Friday, March 23, 2018

“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:1-3 KJV).

Without further delay, saints, let us realize how to be successful!

Today’s Scripture is some of the Apostle Paul’s final words to young Timothy. The Roman government is preparing to execute the imprisoned, aged Apostle for preaching an “illegal religion.” After 35 years of glorious grace ministry, Paul is finally going Home—to the third heaven!!!

Notice a portion of the Holy Ghost’s concluding words to us the Church the Body of Christ. In all the “ups and downs” of life and ministry, we are to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Remember, when all else fails you, in the end, God’s grace will remain to sustain you. Paul is moving on to “be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). As his mentor passes off the scene, it is vital that Timothy never forgets that grace will abide. No matter how rough it gets down here, because of everything that Father God can do for us through Christ’s finished crosswork, we can endure it. Never should Timothy (or we) overlook that.

Furthermore, Paul instructs Timothy, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” God taught us through Paul so we can teach the same to others. The key word here is same:” we do not change the message, do not compromise the doctrine, and do not water down Pauline truth!! Timothy should never forget this either—especially since mass apostasy (many Christians abandoning truth to embrace error) surrounds him.

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” In light of what was just stated, we are to “endure hardness” (“suffer trouble,” 2 Timothy 2:9; “endure afflictions,” 2 Timothy 4:5). Saints, an intense spiritual battle is being waged. We have a vicious Adversary (Satan) to face. Nevertheless, we are “good soldiers of Jesus Christ.” We will win only because of God’s grace! 🙂


Thursday, March 22, 2018

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself (1 Timothy 6:3-5 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be sound in the faith.

The Greek word rendered “wholesome” in today’s Scripture is hygiano (“hygiene”). A father received his prodigal son “safe and sound” (Luke 15:27). Luke 7:10 mentioned Jesus healing the once-sick, now “whole,” servant. Christ Jesus spoke of the sick, not the “whole,” as needing a doctor (Luke 5:31). The lame man, now miraculously healed, enjoys “perfect soundness” (Acts 3:16). These “whole” or “sound” people lack physical illness and injury; they are healthy. Similarly, in Titus 1:13 and Titus 2:2, Christians are to be “sound in the faith.” How do we become spiritually healthy?

Whenever someone downplays doctrine, the equivalent phrase in the physical world is, “Consume all the junk food you want! In the end, it makes no difference what you eat!” (Oh, really?!) Unless quality physical food is consumed, your physical body will become frail, ill, and helpless. Likewise, without valuable spiritual food, your spiritual body will grow weak, sick, and impotent. The Bible rightly divided, sound Bible doctrine, is key. If the doctrine is nourishing, then obviously the spiritual body will be fed and strengthened. Hence, Scripture speaks of sound doctrine” as essential (1 Timothy 1:10; 2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:9; Titus 2:1).

“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13). These are “the wholesome words of Jesus Christ” of today’s Scripture: they are the words Jesus Christ spoke through the Apostle Paul. “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me,….My dear friend, if you want to be a strong, spiritually fit Christian, you must read, believe, and heed the Pauline doctrine, Romans through Philemon. Otherwise, spiritual incapacity is your fate!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did Judas Iscariot have to betray Christ?


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another (Galatians 5:13 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be by love serving one another.

There is a prevailing myth about the Gospel of Grace. When we quote Colossians 2:13 about total forgiveness of all trespasses,” someone immediately opposes with, “Grace is a license to sin! If I had complete forgiveness of all sins, I would live any way I wanted to live!” Oh, dear friend, you were doing that quite well before you came to Christ, yes? You were living “any way” you wanted to live long before you heard the Gospel of Grace. Be not silly in suggesting then that you need grace to sin!

Father God set us free from sin, not for us to then place ourselves back under its bondage. Immediately after writing, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20), the Holy Spirit anticipated an objection. We hear that protest even today. The Spirit’s answer 2,000 years ago is valid now as it was then.

Romans chapter 6: “[1] What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? [2] God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? [3] Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. [5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. [7] For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Brethren, we are dead, crucified with Christ, risen with Christ, free from sin’s control. We do not have to serve sin! Now, we have been enabled to “serve God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9) and “by love serve one another” (today’s Scripture).


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:3-5 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to live for the benefit of others, not ourselves.

“Sin” perfectly summarizes human nature: the middle letter of “sin” is “i” (also, “Lucifer” and “pride”). A sinner is, by nature, self-centered and self-willed. That is what makes human nature so drastically different from God’s nature. God’s whole controversy with man is that man does not live like He does: God designed man to reflect His life but man (namely, Adam) willfully chose to rebel and make a new lifestyle for himself and his ancestors, namely us (sinful living).

