The Leper #4

Friday, September 30, 2022

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them (Matthew 8:1-4 KJV).

Why is this part of the Holy Scriptures?

Christ’s earthly ministry can be summarized most succinctly with two simple passages from Matthew’s Gospel Record. “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them” (Matthew 4:23,24). “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35).

The Gospel of the Kingdom—“The kingdom of heaven is at hand [near]” (Matthew 4:17)—is the Good News (Glad Tidings) that Israel’s Messiah-King has visited her. John the Baptist preached this (Matthew 3:2), as did Jesus Himself (Matthew 4:17), and even the 12 Apostles (Matthew 10:7). Israel can finally become God’s kingdom of priests in the Earth, a blessing to all the world (Gentiles or nations), the goal of the Abrahamic Covenant finally reached (Genesis 12:1-3). At the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, Israel has existed for 2,000 years. For the last 1,500 years, they have had the Law of Moses—which they have repeatedly violated, corrupting it and themselves with false religion.

If Israel the leper is to become God’s kingdom of priests, able to live up to rigorous principles of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7), the Lord can and will cure her spiritual leprosy (today’s Scripture)….

The Leper #3

Thursday, September 29, 2022

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them (Matthew 8:1-4 KJV).

Why is this part of the Holy Scriptures?

Through the Prophet Isaiah, chapter 1, the LORD God issues a remarkable reprimand: “[1] The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. [2] Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. [3] The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass [donkey] his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.

“[4] Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. [5] Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. [6] From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying [rotting, decaying, necrotic] sores: they have not been closed [healed], neither bound up [bandaged], neither mollified [softened, soothed] with ointment.

Sin has so thoroughly infected God’s people that the imagery is stunning. The Jews carry evil on their backs and sag under the immense weight. From the bottom of their feet all the way up to their head, “there is no soundness [health] in it.” They are covered with wounds or lesions, a most unsightly or disfiguring condition still untreated! Their horrendous affliction is spiritual leprosy, and it is decomposing them just like physical skin disease destroys fleshly tissue….

The Leper #2

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them (Matthew 8:1-4 KJV).

Why is this part of the Holy Scriptures?

The Bible’s term “leprosy” refers to various infectious skin diseases caused by bacteria. While modern medicine knows of “Hansen’s disease” (something similar), it should not be confused with the condition in the Scripture. Leprosy was such a significant topic in ancient Israel that the Holy Spirit devoted 116 verses (!) to it in the Law of Moses (Leviticus chapters 13–14). If you study these lengthy, repulsive instructions, you will learn the complicated health laws God had implemented so as to diagnose, isolate, and treat lepers amongst the Jewish people. (We will return to Leviticus later.)

Having just delivered His monumental Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5–7), the principles or constitution of His coming kingdom, the Lord Jesus descends the mountain with large crowds trailing (today’s Scripture). A leper approaches Him, worships Him, and announces to Him: “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” In medical doctor Luke’s account (5:12), the man is “full of leprosy”—completely covered with sores, a truly hopeless case if there ever was one! Observe: it is notIf the Lord can heal” but “If the Lord is willing to heal.” Jesus’ power is unlimited, but has He chosen to exercise that infinite power to cure this leper’s infirm body? Today’s Scripture answers: “And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

The leper’s healing is not just a story for “little old ladies and children” to learn in Sunday School. Neither is it in the Holy Bible to “fill up space.” Nor is it present to authorize us to be silly in our religious fervor to perform “miracles, signs, and wonders.” Let us keep searching the Scriptures for light….

Our latest Bible Q&As: “Who are the ‘Samaritans?’” and “Why did Peter and John need to lay hands on the Samaritans for them to receive the Holy Ghost?

The Leper #1

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them (Matthew 8:1-4 KJV).

Why is this part of the Holy Scriptures?

Mark chapter 1 is the parallel: “[40] And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. [41] And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. [42] And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. [43] And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; [44] And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. [45] But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.”

Luke chapter 5 is analogous: “[12] And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. [13] And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. [14] And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. [15] But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.”

For the answer, we must compare verses….

