Thursday, May 10, 2012

Grace message under attack

When did the attacks against the grace message start coming from Christians rather than Jews?

That’s a good question.  We can actually see that as we study through Acts.  Attacks from the religious Jews (those who kept the Law) lessened the further west that Paul traveled.  The Gospel has been making its way around the earth for 2,000 years.  The attacks against the grace message depend more on geography than a period of time.

In Acts 28 Paul met with Jews in Rome who knew nothing about him or his message.  Those Jews received what Paul was teaching.

The grace message hit the United States in the 1600’s when the Puritans brought the Bible to America.  Who taught it? God always has a remnant; John Darby for example.  Maybe they didn’t understand as much about Pauline doctrine as we do today; but we build upon their teaching and stand on their shoulders.

Our brother Bryan Ross in Michigan, a grace pastor and a history teacher, has been doing a study tracing the history of the grace message beginning with Paul’s time through today. [Note from transcriber:  These messages are all available online and highly recommended!!  There are a number lessons on John Darby beginning November 24, 2011.]

Church history, as such, doesn’t know about us.  Who knows about us here in California?  Virtually nobody. Right?  But Pastor Ross is showing in his series that ever since Paul, there has been a thread of Pauline believers.  You can see how they were treated by the Roman Catholic Church which called them heretics because they made a big deal about Paul.  So the grace message has traveled around the globe along with the Bible.  The message is in the Bible and God always has his people.

I remember our brother Les Feldick saying that in the mid to late1800’s the president of Princeton warned that unless the church goes back to the Pauline epistles, it will be in serious trouble.  So, obviously some people who came to America knew something of Paul’s doctrine.  Pauline believers are just not talked about in history because we’re a little people—and because grace preachers do not write the ‘Church History’ books.

So today Satan is using the ministries of mega churches to attack the message and messengers of Pauline doctrine.  He is using Christians and professing Christians, not Jews.  Let’s use Rome (the RCC) for example.  There were many Body of Christ believers and pagans in Rome.  In the early fourth century, Christianity was declared the official religion of Rome, but it—the Roman Catholic Church—was a mixture of Christianity and paganism to accommodate everyone.  They just assimilated Christianity into the pagan culture.  So Satan messed up the gospel and added works to it.  In the West, the RCC was the first tool used by Satan against true Christianity.  Wherever the Gospel goes, Satan has someone there to distort it as he did in Israel and Asia Minor.

Today believers and unbelievers alike are giving their money to mega churches that are propagating false doctrine.  Even when people understand right division they still want to go to a church that has programs for their kids even though they’ll be taught false doctrine.  Satan uses every means – like the New Age and Universalism that Paul talks about in Colossians.  All that craziness is still around today:  “We are the world; the world is in us; we’re all the children of God; God is in everything.”

Colossians 2:8

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Colossians 2:20

Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

Satan uses all those things to detract from the gospel.  His tactics change depending on location. Take Israel for example.  As long as Christians are taking tours and bringing their money, they’re alright; but don’t bring up Jesus.  We can’t take our Bibles and start preaching on corners there.  The Israeli police will come get you.  And you can’t bring your Bibles into certain Muslim and Communist countries either; you have to smuggle them in.  A grace brother who ministers in China says that their Christian churches are underground and they have to smuggle Bibles in.  King James Bibles are gold to them.

So wherever the gospel is, Satan has someone there to hinder it.  Satan and his fallen angels don’t just materialize, they work through human beings.

John 8:44

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Ephesians 2:2

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

2 Corinthians 11:14-15

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Christ in his earthly ministry was attacked by people.  Job’s friends came after him according to the course of this world.  They looked at his sufferings and accused him of being punished because he didn’t please God.  Satan was using them to discourage Job.

It is consistent throughout scripture that thorns refer to people who are against you.  Paul went to the Lord three times about the thorn in his flesh.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

After the word came to him the third time he understood and changed his mind about it.  He went from complaining to glorying in it.  The word of God can do that for you.  The infirmities were probably a direct result of men harming him.

2 Corinthians 11:24-25

Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

Paul gloried in his infirmities.  He essentially said, ‘Look, you want to see who is a minister of the Lord, just look at me.’  Paul suffered for Christ’s sake and it was inflicted upon him by men.  Satan didn’t physically do it to Paul himself; he used messengers.  That’s why the thorn in his flesh is called a ‘messenger of Satan.’

So Paul didn’t care about physical deformity or suffering for Christ’s sake physically.  He cared about the message and it hurt him that the message was being attacked, but Christ said ‘Don’t worry about that; I’ll take care of it.’

Philippians 1:28-30
And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.

Psalm 12:6-7
The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

Hopefully this helps...Maranatha!



  1. This was so helpful to my understanding, Bro. Ron. Thank you for your faithfulness to the Lord and his word. I so appreciate your labor of love for the Lord and his body.


  2. Thanks for the kind words Michele...they are an answer to our prayers. Praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Grace and Peace...Brother Ron Knight.

    2 Cor 1:24