Arrayed in Hypocrisy

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:27,28 KJV).

“Looks can be deceiving” is not only true during Halloweentime, but confirmed year-round within Christendom.

Today is Halloween, when children dress up and feign themselves to be creatures they are not. Likewise, many church leaders today wear “Christian” garbs, but their ministries do not bring the Lord Jesus Christ glory and honor. They promote their denomination, and seek to perpetuate it, rather than serve and exalt the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. The Bible manifests these who appear to be good, as “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

In today’s Scripture, Jesus Christ exposed Israel’s corrupt religious leaders who misled the nation in His day. In His Parable of the Tares, Matthew 13:24-30,37-43, Christ explained how just as He had sown good seed (wheat, believing Jews) in Israel, Satan had also sown tares/weeds (unbelieving Jews). Tares resemble wheat; unbelieving Jews resemble believing Jews. The unbelieving Pharisees and scribes, for instance, looked like God’s people (believing Israel). Judas Iscariot was another example of Satan’s tares—the apostles never realized who Judas really was until it was too late!

But Satan’s counterfeit believers are not confined to Israel’s program. Today, within local assemblies of the Body of Christ, there are people feigning themselves to be Christians: For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

Beloved, beware of the church leaders who are arrayed in hypocrisy, “and avoid them” (Romans 16:17b). If their teaching does not agree with the rightly divided King James Bible, you have no business as a child of God to be listening to them.

*This is excerpted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

Impressionable Minds and Effectual Doctrine

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23 KJV).

In light of Halloween tomorrow, we learn a simple lesson from Scripture today.

Innocent children arrayed in costumes going door-to-door and exclaiming, “Trick-or-treat!,” have never been taught that this “innocent looking” holiday is rooted in the spiritually toxic soils of Celtic paganism, devil worship, and superstition.

The “Harry Potter” franchise and Halloween downplay the gravity of devil worship. Our younger generations are receiving mixed messages from the Church the Body of Christ. Christians, rather than speaking against these atrocities, have become permissive regarding the activities that God hates. They remain silent, greatly reducing their impact on the world, and allowing the world to impact them! Ephesians 5:14-17 exclaims, “Wake up, O sleeping Christians, Wake up!”

God clearly forbade witchcraft in Israel (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:9-14; Micah 5:12). Witchcraft is sin, according to Galatians 5:20. God wanted Israel, His earthly people, to not participate in Satan’s policy of evil. They were not to mingle with the works of darkness. God wants the same for us, the Church the Body of Christ. Note how the Ephesians burned their spell books in Acts 19:19.

There is no law “Thou shalt not celebrate Halloween,” yet notice today’s Scripture. Although they are not explicitly forbidden, some activities harm others and ourselves. They are inconsistent with our identity in Jesus Christ. Thus, we avoid those activities. If an activity does not bring glory, praise, and honor to God Almighty (the Lord Jesus Christ), it is devil worship. Satan wants you to worship something other than the one true God.

We desperately need our young people to realize the weightiness of sound doctrine, especially regarding the occult, witchcraft, et cetera (and its most subtle forms like Halloween and Harry Potter). God Almighty instructs us to educate them with sound Bible teaching. We know that God’s Word will “effectually work also in [them] that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). God’s Word will reach their minds, we just need to plant and water, sowing it into their minds, and let God take care of the rest.

*Excerpted from a larger Bible study with the same name, which can be read here.

Shallow #8

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

“Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:34 KJV).

If the professing “Church” is to impact our culture as the Lord Jesus Christ intended, then it had better recognize today’s Scripture as applicable to it!

Many professing Christians often criticize lost people for living like lost people. Paradoxically, these very Christians are saved people usually living like lost people. Beloved, when the professing “Church” takes its Christian ambassadorship for granted, and lives like the world, we need not wonder why lost people exclaim, “The Bible is irrelevant, irrational, and outmoded!”

Beloved, if we Christians are not living in accordance with God’s Word, how can we expect lost people to do it? If our attitudes and actions do not reflect God’s grace and values, then how will the lost world ever see their need for Jesus Christ as personal Saviour? They will not! The lost world observes the hypocrisy, shallowness, and silliness of much of Christendom and they want nothing to do with the Lord Jesus Christ!

