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The Persecuted Church

 

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WHAT WAS THE GOSPEL THAT THE APOSTLES PREACHED

When a Jehovah's Witness comes knocking on your door they believe they are bringing the kingdom door to door just as the Apostles did.
Mark 1:14-15: " Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."

Matt. 9:35: ‘Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people." The good news was the Messiah was there and able to heal and forgive sins. They were to believe he was the promised one to be saved.

Matt. 9:35: " Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people." We see healing was part of the gospel of the kingdom proving it was among them, do Jehovah Witnesses heal anyone?  Is there any record of anyone being supernaturally healed in their organization?

Luke 8:1: "Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him,". Jesus had offered the kingdom to his brethren the Jews but they rejected his rule over them."  This kingdom of God to a Jehovah Witnesses is interpreted as the paradise on earth. If you ask them what the gospel is that they bring,  this is exactly what they will say. That one day in the future we will all live on earth in a perfect paradise on earth, and their magazines are often illustrated with hand drawn pictures of everyone enjoying the perfect earth.

But the Apostles did not continue to bring this kingdom message. This was only done in the beginning when Jesus had offered himself to Israel as their king. The kingdom of God that was preached by Christ before his resurrection is not the Gospel they preached after he rose. The former refers to Christ's authority, or his rule on the earth; which is postponed until his second Advent.

After explaining how he will come back in glory He speaks a parable to the disciples Luke 21:29-31: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees." When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near." So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.

According to Matt.13 the present gospel age represents the mystery form of the kingdom. The Kingdom of heaven is presently the rule of God on the earth in a believers life. But for one to be in the kingdom Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:3   "Most assuredly,  I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

Jesus answered the disciples questions on when the kingdom will come, and said in   Matt. 24:14  "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." What gospel is Jesus speaking about?

What is the gospel of the kingdom that is now to be heralded? It certainly is not paradise earth. The apostles define it.

1 Cor.1:18, it is the cross that is the power of God that now saves.1 Cor. 4:15: "For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel." Paul explains how one is brought into the kingdom. And this is the gospel he begot his children in…1 Cor. 15:1-4: "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2: By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3: For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4:And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: This is the Gospel of the kingdom that now saves. Its about forgiveness and restoration of ones soul.(1Cor.2:1-2; Gal.6:14)

The Jehovah witness that comes to your door does not have this gospel, it is altered or a better word to describe it, it’s intentionally ignored.

The Scriptures state entrance into the Kingdom of God is by the new birth, Matt. 18:3; John 3:5. Notice he says the one he preached is the one they received, that they are to stand in or "have believed in vain". Which means to believe to no purpose. Paul holds this peril over them, in their entertaining there is no resurrection. Which is what a Jehovah's witness is taught , there is no resurrection. "Having given up his flesh for the life of the world, Christ could never take it again and become a man once more." (You can live in Paradise on Earth p.169, 1982)

But they say something contrary, this how they have assurance, "Jesus Christ identified a first requirement when he said in prayer to his Father: 'This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you... Many have found the second requirement more difficult. It is to obey God's laws, yes, to conform one's life to the moral requirements set out in the Bible...A third requirement is that we be associated with God's channel, his organization ...To receive everlasting life in the earthly Paradise we must identify that organization and serve God as part of it...The fourth requirement is connected with loyalty. God requires that prospective subjects of his kingdom support his government by loyally advocating his kingdom rule to others..." (Watchtower magazine  Feb. 15, 1983, p. 12) None of these requirements can save.

Acts 20:25   "And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, " Paul preached the kingdom of God but not once will you find him refer to it as paradise on earth. Paul was caught up to Paradise and it was in heaven. 2 Cor.12.The preaching of the kingdom was about a person, not a future paradise earth. This does not exclude a future paradise, but it does mean without Christ there is none. Wherever Christ is, there is where one will find paradise.

Mark 10:14  Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God." The kingdom pointed to a person, Christ, without him you have no kingdom . We find from scripture Luke 1:33  "And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." Whose kingdom? the Son of Gods, Isa.9:6.

Acts 28:23: " So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening." It concerned the person of Christ, just as Paul laid out in 1 Cor.15 his death burial and resurrection.. Acts 28:31: " preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him."
The preaching of the kingdom was about a person not a future paradise earth. This does not exclude a future paradise but it does mean without Christ there is none wherever Christ is where there will be paradise.

When we come to the Book of Acts we find what the Apostles preached. Acts 8:25 "So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans".

Are the Jehovah's Witnesses teaching and  preaching what the apostles did?

Acts 3:20"and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before,

Notice what was proclaimed all throughout the book of Acts,  the crucifixion and the Resurrection,  (lets look sequentially)

Acts 2:23: " Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death."

Acts 4:2:." they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Acts 4:10: " 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. 11:This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, which is become the chief cornerstone. 12: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.

 Acts 10:43 Through his name whoever believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins.

Acts 10:36 Peter preached peace through Jesus Christ- he is LORD OF ALL .

Acts 11:20 Barnabas and Paul Preached Jesus

Acts 13:33-39  The death and resurrection are preached,v.38 " through this man is preached the forgiveness of sins."

