Without Honour #8

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house (Mark 6:4 KJV).

What valuable lesson can we learn from Nazareth—a moral the Nazarenes deliberately failed to learn?

Romans 1:18-32 explains how the world declined in its morals and ethics to result in the worldwide problems we see today. All people once had opportunity to be the LORD God’s instruments in the Earth, but they willfully refused His revelation. Therefore, human civilization deteriorated in the centuries following Adam’s creation. In Genesis chapters 6–8, God finally sent the Great Deluge of Noah’s day to cleanse the world of evil (violence, murder). During chapters 9–11, the nations gather around the Tower of Babel. Such paganism summarizes man’s attitude during his first 2,000 years. The Creator God gave the nations over to their preferred spiritual darkness!

In chapter 12, the LORD God sets aside one man to begin a new nation—Abraham, the father of Israel. Through Abraham and his descendants, God will reach the entire world. Romans 3:1,2: “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles [Word, revelation] of God.” God gave Israel His Word, so Israel can teach it to the Gentiles. “He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 147:19,20).

Moses told Israel in Deuteronomy 4:6-8: “Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?”

Israel had that Word of God for 16 centuries, but she did not appreciate it. By the time her Messiah arrived, fulfilling that Word, she dishonoured Him too….

God’s Grace on Parade

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

“…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20 KJV).

Today, especially here in southern Louisiana, the Catholic festival of Mardi Gras takes advantage of God’s grace. God’s grace abounds even when drunkenness, lasciviousness, and gluttony are committed overtly on our streets for religion. Because we live in the Dispensation of the Grace of God, they can flaunt their sin without being consumed by fire from heaven!

“Mardi Gras,” French for “Fat Tuesday,” is a day when religious people—professing “Christians”—lose self-control (excess alcohol, food, and partying). The following day, Ash Wednesday, they promise to live “holy” for the next 40 days (Lent). A priest will then place ashes on their foreheads proving that God forgave them for that riotous living. Blasphemy!

Regardless of all its biblical allusions (illusions!), Mardi Gras is still evil and anti-God. It was never Christian, originating from pagan Roman festivals, Saturnalia and Lupercalia (interestingly known for riots, drunkenness, gluttony, and fornication, and subsequent repentance).

The Holy Spirit, speaking through the Apostles Peter and Paul, was clearly against Mardi Gras reveling and drunkenness (Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Peter 4:3). So why do professing Christians engage in the very activities that God the Holy Spirit condemned?! As Christians, we should “deny” the activities of Mardi Gras (Romans 6:11-15; Titus 2:11-15).

If I appear offended, I am. Mardi Gras, despite its godly façade, is offensive to the great God and my Saviour Jesus Christ! God’s grace continues to tolerate such foolishness from mankind. Man parades his sin, and God parades His grace, holding back wrath.

Are you a Mardi Gras reveler? I declare unto you the wonderful Gospel of the Grace of God. God did for you at Calvary what you could never do: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Jesus Christ shed His sinless blood and died to put away all of your sins, Mardi Gras revelry included.

If you rest in Christ Jesus alone as your Saviour, God will save you forever, make a trophy of His grace, and then YOUR life will be God’s grace on parade!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

You may also see our archived Bible study Q&A, “Should Christians celebrate Mardi Gras?

Weirdoes #5

Monday, October 28, 2019

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord (1 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

Brethren, we may be unfairly judged of other Christians and/or the world, but the final verdict will come of the Lord.

Satan is decidedly cunning: his evil world system is an intricate labyrinth of schemes. In the case of the Corinthian saints, he applied pagan philosophy to “reel them back in.” After infecting the children of God with vain speculations, he used them to attack the messenger of God with empty accusations. Employing the age-old military technique of “divide and conquer,” Satan proceeded to systematically destroy the Lord’s work at Corinth!

The Holy Spirit through Paul was thus prompted to issue the following in 1 Corinthians chapter 9: “[1] Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? [2] If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. [3] Mine answer to them that do examine me is this, [4] Have we not power to eat and to drink?” Notice the word “examine”—as in scrutinizing or investigating. The Corinthians have taken Paul, placed him under a microscope (figuratively), and used pagan philosophy to render a dreadful decision: after our “careful” evaluation, we declare that Paul is not an apostle!

Beyond any shadow of a doubt, the prevailing factor in the extensive spiritual confusion and chaos at Corinth was the disregarding, challenging, and denying of Paul’s apostleship. Satan had successfully divorced them from Pauline doctrine, ruined their spiritual edification, and rendered them spiritually powerless. Rather than holding Christian doctrine and criticizing heathen doctrine, the Corinthians were embracing heathen doctrine and denouncing Christian doctrine! Today’s professing church is in the exact same position. Satan is still brilliantly challenging and refuting Paul’s apostleship, and still using “Christians” (?) and “Christian” (?) doctrine to do it.

Paul was and is not the “weirdo,” and neither are we Pauline dispensationalists….

Weirdoes #4

Sunday, October 27, 2019

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord (1 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

Brethren, we may be unfairly judged of other Christians and/or the world, but the final verdict will come of the Lord.

