A Journey Not in Vain

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58 KJV).

We may not see spiritual fruit from our ministry in this life, but we will definitely see it in the next!

Recently, I read the autobiography of a man who left a cult and became a Christian by trusting Jesus Christ alone as his personal Saviour. He had been a leader of that works-religion denomination for several years. Specific false doctrines in the group bothered him: he wanted to believe them (it was his family’s religion), but they were just too unscriptural—yea, anti-scriptural—to accept as true. He finally renounced the ministry and found a secular job. Five years later, a Christian coworker shared the Gospel of Grace with him, and he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, passing from death to life. He was only two years old in Christ at the time of writing his book (which major “Christian” publishing houses rejected), and died just prior to one Bible-believing company ultimately printing it. It would not at all be surprising if his denomination assassinated him to silence his damning evidence against it!

Dear saints, how marvelous it is that our labor is not in vain in the Lord. That brother moved to Heaven long ago (coincidentally, today is the 40th anniversary!), yet his firsthand information is still benefiting Christians even now. His readers can better witness to people struggling to leave his former denomination. In fact, he had no idea that his book would reach me four decades later, and assist me in coming to better appreciate my salvation from sin and false teaching. That dear brother had little time to grow in the Scriptures, so his insight into the Bible was quite limited. Yet, he walked in the light he had, he was willing to lovingly correct people in their flawed theology, and the Lord always blesses such attitudes and efforts. His journey from that cult has led to countless others’ deliverance too. Indeed, when I get to Heaven one day, I will surely shake that brother’s hand and praise our Lord Jesus Christ for his obedience in preaching the Word!

That They All May Be One! #10

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

Contrary to popular belief, the harmony or accord of which Jesus spoke in John chapter 17 was not Bible believers setting aside doctrine so as to unite with heretics and apostates. Rather, it was the reunification of the peoples of Israel and Judah, the divided kingdoms joined together as they were in the days of David. Through the Apostles’ preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom—Jesus is Christ, the Son of David—their converts would return to Father God and thus submit to the Davidic dynasty as before. Ultimately, this will occur during the Millennium.

Re-read John chapter 17: “[16] They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. [18] As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. [19] And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” We must not throw away sound Bible doctrine, for true Christian unity is based on the truth (cf. Ephesians 4:3-6). Thus, it is impossible to make all beliefs equivalent: all religions and denominations cannot be accepted without reservation. The Bible is specific in its teachings; therefore, we conclude doctrine matters (Romans 16:17,18; Galatians 1:6-9; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 2 Timothy 4:1-4; Titus 3:9-11; et al.). Remember, the division between Israel and Judah occurred because of Solomon’s false religions, epitomized as: “Doctrine does not matter. Let us all gather around any and every god. All religions are the same anyway!”

Nay, brethren, we bring to mind the stern warning in Scripture: “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?” (2 Corinthians 6:14,15).

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

That They All May Be One! #9

Friday, March 26, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

One purpose of the New Covenant is to rejoin Israel and Judah, redeem them through Jesus Christ’s shed blood, and forgive their sin debt incurred under the Old Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; cf. Hebrews 8:8-13; Hebrews 10:1-39). Sin split them from God, and also divided them into two kingdoms and two nations. Yet, God’s grace will cover those transgressions and restore all 12 tribes under one King, the Lord Jesus Christ, to become one born-again nation. Returning to the Promised Land, they never again leave it because of Gentile captivity (Jeremiah 32:36-44; Ezekiel 36:16-38; et al.).

Although unbelieving, High Priest Caiaphas was used of the Holy Spirit to describe Jesus’ impending death: “And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad (John 11:49-52).

Believers from Israel and Judah, dispersed worldwide, will be made one people through Christ’s finished crosswork: “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd (John 10:16). Again, it was this prophetic unification of Israel and Judah underlying Jesus’ prayer in today’s Scripture. Speaking of that Millennial reconciliation and blessing of Israel and Judah, Psalm 133:1 exclaims, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

That They All May Be One! #8

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

Israel and Judah divided was foreseen in the Jewish religious calendar given to Moses. Leviticus chapter 23: “[15] And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: [16] Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. [17] Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.” Roughly 50 days after Passover, the Jews were to bring two wave loaves of two tenth deals,” or a new meat [meal/grain] offering.”

As touching the fulfillment of the aforementioned Leviticus passage, the issue of harmony among Jesus’ disciples is accentuated. “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:14). “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place(2:1). “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,…” (2:46).

“And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:….” (4:24). “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common” (4:32). “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch(5:12). This was a foretaste of the New Covenant friendship…..

