Doubletongued

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

“Likewise must the deacons be… not doubletongued” (1 Timothy 3:8 KJV).

One sinful tongue is bad enough—but having two is even worse!

When today’s Scripture references a “doubletongued” man, we understand that to be figurative instead of literal. The tongue symbolizes our ability to talk. (We are using common sense here, are we not?) To have two tongues is to communicate two different messages, the man using one tongue to speak one idea to one party but utilizing a second tongue to express a second thought to a second group. In fact, the Greek word is “dilogos”—literally, “two words/sayings.” One of the qualifications of the “deacon,” or the bishop’s male helper in the local assembly, is that he be void of duplicity or deceit. He says what he means, and he means what he says. His words are not hypocritical. He does not tell “half-truths” either. Why would someone want to be “doubletongued” anyway?

Firstly, when we remember this is a church setting, the threat is obvious. False teachers seek to infiltrate the assemblies of God’s people. By spreading their misinformation, they further their agenda, theological system, and denomination—but they are so covert they often go undetected! Secondly, the “doubletongued” person may be seeking to be a “menpleaser” (Colossians 3:22). As long as one’s doctrine is general and never settled in specifics, he or she will attract people of all kinds of persuasions (hence, larger crowds, more books $old, et cetera!). You cannot pinpoint exactly what they believe and teach because they deliberately vary their content from setting to setting.

“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. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Acts 20:28-31). Would you want someone like this leading your local assembly? Then, dear friend, your church had better think long and hard before appointing any deacons!

Believing Unbelievers #4

Saturday, March 26, 2022

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25 KJV).

Is it possible to be a believing unbeliever? According to today’s Scripture, YES!

Imagine being in today’s Scripture. To watch the Lord heal the sick, cast out devils, and do other mighty miracles would have truly been a sight to behold! It is beyond our comprehension. Yet, He was not seeking to entertain anyone—and He knew who was present just for amusement, to experience a spiritual high or adrenaline rush.

Consider modern Christendom. We notice many people walking aisles, making professions of faith, kneeling and bawling uncontrollably at “altars,” dancing and lifting hands to “praise and worship” music, packing stadium “sanctuaries,” sitting in confessional booths, being water baptized, reciting the “sinner’s prayer,” teaching Sunday School classes, preaching fervent sermons, knocking on doors, passing out tracts and Bibles, joining faculties of prestigious seminaries, sitting on Bible translation committees, talking about “Jesus” and “the Holy Ghost,” writing “Christian” study “aids,” memorizing creeds and confessions, organizing missions trips, travelling and setting up “healing tents,” and a host of other activities. The average person cannot help but remark, “Look at all these ‘Christians!’”

One brother in Christ observed: “God did not give the Scriptures for the purpose of scholarly intellectual exercise.” Yet, as he pointed out, innumerable people have used them—are using them—for just that. Textual critics study Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and Aramaic. They pore over ancient manuscripts, teach theology and church history classes, and debate “Christian” philosophy, but is there any personal heart faith in the Bible itself? How many of them are actually Bible-believing Christians? Who are members of the Church the Body of Christ, and who are simply members of manmade denominations? Do they know what the Gospel of Grace even is? Could they show us verses for victorious Christian living?

Intellectual assent is no substitute for heart faith….

Bible Q&A #935: “What are ‘victuals?’

Placebo #2

Friday, October 8, 2021

“That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:” (Isaiah 30:9,10 KJV).

What is a “placebo?” Can we find it in the spiritual realm?

Today’s Scripture in context: “[8] Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: [9] That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: [10] Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: [11] Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.”

Verse 8 is the promise of Bible preservation. The LORD directed the Prophet Isaiah to write His words, so those words would be for ever and ever.” (For us as English-speaking people, this is the King James Bible!) What is Isaiah’s message preserved even now? Ancient Israel was just like any other group of sinners, opposing God’s will for them and doing what they wanted to do: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way…” (Isaiah 53:6). “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:25).

Friend, draw your attention to today’s Scripture: “…rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD.” They were not interested in learning the LORD’S words, especially the Law of Moses, the covenant that laid out the conduct of their daily lives. “Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:….” They refused to hear from God’s messengers or spokesmen, for such words convicted them of their sin. Instead of “right things,” they wanted to hear “smooth things… deceits,” a pleasing or complimentary message….

Placebo #1

Thursday, October 7, 2021

“That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:” (Isaiah 30:9,10 KJV).

What is a “placebo?” Can we find it in the spiritual realm?

A celebrated megachurch pastor just released his new book—a mere 130 pages. In it, three verses were clearly marked with a reference (“Psalm 139,” for example, along with two other verses from Psalms). Of course, these were shallow, basic passages even a Sunday School child knows. While the preacher alluded to or quoted additional verses throughout his book, no actual references were ever given (even in footnotes, marginal notes, or endnotes). It makes it difficult to double-check him. Is he quoting a verse correctly, and within its context? Maybe he is simply paraphrasing? Or, is it a mere fabrication he attributes to “God?”

