To Please Men, or God?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

“Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do it, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:22,23 KJV).

Whom shall we please—men, or God?

For two years, a Christian man periodically taught Bible studies at his house. He invited various individuals, including his sister (who he knew was unsaved and trapped in the cult he himself had escaped decades earlier). At his request, she attended most, if not all, his studies. He gave a clear Gospel message and invitation after each meeting. One day, she informed him that she was going away for the weekend. Why? That cult was sponsoring a retreat and she had enrolled!! The dear brother in Christ was disappointed beyond words. Evidently, she had been attending his studies simply to satisfy him.

A new Christian woman recently expressed to me bewilderment about a “spiritually disjointed” married couple she knew. The wife was a “Bible reader,” supposedly “skilled in the Scriptures;” her husband was a cult member. They attended services at a “feel-good” prosperity church and assembled with the cult for “worship services.” The Christian woman asked me how such incongruity could exist. I explained to her that the wife is likely reading verses but not studying them rightly divided. She cannot discern truth from error because she knows no truth. Furthermore, it appears she “fellowships” (?) with her husband’s denomination just to gratify him. The “feel-good” church is evidently her preference, so he goes there to pacify her.

While today’s Scripture features the servant-master (employee-employer) relationship, by extension, it better explains the Christian-God relationship. Whom should we be serving? Are we to attend Bible study or church services to satisfy a spouse, neighbor, sibling, parent, or friend? Is our behavior merely to impress those people watching us (“eyeservice, as menpleasers”)? Whatever we do, friends, we should do it in “singleness [sincerity] of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do it, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” Above all, we must conduct our lives motivated by heart faith in God’s message of grace to us. “…As to the Lord, and not unto men.”

Redeem the Year!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17 KJV).

What great advice for 2017!

Despite 2,000 years of Bible schools and seminaries, 2,000 years of a completed Bible canon, 2,000 years of Bible reading in churches, several decades of “Christian” television and radio, and just over a decade of widespread use of “Christian” websites, how sad that Bible ignorance is still quite extensive (it is as if God never gave His Word to start with!).

Frankly, the Church the Body of Christ needs to wake up! The verse previous to today’s Scripture says, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (verse 14). Paul, loosely quoting Isaiah 60:1, reminded us that the spiritual ignorance that gripped Israel in Isaiah’s day seized Christians in his day—and it still grips Christians 20 centuries later. Feel-good sermons, enjoyable “worship” services, and rites, rituals, and ceremonies will NOT solve this problem—they exacerbate it!

“[God] will have all men to be saved…” (1 Timothy 2:4a). Do you want this New Year to count for God’s glory? First, you need to get saved from sins and hell! You need to become a Christian by trusting in and relying on Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for your sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). That is only part of God’s will for you, for 1 Timothy 2:4b continues, “[God] will have all men… to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Now, God’s will for your Christian life is daily, personal Bible study to renew your mind, so your faith in those verses can cause God to work in your life—it will be His life, thus making you “perfect [spiritually mature], throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

Today’s Scripture urges us to buy back the time Satan has robbed from God (time created for God’s glory). By faith, we need to make that time glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by applying His Word, particularly Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, to our lives. Have a good year in Christ! 🙂

You can download our free “One-Year Bible Reading Schedule.”

See our archived Bible Q&A: “What Scriptural advice can you give me for the New Year?

By the way, I recently wrote and released a 45-page special Bible article, “The 2016 United States Presidential Election: A Bible-Believing, Grace Perspective.”

Spiritualize to Tell Spiritual Lies

Friday, July 1, 2016

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt” (Amos 9:13 KJV).

Does today’s Scripture apply to us today?

Recently, I watched “Christian” (?) television to see many of today’s “Christian” charlatans. They talk about “Jesus” and Scripture, but they are seriously deficient of any clear Gospel message and greatly wanting of any solid Bible understanding.

Two men—one a well-known “faith healer” (still aging) and the other a self-proclaimed “apostle”—sat around a table of prayer requests. The “apostle” told people to give to the faith healer’s ministry so God could bless them. They were to “claim their debt-free BMW in Jesus’ name” as a young lady had recently (allegedly) done using his ministry.

This “apostle” outright told his viewers Amos 9:13 was “written to them.” They needed to claim their prosperity and demand God give them material wealth. “You will reap so many blessings you will not be able to harvest them before the sower will sow more seeds of blessings!” This is utter abuse of God’s precious words. Like so many, he spiritualized the Bible and lied about the Bible. To him, it did not mean literal plowing, literal crops, and literal harvesting. Yet, that is exactly what the Prophet Amos meant… and he was not writing to or about us in the Dispensation of Grace!

