A Doxology of Doctrine During Distressing Days #5

Friday, April 5, 2013

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (2 Corinthians 4:17 KJV).

A brief, light annoyance—an everlasting, much heavier weight of praise and worship….

One of the primary causes of the charismatic movement, besides a failure to understand the Bible dispensationally, is that its proponents are seeking God’s power and love. They believe that God needs to demonstrate His power and His love for them by removing their troubles and healing their sick bodies. They want literal, physical, visible proof of God’s presence. Because it is ironic, the thought never occurs to them that God’s wisdom, love, and power could be—and are—demonstrated by Him not removing their troubles and sicknesses.

In the context of today’s Scripture (4:1–6:18), the Apostle Paul discussed the ministry we have as “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). He lists various afflictions that he and we Christians suffer, but concluded: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Notice, “that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” Why do we have the treasure—the life of Jesus Christ—in our earthen vessels—our weak, limited physical bodies? So the exceeding greatness of God’s power can be demonstrated and our inadequacy in and of ourselves can be manifested.

When the Apostle Paul later commented about his various sufferings, he wrote: “And [the Lord] said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of God may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (2 Corinthians 12:9,10).

To wit, we can and do endure difficult circumstances, not because of ourselves, but due to God’s power strengthening us by transforming our inner man to become the very life of Jesus Christ. What a concept….!

Established Saints #7

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

“For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end that ye may be established; that is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith of you and me” (Romans 1:11,12 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is God’s will for every believer.

I speak from experience when I claim that denominational teaching hides God’s will from Christians. Religious tradition deceived me for nearly 15 years, so I was scripturally ignorant. Today’s average “Christian” church is so fixated on vain customs, rites, ceremonies, programs, rituals, prayers, dogmas, and experiences, its members have little to no time to study the Bible for themselves. The method whereby God grows us spiritually is Bible study, so if we are distracted by everything else, is it any wonder why most professing Christians know little to nothing about what God is actually doing today, and know everything they presume Him to be doing today?

Dear saints, if we are to be used of God to the fullest extent, we must be “established:” we need to be Christians who have a solid footing in sound Pauline Bible doctrine. This is only possible when we study and believe the Bible “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15). Unless we understand where we are in God’s Word, and where in the Bible to find ourselves, we will never appreciate our identity as members of the Body of Christ, and we will never know what God wants us to do in this the Dispensation of Grace. We do not go to the non-Pauline books of the Bible to try to find God’s will for us there (although we study all of the Bible!).

Trusting Christ as our personal Saviour is our birth into God’s family. Learning that Paul is our apostle is the first “baby step” in the Christian walk. Delving deeper and deeper into Paul’s epistles to discover God’s Word to us, and our belief in those doctrines we read, will mature us spiritually. We can then become adult Christians, who have a clear understanding and an immense appreciation of God’s will for us. Be ye “established saints!” 🙂

Decent and Orderly

Sunday, December 2, 2012

“Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is straightforward regarding individuals’ behavior within the local church.

A lady recently shared with me her experience of visiting a new local church. After an hour of singing, dancing, shouting, jumping, and tongue talking, there was less than an hour of preaching. While she claimed that she learned “a little” (!) from the Bible, she was overall displeased. Thankfully, she said she was not returning there. (I was then able to share some Scriptural truth with her concerning those matters.)

Emotionalism dominated the Corinthian church. The Corinthians, although Christians, were spiritually immature: they failed to learn and grasp the doctrine found in the book of Romans. They could not function like adult saints because they were “babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1). Consequently, they abused spiritual gifts.

Rather than using their spiritual gifts to benefit the assembly as God intended, these believers were selfishly glorifying their flesh by drawing attention to themselves (the “charismatic movement” is nothing new). The Apostle Paul spent three chapters—1 Corinthians 12, 13, and 14—addressing spiritual gifts. The last verse of that section is today’s Scripture, which summarizes God’s view of the whole issue. We are not to lose self-control under any circumstances.

Dear readers, be not swept away by the charismatic movement. We humans are emotional creatures, prone to fall into the trap of deceptive feelings, and this religious movement appeals to our flesh. Spiritual gifts—even when they operated in biblical times—were never meant to be haphazardly used to lift up the individual Christian, or be utilized to give an “emotional high.”

Lost people are watching us, and is that the impression we want them to have about God? Jumping, shouting, and babbling incoherently? As 1 Corinthians 14:23 says, these lost souls will exclaim, “Ye are mad [crazy]!!!” Remember, everything in the local church should be done “decently and in order.” Let us be grounded in this truth, let us walk by faith in sound Pauline Bible doctrine, and let us not be “children… tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14).

Israel’s Walk By Sight

Friday, October 26, 2012

“And Israel saw the great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses” (Exodus 14:31 KJV).

While we in the Dispensation of Grace “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7), today’s Scripture validates this was not true of Israel in her program.

In Christendom, there is much discussion about “miraculous demonstrations.” Apparitions, snake handling, exorcisms, and healing campaigns are publicized as “the work of God.” They insist, “Come and see signs, miracles, and wonders!” Certainly, believers in Scripture did perform various miracles, but we need to understand why they carried them out, before we try to mimic them (and before someone gets hurt!).

The greatest hang-up in Christendom is a persistent, defiant confusing and combining of Israel’s program of “time past” with God’s current program operating in the “but now.” Just because God did something in the past, He is not necessarily doing it today. Do we still offer animal sacrifices? Are we building an ark like Noah? Should we stone to death those who work on the Saturday Sabbath like Israel did? Just as we understand the clarity of these issues, we should recognize that miraculous demonstrations performed in Israel’s program are not occurring today (according to the rightly divided Bible, anyway).

