Not Willingly Ignorant!

Monday, February 11, 2019

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself (John 7:17 KJV).

Are we ignorant—or actually willingly ignorant?

Recently, a dear Christian brother lamented that he was “ignorant” of the Bible. I quickly corrected him. We are all ignorant of Scripture to some degree. No man on Earth today knows the Bible as he ought to know—even he who has memorized 15,000 verses is not guaranteed exemplary spiritual discernment and superior Bible understanding!

Certainly, it is no sin to be uniformed about Holy Writ. The problem is when we are willfully or deliberately unfamiliar with it. After all, it is easier to remain uneducated. Preconceived notions remain unchallenged. Religious tradition is hard to abandon. Habits are not easy to change. Second Peter chapter 3 speaks of Bible mockers who intentionally overlook historical truth—namely, the Great Deluge of Noah’s day—because it contradicts their “things never change” prejudice:

“[3] Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, [4] And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. [5] For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: [6] Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:….”

The Bible’s definition of “sin” is Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way….” Proverbs chapter 18 adds: “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom. A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself” (verses 1,2). The fool has an agenda, a “pet” idea or system, and has no interest in changing it on account of the Bible. Thus, he pleads ignorance—willful ignorance! Dear friends, may we not be numbered with him. We are ignorant, yes, but we are nevertheless endeavoring to correct and refine our distorted thinking by “studying… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Redeem the Year!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

“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 2019!

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?

A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #7

Sunday, November 18, 2018

“But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss” (Acts 27:21 KJV).

Despite little doctrinal content in this chapter, the narrative contained therein illustrates the Church the Body of Christ operating in the Dispensation of Grace.

When we survey the professing “Church” today, as we examine the records of ecclesiastical history, we see figuratively what Paul and his sailing companions witnessed literally out in the Mediterranean Sea all those centuries ago. Furious storms—the Adversary, Satan, using false teaching from various angles to defy and obstruct God’s work—have battered and will continue to hammer us. The Body of Christ, “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14), is en route to Heaven and must endure a mammoth hurricane of lies. God is not at fault; He has given us all the doctrine, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, to survive. We disregard His Word through the Apostle Paul at our spiritual peril—and never, ever, EVER forget it!!

Although “shipwreck” is an apt representation of the Church the Body of Christ corporately, it does not have to be true of our individual Christian lives. We can choose to, “Study to shew [ourselves] approved unto God, [workmen] that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Brethren, Satan cannot gain the advantage over us unless we let him. We must not ignore our identity in Christ, and we must listen to the Lord’s heavenly ministry through Paul.

Friends, read all of Acts chapter 27, all the while considering the material we have just covered. Notice how the sailors snubbed Paul’s counsel from the outset, and met a terrible outcome. “Learning the hard way,” they were extensively devastated and despondent that Pauline guidance was truly their last hope. That same information could have prevented the ruin in the first place. The same is true of us. All hope is not lost. God’s Word rightly divided is as powerful as ever, and if only we believe it, it will thus “effectually work in us” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). 🙂

A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #6

Saturday, November 17, 2018

“But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss” (Acts 27:21 KJV).

Despite little doctrinal content in this chapter, the narrative contained therein illustrates the Church the Body of Christ operating in the Dispensation of Grace.

Bearing Acts chapter 27 in mind, we now notice a striking parallel outlined in 1 Timothy chapter 1: “[18] This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; [19] Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: [20] Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

The above (figurative) “shipwreck” of an individual Christian’s life can be, has been, and will be true of the Church the Body of Christ as a whole. Faith—trusting God’s Word rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15)—has been willfully rejected. Consequently, spiritual disaster is ahead. Once God’s Word through the Apostle Paul is rebuffed, the Christian life will be devastated. Salvation unto eternal life will not be lost, but victory and clarity will vanish. Two men in the A.D. first century leading that apostasy are named—Hymenaeus and Alexander. Their non-grace, non-Pauline teaching ministry is called “blasphemy” (cf. 2 Timothy 2:14-18).

Chapter 4 of 1 Timothy: “[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:…. [13] Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine…. [16] Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”

We can avoid the shipwreck….

A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #5

Friday, November 16, 2018

“But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss” (Acts 27:21 KJV).

Despite little doctrinal content in this chapter, the narrative contained therein illustrates the Church the Body of Christ operating in the Dispensation of Grace.

We (finally) finish the chapter: “[39] And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship. [40] And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised [hoisted] up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore. [41] And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves. 

“[42] And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. [43] But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: [44] And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.”

Back during the storm, Paul had declared by God’s Word that they would “be cast upon a certain island” (verse 26). They have at least reached that land, safe and sound, though the fierce waves have smashed their ship to pieces. Chapter 28 begins, “And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.” This is modern Malta, a tiny island south of present Sicily (southwest of Italy). All 276 souls on board survive unharmed, just as the Lord predicted through Paul (Acts 27:22-26,31-37). Not one member of the Church the Body of Christ will be lost. However, as the ship was destroyed, so the organization overall will be a failure for ignoring the Apostle Paul in the first place….

A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #4

Thursday, November 15, 2018

“But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss” (Acts 27:21 KJV).

Despite little doctrinal content in this chapter, the narrative contained therein illustrates the Church the Body of Christ operating in the Dispensation of Grace.

Imagine the black, squally seascape Paul and his mates are experiencing in the Mediterranean. Now, their final day: “[27] But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria [Adriatic Sea, southeast of Italy, near center of Mediterranean Sea], about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country; [28] And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms. [29] Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.

“[30] And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, [31] Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. [32] Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off. [33] And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. 

“[34] Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. [35] And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. [36] Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat. [37] And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. [38] And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea.”

Freighter ship damaged, all cargo cast off, yet not one soul with Paul perished….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘under colour’ mean in Acts 27:30?

A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #3

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

“But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss” (Acts 27:21 KJV).

Despite little doctrinal content in this chapter, the narrative contained therein illustrates the Church the Body of Christ operating in the Dispensation of Grace.

The winds of the Mediterranean Sea oppose the ship carrying Paul and his companions. False teaching rocks the Body of Christ, that it be “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14). A deceptive wind follows: “And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete” (Acts 27:13). Blowing “softly,” the wind leads them to believe their troubles are past. Yet, verse 14: “But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.” A stormy east wind roars!

“[18] And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; [19] And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. [20] And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away. [21] But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. [22] And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. [23] For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, [24] Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. [25] Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. [26] Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.”

Listening to Paul, they will survive the storm….