Void of the Power of God

Saturday, February 4, 2023

“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” (1 Thessalonians 2:13 KJV).

Unless we hear the Word of God and believe it in our heart, it cannot “effectually work” in us.

While researching a local church, I read its online reviews. One person attended a concert at the building—“so-so” acoustics and viewing, “comfortable” seating, and “beautiful” space. Another person had been going to services there for over five years, and enjoyed the “community, love, acceptance, support, and programs for the kids on Sunday.” A third reviewer added, “Beautiful venue, the roof leaks though.” The fourth comment was, “Nothing special, but the staff was really nice.” A fifth statement: “Good people and very varied and interesting programs.” The sixth person remarked how he loved the sermon and thought the congregation was friendly. Finally, it was repeated, “beautiful architecture.”

Dear friends, the above observations are worth re-reading. Where is the yearning for sound Bible doctrine? We would search in vain to find even one person who wrote, “I learn so much about the Scriptures there! The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is clearly proclaimed there! I have never been more interested in the Bible!” Regrettably, this is just another impotent “fundamental, evangelical, Protestant” assembly in the “Christian” United States that seeks to entertain the world through gradual compromise.

The only reason a church could be spiritually dead is if it divorced itself from life in the Lord Jesus Christ. Without a firm understanding of the Word of God rightly divided, we have neither the power of God nor the life of God to accomplish anything meaningful. As believers in Christ, we should have a reputation for being able to provide spiritual answers to this lost, dying, helpless, hopeless, confused world. Unless we study and believe our King James Bible every day, we are no different from them, and we should never expect them to appeal to us for spiritual instruction.

Extol

Friday, February 3, 2023

“I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me” (Psalm 30:1 KJV).

Our King James Bible features “extol” six times, and today’s Scripture is the first occurrence. Can you deduce what the term means?

“I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me” (Psalm 30:1). “I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue” (Psalm 66:17). These psalms both look to Jesus Christ’s Millennial Kingdom, yet future from us. “Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him” (Psalm 68:4). This is Christ’s glorious Second Coming, yet future from us. “I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever” (Psalm 145:1). Here again is Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.

“Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high” (Isaiah 52:13). In the context (reaching to the end of chapter 53), we find Christ’s two comings, with this verse being Father God seeing “the sufferings of Christ” (First Coming) and “the glory that should follow” (Second Coming and Millennial Kingdom). See 1 Peter 1:10,11. “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase” (Daniel 4:37). These words anticipate Jesus Christ’s Millennial Kingdom, when the Gentiles or nations are converted to the one true God (see Isaiah 60:1-3, Zechariah 8:20-23, and Matthew 28:18-20).

Our English term “extol” is derived from Latin, with the prefix “ex–” defined as “out of” or “from” and “tollere” as in “to lift, raise up.” The underlying Hebrew words (“nasa,” “salal,” “rum,” and “romam”) convey just that sense—“carry,” “bear,” “lift,” “raise,” “exalt.” Therefore, to “extol” the LORD means to “lift Him out.” In other words, we are to magnify or elevate Him above anything and everyone else, lifting Him to the uppermost, most prominent, or supreme position. “He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.”

Three Crucified Men

Thursday, February 2, 2023

“Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst” (John 19:18 KJV).

See the three on Calvary.

“Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left” (Matthew 27:38). “And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left” (Mark 15:27). “And there were also two other, malefactors [evildoers, criminals], led with him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left” (Luke 23:32,33). Check also today’s Scripture.

One crucified man died because of his sins, for he was guilty. “And we indeed justly [are rightfully punished]; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss ” (Luke 23:41). Though both thieves initially mocked Jesus (Matthew 27:44; Mark 15:32), this thief repented (changed his mind) and confessed faith in Jesus as Lord/Christ (Luke 23:39-43).

One crucified man died in his sins, for he had no faith in Jesus Christ, completely content in making fun of Him throughout the six hours of their joint crucifixion.

One crucified Man “died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3), “For he [Father God] hath made him [the Lord Jesus Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” (1 Peter 3:18). “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I [Paul!] am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity” (1 Timothy 2:5-7).

Only What is Done By Christ

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11 KJV).

“One day this life will soon be passed, only what is done by Christ will last.”

