House Church Talk - Baptisms and Administrations

Ross J Purdy rossjpurdy at
Thu Mar 4 10:50:40 EST 2004

Hi Bruce,

The context of Jesus and John's ministry needs to be established before we
consider their ministry. The context was that of the Israelite having a
covenant relationship to God and thus an advantage over the nations. This
was not meant to exclude the nations nor did it imply that the Jew was
inherently superior. In fact, the Jew proved otherwise and this only proved
God's sovereignty in working out his purposes through what could perhaps be
argued as an inferior people (we are not going to go there). The superiority
that the Jew had and should have enjoyed was a God given one through the

Romans 1:2-4 WEB

(2) which he promised before through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,

(3) concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the

(4) who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the
Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our

Christ was "born of the seed of David" which meant He was of Kingly lineage,
Israel's king that is. We all know that it was promised that David would
have a descendent who would occupy the throne of ISRAEL for ever.

Romans 3:1-2 EMTV

(1) What then is the superiority of the Jew, or what is the profit of

(2) Much in every way! First of all, that they were entrusted with the
oracles of God.

(Act 7:38...our fathers, who received living words to give to us.)

Paul makes an emphaticly strong statement that the Jew had a definite
advantage! Is this something that has no substance? Hardly! The advantage
did not rest in the Jews themselves, of course not, it was an advantage
given by God. Again, I am not implying exclusivity here for Israel, but the
covenant was made only with Israel and not the other nations!

Deuteronomy 4:7-8 WEB

(7) For what great nation is there, that has a god so near to them, as
Yahweh our God is whenever we call on him?

(8) What great nation is there, that has statutes and ordinances so
righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

Psalms 147:12-20 WEB

(12) Praise Yahweh, Jerusalem! Praise your God, Zion!

(13) For he has strengthened the bars of your gates. He has blessed your
children within you.

(14) He makes peace in your borders. He fills you with the finest of the

(15) He sends out his commandment to the earth. His word runs very swiftly.

(16) He gives snow like wool, And scatters frost like ashes.

(17) He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can stand before his cold?

(18) He sends out his word, and melts them. He causes his wind to blow, and
the waters flow.

(19) He shows his word to Jacob; His statutes and his ordinances to Israel.

(20) He has not done this for just any nation. They don't know his
ordinances. Praise Yah!

Luke 16:29-31 WEB

(29) "But Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them
listen to them.'

(30) "He said, 'No, father Abraham, but if one goes to them from the dead,
they will repent.'

(31) "He said to him, 'If they don't listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded if one rises from the dead.'"

John 5:39 WEB

(39) "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have
eternal life; and these are they which testify about me.

Indeed the OT Scriptures are living words which testify of the one in whom
we have eternal life and are as powerful and effective as any supernatural

2 Timothy 3:15 WEB

(15) From infancy, you have known the sacred writings which are able to make
you wise for salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus.

"The Jew had great advantages. He had greater light, more knowledge, better
privileges, higher honors. The greatest advantage was that they had the
oracles of God, the Holy Scriptures, and thus the promises which revealed a

Below are listed the passages which one can quickly look up using their
Bible software; I culled the references from the helps available with the
free and easy e-Sword Bible program.

My point is that this was a real advantage with substance. I think anyone
who does not understand that Israel had a covenant relationship with God
will totally misinterpret the context in which we find Jesus and John the
Baptist ministering.

Romans 9:4-5 EMTV

(4) who are Israelites, of whom are the adoption, and the glory, and the
covenants, and the law-giving, and the worship, and the promises;

(5) of whom are the fathers and from whom Christ came, according to the
flesh, He who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

I don't think I am reading anything into these passages when I say it proves
that the Israelites had an advantage! These are the things the Israelites
had and the Gentiles did not. It seems to even go beyond a mere legal
agreement. God chose and created Israel for Himself. Whenever they needed
saving and deliverance, God delivered them. This has to do with God's
sovereign choice of a people to particularly be identified as His amongst
all the rest. (I am not proving that here though.)

