Comatose! #6

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14 KJV).

“Wake up!,” screams the Holy Spirit to today’s comatose professing church!

Moses’ advice to Israel in Deuteronomy 4:5-8 was: “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” Unfortunately, Israel did not obey the Law of Moses, thereby misrepresenting the one true God in front of their Gentile neighbors (who scoffed at “God’s people”—see Romans 2:24, Ezekiel 36:23, and 2 Samuel 12:14).

Likewise, members of the Church the Body of Christ are thus urged to conduct themselves wisely, “that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:5). “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33,34). The Christians at Corinth were spiritually asleep because they were fellowshipping too much with unbelievers, and had been negatively impacted.

Observe Romans 13:11-14: “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering [sexual indulgence, lewdness, vulgarity] and wantonness [loose living, recklessness], not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

Comatose! #5

Monday, February 27, 2023

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14 KJV).

“Wake up!,” screams the Holy Spirit to today’s comatose professing church!

In Matthew 13:25, “the enemy” labored “while men slept.” Verse 39 identifies this “enemy” as “the devil.” The sleeping, of course, is not physical but spiritual. When people are spiritually oblivious, napping in the spiritual realm, they become more susceptible to Satan’s will. A saint not walking in the light of God’s words to him or her will fall into the spiritual trap of functional death, the Christian life not functioning (see today’s Scripture). Also, any lost people refusing to believe God’s words to them—they are content in being lost—they too will be vulnerable to Satanic deception (remaining lost). The context of the verses in Matthew chapter 13 is the Little Flock receiving and believing the Gospel of the Kingdom, God’s work (genuine), and lost Israel refusing and disbelieving the Gospel of the Kingdom, Satan’s work (counterfeit).

Satan’s evil world system is still in force now, misleading lost and saved alike, following the patterns already laid out in Scripture. It had duped the Corinthian saints (spiritual immaturity, heresies and sects, fornication, abusing spiritual gifts, petty lawsuits, mockery of the Lord’s Supper, et cetera), the Galatian saints (legalism, denominationalism, works-religion), the Ephesian saints (various sins and silly deeds delineated in Ephesians 4:17–5:21), and so on. In the verses following today’s Scripture, we read: “[15] See then that ye walk circumspectly [looking around, carefully, alertly], not as fools, but as wise, [16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [17] Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. [18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;….”

If there is no renewed mind, thinking like a mature grace saint (Romans 12:1,2), we will be “fools… unwise… [not] understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Since the vast majority of the professing church has never paid much attention to the warnings the Holy Spirit issued 2,000 years ago, there is no filling of the Holy Spirit, and therefore no real spiritual fruit and meaningful Christian influence on the world. Like with Israel of old, a spiritual coma incapacitates….

Comatose! #4

Sunday, February 26, 2023

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14 KJV).

“Wake up!,” screams the Holy Spirit to today’s comatose professing church!

In today’s Scripture, Paul evidently alluded to Isaiah 60:1, which is sinful, spiritually blind, spiritually-impotent Israel exhorted to pursue holy living because of Messiah’s coming: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.” You may also see verses 2 and 3 (Millennial Kingdom glory—cf. Matthew 5:14-16). Since Israel’s Messiah (Jesus) is our Head, the Head of the Church which is His Body, should we not likewise walk in God’s light instead of stumbling in Satan’s darkness?

As it was appropriately stated long ago, “We do not become sinless when we become Christians, but, when we become Christians, we should sin less.” Before we can fix a problem, dear friends, we have to identify it. After we discover what is wrong, only then can we proceed to making it right. If we want to improve our lives, we have to admit our shortcomings. Three passages of the Dispensation of Grace that will benefit us in pinpointing and correcting our carnal living, worldliness, and foolish thinking are Romans chapter 12, Ephesians chapter 4, and Colossians chapter 3.

If these three chapters were actually believed in the heart and applied to life on a daily basis, the Church the Body of Christ would have a far greater and more positive impact on the world than it has. We would hear much less about “hypocritical Christians,” “confused Christians,” “discouraged Christians,” “apostate Christians,” and “silly Christians.” There would be fewer dissolved Christian marriages, fewer broken Christian homes, fewer delinquent Christian youth, fewer split Christian churches, fewer secular Christian colleges. More lost people would notice and say, “I may not agree with Christians, but I cannot deny their sensible thoughts and decent lives.” More lost people would respond with, “I want to know more about Christianity and that ‘Jesus’ you serve.” Ultimately, there might just be a few less atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, Muslims, Buddhists, Satanists, and other pagans.