Acts 17:2-3: "Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ."..." V.18 Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, "What does this babbler want to say?" Others said, "He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods," because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection."

Rom. 1:16-17 In every sermon his death is given prominence (the death of Jesus is mentioned 175 times in the New Testament) The good news centers on the person and work of Jesus. (Rom. 4:16 Rom. .5:2) Not on paradise earth. You can't inherit paradise earth until your born again into the kingdom by the Spirit- you must accept Jesus as your savior.

2 Tim 1:10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel," Notice this was revealed by the saviors appearing not in some future time. as it says in Heb 9:15" And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance."

Resurrection Acts 2:23,31,33,4:2 Acts 4:10, 13:33-39 death and resurrection 17:18 believing 8:37,10:36 Peter preached peace through Jesus Christ - he is LORD OF ALL ." 

                    This is not the same one the JWs bring today!

(The Apostles) Acts 5 "They did not cease preaching and teaching that Jesus is the Christ".

(Paul) 9:20 Immediately after Paul’s conversion he "Preached Christ in the synagogues that he is the SON OF GOD." vs. 22 proving Jesus is the Christ 9:42 many believed on the Lord (Jesus)
(Philip) Acts 8:5 'Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them..." 12  " But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, " v.35" Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him." V.37 Philip when sharing with the eunuch was asked to be baptized, he agreed with the qualification "If you believe with all your heart you may." He replied "I believe Jesus is the Christ the SON OF GOD."

(Peter)Acts 10:36 Peter preached "peace through Jesus Christ"- he is LORD OF ALL . " 10:43 "Through his name whoever believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins."

Acts 11:20 Barnabas and Paul Preached Jesus. Over and over we find it centers on his work and his personhood.

So all the Apostles were Jesus witnesses

IT was a message of Grace for one to be saved

Acts 14:1-3 'It was by the word of grace that many believed."     

God's grace continues today. Titus 2:11 'For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,  Titus 3:7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

But then and still today their are those who fight against grace which is the means of the Gospel. There is hardly an organization that denies it more vehemently than the JWs.

Peter says the gentiles were saved just as we were. Acts 15:5-8 "A great controversy arose in the church in which some claimed that they must keep the law along with Christ's death so that we are saved "Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago god chose from among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the Gospel and believe. " Vs.8 so God knows the hearts acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith." Vs.11" But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they (referring back to the event in Acts 10) from this we see the gospel is spoken, it is not a work but it is in the content of the word preached. It is heard and it is believed on, nothing else.

Paul called these men who challenged them at Jerusalem council as false brethren (Gal.2:4-5) they did not understand the Gospel of grace. He went as far as to say in Gal. 1 That it is a different Gospel they trouble you and are accursed.

In Gal 4:17 he tells them the reason why because they want followers for themselves their own disciples. those who mix law with grace are what Paul called as legalists, bearers of bondage. This is why Paul emphatically stated in Gal:2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. Paul was careful to preach the only message that could save Christ crucified.

They followed Christ

In Mark 8:34:   (Jesus) "When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me".

Mark 10:2:1   "Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."

In REV.14 WE SEE THE 144,000 FOLLOWING THE LAMB.

The Jehovah Witnesses deny the cross and exalt their Organization in its place they say. "Respond to the directions of the organization as you would the voice of God." (WT 6/15/1957, p. 370)

Rom. 16:25: " Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,"

It wasn’t paradise earth that was kept secret but the death and resurrection that was not understood as in 1 Cor. 2:7: "which none of the rulers of this age knew, for if they did they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory:" The prophets offered a literal kingdom on earth in Israel. This is what Jesus offered but when they rejected it it was taken away. Parables were then introduced into his teaching to hide it from those who did not seek after the truth. He now offers a spiritual kingdom in each ones heart which is invisible. The kingdom of God/ heaven are the same meaning, Gods rule.

2 Pet 3:18: "but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen." This is Peters command to all believers, grace comes first before one can apprehend knowledge.

Rom. 5:15: "But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to man."  The Jehovah witnesses are not teaching the gospel that saves one from their sins and has Gods rule in their heart. They teach to loyally advocate his kingdom rule to there's (WT Feb. 15 1983) this connected to loyalty to the Organization by going door to door.

They even say to put faith in Jehovah's visible organization... (WT Mar,1 1979) The Bible tells us to have faith in god, Jesus said in Jn.14:1in their own New World Translation it states,  "exercise faith in God, exercise faith in ME."

Paul states, "I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. "Act.20:21.We are only to have faith in God, not an angel!

Col. 1:27-28: "To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."

Are Jehovah Witnesses in Christ,  is he in them. Paul states that this is what they (not just himself) preached.

2 Cor. 13:5 tells us to test and "see if Christ is in us , to see if we are in the faith." I ask the Jehovah Witnesses, is Christ in you?  Do you have faith in Christ as you do in God? Eph.3:17 says it is by faith, this is the lifeline to the Gospel. Without it you have no good news, no Kingdom! Selah.

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