Back to Basics:
THE EPISTLES - CHRIST'S MESSAGES TO HIS CHURCHES
INTRODUCTION: Many of us have answering machines hooked up to our phones.
Sometimes they will record junk. They can be aggravating. But sometimes
they record important messages. Well, God has left Christians some messages
that will help up be more faithful and grow spiritually. They are the epistles
of the New Testament.
I. THE APOSTLES AND OTHER INSPIRED MEN WERE LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT TO
WRITE INSPIRED MESSAGES TO GOD'S PEOPLE.
A. The Apostles were promised a special leading of the Holy
II. WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THESE LETTERS FROM INSPIRED MEN?
1. Matthew 10:19 - "But when they deliver you up, do not worry
about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that
hour what you should speak;
B. They claimed this special guidance in their writings.
2. Luke 21:15 - "for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your
adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.
1. 1 Corinthians 2:12_13 Now we have received, not the spirit
of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things
that have been freely given to us by God. "13" These things we also speak,
not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches,
comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
2. 1 Corinthians 14:37 - If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or
spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are
the commandments of the Lord.
3. 2 Peter 3:1_2 Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in
both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), "2" that you
may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets,
and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior,
4. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
A. To build up the church and bring it to maturity.
III. WHO WROTE THE EPISTLES.
1. Ephesians 4:11-17
B. To deal with certain questions that brethren wrote asking them about.
2. Colossians 2:6_7 As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the
Lord, so walk in Him, "7" rooted and built up in Him and established in
the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
3. Titus 1:5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set
in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city
as I commanded you;
1. 1 Corinthians 7:1 Now concerning the things of which you
wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
C. To warn about the possibility of apostasy.
1. 1 Timothy 4:1_3 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter
times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits
and doctrines of demons, "2" speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own
conscience seared with a hot iron, "3" forbidding to marry, and commanding
to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving
by those who believe and know the truth.
2. Hebrews 3:12 - Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil
heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;
3. 2 Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand,
beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with
the error of the wicked;
4. These letter were sent to keep churches from entering error and to
get them to stand for the truth!
5. Jude 3
A. By far, the apostle Paul wrote the most of the epistles.
IV. THERE ARE SEVERAL CATEGORIES OF EPISTLES.
1. Paul penned 13 epistles that bear his name. By far the most
B. The apostle Peter wrote two epistles.
2. It is also likely that he penned a 14th, the book of Hebrews, although
it does not specifically bear his name.
1. Peter wrote two epistles to Christians in general.
C. The apostle John penned three epistles.
1. John wrote his first epistle to Christians in general to
warn them about the gnostic heresy (that Jesus did not come in the flesh).
D. Jude and James each penned two epistles.
2. 2 and 3 John were written to individual Christians.
1. James wrote to Hebrew Christians with practical directions
on living the Christian life.
2. Jude is thought to be one of the last of the inspired books penned.
He was writing them to keep them from going into apostasy and continue
in the faith.
A. Those written to individual churches
CONCLUSION: The words that the Inspired writers of the Epistles were intended
for more than their generation, the were intended for Christian to be able
to read and understand the truth of God's will. "For this reason I, Paul,
the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles; "2" if indeed you have heard
of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you,
"3" how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly
written already, "4" by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge
in the mystery of Christ), "5" which in other ages was not made known to
the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy
and prophets" (Ephesians 3:1-5).
1. 1 Thessalonians 1:1 - Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
B. Written to a group of churches or Christians.
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus
Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Ephesians 1:1 - Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
1. Galatians 1:1_2 Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through
man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the
dead), "2" and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:
C. Those written to Christians in general
2. 1 Peter 1:1_2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims
of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, "2"
elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification
of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
1. 2 Peter 1:1 - Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of
Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by
the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
D. Those written to individual Christians.
2. James 1:1 - James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.
1. 1 Timothy 1:1_2 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the
commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, "2"
To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our
Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
2. Titus 1:1 - Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ,
according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth
which accords with godliness,
STUDIES OF BASICS:
Existence of God
Creation of Mankind
Epistles- Christ's Messages to the Church
Book of Acts
The Inspiration of The Bible
The Inspiration of The Bible (Part 2)
The Life & Mission of Christ
The New Testament
The Book of Revelation -- Victory
Copyright 2000 by Grady
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