What Child Is This? #2

Thursday, November 30, 2017

“And they [the shepherds] came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds” (Luke 2:16-18 KJV).

The second verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spears shall pierce Him through,
The cross He bore for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.”

It was just as the angel of the Lord had told them. The Saviour, Christ the Lord, the King of Israel, was indeed born in Bethlehem, but not in a palace. The shepherds found Him lying in a trough, a structure out of which farm animals ate! How odd!

There were just so many things about Jesus’ nativity that did not make sense in the human mind. Firstly, a virgin had conceived and borne a child. Secondly, the God of creation had confined Himself to a tiny body that could be held in human hands. Thirdly, that the King of Israel had been born in a stinky, dirty barn and His crib was literally a trough. Lastly, that Someone so important did not have thousands of people flocking to His crib. Strange!

As the shepherds left Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus, they spread the news about what they had heard and seen. The Bible says that this audience “wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.” They could not fathom how it was possible, either. Even today, the natural (lost) mind of man not only struggles with, but outright refuses, to believe the simple truths of the Bible. They rather rail against and reject that which they do not understand, than acknowledge that they do not know everything and the God of the Bible is wiser than they are. To accept those truths would mean validating how Jesus Christ came to live that He would die for us sinners.

Yet, some hearers believed!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who was Theophilus?

What Child Is This? #1

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:30-33 KJV).

The first verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.”

Such an event had never before happened in human history. God had promised “the seed of the woman” to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15), but it was 4,000 years later that Mary was identified as that “woman.” That the Creator God would take upon Himself the flesh of sinful man, though Himself never being defiled by sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22). Unheard of in pagan religions!

The angels understood the Old Testament prophecies about God’s Son being born of a human mother. She was a “virgin,” a young woman (perhaps in her teens) who had never had any sexual relations with a man (Luke 1:34). On the night of Baby Jesus’ birth into the human race—the culmination of humanity added to His deity—the angels appeared in the sky and sang, to encourage the shepherds in the nearby fields to hurry to Bethlehem to see a little Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes (Luke 2:8-14).

“[15] And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.”

Once the shepherds came to Bethlehem, and found Baby Jesus, they beheld such a strange sight!

A Conference Worth Attending

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

“Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13 KJV).

A great Bible conference is coming up soon!

We will soon be holding our sixth annual Slidell Grace Bible Conference in southeastern Louisiana. It will be nice to see old friends in the ministry as well as new ones. We are all going to fellowship with each other around our Saviour (Jesus Christ), our final authority (King James Bible), and our apostle (Paul). There will be delicious food for the (temporary) outward man to enjoy, but more importantly, there will be strong spiritual meat on which the (eternal) inner man can feast forever!

We saints are not assembling to feel religious, but rather to be reminded of God’s life in us. We saints are not assembling to be entertained, but rather to be edified by God’s Word rightly divided. We saints are not assembling to fill our minds with complex denominational doctrines, but rather to fill our hearts with the simple doctrine that is in the King James Bible. We saints are not assembling to exalt preachers, but rather to encourage one another to continue in sound Bible doctrine. We saints are not assembling to tell God the Holy Spirit what He should be doing in the present-day, but rather to let God the Holy Spirit tell us what He is doing so we can by faith do that as well.

It is because of today’s Scripture that, at our Bible conference, we will “give attendance” (or, pay attention to) “reading,” “exhortation [encouragement/advice],” and “doctrine [teaching].” Very rarely is the Bible actually read in “Christian” churches today. They read novels, commentaries, and Greek grammars, but not much Bible (unless it fits the system the denomination promotes). Oftentimes, the “encouragement” in “Christian” churches today is some feel-good message instead of a sound (“healthy”) message. Very rarely is “doctrine” mentioned in most “Christian” churches today. “Boring” Bible study and “divisive” doctrine have been replaced by moving, jumping, and singing. No need to wonder why the professing church is so impotent and functionally dead!

Above all, we are meeting to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ, right now, and forever! 🙂

For more information about our conference, see the flyer here.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is Ephesians 3:20-21 a ‘name it and claim it’ prayer promise?

