No Way Out! #4

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

“Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” (John 13:22 KJV).

Look, the disciples have no way out!

The disciples did not know how to react. They were simply unable to imagine one of their own would be Jesus’ traitor. “Who in the world can it be? How could this be so?” When the legalistic tenets of the denominationalists fooled the Galatian saints, the Apostle Paul was likewise at a loss for words. “How could you be so soon removed from grace? Brethren, what am I to do with you?” In both instances, perplexity or astonishment abounds. “Aporeo” appears two other times in the King James Greek New Testament. We will look at them to further amplify our understanding.

Acts chapter 25: “[19] But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. [20] And because I doubted [aporeo] of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters.” Being a Roman, Judaean Governor Porcius Festus was unfamiliar with Jewish religion. Incompetent in judging these theological matters, he preferred not to get involved with the Jews accusing Paul concerning their “superstition.”

When recalling ministry challenges thus far, Paul confessed: “[8] We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed [aporeo], but not in despair; [9] Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; [10] Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10). It was not always clear to Paul what route to take. However, dear friends, there is a play on words in verse 8: “we are perplexed [aporeo], but not in despair [exaporeo—an intensive form of “aporeo”].” Paraphrased, it is, “We may not have a way out, but we are not entirely without an exit.” Completely, utterly, absolutely clueless we are not!

Brethren, as long as we stick close to the words of God’s Word rightly divided, we will always have a way out concerning life’s dilemmas and difficulties. We are not without hope, not without guidance, and not without peace! 🙂

No Way Out! #3

Monday, July 29, 2019

“Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” (John 13:22 KJV).

Look, the disciples have no way out!

As the disciples in the Upper Room were “at a loss” regarding whom among them was Jesus’ traitor, so the Apostle Paul did not know which way to turn mentally concerning the Galatians. Read from his epistle to them, chapter 4:

“[15] Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. [16] Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? [17] They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. [18] But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. [19] My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, [20] I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you [“aporeo”—same as “doubting” in today’s Scripture]. [21] Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?”

Prior to writing the Galatians, Paul had visited these pagan idolaters and preached the Gospel of Grace to them. From him, they heard about the one true God and His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork—He had died for their sins, been buried, and been raised again (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). They came to faith in Christ alone as sufficient payment for their sins. How joyful they were to no longer be slaves to works-religion, sin, and Satan!

Alas, after Paul departed from their midst in order to visit and evangelize other pagans, false teachers slipped in and conquered the Galatians with works-religion. These legalists emphasized Law and thereby excluded Grace. Understandably, Paul was amazed, confessing to the Galatians, “I stand in doubt of you.” It is not that he doubted their salvation. Rather, he could not wrap his mind around the fact that they had been led astray so quickly and so easily (cf. Galatians 1:6-10). Yea, he too had “no way out….”

The War with Amalek! #14

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8 KJV).

What is this war with Amalek all about? Can we make application?

In Scripture, water symbolizes the Holy Spirit (and the impartation of life). For example, John chapter 7: “[37] In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. [39] (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”

See also 1 Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” The verb “drink” carries the connotation of a liquid—water. Once we believed on Christ as our personal Saviour, the Holy Spirit identified us with Him, and we received His life. Here is Israel drinking from the rock (cf. today’s Scripture). They had God’s life, His blessings because of His grace, and victory over sin—until they embraced works-religion. The poor Apostle Paul wound up in a similar trap. His Christian life started right (Romans chapter 6), then he abandoned Grace to follow Law and become conquered and miserable (chapter 7). Hope and victory come in chapter 8!

“[1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

If we have a clear understanding of Grace (“mind the things of the Spirit”), brethren, there will be no room for Law—or losing to Amalek! 🙂

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The War with Amalek! #13

Friday, June 14, 2019

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8 KJV).

What is this war with Amalek all about? Can we make application?

Here is grace living (as opposed to legalism, Law-keeping): “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:11-14).

When we quote Romans 6:14 (“We are not under the law, but under grace”), that does not mean we believe God encourages us Christians to sin. If ever someone objects with, “Grace is a license to sin,” they either do not know what grace really teaches, or (sadly) they have seen a “grace” person regularly behave carnally. The verse says in full, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” All the Law can do is show us our sin; it cannot (!) make us righteous and it cannot (!) cause us to act righteously. The Law functions as a mirror: it reveals our shortcoming, our need for the Saviour Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:21-25).