Talking With Dictation Taken

Monday, September 26, 2022

“The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness” (Proverbs 15:2 KJV).

We can talk with sense—or talk nonsense….

One researcher estimated the average person spends in excess of 13 years talking overall. Roughly 18,000 words are used during daily conversation—equivalent to a 54-page book. Annually, each person generally speaks over 6.5 million words—some 66 books of 300 pages each! The most talkative men can utter more than 47,000 words a day—a staggering 17 million words every year (66 books of 770 pages each). Concerning the least talkative people, they may speak as few as 500 words daily—approximately one 550-page book a year.

Dear friends, if the above “books” of our individual days and entire lifetimes were actually printed and available for purchase, would we care to buy them and read them ourselves? Under what genres (categories) would they be listed—fiction, romance, thriller, satire, drama, spirituality, horror, mystery? Having read what we spoke that day, or even that lifetime, would we be proud of those words or ashamed and wishing a “do-over?”

The following has been rightly observed: since we have two ears and one mouth, we ought to listen twice as much as we speak. This is wise counsel that parents should especially impart to their children. We would also be prudent to take particular care that we are “using knowledge aright [properly],” not “pouring out foolishness” (today’s Scripture). Are we communicating sound Bible doctrine we read and heard (good), or something else we read and heard (evil)?

Addressing unbelieving Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ alerted: “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle [unprofitable, useless, worthless, unhelpful] word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:34-37). The world’s people would do quite well to remember their words are being recorded—those aforementioned “books” exist!!!

Bible Q&A #995: “What is a ‘latchet?’

Saved or Lost? #25

Sunday, September 25, 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?

They were really saved people, just thinking and acting like lost people. Such is still true of millions! Had God’s Word rightly divided actually been received and believed in the heart, we the Church the Body of Christ would be walking in God’s power and will: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

While the number of genuine Christians has always been low, the percentage of confused Christians has always been high. It is not that “Satan is so powerful,” but rather they have allowed his evil world system to place them into a mold of silly thoughts and unsightly deeds. The Holy Spirit wishes true believers in Christ heed His advice in Romans 12:1,2: “I beseech you therefore, brethren [Christians!!!], by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world [it can happen!!!]: 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.”

We close with the following true story. Several years ago, I tried to prevent it but nevertheless witnessed it come to pass. It was the fall of my spiritual mentor, someone under whose ministry I trained for over a decade and whom I still love dearly in the Lord. The entire controversy was painful and devastating beyond words, but, lest I fall with that grace Christian leader, I had to separate from him because of his apostasy (willful doctrinal error and unapologetic dishonesty and treachery). Indeed, we will meet in Heaven and only then will we be restored to fellowship, two saved men whose ministries Satan’s evil world system targeted—one destroyed and the other still not immune from ruin!

-FINIS!-

Saved or Lost? #24

Saturday, September 24, 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?

The Apostle Paul’s last epistle (2 Timothy) communicates in chapter 4: “[1] I charge [instruct, order] thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; [2] Preach the word; be instant [ready, prepared] in season [convenient times], out of season [inconvenient times]; reprove [cause them to see], rebuke [criticize them], exhort [encourage, urge them] with all longsuffering [patience, put up with it, suffer it a long time!] and doctrine [teaching worth trusting].” Why?“[3] For the time will come when they will not endure [bear/tolerate/stomach] sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. [5] But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

By the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Timothy was (we are) to keep on with ministry (sound Bible teaching, Pauline, grace-oriented information), despite the prevalent doctrinal perversion and apostasy (forsaking the truth, whether in or out of churches). Saints, we should be willing to do what we can to reach confused Christians and confused non-Christians alike—and, yes, they are usually nearly impossible to distinguish from each other. I know it is easier to throw up our hands and give in, exclaiming, “This is just not worth it! No one wants to listen! We live in a hopelessly chaotic world! Let them all go to Hell in their ignorance!” Yet, the fact remains we have in sound Bible doctrine all the answers they need—and, if we escaped their errors, they can too… those few who want it. We should make special effort to be a light to them, if at all possible, particularly those who have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to believe.

Let us (finally) conclude this devotionals arc….

Saved or Lost? #23

Friday, September 23, 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?

