“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) The Apostles Judging on Thrones (Frank Himmel)
2) We Must Obey the Truth (J.F. Dancer)
3) News & Notes
The Apostles Judging on Thrones
One of our readers asked about Jesus’ promise to the apostles in Matthew 19:28: “And Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Understanding this promise hinges on the answer to several questions.
What is the Regeneration?
The word itself means a rebirth or a renewal. The specific term occurs only here and in Titus 3:5 in the phrase washing of regeneration, a reference to baptism. When we are baptized into Christ we are raised to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4), hence we are “born again” (John 3:3). Being a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and putting on the new self (Ephesians 4:24) are parallel ideas.
Jesus identifies it as the time when the Son of Man “will sit on His glorious throne.” That same phrase in Matthew 25:31 is a reference to the final judgment, leading millennialists to see our text as a reference to an earthly kingdom yet to be established. But the Bible plainly affirms that Jesus is already on the throne (Revelation 3:21) and His kingdom is a present reality (Colossians 1:13-14).
Luke records a parallel promise about the apostles sitting on thrones and judging (22:28-30), connected with eating and drinking with Him in His kingdom. While it is true that the word kingdom is sometimes used in a future eternal sense, these references are certainly capable of a much more immediate application.
In our text, the rich young ruler had just departed, unwilling to give up his possessions to follow Jesus. Jesus pointed out to the apostles that it is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of God (vv. 23-24). The apostles, who had left all to follow Jesus, asked, “What will there be for us?” Jesus’ answer included not only them (v. 28) but all (v. 29). They would sit on thrones, and all would receive many times as much “in this present age” (Mark 10:30) as they had given up . .. And then eternal life in the age to come.
Thus, the regeneration is the gospel era. Those who are dead in sin come to life in Christ, who now reigns. “The eternal kingdom” (2 Peter 1:11) is the culmination of this era, when Jesus hands over the kingdom to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24).
How Do The Apostles Judge?
Judgement is based on Jesus’ words (John 12:48), the message the Father gave Him to speak (v. 49). It was the apostles’ work to preach that word to the whole world (Mark 16:15), completing, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the divine revelation that Jesus began (John 16:13-15). Thus, they are said to be the foundation of God’s house, Jesus being the corner stone (Ephesians 2:20). Jesus previously told these “judges,” “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18).
In view of these references to the apostles’ authority, it is a serious mistake to take the popular approach that denigrates what they said and sees only what Jesus said personally as binding on us.
All saints in some sense judge the world (1 Corinthians 6:2). Just as Noah by his faithful obedience condemned the ungodly world of his day (Hebrews 11:6), faithful Christians stand, both now and in the judgment, as a testimony against those who choose to reject the gospel. The apostles certainly lead in that role as well.
Who Are the Twelve Tribes of Israel?
The apostles first preached to literal Israel. On the day of Pentecost Peter began, “Men of Israel, listen to these words . . .” (Acts 2:22); and he concluded, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified” (v. 36). Literal Israel is clearly judged by the apostles’ word, however. . .
The gospel is for the whole world. The apostles’ message convicts all of sin, condemns all who remain in it, and offers regeneration to any who will come to Christ. Nationality is no advantage or disadvantage.
Thus, true “Israel” is those who follow Jesus (see 8:11-12; 21:43; cf. Romans 2:28-29). As the apostle Paul wrote, “For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel
of God” (Galatians 6:15-16).
— Via Pathlights, July 7, 2019
We Must Obey Truth
Truth is something that we cannot ignore and successfully escape. It is something we must search out — understand — obey — uphold. It is something that is worth losing all to find and yet, it is something that we have a tendency to let slip by as we busily engage in the time consuming work of ”making a living.”
Jesus told Pilate that he came to the world to bear witness unto the truth (John 18:37). He had earlier identified “truth” as being the word of the Father (John 17:17). There are things that are “truth” in many areas, but the truth of which I speak is that regarding man’s spiritual being, well-being and destiny. One of the tests of true discipleship to the Lord Jesus Christ is one’s knowledge and continuing in truth (John 8:31-32). Yet some men say that truth is unattainable and that there is no such thing as TRUTH. Could be we are trying to justify our refusal to search out truth and stand for it.
What is your attitude toward religious truth? How hard are you seeking to find it? How firmly do you stand in the defense of it? How earnestly do you oppose all that opposes truth? In 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 Paul speaks of those who do not believe the truth and who do not love it. He points out that God will thus send them a strong delusion and that they will be damned because of this! They didn’t love it — They didn’t believe it!
In Romans 2:8 Paul points out that God will punish those who do not obey truth. This same thing is taught in Galatians 2:14 and 5:7. Thus the importance of knowing truth and obeying the same cannot be over emphasized. God would have all men to come to a know-ledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:1) and be saved. Souls are purified when men obey truth (1 Peter 1:22). We should clearly see the need to search out, understand, obey, and uphold God’s word (TRUTH) in all things. Are you doing that?
— The Beacon, 7/7/19
News & Notes
Folks with ailments and health issues to continue praying for:
Ronnie & Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, A.J. & Pat Joyner, Jim Lively, Bud Montero, Rick Cuthbertson, Deborah Medlock, Mary Vandevander, Nancy Pinckard, Mary Martin, Waylon Murray, Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Amris Bedford, Danny Hutcheson, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Roger Montgomery
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)