Israelite: title of honor and name of favor; children of the living God. Gen
32:28; Hosea 1:10 (Rom 9:26); Exo 19:3-6; Deu 7:6; Psa 73:1; Isa 41:8,

Isa 46:3

Listen to me, house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel,
that have been borne by me from their birth, that have been carried from the

What they had was from birth and that was the covenant relationship with
THEIR God, ISRAEL'S God, THE GOD OF ISRAEL. Jehovah was NOT the God of the
Philistines nor the Egyptians nor the Canaanites et al. If individuals
wanted a relationship with God, they formerly had to come through the
covenant nation of Israel.

What a privilige to be the nation that God redeemed for Himself to be
established as a holy people in covenant with Himself!

Leviticus 20:26 WEB

(26) You shall be holy to me: for I, Yahweh, am holy, and have set you apart
from the peoples, that you should be mine.

the adoption: Exo 4:22; Jer 31:9, Jer 31:20; Hos 11:1

Israel is always represented as the Lord's son or first-born among all
peoples. It was to the one in the position of first-born that inherited the
greatest portion.

and the glory: Exo 13:21,22; Num 7:89; 1Ki 8:11; Exo 25:22; Exo 24:16; Exo
40: 34-35; Psa 26:18; Psa 63:2, Psa 78:61, Psa 90:16; Isa 60:19

Deuteronomy 4:7 WEB

(7) For what great nation is there, that has a god so near to them, as
Yahweh our God is whenever we call on him?

The visible, luminous appearance of the divine presence was called by the
Israelites the glory of Jahveh, or, in rabbinical phrase, the Shekinah. What
a privilige to have God dwelling with you! What a privilige to have a place
of worship where one could have sins atoned! No other nation had such a

covenants: Gen 15:18, Gen 17:2, Gen 17:7, Gen 17:10; Psa 89:3, Psa 89:34;
Jer 31:33, Jer 33:20-25; Rom 11:27; Act 3:25; Heb 8:6-10; Deu 4:20; 1Ch
16:15-18, (parallel cf Psa 105:8-11.)

(What were the benefits of having the ark of the COVENANT in the camp or at
the head of the army?)

the giving of the Law: Rom 3:2; Neh 9:13-14; Psa 147:19-20; Eze 20:11-12

Psalms 78:4-7 WEB

(4) We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to
come the praises of Yahweh, His strength, and his wondrous works that he has

(5) For he established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel,
Which he commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their

(6) That the generation to come might know, even the children who should be
born; Who should arise and tell their children,

(7) That they might set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God,
But keep his commandments,

Psalms 119:138 WEB

(138) You have commanded your statutes in righteousness. They are fully

the service: Heb 9:1,6,10 imposed until the time of reformation which Christ
would accomplish; Acts 26:6,7

promises: Luk 1:69-75; Act 2:39, Act 3:25-26, Act 13:32-33; Eph 2:12; Heb

Psalms 119:140 WEB

(140) Your promises have been thoroughly tested, And your servant loves

Ephesians 2:11-12 WEB

(11) Therefore remember that once you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are
called "uncircumcision" by that which is called "circumcision," (in the
flesh, made by hands);

(12) that you were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the
commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise,
having no hope and without God in the world.

I count five clear disadvantages for the Gentile in verse 12 which were
advantages for the Jew!

Ephesians 2:17 WEB

(17) He came and preached peace to you who were far off and to those who
were near.

Make that six.

Ephesians 2:19 WEB

(19) So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow
citizens with the saints, and of the household of God,

Shown in Eph 2 is what was obviously given as an advantage to Israel in a
former dispensation, and due to Israel's disobedience, their advantage
became a great disadvantage for Gentiles (which was not God's intention).
This perverse situation is eliminated in the present dispensation. Thus
God's intention (one that HE always had) that all nations be blessed is now
made possible through Israel's fall. Their advantage was taken away so that
God's blessings could flow to the Gentiles. The blessings could not flow to
the Gentiles through Israel as long as they stood in violation and rebellion
of the covenant. Under the covenant, the Gentiles were to be blessed through
the ministry of Israel, but that would not happen as long as the Gentiles
were cursing God because of Israel's conduct.

In Christ,

Ross Purdy

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