Arrayed in Hypocrisy

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:27,28 KJV).

“Looks can be deceiving” is not only true during Halloweentime, but confirmed year-round within Christendom.

Today is Halloween, when children dress up and feign themselves to be creatures they are not. Likewise, many church leaders today wear “Christian” garbs, but their ministries do not bring the Lord Jesus Christ glory and honor. They promote their denomination, and seek to perpetuate it, rather than serve and exalt the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. The Bible manifests these who appear to be good, as “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

In today’s Scripture, Jesus Christ exposed Israel’s corrupt religious leaders who misled the nation in His day. In His Parable of the Tares, Matthew 13:24-30,37-43, Christ explained how just as He had sown good seed (wheat, believing Jews) in Israel, Satan had also sown tares/weeds (unbelieving Jews). Tares resemble wheat; unbelieving Jews resemble believing Jews. The unbelieving Pharisees and scribes, for instance, looked like God’s people (believing Israel). Judas Iscariot was another example of Satan’s tares—the apostles never realized who Judas really was until it was too late!

But Satan’s counterfeit believers are not confined to Israel’s program. Today, within local assemblies of the Body of Christ, there are people feigning themselves to be Christians: For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

Beloved, beware of the church leaders who are arrayed in hypocrisy, “and avoid them” (Romans 16:17b). If their teaching does not agree with the rightly divided King James Bible, you have no business as a child of God to be listening to them.

*This is excerpted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

You may also see our special study, “Should Christians celebrate Halloween?

The Lowest Room #5

Saturday, October 30, 2021

“But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee” (Luke 14:10 KJV).

What is this “lowest room?” Can we gain any counsel from today’s Scripture?

The Lord tells us through our Apostle Paul: “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Romans 12:3). “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself (Galatians 6:3). Finally, 1 Corinthians 4:3-5: “[3] But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. [4] For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. [5] Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” We seek God’s approval, not man’s praise (cf. 2 Timothy 2:15).

It has been rightly observed, “The middle letter of the word ‘sin’ is ‘i;’ it is also the middle letter of the word ‘pride!’” Neither sin nor pride belongs in God’s family. Beloved, we need to exercise our renewed mind of Romans 12:1,2. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8). If the awesome Lord of glory could humble Himself, then we can take the “lowest room” too!

Bible Q&As #894 and #895: “What is ‘mammon?’” and “What are ‘prognosticators?’

The Lowest Room #4

Friday, October 29, 2021

“But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee” (Luke 14:10 KJV).

What is this “lowest room?” Can we gain any counsel from today’s Scripture?

Read Christ’s words immediately following: “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (verse 11). Their fundamental problem, of course, was that ugly sin of pride! Never should we forget this concerns religion, self-righteous people who considered themselves gods and therefore worthy of worship. “I give more than anyone else, pray more than anyone else, and fast more than anyone else!” The Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:1-18, exposes and condemns this attitude.

Also bear in mind that expression appears in another religious context, Luke chapter 18: “[9] And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: [10] Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. [11] The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. [12] I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. [13] And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. [14] I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Finally, we dare not forget Matthew 23:12, also regarding religious pride: “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (see entire chapter for context). The arrogant will be brought low, for apostate Israel will be destroyed in God’s wrath; however, believing, humble Israel will be magnified in God’s Kingdom (Matthew 18:1-4).

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “What does ‘choler’ mean?” and “What does ‘sith’ mean in Ezekiel 35:6?

The Lowest Room #3

Thursday, October 28, 2021

“But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee” (Luke 14:10 KJV).

What is this “lowest room?” Can we gain any counsel from today’s Scripture?

How embarrassing it would be to assume we warranted a seat reserved for someone of a higher rank! Yet, the guests at this Pharisee’s house were so egocentric they were carefully placing themselves into the most admired spaces. As the Lord Jesus noted, “When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room” (verses 8,9).

Instead of praising themselves, they were to let someone else honor them. Far better was it for the host to bring them to a higher seat, than for them to assume they deserved the higher seat but then be forced to vacate it when the more praiseworthy person arrived. The Book of Proverbs had already educated Israel: “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips” (27:2). Yet, like with Proverbs 25:6-7, unbelieving Israel ignored these precious words of God.

