Something in Which to Glory!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

“As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:12-14 KJV).

In what shall we glory? About what shall we boast? In what shall we find value?

Religion produces people who enjoy bragging all about their “dedication to God.” “Look what I did—the ceremonies in which I have participated, the many prayers I faithfully recited daily, how much I put in the collection plate, see how many pleasures I gave up to please God! Come, see how much I love Him!” Dear friends, the Apostle Paul found great value in something—but that something was not what he did. All that human flesh can accomplish pales in comparison to the work in today’s Scripture.

As Lent begins, the time when religionists temporarily (a mere 40 days) relinquish some pleasant food or activity, let us remember that our performance is often non-performance. Once we place ourselves on that treadmill of “do, do, do,” we are guaranteed to fail at some point. Human flesh is simply too weak to maintain 100 percent—that is sin! Even concerning one rule, we cannot keep it perfectly. We mess up eventually.

If ever we believe that our puny works are worth bragging about, let us remember the words of the Apostle Paul in today’s Scripture. While some boast in their religiosity (in the passage, the Judaizers applauding their rite of physical circumcision), and such denominationalists today urge us to obey their church’s instructions so they too may boast in our ability, let us eschew such foolishness. Being imperfect, all their works do not measure up to Christ’s finished crosswork. At Calvary, we find the only sacrifice that will ever please the God of the Bible. If we must boast, let us brag that He did what we could never, ever do!

See our archived Bible Q&A: “Should Christians observe Lent?

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why is Jesus called ‘the Son of Man?’

Redeem the Year!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

“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).

What great advice for 2020!

Despite 2,000 years of Bible schools and seminaries, 2,000 years of a completed Bible canon, 2,000 years of Bible reading in churches, several decades of “Christian” television and radio, and just over a decade of widespread use of “Christian” websites, how sad that Bible ignorance is still quite extensive (it is as if God never gave His Word to start with!).

Frankly, the Church the Body of Christ needs to wake up! The verse previous to today’s Scripture says, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (verse 14). Paul, loosely quoting Isaiah 60:1, reminded us that the spiritual ignorance that gripped Israel in Isaiah’s day seized Christians in his day—and it still grips Christians 20 centuries later. Feel-good sermons, enjoyable “worship” services, and rites, rituals, and ceremonies will NOT solve this problem—they exacerbate it!

“[God] will have all men to be saved…” (1 Timothy 2:4a). Do you want this New Year to count for God’s glory? First, you need to get saved from sins and hell! You need to become a Christian by trusting in and relying on Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for your sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). That is only part of God’s will for you, for 1 Timothy 2:4b continues, “[God] will have all men… to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Now, God’s will for your Christian life is daily, personal Bible study to renew your mind, so your faith in those verses can cause God to work in your life—it will be His life, thus making you “perfect [spiritually mature], throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

Today’s Scripture urges us to buy back the time Satan has robbed from God (time created for God’s glory). By faith, we need to make that time glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by applying His Word, particularly Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, to our lives. Have a good year in Christ! 🙂

You can download our free “One-Year Bible Reading Schedule.”

See our archived Bible Q&A: “What Scriptural advice can you give me for the New Year?

‘Twas the Sunday Night Before Christmas

Sunday, December 22, 2019

“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15 KJV).

Let us not be so sidetracked by religion and commercialization that we miss the reason for the Christmas Season….

During the Christmas Season, we wonder how many people are visiting church for the second time this year (the other being Easter Sunday). How many will be going to church today—the Sunday before Christmas—just to feel “religious” or “holy?” How many really know Jesus Christ? For many, visiting a church building is just an obligation; they do not have faith in God’s Word and have no interest in God’s Word.

We do not go to church to “feel closer to God,” for if we have trusted in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we cannot be any closer to God than we already are in Christ! “[Before salvation, we were] without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh [close to God] by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12,13).

Furthermore, we do not go to church in order to get God’s blessings, for God has already given us “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). We go to church, not because we are keeping Israel’s Sabbath day, since we are not obligated to observe Israel’s religious days (Colossians 2:16). We go to church to fellowship with like-minded believers and hear sound doctrine… more than twice a year, by the way.

In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy that whenever he would assemble with fellow Christians, certain behavior was acceptable and other types of behavior were not (described throughout the epistle of 1 Timothy). Recall that when the Bible refers to “the church,” it refers to the body of believers, not the physical building in which they meet.

As we get opportunities, let us make an effort to reach these dear souls misled by all the vain religious tradition and Christmas commercialization, and may we tell them of the wonderful Christ Jesus whose name is found in Christmas!

*Based on the poem “‘Twas the Sunday Night Before Christmas.”

Signs of Shallowness #7

Monday, November 18, 2019

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 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. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 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 (Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV).

Behold the signs of shallowness!

