No “Sin?”

Monday, July 25, 2016

“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).

Is there really such a thing as “sin?” If there is, a good many preachers will literally not say it!

Not long ago, a feel-good pastor was featured on a news show to comment on a recent tragedy. When the news anchor asked him why there was all this craziness in society, the pastor just could not bring himself to say the word “sin.” The best he could do was repeat, “It is just our fallen nature, humanity’s fallen nature.”

Beloved, “sin” is such a negative word, and this man was used to pleasing people. He would not dare say “sin” on television. It might offend someone “too sophisticated” or “too positive” to think about something so unconstructive as “sin!” Overall, the pastor’s spiritual insight was that of a first-grade Sunday School student. He never gave any real comfort and no in-depth commentary from the Bible. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say he quoted as much Scripture as the news anchor! (None.)

People just cannot handle the truth, especially the truths of the Holy Bible. One of the ways we know the Bible is not of human origin is its negative portrait of mankind. It offends our flesh; it contradicts our sin nature that wants to perform. The Bible is always negative toward man and always positive toward God. But, today’s Scripture says people will more and more gravitate toward error. They do not want to be called “sinners.” Oh, no! They do not want to be called “lost,” either! Let us call them “diseased,” “debilitated,” and “un-churched!”

Friends, there is a negative reality called “sin.” This offends people, but so what! God gave us that bad news so He could then give us good news, the Gospel of Grace. “Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). We can have righteousness—His righteousness—when we trust Him and Him alone as sufficient payment for our sins!

Shepherds Feeding Themselves

Thursday, June 16, 2016

“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? …Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them” (Ezekiel 34:2,10 KJV).

Friend, do you know any “self-feeding shepherds?”

Many years ago, a deacon asked an incoming pastor, “Will you let the Holy Spirit lead you in guiding our assembly?” The pastor replied, “I came here to retire!” He was uninterested in God’s will (as they later painfully discovered when he introduced false teaching and collapsed the assembly!).

Our English word “pastor” in its original Latin meant “shepherd” or “feeder,” related to “put to pasture.” Jesus commanded the Apostle Peter, Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep. Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17). The Apostle Paul warned the Ephesian church leaders: “[28] Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. [29] For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. [30] Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. [31] Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Acts chapter 20).

The Greek word rendered “overseers” (episkopos) is elsewhere translated “bishop(s)” (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 2:25). Poimen is often rendered “shepherd” but translated “pastors” in Ephesians 4:11. These men should be “guiding” (supervising) and “feeding” (nourishing) local churches, keeping them in sound Bible doctrine, and guarding them against false teaching. Alas, many bishops and pastors—whether today or in ancient Israel (today’s Scripture)—are self-feeding! While they enjoy thousand-dollar handmade suits and multimillion-dollar mansions, their people spiritually starve!

They Steal the LORD’S Words!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour (Jeremiah 23:30 KJV).

Was the LORD speaking to 99.999 percent of the “priests,” “preachers,” and “prophets” in Christendom today?

Speaking with a lady browsing through Christian books in a store, I asked her, “What is the Gospel by which we are saved today?” She stared at me quietly. I told her the Bible says, “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). We trust that and that alone and we will have eternal life in heaven forever. I could tell that was brand-new to her. Then, she explained she attended services at a local megachurch!! She really enjoyed how they were studying a “Christian bestseller” book in Sunday School. See, at that church, they do not study the Bible; they study books about the Bible. At that church they hear Christian phrases and Bible terms, but they never hear a Gospel message. Awful!

When we think of people dying and going to hell, murderers, whoremongers, thieves, rapists, and gangsters come to mind. Beloved, plenty of people are dead in their sins and going to hell, sitting in churches worldwide! That is nothing new. Our “Old Testament” Scriptures abound with apostasy because Israel’s religious and political leaders had so corrupted God’s people with nonsensical, false teaching. God expressly declared in today’s Scripture, “They steal my words every one from his neighbour!” The reprimand continues throughout the chapter: “[31] Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. [32] Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.”

One day, friends, God will manifest the charlatans for all the world to see. Before they are banished to eternal hellfire, their folly will be exposed. Until then, God Almighty has given us His Book, our Holy King James Bible, that we may identify them and their worthless teaching and avoid them!

Instant Christians #13

Sunday, January 18, 2015

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2 KJV).

In this day and age of “instant this and instant that,” we need more “instant” Christians!

How do we make “instant” Christians? As with anything instant (coffee, rice, photos, messaging, et cetera), some work is necessary! It takes a dedicated preacher or teacher to actually teach his people the Bible instead of giving them “Bible chats and pep talks” (Christendom’s failure). It takes studying the Bible instead of reading books about the Bible (another blunder). It takes reading the Bible instead of singing and dancing about the Bible (another failure).

We read in 2 Timothy 2:24-26 what the Holy Spirit would have us do once we are “instant” Christians, skilled in the Word of His Grace: “[24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” We, as “instant” Christians, are to make “instant” Christians, people who are just as well-versed and well-grounded in the Bible rightly divided as we!

Lost people live contrary to God’s will for them, and saved people in denominational circles live contrary to what God gave them in Christ. Yet, they can be freed from such error. We are to teach the verses they need to believe to escape Satan’s trap: the lost should be saved from their sins and the denominational Christians saved from doctrinal error. They can then enjoy the grace, love, mercy, eternal life, hope, security, peace, joy, forgiveness, Bible clarity, and righteousness that God offers them in Jesus Christ!

