Deflate Yourself and Edify Others #5

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth (1 Corinthians 8:1 KJV).

Ignorance can be very dangerous—knowledge can be equally detrimental!

First Corinthians chapter 8 closes with: “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” The Apostle Paul knew more rightly divided Scripture than any of us Christians alive today. He could have been “puffed up.” Nevertheless, he was meek, exercising “charity” to “edify” other believers.

Paul the Apostle, God’s “pattern” for us in the Dispensation of Grace, practiced what he preached. He was very careful not (NOT!, NOT!) to selfishly use his liberty under grace as an excuse to do anything and everything he wanted. If the action could potentially discourage another Christian and destroy his edification process, Paul said he would never (NEVER!, NEVER!) engage in the behavior. In the case of today’s Scripture, it was food offered to idols. Still, the principle of charity should guide every aspect of our Christian life.

Galatians 5:13 again: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Rather than being “puffed up” in knowledge, we should remember “charity edifieth” (today’s Scripture). Romans 14:19 says: “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” To “edify” means “to build up” or “strengthen” (as opposed to tearing down, “destroying”—Romans 14:15). The weaker brother needs strengthening rather than further weakening (1 Corinthians 8:9-12), and strengthening will result if the stronger brother sets the example of charity.

Pride is “the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6): it caused Lucifer to fall and become Satan. Satanic behavior does not belong in the Christian’s life. Galatians 5:22,23 tell us: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” The Spirit of God works in the believer to produce “meekness,” deflating the prideful soul. He also produces “love,” which leads to “charity,” which causes the “edification” of others! 🙂

Deflate Yourself and Edify Others #4

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth (1 Corinthians 8:1 KJV).

Ignorance can be very dangerous—knowledge can be equally detrimental!

Romans chapter 14 continues: “[15] But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. [16] Let not then your good be evil spoken of: [17] For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. [18] For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. [19] Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. [20] For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. [21] It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.”

The verse following today’s Scripture says: “And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.” A Christian who boasts in his knowledge of Scripture rightly divided actually does not “know it all.” While he may know some doctrine, he is ignorant of Christian charity (other Bible doctrine, that which epitomizes grace living—today’s Scripture). Verses 8,9: “But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.”

Love in action is the mature Christian (wisely) curtailing his liberties if those behaviors can be stumblingblocks to believers without knowledge. Through a Christian’s spiritual knowledge exercised without wisdom, however, a weaker believer’s Christian life will be negatively impacted. This is the “walkest thou not charitably” of Romans 14:15. First Corinthians 8:11,12: “And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.”

We conclude with Paul’s personal example….

Deflate Yourself and Edify Others #3

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth (1 Corinthians 8:1 KJV).

Ignorance can be very dangerous—knowledge can be equally detrimental!

Friends, there is yet one more reference in 1 Corinthians to “puffed up.” It was purposely withheld until now. Chapter 13, verse 4: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,….” Through the Apostle Paul, the Holy Spirit wrote an entire chapter dedicated to charity (love in action). All of chapter 13 dealt with this most critical part of Christian living, something so desperately lacking in the Corinthian assembly. Charity and pride are totally incompatible. Comparing this to today’s Scripture, we see two contrasts—fixated on ourselves, or looking out for others.

In the context of today’s Scripture, the question is if Christians should eat foods offered to idols. A knowledgeable saint—skilled in God’s Word rightly divided—would see the idol as nothing, powerless to contaminate the food. The food could be eaten. Unlike the Dispensation of Law (Exodus 34:12-17), the Dispensation of Grace lacks dietary restrictions (1 Timothy 4:1-5). But, there was something else to consider…. the weaker Christian! A believer ignorant of dispensational distinctions would be uncomfortable with the food. Without that internal edification of doctrine, the immature Christian would stare aghast at the stronger Christian consuming the food! The stronger Christian, though knowledgeable, would be unwise. Verbally and/or visually, he would castigate the weaker Christian—“I know more Scripture than you! I can eat this without harm!” (Oh really? He too was ignorant… and harm was inflicted….)

