Satisfied in Superstition #3

Monday, August 20, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

Genesis 11:1-9 describes the postdiluvian (after Great Flood) nations assembling in Shinar (Babylon, or modern Iraq) to “build [them] a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven.” Nimrod led the construction of this Tower of Babel—an international, political-religious system. (Its antitype is the Antichrist’s [future] Whore of Babylon described in Revelation chapters 17-18.) The LORD God gave those nations over to their preference—Satan worship, pagan idolatry, one-world religion (an amalgamation of all spiritual ideas). There, the nations fell as Adam had. Again, it was a willful rejection of God’s truth and a plunge into spiritual darkness (cf. Acts 14:15,16): “[God] in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.” Hence, the Gentile (non-Jewish) nations originated.

With Genesis chapter 11 closing and chapter 12 opening, the LORD God began forming a special nation—Israel. Beginning with Abram/Abraham, Israel will accomplish what Adam and the nations deliberately declined to do. They are the vessel whereby God will fulfill His earthly purpose. He thus expects and commands Israel to avoid her neighbors’ heathen beliefs and idolatrous practices. Read Deuteronomy 4:16-19, but especially notice verse 19: “And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.” Indeed, at Babel, God gave the nations over to the gods and goddesses of superstition.

Sadly, Israel did not keep herself pure either. Eventually, when her Redeemer (Jesus Christ) came, she was so polluted with error that she crucified Him in unbelief. She persisted in that unbelief, that rejection of God’s Word, until He placed her on the same spiritual level as He had put the Gentiles 2,000 years previous. Now we get to today’s Scripture….

Satisfied in Superstition #2

Sunday, August 19, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

Mankind had unbridled access to and fellowship with the Creator God until Adam sinned by eating the forbidden fruit. After consuming the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Genesis chapter 3 remarks of Adam and Eve: “[7] And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. [8] And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”

While man’s communion with the LORD God was broken, God nevertheless instituted a blood-sacrificial system by which man could approach Him (see Genesis 3:21–4:8). However, during the next several centuries, mankind drifted further and further from his Creator rather than drawing closer and closer to Him. In chapters 6-8, worldwide wickedness (especially murder) was so widespread that God generated the Great Flood to cleanse the planet of evil. Once Noah’s three sons exited the Ark after the Flood, they fathered the world’s nations (chapters 9-11). Near the end of these first 2,000 years of human history, an extremely important event occurred.

Genesis chapter 10 reports: “[8] And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. [9] He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. [10] And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” Nimrod was Noah’s great-grandson, and he was quite wicked. Chapter 11 will demonstrate to us how Nimrod was the leading rebel influential in bringing about the spiritual ignorance of today’s Scripture… and of today….

Bible Q&A #525: “Which hymns are appropriate for us grace believers to sing?

Satisfied in Superstition #1

Saturday, August 18, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

The Greek word rendered “too superstitious” here is quite striking—“deisidaimonesterous” (“fearing more devils than others”). As Paul entered Athens, “his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry” (verse 16). He observed idols and shrines everywhere! The Athenians were afraid of this god, that goddess, this deity, that idol. One particular altar caught his attention—the one with the caption, “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.” It was this God, the God of the Bible, whom he had come to preach to the darkened pagans of Athens!

Why did they entertain such absurd ideas? How were they not worshipping Israel’s God with spiritual enlightenment? The Holy Spirit had already declared through Paul elsewhere in chapter 14: “[15] And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities [idols] unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: [16] Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.

Romans chapter 1 describes this party: “[19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. [20] For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: [21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [23] And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”

Now the situation in Athens becomes clearer….

A House Full of Sinners!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

And Jehu sent through all Israel: and all the worshippers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left that came not. And they came into the house of Baal; and the house of Baal was full from one end to another (2 Kings 10:21 KJV).

Large crowds in religion are not necessarily good!

Some 800 years before Christ, the LORD God selected Jehu to become King of Israel (Northern Kingdom) and thus destroy King Ahab’s evil dynasty. Chapter 9 says Jehu killed Ahab’s son, King Joram, and wicked King Ahaziah of Judah (Southern Kingdom). Jehu also executed wicked Queen Jezebel, wife of the late Ahab—older but still an unbelieving heathen.

Wicked as he was, Jehu was nonetheless the “best” of Israel’s 20 kings! Interested in obeying the LORD God as well as fulfilling prophecy, he delivered the Northern Kingdom from Ahab’s evil family and its extensive Baal worship. Today’s Scripture says Jehu gathered all the worshippers of Baal in Baal’s temple. These multitudes are apostates that Israeli sovereigns—chiefly, Ahab and Jezebel—inspired decades earlier.

The religionists in today’s Scripture crammed into that house of Baal, quite eager to worship a false god that had fascinated their nation for decades. If you read the context (verses 18-27), Jehu had actually convinced them to come and worship Baal with him. It was simply a trick to gather them so he could slaughter them all! While graphic, God in the Mosaic Law deemed such executions of idolaters perfectly acceptable (Deuteronomy 13:1-11). It certainly purified the nation! “Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel” (2 Kings 10:28).