First Corinthians chapter 2 began: “[1] And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. [2] For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. [3] And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. [4] And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: [5] That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”

Considering their culture, the Corinthians were accustomed to skilled orators (speakers) entering their city and employing impressive, persuasive, “scholarly” language to gain new disciples. Philosophers debated countless ideas, each promoting their unique system. When Paul showed up, he was different. He did not use man’s intellect to convince the Corinthians of anything. Instead, he was empowered by the Holy Spirit to impart Divine wisdom to these souls. They believed the Gospel of Grace and were saved unto eternal life, but had not fully renounced their past spiritual beliefs. Such heathen philosophy then influenced them to conclude Paul’s message was nothing extraordinary.

Using man’s wisdom as their guide, the Corinthian saints determined Paul was really not speaking for Jesus Christ. How could Paul be a true spiritual leader, a “Christian?” He did not sound like the typical religious leader, he did not look like one, he did not behave like one. Though highly educated, he had not employed polished, complex, theological language to amaze and flatter his audience. Paul did not want the Corinthians to depend on his words anyway. He wanted them to rest in the words of God.

In reality, it was theynot Paul—who had the problem….

A Better Baptism #14

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

“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” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

Many denominationally-minded souls will now surely raise some “what about” objections. What about Matthew 28:19? What about Paul’s own water baptism (Acts 9:18; Acts 22:16)? What about him water baptizing his converts (Acts 16:15,33; Acts 18:8; Acts 19:5; 1 Corinthians 1:13-17)?

“The Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22). To signify to Israel that pagan Gentiles have converted to Christ, those Gentiles were to be water baptized for Israel’s benefit (Matthew 28:19). As water baptism indicates Israel’s cleansing from heathen idolatry, it also evidently serves a likewise purpose for the believing (formerly pagan) Gentiles in Israel’s program (nothing to do with us!). God is not showing anything to Israel today, for national Israel is temporarily fallen (Romans chapter 11). This will change once our dispensation closes.

Indeed, Paul water baptized—but only during Acts. Water baptism existed before him, and during the transitional phase of Acts 9–28, he was water baptized and he water baptized others. However, Jesus Christ did not send him to water baptize. Read 1 Corinthians 1:17: “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.”

After the Book of Acts closed, the Holy Spirit wrote through Paul in Ephesians 4:5 that only one baptism is necessary in this the Dispensation of Grace—and it certainly is not water baptism. Paul wrote of water baptism only once; here, he says Christ did not commission him to do it. It was not part of the special revelation Christ gave to him to give to us. Paul water baptized only during his “Acts” provoking ministry to Israel (see Romans 11:11-14).

That transitional period has passed, and so have all the temporary, bizarre situations people stumble over when they read and teach the Book of Acts. Paul being water baptized showed Ananias and other believing Jews that Paul had now come to faith in Christ. Water baptism showed (past tense!) how idolatrous Gentiles in Paul’s ministry had trusted Christ as well….

Bible Q&A #655: “Are the ‘angels’ of the Revelation really ‘pastors?’

A Better Baptism #6

Monday, September 23, 2019

“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” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

The Holy Spirit, reflecting on John the Baptist’s ministry some years later, comments in 1 Peter chapter 2: “[9] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” This agrees with God’s promise 1,600 years earlier to make Israel “a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:6).

It was wholly appropriate that Jews be water baptized who believed on Jesus as Christ. After all, they were now His priests—and the Mosaic Law stipulated priests wash in water. They were manifesting their faith, their change in mind, moving from idols and returning to the one true God. Malachi 4:5-6 and Luke 1:16-17 predicted John the Baptist’s ministry would “make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Also, it necessarily meant that those who refused John’s water baptism were expressing their unbelief (idolatry!). Note Luke 7:29,30: “And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.”

Jesus Christ was water baptized to be Israel’s High Priest (see Hebrews 3:1) as well as to identify Himself with Israel’s believing remnant. Read John chapter 1: “[29] The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. [30] This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. [31] And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.” Not to be outdone, however, sinful man and Satan muddle up such simple Bible truths….

A Better Baptism #5

Sunday, September 22, 2019

“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” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

Throughout my childhood, I constantly heard about water baptism by immersion as if it were the only mode. “Immersion” is the “true” Bible water baptism, it was—and still is—declared ad nauseum. In all actuality, however, the type of water baptism associated with Israel’s repentance is sprinkling (aspersion). It is not affusion (pouring) and not immersion (dunking)! Ezekiel 36:25 again: “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.”

If the Bible is right, and it is (!), then the “baptism by immersion” groups have greatly erred and thus misled us. People who promote water baptism by immersion insist on using John’s water baptism as a pattern—failing to realize, of course, that Ezekiel limited John’s ministry to sprinkling! Preachers incessantly appeal to new Christians with, “Come, and follow Jesus in believer’s baptism. You must be immersed, by the way!” Yet, again, according to Scripture, that was not how Jesus was water baptized! John’s water baptism, to state it again and again, was sprinkling. The mode of water baptism in Israel’s program is sprinkling. Why did John urge Israel to participate in his water baptism?

John the Baptist announced in Matthew chapter 3: “[10] And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. [11] I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: [12] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Being water baptized is the only way Israel’s believing remnant can survive God’s fiery wrath at Christ’s Second Coming….