In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 22, 2018

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV).

Dear saints, take a moment this Thanksgiving to learn a valuable lesson from the Holy Scriptures!

God wants “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4). To be “saved” here means you have been rescued from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire), and that you have a home in heaven, because you have trusted the death, shed blood, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for your sins. To “come unto the knowledge of the truth” is when a person who has trusted Christ, begins to understand why God saved him or her, and how God will use him or her for His glory. Although soul salvation is instantaneous, spiritual maturity is a life-long process (that is especially true regarding handling difficulties, the grace way!).

It is human nature to avoid difficulties and stress, to flee them, rather than confront them. This self-preservation is advantageous, particularly in “life or death” situations. However, running from troubling circumstances is not the way God has designed our life in Christ to function. Today’s Scripture says, In every thing give thanks,” notFor every thing give thanks.” We do not thank God for our troubles; we thank God while we are enduring those troubles. This is tough, I know, but it takes time for us to learn it. Even the Apostle Paul had to learn this.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

Be thankful in every thing. God’s grace is sufficient for you, dear saint, in all of life’s circumstances. When you learn this, you are “[coming] unto the knowledge of the truth.”

*Excerpted from our Thanksgiving 2012 Bible study with the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

You may also see, “What are our spiritual blessings in Christ?

Your Right to Eat Meat

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

“For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4,5 KJV).

Before we advocate animal rights, let us understand that we have a God-given right to eat them!

An animal rights activist once appeared on television to complain about the consumption of turkeys on Thanksgiving. He argued that turkeys “feel pain” when they are slaughtered, and thus we should not eat them. His line of reasoning was, “If we would not eat our pet dog, then we should not eat turkey.” Such people, despite their sincerity, are ignorant of today’s Scripture.

Originally, all people and animals were herbivores; they only ate vegetation. “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so” (Genesis 1:29,30).

Then, sin entered, and God incorporated meat into the human diet: “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat” (Genesis 9:3,4).

When we ignore the fact that God gave us animals to eat, and we demand that others must also abstain from meat for religious (nature-worshipping) purposes, that is a “doctrine of devils” in this dispensation (1 Timothy 4:1-5). The creature should not be worshipped; only the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, should be worshipped (Romans 1:25). As long as we thank the Lord for whatever creatures we eat, consuming animal flesh is acceptable and godly. It does not sit well with the pantheists—who exalt nature as God—but it is approved of the living God, and that alone ultimately matters.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did King Saul die?

Stand It As Long As You Can! #2

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:25-27 KJV).

Is anger ever appropriate?

Before we came to Christ, we were spiritually darkened (verses 17-19). In the Gospel of Grace, in Jesus Christ, we were enlightened (verses 20,21). Verses 22-24: “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Now read today’s Scripture.

Having escaped Satan’s dominion, “delivered from the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13), does it make sense for us to return to it? No! Therefore, when we see our Adversary using lies to work in our lives, we should be angered. Anger is not sinful if caused by the right reasons (see Matthew 5:22 and Mark 3:5). “Be ye angry, and sin not.” Today’s Scripture continues, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” While commonly taken to mean, “Do not go to bed angry, settle the dispute before sunset,” the more probable admonition is, “Do not let your non-sinful anger dissipate.” Brethren, if we do not constantly respond negatively toward sin—especially lying (see context)—it will dominate us. May we not soften our opposition to sin, for Satan will gain the advantage.

Righteous anger should cause us to deny sin (see Galatians 5:19-26). “Sin is not who I am! I am a saint of the Most High God, not a sinner!” We are not making ourselves holy; we are simply being whom Father God has made us in Christ (Romans 12:1,2). Whenever religious tradition obscures or refutes that truth, we should be angry and separate from the tradition, lest Satan keep entry to us. However, only Christian believers mature in grace fully grasp that. Until then, they will keep “experimenting” with their denominations. My advice to them is always, “Stand it as long as you can!” (It is their choice to flee, and I never make the decision for them.)

Stand It As Long As You Can! #1

Monday, November 19, 2018

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:25-27 KJV).

Is anger ever appropriate?

A dear brother in Christ just informed me that he was angry regarding the denominational church he was attending. He understands that it promotes almost no sound Bible teaching, but he has not yet formally divested from it. Like many Pauline dispensationalists endure at one time or another, he sits in “the trying transition” (I speak from experience).

As he has matured in God’s Word rightly divided, so false teaching has become more annoying to him. What he is hearing at church is often “Scriptural,” but it is not “dispensational” (and he knows it). He is conflicted inside: the flesh (old nature, or sin nature) gravitates toward the religious doctrine whereas the new nature cannot tolerate it. Read Galatians chapter 5: “[16] This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. [17] For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” The Holy Spirit and our flesh—both natures residing in us Christians—fight. Both religious sins and worldly sins oppose the working of God the Holy Spirit within us.

