets, gave Israel the Old Testament and through the Old Testament prophecies how to identify Jesus Christ. Peter identified him. And, Jesus says, the Father had revealed this unto him. Matthew 16:18:“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock (the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Now that word church in this verse has confused a lot of people. Some people look at the age of Grace and call it the Church age because Paul went about establishing the local church and because Paul calls the believers of this age, the church which is his body. (We’ll look at that verse in a little while). The reason why Paul says, the ‘church which is his body’ is because there is a church which is not his body. The word church…do you know what it means? It means ‘called out assembly’. Jesus Christ, before he went to the cross, told Peter upon that profession, that those within the nation of Israel who believe that I am the Christ, the Son of the living God, upon that foundation I will build my church. God was calling out of the nation of Israel a believing remnant. That’s the church of Matthew 16. A lot of people read that and say, that’s a prophecy about the age of grace. No. The age of grace was a mystery hidden in God until revealed to the Apostle Paul. It’s not hinted about. Jesus Christ wasn’t planning the Age of Grace during his earthly ministry, what he was doing was calling out of the Nation of Israel, a believing remnant. That believing remnant became his church.

Go over to Acts, Chapter 2. Peter is preaching about how Israel failed to realize that Jesus was their Christ and God raised him from the dead and he says in verse 36: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now they realize they killed the Messiah, “what shall we do?” He tells them to do what John told them to do: repent and be baptised. And the ones who did that, verse 41, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:47) See, he started out with Peter and those followers during his earthly ministry, and now that the Holy Spirit is poured out, Peter puts conviction on them through the power of the Spirit. These people realize what they did; they still have an opportunity to become part of God’s called out assembly, the church; they believe that Jesus is the Christ and he’s adding to this church. This is what’s going on in the first part of Acts.

It is this church Paul talks about when he names those four men in Colossians that he says are of the circumcision. These people are connected with the promises made to the nation of Israel ~ which goes back to Abraham wherein God is going to give them that land and sit on the throne of David for an everlasting possession. And that’s why they’re called the circumcision. God has considered any unbelieving Jew at this point uncircumcised. But it is those who believed he considers as the circumcision. It is these people whom Paul says are the ones who helped him in the Kingdom of God. He names these men and they were of this group of people here. They’re not of Paul’s ministry.

Point #3: Lost Israel fell and the believing Israel never lost their standing or their promises. Where we ended last time, II Peter 1:16, is where Peter is reminding these people what he’s taught them and he says, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” Now just stop there. Jesus Christ, before he died and went back into heaven, he told them in Matthew 24:29, what to look for at his coming. And it says, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken…”and they’ll see the Lord coming. There will be a sign in heaven and they’ll see the Lord coming. When Peter talks about the coming of Jesus Christ (in second Peter) he is talking about the second coming of Jesus Christ to set up that Kingdom. ‘We were eyewitnesses of his majesty’...Peter had already seen a vision of Jesus Christ sitting on that throne of David on earth and therefore, they’re looking for Christ to come back to earth and reign. It hasn’t changed. Peter’s doctrine hasn’t changed and the hope of these people (Peter’s enforcing the fact) that what we promised wasn’t a fable, it’s going to happen. So their promises never change. The Bible says the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. God didn’t offer one thing and change it and give them something else. Peter’s never going to be raptured, in the rapture. Peter’s never going to sit in the heavenly places in Christ. When Jesus Christ comes back and sits on the throne of his glory, Peter is going to be part of the twelve apostles that will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Resurrection will take place at the second coming of Christ, not before the tribulation period. So, my point regarding circumcision is that their doctrine has never changed. Their hope, their promises have never changed. But now we need to move a little further from that and go on.

Fourth Point: Some of the circumcision ministered with the Apostle Paul in his ministry. I don’t know why this is so hard for some people to understand, but it’s really obvious. Go to Acts 13. Now some time ago when we were studying that phrase in Colossians where Paul mentions Marcus and it says “sister’s son to Barnabas” we studied who Barnabas was. We found out in Acts 4, that Barnabas sold all his possessions to join the group there, ministered with the twelve apostles, laid his money right at the apostles feet and said distribute it, I’m waiting for the kingdom to come. Barnabas is a circumcision believer. But he’s also, as we thought, (or at least I conjectured) that he is the brother-in-law of the Apostle Paul. And when Paul came on the scene and began his ministry, it was Barnabas who took Paul and introduced him to the twelve apostles so they could see that God, indeed, was using this man. Barnabas was a kind of ‘go-between’ between the twelve Apostles and the Apostle Paul when Paul launched his ministry.

