Israel, Be Still, and Know That He is God

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth (Psalm 46:10 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is a well-known verse from the book of Psalms; we look at it briefly within its context.

“[1] God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. [2] Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; [3] Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.”

As believing Israel struggles through Daniel’s 70th week, persecution by the Antichrist and his followers, JEHOVAH is her shelter and strength. He has a watchful eye on her, to “see” her through the seven-year Tribulation!

“[4] There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. [5] God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. [6] The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. [7] The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”

Jesus Christ has now arrived on Earth, concluded those seven years, defeated Israel’s enemies in fire and wrath, redeemed and delivered His believing Jews, now become “Immanuel,” “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14; Zechariah 8:23).

“[8] Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. [9] He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. [10] Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. [11] The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”

Israel rejoices that she is free from her captives, never again to fear oppression or war. Her King is sitting on David’s throne in Zion, Jerusalem, urging her to “be still,” rest, and enjoy Him, for she is now become His vessel to reach the Gentiles!

NOTE: As I announced Friday, I have been diagnosed with double-lung pneumonia (which can be fatal). Currently, I am on medication, improving in strength and appetite, recuperating slowly with much rest. Later this week, I visit my family doctor for a follow-up exam. I will provide additional info in the near future. Thank you for your continued prayer!

Ephesians, Parallelism, Edification, Perfection

Saturday, November 29, 2014

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

Can you spot a literary device known as “parallelism” in today’s Scripture?

As a Bible teacher, I gladly receive various Bible questions by phone, in person, or by email. I certainly encourage them. If today’s average church member had asked those questions long ago, he or she probably would not be attending that “church.” Bible questions drive us to study for Bible answers; we have no desire to search religions and denominations for Bible answers, for they can provide only religious and denominational answers.

Today’s Scripture says that, after His ascension into heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ “gave”—notice past tense—five spiritual gifts to cause the Church the Body of Christ to progress in spiritual maturity, that we 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” (verse 14).

God gave those gifts, Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (verse 13). Once the completed Bible canon came in the first century A.D., before the Apostle Paul died, the Body of Christ had every revelation it needed from God. Alas, today’s “church” is the epitome of perplexity. Look around at professing “Christianity,” and you see nothing but immature people, ever so confused, deceived, and laden with sins. What happened? Between the apostles’ time and our time, organized religion slowly infiltrated the Body of Christ, and gradually transferred the authority of the Scriptures to fallible men, denominations, and manmade books.

God’s work, not religion’s, will lead to “the perfecting [maturing] of the saints,” which leads to “the work of the ministry” (mature saints laboring in the local church, teaching God’s Word rightly divided), which causes “the edifying of the body of Christ” (all members of the Body growing together). Any other way to do “ministry” is foolish!

Close Call!

Friday, November 28, 2014

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; (Acts 17:24,25 KJV).

Saints, you never appreciate life until you come close to the end of it.

What was originally a sinus drip in me is now double-lung pneumonia. I spent much of the latter part of the morning and the early part of the afternoon in the emergency room receiving two intravenous fluid bags. The medicine I was previously taking for the sinus drip, coupled with severe dehydration and fever, had raised my heart rate to 155 beats a minute (the normal rate is 60 to 100)! I came dangerously close to having a mild heart attack. Instead, the Lord Jesus Christ decided to keep me here on earth a little longer. I am now resting at home, taking medication, and I will see my family doctor next week for a follow-up.

Our bodies, particularly our immune system, are truly a marvel, “fearfully and wonderfully made” indeed (Psalm 139:14). As today’s Scripture says, the God of creation “giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.” God gives breath and He can most certainly take it at any time. Beloved, we take life for granted so often, and it takes a major health crisis to cause us to appreciate it. Life is very fragile, and it does not take much to end it. Therefore, it is ever so important to have eternal insurance today.

We can have all the health insurance possible, but the death rate is still one apiece, and nothing save the Lord Jesus Christ’s shed blood can cover the penalty of sin, eternal death in hell and the lake of fire. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). The Lord Jesus paid the awful price for our eternal insurance, He died for us, that we, by trusting Him alone, might now live in and by Him… here in this life, and in the next! 🙂

In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 27, 2014

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV).

Dear saints, take a moment this Thanksgiving to learn a valuable lesson from the Holy Scriptures!

God wants “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4). To be “saved” here means you have been rescued from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire), and that you have a home in heaven, because you have trusted the death, shed blood, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for your sins. To “come unto the knowledge of the truth” is when a person who has trusted Christ, begins to understand why God saved him or her, and how God will use him or her for His glory. Although soul salvation is instantaneous, spiritual maturity is a life-long process (that is especially true regarding handling difficulties, the grace way!).

It is human nature to avoid difficulties and stress, to flee them, rather than confront them. This self-preservation is advantageous, particularly in “life or death” situations. However, running from troubling circumstances is not the way God has designed our life in Christ to function. Today’s Scripture says, In every thing give thanks,” notFor every thing give thanks.” We do not thank God for our troubles; we thank God while we are enduring those troubles. This is tough, I know, but it takes time for us to learn it. Even the Apostle Paul had to learn this.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

Be thankful in every thing. God’s grace is sufficient for you, dear saint, in all of life’s circumstances. When you learn this, you are “[coming] unto the knowledge of the truth.”

