Curb Appeal

Thursday, May 17, 2018

“And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!” (Mark 13:1 KJV).

“Look, Lord, the beautiful Jerusalem Temple!” “Yes, I see—and what awful doctrine is here too!”

Friend, ask individuals why they attend their particular local church. Curb appeal will likely come up first: “Our building and grounds are so beautiful!” Other reasons are various and sundry. “The rituals and programs are thrilling!” “We have the best ‘praise and worship’ team in town!” “Our preacher is an outstanding motivational speaker!” “Momma and Daddy went there, I was baptized there, and I will die there!” “My friends invited me to go!” “My spouse makes me go there!” Rarely will you ever hear, “I go there because they teach me sound Bible doctrine!”

Once you ask 100 people, you will break yourself of the habit of being startled when you meet church members ignorant of Scripture. They were never going for the Bible study anyway. What mattered was chitchat with friends about the weather and politics, participation in ceremonies, and entertainment at a music concert—all amounting to nothing in eternity.

First Timothy chapter 4: “[6] If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. [7] But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. [8] For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”

“Godliness” is proper worship of God. The Lord Jesus said in John 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” We worship God—not with our flesh but with our spirit (inner man). We also worship Him “in truth”—according to sound Bible doctrine as opposed to everything else. “Bodily exercise” (religion) “profiteth little:” it looks and feels good now, but will bitterly disappoint eventually. However, dispensational Bible study “is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come!”

Bible Q&A #495: “Is the United States’ recent embassy move to Jerusalem a fulfillment of Bible prophecy?

Yoke!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV).

What was life in religion like decades ago for one of my Christian friends?

After visiting his religious leader and “making his confession,” he exited the booth feeling guilt-free and sinless. It was in that moment he wished he would die. Remember, he allegedly had no sin on his account, so he believed he would make it into Heaven instead of atoning for unconfessed sin in purgatory. Another Christian friend, formerly of that denomination as well, confirmed she also shared that fantasy. (They, of course, returned for the next confession… ready to “unload” new guilt and sins!)

The deficiency of the “short-account” system is manifested for all. You can confess your sins all you want, but wait long enough, and there will be something else to confess… and something else… and something else… and something else! It is an endless cycle—nothing but a burden that keeps the church member running, striving, huffing and puffing. Both miserable and pleasurable, such a system is so enticing to human nature. We bend toward both lasciviousness (looseness) and asceticism (discipline). The sin nature loves worldliness (sins of the flesh) but it also enjoys religion (sins of the spirit). It will eagerly go out and commit terrible sins—yet how willing it is to return to a church and “make up for those transgressions.” What a terrible trap in which to be caught!

Praise God, however, for both aforementioned souls escaped Roman Catholicism! They saw the utter futility in trying to keep so many rules and regulations, their complete inability to measure up to please God, the total insecurity of their religious system. Finally, they came to God by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone—having never returned to that slavery. Today’s Scripture is the Lord Jesus Christ calling people out of the cruel trap of religion. His words echo even today!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘the eye of the needle’ in Matthew 19:24?

Whose Child and Servant?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44 KJV).

Beware, beloved! According to the Lord Jesus Himself, a religious leader is not necessarily a child (and servant) of God!

Once, I read a biography of a chief religious leader in Christendom. Now a dead man, his denomination referred to him as “a servant of God.” That made me wonder—just whose servant was he before he died? Had they realized what they had done by giving him such a “flattering” title posthumously?!

The Lord Jesus Christ, while a kind and loving Man, was nevertheless quite direct when it came to the souls of men being damned to Hell in the name of vain religion. Israel’s religious system, centered in the Jerusalem Temple, was wholly corrupt. Today’s Scripture is the Lord Jesus speaking directly to Israel’s religious leaders—mainly, the Pharisees (verse 13)—and He holds nothing back. “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do!” Actually, they were so in tune with Satan’s policy of evil that they would soon crucify Him on Calvary’s cross in unbelief! The Devil had so infected God’s people with lies, especially in religion (where it appeared as truth and godliness). Sound familiar?!

In addition to “children,” Satan has “ministers” (servants). We read some sobering words in 2 Corinthians chapter 11: [13] For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. [14] And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. [15] Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” Again, a religious leader is not necessarily doing the work of the God of the Bible! If you want to avoid the charlatans and the chicanery, friend, you had better study and know your King James Bible rightly divided!

Dear Friends Divided!

Monday, May 14, 2018

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17,18 KJV).

Doctrine divides, dear friends—doctrine divides dear friends!

When the ecumenist laments, “Doctrine divides,” he or she (for once) is telling the truth. Dearest of friends, doctrine divides dearest of friends. It is asserted that false teachers “really are not that bad,” that “they can be reformed or salvaged,” that “they are entitled to their opinions as we ours.” We are urged, “Stop causing trouble by emphasizing doctrine and just preach the ‘love of Jesus!’ We can all be united as ‘Christians’ if nothing more.”

These last several months, I have learned firsthand (and most painfully!!) the closest-knit congregation is not immune to being split so mightily because it falls away from sound Bible doctrine. Intimate, long-time friends in the ministry have turned on me in the blink of an eye, becoming my enemies like I have never even dreamed. Once Christians turn away from the truth, Satan wastes no time to penetrate the group with as much as error as he possibly can. When the assembly reaches that point, your numerous warnings have been ignored, it is apparent that you can do nothing but apply today’s Scripture. With a broken heart (!), you have to give those precious brethren over to what they want.