Acts 13:1, “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas….” (and it starts naming all the different ones and the last one is Saul.) Verse 2, “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” Verse 9, “Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,…” Now they’re ministering and God’s going to use Paul in this group. It starts out saying Barnabas and Saul, eventually it’s all Paul and Barnabas, then later Barnabas doesn’t go with Paul anymore. Silas will end up going with him. Silas is another circumcision believer who ministered with Paul. What I wanted you to see, is that there are circumcision believers who ministered with Paul. Look at Acts 15:40, this is when Paul and Barnabas split, “And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.” Well, when Paul went to Jerusalem to communicate to this group of people to hear the message that God had for him to take to the Gentiles, they agreed that Paul was legitimate and they sent Silas to go with the Apostle Paul (back to at least Antioch) to acknowledge that the twelve Apostles do recognize Paul’s ministry. Silas didn’t want to go back and minister with those men anymore. He said, I’m here with Paul and I think I’ll continue to minister. And, when Paul went on his second Apostolic journey, (Barnabas went the first time, Silas the second time) both are circumcision believers. But, they’re helping the Apostle Paul in his ministry out among the Gentiles. Again, what I wanted you to see, is that some of the circumcision believers ministered with Paul and, why not? These men had come to realize that God was doing something different with the Apostle Paul and had postponed their ministry. If God’s message for the world, and all lost men, was that God was no longer going to bless the world through Israel and her promises , why wouldn’t they help Paul do what God called him to do, especially if they loved the Jews? They realized the way a lost Jew was now going to be saved was no longer through the promises God made to Israel, but was through the gospel message that was given to the Apostle Paul. They realized Paul’s message was now for Jew and Gentile alike as to how they were to be saved. And so, these men, without changing God’s promises to them or changing their doctrine, began to understand what was God’s doctrine for lost men in the age of Grace, and they helped Paul do it. I don’t have any problem with that, do you?

They realized God changed the program, they know what the program is for lost people, and, if you want to reach a lost person they know you have to share with them Paul’s message, so they say, “Come on, Paul, I’ll go help you.” And that’s what they went out and did. They went out and helped Paul in his ministry and, like in Silas’ case, everywhere that he went, he confirmed that this message given by Paul was different than what the twelve apostles were preaching and what God promised through Israel, was still legitimate. He also had a letter written by James confirming that Paul was acknowledged as having this ministry. So it just confirms Paul everywhere he went. So to emphasize, the fourth thing is to realize some circumcision people ministered with Paul.

By the way, does that answer Colossians for you? Remember the verse that we’re studying, verse 10: Aristarchus, Marcus, Barnabas, and Jesus called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the Kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. At the time Paul wrote Colossians, these four men were the only ones that were still ministering with the Apostle Paul. There were others, Silas is not in the list, but that was a prior time. By the time Paul writes Colossians, there are four people of this group Paul acknowledges that have ministered to him there at Rome and acknowledged in the letter of Colossians.

The fifth thing, is that phrase “the kingdom of God” (verse 11). “These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.” I call it the Kingdom of Heaven because in the book of Matthew, any time the Kingdom is mentioned, it’s called the Kingdom of Heaven because it represents heaven’s reign on the earth. The Kingdom of Heaven is an expression of Jesus Christ reigning on the earth. But the phrase, Kingdom of God, what is the Kingdom of God? And you need to have this clear in your mind to understand why Paul can say these circumcision believers were helpers with him in the Kingdom of God. Go back to first Chronicles 29, where David is dying. In the beginning, God created what? Right, the heavens and earth. If he’s the creator of heaven and earth, where do you think he reigns? Over his creation. And really it’s that simple to stop and realize that the Kingdom of God is not just the earthly reign of Jesus Christ. The Kingdom of God is his reigning over his creation and that his creation is divided into two parts: Heaven and Earth. Now David, (and the reason I like this passage so much is David, being the King of Israel, knowing that of his seed Christ has promised to come and reign on the earth, knows, none the less, what the Kingdom of God is) and in first Chronicles 29:10, he writes and says, “Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, (and notice this phrase) and the majesty: (he’s going to reign, right?) for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou are exalted as head above all.” Above all what? All heaven and all earth. Thine is the Kingdom,…” The kingdom is that God is to be majesty in heaven and in earth. Now David understood that it’s through his seed Jesus Christ was going to come and God’s kingdom was going to be established in the earth. David understood that the Kingdom of God is greater than just the earth. That God’s Kingdom is heaven and earth. He’s the creator of heaven and earth. Since the Kingdom of God is his reign in heaven and earth you realize why Paul didn’t have a problem using such a term and saying they were fellow helpers in the Kingdom of God.