*Excerpted from our Thanksgiving 2012 Bible study with the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What are our spiritual blessings in Christ?

A Bible That (Effectually) Works #2

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

“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).

If God’s Word is to “effectually work” in us, we must first have it.

“Effectually worketh” means something that will produce the intended result. God wants to use His written Word, the Holy Bible, to build in our inner man, our soul, an edifice or structure of sound doctrine. This fortification of doctrine enables us to accomplish His will with Him, as well as protects us from the Adversary who wants to harm us and hinder God’s purpose and plan for us.

Thus, Satan knows that the best way to attack us is to divorce us from God’s Word, for then we are powerless against his schemes and scams. Nevertheless, Satan is a very sneaky creature; rather than trying to take the Bible completely away from us, for then he would be obvious, Satan will counterfeit the Bible, and then encourage us to use the counterfeit. We will never know otherwise, and we will sabotage our Christian life by defiling it with “junk doctrine.” Beloved, this is what makes the Bible versions issue so serious. If it is a translation not derived from pure Bible manuscripts, it is not God’s Word but man’s word, and man’s word will never produce what God’s Word will produce.

Just as false Bible manuscripts troubled Christians in Thessalonica (2 Thessalonians 2:2), just as false prophets misled Israel with untrue doctrine (2 Peter 2:1-3), so Satan uses counterfeits to confuse and undermine us. The Devil’s evil world system incites us to embrace modern Bible versions, so-called “easy-to-read” books but whose underlying manuscripts abound with historical and theological mistakes, and lack whole verses, passages, and even Bible books (!).

For over 400 years, the King James Bible has faithfully served the Body of Christ. Beloved, we would be foolish to believe present-day, “ear-tickling” Christendom could ever produce a Bible that even comes to close to the King James Bible, “a Bible that effectually works!” 🙂

A Bible That (Effectually) Works #1

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

“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).

If God’s Word is to “effectually work” in us, we must first have it.

“Today there are dozens of English Bible versions and many Spanish versions as well. Why so many? One reason is that languages constantly change. New words are always being added and others take on different meanings. Another reason is that Bible scholars are always learning new things about ancient Israel and the world of ancient Greece and Rome to help us better understand those times and people. No matter what Bible translation is used, however, the main purpose is to make the Bible reliable and understandable to those who want to read its message.

The above (misleading) quote was extracted from a “Bible society” book, supposedly written by “Bible experts.” If 200 modern English versions exist because “languages change,” why are they still selling ($ELLING) those published 10 to 50 or more years ago? Even that Bible publisher (whose book was quoted) has not produced a new Bible translation in years. Could the English language be changing so rapidly that we needed 150 to 200 Bible versions during the last century? Surely, us needing a new Bible every half-year or year is utterly ludicrous!

Interestingly, the Bible publishers above never educated the general public as to manuscript divergence (various manuscripts contradicting various others), the fact that people throughout history used these perverted manuscripts to counterfeit, challenge, supplant God’s Holy Bible. In their minds, and those of the gullible readers (who are instructed to think likewise), any Bible manuscript is “just as good as the next.” The historicity of false prophets, false apostles, false brethren, and false teachers, is totally disregarded. Dear friends, the issue is never modern language versus archaic language; it is which manuscripts are being translated. If it is not God’s Word, it will not “effectually work” in us. Hence, we uphold the King James Bible as God’s Word for us English-speaking people….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Jesus Christ heal on the Sabbath days?

Preaching to Perfect

Monday, November 24, 2014

[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 KJV).

And so, our grace Bible conference has concluded.

Our ministry goal as Pauline dispensationalists is to “have all men saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4)—to see that they hear the right Gospel (Paul’s Gospel, Christ’s finished crosswork [1 Corinthians 15:3,4]) so as to believe it, and to see that they hear the right Bible doctrine so as to receive it (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon). That is Father God’s will for them; if we delight in His will, it will become our will; and we will then do His will.

We are not here to prove ourselves right, or to force people to agree with us; we are here to declare that God is right and everyone else is wrong, and to be helpers of others’ joy. We know the heartaches and perplexities of religious tradition, we have found the key to recovering ourselves out of the snare of the devil, and now we hold forth “the word of life”not in arrogance, but in compassion, for we too were once foolish and deceived. We care about their souls, that they not be defiled with either sins of the flesh (“secular” human evil) or sins of the spirit (“pious” human good).

Rather than trying to take away something worthless that they have, we offer them God’s priceless wisdom that they need; if they embrace the latter, they will discard the former! If they prefer spiritual ignorance, that is their prerogative, and we should say no more; if they want spiritual maturity, that is our privilege of teaching them God’s Word rightly divided (today’s Scripture).

As our apostle Paul knew, it was really God’s Holy Spirit working in him mightily; it was not Paul struggling in himself to do the work of the ministry. When it is God working, there is no pride, failure, or misery; only charity, love in action, to see that lost souls are saved (justified) and those Christian souls are edified (strengthened). Yes, we “preach to perfect!” 🙂

NOTE: The 2014 Slidell Grace Bible Conference concluded yesterday. Videos of the messages to be uploaded to YouTube in due time, so stay tuned for updates. If you are interested in purchasing CDs or DVDs, please email me for more information at arcministries@gmail.com.