So emotionally driven, these brethren passionately defend the false teacher and make you appear as the evil one. Be not surprised! When they have no sound Bible doctrine on which to stand, they, being deceived, will speak vicious, offensive words about you for calling attention to doctrinal error. You can and should pray for them (1 Corinthians 1:4-10), you can and should forgive them as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32), but things will never be the same between you and them as long Heaven is far away. The ministry is not for wimps, dear friends, the ministry is not for wimps!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What do you mean—‘the prophetic program’ and ‘the mystery program?’

Manage Your Time Wisely

Saturday, May 5, 2018

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:15-17 KJV).

A wise Christian brother recently explained to me that, since he would rather study his Bible, he had not watched television in four years. (I told him he had not missed anything important anyway!)

Thanks to various distractions, we could all study Scripture more (yes, even me). To study more verses, we would have to give up time spent on other activities—movies, games, television shows, vacations, social media, and so on. Indeed, we are to hold down a job and spend quality time with our families: these cannot and should not be infringed upon. However, the fact remains that we should spend our (free) time wisely.

Pleasures per se are not sinful, for God “giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). Contrary to popular belief, Christian living is not about how much one can suffer and give up to please God. It is about recognizing the significance and brevity of this earthly life, this “training period” before eternity, with our goal being to have gold, silver, and precious stones (sound Bible doctrine) rather than wood, hay, and stubble (1 Corinthians 3:9-15). Therefore, some centuries ago, a man declared that he would be locking up all his books for seven years—except his Bible! Those distracting volumes were no longer his priorities. He would finally stress the eternal rather than the temporal!

Today’s Scripture is Paul’s admonition to the Ephesian saints who, in part, have become thoughtless and wasteful. Verse 14, sadly, says they are spiritually asleep. This could have easily been written to today’s professing Body of Christ. They have grown dull to perceiving the Satanic policy of evil working mightily around them in this present world. Their spiritual ignorance means they participate in the Devil’s plans to thwart God’s will for them! Having already had plenty of opportunity to learn, they still lack a clear understanding of what God wants for them. They (we) need to learn and believe sound Bible doctrine. Satan is foolishly wasting his time, but that does not mean we have to join him!

A Prayer According to God’s Will

Friday, May 4, 2018

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (1 Timothy 2:1-3 KJV).

Yesterday was the United States’ National Day of Prayer. Today, we pray you pray according to the Lord Jesus Christ’s will for today!

Religious people—the general public, clergy, and government officials—recently assembled nationwide, like they do every year, and prayed for spiritual and moral revival of the “Christian” (?) United States of America. We commend their noble efforts, but God’s Word says there will be no godly revival of any of the world’s Gentile nations until Jesus Christ returns to earth at His Second Coming (Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 59:20–60:3; Zechariah 8:20-23; Revelation 11:15; et cetera).

The LORD’s words to King Solomon are often quoted on this day: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Friends, this is certainly God’s Word, but has nothing to do with Gentiles in the United States in the Dispensation of Grace. This verse has a context often overlooked—the nation Israel under the Mosaic Law, praying in relation to God’s Temple in Jerusalem (verses 15,16). Actually, that Temple was destroyed over 19 centuries ago! Unlike Israel, the United States was never a divinely-founded nation. The American people as a whole are not God’s people like Israel was.

Rather than praying 2 Chronicles 7:14, remember today’s Scripture (God’s Word to us Gentiles). The verse following today’s Scripture says, “[God] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Pray for those in authority, that they would trust Jesus Christ alone as their personal Saviour, and then grow in His Word to them so they can make wise decisions on behalf of the people they govern.

Who Neither Receive Nor Believe

Monday, April 30, 2018

“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet” (Matthew 10:14 KJV).

As Jesus Christ sent forth His 12 Apostles to preach to Israel, He warned them of rejection.

Once, a Christian couple wanted to watch a Bible study television program. As it began, family members in the room scattered. They had other things to do… and how urgently they had to do them! Soon, it was just the man and woman tuned in to the program. No doubt some of these “deserters” had testimonies of having trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.

Another Christian husband and wife offered a Gospel tract to a businessman visiting their home. Noticeably irritated, he refused, “Give it to someone who will read it. One thing I do not talk about is religion!” The flesh refuses to submit to God’s authority. It does not matter whether it is a lost person’s flesh (the businessman) or a saved person’s flesh (the family that participated in the “swift stampede”)!

Dear Christian friend, you have probably experienced the above before. (You have had people refuse the Bible information you have offered them, right?!) Maybe you once ran away from the Gospel as a lost person yourself. Perhaps you fled from the rightly divided Scriptures as a saved person. Now, having trusted Christ Jesus as your personal Saviour, having learned Paul is your apostle, you experience what the Christians endured when trying to tell you the truth. They usually refuse you too, huh?

Have you ever been tempted to quit? A lot more people would listen to you if you threw aside that King James Bible. Many more would come to your Bible studies if you taught church tradition and works-religion. Like today’s false “Christian” teachers, you would have millions upon millions of followers and millions upon millions of dollars. Yet, we value free will. If they do not want to hear the truth, then we have better things to do with our time. Provided that we carefully search for them, we will discover that there are lost people who want to hear the Gospel and saved people who want to hear pure Bible doctrine for successful Christian living. Find them! 🙂