Put the Brethren in Remembrance

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

“If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained” (1 Timothy 4:6 KJV).

Never forget to remind the brethren!

Father God has much to say. He was so generous to give us a written record of what He wanted to tell us. May we be so thankful to Him that, when we have a King James Bible, we hold His inspired words preserved in English. No need for us to get lost in a maze of Hebrew and Greek, looking for hidden “nuggets” in a mine abounding with fools’ gold. It is unnecessary to enter a “prayer closet” and beg God to reveal His will to us. Rather, we need to get into His Bible and read it for ourselves!

Since the creation of Adam and Eve some 6,000 years ago, human life has become increasingly complicated and busier. In this age of entertainment, it is extremely easy for Christians to become sidetracked. They sit in front of their televisions, computers, and personal devices (including smartphones), and often go hours, days, weeks, months… even years!… without giving God’s Word even the slightest consideration. May they wake up!

Paul the Apostle exhorted young Pastor Timothy to remind his Christian brethren of the instructions laid out in the first epistle that bears his name. He was to especially bring to their attention Satan’s schemes and scams. In the verses preceding today’s Scripture, the Holy Spirit warned of Christians who would abandon sound Bible doctrine. They would embrace religion—“forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats” (verses 1-5).

However, Timothy could reduce Satan’s work by reminding his brethren of sound Bible doctrine (today’s Scripture). Those grace doctrines, constantly affirmed, would encourage the members of the Body of Christ to hold fast to God’s truth. As long as they held on to God’s Word rightly divided, being daily reminded of it, they would survive the apostasy.

Brethren, we trust we have fulfilled today’s Scripture here on a daily basis. Now, to our Lord Jesus Christ’s glory, we close five full years of “333 Words of Grace!” 🙂

The Greatest War Hero

Monday, May 30, 2016

“For God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).

In the United States, today is Memorial Day, when we remember those who sacrificed their time and lives to provide our physical freedom. Likewise, as Christians, we have spiritual freedom, which was more costly. Someone had to die to give us the eternal life we now enjoy….

Scripture describes a spiritual warfare between good and evil, God’s truth program versus Satan’s lie program: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:11,12; see also verses 13-20).

Satan distracts mankind from God’s pure Word, the Bible, keeping unbelievers lost (dead in their sins), and preventing unbelievers and Christians from knowing God’s will. The devil draws them away (seduces them) from God’s Word by using religious tradition and human “wisdom” (1 Timothy 4:1-3; cf. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Galatians 3:1-3).

God loves us, so at Calvary’s cross, Christ fought for us sinners, died in battle (today’s Scripture), shed His divine sinless blood, and eternally rescued us from Satan and sin: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15).

Hebrews 9:12 says Jesus Christ has “obtained eternal redemption for us.”

If we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). Now, God can use us for His glory for all eternity.

Beloved, let us rejoice in our victory over sin, death, and hell that Jesus Christ secured for us by going to Calvary’s rugged cross! Jesus Christ is now alive forevermore—He is our Hero, the Greatest Hero!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study “The Greatest Hero,” which can be read here or watched here.

Wealthy of Goods But Destitute of Truth

Sunday, May 29, 2016

“Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself” (1 Timothy 6:5 KJV).

Their pockets are full—their teachings are vain.

Recently flipping through a religious magazine, the following tidbit caught my attention: “When he requested early retirement due to reasons of health in late [year], Bishop [name] gratefully acknowledged that, despite difficult times, the last five years of his service to the people of [location] was marked by a 35 percent increase in offertory collections throughout the diocese.”

Friend, the above paragraph justifies people’s claims that religion is all about money. This bishop, who had served his parishioners for many years, “gratefully acknowledged” one accomplishment in particular. Notice it was not that he ensured that the Gospel of the Grace of God was clearly preached throughout the hundreds of churches that he oversaw. Notice it was not that he guided his people into the truths of God’s Word, the Holy Bible. Notice that it was not that his diocese had glorified Jesus Christ. Nay! He was most proud of the fact that the diocese’s income increased 35 percent with him as leader!

When instructing young Timothy how to operate a local grace church, Paul reminded him not to let materialism corrupt his ministry (today’s Scripture). God’s ministry needs funding, no doubt, and we should give to sound Bible ministries. But, ministers should exercise great caution that they not worship wealth (see 1 Timothy 3:3,8; Titus 1:7).

Remember, Israel’s religious leaders had made God’s religion of Judaism into a “lucrative business.” They were cheating people in the name of “JEHOVAH” and—adding insult to injury—they were doing it in His house, the Temple (Matthew 21:12,13)! Jesus fittingly called them “thieves.” He could easily say this about so many professing “Christian” churches and ministers today (go back to the “bishop’s” noteworthy accomplishment!). They focus on installing ornate woodwork, fine paintings, stained-glass windows, and “state-of-the-art” electronics. Meanwhile, they are less concerned about teaching sound Bible doctrine and handling God’s Word God’s way. Their church buildings appear nice and godly, but are full of unsaved, spiritually ignorant people. May we have enough Spiritual grounding to avoid them!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated?’

Known of God #7

Saturday, May 28, 2016

“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (Galatians 4:8,9 KJV).