Today’s Christians need to wake up and heed the Lord’s words through the Apostle Paul, rising from their practical death, and enlightened with the brilliance of Christ’s very words….

Comatose! #3

Saturday, February 25, 2023

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14 KJV).

“Wake up!,” screams the Holy Spirit to today’s comatose professing church!

Never are we Christians called to be sinless in this life, for until “the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30) or “the redemption of our [physical] body” (Romans 8:23), we will be in these fallen bodies of flesh that are biologically related to Adam. When we want to walk contrary to our identity in Jesus Christ, we will “Quench [hinder, extinguish]… the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19) and we will “grieve [sadden, pain, hurt]… the Spirit” (Ephesians 4:30). For a believer in Christ to sin is one thing, for him or her to sin in private is another, but for the Christian to flaunt sinful conduct in front of the eyes of the lost world is something else entirely!

When we have Christian pastors sharing obscene jokes in the pulpit or on social media (and I have seen and heard it), church members assembling and wearing vulgar attire during services (and I have seen and heard it), Christians engaged in public drunkenness (and I have seen and heard it), it should never surprise us when people snicker at the Bible and have no desire to hear anything about “Jesus.”

Christians have habitually complained about the evils in the world—but how many of them have shared the Gospel of Grace even once to rescue some poor unsaved soul from that same evil world system? Would they know enough of the Scriptures to teach so much as a children’s Sunday School class? Yet, they are the very individuals whining about “delinquent youth” and “ignorant young people!” They disparage the science professors who teach humanism in the name of “higher education,” but what sound Bible doctrine have these Christians taught their kids?

Instead of organizing concerts and potluck suppers, re-translating the Bible, scheming to raise money so as to fund denominational programs, preachers and teachers need to be laboring to impart doctrinal life to their practically dead church members and students. As the Lord Jesus stated, “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life(John 6:63). Here is the key to recovering from a spiritual coma….

Comatose! #2

Friday, February 24, 2023

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14 KJV).

“Wake up!,” screams the Holy Spirit to today’s comatose professing church!

For a great many people, the summit of being a Christian means nothing more than criticizing any and every non-Christian and trying to make lost people behave like Christians. “Stop doing those evils, and start doing these religious works!” While sincere, they are sincerely wrong. It makes no sense to expect non-Christians to conduct themselves as though they were Christians. What is even more preposterous, but usually overlooked, is when Christians act like non-Christians.

When Christians are “too busy” for Bible study, and/or “not interested” in having fellowship with believers, and/or “unwilling” to separate from the world’s desires and activities, and/or “indifferent” to false teaching in their denomination, this is far greater sin in the eyes of the Lord than non-Christians having lifestyles that are to be expected of non-Christians. A sinner cannot help but sin; his or her very nature is sin. Yet, the saint has a choice: walk by faith in Christ, or walk in the flesh. God intends saints (a title meaning “set apart, sanctified”) to be set apart from the world, the flesh, and the Devil!

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, 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: 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” (Romans 12:1,2). It only makes sense for Christians to think and act like Christians—because that is precisely who they are. When Christians mimic the world, resembling non-Christians, they are spiritually comatose. Their Christian life is suspended. Alive in Christ positionally, they have decided practically to walk in the energy of the flesh—and their Christian life cannot and will not function. They are like the physical paralytic, sprawled out on a bed and totally helpless because they have decided not to have or apply the renewed mind.

Look at today’s Scripture. There are spiritual zombies in Ephesus, and they are all around us in our local churches….

Comatose! #1

Thursday, February 23, 2023

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14 KJV).

“Wake up!,” screams the Holy Spirit to today’s comatose professing church!

