Outnumbered?

Saturday, January 20, 2018

And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents:… (Exodus 7:10-12a KJV).

What will happen next?!

Never forget, dear friends, that Satan is the master counterfeiter. Whatever God does, Satan endeavors to copy it as closely as possible. After all, Lucifer’s original goal was to “be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). In Satan’s policy and plan of evil, he has a wide variety of tools—false brethren, false apostles, false bibles, false prophets, false teaching, false churches, and so on. Overall, Satan seeks worship that God alone deserves (cf. Matthew 4:8-10).

In today’s Scripture, Satan empowered Pharaoh’s magicians to mimic God’s miracle. Moses and Aaron had one rod that turned into one snake. According to 2 Timothy 3:8, there were two magicians—their two rods transformed into two snakes. The LORD God’s snake was outnumbered two to one: Pharaoh thought his gods were superior to Israel’s God. Today’s Scripture continues, but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.” Praise God! 🙂

Going back to 2 Timothy chapter 3: “[8] Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. [9] But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.” Paul reaches back into Israel’s history to remind us that false teachers will not continue forever. Today, they still oppose the truth in that they still imitate it, but their foolishness will be exposed one day. Just as Jannes and Jambres were revealed to be no match for the one true God, the false teachers who counterfeit the truth today will be manifested as failures too.

In Christian life and ministry, it seems like we are outnumbered. Less individuals are on our side, but so what! We are on God’s side—with Him, we actually have the majority and (as Moses and Aaron know) we already have the victory!

NOTE: Happy 38th spiritual birthday to my parents, who trusted Jesus Christ alone all those years ago!

Bible Q&A #455: “Was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah inhospitality?

The Wise Masterbuilder #2

Saturday, January 6, 2018

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

Chapter 1 of 1 Corinthians says the Holy Spirit is writing to the saints at Corinth through the Apostle Paul (verse 1). The passage also identifies the primary problem that is plaguing the assembly: “[10] Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. [11] For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. [12] Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. [13] Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?”

Verse 10 shows us there are “divisions” (Greek schisma, from which our English word “schism” is derived) among the Corinthians. The Apostle has received news that these Christians have become notorious for their “contentions” (quarrels, debates, heated disagreements). From where did these rifts and conflicts stem? Why, dear friend, just read verse 12 again—“Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.” To wit, one clique here, one sect there, another denomination hither, and still another group yon!

In Corinth, one crowd follows the teachings of Paul, a second group embraces the doctrines of Apollos, a third crowd clings to the teachings of Cephas (Peter; John 1:40-42), and a fourth faction follows the doctrines of Christ’s earthly ministry. All are bickering in their defense of each. Does this not sound like “Christianity” today? Indeed, it does….

The Wise Masterbuilder #1

Friday, January 5, 2018

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

My dear friend, have you ever wondered why there are so many denominations claiming to represent Christianity? Why are there so many different churches naming the name of “Jesus Christ?” How can they all use the Bible and yet still manage to embrace vastly dissimilar theological systems?! Notice the succeeding lines, and all will be clear. It would do you well to read them over and over and over again. You should never, ever, EVER (!) forget them. These admonitions will literally save you from a lifetime of confusion, burden, and disappointment. Bearing in mind the following, you will be spared from ever so much surprise and bewilderment.

You can use the Bible to teach anything. How do we know? Why, my dear friend, remember, just look around us. All 38,000-plus “Christian” denominations appeal to and quote Holy Scripture to some extent. Each and every group cannot be right, however, for they all use verses to teach opposing doctrines. How can so much error be?

God values free will. If you do not want His Word to say what it says, if you do not want to believe what it says, God—oh, yes, my dear friend—GOD will give you the liberty to stumble over His Word and break your theological neck! Again, such damage will be inflicted upon your soul, such immense destruction will result, but God will let you go that route if you so choose. You approach Scripture with the attitude of unbelief and scorn—hoping to sustain your system—and God the Holy Spirit will give you over to do just that! You will wind up in eternal hellfire quoting Scripture. Your Christian life, if you have one, will be ruined by you quoting Scripture.

May we not be willfully ignorant. May we be willing to let the Holy Spirit teach us His Word pure and plain….

NOTE: If you want Scriptural advice for 2018, please see our archived Bible study here.

Redeem the Year!

Monday, January 1, 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).

What great advice for 2018!

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 24, 2017

“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.”

Spirituality or Futility? #2

Saturday, November 4, 2017

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

Here, we see two alternatives—spirituality and futility. Our choice?

Today’s Scripture issues some extremely useful, corrective information. Had the professing church kept this passage forefront in its thinking 2,000 years ago when it was first penned, the professing church would not be presently disoriented, disabled, and defeated! We would do well to pay attention to it.

Despite the Corinthians’ passion in following “spiritual gifts,” it was nothing but the flesh (sin’s motions). First Corinthians 3:1-3 is such a sad commentary: “[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?”

Sure, they “walked” (verse 3). They were laboring instead of sitting around idly. However, we must never let looks deceive us. All that intense activity amounted to zilch, nothing. Why? Their underlying thinking was thoroughly messed up. Instead of walking in the light of grace, they walked in the darkness of the flesh (“carnality”)! It was their own efforts instead of God the Holy Spirit working in and through them. Yet, in the confusion, they were unable to differentiate those two sources.

Who is truly a “prophet,” one who is speaking on behalf of God? Who is actually a “spiritual” person, one who is led by God the Holy Spirit? Today’s Scripture tells us, “…let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” The Holy Spirit through Paul wrote today’s Scripture to provide the Corinthians with a standard to discern between their own efforts and God’s grace working in them. We would do well to follow that standard also, for it is literally the difference between spirituality and futility….

Spirituality or Futility? #1

Friday, November 3, 2017

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

Here, we see two alternatives—spirituality and futility. Our choice?

A lady once hired a handyman to install a belt on her lawnmower. He spent four (!) hours with the owner’s manual to no avail; it was late at night so he finally gave up. The next morning, he returned and spent another six (!) hours attempting to fix it. Amazingly, he still was unable to install it. Through careful investigation, it was discovered that the repair shop had given her the wrong belt. That poor handyman wasted 10 hours trying to connect something that did not even belong!

Dear friends, I am afraid the above scenario is where most church members—and even true Christians—find themselves. They are so busy straining and striving with a wide array of ceremonies, prearranged prayers, confessions, sacraments, rules and regulations… but are they really getting anywhere spiritually? Nay, it is a treadmill—and they are running in the same place on the same belt! The flesh has them moving, doing religious works, but they are too deceived to recognize the scenery has never changed!

The Corinthian saints were enthusiastically and actively pursuing spiritual gifts. However, they were using God’s gifts to do Satan’s work. First Corinthians 14:12 says: “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” Being carnal Christians—so dominated by their sin nature instead of the Holy Spirit—they were busy utilizing those gifts to satisfy and glorify themselves. What futility!

Chapter 13—the Bible’s wonderful “charity” passage—is the core of three chapters that gently address the Corinthians for their abuse of spiritual gifts. Such gifts were to profit everyone, not just the select few “exercising” them (chapter 12). The gift of prophesying (preaching) was being ignored and the gift of tongues was being emphasized (chapter 14). These “zealous” Christians boasted in their “spirituality”… when, in fact, it was futility….