Death by Adam, Eternal Life by Christ #3

Monday, November 27, 2017

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12 KJV).

Friends, unless they are for saints of the Most High God, funerals are very depressing. It is a most serious matter when someone dies and goes to Hell! When a Christian dies, however, it is a home-going to meet his or her Saviour Jesus Christ. What a difference eternal life in Christ makes!

It is often enquired, “Why does God punish us because of what Adam did? That is so unfair!” Scoffers, questioning God’s benevolence, especially raise this objection. We would do well, dear friends, to rather inquire, “Why does God save us because of what Christ did? That is so unfair!”

Romans chapter 5 one final time: “[16] And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. [17] For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) [18] Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. [19] For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”

Yes, Adam’s disobedience brought upon us sin and death. But, there is a balance. Christ’s obedience—His submission to His Heavenly Father’s will, “even to the death of the cross” to pay for our sins (Philippians 2:5-8)—offers us righteousness and life. Those not in Christ—relying on Him by faith in His death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for their sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)—will be banished to everlasting torment. Sin must be dealt with, dear friends, and it will either be settled at Calvary or in Hell.

God already has the answer to eternal death—eternal life in His Son. May we not delay; may we rely on the Lord Jesus Christ today! 🙂

Death by Adam, Eternal Life by Christ #2

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12 KJV).

Friends, unless they are for saints of the Most High God, funerals are very depressing. It is a most serious matter when someone dies and goes to Hell! When a Christian dies, however, it is a home-going to meet his or her Saviour Jesus Christ. What a difference eternal life in Christ makes!

Romans chapter 5 continues: “[13] (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. [14] Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. [15] But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.”

“[16] And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. [17] For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) [18] Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. [19] For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”

In the above verses, we see two contrasts. Firstly, there is information about Adam, his actions, and the results. Secondly, there is news concerning Jesus Christ, His activities, and the consequences. With Adam, there is nothing but condemnation and death (physical and spiritual). However, with Christ, there is nothing but justification and life (physical and spiritual). Adam’s disobedience makes us sinners, but Christ’s obedience makes us righteous….

Death by Adam, Eternal Life by Christ #1

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12 KJV).

Friends, unless they are for saints of the Most High God, funerals are very depressing. It is a most serious matter when someone dies and goes to Hell! When a Christian dies, however, it is a home-going to meet his or her Saviour Jesus Christ. What a difference eternal life in Christ makes!

While medical science affords us the ability to discover cures for various bodily afflictions, it is absolutely certain that the scientific method will never equip us to abolish physical death. Why is this so confidently stated? Today’s Scripture says when Adam sinned, he plunged the whole human race into sin and death. Consequently, wherever we find sin, we find death; wherever we find death, we find sin. It is a rule set forth in the Bible, and it is applicable to every age. Science will never be the means whereby we eradicate our sin nature, so science will never be the method by which we obliterate physical (and spiritual) death. We must look beyond the physical world for the answer.

The Bible says in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The “wages” (plural) “of sin is death”—physical and spiritual death. Death in Scripture means separation; never is it annihilation or cessation of existence. Genesis 35:18 reports: “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.” Physical death, as seen here, is the soul leaving, or separating from, the physical body.

There is another death, “the second death.” It is the soul’s separation from God forever in the Lake of Fire. Revelation 21:8 says: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Again, this is separation from God in eternity, the endless ages in the Lake of Fire. We do not have to go there….

The Populous World at Our Fingertips

Friday, November 24, 2017

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;…” (1 Timothy 4:1,2 KJV).

Recently, a relative of mine (almost 100 years old!) asked me what is wrong with the world. Society today is nothing like what she grew up in. There is such violence… such vulgarity… such madness today. Although she is not a saved lady who has the indwelling Holy Spirit to enlighten her, she at least has some sense of right and wrong. So, dear friends, what about our “crazy world?”

I explained to her that three conditions make our “crazy world” possible. Firstly, more people are living on Earth today than ever before—7.6 billion or so. A greater population, obviously, means more individuals to commit the sins of the flesh and the sins of the spirit.