Not only do we in Christ know God. More importantly, God knows us!

There was a time—“time past”—when the idolaters of Galatia, nonmembers of Israel, did not know the one true God personally and intimately (Ephesians 2:11,12; cf. Romans 9:4,5). However, Paul wrote to the Galatians that that time had passed. Mankind was now living in “but now.”

Ephesians chapter 2 declares: “[13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ… [18] For through him [Jesus Christ] we both [Jew and Gentile] have access by one Spirit unto the Father. [19] Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; [20] And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; [21] In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: [22] In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

Through Paul’s Gospel—Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)—we Gentiles have “access” to Father God. Furthermore, when we believe that Gospel of God’s Grace, He comes to live inside of us personally via the Holy Spirit. In His Word rightly divided, He has made known unto us His will. We need not revert to our former ways of spiritual ignorance. No need to return to works-religion (as the Galatians were doing in today’s Scripture—using the Mosaic Law). Works-religion will only hinder God’s relationship with us, and ours with Him. He has already given us His grace, His Son, and His fellowship. We need give Him nothing but our trust.

The God of creation will be known of us, and, most importantly, we will be known of Him! 🙂

Known of God #6

Friday, May 27, 2016

“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (Galatians 4:8,9 KJV).

Not only do we in Christ know God. More importantly, God knows us!

To the pagan Gentiles, Israel’s God was the “UNKNOWN GOD” (Acts 17:23). Dead in trespasses and sins, under Satan’s control, Gentiles had no relationship with Israel’s God (Ephesians 2:1-3,11,12). Once we move in the Bible from “time past” to “but now,” however, Israel’s God becomes “known” to the Gentiles. Israel’s God decided to reveal a secret He had kept to Himself for thousands of years. He chose Saul of Tarsus, His arch-nemesis, saved him by His grace, and sent him (made him an apostle) for a very special purpose. Paul would preach a worldwide Gospel message. “THE UNKNOWN GOD… him declare I unto you!(Acts 17:23).

Paul’s own admission is 1 Timothy 2:5-7: “[5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I 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.”

Israel’s rejected Messiah, Jesus, had become the Saviour of the world. Now, through Paul’s ministry, all people of all nations learn “Christ Jesus… gave himself a ransom for all.” This message was first preached by Paul (not Jesus in His earthly ministry, not Peter, not James, not John, et cetera). Through Christ’s shed blood, we have fellowship with Father God: “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). When we trust Jesus’ finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins, we “know” God intimately. And, more importantly, as a parent would commune with his or her child, He “knows” us.

We conclude this devotionals arc by expounding the rest of today’s Scripture….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did not Jesus speak words not recorded in Scripture?

Known of God #5

Thursday, May 26, 2016

“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (Galatians 4:8,9 KJV).

Not only do we in Christ know God. More importantly, God knows us!

Today, it is very difficult to find someone who has never heard of “Jesus.” Contrariwise, when the Apostle Paul began his ministry, it was very difficult to find someone who had heard of “Jesus.” When JEHOVAH God’s apostle of the Gentiles, Paul, entered Athens, Galatia, Thessalonica, Lystra, Derbe, Philippi, Antioch, Berea, Ephesus, and innumerable other Gentile areas, it was His first attempt ever to directly reach those Gentiles. The nations that He had given over to Satan’s control back in Genesis chapter 11, He was now reaching down so they could reach Him.

In Acts chapter 14, Paul and Barnabas preached to the idolaters at Lystra: “[15] …[T]urn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: [16] Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.” Paul preached in Athens (chapter 17): “[23] For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. [24] 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; [25] Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;… [29] Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. [30] And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:”

Paul preached a similar message to the idolaters in Galatia (today’s Scripture). It was via his Gospel message they could know God and He could know them!

Known of God #4

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (Galatians 4:8,9 KJV).

Not only do we in Christ know God. More importantly, God knows us!

While Israel had a special status before God in “time past” (Romans 9:4,5; Ephesians 2:11,12), she was unappreciative. She forgot that God had not chosen her as His special people because she was so lovely and loving, but rather because He, in His love, wanted to use her to reach all the nations on His behalf (Genesis 12:1-3). During Christ’s earthly ministry and early Acts, Israel demonstrated she was unwilling to be God’s channel of salvation and blessing to the Gentiles.

So, God turned to Gentiles without Israel. Israel fell before God—albeit temporarily. This is where the Apostle Paul enters. Guided by the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote in Romans chapter 11: “[11] I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:”

If you read the latter part of the book of Acts—chapter 13 onward—you will cover the bulk of Paul’s ministry. While he did visit synagogues (Jewish places of worship) to warn Israelites of their nation’s temporary fall before God, he also ministered to people who were completely unaware of Israel’s God. None of these people had ever heard the name “Jesus Christ.” Rather, they had their idols of superstition, pagan education, Satanism, wood and stone, et cetera (see Acts 14:1-18, Acts 16:16-18, Acts 17:16-31, Acts 19:21-41, and Acts 28:1-8). This was where Paul found the Galatians (see today’s Scripture). He preached to them the wonderful Gospel of the Grace of God. They came to know the one true God!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is Israel ‘cast away,’ or not? Has Israel ‘fallen,’ or not?