A Cooperation, Not a Competition!

Sunday, May 31, 2020

“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:5-7 KJV).

Remember, ministry is a cooperation not a competition!

What is ministry to us? Is it our excuse to “outdo” others? Look at all the “bestsellers” I have written! Notice how many countries I have visited! See how often I pray and study! Look at how much I give in the collection plate! Notice how I am “more spiritual!” Such is but fleshly idiocy! As the human body is a network of cells all cooperating to cause every limb and organ to function as one unit, so the Holy Spirit works in each and every member of the Church the Body of Christ to accomplish His will. He really does not need us, but He in His grace has invited us to participate in His work. First Corinthians chapter 12: “[11] But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. [12] For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”

Read today’s Scripture in context: “[5] Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? [6] I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. [7] So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. [8] Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. [9] For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. [10] According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.”

Brethren, let us all labor to build sound Bible doctrine in each other, as opposed to rivaling each other! 🙂

Rotten Society!

Saturday, May 30, 2020

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers [cannot be pleased], false accusers [slanderers], incontinent [no self-control], fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady [rash, reckless], highminded [conceited], lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 KJV).

Saints, our world is in trouble—and, frankly, it will not improve. While not yet in the Tribulation, it is indeed headed for it!

Civil unrest has been building for years, and war will eventually break out. We are battling unprecedented disease and economic hardship. The political arena abounds with bureaucracy and duplicity. News organizations are often endeavoring to further mislead and divide. Greed and other forms of materialism are flourishing. Families are dissolving due to betrayals and abuse. Younger generations are so ignorant of the truth. Entertainment and error are smothering and crippling the professing Church. In short, we understand that this world is not reforming. There is surely no global revival to precede Christ’s return. He is not waiting for us to make ourselves better so He can then come and reign over us. The way the Bible presents it is that societal conditions will wax worse and worse until Almighty God ultimately interrupts to make all right!

It has been rightly stated that God does not have to judge man in order for man to suffer. He simply has to give man over to his own devices—his own fallen heart and mind—and man will create his own problems and self-destruct! Just look at the horrible circumstances defined in today’s Scripture. Would you care to live in a world like that? Well, whether you like it or not, you already do live in such a world!

As Christians, we are called not to reform the evil world system but rather recover souls from it. We do this by teaching and preaching sound Bible doctrine, the Message of God’s Grace, the only hope man truly has in escaping the dreadful civilization he himself has caused!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who were the ‘Epicureans’ and the ‘Stoicks?’

Far Better

Friday, May 29, 2020

“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you” (Philippians 1:20-24 KJV).

To “be with Christ” is “far better!”

As believers in Jesus Christ, we cannot help but remember saints we have known here on Earth who have since graduated to Heaven. Various dear friends come to my mind. How we look forward to the day when we see them again—without the effects of aging, disability, and petty denominationalism to disrupt and terminate our fellowship!

In 2 Corinthians 12:1-4, the Apostle Paul speaks of a man who experienced physical death and temporarily visited “paradise” or “the third heaven.” While never actually identifying the individual, there is strong evidence it was Paul himself. After all, he was seemingly put to death by stoning in Lystra (Acts 14:19). God miraculously restored him to life to continue his apostolic ministry for another 20 years!

Therefore, when Paul, in today’s Scripture, spoke of life on Earth and life in Heaven, he knew both firsthand. To live here or die here, he would glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. Being a vessel of His grace while on Earth, or dying as a martyr and leaving Earth, Paul had his eyes firmly fixed on the goal. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Yet, he had a ministry to conduct on Earth—and, for now, he was in prison in Rome, writing to the Philippians (1:7,13,14,16). “But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.” Still, Paul wanted to return to Heaven—and to be with one Person in particular. “To be with Christ; which is far better.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is ‘room’ a King James Bible mistake in Matthew 23:6?

Jehoshaphat’s Bible Teachers #6

Thursday, May 28, 2020

And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people (2 Chronicles 17:9 KJV).

Jehoshaphat was King David’s great-great-great grandson, ruling over the Kingdom of Judah more than a century after him. Early in his reign, Jehoshaphat wisely chose to commission Bible teachers to disseminate God’s truth throughout his kingdom.

If we have some good news, it is only natural to want to tell others about it. (Of course, similarly, it is human nature to want to share bad news—gossip—too!) In the form of sound Bible doctrine, the Word of God rightly divided, we have a message worth proclaiming to the world. It is a Gospel that will span the endless eons of eternity future: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). “God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4).

We turn now the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 2:2: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” As Jehoshaphat’s Bible teachers listened to the LORD through Moses, and then communicated that sound Bible doctrine with others in the Kingdom of Judah, so we hearken to the LORD through Paul, and then spread that message of God’s grace to Jew and Gentile alike.

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:1-4).

Being mindful of sound Bible doctrine will prevent us from going the way of ancient Israel, drifting further and further from the one true God and becoming increasingly misled! 🙂

Jehoshaphat’s Bible Teachers #5

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people (2 Chronicles 17:9 KJV).

Jehoshaphat was King David’s great-great-great grandson, ruling over the Kingdom of Judah more than a century after him. Early in his reign, Jehoshaphat wisely chose to commission Bible teachers to disseminate God’s truth throughout his kingdom.

We cannot love the Lord and not value His Word. Anyone who truly loves Jesus Christ will do whatever he or she can to teach that Word to others. The two greatest responses we can have toward the Scriptures is to first believe them and then share them.

