Purity or Compromise? #7

Thursday, October 21, 2021

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones” (Proverbs 3:5-8 KJV).

Will we be pure and thus purified? Or, will we compromise and thus be compromised?

If we doubt the Scriptures, taking a negative view of them, we will gradually relinquish more and more of them—leading to increasing uncertainty. To appeal to the world, to gain their “fellowship,” we have compromised. Eventually, we wind up like so many dear souls who have expressed throughout history, “I hate the Bible and have tossed it out altogether!” Here is apostasy, falling away from the truth, the result of failing to maintain doctrinal integrity. If this is the way we want it, then the God of the Scriptures will let us have it. Therefore, we must be extremely careful in this regard.

Believing the Scriptures, taking a positive view of them, we will continue to grow purer in our understanding of spiritual matters—causing greater confidence. To seek God’s approval, to think like He thinks, we have faith in what He has spoken to us. Ultimately, we experience what precious few souls have exclaimed throughout history, “I trust, understand, and enjoy the Bible!” Here is maturity, a greater awareness of the truth, the consequence of upholding doctrinal integrity. If this is the way we want it, then the God of the Scriptures will let us have it. Therefore, we need to be exceedingly careful in this regard too.

Dear brethren, as grace believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we must be particularly vigilant to be people of faith not doubt, to be saints of purity not compromise. Even within the Grace Movement, it is often quite difficult to discern who is a Christian and who is not. This is to be expected of denominationalists who have compromised but not dispensationalists who are allegedly pure! Let us cogitate on these simple truths, and may we adjust our minds and actions accordingly.

Our latest Bible Q&As: “What is a ‘battlement?’” and “Can you explain ‘cogitations?’

To Savour the Flavour of the Saviour #5

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men (Mark 8:33 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture and its context teach us about Satan’s policy of evil?

“Savour” means “give oneself to the enjoyment of, appreciate to the full, set affection on, place interest in.” Jesus’ “flavour” was the “indication of His essential character;” that is, He had fully given Himself over to delighting in working with His Heavenly Father. When we savour the flavour of the Saviour, we are thinking in accordance with the Head of the Church the Body of Christ: after all, His mind should govern us! (Recall Romans 8:5, Philippians 2:5, and Colossians 3:2.)

“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). As the perfect Man, the Lord Jesus Christ exhibited this lifestyle during His earthly ministry. Consequently, Satan attacked Him by using the sinful world system around Him. In fact, the Adversary even used Peter, Christ’s chief Apostle of Israel. Never forget today’s Scripture!

Brethren, the application we can make here is quite simple. If we are working with our Heavenly Father in the “family business”—the grace ministry—we can be absolutely (!) sure (!) Satan will use whomever or whatever he can to distract, discourage, and destroy us. Whether fellow Christians (even beloved pastors and fellow grace saints!), spouses, sons and daughters, or dear friends, if they are not submissive to the aforementioned renewed mind; they will become Satan’s mighty vessels in causing us to stumble in sin (apostasy and/or carnality). Still, we follow Christ’s pattern in today’s Scripture. He was not sidetracked from the Father’s plan: “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8)! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘noisome’ mean?

Separated!

Thursday, July 1, 2021

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 KJV).

Disgusted with local assemblies he has visited these last 30 years, a dear Christian brother voiced his frustration: “I am finished with churches!” In the future, such disgust just might cause him to embrace dispensational Bible study that he has bitterly opposed this past decade. Like an increasing number of church members from various denominations, he sees Christendom is hopelessly incorrigible.

To wholly purge every group of sectarian bias is impractical in this life; it will only be accomplished once Christ returns to deliver genuine believers (now in Heaven, thus no longer confused) and comes to punish unbelievers (Earth finally rid of false doctrine, pagan religion, philosophy). Until then, brethren, if we are to serve Jesus Christ, we must separate from organized religion (if we have not already done so). Denominations, sects, and cults are all polluted with man’s opinions to varying degrees. There is no perfect church, that we freely confess; rather, we seek a pure church.

If we cannot find a pure local church to attend, then we should start one ourselves in our home. The day is coming—and, whether we want to admit it or not, it is true—when the Christian church even in the United States of America will have to go “underground.” Governmental agencies will attack the most prominent groups: megachurches will be disbanded and shuttered, yet, that will not be detrimental, for sound Bible doctrine has survived without them anyway. What will remain is innumerable home grace churches, whose focus all along was sound teaching instead of formalism-upholding… institution-building… theological system-forming… edifice-constructing… social club-joining… bu$ine$$-managing.

Bible Q&As #854 and #855: “What does ‘brutish’ mean?” and “Is ‘should’ a mistranslation in Romans 6:4?

