Tell Them Who He Is!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

“And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?” (Matthew 21:10 KJV).

Who is this which was aforementioned, and why is it such a shame that the inhabitants of Jerusalem asked, “Who is this?”

“And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway [immediately] ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say aught unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them, and straightway he will send them” (verses 1-3).

“All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet [Zechariah 9:9], saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass” (verses 4,5).

Verses 6-9: “And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.”

Jerusalem’s residents then ask, “Who is this?” Not only are they ignorant of Zechariah 9:9, the prophecy Jesus Christ is fulfilling, but they also willingly ignore the multitudes proclaiming who Jesus Christ is, recorded in Mark 11:10—“blessed be the kingdom of our father David”—and Luke 19:38—“Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

Jesus Christ was Israel’s long-promised King, but unbelief kept most of them from seeing it (twice). Even today, unfortunately, most church members echo about Jesus Christ, “Who is this?” May we continue to study and believe the King James Bible rightly divided, so we can tell them who He is! 🙂

Inexpensive Yet Priceless

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

“I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil” (Psalm 119:162 KJV).

For little to no cost, we can obtain the priceless Word of God.

Recently, I was browsing through a store, and I found King James Bibles (Old and New Testaments) for only US$1! In fact, I have seen them sold for a fraction of even that meager price! I could not help but tell myself, “Millions of dollars are wasted each year on worthless books. Imagine how many of these King James Bibles that revenue could buy!” (King James Bibles are even distributed for free.)

There are many books in the world, but only one is truly priceless, of immeasurable value. God’s Word, the Holy Bible, is the Creator’s mind on the printed page: “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). Why is the Bible priceless? “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8,9).

The Holy Bible is truly priceless because it alone contains the precious words of God. All other books are written by men, whose minds are finite and whose hearts are flawed (with sin). Contrariwise, the prophet Isaiah reminded Israel that our Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, thinks on an entirely different plane than we do—a plane that exceeds ours! Just as we struggle to comprehend the height of “the heavens” (outer space) above earth, we attempt to fathom the methods and manners (“ways”) of God and the “thoughts” of God.

In today’s Scripture, the psalmist confessed that he “rejoiced at [God’s] word, as one that findeth great spoil [treasure].” The psalmist understood, as we (hopefully) do, that God’s Word is to be rejoiced over, that it should be delighted in, and the object of our joy. When we consider Who inspired and wrote it, and how He preserved it through time so we could study it today in this devotional, we join the psalmist in declaring, “I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.” 🙂

Content With “Herbs”

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith” (Proverbs 15:17 KJV).

Suppose that you have been invited to two dinners: a “vegetarian buffet” and a “carnivore’s delight.” Today’s Scripture suggests you attend the one with the less backbiting!

Imagine a scanty meal—“a dinner of herbs”—eaten by people who love one another. Although the food is less than appealing, the diners love each other, making the atmosphere hospitable. Now, visualize an extravagant feast—“a stalled [fattened] ox”—attended by people who hate one another. They fuss and fight, verbally slaughtering each other. These carnivores sound as though they not only want to eat the ox, but each other as well!

Though the meal of herbs is less than superb, at least those eating it love one another, thus sharing what little they have with one another. The greedy meat-eaters hate one another, so despite the abundance of food, they refuse to share, and persist in animosity. Eat not with the meat eaters, for they may (figuratively) eat you!

Read the verse preceding today’s Scripture: “Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith” (Proverbs 15:16). A millionaire can afford an abundance of fine foods (the “stalled ox”), but if his or her life is plagued by hatred, what good is that material wealth? How can he or she be happy? One who can only afford herbs for dinner may not have much, but the love he enjoys outlasts any material wealth, and he rejoices in that fact.

Most Christians are not (and most have never been) millionaires and billionaires: the “Hollywood Christian” leaders are something else entirely. Their houses are meager and modest, not luxurious castles and condominiums. Most do not drive exotic vehicles or enjoy international vacations. Their meals do not consist of fine, imported foods. Most do not wear expensive designer clothing. While they lack many of the possessions that the world deems “necessary,” they have the Lord, and He has them! 🙂

Better is few possessions with the Lord, than much wealth without Him, and we are content with “herbs.”

The Flesh Straineth, Christ’s Love Constraineth #8

Monday, September 17, 2012

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

We would do well to memorize, meditate on, and believe today’s Scripture, a wonderful encapsulation of the Christian life.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate [hinder, disrupt] the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:20,21). We could not achieve righteousness (salvation) by our performance, and we cannot achieve righteousness (godly living) by our performance. If our performance was ever the issue (for salvation or godly living), “Christ is dead in vain [is (present tense) dead for nothing].”