For instance, in the context of today’s Scripture, Israel has just observed God drowning the Egyptian armies in the Red Sea. Israel responded by faith, but not until after she had seen that miracle (today’s Scripture). After all, “the Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22a). Jesus explained to Israel why He performed His miracles: “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” (John 4:48). Without miracles, Israel would not believe (cf. Exodus 4:1-9); Aaron performed signs before Israel, “and the people believed” (verses 30,31).

We are Gentiles, and unlike Jews, we do not need signs, miracles, and wonders—they were for the benefit of unbelieving Israel (see 1 Corinthians 14:21,22, for example). When we study and believe Paul’s epistles, we learn that the completed Bible replaced the miraculous demonstrations (1 Corinthians 13:8-13; 2 Timothy 3:16,17).

A Miraculous Escape

Thursday, August 30, 2012

“Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him” (Acts 12:5 KJV).

Evil King Herod has imprisoned the Apostle Peter, but the saints are praying to God for him, and those prayers will be answered!

It is nighttime. Peter is firmly imprisoned: guards are protecting the prison doors, and he is sleeping between two Roman soldiers, bound with two chains (verse 6). The Lord must intervene, or Herod will soon execute Peter!

As the angel of the Lord appears, he illuminates the prison, and strikes Peter on his side. Waking Peter, he commands, “Arise up quickly,” and Peter’s chains instantly and literally fall away (verse 7)! Can you just imagine this? It was not some “miracle” (sham) of a televangelist or magician; it really happened. But there is more!

The angel instructs Peter, “Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals,” which Peter does, and then the angel commands Peter, “Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me,” and Peter obeys (verse 8). “And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision” (verse 9). Peter is so overcome that he believes this is a dream!

They pass the first and the second ward, and come to the iron gate that leads to the city—“which opened to them of his own accord (verse 10)—and soon Peter is freed from prison and the angel has immediately vanished. Imagine that: God’s Word says the gate opened by itself! “And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews” (verse 11). Amazing!

Brethren, while we should not be expecting these miraculous demonstrations in this the Dispensation of Grace, we can study them in the Scriptures and appreciate how God performed them for His “signs and wonders” people, Israel, in her program (John 4:48; 1 Corinthians 1:22). Saints, praise the amazing God we serve!

Myriads of Itching Ears #2

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3,4 KJV).

Beware of the megachurches, for they teach mega error!

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly [clearly], that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1,2). False teaching within professing Christianity is nothing new: these verses (including today’s Scripture) foretold an explosion of it. Ever since Paul wrote these Scriptures almost 20 centuries ago, literally tens of thousands of apostate religious systems, denominations, creeds, and ceremonies have been devised.

Furthermore, the rise of megachurches in the past few decades has exacerbated this false teaching. These monstrous congregations have incorporated a mishmash of the aforementioned doctrinal errors in order to accommodate just about anyone. Sadly, it is “hypocrisy” (it professes to be Christianity, but it is everything but, and it deceives Christians and lost people alike). So many good, sincere souls are “bewitched” by religion, especially in megachurches. They, seeking entertainment, are under a satanic spell, as described in Galatians 3:1-3 and 2 Timothy 2:24-26, and many are oblivious to it.

In Paul’s final epistle, written just prior to his martyrdom, he admitted—2,000 years ago—that the Body of Christ was in apostasy: “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). Two false teachers, Phygellus and Hermogenes had convinced “all they which are in Asia [that is, present-day Turkey]” to “turn away” from Paul. Basically, Phyllegus and Hermogenes had undone everything that Paul had labored so hard to accomplish with these Christians in Asia.

With the doctrine Jesus Christ committed to the Apostle Paul now forsaken, the Christians in Asia had only one way to go spiritually—down, down, down, down, down! This is true of Christendom today, especially within the megachurches. Beware!!!

God Has Already Spoken to Us

Sunday, August 5, 2012

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:19-21 KJV).

Does God communicate with us through hunches, feelings, emotions, visions, dreams, and “soft, still” voices in our heads? These are subjective: they are tentative because they vary amongst individuals. We need an objective standard, something trustworthy and unchanging—God’s written Word, the Holy Bible.

God did communicate with man via theophanies (God appeared in a physical body and spoke to people; Genesis 3:8,9; Genesis 18:1; et al.). Through angels, visions/dreams, supernatural spiritual gifts, and prophets, He relayed His messages to people (Daniel 9:22,23; Matthew 1:20-24; Acts 10:3; 2 Corinthians 12:1; et al.). But, according to 1 Corinthians 13:8-13, these temporary things—partial wisdom and partial knowledge—were done away when complete wisdom and complete knowledge were brought in.

When was complete wisdom and complete knowledge brought in? As soon as God’s written Word was completed (nearly 2000 years ago), God’s will was fully revealed to man. In the King James Bible’s 66 books we know everything that God wants us to know. Visions, apparitions, “prophetic words” from a preacher’s lips, and angelic appearances are not God’s methods of communication with us.

In the context of today’s Scripture (verses 16-18) the Apostle Peter recounts the time on the Mount of Transfiguration when he, James, and John saw Jesus Christ in His glorified form (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36). But Peter says we have “a more sure word of prophecy.” The Bible is more reliable than experiences we can see with our physical eyes.

We have God’s revealed and written Word preserved in English in the King James Bible. The Bible is the Final Authority, not religious tradition or a preacher’s hunches.