The above struggle is an indication that Christians are indeed saved unto eternal life, possessing God’s life. No lost individuals would ever find themselves opposed to “being good” and “hearing nice words” at the local hotspot for the traditions of men. This will be most harsh, but let it be said. Denominations lie. Whether deliberate or oblivious, cruel or sincere, denominational preachers are doctrinally dishonest. They distort Israel’s verses, pretending like they are written to and about us, the Church the Body of Christ. Today’s Scripture declares most authoritatively that we should eliminate lying—both in our lives and in our pulpits! The mature grace saint will come to a crossroads at some point: leave the denomination altogether, or cave in to the overbearing pressure and compromise….

Bible Q&A #555: “Does John 15:6 discredit the notion of ‘once saved, always saved?’

A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #7

Sunday, November 18, 2018

“But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss” (Acts 27:21 KJV).

Despite little doctrinal content in this chapter, the narrative contained therein illustrates the Church the Body of Christ operating in the Dispensation of Grace.

When we survey the professing “Church” today, as we examine the records of ecclesiastical history, we see figuratively what Paul and his sailing companions witnessed literally out in the Mediterranean Sea all those centuries ago. Furious storms—the Adversary, Satan, using false teaching from various angles to defy and obstruct God’s work—have battered and will continue to hammer us. The Body of Christ, “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14), is en route to Heaven and must endure a mammoth hurricane of lies. God is not at fault; He has given us all the doctrine, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, to survive. We disregard His Word through the Apostle Paul at our spiritual peril—and never, ever, EVER forget it!!

Although “shipwreck” is an apt representation of the Church the Body of Christ corporately, it does not have to be true of our individual Christian lives. We can choose to, “Study to shew [ourselves] approved unto God, [workmen] that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Brethren, Satan cannot gain the advantage over us unless we let him. We must not ignore our identity in Christ, and we must listen to the Lord’s heavenly ministry through Paul.

Friends, read all of Acts chapter 27, all the while considering the material we have just covered. Notice how the sailors snubbed Paul’s counsel from the outset, and met a terrible outcome. “Learning the hard way,” they were extensively devastated and despondent that Pauline guidance was truly their last hope. That same information could have prevented the ruin in the first place. The same is true of us. All hope is not lost. God’s Word rightly divided is as powerful as ever, and if only we believe it, it will thus “effectually work in us” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). 🙂

A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #6

Saturday, November 17, 2018

“But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss” (Acts 27:21 KJV).

Despite little doctrinal content in this chapter, the narrative contained therein illustrates the Church the Body of Christ operating in the Dispensation of Grace.

Bearing Acts chapter 27 in mind, we now notice a striking parallel outlined in 1 Timothy chapter 1: “[18] This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; [19] Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: [20] Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

The above (figurative) “shipwreck” of an individual Christian’s life can be, has been, and will be true of the Church the Body of Christ as a whole. Faith—trusting God’s Word rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15)—has been willfully rejected. Consequently, spiritual disaster is ahead. Once God’s Word through the Apostle Paul is rebuffed, the Christian life will be devastated. Salvation unto eternal life will not be lost, but victory and clarity will vanish. Two men in the A.D. first century leading that apostasy are named—Hymenaeus and Alexander. Their non-grace, non-Pauline teaching ministry is called “blasphemy” (cf. 2 Timothy 2:14-18).

Chapter 4 of 1 Timothy: “[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:…. [13] Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine…. [16] Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”

We can avoid the shipwreck….

A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #5

Friday, November 16, 2018

“But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss” (Acts 27:21 KJV).

Despite little doctrinal content in this chapter, the narrative contained therein illustrates the Church the Body of Christ operating in the Dispensation of Grace.

We (finally) finish the chapter: “[39] And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship. [40] And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised [hoisted] up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore. [41] And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves. 

“[42] And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. [43] But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: [44] And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.”

Back during the storm, Paul had declared by God’s Word that they would “be cast upon a certain island” (verse 26). They have at least reached that land, safe and sound, though the fierce waves have smashed their ship to pieces. Chapter 28 begins, “And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.” This is modern Malta, a tiny island south of present Sicily (southwest of Italy). All 276 souls on board survive unharmed, just as the Lord predicted through Paul (Acts 27:22-26,31-37). Not one member of the Church the Body of Christ will be lost. However, as the ship was destroyed, so the organization overall will be a failure for ignoring the Apostle Paul in the first place….