Our Christian lives are really Christ’s life! “Christ liveth in me.” We live by His faithfulness, by His performance working in us. Compare “the Son of God… who loved me, and gave himself for mewith today’s Scripture: “the love of Christ constraineth [motivates] us… [Christ] died for all… [Christ] died for all… [Christ] died for them.”

God’s grace—everything that He has done for us on Calvary’s cross—teaches us: “Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly [responsibly], righteously [acceptable to God], and godly [reflecting God’s values]” (Titus 2:11,12).

We who have trusted Christ are “new creatures in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our lives should reflect this new position/identity. God died to save us from our sins, so why should we return to them? We should let Christ Jesus live His life in and through us, “to prove that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). We do this by placing our faith in this sound Bible doctrine, which God uses to transform our minds, and then our lives!

“The flesh (always) straineth, Christ’s love (always) constraineth….”

*The past eight devotionals have been combined and expanded to form a larger Bible study with the same name, which can be read here or watched here.

The Flesh Straineth, Christ’s Love Constraineth #7

Sunday, September 16, 2012

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

We would do well to memorize, meditate on, and believe today’s Scripture, a wonderful encapsulation of the Christian life.

As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection alone as sufficient payment for our sins, Christ’s righteousness—His perfect performance—has been applied to our account (imputation). We have a right standing before God (justification): “we [have been] made the righteousness of God in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We Christians need not strain to perform in religion, seeking God’s favor and acceptance. God already accepts us in Christ, because of what He did for us on Calvary’s cross! “God hath made us accepted in the beloved [Jesus Christ]” (Ephesians 1:6).

We are not under the Mosaic Law (Romans 6:14,15), but God still cares how we live. Once we understand and rest in God’s great love for us (His sacrifice of His Son on our behalf), it transforms our thinking (today’s Scripture). Since God loves us so much, we Christians should not selfishly live our lives, doing whatever we want. We should, by faith, offer our lives to Him so He can accomplish His will in and through us. As one Christian brother says, “Jesus Christ gave His life for us, so He could give His life to us when we trust Him alone, so He could live His life through us when we trust Him alone!”

Our Christian service is us studying and believing sound Pauline Bible doctrine, and then us letting the indwelling Holy Spirit use that doctrine to work in us (1 Thessalonians 2:13) to generate “the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, unto the praise and glory of God” (Philippians 1:11). These “fruits of righteousness” are Christ living His live in us, conforming our lifestyles to our position in Him.

“The flesh straineth, Christ’s love constraineth….”

The Flesh Straineth, Christ’s Love Constraineth #6

Saturday, September 15, 2012

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

We would do well to memorize, meditate on, and believe today’s Scripture, a wonderful encapsulation of the Christian life.

In Colossians 2:6,7, we read: As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” How did we “receive Christ Jesus the Lord?” By our works? NO! By faith in His finished crosswork on Calvary. How does our Christian walk function? By our works? NO! By faith in His finished crosswork on Calvary.

Sinful mankind could never please God, so God did for mankind what he could never do for himself: pay for his sins in full. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure [perhaps] for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).

This love—the love of God, “the love of Christ,” not our (feeble) love for Christ—forms the basis for our Christian life, and it “constrains” (empowers, motivates) us (today’s Scripture). Jesus Christ loved us enough to die for our sins, be buried, and be raised again the third day to make us (positionally) accepted before God (justification). “We thus judge [conclude]” that we Christians should allow Christ’s love for us to work in and through us by means of His indwelling Holy Spirit, as we walk by faith in an intelligent understanding of His Word to us (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon), thereby making our lifestyles (practically) acceptable to God (practical sanctification).

“The flesh straineth, Christ’s love constraineth….”

The Flesh Straineth, Christ’s Love Constraineth #5

Friday, September 14, 2012

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

We would do well to memorize, meditate on, and believe today’s Scripture, a wonderful encapsulation of the Christian life.

Unlike Judaism, and contrary to popular belief, Christianity is not a system of rules and regulations. The Christian life is not us trying to “measure up” to please God—that is impossible. Once God proved that sinful mankind could never keep His Law perfectly, He introduced through the Apostle Paul’s ministry the wonderful system we now enjoy: His grace-based acceptance system, where Henot ourselves—will make us acceptable in His sight and accepted in His Son, Jesus Christ!

God, Jesus Christ, “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” (Philippians 2:7,8). Jesus Christ was obedient to His heavenly Father, declaring, “…the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him(John 8:29bc; cf. Isaiah 50:5,6). His Father, God, affirmed: “This is my beloved Son: in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17).

On Calvary’s cross, the blood of God’s perfect, only begotten Son, was shed for our sins! “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just [Jesus Christ had a right standing before God] for the unjust [we had a sinful standing before God]” (1 Peter 3:18).