Jehoshaphat believed the Holy Bible and then he ordered teachers to educate his people and remind them of their God’s Word to them and His will for them. Decades earlier, before he assumed the throne of his forefather David, Judah had forgotten the LORD and His Word to them. They were too preoccupied with pagan idols to concentrate on the one true God! Consequently, King Solomon’s heathenism engendered God’s wrath and split Israel and Judah, resulting in the divided kingdom now present during Jehoshaphat’s day.

Read of Ezra the Priest-Prophet-Scribe who lived a few centuries after Jehoshaphat. Ezra chapter 7: “[6] This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him…. [10] For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments…. [Artaxerxes King of Persia said] [25] And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not.”

Whereas Jehoshaphat lived before, Ezra conducted his ministry in Judah after the Babylonian Captivity. Now, God has already sent Judah out in exile because of idolatrous kings living subsequently to Jehoshaphat. We fight apostasy and heresy with sound Bible teaching….

Jehoshaphat’s Bible Teachers #4

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people (2 Chronicles 17:9 KJV).

Jehoshaphat was King David’s great-great-great grandson, ruling over the Kingdom of Judah more than a century after him. Early in his reign, Jehoshaphat wisely chose to commission Bible teachers to disseminate God’s truth throughout his kingdom.

In the Law of Moses—Deuteronomy chapter 17—we read the following Divine ordinance concerning Israel’s king: “[18] And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: [19] And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: [20] That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.”

The LORD through Moses advised Israel in Deuteronomy chapter 8: “[10] When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. [11] Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: [12] Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;….”

It would be quite easy for the Jews, during the time of their prosperity during Jehoshaphat’s reign, to forget the LORD. Consequently, the King sent out Bible teachers to remind his people in the Kingdom of Judah of their obligation to keep the Mosaic Law, God’s covenant with them. Jehoshaphat knew and loved the LORD and His Word, and wanted his nation to do so as well. He understood the only way to fight Bible ignorance is with Bible teaching….

The Greatest War Hero

Monday, May 25, 2020

“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.

Jehoshaphat’s Bible Teachers #3

Sunday, May 24, 2020

And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people (2 Chronicles 17:9 KJV).

Jehoshaphat was King David’s great-great-great grandson, ruling over the Kingdom of Judah more than a century after him. Early in his reign, Jehoshaphat wisely chose to commission Bible teachers to disseminate God’s truth throughout his kingdom.

Over 500 years prior to Jehoshaphat, Leviticus chapter 10 reports: “[8] And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, [9] Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: [10] And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; [11] And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.”

Jehoshaphat knew what the LORD God had instructed Aaron and his sons (the Jewish priests) to do. Accordingly, the King behaved as he did in the context of today’s Scripture: “[7] Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes, even to Benhail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nethaneel, and to Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah. [8] And with them he sent Levites, even Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tobadonijah, Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests. [9] And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people. [10] And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat.”

They were not merely preaching “oral tradition.” Nay, rather, they had a “book,” “the book of the law of the LORD with them.” They carried a Bible, especially the writings of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy). Jehoshaphat wanted his people to be mindful of God’s covenant with them, and their obligation to observe it….

*In order to provide a special study tomorrow, we temporarily break away from this devotionals arc.

Jehoshaphat’s Bible Teachers #2

Saturday, May 23, 2020

“And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people” (2 Chronicles 17:9 KJV).

Jehoshaphat was King David’s great-great-great grandson, ruling over the Kingdom of Judah more than a century after him. Early in his reign, Jehoshaphat wisely chose to commission Bible teachers to disseminate God’s truth throughout his kingdom.

Read about Jehoshaphat’s father, King Asa, as recorded in chapter 14: “[1] So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years. [2] And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God: [3] For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves: [4] And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment. [5] Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him. [6] And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the LORD had given him rest.”

Asa’s father Abijah/Abijam and grandfather Rehoboam were idolatrous kings of Judah (chapters 12–13). They promoted Baal worship, pagan idolatry, amongst the Jews. In total, these two kings reigned for 20 years. When Asa assumed the throne, he ruled for approximately four decades, initiating religious reforms that evidently did not go far enough. By the time his son Jehoshaphat began his administration, there were additional heathen shrines to abolish: “And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah” (17:6).

Three years into his rule, Jehoshaphat directed Bible teachers to go out with the Mosaic Law (today’s Scripture), that the people of Judah familiarize themselves with how JEHOVAH God wanted them to live in His land. In doing so, they would prevent another resurgence of idolatry in their midst….

Jehoshaphat’s Bible Teachers #1

Friday, May 22, 2020

And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people (2 Chronicles 17:9 KJV).

Jehoshaphat was King David’s great-great-great grandson, ruling over the Kingdom of Judah more than a century after him. Early in his reign, Jehoshaphat wisely chose to commission Bible teachers to disseminate God’s truth throughout his kingdom.

Let us read today’s Scripture in context: “[1] And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel. [2] And he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken. [3] And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; [4] But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel. [5] Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance.

“[6] And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah. [7] Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes, even to Benhail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nethaneel, and to Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah. [8] And with them he sent Levites, even Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tobadonijah, Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests. [9] And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people. [10] And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat….”

King Jehoshaphat honored the Word of the LORD by making sure his people were familiar with what it said. Yes, he sanctioned Bible teachers….