In stark contrast, as today’s Scripture indicates, Christian living is all about Christ living. How did He live on Earth? In total submission to His Heavenly Father’s will! Verses 6-8 capture His mentality: “[6] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: [7] But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: [8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Romans chapter 15 amplifies: “[1] We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. [2] Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. [3] For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written [Psalm 69:9], The reproaches of them that reproached thee [Father God] fell on me [Jesus Christ].” Christ set aside His own desires and obeyed Father God’s will, all the way to the cross of Calvary (see Hebrews 10:4-13; cf. Matthew 26:39-44)!

When God Himself lived in human flesh, He was anything but selfish. Likewise, dear brethren, we follow Jesus Christ’s pattern—seeking the best interests of others, and not ourselves. “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth” (1 Corinthians 10:24).


Monday, March 19, 2018

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame (1 Corinthians 15:33,34 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be awake and alert.

The Corinthians were immature saints. While God’s spiritual (adult) sons, they thought and behaved like small children. First Corinthians is such a lengthy Book because it is the Holy Spirit meticulously correcting the multitude of problems in that local assembly. Today’s Scripture is one summarization of their dilemma: corrupt religious leaders have deceived them, and their Christian life is no longer functioning properly.

Before any mature saints swell up with pride and say, “I would never be like the Corinthians!,” they should consider Ephesians chapter 5: “[14] Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. [15] See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, [16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [17] Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. [18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;….” Although more matured in the doctrine than the Corinthians, the Christians at Ephesus nevertheless also caved in to the pressures of Satan’s evil world system. Gripped by ignorance and silliness, they too were spiritually sleeping, unaware of their surroundings.

The Lord Jesus warned Israel’s Little Flock of their testimony being hindered as well. Matthew chapter 5: “[14] Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. [15] Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. [16] Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Commercialism (materialism) and slothfulness (laziness) threatened the ministry of these Jewish kingdom saints.

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light(Ephesians 5:14). “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130).


Sunday, March 18, 2018

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; (2 Timothy 1:7,8 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to preach sound Bible doctrine.

Brethren, Satan has a two-fold strategy for hindering God’s will. In “phase 1,” he attacks the message. Remember, his first words in Scripture are in Genesis 3:1: Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? Satan’s chief goal is to question (challenge) God’s Word, thus removing it as the authority. After repeatedly distorting the Bible, he outright denied it in verse 4. Satan effectually enticed Adam and Eve to corrupt, and thereby abandon, sound Bible doctrine.

If the saint maintains and defends sound Bible doctrine, not relinquishing it, then Satan begins “phase 2.” Satan’s objective here is to attack the messenger, to somehow silence him—through intimidation, hardship, embarrassment, discouragement, and so on. This is where we find Timothy in today’s Scripture. In 1 Timothy, he had dealt with false teaching in Ephesus. He has remained faithful to the grace message, having not compromised with the legalists. Satan has failed to get Timothy to pervert grace.

Now, in 2 Timothy (today’s Scripture), Timothy’s face is damp with “tears” (verse 4). He is crying, emotionally exhausted, overwhelmed by opposition and distress in the ministry. As Paul writes, pervasive doctrinal error exists now: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (verse 15). Most Christians have now abandoned Paul’s doctrine, preferring legalism and other heresies. Dejected Timothy has surrendered, having ceased (!) preaching Pauline doctrine (verse 6).

Paul, imprisoned far away in Rome for preaching God’s grace through Christ, is moved by the Holy Spirit to encourage Timothy to not be ashamed (today’s Scripture). “Timothy, remember who you are and where you came from. God’s power will get you through your situations. Share in those afflictions that accompany the Gospel! No matter what happens, boldly preach!” (Brethren, may we do likewise.)


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to enjoy the solace of the God of all comfort.

Today’s Scripture is the Apostle Paul at the lowest point in his whole ministry. Keep reading: “[8] For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: [9] But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: [10] Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;….” Did you sense Paul’s great depression in verse 8?

When the Apostle refers to his “trouble… in Asia,” that would have been something that occurred in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). On its western shore sat the city of Ephesus. Here, in Acts chapter 19, Paul had preached Jesus Christ and founded the church at Ephesus. You would do well to read the chapter sometime. Paul’s preaching the truth caused a revival in that spiritually dead, pagan city. With the idol-makers losing customers, they lashed out and caused a riot. Paul could have lost his life! Thankfully, God supported him physically (but most importantly, spiritually).

Saint, when you get “pressed out of measure” in ministry, “above strength, insomuch that [you] despair even of life,” you just keep on going! After all, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;….” If the saints of old found solace in the God of all comfort, then we will too!

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