Indeed, truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Review, for example, these three medical cases. Back in 1941, a six-year-old girl was anesthetized for a routine surgery, but she never regained consciousness. Amazingly, her coma lasted 37 years, when she ultimately expired. Due to a traumatic assault, one lady went into a coma—and died after remaining 41 years in that persistent vegetative state. In 1969, a woman entered a diabetic coma and never woke up, dying 42 years later. A coma is a state of deep, prolonged unconsciousness, resulting from various factors. How truly sad it is to see physical bodies lying helpless in bed, wasting away, unable to respond to their environment. Yet, there is something equally disturbing, but far deadlier, in the spiritual realm.

Throughout my 17 years in ministry, I have encountered a great diversity of lost and saved people alike. Who has concerned me the most is not the people without or unaware of the Lord Jesus Christ, but the people who allegedly have or know of Him. We would naturally expect the latter to be the most informed, spiritually enlightened people in this world, those who had exemplary lives and morals. After all, they “read” the Bible, and they sing about “Jesus,” “grace,” and “the Spirit.” Yet, when I personally interacted with them—meeting and conversing with them—I realized they were in a spiritual comatose state. Their conduct, speech, and values were not Christian. Sin that should have bothered them did not trouble them at all. They had no real interest in spiritual matters or serious Bible study. If I were a non-Christian, nothing they had or said would have ever convinced me to become a Christian. Honestly, this hypocrisy is likely the main reason why “Christianity” is detested so often.

Dearly beloved, before we condemn the world’s people for their evils, we the “Christians” (?) need to address our own sins. Our main transgression is our persistent spiritual coma as referenced in today’s Scripture….

Something in Which to Glory!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

“As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:12-14 KJV).

In what shall we glory? About what shall we boast? In what shall we find value?

Religion produces people who enjoy bragging all about their “dedication to God.” “Look what I did—the ceremonies in which I have participated, the many prayers I faithfully recited daily, how much I put in the collection plate, see how many pleasures I gave up to please God! Come, see how much I love Him!” Dear friends, the Apostle Paul found great value in something—but that something was not what he did. All that human flesh can accomplish pales in comparison to the work in today’s Scripture.

As Lent begins, the time when religionists temporarily (a mere 40 days) relinquish some pleasant food or activity, let us remember that our performance is often non-performance. Once we place ourselves on that treadmill of “do, do, do,” we are guaranteed to fail at some point. Human flesh is simply too weak to maintain 100 percent—that is sin! Even concerning one rule, we cannot keep it perfectly. We mess up eventually.

If ever we believe that our puny works are worth bragging about, let us remember the words of the Apostle Paul in today’s Scripture. While some boast in their religiosity (in the passage, the Judaizers applauding their rite of physical circumcision), and such denominationalists today urge us to obey their church’s instructions so they too may boast in our ability, let us eschew such foolishness. Being imperfect, all their works do not measure up to Christ’s finished crosswork. At Calvary, we find the only sacrifice that will ever please the God of the Bible. If we must boast, let us brag that He did what we could never, ever do!

See our archived Bible Q&A: “Should Christians observe Lent?

God’s Grace on Parade

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

“…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20 KJV).

Today, especially here in southern Louisiana, the Catholic festival of Mardi Gras takes advantage of God’s grace. God’s grace abounds even when drunkenness, lasciviousness, and gluttony are committed overtly on our streets for religion. Because we live in the Dispensation of the Grace of God, they can flaunt their sin without being consumed by fire from heaven!

“Mardi Gras,” French for “Fat Tuesday,” is a day when religious people—professing “Christians”—lose self-control (excess alcohol, food, and partying). The following day, Ash Wednesday, they promise to live “holy” for the next 40 days (Lent). A priest will then place ashes on their foreheads proving that God forgave them for that riotous living. Blasphemy!

Regardless of all its biblical allusions (illusions!), Mardi Gras is still evil and anti-God. It was never Christian, originating from pagan Roman festivals, Saturnalia and Lupercalia (interestingly known for riots, drunkenness, gluttony, and fornication, and subsequent repentance).

The Holy Spirit, speaking through the Apostles Peter and Paul, was clearly against Mardi Gras reveling and drunkenness (Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Peter 4:3). So why do professing Christians engage in the very activities that God the Holy Spirit condemned?! As Christians, we should “deny” the activities of Mardi Gras (Romans 6:11-15; Titus 2:11-15).

