Joy to the World! #3

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

“For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody” (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

The third verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.”

God’s Word to Adam just after he sinned included the following pronouncement, “…[C]ursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee” (Genesis 3:17,18). This is part of the “bondage of corruption” of which Romans 8:21 speaks. Sin tainted creation. Thorns and thistles began to grow, making Adam’s labor in the field even more grueling. Paradise was indeed lost… but not forever!

When God created the heaven and the earth, He selected a special location on Earth as His home. Exodus 15:17,18 say: “Thou shalt bring them [Israel] in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established. The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.” Isaiah 40:22 says God “stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.” While Adam’s sinful actions delayed God’s earthly kingdom, God would take care of those mistakes and still accomplish His original intention.

Israel’s mistakes further delayed God’s earthly kingdom. However, God will restore Earth’s ecology to its original, pre-Fall (pre-sin) conditions. This is true especially of Zion, Jerusalem, which will be the global and universal capital city. There will be joy and gladness, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. All believers in heaven (Body of Christ) and earth (redeemed Israel) will join the angels in song. The curse has been lifted, and Jesus Christ has been exalted (Isaiah 11:1-9)!

Bible Q&A #333: “Why should I go to church?

Joy to the World! #3

Sunday, December 13, 2015

“For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody” (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

The third verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.”

God’s Word to Adam just after he sinned included the following pronouncement, “…[C]ursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee” (Genesis 3:17,18). This is part of the “bondage of corruption” of which Romans 8:21 speaks. Sin tainted creation. Thorns and thistles began to grow, making Adam’s labor in the field even more grueling. Paradise was indeed lost… but not forever!

When God created the heaven and the earth, He selected a special location on Earth as His home. Exodus 15:17,18 say: “Thou shalt bring them [Israel] in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established. The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.” Isaiah 40:22 says God “stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.” While Adam’s sinful actions delayed God’s earthly kingdom, God would take care of those mistakes and still accomplish His original intention.

Israel’s mistakes further delayed God’s earthly kingdom. However, God will restore Earth’s ecology to its original, pre-Fall (pre-sin) conditions. This is true especially of Zion, Jerusalem, which will be the global and universal capital city. There will be joy and gladness, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. All believers in heaven (Body of Christ) and earth (redeemed Israel) will join the angels in song. The curse has been lifted, and Jesus Christ has been exalted (Isaiah 11:1-9)!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “‘The fulness of the Gentiles’ and ‘The times of the Gentiles’—same or different?

If Thou Be #3

Saturday, June 6, 2015

“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:4,5 KJV).

Long before Satan tried to seduce Jesus Christ from understanding His identity, long before he attempted to mislead us from our Christian identity, he deceived Eve regarding her identity.

In the beginning, Adam and Eve were fully blessed of God. Sin, suffering, and death were unknown. God’s only commandment was Genesis 2:16,17: “[16] And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: [17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” God in His grace had given them many provisions—innumerable species of trees and plants from which to eat. They could freely eat” of every tree, save the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam communicated to Eve that Word of God originally given to him.

When Satan attacked mankind, he singled out the woman. After craftily asking Eve if God really said not to eat of every tree, Satan observed Eve depart even further from the truth. Genesis 3:2-5 says: “[2] And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: [3] But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. [4] And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: [5] For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

Eve neglected the abundance God gave her and Adam. She omitted “freely” from “freely eat,” ignoring the free will God gave her. Made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-28), she was misled to believe that she could have a better position (“gods”). Once Adam ate, they lost that perfect identity, and all its provisions.

Thee and Two Gardens #7

Friday, January 30, 2015

“Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus…” (John 19:41,42a KJV).

Wilt thou choose to “live” in the Garden of Eden, or in the Garden of Calvary?

Romans chapter 6 declares that our Christian life cannot begin until God reckons us dead in Christ’s tomb: “[1] What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? [2] God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? [3] Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ [not water!] were baptized into his death?”

“[4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. [5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. [7] For he that is dead is freed from sin.”

[8] Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: [9] Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. [10] For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. [11] Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Saints, you can live in the Garden of Eden, where you indeed live, and if it is you living, your Christian life will be dead, unable to bring God glory. Or, you can live in the Garden of Calvary, where you indeed die, and if it is you who are dead, your Christian life will live for Jesus Christ will live His life in you, thus glorifying Father God. By faith, let us choose the latter garden… it alone bears good fruit! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Are deceased Christians with the Lord yet?

Thee and Two Gardens #6

Thursday, January 29, 2015

“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8 KJV).

Wilt thou choose to “live” in the Garden of Eden, or in the Garden of Calvary?