Go to Matthew 5. Now remember in things like God’s ministry, his purpose …. when God called out the Nation of Israel (we don’t have time to look at all these things) In Exodus 19 when he called out the nation of Israel, he called them out of Egypt and they were going to go to a land of Canaan and be his peculiar people “for all the earth is mine.” He was going to use the Nation of Israel to claim the earth as his own and to use them to reign over the earth. That’s why in things like in Matt 5, in the beatitudes, as Christ is sitting on the mount, as if he’s reigning on the earth, he says in verse 5, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” God’s purpose for the Nation of Israel is to establish his reign upon the earth. Look at chapter 5:34, “But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.” The God of heaven is going to set up his throne in Jerusalem upon this earth. But what is God’s kingdom in this verse? Heaven and earth. Heaven is his throne, and the city of Jerusalem is the city of the great King. He’s going to reign on this earth. God’s kingdom is heaven and earth. Now we know that God’s purpose for the nation of Israel, the circumcision believers, their hope is to be in this Kingdom on earth.

The Apostle Paul is sent out to lost Jews and Gentiles to give them an opportunity in the age of God’s grace to be saved and when you read Colossians 3, like we have, where it says “set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” When we studied that passage, the reason the Apostle tells those of us who believe in this age of grace to set our affections on the things above, and continues to say where Christ sits at the right hand of the Father, is because we’re seated with Christ in those heavenly places. That’s God’s purpose for the body of Christ. The reason why God interrupted his dealings with Israel (and you realize that this is what the whole mystery is about, in fact, that’s what the whole study of Colossians is about) is to form the Body of Christ that’s going to be seated with Christ in heavenly places so that God can take his throne in his Kingdom and establish his reign in both heaven and earth. God’s going to use the Body of Christ to reclaim his authority in the Heavens; Satan and his angels are cast out. Then he’s going to come back to earth and throw Satan in the bottomless pit and reclaim the earth. And the Kingdom of God will be heaven and earth; using the Body of Christ and the believing remnant of Israel to restore his kingdom in heaven and earth. Two different places. Two different groups of people.

So when Paul says that these men were helpers with me in the Kingdom of God, if you got a person saved in this age of Grace, what does Colossians 1 say? Way back at the beginning it said in verse 12, “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” When we get saved today, we’re translated into God’s kingdom, in the kingdom of his dear Son. There are some who say the Kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17). But they just say that sometimes to say that the Kingdom of God is not literal and physical and in any place: that it’s just a reign in the heart. Now what you need to realize when you read a passage like that is that you know from all the reading you’ve done in scriptures that God’s Kingdom is a place and it’s going to be a literal, visible reign of Christ in the heavens and in the earth. But he also is reigning in our hearts now. And rather than throw one away to accept the other, just realize that we have the reign of Christ in our life now and that’s what that verse is referring to. But don’t grab that verse and say that means all the other is not real. Just realize that both are true. That today God would reign in your heart to be righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.

In summary, the fifth thing to realize is what the Kingdom of God is. See some people, when you tell them of right division, and talk about Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and how they were preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, they will go to the book of Acts and say Paul went everywhere preaching the Kingdom of God as if Paul was preaching the same thing these Apostles were saying. You just need to realize that to be brought into salvation in Christ, is to be a part of God’s eternal purpose. And his purpose involves his kingdom which includes heaven and earth. Just because they find that phrase, unless they have a proper definition of what the Kingdom of God is, they think Paul and these people were preaching the same thing. They weren’t. One has an earthly aspect of God’s kingdom in mind, the other has a heavenly aspect of God’s kingdom in mind. So, to belong to the Lord is to be part of his kingdom. Which part you’re in, depends upon when you were saved and which gospel you were called by. And there was only one that God called you by. He didn’t give you a choice. I hope that doesn’t make it more confusing; I’m trying to help people to be able separate those things and see that there is a similarity, but there’s a difference.