Dear friends, if we are not quoting and citing Bible verses in our written studies or audible messages, we are doing nothing more than sharing our own opinions. The Christian life will not operate on the basis of human viewpoint, man’s speculations, but this is usually all believers ever have—and now we see why poor testimonies and even no testimonies abound! Just as long as it is inspirational, or motivational, that is all Christians have been trained to think about today. If it makes them feel good, and the name of “God” or “Jesus” is attached to it, then surely it is something reliable, right?! Unfortunately, the “Christian” publishing houses are running bu$ine$$e$ (what authors and topics can bring in the largest profit?) rather than teaching sound Bible doctrine (what does the God of Scripture want us to believe and do?).

In medical science, a “placebo” (from Latin, “I shall be acceptable or pleasing”) is “a harmless pill, medicine, or procedure prescribed more for the psychological benefit to the patient than for any physiological effect.” That is to say, the sick patient believes it is therapeutic, possessing healing properties, but there is no profit for the physical body in it! Such was the case with “feel-good” “Judaism” of old (today’s Scripture), and with “feel-good” “Christianity” of late….

Separated!

Thursday, July 1, 2021

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 KJV).

Disgusted with local assemblies he has visited these last 30 years, a dear Christian brother voiced his frustration: “I am finished with churches!” In the future, such disgust just might cause him to embrace dispensational Bible study that he has bitterly opposed this past decade. Like an increasing number of church members from various denominations, he sees Christendom is hopelessly incorrigible.

To wholly purge every group of sectarian bias is impractical in this life; it will only be accomplished once Christ returns to deliver genuine believers (now in Heaven, thus no longer confused) and comes to punish unbelievers (Earth finally rid of false doctrine, pagan religion, philosophy). Until then, brethren, if we are to serve Jesus Christ, we must separate from organized religion (if we have not already done so). Denominations, sects, and cults are all polluted with man’s opinions to varying degrees. There is no perfect church, that we freely confess; rather, we seek a pure church.

If we cannot find a pure local church to attend, then we should start one ourselves in our home. The day is coming—and, whether we want to admit it or not, it is true—when the Christian church even in the United States of America will have to go “underground.” Governmental agencies will attack the most prominent groups: megachurches will be disbanded and shuttered, yet, that will not be detrimental, for sound Bible doctrine has survived without them anyway. What will remain is innumerable home grace churches, whose focus all along was sound teaching instead of formalism-upholding… institution-building… theological system-forming… edifice-constructing… social club-joining… bu$ine$$-managing.

Bible Q&As #854 and #855: “What does ‘brutish’ mean?” and “Is ‘should’ a mistranslation in Romans 6:4?

Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #5

Friday, October 30, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

“I will be like the most High,” Lucifer boasted (Isaiah 14:14). As he told Christ, he desires worship: “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me(Matthew 4:9). Employing whatever sneaky means necessary, Satan accomplishes his goal. If he can counterfeit God’s actions, then people will be deceived and credit God. By attributing Satan’s work to God, man unwittingly worships Satan. It is an ingenious strategy, one seldom perceived!

Emotions mislead because the human heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). While something may “feel” right, it may not actually be right. Feelings are fickle, changing with our circumstances. Therefore, we cannot use them to gauge truth and error. Adrenaline rushes come and go, so never should we confuse them with the permanent Holy Spirit. If we are externalists or formalists, we run the risk of faking at some point. For instance, if we observe people raising hands or dancing, peer pressure urges us to mimic them. The Holy Spirit is thus quenched and our flesh—namely, the fear of being “left out”—motivates the behavior. Satan smiles. Except for the rare Berean Bible student, no one is able to notice the error.

So-called “Christian revivals” are being held where protests, riots, lootings, and shootings have occurred. It is claimed, “The Devil is active, but God is moving!” Online videos show musicians hosting “Christian rock” concerts. Crowds—mainly young adults—raise their hands, jump, run, sing, sob, and pray. Supposedly, they are “coming to Jesus;” yet, a clear Gospel message is absent. When we compare their activities with the Scriptures, what is allegedly “God’s work” turns out to be a mockery of Jesus Christ. Remember, we are not made perfect by the flesh!

Bible Q&As #779 and #780: “Should Christians observe All Saints’ Day?” and “Should Christians observe All Souls’ Day?

Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #4

Thursday, October 29, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

The Galatians were preoccupied with the Law of Moses (cf. Galatians 4:21). Religious rules and regulations captivated them. They were deceived into believing their performance—their “flesh”—could somehow enhance their Christian life (cf. today’s Scripture). Did the Holy Spirit come to indwell these saints because of their religious works? No! Would He need their pious deeds to continue living in and through them? No! Sadly, today’s professing church is equally “foolish.” Nearly 20 centuries later, it still refuses to recognize rites, rituals, and ceremonies are incompatible with God’s grace! Like the Galatians not thinking clearly, we lack even basic spiritual common sense. We too have not let the Message of Grace renew our mind.