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why does ‘revived’ appear in Romans 14:9?

That They All May Be One! #7

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

Once Israel and Judah split, their civil wars lasted centuries (1 Kings chapter 12 onward). Instead of fighting the Gentiles, they turned on each other! As opposed to doing God’s will in the Earth, they wasted all their time and energy on endless battles—not to mention their pagan idolatry that continued up until their respective captivities in Assyria and Babylon.

Continue reading Ezekiel chapter 37, God delivering them from their political, social, and religious factions: “[23] Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. [24] And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.

“[25] And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. [26] Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. [27] My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [28] And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

Indeed, when Christ reigns as the ultimate Son of David, all 12 tribes will come under one government as before, with resurrected David ruling too….

That They All May Be One! #6

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

The Prophet Ezekiel was afforded a glimpse into the future, when the LORD restores the Jewish people to Himself under the New Covenant. Read chapter 37: “[15] The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, [16] Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah [Southern Kingdom], and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph [Northern Kingdom], the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel his companions: [17] And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. [18] And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?

“[19] Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. [20] And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. [21] And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: [22] And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.

Christ had this passage in mind as He prayed in today’s Scripture. He was sending forth His 12 Apostles with the Gospel of the Kingdom, a message of a united Jewish kingdom….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘palsy?’

That They All May Be One! #5

Monday, March 22, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

All 12 tribes were safe and secure under King David. After idolatrous King Solomon’s death, however, the 10 northern tribes branched off to form the Kingdom of Israel, and the two southern tribes became the Kingdom of Judah. While Judah remained loyal to the Davidic dynasty for the next 350 years, Israel had a succession of various dynasties ruling it. Ultimately, the Assyrians overthrew Israel circa 722 B.C., and the Babylonians conquered David’s family in 586 B.C. with the fall of Jerusalem. No son of David has ever reigned in Israel since.

In Luke chapter 1, the Angel Gabriel informed Mary the virgin she was to be the mother of the Saviour: “[31] And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: [33] And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” This points back to God’s promise made to David 10 centuries prior (cf. 2 Samuel 7:12-17; Isaiah 9:6,7). The house of Jacob is still broken, politically devastated, but with the Messiah comes unity for the Jewish people.

The curse of the Old Covenant brought division, yet the blessing of the New Covenant brings harmony: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake [disobeyed], although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:….” (Jeremiah 31:31,32). JEHOVAH God will reunify all 12 tribes under David’s dynasty….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should we have a ministry to people who abuse us?

That They All May Be One! #4

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

Under King David, the nation Israel reached her peak spiritually, socially, politically, militarily, and economically. Once his son Solomon ascended to the throne, Israel continued to enjoy what David began decades prior. However, many years into his administration, Solomon began romantic relationships with 1,000 (!) pagan, idolatrous women: “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father” (1 Kings 11:4). It is an understatement to say Solomon’s idolatry here was utterly disastrous for Israel!

“[11] Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. [12] Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. [13] Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.”

In the Mosaic Law many centuries previous, if Israel disobeyed the LORD, He had promised to weaken—yea, destroy—their political power. “And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power…” (Leviticus 26:18,19). Read 1 Kings 11:26-43. Once Solomon died, Israel was divided into a Northern Kingdom (Israel—10 tribes) and a Southern Kingdom (Judah—two tribes). Roughly 900 years later, Christ begins His earthly ministry, seeking to reunite Israel and Judah as in the days of His father David….

Bible Q&A #820: “Why does the LORD make a covenant with animals?

That They All May Be One! #3

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

Finish reading the rest of the true Lord’s Prayer, today’s Scripture included: “[19] And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. [20] Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; [21] That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. [22] And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: [23] I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

“[24] Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. [25] O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. [26] And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

This prayer, found only in John’s Gospel Record, affords us a glimpse into the heart and mind of the Lord Jesus Christ as He prepares to lay down His life on Calvary. He is concerned about the welfare of Israel’s Little Flock—the Jewish believing remnant, especially the 12 Apostles leading it—once He departs this world and returns to His Heavenly Father. Having established this background of John chapter 17, we can define the unity amongst believers in Christ….

That They All May Be One! #2

Friday, March 19, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

Keep reading Christ’s prayer: “[7] Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. [8] For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. [9] I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. [10] And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. [11] And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

“[12] While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. [13] And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. [14] I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. [15] I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. [16] They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. [18] As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”

The Lord is praying for His 12 Apostles—excluding Judas Iscariot (verse 12). He desires they preach His words to others as He has preached to them….