Romans chapter 14 had already said: “[13] Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. [14] I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. [15] But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.”

Behold, dear brethren, we have finally arrived at the “charity” of today’s Scripture….

Our two latest Bible Q&A articles: Can you explain Matthew 11:11?” and Can you explain Matthew 11:12?

Deflate Yourself and Edify Others #2

Monday, August 28, 2017

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth (1 Corinthians 8:1 KJV).

Ignorance can be very dangerous—knowledge can be equally detrimental!

The Greek word translated “puffeth up” in today’s Scripture is physioo, from physa, “a pair of bellows.” Bellows are a device that consists of a bag between two handles, the handles squeezed together to blow air (as to stoke a fire). Think of an air pump inflating balloons or tires—or pride swelling a “big head!”

It describes people “boasting” concerning their favorite spiritual leaders (1 Corinthians 4:6), believers who “brag” that they have gotten away with misbehavior (1 Corinthians 4:18,19), fleshly members of the Body of Christ “proud of” and encouraging their brother guilty of sexual perversion (1 Corinthians 5:2), and “haughty” individuals extremely fixated on their unique so-called “supernatural” experiences (Colossians 2:18). Notice how every reference save one applies to the Corinthians—the audience of today’s Scripture. Pride overwhelmed Corinth because carnality abounded in it.

First Corinthians chapter 3 is such a sad commentary touching a group of Christians whom the Apostle Paul himself taught for 18 months (Acts 18:11): “[1] And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. [2] I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. [3] For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”

They “walk[ed] as men” in that they were depending on their own viewpoint as the basis for Christian living. Rather than divine thinking, sound Bible doctrine, there abounded in Corinth philosophy, man’s opinions. Man by nature, of course, is sinful. Instead of behaving like saints, they were acting like sinners! Rather than thinking like saints, they were thinking like sinners! Sinners by nature, of course, are selfish. Sinners by nature, of course, are prideful, boasting of their self-sufficiency (“I can do without God!”). If not being educated and grounded in God’s grace, saints will be “puffed up.” God’s grace teaches us to deflate….

Deflate Yourself and Edify Others #1

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth (1 Corinthians 8:1 KJV).

Ignorance can be very dangerous—knowledge can be equally detrimental!

As we know very well, no one likes a “know-it-all.” In fact, no one is truly a “know-it-all” anyway. Years ago, I spoke with another “Christian” about Scripture. Shortly into our conversation, he informed me that he “did not know everything.” As I pulled out my Bible, I smiled and said, “Neither do I and that is why I have this.”

Today’s Scripture admonishes us not to grow prideful because of our Bible knowledge. We study the Bible, but not to prove everyone else wrong. We study God’s Word, but not to beat people up with religious rhetoric. We study the Bible, but not to demonstrate ourselves to be smart. If we are studying the Bible for those reasons, we need to set it down until we learn how to properly think of Bible study.

The wisest Bible student is not one who memorizes verses, outlines, and Greek and Hebrew terms and grammar. No, that would be a knowledgeable Bible student. Knowledge has its risks, but knowledge with wisdom guards against the perils. Wisdom allows us to recognize how to use what we know to benefit others. In order to profit others, though, we must first love them, having an attitude of seeking their highest good. Charity is the outward action that internal love generates. Wisdom seeks to accomplish that charity.

By “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), we understand that we are “not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Galatians chapter 5 tells us: “[1] Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage…. [13] For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” There is liberty under grace, true. Still, we should be wise in making a conscious choice to limit our activity when engaging in a permissible behavior would cause an unknowledgeable brother or sister in Christ to stumble….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘the burning ague?’

A Widespread Error

Saturday, August 26, 2017

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13,14 KJV).

On social media, Twitter to be exact, there are currently more than 34,000 tweets containing the tag “#HurricanHarvey.” How can this help us understand today’s Scripture?

