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The Early Church – Holy Dough

The Early Church – Holy Dough

We’re continuing to look at the relationship of Israel to the church. Paul is explaining it in the book of Romans. He gives us his perspective.

For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

Romans 11:15

He literally tells us that their rejection caused the world system to be restored. Since that was the case, then their readmission into God’s kingdom will be life from the dead. So it’s obvious that Paul considers the nation of Israel, without Christ, spiritually dead.

The apostle now give us an illustration.

If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

Romans 11:16

He uses a lump of dough as an example. He tells us that because the firstfruits are holy, set apart to God, everything else you make from the crop is holy. In talking about firstfruits, it’s possible that he’s referring back to James.

James wrote his book long before Paul wrote Romans. James wrote his epistle to the saved Jews all over the world.

He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

James 1:18

At the birth of Christianity, James calls them the firstfruits of God’s created systems of order. He wrote this without even knowing that Gentiles would someday enter the mix. But the salvation of the Gentiles had its beginnings in saved Israel.

Originally, Israel was set apart as holy to God. After the resurrection of Christ, a remnant remained true to the Lord. These original Jewish believers accepted the Good News by faith in Christ.

I believe that these are the firstfruits both James and Paul are referring to. Then the Gentiles are mixed into the batch of holy dough. However, there’s more to this example.

When giving bread as an offering, leaven was allowed in firstfruits and tithes. Then they would hold back a little to leaven the next batch. It wasn’t like now where yeast is its own thing.

In those days it was fermented dough that was added to the new batch. We must ask then; what is the Kingdom of God about?

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,

Romans 14:17

Look at what Paul said earlier about firstfruits.

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8:23

Jesus also said something along those lines.

Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

Luke 13:20-21

Yeast, in this context, is the old dough from the firstfruits that’s now fermented. We can look at the large amount of flour as the Gentiles. Now the Holy Spirit has penetrated all peoples. Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit can flow to all races, generations, and peoples.

The fact is that there would be no chance at salvation for the Gentiles without the Jewish nation. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their part in keeping the Word of God pure.

Question: What’s our part in the plan of God towards Israel?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2021 in Israel, The Church, The Gospel

 

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Firstfruits of the Spirit

Firstfruits of the Spirit

In my last post, I talked about the fact that the world system is waiting for the church to be revealed in God’s glory. That’s a body of believers who are walking in maturity. This is the goal Paul is bringing us to in the book of Romans.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

Romans 8:22

According to this verse, the whole system is doing two things. The first word Paul uses means to be groaning together. This is a moaning because of the place we find ourselves in.

It speaks of a very narrow place. The world understands that there should be more to life than the petty things they’re chasing after.

The second word Paul uses means to be in birth pains together. Picture this in the spirit…the entire world filled with pregnant, groaning, women. That’s what God sees in regards to His destiny for the church.

In my last article, we saw that the world is desperate to be liberated from its bondage to decay. That’s the physical law that everything goes from new to old and decayed. It’s also known as the Third Law of Thermodynamics for all of us science geeks.

However, the kingdom of God – the church – should be a place where that law has no effect. We should be experiencing healing, prosperity, and joy – in spite of all that’s going on around us.

It’s just like Israel when they were in Egypt. When the plagues came, the land of Goshen, where the Israelites lived was unaffected. I believe this is what we’ll experience in the final days before the return of Christ.

Then, those with eyes to see and ears to hear will run to the kingdom of God before it’s too late. I believe that will be the final harvest before the coming of wrath and the return of the Lord.

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8:23

Now we see another groaning that the apostle talks about. The world system is groaning under the weight of decay. But we, as the body of Christ, are groaning too.

Who is it that’s groaning? It’s those who have the firstfruits of the spirit. That’s an interesting term. I understand the Fruit of the Spirit. That’s the result of the cultivation of the spirit walk.

In Old Testament times under the Law, you could plant fruit trees. According to that Law, you couldn’t touch the fruit for the first three years. Then, in the fourth year, all of the fruit belonged to God.

Then, from the fifth year on, it was considered a mature tree and all the fruit belonged to the owner. Now he could begin to give a firstfruits offering.

The Scripture didn’t say how much to bring for the firstfruits. So, the priests came up with some guidelines which became part of the traditions of the elders.

They said that the least anyone should give is one-sixtieth. However, if you want to be liberal with your offering, you could give one-thirtieth.

That reminds me of how the Lord blesses when we plant the seed of His Word. He blesses thirty, sixty, and even a hundredfold on His Word. He goes above and beyond all we can ask or imagine.

The fact is that those of us who are starting to see the work of God in us begin to groan inwardly. We’re waiting for the full adoption – the complete ransom – the deliverance of our body.

We’re starting to see the first of God’s work in us through the Fruit of the Spirit. But we’re groaning for the whole thing to be accomplished.

Question: How much of the Fruit of the Spirit do you see in your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Word of Truth

James 1:18
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

This verse is referencing our Heavenly Father.  In the book of James He is called the Father of Heavenly Lights.  It is His light shining on us that brings us life.  In His love and wisdom He sent Christ into the world to bring us life.

This verse is clear.  We have been given a new birth.  A birth that was not of flesh and blood like our original entrance into this world.  This birth was through the Word of Truth.  I believe that James is referring to something more than the Bible, as wonderful as that Word is.  It is a Word that speaks to our inner being.

One of the names of Christ is the Word made flesh.  He was not a matter of ink and paper coming alive.  He is the living and enduring Word of the Most High God.  Christ said of Himself, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father but by me.”  He is the direct expression of the Word of Truth.

It is through this Word, Christ Himself, that we have been given new birth – if we have accepted the free gift of His salvation.  He did this so that He could begin the renovation of the human race in us.  That is what the last part of this verse is all about.  The firstfruits of all He created.

This is the beginnings of the kingdom of God manifest on earth.  Right now it is difficult to see.  It is taking root in the hearts of men and women throughout the world.  But they are changing, becoming what God intended them to be.  His Kingdom is starting in us.

The more time I spend in the presence of that Word, the more I become like Him.  Don’t ever take the presence of the Lord for granted.  It is a privilege to have access to the throne room of God.  It was paid for by the precious blood of Christ.  Let the living Word do the work in you that only He can do.  Spend quality time with Him today.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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