Many precious souls constantly think about symbols, tithes and offerings, confessionals, aisles, candles, prayer closets, “scholarship,” altars, programs, holy days, counterfeit Bibles, personalities and celebrities, ecclesiastical laws, baptisteries, pilgrimages, dreams and visions, bread and wine, jewelry, statues, “praise and worship,” charities, vestments, healings, paintings, shrines, gibberish, patristic writings, and other theological speculations and paraphernalia.

As Satan distracted Eve, so she knew not God’s Word to her (the context of today’s Scripture), “Christianity” is similarly confused. Most are so sidetracked that they have no time whatsoever to think about Calvary’s real meaning. They are too busy thinking about what they are doing, so they have no time to think about what God did for them 2,000 years ago.

Friends, apart from faith in Calvary’s finished crosswork, we have no power of God in our lives (1 Corinthians 1:18,23,24). Fulfilling rules and regulations does not change the fact that we are still weak children of Adam, sinners by birth, unable to perform perfectly. Thus, sin-management systems are of no help to us. We need divine intervention to overcome sin.

God’s grand design is that our Christian life begin in a tomb. He alone can crucify us so as to separate us from Adam, to bury us in Christ’s tomb, to raise us again with Christ and give us a new nature in Him. Contrary to human “wisdom,” it is God’s wisdom, thinking on a much higher plane than even what the “best” intellectuals and philosophers could ever imagine. God did not come to correct us, but to crucify us with Christ, and He did not come to reform us but to resurrect us with Christ. It is not outward reformation (religion) but inward regeneration (life in Christ Jesus!).

We conclude this devotionals arc by quoting Romans chapter 6….

Thee and Two Gardens #5

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8 KJV).

Wilt thou choose to “live” in the Garden of Eden, or in the Garden of Calvary?

To defeat one’s enemy, one only needs to get into the enemy’s mind. Satan knows this good and well, so at every opportunity, he uses false teaching to distract God’s people. It is exactly how he manipulated Eve in the context of today’s Scripture. Satan first questioned God’s Word (“Yea, hath God said…?,” verse 1), Eve then misquoted God’s Word (subtracting from it, adding to it, watering it down; verses 2,3), and Satan finally denied God’s Word (verse 4,5). In just a few moments, Satan had Eve exactly where he wanted… she did not have one whit of sound Bible doctrine to uphold her, so her mind was corrupted. Adam, aware of the deception, just gave in. They lost paradise because of it.

The Bible warns us in 2 Corinthians 11:3: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” Just as Satan confused Eve regarding God’s simple instructions, he feeds the Body of Christ false information so they do not know what God is doing today. Satan encourages us to take parts of the Bible not written to us and make them apply to us, as well as encourages us to throw away the Bible completely and put a denominational handbook in its place.

So, just as Satan messed up the lives of Adam and Eve with false doctrine, and made them unusable to God (today’s Scripture), Satan uses false doctrine to make us unusable to God. Dear friends, we must be on guard. We must never let our minds wander far from Christ’s finished crosswork, and the Garden of Calvary when it was completed with the resurrection, for Satan will surely weaken and destroy our Christian lives….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Paul tell the Corinthians to be ‘reconciled to God?’

Thee and Two Gardens #4

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8 KJV).

Wilt thou choose to “live” in the Garden of Eden, or in the Garden of Calvary?

Once Adam and Eve recognized their sin problem, they “sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons” (verse 7). Rather than seek God’s help, they attempted to cover up their problem by themselves. This was religion’s first appearance—sinful man trying to bind himself back to the holy God he offended. Their efforts failed, and they thus hid from God (today’s Scripture).

Even today, the average person ignores God’s solution to our sin problem (Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork). He or she tries everything else to deal with their sin—water baptism, prayer, alms, confession, commandment keeping, apathy, denial, et cetera. Religion failed Adam and Eve, and Israel. Dear friends, religion will profit us nothing either. If religion were useful, Jesus Christ would have stayed in heaven! Because Jesus came and died, we know religion is literally fruitless concerning the righteous fruit God demands. Religion brings nothing but irritation and heartache, just as the itchy fig leaves bothered Adam and Eve. Again, even while wearing prickly fig-leaf coverings, they knew they were naked spiritually, and hid amongst the trees as soon as they heard righteous JEHOVAH Elohim coming their way (today’s Scripture)!

To have the righteous works God demands, we must die, which is where Calvary’s cross enters the picture: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). By simple faith in Calvary’s finished crosswork, God kills us. He can do nothing with our flesh, our identity in Adam, so He gives us a new identity in Christ! Oh, what joy, what peace, what liberty, what holiness we now have. Strangely, our life begins in a tomb, the tomb of the Garden of Calvary….