Although the size of Baal’s temple is unknown, Scripture says it was filled (!) with idolaters. Any minister today should be very careful not to boast of crowd size. There may not be a single empty seat, but that does not mean all present are Christians and want to worship the one true God! “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13,14).

No Good Deeds, No Good Things #6

Monday, July 23, 2018

Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you (Jeremiah 5:25 KJV).

Here is the result of being under any performance-based acceptance system!

According to Leviticus chapter 26, Israel would endure five courses (stages) of curses or judgments for disobeying the Mosaic Law. The second course involved God weakening Israel politically (verses 18,19). Once King Solomon died, his kingdom split into two kingdoms—the 10 northern tribes (retaining the name “Israel”) and the two southern tribes (assuming the title “Judah”).

Reading today’s Scripture in context: “[23] But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. [24] Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. [25] Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you.” Since the Jews have been habitually wicked, God has not given them rain—the first course of judgment (Leviticus 26:18-20). The second, third, and fourth courses are already working. Number five is coming!

The fifth and final course of chastisement is expulsion from the Promised Land (Leviticus 26:27-39). About a century before Jeremiah, the Northern Kingdom was deported into Assyria (2 Kings 17:1-23). The Southern Kingdom, where Jeremiah conducts his ministry, will be deported to Babylon in just a few years (2 Kings 24:1–25:21; 2 Chronicles 36:14-21).

We can just hear the echo of Israel 900 years earlier at Mount Sinai: All that the LORD hath spoken we will do(Exodus 19:8). That little two-letter word—“do”doomed them. Romans chapter 3, verses 19-20: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. [!!!!] Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. [!!!!]Dear friends, the Law exposes (not empowers!!) and condemns (not commends!!) sinners! Works-religion damned God’s special nation, Israel, and it damns all sons of Adam even today….

ATTENTION: Shorewood Bible Church’s 2018 Summer Family Bible Conference continues today, Monday, at 9 A.M. Central U.S. Time. The theme is “God’s Prophetic Calendar,” and the conference runs until Thursday. Watch the LIVE video feed streamed here: http://understandgrace.com/watch-live/. Visit http://understandgrace.com/2018-summer-family-bible-conference/ for more information. Come and join us!

No Good Deeds, No Good Things #5

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you (Jeremiah 5:25 KJV).

Here is the result of being under any performance-based acceptance system!

Some 900 years after giving the Mosaic Law, God said of Israel in Jeremiah 1:16: “And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.”

Chapter 2: “[7] And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination. [8] The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal [pagan god], and walked after things that do not profit [idols]…. [11] Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.”

“[20] For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot [spiritual whoredom]…. [27] Saying to a stock [stick], Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us. [28] But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah. [29] Wherefore will ye plead with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith the LORD. [30] In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion. [32] Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number.” Also see Jeremiah 3:6-9,13,21 and Jeremiah 4:1.

Israel has broken God’s Law to such an extent that today’s Scripture has come to pass….

ATTENTION: Shorewood Bible Church’s 2018 Summer Family Bible Conference continues today, Sunday, at 9 A.M. Central U.S. Time. The theme is “God’s Prophetic Calendar,” and the conference runs until Thursday. Watch the LIVE video feed streamed here: http://understandgrace.com/watch-live/. Visit http://understandgrace.com/2018-summer-family-bible-conference/ for more information. Come and join us!

Perfecting #7

Sunday, June 24, 2018

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

What does “perfecting” mean here?

Dear friends, it is utterly impossible to become sinless in this life. Still, we can indeed be “perfected.” Whatever doctrine is lacking in our inner man, we can gain it by reading and believing God’s Word to us (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16,17). Are we going to daily read, daily study, and daily trust that Word—or just continue to claim ignorance?

If we do not have the assurance of salvation and a home in Heaven, we should without delay believe the Gospel of the Grace of God: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Faith in this Gospel is how God can forgive us of all our sins and make us right before Him. If we are saved unto eternal life, members of the Church the Body of Christ, then we need to study and believe the Scriptures rightly divided on a daily basis. Otherwise, we will not think and behave like God would intend Christians to reason and walk!

The Holy Bible, the completed canon, is meant to bring all Christians to spiritual maturity, an increasingly fuller understanding of all that Father God aims to do right now and on into the endless ages to come. Such believers can then oppose Satan’s lie program. It is therefore no surprise that Satan employs various schemes to tamper with and hinder that pure Word from spreading—counterfeit Bible manuscripts, false teachings (including non-dispensational Bible study, philosophy, and religious tradition), assorted “experiences” and emotional highs, and numerous other diversions.

If any of us in Christ today find ourselves unskilled and confused regarding the Scripture, it is not God’s fault but our own! Perhaps our preacher is culpable, maybe our denomination is also guilty of misleading, but God the Holy Spirit has done everything to spiritually enlighten us. Alas, 1 Corinthians 14:38 is spoken to many of us in Christ: “If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” Brethren, may that not be true of us! 🙂