Saved or Lost? #2

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Galatia was an enormous territory stretching through modern central Turkey. The Apostle Paul met Gentile pagan idolaters here in Acts chapters 13–14 during his first apostolic journey. He won them to the Lord Jesus Christ by preaching the Gospel of Grace to them (“Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day;” 1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

After leaving Galatia, Paul learned some unsettling news about them, which he addressed by writing this epistle to Galatia: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6,7). False teachers—commonly called “Judaizers” but better termed “denominationalists!”—had infiltrated Galatia after Paul’s departure. To say the least, the Apostle was astonished at how quickly these Galatians had abandoned the sound Bible doctrine he had taught them!

Chapter 3 is more of the Holy Spirit’s criticism: “[1] O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? [2] This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? [3] Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Deceived (!), these Galatians were now “fools.” They were engaging in spiritual insanity or silliness. Forsaking the Message of God’s Grace (Christ-based acceptance system), they had taken up the Law system (performance-based acceptance system, or works-religion as they had before Paul’s visit!).

These people, whom Paul himself saw desert spiritual darkness as they came to the Lord’s light, have (most pitifully!) returned to Satan’s lie program! In other words, they think and act like they have never heard the Lord’s words through Paul at all….

Saved or Lost? #1

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Not too long ago, a dear Christian lady was browsing profiles on social media when she was shocked to discover some extremely depressing news. A young woman she had known from church decades back had just converted to a works-religion cult! That young woman had seemed to “know better than that,” having grown up in a family and a church that supposedly stood for sound Bible doctrine. Consequently, for her to become an official member of a satanic denomination was something the Christian lady never dreamed she would ever read about!

Certain pointed questions invariably arise in these types of situations. Were these professing “Christians” who join cults ever true Christians? Does God still see them as Christians, or as lost people? Have they lost their eternal life? Has God thrown them out of His family? What happened to cause them to drift from the path of righteousness? Is there anything we can do to avoid this spiritual ruin in our own lives?

Indeed, God does not let us into Heaven based on how we perform on a theological—or even a Bible—test. If He did, I am afraid all of us would go to Hell! The fact of the matter is, the spiritual realm abounds with truths, errors, and resulting paradoxes or ironies. If we look at the record of the Holy Scriptures, here is what we see. We can find saints behaving like saints—and lost people behaving like lost people. Furthermore, we can find saints thinking like saints—and lost people thinking like lost people. Yet, here is something strange! We also find saints behaving like lost people—and lost people behaving like saints. Moreover, we find lost people thinking like saints—and saints thinking like lost people.

Dear friend, are you confused after reading this? Well, you should be! Many intricacies are involved, but we can reduce the madness to one simple question….

Our latest Bible Q&As:  “What is a ‘champaign?’” and “Can you explain ‘gaddest thou about?’

Whom God Helps #8

Monday, August 29, 2022

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (John 11:11 KJV).

Behold, he whom God helps!

Whereas Lazarus had been terminally ill and was now physically dead, Christ’s power was not limited. Consequently, in today’s Scripture, the Lord said Lazarus was “sleeping.” While Lazarus’ life had left his body, it was only temporary. Four days later, Lazarus was raised from the dead. Likewise, Israel is not permanently expired. She will live again—but only when the Lord is ready to revive her.

Remember, Jesus did not immediately travel to Bethany to heal sickly Lazarus: “When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was” (verse 6). Why? “Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight (Hosea 6:1,2). Christ’s Second Coming to resurrect national Israel will take two days—neatly overlapping His delay to raise Lazarus 20 centuries prior!

Again, “Lazarus” is a variant of “Eleazar” (“whom God helps”). Isaiah chapter 41: “[10] Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness…. [13] For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. [14] Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” “Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen” (Isaiah 44:2). “Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;….” (Isaiah 49:8).

Bible Q&As #984 and #985: “What is ‘milch?’” and “What is ‘rereward?’

Whom God Helps #7

Sunday, August 28, 2022

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (John 11:11 KJV).

Behold, he whom God helps!

Ezekiel’s vision of the Valley of the Dry Bones is interpreted in chapter 37: “[11] Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. [12] Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. [13] And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, [14] And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.”

Although Israel was scattered worldwide via invading Gentile armies centuries before Christ, God will reverse the curse and re-gather them into the Promised Land at Christ’s return (see Matthew 24:30,31). This national resurrection, deliverance from functional death, fills Israel with the Holy Spirit and makes her God’s earthly people!

Ezekiel chapter 37 resumes: “[21] And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: [22] And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. [23] Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.

We now summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Whom God Helps #6

Saturday, August 27, 2022

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (John 11:11 KJV).

Behold, he whom God helps!

In chapter 37, the Prophet Ezekiel, conducting his ministry during the Babylonian Captivity, receives a vision concerning Israel’s restoration and return to the Promised Land: “[1] The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, [2] And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. [3] And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.

“[4] Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. [5] Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: [6] And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

“[7] So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. [8] And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. [9] Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. [10] So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.”