And here’s the other one, and this one you really need to think about. The Sixth thing that you need to keep in mind is that once the Lord finished his redemptive work on the cross, all the redeemed are in Christ. Redemption is in Christ Jesus. No one gets in any part of that kingdom apart from Christ. You know, we quote it all the time, but we’re quoting the book of John when Christ says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” Well, that’s true for earthly kingdom Saints, and that’s true for those who are members of the Body of Christ. The only way to be right with God and to be translated into God’s Kingdom, into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, is having a relationship with Christ and being redemptively in Christ. Now, the reason that… (I’m getting a little ahead of myself), go to Ephesians. I need to say this, even though I’m saying this out of order. Ephesians 1. There are Jews and Gentile who are lost. Today, when a Jew or Gentile gets saved, he’s no longer a Jew or a Gentile, but we become one in the Body of Christ. Just like when God was calling out of Israel and making them his church, the circumcision believers, the Israel of God; so when God called out of the Jew and Gentile believers, when we believe, it says, Henceforth if any man be in Christ he is a new creature. We’re not a part of what God was doing. Today when we get saved God is calling out of Jew and Gentile lost people, a people for his name. And when you believe, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:27, “Now ye are the body of Christ.”

You won’t find that phrase “Body of Christ” except in Paul’s epistles. In the verse we read last time, Peter said to these circumcision believers that “you are a holy nation, a royal priesthood”. That’s what they are. Paul says, we’re the body of Christ. Look at Ephesians 1:22, “And he has put all things under his feet and gave him to be head of over all things to the church which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” God is going to fill all things, heaven and earth, with the glory of his Son. In order to fill the heavens, God created the body of Christ and we’re a church, we’re called out, aren’t we? But we’re not the called out church that’s called the Holy Nation and the Royal Priesthood. We’re a called out people, the church which is his body. And only in Paul’s epistles do you have that description, people who are called the Body of Christ. And, in fact, over in Ephesians 2:14, it says “For he is our peace, who hath made both one (took Jew and Gentile and made them one)and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain (to make out of Jew and Gentile) one new man, so making peace.” Today when God saves a Jew or Gentile he’s not making us part of what God was previously doing and making in the Nation of Israel, we’re called the one new man. We’re a new creature, we’re the Body of Christ. And the Body of Christ is not the circumcision of God. We’re not the Israel of God. We’re the church which is his body.

For the sake of clarity, look over in Ephesians 1:9, “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fullness of times (After the thousand year reign we go into eternity future, that’s the dispensation of the fullness of times). Look what God revealed to us that he’s going to do, “That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.” You know these circumcision believers, they’re in Christ. You know we are in Christ. And those that are in Christ in heaven and those in Christ on earth in the dispensation of the fullness of times, he doesn’t make the places one, he makes those two people one because we’re in the Kingdom of God together. We’re heirs together. But our place is heaven, their place is in the earth and it’s all centered in Christ. And so that phrase, in Christ, …now the reason that phrase is so important, it’s almost uniquely found in Paul’s epistles, but not exclusively.

I’m running out of time…come to John 17. Remember when Jesus Christ told Peter ‘upon this rock’ (now this is Peter before the cross) and he said ‘upon this rock I will build my church’? They weren’t built yet, were they? It’s future. When you come to the book of Acts, after the Holy Spirit came, they were added to the church. My statement to you is, once the Lord finished the redemptive work on the cross, all the redeemed were in Christ. This group of believers were not in Christ until the Holy Spirit came. They now have a redemptive position in Christ (He had to provide redemption first). Let me show you that. John 17: 1 (This is the true Lord’s prayer. This is him before he goes to the cross, praying to God the Father about what they’re going to accomplish). “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify they Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee; As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” They know who the true God is, now when they understand that Jesus is the Christ, they’ll now have a position. Look at verse nine, “I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” Jesus Christ was only calling out the lost sheep of the house of Israel, has no Gentiles in mind here. Jesus Christ said, I’m not praying for the people of the world, I’m praying for these that you’ve given me, who’ve followed me. Verse 10, “All mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy father keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.”

Now watch the prayer. Go to verse 20: “Neither pray I for these alone, (those whom had followed him through his earthly ministry) but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;” Who’s that? Peter preached on the day of Pentecost: first 3,000 then the next day 5,000 are added to that church. He said, I don’t pray just for the ones that followed me, but now the ones who will believe them when they preach. Verse 21, “That they may all be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast love them as thou hast loved me.” Jesus Christ is praying that the twelve apostles and the followers of the twelve when they have preached, that they, just like the Father and the Son are one, would be one in the Father and the Son. And through the cross, and the Holy Spirit given, they were given that promise. We’ll see next time how in first John, how that became a reality. You know, the phrase “in Christ” is found so much in Paul’s epistles because he understands this oneness. But these people eventually understand that they had that oneness, too, in Christ, because everything that’s going to go into eternity future is only those that are in Christ. That phrase is not just for people who are members of the Body of Christ, it is also the circumcision believer.