by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 3 Study # 3 July 20, 2014 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(059)Thesis:The antagonism of the Jews was both extreme and singularly focused.
Introduction:Last time we looked into the issue of "suffering" at the hands of one's own countrymen. We saw that this is an integrated element of the overall process of God's Plan in this world. Everyone is either a persecutor or the persecuted at some level. There are two who are competing for the Crown. Everyone makes his own decision as to whether he will be a competitor, or a participant with God in His Kingdom and glory.
This evening we are going to look at the example of the Jews so that we may understand what is really going on.
I. The Past Violence.
A. The focus is upon the level of violence involved.
1. This level was not as easily seen in the experience of the churches of Judea, though Stephen's death is both "at that level" and "easily seen".
2. By putting his focus upon "the Lord Jesus and His prophets", Paul reveals the level of the violence involved.
a. Since Jesus is "the Lord", any action against Him becomes an indicator of what is involved.
b. The murder of Jesus was a direct attack upon the issue of "Lordship" and it has its roots in what I call Jesus' "Elohimic Identity".
1) This was not a "rank and file" irritation.
2) This was a "directed drone hit" upon the Root: Jesus as the King of the Kingdom into which the Father is constantly summoning us.
c. The murder of "His prophets" was simply a backup illustration of this level of antagonism.
1) The prophets are the mouthpieces of "the Elohim" whose ministries were a most basic aspect of the "summoning" of God.
2) The murder of the prophets was simply an attempt to keep the "truth" from being placed before men.
3. All of the issues of the "Elohimic Identity" conflict are relegated to vanity if there are no others involved (to what purpose is the exercise of power in the absence of "others"?).
B. The base line issues surface again in the Jews' treatment of Paul, Timothy, and Silvanus.
1. The "persecution" of Paul, et. al., is a "more of the same" issue: Jesus is being presented as "The Elohim" Who has a goal and a plan, and the persecutors have a contrary goal and plan.
2. That the murderers of Jesus and His prophets continue to persecute His apostles simply indicates that this is an integral aspect of the Conflict.
II. The Present Continuation.
A. They are not pleasing God.
1. For the self-righteous, this is the ultimate condemnation (no one can maintain his self-righteousness if his behavior can be established to be evil).
2. This is an indication of the particular focus of the persecutors: they are heavily involved in "the pride of life"; ego-stroking and defining "Life" as "being stroked".
B. They are contrary to all men.
1. This is an inevitability of a self-focused goal (everyone has one and they are not the same).
2. This is also the ultimate condemnation of the methodology: no house divided against itself can stand.
C. They forbid Paul's evangelism of the nations.
1. Paul reveals God's objective: to save those among the nations who will believe his "sounds" (speech as "speech" rather than "doctrine").
2. He also reveals the on-going eventuality: the persecutors are filling up their sins (as in "the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full": Genesis 15:16).
III. The Point.
A. In the final statement regarding God's "fatherly" use of "summons", Paul had written that God "...is calling you into His Kingdom and glory".
B. In this description of the Jews' behavior in strong persecutorial terms, it is clear that there is a cosmic war against the rule of God in this present heavens and earth.
C. Paul's point is simply this: we who believe have entered the fray on the side of the King and we exist as His warriors in the battle.
1. This is an identity that we are summoned to embrace.