Scripture says the Law “is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient…” (1 Timothy 1:7-11). If we have recognized our lost estate, deadness in trespasses and sins, and have come to Christ by faith alone, then we are righteous in Him (1 Corinthians 1:30,31). The Law has no purpose in the Christian’s life, for the Law has already accomplished God’s intention: it has directed the lost person to trust Christ and become a Christian. For the Christian to then place himself under the Law is to cause sin to dominate him (Romans 6:14). We overcome sin—the flesh—not by striving to make ourselves holy, but realizing we are holy (sanctified, set apart) in Christ and instruments of His works (Titus 2:14)! The victory over sin is in Grace, not Law!

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

The War with Amalek! #12

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8 KJV).

What is this war with Amalek all about? Can we make application?

Experiencing a new life in a new land, the nation Israel encounters a most ruthless enemy. Their jubilant Promised Land trip was interrupted when the Amalekites arrived. However, through the sword (the Word of God, the Scriptures) and the lifting of hands (prayer), Israel was victorious. God in His grace had given them the ability to conquer sin! In fact, between chapters 14-18, He provided for all their needs. They needed deliverance from Egypt and passage through the Red Sea. He delivered! They needed potable water. He gave drink! They needed food. He gave bread and meat! They needed water again. He gave drink! They needed military might. He gave victory! They needed Divine counsel. He gave wisdom! Grace is what God can do for sinners; sinners can do nothing for God!

Alas, Exodus chapter 19 now appears. Tragically, Israel abandons God’s grace. They now want to work for the blessings God had freely offered them! Having not learned the lessons of grace in the previous five chapters, they insist on performing in religion. Rather than appreciating the identity God gave them simply because He loved them, they want to make themselves God’s people. They honestly believe they can keep all of God’s commandments (conquer sin by their efforts). If they engage in 100 percent righteous living, then they will be His people. Israel was most reckless to enter this covenant. Yet, let us not be hard on Israel, for billions today have been equally deceived. This includes all professing Christians (mere church members) and most genuine Christians (members of the Body of Christ).

Very rarely is a pure Gospel of Grace preached. “Sinner’s prayers,” walking of aisles, confessions of sins, water baptisms, shaking preachers’ hands, and so on, all obscure a clear grace message. What God has done at Calvary for the sinner is overlooked because what the sinner can do in religion for God is stressed ad nauseum. No wonder people are confused! Am I saved or lost?! In Christ or still going to Hell?! They need to approach the Word of God rightly divided, believe it, and prayerfully apply it to life….

The War with Amalek! #10

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8 KJV).

What is this war with Amalek all about? Can we make application?

Prayer occurs when we talk (silently or audibly) to Almighty God about our life in light of His Word to us. Knowing where to go in the Bible to learn that information—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—is the first step to productive Christian thought and living. Due to denominational teaching and religious confusion, however, very few believers ever discover how to use the Scriptures “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15). Hence, their thinking and conduct are anything and everything but Christian!

After we do approach the Bible dispensationally, we must believe those verses and apply them to life by faith. First Thessalonians 2:13: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” The challenge after believing the verses is to discern how they relate to our specific situations. Unless we believe what Pauline doctrine says about employment, marriage, parenting, and managing money wisely, God’s words through Paul will not profit us. God’s Word will “effectually work” only in those who believe it!

Romans chapter 8: “[26] Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. [27] And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” One role of the indwelling Holy Spirit is to take His words that we read and believe, and then, as we pray, adjust our thinking so that our words to Father God better align with His words to us. We thus pray according to God’s will (but, unless we believe the verses dispensationally, we will not know how to pray the Pauline way!!).

Therefore, prayer is how we allow the Holy Spirit to reinforce in our minds the Bible concepts He taught us when we read the Scriptures earlier….

The War with Amalek! #9

Monday, June 10, 2019

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8 KJV).

What is this war with Amalek all about? Can we make application?

Romans chapter 8 continues: “[5] For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. [6] For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. [7] Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. [8] So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

Whether Christians acting like unsaved people they are not, or unsaved people behaving like the lost individuals they are, they are all “after the flesh.” Being “carnally minded,” they “mind the things of the flesh.” Sin governs their thoughts and conduct. Not thinking as God originally designed people to think, they are not acting like God designed people to act!

The Christian life functionally dies when the believer ceases to think as the Spirit of God has taught Christians to think! “For to be carnally minded is death.” However, “to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” If the believer in Jesus has the renewed mind, then eternal life will be experienced daily. He or she will live as God Himself lives, the very way He designed man to live before the Fall! But, where do we find what the Holy Spirit teaches?

First Corinthians chapter 2, “[13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. [14] But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” We find the inspired, preserved words of God in the Holy Bible: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). Here—especially in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—we find the sword needed to fight “the war with Amalek.”

Now, prayer, or specifically, Pauline prayer….