Luke 14:10 again: “But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.” The King James translators have been faulted for rendering the Greek “doxa” as “worship” here, for, they are allegedly insinuating Jesus encouraged people to “worship” others. However, while “doxa” is often rendered “glory” in the Authorized Version New Testament (almost 150 times), Jesus’ usage of “worship” here is sarcasm or mockery. Essentially, “If you conceited people are seeking worship from your fellow man, here is how you get it! You let the host do it, not yourself!”

Now, let us make application….

The Lowest Room #2

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

“But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee” (Luke 14:10 KJV).

What is this “lowest room?” Can we gain any counsel from today’s Scripture?

Re-read the context of today’s Scripture: “[7] And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, [8] When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; [9] And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. [10] But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. [11] For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Let us describe the scene the Lord has just beheld. Guests are arriving at the feast and carefully selecting the “chief rooms”—the most prominent empty seats or reclining couches. Today, we would consider these the chairs at the head of the table, places that would naturally draw attention and evoke a sense of admiration. “Look where he sits! He must be the most important person here!” The “elite” of Judaism were so conceited or focused on themselves they had forgotten what their own Hebrew Bible had taught them through King Solomon centuries before. In order to rebuke them, Jesus cited Proverbs 25:6,7: “Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.”

To fail to heed God’s advice would result in embarrassment….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain ‘enmity?’

The Lowest Room #1

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

“But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee” (Luke 14:10 KJV).

What is this “lowest room?” Can we gain any counsel from today’s Scripture?

On a Saturday Sabbath, Christ Jesus was invited to eat at the house of a chief Pharisee (verse 1). After the Lord performs a healing miracle (verses 2-6)—gendering great animosity from his snobbish, coldhearted, religious detractors—He continues exposing unbelief and other forms of wickedness in Israel.

Read The Parable of the Great Supper (which actually spans to verse 24): “[7] And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, [8] When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; [9] And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. [10] But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. [11] For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Remember, this was spoken in the house of a Pharisee (verse 1)—a strict, ascetic, works-religionist obsessed with rules and regulations. Many conceited Pharisees are undoubtedly present. “But all their works they do for to be seen of men:…. and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,…” (Matthew 23:5,6). “Beware of the scribes, which love… and the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:…” (Mark 12:38,39). “Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and lovethe chief rooms at feasts;…” (Luke 20:46). Jesus is witnessing this firsthand in the context of today’s Scripture….

333’s 3800th – Propaganda or Peace?

Monday, October 25, 2021

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4 KJV).

Only by God’s grace, “333 Words of Grace” marks another major milestone—devotional #3800!

A recent poll indicates Americans are worried one of these top three disasters will end human civilization: a pandemic (19%), climate change (19%), or nuclear war (17%). Frankly, for a “Christian” nation, we are quite confused, too obsessed with the cares of this world to see there are far more important matters with which to be concerned (avoiding the flames of Hell by placing our faith in Christ, learning and believing sound Bible doctrine to have daily victory over sin, teaching our children morals and ethics, et cetera).

Let lost people, and Christians who prefer to think like lost people, fuss and fret about things that may or may not come. We who understand and believe Bible prophecy are not at all alarmed. As prophesied, this world is still headed for the Tribulation, something far worse than any human can conceive, but it shall not come as long as this the Dispensation of Grace is operating—and, for that, we can be thankful!

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, instead of filling our minds and hearts with endless propaganda (“news”) and mindlessly spewing it back out for everyone to hear and read (perpetuating the cycle of paranoia), today’s Scripture exhorts us to “set [our] affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” The Greek word for “affection” was elsewhere rendered “think” (Acts 28:22; Romans 12:3) and “mind” (Romans 8:5; Romans 12:16; Philippians 2:5; Philippians 3:19). Brethren, over the course of these last 3,800 days, we here have striven to provide you with sound Bible studies—to give you peace, not propaganda. May we continue walking—and thinking—therein as we now aim for devotional #3900! 🙂

Bible Q&A #890: “How could pagan Nebuchadnezzar know about ‘the Son of God?’

Prepared!

Sunday, October 24, 2021

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV).

Are we this “confident” we are prepared for death?

Recently, a friend and dear brother in Christ was driving on his mail route when he discovered the roadway was closed. He would have to circle his town the long way and approach the houses from the opposite direction. Later, once he reached the other side of the neighborhood, he stopped to talk with residents to learn the reason for the road closure. Tragically, a young man had been speeding in his vehicle there when he lost control and perished. His truck had wrapped around some trees, and his body parts scattered everywhere!

