Without Honour #9

Thursday, March 26, 2020

But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house (Mark 6:4 KJV).

What valuable lesson can we learn from Nazareth—a moral the Nazarenes deliberately failed to learn?

Read Matthew 8:20: “And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” The Lord said it another way in John 5:43: “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” He was “without honour” among His own family, “friends,” and neighbors (today’s Scripture; cf. Matthew 13:57). This Greek term is rendered “despised” in 1 Corinthians 4:10. In other words, His acquaintances, contemporaries, and peers spent so much time not appreciating Him that they now began to hate Him with an unparalleled passion. It was now impossible for them to hide their unbelief. Animosity was seething in their souls—and they responded most violently in Nazareth by trying to take His life (Luke 4:28,29)!

Really, when we consider their detestable attitude, it would have been far better had they never known the truth. It would have been far better had they never lived with Jesus Christ for 30 years. Having so much opportunity to know the truth—and yet squandering that time by vehemently rejecting it—their accountability before God is increased considerably. Recall those somber warnings of Christ spoken in John 12:48: “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”

Second Thessalonians chapter 2 says of these very people: “[10] And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. [11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: [12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” They fervently rejected Christ, but they will gleefully receive Antichrist!

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Bible Q&A #705: “Who was ‘Herod?’

Without Honour #8

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house (Mark 6:4 KJV).

What valuable lesson can we learn from Nazareth—a moral the Nazarenes deliberately failed to learn?

Romans 1:18-32 explains how the world declined in its morals and ethics to result in the worldwide problems we see today. All people once had opportunity to be the LORD God’s instruments in the Earth, but they willfully refused His revelation. Therefore, human civilization deteriorated in the centuries following Adam’s creation. In Genesis chapters 6–8, God finally sent the Great Deluge of Noah’s day to cleanse the world of evil (violence, murder). During chapters 9–11, the nations gather around the Tower of Babel. Such paganism summarizes man’s attitude during his first 2,000 years. The Creator God gave the nations over to their preferred spiritual darkness!

In chapter 12, the LORD God sets aside one man to begin a new nation—Abraham, the father of Israel. Through Abraham and his descendants, God will reach the entire world. Romans 3:1,2: “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles [Word, revelation] of God.” God gave Israel His Word, so Israel can teach it to the Gentiles. “He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 147:19,20).

Moses told Israel in Deuteronomy 4:6-8: “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?”

Israel had that Word of God for 16 centuries, but she did not appreciate it. By the time her Messiah arrived, fulfilling that Word, she dishonoured Him too….

My Father’s Business #17

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

The Bible’s introductory verse proclaims: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Creation is divided into two realms—Heaven and Earth. Accordingly, God’s work within creation can be viewed as occurring in Heaven or occurring on Earth. From verse 2 onward, the Scriptures focus on His purpose and plan for Earth. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Job, and so on, all understood their Heavenly “Father’s business” concerned Earth.

In Genesis 1:26-28, we see the first man, Adam, commissioned to fill up Earth for God’s glory. Adam, of course, sinned and handed Earth’s governments over to Satan (cf. Matthew 4:8-10). The LORD introduced the Great Flood, cleansing Earth and restarting the human race with Noah and his family (Genesis chapters 6–8). Instead of remaining spiritually pure, mankind followed Satan nationally: the nations engaged in pagan idolatry at the Tower of Babel (Genesis chapters 9–11). God thus gave the nations (Gentiles) over to Satan and began to form the nation Israel with Abraham. Israel, taking Adam’s place, became God’s earthly people.

Genesis chapter 12 opens: “[1] Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: [2] And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: [3] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” After forming the nation Israel, God would give Israel His words and they would take them to the Gentiles. Here is Israel’s—here is God’s—earthly kingdom.

Matthew 25:34 summarizes, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:….” Christ’s earthly kingdom would have been inaugurated back in Adam’s day, but Adam sinned. Unfortunately, Israel sinned as well, resulting in God’s change in program yet again….

Not Many Likes

Friday, July 26, 2019

“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:5 KJV).

If social media were around in Noah’s time, how many “likes,” “shares,” “views,” and “re-tweets” would he have had?

Brethren, let us never (ever!) forget that we are not (NOT!) in the grace ministry to see how many “likes” we can get on Facebook, “views” on YouTube, “re-tweets” on Twitter, or “shares” and “subscribers” on any other internet platform. We are not (NOT!) in the grace ministry to see how many names and addresses we can add to our mailing list, or how many subscribers to our television shows, radio programs, and podcasts. “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12).

Honestly, if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself had social media accounts, He would have few friends. Actually, He would soon be banned for being “homophobic,” “xenophobic,” “misogynistic,” “Islamophobic,” and so on. When His orating got tough, the offended got going! “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66).

Have you realized Bible truth is unpopular? We do not find many who have trusted—let alone, know—the Gospel of the Grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). We find few English-speaking Christians faithfully using the King James Bible. We do not find many Christians who are Pauline dispensationalists. Thus, when we share those doctrines, we should never expect widespread endorsements. So what! We are not in a popularity contest. Remember, our endeavor is to please God rather than men (Galatians 1:10); we seek God’s praise (cf. John 12:43). We are servants of Jesus Christ not mortal man (Romans 6:22).