Remember, our ministry is not to force God’s Word rightly divided on anyone. We share the verses in compassion, not in spite or strife, picking fights. We “teach” them, very patiently, gently, meekly. It is time-consuming, but it is ever so worth it, and we will never know the true value of “instant” Christians until we reach heaven….

Instant Christians #6

Sunday, January 11, 2015

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2 KJV).

In this day and age of “instant this and instant that,” we need more “instant” Christians!

The charge in today’s Scripture is amplified by the next two verses: “[3] 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; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” False teaching masquerading as “Christianity” is not isolated to the last few hundred years or even several decades—these two verses are a clear description of the professing church during the last 20 centuries.

God the Holy Ghost never spoke about a great revival just before the close of our Dispensation of Grace. Inversely, He predicted a great apostasy, a willful rejection of sound Bible doctrine. The professing church has not tolerated sound Bible doctrine. Contrariwise, it has hoarded more and more and more false teachers, “feel-good” men-pleasers, proclaimers of nice-sounding clichés destitute of spiritual truth. Preferring worthless works-religion, denonominational theology, and pagan error, they are covering their ears as God’s ambassadors boldly preach the message of His grace and Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery! Barring God’s precious words from their assemblies, they embrace “fables”—superstition, entertainment, religious tales that literally amount to nothing.

False teaching has increased since Bible days because: (1) new denominations and seminaries with unique statements of faith and ecclesiastical creeds, have arisen; (2) new means to disseminate error (advances in printing, telephones, satellite television, internet, smartphones, and so on); (3) new world religions for “Christian” groups to borrow from when forming their belief systems; (4) new corrupt Bible manuscripts have been drafted, popularized, and translated hundreds of times over; and (5) new billions of people to be converted to these wayward groups, who can then proselytize others, the cycle repeating indefinitely.

Timothy, like all church leaders, was urged in today’s Scripture, that he slow down (not prevent) doctrinal error from spreading by studying and standing for God’s Word rightly divided. To do the same in our local assemblies, we must be “instant” Christians….

Common and Uncommon

Sunday, September 28, 2014

“And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them, derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God” (Luke 23:35 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is proof that God’s ways and God’s thoughts are truly higher than ours!

When God the Holy Spirit formed His human body in the virgin Mary’s womb, He crafted an ordinary frame of dust (minus the sin nature). From all outward appearance, He looked common; lacking external beauty, He was exceptional on the inside, it was the very life of God Himself inside! “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). If Jesus stood in a crowd of Jewish men, you could not distinguish Him!

The secular world has a bias, a paradigm that one must be physically attractive to succeed, be materially wealthy to make a difference, have advanced degrees to be authoritative, and so on. (Little do they know that most Christians who literally changed the world were none of those!) The religious world has its own concept about those whom God would use—a smooth-talking, charming, overly optimistic, unrealistic, seminary graduate dressed in expensive attire. (Little do they know that Jesus was none of those, but He literally changed the world too!)

The God of the Bible always thinks differently from us humans, just as He said in Isaiah 55:8,9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Physically marred beyond the ordinary, on Calvary, Jesus died that our disfigured sinful souls be made stunning (justified) in God’s sight (Colossians 3:1-17), that these ordinary sinful bodies of flesh and blood would one day be fashioned like His extraordinary, glorious resurrected body (Philippians 3:20,21), that we not have a typical life hereafter, but an extraordinary life, “life more abundantly” (John 10:10). What wisdom!

Riches and the Four Gospels #1

Friday, August 1, 2014

“And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:24,25 KJV).

Understandably, “health-and-wealth” preachers and teachers never quote Jesus’ words in today’s Scripture!

Mass media (television, radio, and internet) have been effectual means in sharing the Gospel of the Grace of God and sound Bible teaching with the masses. Nevertheless, just as tares (weeds) sprout among wheat, there are many charlatans dominating such “Christian” programming. Just as Simon the sorcerer “bewitched” the people of Samaria with counterfeit (satanic) miraculous demonstrations (Acts 8:9-11), millions upon millions are still under the spell of false religion that literally parades as “Gospel truth.”

In the last few decades, the professing church has gravitated more and more toward megachurches and “feel-good” messages. We see and hear on television, on radio, and on the internet, teachers and preachers who tickle ears with such common taglines as, “God wants to supernaturally cancel all your debts,” “God wants to deposit thousands into your bank account,” and “God wants you healed not sick.” (Then, they urge you to send in a “generous seed donation” so “God” can deposit millions into their bank accounts!)

Christendom often quotes Jesus’ earthly ministry, but when they push for “wealthy Christian living,” they have to look elsewhere in Scripture. Today’s Scripture is an obvious embarrassment to the “God-wants-you-wealthy” crowd, for since what Jesus said was true, God would actually be giving you riches in order to keep you out of His kingdom! Yea, lest the church program be jeopardized, Christendom is rather forced to go back to the “Old Testament” Scriptures and use rich Abraham (Genesis 13:2), wealthy King Solomon (1 Kings 3:13), and prosperous Job (Job 1:3; Job 42:10-12) as examples.

Still, this begs another question: God certainly blessed Abraham, Solomon, and Job with material riches, so why did Jesus tell His audience in today’s Scripture that material riches were detrimental (disadvantageous) to their salvation?

Let us be Bereans and search the Scriptures (Acts 17:10,11)….