Scripture describes church leaders as God’s doorkeepers, watching over and guarding local assemblies from any and all error (re-read Acts 20:28-32!). If pastors, bishops, teachers, and preachers would believe and teach sound Bible doctrine (God’s Word rightly divided), false teaching (even non-rightly-divided verses) could be easily refuted. Neither these leaders nor their vulnerable congregants would be led astray.

Alas, for 20 centuries now, the professing church (especially its leadership) has paid almost no attention to the Lord’s special ministry through the Apostle Paul. Sure, they know of Paul, and a great many actually study and quote his writings, but nearly all people throughout church history have made Paul’s ministry a continuation of the 12 Apostles’ ministry, a mere commentator on “the church Jesus founded in Matthew to John,” an extension of the prophetic program, thereby hiding and destroying the very reason for Paul’s ministry (to operate the mystery program, separate and distinct from prophecy—to form the Church the Body of Christ, separate and distinct from the nation Israel).

For 2,000 years now, to Satan’s delight, we have wasted an unfathomable amount of time and energy teaching “another Jesus,” “another spirit,” and “another gospel” (2 Corinthians 11:3,4)—too willful and proud to change our course even up to this present hour. Behold, the dismal results! So many souls profess “belief in Christ,” but it is extremely difficult to discern who is a confused Christian (bound for Heaven, yet thinking like someone headed to Hell) and who is a confused non-Christian (bound for Hell, and lacking discernment to realize it).

Verily, verily, the Lord reads the hearts of all, and He knows the difference between a true (albeit misinformed) member of the Body of Christ and just some lost member of a counterfeit group. Brethren, we need to make sure we are walking in the spiritual light that we have, for, if we are grateful, we will gain more understanding concerning God’s will for us.

Let us (finally) summarize this devotionals arc….

Saved or Lost? #22

Thursday, September 22, 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?

Re-read Acts 20:28-32, Paul counseling the church elders of Ephesus: Take heed [Watch out!!!! Beware!!!!] therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous [savage, merciless] wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

The Holy Spirit through Paul recognized the hazards were real. People not only outside the church—but inside it too—would seek its ruin. Individuals promoting sundry belief systems would corrupt God’s people, seducing them with foreign doctrines, splintering them into innumerable groups. Paul spent three years cautioning these Ephesian saints. Now bidding them farewell, he “commend[ed] [entrusted for safekeeping] [them] to God, and to the word of his grace,” for grace (Pauline) doctrine would keep them spiritually strong and fit to resist Satan’s lies. Remember, sound Bible doctrine “is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

Roughly six years later, as Paul awaits his martyrdom, he writes to Timothy in Ephesus. That epistle includes a horrible (!!) commentary: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me(2 Timothy 1:15). Christians in “Asia” (modern Turkey; included Galatia, Colosse, Antioch of Pisidia, Lystra, Derbe, Ephesus [!!!]—regions Paul’s ministry had reached for the last 35 [!] years) had predominately forsaken Paul. Yes indeed, the Church the Body of Christ was apostate (fallen from grace/Pauline truth) 20 (!) centuries (!) ago (!)….

Our three latest Bible Q&As: “What are ‘sheaves?,’” “Who or what is ‘Belial?,’” and “What is a ‘concord?’

Saved or Lost? #21

Wednesday, September 21, 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?

Whether a Christian’s flesh or a non-Christian’s flesh, it is the same Adamic (sin) nature. Non-Christians cannot help but sin because that is their only nature. Contrariwise, we Christians have two natures, so it is our choice whether or not we will believe sound Bible doctrine in our heart: “[16] This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. [17] For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. [18] But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:16-18).

Saints, unless we walk according to the indwelling Holy Spirit’s present ministry (grace not law, the Lord’s words in the Apostle Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon!), we will be just as much outside of God’s will as non-Christians. Only when we have a renewed mind will we think like Father God has designed us in Christ to think.

The Holy Spirit through Paul counseled the elders of the Ephesian church in Acts chapter 20: “[28] Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. [29] For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. [30] Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. [31] Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. [32] And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

Now, let us fast-forward five or six years….