A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #2

Tuesday, November 13, 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.

Paul, “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), left Judaea bound for Rome. Israel’s God has departed her to be amongst the Gentiles (world). Alas, this dangerous trip will result in much loss. Leaving Judaism, the Body of Christ is headed toward Romanism (apostasy). Paul’s advice concerning the hazardous trip (verse 10) is ignored: “[11] Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul. [12] And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west. [13] And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete.

“[14] But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. [15] And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. [16] And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat: [17] Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven.

“[18] And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; [19] And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship.” The sea represents the nations. Contrary or opposing winds disrupted their smooth sailing, as Satan’s false teachings shake the Body of Christ. Ephesians 4:14: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;….” If only they had listened to Paul….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain 2 Corinthians 5:16?

A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #1

Monday, November 12, 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.

The Apostle Paul, in legal trouble with the Jews and Romans, has appealed to Emperor Augustus Caesar. He, as a prisoner, and his companions travel by ship from Caesarea to Rome—roughly 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers). As with Acts chapter 20 (Paul raising deceased Eutychus), we will survey chapter 27 to isolate and extrapolate its superlative dispensational miracle.

“[1] And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus’ band. [2] And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. [3] And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself. [4] And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. 

“[5] And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia. [6] And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein. [7] And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone; [8] And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea. [9] Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, [10] And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.”

Let us see exactly what “hurt and much damage” this maritime journey entails….

The Greatest Veteran

Sunday, November 11, 2018

“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15 KJV).

Today is Veterans’ Day in the United States, so let us especially thank the “Greatest Veteran of All Time.”

We thank veterans, living and departed, the often-forgotten men and women who risked their lives to secure our freedom. Just as we remember flesh-and-blood veterans who fought for our physical liberty, we reserve our worship and utmost respect for the least esteemed Veteran, He who secured our spiritual liberty.

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). Through Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary, we have eternal victory over sin, death, hell, and Satan. Everything that God has planned for us is dependent upon Christ’s victory at Calvary.

Jesus Christ nailed the Mosaic Law to His cross (today’s Scripture). His sinless blood covered our failure to obey God’s laws; Jesus’ righteousness annulled our unrighteousness (sin). Christ not only liberated us from sin and its penalty (the everlasting lake of fire), but today’s Scripture affirms He also triumphed over Satan himself!

Christ has “spoiled [destroyed] principalities and powers [Satan’s power], he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it [His cross].” Jesus Christ destroyed Satan’s plans. Through Christ’s cross, God has “delivered us from the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13), Satan’s evil system of Ephesians 2:1-3.

During a recent cemetery visit, I noticed American flags flying above deceased veterans’ headstones. These individuals can no longer hear or regard our thanks, but Jesus Christ’s body is not decaying in some tomb. If there ever was a Veteran most worthy of our gratitude, it is our Lord Jesus Christ. Though He died in battle, allowing Himself to be executed on a Roman cross of shame and scorn, He resurrected. He is alive and well today, alive forevermore!

Saints, eternity will ring with our thanks to the Veteran worth thanking, the Lord Jesus Christ.

*Adapted from our 2010 Bible study, “The Greatest Hero.” The Bible study video can be viewed here.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Acts 19:13-16?

To Help a Brother

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother (Deuteronomy 22:1 KJV).

Behold, the standard of selflessness!

While we are certainly under Grace and not the Mosaic Law (Romans 6:14,15), we do not throw away the non-Pauline Scriptures. We study all 66 Bible Books, Genesis through Revelation, for “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). On whatever topics God the Spirit is silent in Paul’s writings, Romans through Philemon, we can and should seek advice elsewhere in the Bible. As an illustration, take today’s Scripture. It does not contradict Pauline doctrine but rather complements it (cf. Galatians 6:10; Romans 12:9,10).

Read today’s Scripture in context: “[1] Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother. [2] And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again. [3] In like manner shalt thou do with his ass [donkey]; and so shalt thou do with his raiment [clothing]; and with all lost thing of thy brother’s, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself. [4] Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.”

Interestingly, the Lord Jesus took verse 4 and made an application in Matthew 12:11 to expose “Sabbath-worshippers” (not Jehovah God-worshippers) as the heartless, rigid, self-centered religionists that they were. Whether God through Moses, or God through Paul, we learn, “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth” (1 Corinthians 10:24). If we follow the God of the Bible, self-regard will not be true of us! 🙂

The Debtor, Ready and Unashamed!

Friday, November 9, 2018

I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Romans 1:14-16 KJV).

Behold, dear brethren, Pauline evangelism in one succinct passage!

  • “I am debtor” (verse 14) — “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.” The Apostle Paul understood that he had an obligation or duty to preach the Gospel of the Grace of God to all people—whether Greek or Barbarian (non-Greek), both the “cultured and educated” and the “unrefined and simple.” “…Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle,… a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity” (1 Timothy 2:5c-7).
  • “I am ready” (verse 15) — “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.” Paul was prepared, aware of his marching orders, and compliant with the Holy Spirit’s working within him. “[Christ] Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily” (Colossians 1:28,29).
  • “I am not ashamed” (verse 16) — “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Paul knew that just as Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection was sufficient payment for his sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), that Gospel of Grace was trustworthy in taking care of all the sins of all those precious souls to whom he preached so fervently. If they would simply believe that Gospel message, God’s power would yank them from their path to Hell and send them on their way to Heaven!

Distracted Eutychus Dies! #7

Thursday, November 8, 2018

And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead (Acts 20:9 KJV).

What can the context of today’s Scripture teach us about the Dispensation of Grace?

Saints, Ephesians chapter 6 describes our spiritual war: “[10] Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. [11] Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. [12] For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. [13] Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Verses 14-18 describe our armor.) We must (!) be grounded in Pauline doctrine, lest Satan distract and wound us.

Today’s Scripture is followed by, “[10] And Paul went down, and fell on him [Eutychus], and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. [11] When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. [12] And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.” God’s Word dispensationally delivered—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—can revive and maintain the powerless Church the Body of Christ. Once the Body is resuscitated, and endures a steady diet of Pauline doctrine, it, now edified, can speak a “long while,” until it is caught up into the heavenly places (when Paul leaves).

“That he [Father God] would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man (Ephesians 3:16). Also, 1 Thessalonians 2:13: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who are the ‘lawyers’ in Scripture?

Distracted Eutychus Dies! #6

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead (Acts 20:9 KJV).

What can the context of today’s Scripture teach us about the Dispensation of Grace?

The verse following today’s Scripture articulates, “And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.” Eutychus is deceased, but he is not perpetually hopeless and helpless (his name actually means “fortunate!”). God’s man—His spokesman in the Dispensation of Grace—is nearby. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Not only is God’s Word living, it is also life-giving. There is functional life in God’s Word rightly divided—namely, Pauline doctrine.

In light of those who “shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1), we are instructed: “[6] If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. [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.”

Eutychus demonstrates verse 1: he was “seduced” (drawn away with the promise of delight). Satan’s evil world system tantalized him from stable (or Pauline) doctrine into fleshly (carnal), worldly doctrine. Yet, like with him, Pauline doctrine can save or restore us from functional destruction and death. It can deliver us from deception, false teaching, and restore health to our Christian thought and behavior. Verse 11 (after today’s Scripture) continues, “When he [Eutychus] therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he [Paul] departed.”

Now, we summarize and conclude….