“Christianettes” #10

Saturday, June 12, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

The Holy Spirit’s deliberate arrangement of Paul’s epistles in the canon of Scripture—Romans first and Philemon last—brings successive waves of doctrine, reproof, and correction. All is “instruction in righteousness,” Christian living. To move from childish/simplistic thinking to adult/critical thinking, one must be taught increasingly deeper concepts. However, since any teaching, especially sound Bible teaching, can be found in so few Christian institutions and assemblies, spiritual babies abound instead of grownups. If they are reading Scripture, it is usually not the Dispensation of Grace but rather a non-Pauline/tradition assortment or Pauline/non-Pauline/tradition hybrid.

Christendom often appeals to Matthew through John, Christ’s earthly ministry, attempting to force those passages onto us. Yet, Christ ministered to Israel only (Matthew 15:24) on the basis of Jewish covenants (Romans 15:8), including the Mosaic Law (Galatians 4:4). However, Christ through Paul says to us: “Ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14,15). We know Jesus today, not through His earthly ministry to Israel, but rather through His heavenly ministry to us Gentiles via Paul’s apostleship: “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more” (2 Corinthians 5:16).

Alas, as early as the A.D. first century, the Body of Christ had forsaken Pauline doctrine (grace): “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1:15). Evidently, they preferred legalism (Mosaic Law)—precisely the sentiments of nearly all churches today! Satan’s evil world system is responsible for such ignorance, but the pastors and teachers who should have guarded their local assemblies are not without blame. Brethren, unless we expel the spiritual babies from our seminaries and pulpits, and return to the Apostle Paul’s pattern for edification, the professing church has absolutely no hope of being victorious over its constant sins, false teaching, and impotence.

Only saints mature in grace can do the work of the grace ministry… and only Paul’s epistles will bring us from the status of carnal “Christianettes” (babes) to spiritual Christians (adults) (1 Corinthians 14:37,38)! 🙂

“Christianettes” #9

Friday, June 11, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

“God wants the very best for you!” “It is a sin to be sick and poor!” “Jesus wants you to fulfill your dreams!” As ear-tickling and motivational as they sound, the shallow, puerile dictums of modern Christendom are void of God’s wisdom for the Dispensation of Grace. They do not provide us with any victory over sin or insight into the Lord’s current dealings with man.

Contrariwise, 2 Timothy chapter 3 informs: “[16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [17] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” “Doctrine” is teaching we are to believe: Romans (basic), Ephesians (advanced), and 1 and 2 Thessalonians (super-advanced) fit here. “Reproof” identifies what we are doing wrong: these are 1 and 2 Corinthians (basic) and Philippians (advanced). “Correction” tells us how to adjust erroneous thinking: Galatians (basic) and Colossians (advanced) go here. Again, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon are guides to administering a local grace assembly. Even the layout of Paul’s 13 epistles, from Romans all the way through Philemon, brings the saint from spiritual infancy to full adulthood.

The Corinthians and Galatians knew Pauline truth, but they did not appropriate it by faith. Read 1 Corinthians and Galatians. These are some sinful saints, especially in Corinth! A believer without edification is actually a child of God who thinks and behaves like a child of Satan. Such souls are no threat to the Devil; they may not be going to Hell any longer, but they are still his vessels to send many millions there in their place. Their lack of spiritual growth inhibits them from sharing a clear Gospel message and other Bible teaching: too confused to clearly articulate what they believe, any lost people they could have potentially reached stay lost, and any fellow Christians they could have possibly taught remain ignorant. Whoever is watching them responds, “Whatever that ‘Christian’ believes, I want no part in it! Let me stay in my world religion, philosophy, non-Christian worldview, et cetera.” If we follow Pauline edification, that will not be said of us!

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Acts 19:13-16?

“Christianettes” #8

Thursday, June 10, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

Christ Jesus asserted: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me” (John 13:20). As He sent the 12 Apostles to be His spokesmen in the prophetic program, so He sent Paul to be His spokesman in the mystery program. Under the Holy Spirit’s leadership, Paul thus declared: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office” (Romans 11:13).

First and foremost, the Apostle Paul reveals “my gospel,” the initial step to being “stablished” or stabilized (Romans 16:25,26). “The Gospel of the Grace of God” (Acts 20:24) is clearly defined in 1 Corinthians chapter 15: “[1] Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you,…. [3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:….”

Romans, Paul’s first epistle in the canon of Scripture, describes the Gospel of Grace by which we receive forgiveness, justification, sanctification, redemption, eternal life, et cetera. His next three epistles—1 and 2 Corinthians plus Galatians—expand on Romans and correct any misconceptions or confusions. Most church members, if they ever (!) grasp Romans through Galatians, never get beyond here. Remember, the Corinthians and Galatians failed to learn and apply Romans truth!! Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians are a higher plane of understanding.Very few gain this maturity, “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery” being the second step to establishment as per Romans 16:25,26. Finally, 1 and 2 Thessalonians are “the scriptures of the prophets:” all of the Bible in light of Pauline revelation. Practically no one gets to this final phase of maturity (Romans 16:25,26). Paul’s last four epistles—1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon—are handbooks for running the local church efficiently, also rarely mastered.