Dear friends, this life abounds with uncertainties—and its point of termination can come at the most unexpected time. That aforementioned young man had his whole earthly life ahead of him—or so he thought. He never anticipated he would leave this world when he did—or in what manner he did. We can and do often go about our daily routine as if this life is all there is. “I can trust Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour tomorrow! Let me have fun in sin today! When I have had enough worldly amusement, then I will become a Christian!” How many countless souls have spoken these words—only to pass off the scene before “tomorrow” ever comes? The permanence of their condition is disturbing: where death has found them, death will keep them forever!

We need not “hope” we have a right standing before God when we leave this planet. The Bible says most simply, Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day(1 Corinthians 15:3,4). As touching forgiveness of sins and eternal life, we just trust what the Lord Jesus Christ already did on our behalf: He is the fully-satisfying payment or sacrifice for all that we have done wrong. These evil deeds, stemming from an evil nature, can all be remedied at Calvary’s cross—but only if we, by faith, reckon it to be true for ourselves. Otherwise, without trusting this Gospel of Grace, it will profit us nothing and we will be unprepared for eternity.

Continue in Prayer

Saturday, October 23, 2021

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;…” (Colossians 4:2 KJV).

Be prayerful; be thankful!

Read today’s Scripture in context: “[2] Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; [3] Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: [4] That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” Romans 12:12 repeats the same admonition: “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;….”

Prayer is our speaking to God in light of His words to us. We listen to the Holy Bible rightly divided—what God said He will do for us and with us—and then we repeat God’s words back to Him. The Lord knows what He said in the Scriptures, so prayer is for our benefit rather than His. Prayer reminds us of what He has already told us, that we may walk in accordance and do His will—or, rather, that His will may be accomplished in and through us as we conduct ourselves regarding the Divine revelation given us.

Alas, prayer is usually a burden, a disappointment, a struggle. Church members incessantly complain about “unanswered prayer.” They asked God for something, but it did not happen. Doubts creep in; nagging questions arise. Have I some “unconfessed sin?” Does God care? Is He even there? How inconsiderate of us, that we would presume to dictate to the Lord what He should and should not do! Dear friends, we must conform to what He is doing; He is not obligated to abide by our wishes.

Prayer is the most dangerous part of the Christian life, for it is utterly destructive if not coupled with personal dispensational Bible study. If you doubt this at all, dear friends, just look at all the displeasure with prayer in Christendom. The Lord’s good name, His precious words, are smeared and ridiculed, rendered distasteful because we have failed to listen His current will, this the Dispensation of the Grace of God committed to the Apostle Paul’s trust. May we be prayerful and thankful concerning the Holy Scriptures, particularly Romans through Philemon. Let us continue therein… vigilant and steadfast.

Many Days

Friday, October 22, 2021

“Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea, as the LORD spake unto me: and we compassed mount Seir many days” (Deuteronomy 2:1 KJV).

Exactly how many days were these “many days?”

Friend, have you noticed how complicated life is? If only things were much simpler and more enjoyable. Unfortunately, there is no perfect school, workplace, marriage, or church. Financial difficulties mount. Poor decisions lead to illness. Arguments and disagreements strain friendships. Disobedient children cause endless fretting about their wellbeing. Problems! Problems! Problems! We can be absolutely certain that wherever people can be found, trouble can be found there too. Wherever we find sin, we find complications. Hardships are part of this fallen creation.

Preparing for his departure via physical death, aged Moses is reciting the nation Israel’s history in today’s Scripture. The Jews had left Egypt and were bound for the Promised Land: “(There are eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadeshbarnea.)” (Deuteronomy 1:2). Leaving Horeb/Sinai, and approaching God’s land from the south, they arrived in Kadeshbarnea and wished to send in 12 spies to scout the land for 40 days (verses 19-25). “It is a good land which the LORD our God doth give us” (verse 25b). “Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God” (verse 26). Oh, what a terrible sin! “Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God, Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day” (verses 32,33).

We have reached today’s Scripture: “Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea, as the LORD spake unto me: and we compassed mount Seir many days.” Those “many days” were 40 years (Numbers 14:34)!!! In short, because of a failure to believe God’s words, a two-week journey stretched into four decades… and, by that time, the unbelievers had all perished—having never seen the LORD’S land. May we apply sound Bible doctrine by faith to life now, that we not have “many days” of destructive wandering either!