It is generally assumed that everybody goes to Heaven. You read obituaries, and you will never read about someone going to Hell. They all are in a “better place.” After all, we hear, “One religion is just as good as every other.” (This is constantly used against Bible believers.) It is also commonly asked, “If Christianity is the right religion, how could so many people be so wrong? Christians are not the majority of the world’s population.” Well, all we have to do is just remember the aforementioned Twitter incident. Mistakes are quite common, even among large groups. There is supposedly “safety in numbers,” but that is not necessarily true concerning arriving at proper beliefs. Groupthink can be dangerous… and those tweets show us!

The Lord Jesus spoke of few believers in the one true God and His truth (today’s Scripture). Friend, you study the Bible, and you see just a few believers in the God of the Bible. Think of the 7,000 who did not bow and kiss idols in a nation of millions in Elijah’s day. Remember the eight believers on Noah’s Ark? Think of the 120 believers in Christ in Jerusalem just after His ascension. Recall the two out of 12 spies who had a favorable report concerning the Promised Land.

Beloved, majority does not determine truth. When people object and inquire, “How can Jesus Christ be the only way to Heaven when so few people believe it? How can the King James Bible be the Bible for English-speaking people when so few people believe it? How can dispensational Bible study be true when so few people believe it?” Well, we just recall today’s Scripture… and the widespread error on Twitter!

Answers in Scripture

Friday, August 25, 2017

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5 KJV).

Are you lacking wisdom, friend? Why not “ask of God?”

Not long ago, Mom and I visited a nearly 96-year-old relative. For a few years now, my parents and I have tried to keep Scriptural dialog open with her. While she is still content in being bound in her works-religion, Mom told me the woman seemed more receptive to truth than usual. She heard the Gospel of the Grace of God many times again during our most recent visit. We tried to emphasize to her that all the “crazy” things happening in the world are the result of sin and that Jesus Christ died to save us from such depravity. She learned once again that the Holy Bible is a beacon of light in this world of darkness, and a solid foundation in this world of uncertainty. Her religion is powerless to help her, educate her, or comfort her in such troubling times.

Another point I stressed with this dear lady is the fact that people are groping around, looking for answers, but apart from God. Notice how the Holy Spirit through James in today’s Scripture encouraged people to consult God when they wanted wisdom. True, the Bible was not yet complete at that time (James was perhaps the earliest “New Testament” Book written); hence, that partially-revealed Word of God left people with various unanswered spiritual questions. Even so, God did not discourage anyone from seeking His truth. He was willing to provide more information if they wanted it!

Many years after James, Paul wrote in the final Bible Book: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). With the Pauline revelations exposed and written down, everything that God wants man to know and do, we find it in the completed Bible. Thus, the way we “ask” God for wisdom today is to submit to His written words, Holy Scripture. If we are in spiritual darkness, God is not to blame!

A Kingdom of Righteousness

Thursday, August 24, 2017

“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Hebrews 1:8,9 KJV).

Behold, a kingdom like this world has never seen!

After watching nightly television newscasts, browsing news websites, listening to radio news bulletins, and reading newspapers and magazines, one cannot help but be depressed. There is such major social unrest and distress here in the United States and around the world—violence, racism, deception, lunacy, corruption, fraud, torture, murder, war, slander, injustice, vandalism, anarchy, greed, and so on. Evil is lauded as good and good is condemned as evil. Society has fallen apart!

The Bible believer is not shocked. Romans chapter 1 demarcates the depravity of the Gentile nations at the Tower of Babel (some 22 centuries before our Dispensation of Grace). Second Timothy chapter 3 describes the world’s conditions as our dispensation winds down (much the same characteristics as Romans chapter 1). Society is not “reforming,” improving, “evolving” into a species of higher life-forms. True, we have gained more knowledge over the millennia—technology, medical science, et cetera. Nevertheless, we still have the same rotten sin nature that causes the horrific lifestyles of Romans chapter 1 and 2 Timothy chapter 3. Moreover, the evil world system driven by that sin in man, and governed by Satan, remains.

