Will Ye Plead for Baal?

Friday, September 30, 2016

And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar (Judges 6:31 KJV).

If Baal is the one true God, then he can defend himself!

The LORD had instructed Gideon: “Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it: And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down” (verses 25,26). Verse 27 continues: “Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father’s household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.”

Early the next morning, the men of the city wake to find Baal’s altar thrown down, the nearby grove (shrine of images) cut down, and the second bullock that was offered on the altar (verse 28). Upon learning Gideon is responsible, they demand Joash bring out his son so they can put him to death (verses 29,30). Joash responded in today’s Scripture: “Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar.” Realizing his pagan god could not punish his son, Joash was evidently converted. He accentuated his new faith in JEHOVAH, and the silliness of Baal worship, by asking, “Is ‘almighty’ Baal actually powerless? Does he need you to defend his demolished place of worship?” (This is somewhat comical!)

Verse 32 concludes: “Therefore on that day he [Joash] called him [Gideon] Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does, ‘Quit you like men,’ mean?

Sounding Right, Being Wrong

Thursday, September 29, 2016

And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel (Matthew 2:4-6 KJV).

Did you ever notice how Israel’s religious leaders “corrected” the inspired Word of God?

Complaining about the King James Bible, people often profess to have “better translations.” In this day and age of widespread false teaching, and ears itching to hear more traditions of men, God has supposedly sent these “Bible correctors” to “make plain His original words.” (Fantasy and folly!) In my few years alive, reading words from and talking with Bible “scholars,” I have learned all are not honest. This is no surprise. After all, when King Herod summoned the Bible “scholars” of his day, they employed a “dynamic equivalence” (free-wording) method: “And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.”

The casual Bible reader will gloss over Matthew 2:6, never bothering to look at the original quote, Micah 5:2: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” We are not interested in the fact the religious leaders did not quote it verbatim. What concerns us is they actually quoted the verse so it read the opposite: though thou be little among the thousands of Judah” (God’s words in Micah 5:2) became art not the least among the princes of Juda” (man’s opinions in Matthew 2:6). These religious leaders were not quoting God’s Word in faith; otherwise, they would have visited the Christ Child!

Dear friends, learn this lesson. Take heed concerning religious leaders and their “helpful” alternative Bible readings. Never forget that, in today’s Scripture, they sounded right but were totally wrong!

Sparrows and Saints

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31 KJV).

A noted atheist once openly ridiculed “soft-hearted” God for “weeping” when a sparrow fell. What is our answer to such a fool?

Today’s Scripture says, in New Testament times, two sparrows were worth one “farthing” (also called an assarius). A “penny” (also called a denarius) was a laborer’s daily wages (Matthew 20:2). The assarius was about 1/16th of a penny. Imagine your wages for working 1/16th of a day. That was the price of two sparrows. Halve that to get the price of one sparrow. One would only have to work 1/32nd of a day to buy one sparrow. You could work a full day and buy 32 sparrows. In other words, sparrows were inexpensive in terms of human assessment. But, in the Lord Jesus’ estimation, every little sparrow was valuable. The Father would notice when an “insignificant” sparrow would “fall on the ground” (assuming death). After all, that sparrow was the descendant of the original birds He had directly created via His spoken word. He never intended even one animal to die! Death was man’s doing, not God’s!

Yet, even “many sparrows” (despite God’s value of them) were nothing compared to His believers. “Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Take time today to read Matthew chapter 10 very closely. You can see the Lord Jesus Christ preparing His 12 apostles (and, more generally, believing Israel) to experience very difficult times. They will have to endure the extreme pressures of the coming Antichrist’s rule. Friends, that future persecution of Israel’s Little Flock is beyond our comprehension. For following Jesus Christ, all will lose family members and friends. They will also lose their homes, clothes, employment, and access to food. Some will lose their lives.

What the Lord Jesus skillfully did in today’s Scripture is encourage believing Israel, paraphrased, “Just as My Father notices an inexpensive sparrow dying, He will notice you suffering and dying for His Son’s name! He is watching everything and will punish your persecutors in due time!”

May Ignorance Not Be Your Preference!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) (Ephesians 3:4 KJV).

Want to know the Bible’s truths, especially Paul’s revelations? Read it!

Recently, I spoke with a Christian brother who explained how he had quite an “adventure” coming to understand the Bible rightly divided. It boggled his mind how, despite all the deception in the world, he had come to the knowledge of the truth. In fact, other grace believers often ask the same question he had, “Why did God choose to reveal this to me while so many others, especially professing Christians, know nothing about it and grope in spiritual darkness?” Dear friends, this is actually a flawed question because, whether we realize it or not, it endorses the false teachings of Calvinism (that is, “God chose me and He did not choose you! I am so special!”)

The consistent testimony of Scripture is people are ignorant of God’s Word, not because He chose them for ignorance, but because they refused Him and His Word. See Romans 1:20-32, for example. The Lord Jesus Himself said in John 7:17: “If any man will [wishes to] do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” He said in Matthew 23:37: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Finally, John 5:43: “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”

“Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13). Bibles are everywhere on this planet—in print, online, and audio. Oftentimes, people who have access to several Bibles never read any of them, let alone study any! Too many people, if they do read the Bible, always let theologians and denominations “interpret” (read that as “confuse!”) it for them. According to Scripture, the vast majority remains ignorant of God’s truths because ignorance is their preference! “If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:38)!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Could you explain John 1:51?