We, as people who have trusted in Christ’s finished crosswork—His bloodshed, death, burial, and resurrection—alone as sufficient payment for our sins, are made acceptable in God’s sight and are accepted in His Son. Jesus Christ’s performance not only saved us from our sins, but His performance also makes our daily lives acceptable to God our Father (today’s Scripture).

“The flesh straineth, Christ’s love constraineth….”

The Flesh Straineth, Christ’s Love Constraineth #4

Thursday, September 13, 2012

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

We would do well to memorize, meditate on, and believe today’s Scripture, a wonderful encapsulation of the Christian life.

For nearly 1,600 years (Moses to Paul), Israel strained to keep the Mosaic Law. Unlike their heathen (Gentile) neighbors, the Jews had the Law of God, and other advantages (Romans 9:4,5; cf. Ephesians 2:11,12). Despite their privileged position, however, they were just as sinful as the Gentiles (non-Jews). Hence, the Gentiles observed that “God’s” people, Israel, acted just as shamefully as they did (Romans 2:17-29)!

Sinful Israel broke this Old Covenant (Mosaic Law), thus necessitating the institution of the (future) New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:7-13). If Israel, sinful sons of Adam that they were, could not keep the Mosaic Law, should we Gentiles fare any better, also being sinful sons of Adam? I trow (think) not (1 Corinthians 10:1-14)!

Actually, when believing, Law-keeping Jews (saved in Israel’s program) demanded that Paul’s Gentile believers (saved in our program) keep the Mosaic Law to be saved (Acts 15:1-5), the Apostle Peter asked (verse 10): “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” Law-keeping is a burden, for no sinner can bear it!

The Apostle Paul reaffirms that Mosaic Law-keeping is a “a yoke of bondage:” Law-keeping is impossible for us sinful creatures, and this performance-based acceptance system makes void (cancels) God’s grace-based acceptance system which is in operation today in our Dispensation of Grace (Galatians 5:1-4). If we attempt to make ourselves acceptable to God by doing “good” works, then we ignore Christ’s perfect, finished crosswork on Calvary (the only means whereby we can be—and ultimately are—made acceptable to God, for only Jesus Christ will ever please God; Matthew 3:17).

“The flesh straineth, Christ’s love constraineth….”

The Flesh Straineth, Christ’s Love Constraineth #3

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

We would do well to memorize, meditate on, and believe today’s Scripture, a wonderful encapsulation of the Christian life.

The Apostle Paul discussed how he strained to perform the Christian life: he struggled to do right, but he would only sin instead. “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would [that is, wish to do], that do I not; but what I hate, that do I…. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would [that is, wish to do] I do not: but the evil which I would [that is, wish to do] not, that I do…. I find then a law, that when I would [that is, wish to] do good, evil is present with me” (Romans 7:15,18,19,21).

Paul is a saved man, “delighting in the law of God after the inward man” (verse 22). However, he writes, “But I see another law in members [body parts], warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin” (verses 23-25).

Frankly, it is impossible for us weak, sinful creatures to live the Christian life. Paul finally realized that struggling under the Mosaic Law—his performance—only genders defeat and misery. Only Jesus Christ can live the Christian life: it is His life! We have victory, not in our performance, but in Christ’s performance (verse 25; Romans chapter 8; today’s Scripture).

“The flesh straineth, Christ’s love constraineth….”

The Flesh Straineth, Christ’s Love Constraineth #2

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

We would do well to memorize, meditate on, and believe today’s Scripture, a wonderful encapsulation of the Christian life.

Religion is analogous to running on a treadmill—you had better keep moving or you will wipeout! There are literally billions of souls burdened, firmly shackled, by religious works. They strain to please God, hoping that He will accept their performance. Their religious system reassures them, “Just follow our instructions, and God will be happy with you and you will reach heaven.” What a devil’s lie, straight from hell!!

Unfortunately, not only are these lost people bound by religion, but many true Christians (those who have trusted Jesus Christ alone for salvation) believe they have to live the Christian life, that they must work to “keep fellowship with God.” Christendom abounds with this legalism: “If you want to receive God’s favor and blessings, you must give more, pray more, confess more, come to church more, quit doing ___ and start doing ___.” This flawed theology is derived from a failure to understand the Bible dispensationally.

Yes, God did deal with Israel via the Mosaic Law. He did instruct them to keep His commandments so they could receive His favor and blessings (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28). However, our apostle, Paul, writes, in our Dispensation of Grace, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14). God is not dealing with us as He dealt with Israel in time past: we are under grace, not law. Attempting to follow Israel’s Law program will only cause sin to dominate us. God’s grace-based acceptance system involves us placing our faith in Paul’s epistles, letting Christ Jesus live His life in and through us, making our Christian life pleasing to God (today’s Scripture).

“The flesh straineth, Christ’s love constraineth….”