Thankfully, today’s Scripture, quoting Psalm 45:6-7, anticipates the glorious day when the Lord Jesus Christ assumes the throne of Earth’s governments. (From Paul’s epistles, we learn He will also sit on the throne of the Heaven’s governments—Colossians 1:16-20 and Ephesians 1:9-10.) There will be a thorough cleansing of all governments. Notable characteristics of the Lord’s kingdom will be a love for “righteousness” (God’s standard of rightness) and a hatred for “iniquity” (inequality, crookedness, sinfulness). Father God will personally appoint His Son to that throne. In that day, He will make all things right, and judge that which is wrong. The universe will be unrecognizable. For once, righteousness will reign, and sin will be dealt with correctly and swiftly. Such paradise will be “for ever and ever!” 🙂

Day By Day

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16 KJV).

Will Bible reading on Sunday suffice for the week? Today’s Scripture says absolutely not!

A friend in the ministry related a story of encountering a very strange man. After he delivered his sermon, the man came to him and wanted to argue with him about Scripture. When my friend asked him where his Bible was, he said that he did not own one! How was he going to discuss Scripture with my friend who had a Bible, if he did not even have his own personal copy? As it turned out, he said that he had heard the Bible preached all his life, so he did not need to have one for himself. He “knew” what it said because he “remembered” what he had heard preachers say what it said! (That is faulty on so many levels!)

It is a common idea that the Christian can go to church on Sunday, let the minister read from and teach the Bible, and have no further need for “Bible study” until the next weekend. This is exactly why there is so much Bible ignorance and spiritual immaturity in the professing church. There is so much reliance on ministers—and they are often not even reading and/or teaching verses properly! Furthermore, one day of Bible reading a week is spiritual starvation.

Friends, our inward man must be renewed “day by day” (today’s Scripture). Ephesians 4:23 says we need to be “renewed in the spirit of [our] mind.” Romans 12:2 amplifies: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” If the Scriptures are not renewing our mind “day by day,” we are being “conformed to this world” every day. There is no power of the indwelling Holy Spirit in our lives because there is no doctrine for Him to use. Every day, we are taking in all the information the evil world system wants to teach us. We must have sound Bible doctrine—“day by day” Bible study—to win that battle between truth and error!

A Pattern of Longsuffering

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting (1 Timothy 1:15,16 KJV).

God could be righteously angered and vengeful today. Thankfully, He is not!

A friend saw a television preacher claiming to “heal” someone. The disabled person showed no improvement, so the minister obviously faked it. My friend wondered why God did not strike that preacher dead for using the name “Jesus Christ” to deceive millions. I explained to my friend that, as opposed to the strict Dispensation of Law, where God was so severe in meting out judgment on such charlatans, we live in the Dispensation of Grace.

God’s “longsuffering” is typified in the Apostle Paul (see today’s Scripture). His salvation is a “pattern” of how people are saved into Christ today. Saul was an unbelieving, rebellious, indoctrinated, self-righteous, zealous Jew. In early Acts, he traveled and arrested, tortured, and executed any Jew—including women!—who followed Jesus of Nazareth. The Lord Jesus Christ observed it all from Heaven. He could have easily struck down Saul and whisked him off to Hell! Contrariwise, the Lord chose to extend mercy and love toward that wretched sinner. He personally appeared to Saul in Acts chapter 9. Saul, amazed and humbled, trusted the Lord Jesus Christ whom he had passionately hated.

Indeed, God chose that leader of sinners, the head of Israel’s rebellion against Jesus Christ, to become the Apostle Paul. He commissioned that man to go to all nations and preach the same grace God had shown him. Hence, God’s spokesman to the world opens each of his 13 epistles with, “Grace and peace.” Rather than wrath and war, God is (temporarily) patiently tolerating sinful man. The Lord Jesus Christ has paid our sin debt; hence, we enjoy grace and peace today. However, to benefit from it forever, like Paul, we must receive and trust it. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did the Great Flood’s water save the eight souls in 1 Peter 3:20?