Obviously, babies cannot recognize their limited condition. They are unable to understand they should eventually mature to become adults who can take care of themselves. Unfortunately, here are most professing Christians. They do not realize it, but vain religious tradition has caused their Christian lives to be dead! Only when someone shows them sound Bible doctrine do they really get a chance to see where they are. It is further tragic—and it happens more often than not—that they obstinately refuse to escape that nursery. Surely, it is easier to depend on others (preachers) than stand and fight the good fight of faith yourself (1 Timothy 6:12)!

Grow up, Christian friend, grow up! Dispensational Bible study will free you from perpetual spiritual childishness. You can be founded and stabilized in God’s Word if you so desire (Romans 16:25,26). Paul’s Gospel—Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day—is the first step in edification. We see those details in Romans through Galatians. The second step to spiritual growth is “the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery”—laid out in Ephesians through Colossians. Finally, God will use “the scriptures of the prophets” (all the Bible in light of Pauline doctrine) to mature us (Thessalonians).

If we ignore the Apostle Paul’s special ministry and message—like most of the Body of Christ has done for 20 centuries—we do not have a hope or prayer in the world of ever avoiding Satan’s lies. It is that serious….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did God place a curse on creation?

Signs of Shallowness #6

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 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. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 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 (Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV).

Behold the signs of shallowness!

It was no accident the Holy Spirit moved the writer of the Book of Hebrews to employ the expression “dull of hearing” in today’s Scripture. This condition applies to Israel not only during the early to mid-Acts period, but also in Christ’s earthly ministry (Matthew 13:15) and the late Acts period (Acts 28:27). They are lazy (Greek translated “slothful” in Hebrews 6:12) when it comes to hearing the Word of God. This infirmity goes all the way back to Isaiah 6:9-10, some 700 years earlier, when Israel was not responding positively to God’s message to them. Again, the Jews had prolonged exposure to God’s words but refused to believe them, thus resulting in persistent spiritual immaturity.

Here we are, friends, almost 20 centuries since God gave mankind a completed Bible. We have yet to master it because the Church the Body of Christ has spent 99.9 percent of that time dillydallying with denominations, speculations, and hallucinations. It is a tragic commentary, but the average local church building is nothing but a nursery where spiritual children play with spiritual toys (rituals, ceremonies, singing, dancing, hand raising). Therein is an offensive, pervasive odor—people unable to control themselves (like babies with soiled diapers). They cannot function independently, requiring constant service from the preachers (who themselves likewise need tending to). Unable to make Christian decisions, they languish in worldly thoughts and deeds. Like Israel of bygone days, they too are “dull” of hearing the things of God. Spiritual truth has fallen on willfully deaf ears!

Brethren, it is high time for us to leave the spiritual nursery and grow up….

Signs of Shallowness #5

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 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. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 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 (Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV).

Behold the signs of shallowness!

First Corinthians chapter 3: “[1] And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. [2] I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. [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?” For nearly two years, the Corinthians heard the sound Bible doctrine they needed to grow (Acts chapter 18). Yet, they had not accessed it by faith. As Israel’s history demonstrates, possessing God’s Word will profit us nothing unless we trust it (Hebrews 4:2).

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). Like the Corinthians, these new believers in Christ drink from the spiritual baby bottle. Again, as in the physical world, this is normal. The problem is when people stay with the baby bottle (see today’s Scripture). Just as the nation Israel wasted 16 centuries with spiritual nonsense when they could have learned the pure Word of God, so the Church the Body of Christ has squandered 20 centuries with spiritual nonsense when we could have learned the pure Word of God.

Today, we have a completed Bible, and are still overwhelmingly ignorant of it. It is as if God never revealed anything at all! We have the principles of grace, how the grace edification process works, but we have yet to grow. Let us see how to grow in grace….

Signs of Shallowness #4

Friday, November 15, 2019

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 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. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 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 (Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV).

Behold the signs of shallowness!

We can understand why atheists, agnostics, and other skeptics are spiritually immature. Unless they seek to “disprove” it, they actually do not read the Bible. They often do not attend church, and are less likely to be exposed to “Christian” teaching. We do not expect them to be skilled in the Scriptures. Yet, here is a real dilemma, something even they find unbelievable. Actually, for this reason, people despise the Bible and have no time for Christians. What is this problem?

How is it that individuals who attend church regularly still wind up clueless about the Scriptures? How can preachers who have been in ministry for 30 or 40 years, look like fools when Bible critics tear them apart for their ignorance? How is it that people who claim to “believe the Bible” often live worse than those who never frequent church or believe in any “god?” They are not using God’s Word, God’s way.

God has designed His Word to spiritually mature His people: there is a “Divine design for the edification of the believer” in Israel’s program as well as for our current program. Romans chapter 16: “[25] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:….” Here is how we grow from “babes” to people of “full age….”

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