When Paul wrote today’s Scripture to Christians in the 1st century, he could have just as well been writing to Christians in the 21st century. Like the Corinthians, today’s average Christian is spiritually asleep, living contrary to the identity and life he or she has in Christ (2 Timothy 2:24-26). Why? The typical Christian church is not teaching sound Bible doctrine; rather, it too is totally oblivious to what the Lord Jesus Christ is doing today. Today’s Scripture admonishes, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not!”

After almost 2,000 years, the Body of Christ should have a firm understanding of its mission, doctrine, duty, walk, and destiny. Alas, even today, many Christians still “have not the knowledge of God” (today’s Scripture). The people who should know God’s Word and should let it work in and through them, are just as ignorant of God’s will as the lost world is. What a shame!!

Beloved, may we study and walk by faith in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, God’s Word to us, that our understanding of it be not shallow, and that we not reject it as many have done. 🙂

Shallow #7

Monday, October 28, 2013

“Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:34 KJV).

If the professing “Church” is to impact our culture as the Lord Jesus Christ intended, then it had better recognize today’s Scripture as applicable to it!

The Scriptural record demonstrates that, by the opening years of the first century A.D., the LORD God has dealt with the most wretched, rebellious, unbelieving race of creatures in all of His creation. Some 4,000 years since creation, and God’s will in the earth (His earthly kingdom) is still not accomplished.

When He offers Israel her Messiah-King (Jesus), the Person who alone can redeem her from sin and Satan, and who alone can cleanse her of her sins, Israel demands His crucifixion (John 19:15)! Even into the early Acts period, Israel is still unrepentant. She continues to intentionally reject God’s Word to her, as the Prophet Stephen testified: “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye” (Acts 7:51). Shortly after Stephen spoke these words, Israel stones and murders him; national Israel has now committed the “unpardonable sin” of Matthew 12:31,32, and thus (temporarily) falls before God.

In Acts chapter 9, God implements a plan that He has kept secret in Himself since the world began (Ephesians 3:1-11). He saves His chief enemy in the earth, Saul of Tarsus, commissions him as Paul the Apostle, and sends salvation to the Gentiles without Israel’s kingdom (Romans 11:11-13), thus beginning a new agency, the Church the Body of Christ, and His purpose and plan for the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:20-23).

And so, we (finally!) reach the context of today’s Scripture. Unfortunately, members of the Body of Christ are just as sinful and ignorant of God’s Word as the billions who lived during the previous 4,000 years (or 6,000 years if we include the present-day). Sin abounds in Corinth, in the lives of these Christians (read 1 Corinthians). Today’s Scripture, sadly, applies to many sincere Christians today. Religious tradition and the world’s “wisdom” have polluted their souls and corrupted their minds. Consequently, they too have rejected God’s Word to them… often, deliberately….

Shallow #6

Sunday, October 27, 2013

“Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:34 KJV).

If the professing “Church” is to impact our culture as the Lord Jesus Christ intended, then it had better recognize today’s Scripture as applicable to it!

Adam deliberately rejected God’s Word—so did Cain, Noah’s generation, and the post-diluvial (“after the Flood”) human race at Babel. For 2,000 years, God has attempted to use mankind in the earth for His glory, but mankind has audaciously and willfully rejected His Word and will. Dear readers, secular humanism is nothing new!

So, in Genesis chapter 12, God finds Abram, a pagan Syrian, and through this one man—whom He will later rename “Abraham”—He will create a group who will accomplish His will in the earth (which Adam and all of his descendants up to that point had failed to do). According to the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3), God created that nation, Israel, using Abraham’s son Isaac, Isaac’s son Jacob and Jacob’s 12 sons (heads of the 12 tribes of Israel).

About 500 years after the Abrahamic Covenant was instituted, God through Moses leads Israel (now about two million in number) out of Egyptian bondage. In Deuteronomy 4:1-49, Moses cautions Israel not to reject God’s Word to them (the Mosaic Law). They are to obey His every command when they arrive in the Promised Land. “For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?” (verse 7). The wayward nations (Gentiles) were to see the wisdom of the Creator God demonstrated in Israel’s behavior and lifestyle (verse 6).