If I appear offended, I am. Mardi Gras, despite its godly façade, is offensive to the great God and my Saviour Jesus Christ! God’s grace continues to tolerate such foolishness from mankind. Man parades his sin, and God parades His grace, holding back wrath.

Are you a Mardi Gras reveler? I declare unto you the wonderful Gospel of the Grace of God. God did for you at Calvary what you could never do: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Jesus Christ shed His sinless blood and died to put away all of your sins, Mardi Gras revelry included.

If you rest in Christ Jesus alone as your Saviour, God will save you forever, make a trophy of His grace, and then YOUR life will be God’s grace on parade!

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

You may also see our archived Bible study Q&A, “Should Christians celebrate Mardi Gras?


Monday, February 20, 2023

“And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread” (Genesis 41:53,54 KJV).

What is a “dearth?”

Upon encountering an archaic or unfamiliar term in our King James Bible, we have three options to overcoming the obstacle. Firstly, we can throw up our hands, shedding tears and shouting, “Poor translation!,” and proceed in our arrogance to correct the text because we presume we know more about the English language than our English Bible does. This is quite tempting, for it is extremely easy to do (and, thus, done repeatedly). Secondly, we can use a dictionary to learn a new vocabulary word and its meaning. This is a little more difficult, for it requires effort to flip pages. Lastly, we can scan the surrounding Bible words or verses for “context clues.” This is the most challenging, as the Scriptures become the final authority (and our flesh will not submit without a bitter protest!).

“Dearth” is definitely not in our everyday speech, but its strangeness should not discourage us. Seven years of “dearth” are contrasted with seven years of “plenteousness” (today’s Scripture). You do know what “plenty” means, yes? “Dearth” is just the opposite. Whereas there was abundant food (“bread” being generic), there is now a scarcity of food—a famine. “Dear” is an obsolete English word meaning “difficult to obtain,” and the “–th” suffix added to the end suggests “a quality or condition.” We have therefore broadened our understanding: “dearth” (rhymes with “birth”) indicates “the state of food shortage.”

If you back up even further in Genesis chapter 41, you will see seven years of “great plenty” are to be followed by seven years of “famine” (verses 29-31). Having confirmed our deduction as being sound, we now have a key to interpreting related verses—2 Kings 4:38, 2 Chronicles 6:28, Nehemiah 5:3, Jeremiah 14:1, Acts 7:11 (Stephen quoting Genesis above), and Acts 11:28. Indeed, what a rewarding course we have taken by using the Bible’s built-in dictionary we have been given.

Firmer in Their Murmur #4

Sunday, February 19, 2023

The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven…. Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves…. When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? (John 6:41,43,61 KJV).

Behold, they have become firmer in their murmur!

“I do not follow Paul. Paul is just a man. I follow Jesus.” Whenever someone says this, they are advertising Bible ignorance: they need to do more biblical studying and less spiritual murmuring. For example, is it not interesting that Jesus Himself ordered the healed leper to “offer the gift that Moses commanded” (Matthew 8:4; Mark 1:44; Luke 5:14)? Adopting the pattern described earlier, can you just imagine the idiotic reply? “But, Lord, I follow God. Moses was just a man. I obey God’s command.”

Of course, the Lord Jesus knew Moses was only a human, but Moses was God’s spokesman to Israel. To reject Moses meant refusing Almighty God’s messenger. Advising His Apostles, Christ stated in John 13:20: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” To receive Christ’s messenger or apostle to us is to accept Jesus Christ Himself, and to receive Jesus Christ is to accept Father God who sent Jesus Christ as the Spokesman for the Godhead. Christ commissioned the Apostle Paul to reach us, “Delivering thee from the people [Israel], and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee [‘apostello’],….” (Acts 26:17). The Holy Spirit thus moved Paul to pen Romans 11:13: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my office….”

Instead of spending all our time reading Christ’s earthly ministry (to Israel! Matthew 15:24), we should consider His heavenly ministry to us through Paul. The Corinthians were negligent here (1 Corinthians chapter 10), as is much of the professing church now. Let us not be firmer in our murmur—or even murmur at all—concerning “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery [Paul’s ministry]” (Romans 16:25,26). Let us be appreciative of the Lord speaking through our Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 14:37)! “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (verse 38).