In my last post (http://christianculturecenter.com/christian-church-compared-congregation-israel/) I introduced the truth that the congregation of Israel is different than the Church of Jesus Christ that began on the day of Pentecost. Today I want to give a clear example that shows the differences between these two groups of believers.
The Disciples of Christ in the Gospels
Jesus Christ was sent to the circumcision specifically, not to the entire world. This is apparent in Jesus’ discourse with the Samaritan women who requested help from him.
Matthew 15:24 He (Jesus) answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
Through his mercy and grace, Jesus helped the Samaritan woman after explaining who he was actually sent to serve and save. Here are a few more verses that corroborates this.
Matthew 10?5,6 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them saying, Go ye not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go ye rather unto The Lost Sheep Of The House Of Israel.
Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
When Israel rejected their Savior and King, God opened it up for everyone. This is why and how the church we are part of came into existence. The church we are part of was a secret which was never revealed in the Old Testament or the gospels (which are still technically the Old Testament). It’s crucial to understand that the Word of God is talking about two distinct groups of people when speaking about pre-Pentecost believers and post-Pentecost believers.
God uses two different analogies to describe these two congregations. In the gospels, Jesus speaks of the vine and the branches.
John 15:1-8 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
I just love the truths presented in this section of John 15, and I always thought it applies to me. But now I realize it does not. What analogy does God use for the congregation I am part of? It’s completely different. Meet the Head and the members of his body.
I Corinthians 12:12-27 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.
For we were all baptized byc one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.
And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.
If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
If they were all one part, where would the body be?
As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”
On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,
while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it,
so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
What’s the Difference?
Now that I’ve presented the two analogies exactly as they appear in God’s Word, can you see any differences between them? Well, let’s see…
Have you ever severed an arm or a leg off? a finger? your nose? a toe? Christians are members of Christ’s own body. Do you think he’ll be severing any parts of his own body off? Of course not.
But what about branches. Can a branch be severed off a vine? Very easily. The vine will grow another branch. Bodies don’t grow more limbs. You might say, it’s a supernatural body so if Christ cuts off a member he can grow another one.” That’s taking the analogy too far. Christ would never harm his own body, end of debate. But vines need pruning all the time and unproductive branches need to be cut off entirely to save the life of the plant.
The main difference between these two analogies is the permanence of being a member of Christ’s body as opposed to the conditional membership in the congregation of Israel. By not separating these two groups, countless errors have been introduced into Christianity that could have been and must be avoided.
In summary, the seven church epistles, Romans through II Thessalonians, contain the entire body of doctrine for the Grace administration in which we live. These epistles contain the doctrine, reproof and correction we need in our present administration so we can be pleasing to God and serve His Word of truth and each other in the body of Christ. Do not apply what is written to Israel to yourself in the Christian church. Lay hold on what God has provided for you in the Grace Administration, contained in the 7 church epistles.