The Church Of The First Born
John 16:1 “These things have I spoken
unto you, that ye should not be offended.
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.
5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?
6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
1. Offenses Shall Come
2. Synagogues And Churches
3. Where Is The Son Of God?
4. The Comforter Comes
1. Offences Shall Come
Verse one: “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.”
The ONE WHO was delivered for our offences is trying to keep us [HIS disciples] from being offended, yet OFFENSES will come!
According to Romans chapter four, verse twenty-five, all of us are guilty of offences [SINS]. This is why Jesus Christ went to the CROSS of CALVARY. [Romans 4:25] “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
Jesus Christ, as the Lamb of God, went to the CROSS because of our OFFENCES. Adam sinned. We sin.
Let us face it! [We offend … GOD!]
Now, Adam was our father. We are the sons of Adam [mankind].
Now, let’s read Romans chapter five, verse sixteen: “And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.”[Romans 5:16]
As long as we are in the flesh, as long as we are in this old world, offenses will be committed. Offenses will come!
Men are sinners!
Now, I will bring it home!
We are sinners! You and I SIN! Offenses will come.
You and I had better make sure that they do not come because of us. [Matthew 18:7] “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”
[Luke 17:1] “Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!”
2. Synagogues And Churches
Verse two: “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”
For the last two thousand years the Jews have suffered all kinds of harassment, persecution and even death as prophesied here by Jesus Christ. The Jews have suffered! This is undeniable in the light of HISTORY!
However, I am not going to delve into this truth [of persecution of the Jew] in this study, but what I want to do, however, is to zero in on one word. This word is synagogues. What are they? What is a synagogue?
Every time the word: “synagogue”, or its plural: “synagogues”, shows up in the Bible, it is in reference to a congregation of Jews meeting together on the Sabbath day [the seventh day] for the purpose of the “reading of the law and the prophets” [Acts 13:15]EXCEPT for two instances.
These two instances both appear in the book of Revelation. [They are found in chapter two, verse nine, and chapter three, verse nine.]
In both times, it is a congregation that tries to act like a congregation of Jews, but is really a congregation or “synagogue of Satan”. [Revelation 2:9] “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.”
A TRUE synagogue, therefore, is always associated with a particular nation. This is the nation of Israel.
Something else! We need to consider another word. The word is: temple.
First, the TEMPLE in Jerusalem was to be the only temple in Israel.
Second, all worship in Israel was to be toward the direction of this Temple. [Psalm 5:7] “But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.”
Now let us go back to the synagogues. The synagogues were local, and were many in the land, and were for the purpose of the reading of the Law and of the Prophets. Psalms seventy-four gives us a picture of the synagogues in the land. We will read from there: “They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.” [Psalm 74:8]
The “synagogues of God” were the local Jewish assemblies during the dispensation of THE LAW.
In this dispensation of GRACE, the local assemblies of believers are known as churches.
Now, I realize there is a reference to a church in the wilderness in Acts 7:38, but what I am referring to, here, is a REGENERATE body or congregation.
Now, let me say this before we go on!
Nobody in the Old Testament was born again. [Just in case if you are wondering.]
The New Testament churches are composed of those … individual Jews and Gentiles, who have been born again and saved by the blood of the Lamb. [Ephesus 3:2] “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward.”
God is dealing with individuals. Being saved is a "personal thing".
Take note: after Acts chapter seven, verse sixty, [when the leaders of Israel murdered Stephen], GOD was no longer dealing with the Jews as a NATION. Israel, as a nation, was PUT ASIDE.
There is something more we can learn about New Testament churches. These churches are NOT physical buildings, which men can see with their eyes, nor can they be destroyed as buildings, as the enemy destroyed buildings, by burning “up all the synagogues of God in the land.”
Now, look at this. Israel, and her synagogues, under the Law, worshipped … toward a physical temple in Jerusalem. However, the local New Testament churches, under Grace, are composed of believers whose bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and worship Jesus Christ Who is in Heaven, and Who is not on this Earth.
These born again believers are shown in this Bible to be intimately connected in a spiritual relationship to the ONE, Who was risen from the dead.
The ONE risen from the dead is the first fruits. “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” [1 Corinthians 15:20-22]
Jesus Christ was, therefore, the FIRSTFRUITS.
The ONE, Who is the FIRSTFRUITS is the ONE, Who is the FIRSTBORN from the dead. This is Jesus Christ!
We see [in the book of Hebrews in chapter twelve] an assembly of the firstborn, who have come because they were “made perfect” by the BLOOD of Jesus Christ, and by HIS conquering of DEATH.
The ATONEMENT, which was accomplished on Mount Calvary, fulfilled THE LAW.
Three days later, on the FIRST DAY of the week, when Jesus Christ arose from the grave, the FIRST BIRTH occurred.
Then fifty days later, the COMFORTER came, as He was promised, to begin assembling the body of Christ, the “church of the firstborn”, as an INGATHERING. We are part of a great INGATHERING. Amen!
“But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.” [Hebrews 12:22-23]
3. Where Is The Son Of God?
Verse four and five: “But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?”
So where was the LORD Jesus Christ going?
According to the BOOK, in Acts chapter two, verse thirty-three, after HIS death, burial and resurrection, HE would ascend back to Heaven, and SIT at the right hand of the Father. Amen!
And according to the BOOK, in this same passage, Jesus Christ will sit at the right hand of the father till “I make thy foes thy footstool.”
GOD will establish the Kingdom of Heaven on this earth for one thousand years … with Jesus Christ sitting on the throne in Jerusalem. “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the Promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.” [Acts 2:33-35]
4. The Comforter Comes
Verse seven: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
If Jesus Christ had NOT departed, and had NOT sent the Comforter, then there would have been NO empowerment of, NOR indwelling in, NOR sealing of … the believer’s in this age of GRACE in a CHURCH of the FIRST BORN.
The New Testament believers in the body of Christ received POWER … fifty days after Jesus Christ rose from the grave to become the CHURCH of THE FIRTBORN. [Acts 1:8] “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost 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.”
The New Testament believers in the body of Christ received the permanent INDWELLING of the SPIRIT … fifty days after Jesus Christ rose from the grave. [1 Corinthians 3:16] “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
The New Testament believers in the body of Christ received the SEALING of the Spirit … fifty days after Jesus Christ rose from the grave. [2 Corinthians 1:22] “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”
Without all this, there would be NO CHURCH of the FIRSTBORN.
Now, there could have been churches, but NO CHURCH of THE FIRSTBORN. Do you see that?
For there to be a difference between the
“synagogues” of Israel under THE
LAW, and the New Testament
“churches” under GRACE:
• It was CRITICAL first, for the Son of GOD to go to the Cross of Calvary. [Thus providing the ATONEMENT for sin.] … Jesus Christ thereby, fulfilled THE LAW. [Exodus 12:21 foreshadows all of this.] “Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.”
• It was CRITICAL secondly, for the Son of GOD to rise from the DEAD. [Thus CONQUERING DEATH] … HE thereby, became the firstfruits. [Exodus 34:22a foreshadows all of this.] “And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end.”
• It was CRITICAL thirdly, for the Son of GOD to SEND the COMFORTER to add, [INGATHERING] believers to the BODY of CHRIST which is the CHURCH. [Exodus 34:22b foreshadows all of this.] “and the feast of ingathering at the year's end.”
It is the Comforter Who empowers, indwells, and
seals the believer in Jesus Christ to
ETERNAL LIFE in this age. “Who now
rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that
which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my
flesh for his body's sake, which is the church.”