Secondly, the human conscience is progressively deadened to sin (see today’s Scripture). The doctrines of Satan’s evil world system “sear” (burn and blister) our soul so there is insensitivity (non-feeling). Sin softens our sense of right and wrong. The more society accommodates sin—especially allowing it to remain unpunished—the more that society makes itself liable to worse behavior and conditions. The rudeness and crudeness shunned 50 years ago in public was increasingly permitted. Hence, it is now on our personal electronic devices. That leads to our third point.

Lastly, mass communication and social-media platforms facilitate us to see worldwide what has been occurring locally for 6,000 years. Many, many decades ago, that century-old family member of mine had nothing more than a small battery-powered radio to link her to the outside world. Her peers could not see news images (as in television). Usually, she learned of local evil (city and state, sometimes nation and world). While she still does not use a computer or smartphone, she views on her television just a small sample of what foolishness we “internet people” see. Perhaps it is better that way.

Still, thank God, dear friends! While bad news—the problem—goes forth worldwide, so does the solution—the Good News of Jesus Christ! 🙂

Bible Q&A #440: “Is ‘God forbid’ a ‘poor translation’ in the King James Bible?

Our latest Bible Q&A: “‘Ensample’ and ‘example’—same or different?

In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 23, 2017

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.

You may also see, “What are our spiritual blessings in Christ?

Your Right to Eat Meat

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

“For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4,5 KJV).

Before we advocate animal rights, let us understand that we have a God-given right to eat them!

An animal rights activist once appeared on television to complain about the consumption of turkeys on Thanksgiving. He argued that turkeys “feel pain” when they are slaughtered, and thus we should not eat them. His line of reasoning was, “If we would not eat our pet dog, then we should not eat turkey.” Such people, despite their sincerity, are ignorant of today’s Scripture.

Originally, all people and animals were herbivores; they only ate vegetation. “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so” (Genesis 1:29,30).

Then, sin entered, and God incorporated meat into the human diet: “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat” (Genesis 9:3,4).

When we ignore the fact that God gave us animals to eat, and we demand that others must also abstain from meat for religious (nature-worshipping) purposes, that is a “doctrine of devils” in this dispensation (1 Timothy 4:1-5). The creature should not be worshipped; only the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, should be worshipped (Romans 1:25). As long as we thank the Lord for whatever creatures we eat, consuming animal flesh is acceptable and godly. It does not sit well with the pantheists—who exalt nature as God—but it is approved of the living God, and that alone ultimately matters.

Overseer, Not Dictator!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

“This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous” (1 Timothy 3:1-3 KJV).

A dear religious lady vented exasperation when describing to me the pitiful conditions in her local “Bible-believing, fundamental” assembly. She had been there all her life (many decades), but the new pastor, for the last two years, had become increasingly tyrannical. He was nothing like today’s Scripture!

As she described that pastor, I sat totally amazed (!) that any sensible group would retain him for any period! He “lashed out” at everyone with harsh words—refusing correction when his erroneous ideas were exposed, disrespecting the elderly members, and telling people not to question him since they were too ignorant in the Bible. He was even rude to those outside the assembly. In fact, someone who witnessed his evil ways asked the lady who talked to me, “What kind of preacher do y’all have down there?” Yes, the church’s reputation was tainted in the community because of him!

It gets worse. He had stolen money from the church! Furthermore, she said the only deacon who really knew anything in the Scriptures was “booted off” the board without notice. When I asked her if they could force that despotic pastor out, she said the congregation was equally divided. Half wanted to keep him (!); the other half wanted him gone. Dear friends, the blame for this spiritual circus actually falls on the previous pastor. He taught them nothing in the Scriptures to enable them to withstand the heretic now destroying the Lord’s ministry and people!

As today’s Scripture says, the “bishop” (episkopos, “overseer;” cf. Acts 20:28) should be the guardian of the local church. He should always be vigilant to spot error and defend the congregation from Satan’s policy of evil. However, sadly, so many church leaders today are nothing but Satan’s tools, wolves in sheep’s clothing (Acts 20:28-32). Let us beware of them, brethren, and either remove them from our midst, or remove ourselves from theirs!