A Christian preacher’s obituary publicized how he had attended three seminaries and earned a doctorate in theology. In his lifetime, he taught at several seminaries and colleges, and pastored numerous local churches. He enjoyed training men and women for the ministry, with his hundreds of students becoming missionaries, preachers, and seminary teachers. Moreover, he led 30 tours to “the Holy Land.” His four sons were pastors, and his daughter married a pastor. Certainly, much was achieved—but was it Christ in him?

Our human viewpoint has its limitations. Indeed, we can evaluate their performance by comparing it to a denomination’s checklist. They were water baptized, confessed their sins, founded or joined local churches, studied theology books, traveled to foreign lands as “missionaries,” memorized prayers, taught religion classes, visited homes to distribute “inspirational literature,” and so on. According to the denomination, they are in a right standing before God. However, the Lord looks beyond outward performance; He stares right down into the person’s very heart. What He wants to see is faith in His words, Holy Scripture, and, unless it is trust in an intelligent understanding of His Word to us, it is but sinful flesh striving to copy the life of Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, while the aforementioned preacher had a testimony of forgiveness of sins and eternal security in Christ, he was nevertheless a vehement Bible corrector. As always, we will let the Lord judge his malicious comments concerning Scripture. However, we do know that being indoctrinated with naturalistic textual criticism and manmade traditions is no substitute for the renewed mind and its resultant victorious Christian living. One can be saved and on his or her way to Heaven, but still think and behave ridiculously—even outright teaching false doctrine.

Never forget, dear friends, “One day this life will soon be passed, only what is done by Christ will last.” Our “hustle and bustle” in religion will amount to nothing. Only (!) what (!) Jesus (!) Christ (!) does (!) in (!) us (!) has (!) eternal (!) value (!).

Joseph and Jesus #12

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

“These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report” (Genesis 37:2 KJV).

Let us search the Scriptures to see how Joseph is a type of the antitype Jesus….

We Berean Bible students have seen how Joseph and Jesus are alike in excess of 20 specific traits and circumstances. This is certainly not coincidental. To those who want to see, hear, and believe, it is as clear as can be. Joseph served as a template, foreshadow, preview, pattern, or outline: by nature, that is a type in the Bible. Centuries later, the antitype (Jesus Christ) shared those same qualities and underwent those very situations. By studying the one, we better appreciate the other, rejoicing how the LORD God was omniscient, knowing well in advance what would occur all along. Joseph’s whole life—even seemingly insignificant attributes and situations—prophesied what another beloved Son would be like and what He would experience.

“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:10,11). Like the other Old Testament prophets, Moses (who wrote about Joseph in Genesis) possessed limited knowledge. He had no idea the Holy Spirit was using him to present Messiah’s two comings with such vivid details—one arrival to suffer and die, and a return to conquer and reign. Stephen, speaking in Acts 7:9-16, had more light than Moses, for by that time the Lord Jesus Christ had already come once and the saints in early Acts were anticipating His reappearance. With a completed Bible canon, we have even greater insight than Moses and Stephen combined. May we be thankful!

Joseph is just one of several types of Jesus Christ: other examples include Joseph’s brother Benjamin, plus Adam, Abel, Noah, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samson, David, and Solomon. While beyond the scope of this study, they too are equally fascinating.

Joseph and Jesus #11

Monday, January 30, 2023

“These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report” (Genesis 37:2 KJV).

Let us search the Scriptures to see how Joseph is a type of the antitype Jesus….

Read Acts 7:9-16. “But God was with him” (verse 9). Though Joseph’s brethren did not know him and refused him the first time, “at the second time” they recognized and accepted him. Likewise, though Israel did not identify and receive Christ in faith at His First Coming (John 1:10-12), the opposite will be true at His Second Coming (Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 23:39).

When Joseph reunited with his brethren 20 years later, he told them: “For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance (Genesis 45:7,8). “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive (Genesis 50:20). While Joseph’s brethren were free moral agents, having willingly chosen to harm him, the LORD turned that sad situation into a benefit after all: without Joseph in Egypt, they would have all starved (Jacob’s family in Canaan, and the Egyptians with Joseph down south)!

Similarly, Father God used the Lord Jesus’ rejection—in which sinful Jews and Gentiles participated (see Acts 2:22-24; Acts 3:13-15; Acts 4:10-12,25-28; Acts 5:29-31; Acts 7:52)—to bring about His finished crosswork on Calvary. Christ’s shed blood, death, burial, and resurrection would ultimately take care of our sin problem and Israel’s sin problem! Father God can now form a people for Himself in the Earth (redeemed Israel) and another people for Himself in the Heaven (us, the Church the Body of Christ): “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:20).