In today’s Scripture, what ordinal number do we see? “One millionth?” (No!) “Ten-thousandth?” (No!) “One-hundredth?” (No!) “Tenth?” (No!) Noah was “the eighth person!” That meant, after 120 years of preaching, he converted seven people: his wife, their three sons, and their three wives entered the Ark with him (Genesis 6:3,18; Genesis 7:7; Genesis 8:16). The rest of the human souls on Earth—perhaps a few billion—drowned. Wow!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How could God forbid Jeremiah to pray for His people?

Not Willingly Ignorant!

Monday, February 11, 2019

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself (John 7:17 KJV).

Are we ignorant—or actually willingly ignorant?

Recently, a dear Christian brother lamented that he was “ignorant” of the Bible. I quickly corrected him. We are all ignorant of Scripture to some degree. No man on Earth today knows the Bible as he ought to know—even he who has memorized 15,000 verses is not guaranteed exemplary spiritual discernment and superior Bible understanding!

Certainly, it is no sin to be uniformed about Holy Writ. The problem is when we are willfully or deliberately unfamiliar with it. After all, it is easier to remain uneducated. Preconceived notions remain unchallenged. Religious tradition is hard to abandon. Habits are not easy to change. Second Peter chapter 3 speaks of Bible mockers who intentionally overlook historical truth—namely, the Great Deluge of Noah’s day—because it contradicts their “things never change” prejudice:

“[3] Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, [4] And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. [5] For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: [6] Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:….”

The Bible’s definition of “sin” is Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way….” Proverbs chapter 18 adds: “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom. A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself” (verses 1,2). The fool has an agenda, a “pet” idea or system, and has no interest in changing it on account of the Bible. Thus, he pleads ignorance—willful ignorance! Dear friends, may we not be numbered with him. We are ignorant, yes, but we are nevertheless endeavoring to correct and refine our distorted thinking by “studying… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Willfully Ignorant!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

“For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (2 Peter 3:5,6 KJV).

Ignorance is not a sin; willful ignorance is!

Recently, I attempted to teach a professing Christian lady quite steeped in her religious tradition. After I explained how she had not been taught the truth, I believe (for just a few seconds) she saw in her heart the plain facts of Scripture we discussed. Immediately, however, she shut out that light. She said the Bible was “complicated,” “hard to follow” here. Basically, refusing to forsake her warped theology, she dismissed Scripture as “confusing.” Frankly, I let her have her ignorance. When she stopped the conversation, so did I. She was clearly deceived, but willfully ignorant. Nothing more could be done for her. We changed subjects.

Later, I spoke with two other professing Christian women. One dear soul, certainly unsaved, had no interest whatsoever in hearing how to have her sins forgiven, a right standing before God, and an eternal home in Heaven. She told me not to speak about that to her anymore (and I have not!). The other woman, allegedly a believer in the Gospel of Grace, did not care about sound Bible doctrine. She was “too busy” with other issues—evidently “more important” ones. That evening, I talked with a Christian brother whom I have known for some years. As I offered Biblical insight concerning the anxieties and troubles bothering him, he expressed disagreement with the verses. Decades of religious tradition had gripped him tightly, and he had gripped it tightly too!! (He then hung up the phone!)

Similarly, in today’s Scripture, deniers of God’s wrath deliberately ignored His truth. He had judged the world with the Great Flood that destroyed nearly all Earth’s biosphere. They merely had to read and believe the preserved record of Genesis chapters 6-8, but they refused and claimed obliviousness! Dear friends, may we not follow their example. To be unskilled in the Word of Righteousness is one thing; to be firmly uninformed, fervidly declining to learn the truth, is entirely different!

God Spared Not

Monday, August 27, 2018

He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence (Psalm 78:50 KJV).

On five occasions in the Bible, “God spared not.” What can they tell us about Him?

Today’s Scripture is part of a colossal song that spans Israel’s history from the early patriarchs (especially Moses) up to King David’s reign. The verse sits among those that describe the 10 plagues or judgments God poured out on evil Egypt before the Red Sea experience (see verses 43-51). “They” of today’s Scripture are the heathen Egyptians: Israel’s God was not reluctant to use death to prove to them that He alone, not their lifeless idols, was Almighty God.

“For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee” (Romans 11:21). This chapter closes Romans’ three-chapter dispensational section. As God was not lenient in setting aside unbelieving national Israel for a time, the Gentile nations (unbelieving) had better not boast as if He will not remove them from access to Him and return Israel to her esteemed position.

“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (2 Peter 2:4). God was not at all shy in punishing the angels that followed Satan in his rebellion against the Creator. The worst of these spiritual beings are imprisoned in Hell awaiting final judgment (1 Peter 3:19,20; Jude 6).

“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:5). God was not averse to cleansing the sinful antediluvian (pre-Flood) world of Genesis chapters 4-6. In four instances, He was harsh in punishing sin; the other case involved Him readily paying for sin!

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). Father God could have withheld His Son from being offered on Calvary’s cruel altar (the cross), but He hesitated not. Christ Jesus’ soul would be made an offering for our sin (Isaiah 53:10)—and, praise God, He was “spared not!”