Philosophy and other vain speculations of lost (pagan!) people distracted the Corinthian believers. The first three chapters of 1 Corinthians are the Holy Spirit’s instructions to straighten out their confusion. Selfishness abounded in Corinth because spiritual ignorance flourished there. Whereas the Galatians were quite “strict” with their legalism, the Corinthians were quite “loose” with their sensuality. The Corinthians acted like spiritual babies because they also thought like spiritual babies. This too describes today’s professing church. Actually, the conundrums in 1 Corinthians parallel the chaos and confusion of modern “praise and worship.” Recall 1 Corinthians 14:40!

Instead of being thankful for the Message of God’s Grace—what the Holy Spirit has revealed in Pauline doctrine, Romans through Philemon—we unwisely believe we can improve the Christian life. Whether from Galatia or Corinth, we must learn the lesson: neither formalism (strict rules and regulations) nor fanaticism (no rules or regulations whatsoever) will ever replace the Holy Spirit’s work in grace believer’s heart. Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Jesus offer Himself to Israel if He knew they would reject Him?

Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #3

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

When we hear of people “filled with the Holy Ghost” and “praising Jesus,” we should not automatically assume the Lord Jesus Christ is being honored. Lies are everywhere. We discern truth and error by considering Bible verses—especially Scripture “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15). If anyone claims individuals “going wild” is a sign of praising the Lord, or masses acting ridiculous is evidence of the Holy Spirit being “poured out,” these are simply false claims. The Bible establishes the standard for Christian behavior. Yea, the Pauline Epistles, Romans through Philemon, show us what God the Holy Spirit is doing today.

“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). “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20,21). In the Scriptures, we read of what the Holy Spirit is doing and not doing. He Himself is speaking through the Holy Bible.

If the Holy Spirit is working in a particular area, or He is operating in a specific person, this rule is always true: “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40). A lack of modesty and discipline means it is not the Holy Spirit! Again, Galatians chapter 5: “[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” The Holy Spirit produces “temperance,” self-control. If there is no restraint, it is man’s flesh and not God’s Spirit….

Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #2

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

To be sure, the general public is gullible. Times get so tough, people become desperate to the degree they will do practically anything for relief. Add to that the fact human nature seeks amusement. It is a recipe for spiritual disaster! Take the current tense societal conditions in the United States. People, particularly religious individuals, have grown bored at home locked away and isolated from just about all their pleasures. Consequently, “worship leaders” can lure them with all the promises of “delight.”

What is being passed off today as “Christianity,” “revival,” “hope,” “healing,” and “worship” is anything and everything but. Videos of these music concerts show people raising their hands in “praise and worship,” jumping up and down (like hopping on pogo sticks!), dancing, praying, and being water baptized. It has been said, “People are going wild for Jesus!” Claims of healings and other miracles are touted as proof “God is present and the Holy Ghost has been poured out!”

This is a prime example of how Satan’s policy of evil works. While we would hope these people are sincere, their doctrine is counterfeit. It is rooted in the Charismatic Movement, which is nothing but Pentecostalism (emotions, experiences, entertainment) spreading into other denominations. False teaching “bewitches” (today’s Scripture); a spell has been cast over people, making them behave like zombies or robots. Of course, they are having a “good time”—and that “adrenaline rush” just “has to be the warm, fuzzy feelings of the Holy Ghost” (wrong!). Sound Bible doctrine is not underlying the behavior, so even if it has a “ring” of genuineness, the conduct is silly and utterly vain….

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “What does ‘froward’ mean?” and “What does ‘untoward’ mean?

Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #1

Monday, October 26, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

Our country, the United States of America, has plenty of problems besetting it—including inflammatory charges of “systemic racism;” violent protests featuring rioting and looting; an unprecedented, highly toxic political climate; strict pandemic restrictions and risks such as isolation, depression, and suicides; and extensive damage from destructive natural disasters (hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and so on). It has been repeatedly stated, “Just when 2020 could not get worse, this new challenge arises!”

In recent months, a repetitive narrative has been peddled as “Christian” news. A particular “worship leader” traveling far and wide, visiting the large cities that are experiencing great civil unrest, has been heralded as “hope” and “healing.” Tens of thousands are supposedly “coming to Jesus.” It is “a move of God,” allegedly, to counter the evils troubling our society. These “worshippers” are purportedly “hungry for God”—eager to escape their lockdowns and have “church” outdoors. It is proclaimed, “Let us stand up for religious freedom, for our First Amendment rights!”

Now, never do we fault souls for having good intentions. They may not outright reject God and the Bible, but that does not necessarily imply they are behaving correctly. We remember Christ’s words: “…the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him…. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth(John 4:23,24). Contrary to popular belief, it is not enough to merely “worship God.” According to the Scriptures, He wants people who worship Him “in spirit and in truth.” Truth, not error, must undergird our worship. Spirit, not flesh, should support our worship. Let us be careful never to forget the danger in failing to conduct ourselves accordingly….