By John Larkins
The mission of the Redeemer, which was to establish a new covenant church and teach His leaders on their key part of His mission, became more difficult as Jesus leaves the Apostles to convert the whole world to His church.
He sent His evangelization team first to the children of Israel. Now they have had their chance. Those who converted may be saved. For the others there were no promises. The rest of the world awaited the Apostles. The problem of false teachers had been present in earlier days, and Jesus had warned His Church that false teachers must be defeated, or they would corrupt the souls who needed to be saved.
This mission of conversion must not ever be neglected. We can never say, “Oh well, Jesus said that He would save everyone, so if people do not want to become part of His Church, that is acceptable.” In Mark16,16, what He actually said was, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believes not shall be damned.” The Jerusalem church was busy, and additional men were being appointed to assist in the work that Paul had initiated. There were so many details of Church doctrine to be developed and consolidated that different people had somewhat different details to explain.
In some cases, different persons became different doctrines. Paul said, “Some say I am a student of Paul” or “I am a student of Lucius.” So the message was becoming identified with a person and truth was becoming personified. That process is probably to blame for the personification of various churches. There is only one God, thus, there is only one Church. Jesus was being undermined by some doctrines He did not authorize or support.
One source of conversion was the broad sweep of simple cultural baggage that had accumulated with the Jewish practice of the Mosaic law. As Jesus said, He was converting the Jews and the rest of the world to the new and everlasting kingdom of God – “You cannot put new wine in an old wineskin!” So, foods that were excluded/included by dietary laws were not held in the Church of Jesus Christ taught by Peter and the Church.
The most dramatic conversion might have dealt with circumcision to baptism. For one thing, women could not be circumcised but now were being baptized. So, this sacrament of initiation was quite different. In some cases, submersion in water was done, and women assisted with clothing in rites on other women for modesty’s sake. Infant baptism was done right from the start, and since baptism was being done universally, sometimes water was poured and did not include immersion.
Most revolutionary was that Jesus delegated His power to absolve or retain sins. This wonderful gift from God was a source of God’s forgiving love to create peace and confidence in people who sometimes failed to follow Jesus’s law. He said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” That is pretty straightforward, but we who are weak cannot always be faithful. So, the key to forgiveness, in all dealings with God, is to repent. If a person does this in prayer to God through a priest, forgiveness is delegated. This sacrament was not possible under Jewish law, mainly because the Redeemer had not yet done His work.
Jesus preached that He gave men the sacrament of communion in whereby we can eat His body and drink His blood. He said that unless you do so, you have no life within you. Read John 6, 48-68 and decide if you accept either Jesus Christ or false teachers. 1 Timothy warns us of what happens to those who refuse Christ’s teachings.
His formal education includes a BS certified for science teaching, an MBA from the University of Missouri and an MPA from Jacksonville State University in public administration and environmental management. For the past 15 years, John evangelized on the street, door-to-door, in tent revivals and in church situations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.