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….

Joseph and Jesus #10

Sunday, January 29, 2023

“These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report” (Genesis 37:2 KJV).

Let us search the Scriptures to see how Joseph is a type of the antitype Jesus….

Indeed, young Joseph was envied, hated, betrayed, and imprisoned. He was in a foreign land, amongst a pagan people, and employed as a lowly slave, yet the most important fact (and, dear friends, we dare not forget it!) is recorded in these few verses that follow: But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison…. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him [Joseph], and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper” (Genesis 39:21,23). No matter how rough and tough his circumstances became, the LORD was with Joseph every step of the way—and it was the only reason Joseph survived any of it.

As the perfect Man, the Lord Jesus Christ lived in this world surrounded by sinners and, just think, He was treated far worse than Joseph ever was (more than we will ever know!). Just like the LORD blessed Joseph’s efforts, in spite the extreme satanic opposition, so Father God endorsed the Lord Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry and it was exceeding fruitful. Peter the Apostle commented as the Spirit of God gave him utterance: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him (Acts 10:38). Christ Himself stated, “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me (John 16:32).

Now, having taken a quick run through the numerous references, we will summarize this devotionals arc….

Joseph and Jesus #9

Saturday, January 28, 2023

“These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report” (Genesis 37:2 KJV).

Let us search the Scriptures to see how Joseph is a type of the antitype Jesus….

Observe Genesis 45:21,24-28: “And the children of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way…. So he sent his brethren away, and they departed: and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the way. And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father, And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob’s heart fainted, for he believed them not. And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived: And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.” In chapter 46, all of Jacob’s household joins Joseph in Egypt.

As Joseph gathered Israel that was scattered, so Jesus at His Second Coming will physically reunite them by bringing them into the Promised Land: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:30,31). See also Deuteronomy 30:1-5, Jeremiah 31:10-14, Jeremiah 32:37-41, Ezekiel 11:16-20, Ezekiel 20:33-42, Ezekiel 28:24-26, and Ezekiel 34:11-16. These passages anticipate New Covenant restoration, unity, and blessings in Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.

Yet, there are still more likenesses between Joseph and Jesus….

Joseph and Jesus #8

Friday, January 27, 2023

“These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report” (Genesis 37:2 KJV).

Let us search the Scriptures to see how Joseph is a type of the antitype Jesus….

Joseph was 17 when his brethren sold him into slavery in Egypt (today’s Scripture). He serves in Potiphar’s house before going to prison, but is ultimately freed to work in Pharaoh’s court. “And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 41:46). In like manner, Jesus was approximately 30 years old when His public ministry started: “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,…” (Luke 3:23).

On several occasions, Joseph wept (Genesis 42:24; Genesis 45:2,14,15; Genesis 46:29). Similarly, according to the Gospel Records, Jesus wept (Luke 19:41; John 11:35; cf. Hebrews 5:7). As much as 20 years after his brethren betrayed him, Joseph reunites with them and forgives them even though do not deserve it (Genesis 45:1-15). With the Lord Jesus hanging on Calvary’s cross, utterly rejected of Israel, He cries out on their behalf: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

While Joseph inhabited Egypt, a famine afflicted both it and Canaan (where Jacob and his other sons were living). Joseph’s promotion in Egypt was the LORD God’s way of preparing them all for the impending food shortage (see Genesis 41–44). “And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 45:7,8). Also, Jesus is Israel’s Saviour, “Jesus” being the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew “Joshua,” “for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

Believe it or not, the comparisons continue….

Joseph and Jesus #7

Thursday, January 26, 2023

“These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report” (Genesis 37:2 KJV).

Let us search the Scriptures to see how Joseph is a type of the antitype Jesus….

Pharaoh, impressed by Joseph’s wisdom, promotes him to become the second in command in Egypt: “Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 41:40-43).

Similarly, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Second Member of the Godhead, plays a subservient role to Father God: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-11).

Joseph suffered pitifully then reigned magnificently. Also, Jesus’ horrific suffering precedes His glorious exaltation to a throne (see 1 Peter 1:10,11). However, they merge even more fully….