Now, let us see the explanation of the vision….

Whom God Helps #5

Friday, August 26, 2022

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (John 11:11 KJV).

Behold, he whom God helps!

When Israel agreed to enter a covenant relationship with JEHOVAH God at Mount Sinai, the following was spoken in Exodus chapter 19: “[5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. [7] And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. [8] And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.”

Since Israel preferred that works-religion (perform to get the blessing, sin to receive the curse), that is exactly what the LORD gave them. Ignoring God’s grace (what He had already done for them to make them His people), they assumed they could and would make themselves His people. However, as the centuries passed, the Jewish people corrupted the Promised Land with their idols, so the final punishment was instated as per Leviticus 26:32,33: “And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.” Failing to obey the Law of Moses, they were now cursed. God deported them from the land via invading Gentile armies (especially Assyrian and Babylonian). The Fifth Course (Phase, Stage) of Chastisement began.

Therefore, in Acts 2:5-11, we read of Jews visiting Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost, these foreigners having come “out of every nation under heaven.” In today’s Scripture, Christ’s earthly ministry, that global scattering of Israel has yet to be reversed. The nation must be revived and returned to live in the Promised Land, just (!) as (!) Lazarus (!) himself (!)….

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

Whom God Helps #4

Thursday, August 25, 2022

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (John 11:11 KJV).

Behold, he whom God helps!

First Corinthians 1:22 says, “For the Jews require a sign….” The nation Israel is God’s sign people in Scripture, the Lord saying in John 4:48: “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” Some 15 centuries prior, when Moses was commissioned to go preach to his Jewish people suffering Egyptian slavery, he anticipated an objection: “And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee” (Exodus 4:1). God directed him in verse 17, “And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.” Read verses 1-9—how Moses was empowered to handle snakes (a picture or type of victory over Satan), heal leprosy (infectious skin disease, a type or picture of sin), and even turn water into blood.

Chapter 4 of Exodus closes with verses 29-31: “And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.”

The Holy Spirit arranged the Book of John around eight specific “signs” or miraculous demonstrations the Lord Jesus Christ performed during His three years of earthly ministry. “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:30,31). Lazarus being restored to life was one of these miracles—and this event is reported only in John’s Gospel Record. What can Almighty God do for Israel? Who can He be for Israel? Let us watch and see….

Whom God Helps #3

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (John 11:11 KJV).

Behold, he whom God helps!

Keep reading the context of today’s Scripture: “[38] Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. [39] Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. [40] Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? [41] Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. [42] And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. [43] And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. [44] And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.”

Lazarus was dead but the Lord called him back to life just four days later. In order to appreciate the importance of this literal, historical event, we will do a word study. The name “Lazarus” is Greek, but derived from the Hebrew language: it is a variant of “Eleazar,” with “El” for “God” and “azar” for “help.” To wit, “Lazarus” literally means “whom God helps.” Let us be absolutely clear in this point: this is not the nonsense in religion that “God helps those who help themselves.” Lazarus was dead, so he could do nothing to “help himself” anyway! “Help” here carries the sense of “save, rescue.” Lazarus needed deliverance from the power of physical death, salvation from the fatal consequences of the curse of sin. His bondage and subsequent release are types or previews of much larger truths….

Whom God Helps #2

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (John 11:11 KJV).

Behold, he whom God helps!

As the Lord Jesus is en route to Bethany (near Jerusalem), where Lazarus had died and been buried four days prior (verse 17), there is an exchange between the Lord and Lazarus’ sister Martha: “[20] Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. [21] Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. [22] But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. [23] Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. [24] Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. [25] Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: [26] And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? [27] She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”

Martha, as noted in these verses, was a believer. She knew her brother was dead, but she also understood her Hebrew Bible. “He [the LORD] will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it” (Isaiah 25:8). First Corinthians 15:54 interprets this as physical resurrection. For other bodily resurrection passages, see Job 19:25-27 and Daniel 12:2,13. These verses speak of an event that will take place beyond even our day, in the end times. Martha was under the impression Lazarus would be raised at the culmination point of the prophetic program, but, with Lazarus, the Lord had something else in mind. He would bring Lazarus back to life right at that moment….

Whom God Helps #1

Monday, August 22, 2022

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (John 11:11 KJV).

Behold, he whom God helps!

Today’s Scripture in context: “[1] Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. [2] (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) [3] Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. [4] When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. [5] Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. [6] When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. [7] Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again….”

“[11] These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. [12] Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. [13] Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. [14] Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. [15] And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.”

Lazarus, a dear friend of Christ, became ill and ultimately died. How could the Lord let that happen? Did He not care about this person He loved? Why did He not immediately visit Lazarus and heal him before he went the way of physical death? What is this about “sleep?” Was Lazarus really dead? This account here in John chapter 11 is ever so much more than some words to take up space on a page or a nice little story to tell children in Sunday School. God the Holy Spirit placed this into the record of Scripture to convey a remarkable lesson about what He will do in the ages to come….