Alas, as the centuries passed, Israel went deeper and deeper into apostasy. Circa 700 B.C., JEHOVAH chided Israel: “There is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land” (Hosea 4:1). Rather than knowledge of God’s Word in Israel’s land, there is idolatry, lying, murder, stealing, adultery, and violence (verses 2ff.). Like the billions before them, they too have intentionally rejected God’s Word and will for them (verse 6)….

Shallow #5

Saturday, October 26, 2013

“Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:34 KJV).

If the professing “Church” is to impact our culture as the Lord Jesus Christ intended, then it had better recognize today’s Scripture as applicable to it!

For 120 years, Noah, “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5), built the ark according to God’s instructions, and warned the world of the impending Global Flood. Eight people—Noah, his wife, and their three sons and their wives— boarded the ark just before the Flood (Genesis 7:7). God gave mankind an additional seven days to change their mind, believe His Word as spoken by Noah, and come into the ark of safety (verses 4,10). Of these perhaps four billion people in the world, not a single one came into the ark!

Jesus Christ Himself commented that when the waters of the Great Deluge came from above and from below, humanity was still pursuing carefree, satisfying lifestyles (Matthew 24:37-39). Although God’s Word, the warning of His impending judgment, was the least of their concern, violent waves of water immediately drowned their physical bodies and the flames of hell surrounded their souls. Most of the animal and plant species perished too (their fossilized remains form the geologic rock record that scientists still study today).

Approximately 150 to 200 years after the Great Flood, we come to the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). The new human population (Noah’s descendants) rejects the knowledge of God (just as Noah’s antediluvian generation did), defying God’s command to multiply and scatter over the face of the earth (Genesis 1:28; Genesis 9:1). Instead, they collaborate and begin to construct a city and a tower (place of false religious worship), Babel (just south of present-day Baghdad, Iraq). That false religious system is the “mother” of most present-day world religions. In order to slow down man’s rebellion against Him, God confounded their languages and scattered mankind across the globe (the origination of Gentile nations).

After God gave the Gentiles over to Satan, He selected one man, Abram, through whom He would create a nation of people, Israel. Now, let us see if Israel will be any different from the previous Bible-rejecters….

Shallow #4

Friday, October 25, 2013

“Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:34 KJV).

If the professing “Church” is to impact our culture as the Lord Jesus Christ intended, then it had better recognize today’s Scripture as applicable to it!

Man’s fall into sin resulted because of his deliberate disregard for God’s Word. What was the result of this fall? It did not take very long for the degradation of human marriage (Adam turning on his wife, Eve), the decline of the family (Cain murdering his brother, Abel), and the collapse and nearly complete obliteration of human civilization (the wicked world destroyed in the Great Flood). We will briefly focus on the last two events.

Cain refused to bring the blood sacrifice that God commanded, so when his brother Abel confronted him, Cain murdered Abel (Genesis 4:1-7; Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12). Not only did Cain reject God’s Word to him that Abel spoke, but Cain was unconcerned about his brother and he showed no remorse when God asked him where Abel was (see Genesis 4:8-15).

In Genesis chapter 6, some 1,600 years after the Fall of Man in Eden, we read: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (verse 5). Here, the human population may be as high as four billion, and nearly every soul is cooperating with Satan’s policy of evil. Amidst this worldwide corruption and violence (verses 11,12), we find one man, Noah, “a just [righteous] man and perfect [upright] in his generations, and [he] walked with God” (verse 9).

Of all the billions in the world, God commissions Noah to build an ark, in order to save the animal species and the human seed-line. There is a worldwide flood coming, and for 120 years, Noah preaches God’s Word to the world (Hebrews 11:7; 1 Peter 3:18-20; 2 Peter 2:5). Instead, they ridicule and ignore God’s Word through Noah. As Noah constructs the huge ark, the world just continues—gleefully and deliberately—in its wickedness….