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What Parts of the New Testament Apply to Whom? (Part 1)


Watch the video of this sermon on YouTube: What Parts of the New Testament Apply to Whom? (Part 1)

For the outline and the rest of the sermons in this series, click here: What Parts of the New Testament Apply to Whom?

To listen to or watch the next sermon in the series, click here: Part 2

What Parts of the New Testament Apply to Whom?

I. The importance of context
1. One key to understanding the Bible is context.
2. When reading any passage, ask yourself, "To whom is this written?".
3. To apply everything that is written in the Bible universally to all men or to oneself will create some strange interpretations.
4. For instance, linking together a few partial verses and applying them to yourself would be your demise: "Judas...went and hanged himself" (Mat 27:3-5), "then said Jesus...go, and do thou likewise" (Luk 10:37), "and...that thou doest, do quickly" (Joh 13:27).
5. We have already covered what parts of the Old Testament apply to Christians today: see the series on The Christian and the Old Testament (
6. This study will examine which parts of the New Testament apply to the apostles, ministers, churches, Christians, and men in general.
II. Parts of the NT that apply to the apostles
1. How do we distinguish commands that were only for the apostles from commandments given to the apostles that apply to others or all Christians?
2. If the commandment given to the apostles was given directly to them and it was not repeated to pastors or Christians in general, then it can be concluded that it only applied to the apostles.
A. For example, the "Great Commission" to preach the gospel to all nations was given specifically to the apostles (Mat 28:16-20; Mar 16:14-16).
i. The apostles fulfilled their commission (Mar 16:20).
ii. They fulfilled it to the letter.
a. They took the gospel into "all the world" (Mar 16:15 c/w Col 1:6).
b. They "preached" the gospel "to every creature" (Mar 16:15 c/w Col 1:23).
c. They taught "all nations" the scriptures (Mat 28:19 c/w Rom 16:26).
iii. In that 1) the men to whom the commission was given fulfilled it, and 2) that it was never given to preachers or Christians in general, it can be concluded that it only applied to the apostles.
iv. If the "great commission" applies to all Christians today, then any Christian who has not gone abroad preaching the gospel is sinning.
3. Some commandments apply to the apostles primarily, but also extend down to the church.
A. Decisions the apostles made were binding on earth and in heaven.
i. Jesus said that whatsoever Peter would bind on earth would be bound in heaven (Mat 16:19).
ii. Was this just to Peter, or all the apostles, or all ministers, or all Christians?
iii. It was not just to Peter because later Jesus said to the disciples (Mat 18:1-3) that whatsoever YE shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven (Mat 18:18).
iv. If two of them shall agree on anything, it shall be done for them (Mat 18:19).
v. This was spoken in the context of church discipline (Mat 18:15-17).
a. When the church makes a binding decision regarding church exclusion or restoration, that decision is bound in heaven.
(i) An example of this is in 1Co 5:1-5 when the church was told to exclude a brother from membership and deliver him unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh.
(ii) God has to allow Satan to destroy someone's flesh (Job 2:3-6).
(iii) Therefore, God allows Satan to punish a brother in conjunction with the church's decision.
b. When the apostles would make decisions concerning doctrine or practice, the decision would be bound in heaven.
(i) An example of this was in Act 15:19-27 when the apostles decided which parts of the law of Moses that the Gentiles were under.
(ii) This decision was bound in heaven in that it seemed good to the Holy Ghost (Act 15:28-29).
c. God would honour the words of the apostles that they wrote down as scripture inspired by God (2Ti 3:16; 2Pe 1:21).
(i) The New Testament that the apostles wrote was a more sure word of prophecy (2Pe 1:19).
(ii) It is forever settled in heaven (Psa 119:89).
(iii) The Lord gave Paul permission to write certain things which are bound in heaven (1Co 7:25-40).
vi. In all three of these cases (church discipline, apostolic decisions, and scripture written by the apostles) the church or the apostles are/were reacting to something that is already settled in heaven, not the other way around.
a. Consider the verb tense in Mat 16:19 and Mat 18:18:
b. Shall bind and shall loose are future tense.
c. Shall be bound and shall be loosed are future tense in the passive voice.
(i) The passive voice has a similar effect as the perfect tense, denoting a completed action.
(ii) Jesus was therefore saying that whatever the apostles or the church decided on earth was in response to what had already been decided in heaven.
(iii) Whatever they would bind in the future would already be bound in heaven.
d. If the verbs are brought into the present tense, it is easier to see.
(i) Bringing the verbs into the present tense would make Mat 18:18 read, "Whatsoever ye bind on earth is bound in heaven..."
(ii) In the present tense it is clear that whatever the church presently binds is already bound in heaven.
(iii) The present tense passive voice construction of "is bound" has the same effect as the present perfect tense, "has been bound."
(iv) Likewise, the future tense passive voice construction of "shall be bound" has the same effect as the future perfect tense "shall have been bound."
(v) This shows that the binding in heaven happens prior to the binding on earth.
(vi) In other words, the binding on earth is in reaction to heaven's binding, not the cause of it.
e. If Jesus was teaching that God would react to the apostles' or the church's decision and be bound by it, then Jesus would have said, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, heaven shall bind..."
f. When the church excludes a brother from church membership for an excludable sin, they are rubberstamping what God already did (Eph 5:5).