Following the Lord’s pattern through Paul, as shown here, we avoid becoming “Christianettes….”

“Christianettes” #7

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

As touching the nation Israel’s spiritual immaturity, the Holy Spirit through the writer of the Book of Hebrews commented in chapter 5: “[11] Of whom [Christ] we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. [12] For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. [13] For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. [14] But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

When Hebrews was written—the latter half of the Acts—the seven years of Tribulation should have already passed, Christ should have already returned at His Second Coming, and He should have already established Israel in His earthly kingdom (thus evangelizing Gentiles). By this time, however, the nation is unable to teach God’s words to non-Jews. The Jews themselves must first learn fundamental truth before they can share it with others. Like the Corinthians, they have responded poorly to the spiritual light given to them. Hence, they are “unskilful in the word of righteousness”—like a baby sucking on a milk bottle! They are not spiritual adults, “them that are of full age,” so they cannot eat spiritual meat (solid food): essentially, they are useless to God’s ministry. Hebrews is the Holy Spirit re-teaching Israel the basics, preparing them for Christ’s return and kingdom once our mystery program terminates.

Likewise, Father God would like us members of the Body of Christ to move from “babe” to “full age”—milk to meat, unskilful to experienced, students to teachers! Most importantly, He wants us to grow up now (as opposed to waiting to reach maturity in Heaven). The Pauline Epistles are the means whereby we undergo this transformation….

“Christianettes” #6

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

God’s current dealings with mankind, His present will, is “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2). This is the information He has in effect today: what He believes and expects us to believe, and what He is doing and expects us to do. He has dispensed or distributed this body of truth via the Apostle Paul’s ministry—particularly the 13 Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon. Ephesians chapter 3 opens: “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;….”

Every church member knows prophetic truth: “[19] Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. [20] And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: [21] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:19-21). However, practically no one in any church is aware of mystery truth: “…the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest,…” (Romans 16:25,26).

Church traditions taking preeminence for 2,000 years, Paul’s unique apostleship has been diminished or totally ignored: it is considered to be nothing more than an extension of the 12 Apostles’ ministry/message, or viewed as completely illegitimate and therefore worthy of exclusion from Scripture. We have failed (!) to follow the pattern of the edification of the believer outlined in Romans chapter 16, so believers are mere “Christianettes,” weak and confused, not much better off than they were before coming to Christ by faith….

“Christianettes” #5

Monday, June 7, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

Father God intends the Church the Body of Christ to grow up, to move away from sin’s power (man’s two natural extremes) and submit to grace: “And he [Jesus Christ] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting [equipping] of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:11-16).

The outline as to how God accomplishes this is found in Romans 16:25,26: “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to (1) my gospel, and (2) the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and (3) by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:….” We are to be “edified” (built up) and “stablished” (spiritually stabilized) via a three-step strategy. This design for the edification of the member of the Church the Body of Christ is the key to maturing in grace and avoiding both extremes of fallen human nature—asceticism (human good) and lasciviousness (human evil). Since churches, denominations, cults, et cetera, have failed these last 2,000 years to follow this pattern, “Christianettes” have resulted….

“Christianettes” #4

Sunday, June 6, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

In our fallen, natural, or sinful state, we humans have a nature divided into two extremes. There is asceticism on one end and lasciviousness on the other. Asceticism is the strict, legalistic, “self-disciplined” crowd, people obsessed with religious rites, rituals, and ceremonies; they fight the urge to engage in wild living by “managing” their sin with some prescribed denominational, religious, or spiritual routine. Lasciviousness is the loose, rowdy, “worldly” crowd, people fixated on doing whatever they want to do without any regard for boundaries or moderation; they fight against the inclination to pursue strict living by “managing” their sin with actions that defy prescribed religion.

A “Christianette” is someone caught in the above spectrum. Whether a genuine member of the Body of Christ, or just another lost person joining a local church, they are conducting themselves somewhere between asceticism and lasciviousness. They have not matured in grace principles, so they are involved with the “sins of the spirit” (works-religion) and/or the “sins of the flesh” (worldliness). In the case of the member of the Body of Christ, he or she is a living contradiction: a sinning saint does not make sense at all. As for the mere church member, we would expect a lost person (non-Christian) to act like a lost person (non-Christian): there is nothing surprising there!

Considering the two aforementioned erring Christian groups to whom Paul ministered, it is no coincidence we find one extreme of human nature dominating one crowd and the other extreme of human nature controlling the other multitude. Regarding the predicament of Galatia, they are the rigorous religionists, Moses-oriented (Galatians 4:21): “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” As touching Corinth, they are the lax humanists, man-oriented (1 Corinthians 3:3): “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”

All these centuries later, the Body of Christ as a whole is still wavering between the sin of Galatia (strict) and the sin of Corinth (loose). Individuals thus suffer the effects….