Enjoy, With Godliness and Contentment

Monday, September 26, 2016

“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17 KJV).

Enjoy life, friends, with godliness and contentment!

Some Christians, seeking the title “The Epitome of Simplistic Living,” consider pleasure a sin. (Supposedly, the more basic one’s lifestyle is, the “holier” he or she is!) Eating at a nice restaurant—NO! Wearing makeup and nice clothing—NO! and NO! Watching television shows and movies—NO! (“Christians should remain home and avoid the world!”) Or, maybe their life’s goal is to scrimp and stash spare change in their pockets, and collect every last penny on sidewalks. They “stash” it underground for “Jesus’ glory!” (Ignoring, “God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.”) Furthermore, although they have taken great precautions to hold to that wealth, something bad will eventually happen—another person may find and keep it, the economy may collapse, or they just may die!

Other Christians know nothing but pleasure. They love entertainment wherever they go… at home, at school, at work, at church, and so on. They too have trusted in “uncertain” riches. Life for them is all about how much they can spend and sport—bigger homes, faster cars, beautiful spouses, highest-paying jobs, educations, and so on. They have a God-shaped vacuum in their hearts, and they are desperately trying to fill it with everything but sound Bible doctrine.

Dear friends, God wants us at neither extreme. We need to strike a balance. Today’s Scripture says, “Nor trust in uncertain riches… but in… God… who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” Contrary to popular belief, it is not a sin to “enjoy” life by owning nice possessions. If we can afford what we want, we may purchase it—“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7)! Yet, let us not trust in those “uncertain” riches. Remember, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Timothy 6:6-8).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who, crucified on Calvary, mocked Jesus?

On Earth, From Heaven

Sunday, September 25, 2016

“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20 KJV).

While living in this earthly tabernacle, our actions should reflect our heavenly citizenship!

This past weekend, my high school class, Northwest High School Class of 2006, held its 10-year reunion. (Hopefully, we are 10 years wiser!) While we had kept in contact through social media, most of us had not met in-person for over a decade! We now live in other cities or states. Unfortunately, only one-fourth of our class (20-25 persons out of 96 graduates) was able or willing to come!

It was nice to see them and rekindle old friendships. As we ate together, and flipped through yearbooks, looking at those images from long ago, we reminisced about “the ol’ days”—laughs and cries. We considered our teachers (nearly all have retired, and a few have died). Also, we divulged our careers—pharmacists, restaurant owners, administrative assistants, store-chain supervisors, computer technicians, writer (me!), musicians, et cetera. It was strange meeting their spouses and children. (Could we really be this old?! Yes!) Two classmates are no longer with us—one took his own life many years ago, and the other died in a tragic automobile accident just last month!

When I was asked what I had been up to, I did not hesitate to them! Much has changed since I last saw them. Having entered the ministry shortly after graduation, I told them about “the Lord’s work” being accomplished here these last 10 years. Through my words and actions, I truly hope and pray they saw the light of Jesus Christ those two short days we were together. (Some have been quietly “following” and/or noticing our online posts for years.)

Saints, I know the burdens we have about seeing unsaved family and friends. If we could believe on Jesus Christ for them, we would do it in a heartbeat. We know good and well those who die without Christ go to hell. Let us tell them about Him whenever we can. Even if they refuse our speaking, we can present God’s Word to them without yelling and pointing fingers. We just act differently, letting God’s Word express itself in and through us. Shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15,16)!

The Precious Blood of Christ #8

Saturday, September 24, 2016

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18,19 KJV).

God the Father and God the Holy Ghost think the blood of Jesus Christ is “precious.” And you?

When people tell us the blood of Christ is “slaughterhouse religion” or “too offensive to stress,” what they really mean is God’s purpose and plan for creation means nothing to them! “Without shedding of blood is no remission [forgiveness]” (Hebrews 9:22). Life is in the blood, Leviticus 17:10-14 tells us. Save for the shed blood of the sinless God-Man, we sinners have no life—we would remain dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). The person who rails against the blood of Christ does so in ignorance. He or she has not a clue that just as sin brought us death, so the blood of Christ brings us life (cf. Romans 5:1-21).

By faith in the shed blood of Christ, any person can come to Father God and be justified (declared righteous) because he or she will share Christ’s identity. In today’s Dispensation of Grace, the believer joins the Church the Body of Christ. In time past, it was the nation Israel. In the ages to come, it will be the nation Israel. Regardless of which agency—Israel (Earth) or Body of Christ (Heaven)—both require faith in Christ’s shed blood to join. Now, we see how God will reconcile Heaven and Earth unto Himself. He will toss out Satan and his minions and replace them with His saints!

Romans 3:24-26: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” ’Tis only possible because “the precious blood of Christ” was shed so rich and free… for you and for me! 🙂