Amos 9:11-15 clearly declares today’s Scripture is about the nation Israel. When Jesus Christ returns (cf. Acts 15:14-18), He will rejuvenate Israel’s agrarian lifestyle. In God’s earthly kingdom, there will be so many literal crops harvested in Israel’s land they will not get it all harvested before planting the next crop!

Amos 9:14,15 supplements today’s Scripture: “And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.”

Bible Q&A #280: “Are 2 Thessalonians 1:9 and Revelation 14:10 contradictory?

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!

Understand and Enjoy the Bible! #15

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15,16 KJV).

Yes indeed, we can understand and enjoy the Holy Bible!

In his final epistle to the Church the Body of Christ, the Apostle Paul wrote: “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things” (2 Timothy 2:7). Years earlier, he wrote: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13).

The Holy Spirit Himself believes you will have “understanding in all things” if you “consider” what Paul wrote in his books, Romans through Philemon. He also believes that, once you understand His Word, then you will believe His Word, and finally you will enjoy His Word. Too many today do not understand the Bible, ever so discouraged by Satan’s schemes. Religious tradition has hidden dispensational Bible study from them. We MUST “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15)—separate “that which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25) from “that which was spoken since the world began” (Acts 3:21). Mystery MUST be separated from prophecy, Paul MUST be separated from Peter, the Body of Christ MUST be separated from the nation Israel, the Grace of God MUST be separated from the Law of Moses, et cetera.

Friends and brethren, now we know how to understand and enjoy the Bible; may we be faithful in telling others. Second Timothy 2:24-26: “[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.”


Understand and Enjoy the Bible! #14

Monday, January 18, 2016

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15,16 KJV).

May we hearken to these truths, lest we misunderstand and dislike the Holy Bible!

The God of Scripture is “longsuffering.” He is not currently pouring out His wrath on Christ-rejecting mankind. Had Israel’s prophetic program operated unbroken, that judgment would have surely come just after Calvary (Psalm 2:1-5; Acts 2:34-36; Acts 7:55,56; et cetera). However, God interrupted prophecy, delayed that judgment, and revealed the mystery program to and through the Apostle Paul (Saul of Tarsus). An unprophesied (secret) period of “grace and peace” extended to all mankind (Gentiles), as illustrated by the salvation of wicked Saul in Acts chapter 9 (1 Timothy 1:12-16). The heart of that mystery program is “the Dispensation of Grace,” doctrines and other truths currently applicable, only until “the fulness of the Gentiles” comes in (Romans 11:25).

Peter had preached salvation and blessing to Gentiles through Israel and her kingdom (Acts 3:19-26; cf. Isaiah 60:1-3; Genesis 12:1-3). Through Paul’s ministry and Gospel, “the Gospel of the Grace of God,” Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary, salvation and blessing is currently going to Gentiles without Israel and her kingdom (Romans 11:11-13; Ephesians 3:1-11).

God has offered grace to all; He has been longsuffering, tolerating man’s sins for 20 centuries! Why? “The longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.” That more lost sinners (like Saul) be saved into the Body of Christ by simple faith in Christ alone, thus spared God’s wrath when prophecy resumes! Once our Dispensation of Grace closes, then and only then, God’s wrath and war will replace His grace and peace (1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, 2:1-13). When the scoffers Peter referenced asked about Jesus’ coming in vengeance, they were pitifully ignorant! The message of grace that Paul preached was the very reason why that wrath had not yet come!

Let us conclude this devotionals arc.

Special-edition Bible Q&A #225: “What about the ‘Jewish Roots’ Movement?
(This 22-page article systematically discusses the dangers of mixing Law and Grace concerning Christian living.)

Understand and Enjoy the Bible! #13

Sunday, January, 17, 2016

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15,16 KJV).

Although there is so much confusion about it, can we really understand and enjoy the Bible?

Let us consider the seventh point from today’s Scripture: “unto their own destruction.” Returning to 2 Timothy 2:15-18: “[15] Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [16] But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. [17] And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; [18] Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.”

The “overthrow [of] the faith of some” is the “[spiritual] destruction” of today’s Scripture. By confusing God’s will for a believer in this the Dispensation of Grace, with God’s will for a believer in Israel’s program of Law, believers’ lives are hindered and damaged in their respective program. You soften the Law for Israel; you water down Grace for us Gentiles. You force on us their water baptism, their miraculous demonstrations, and their prayer promises. In doing so, you ignore God’s baptism for us, God’s invisible intervention on our behalf, and God’s model prayers for us.

Friend, you cannot force God to do something He is not doing. If you are not doing what God is doing, then you are outside of God’s will, and your spiritual life is sure to be in ruins. Grabbing Israel’s verses and making them fit us, or taking our verses and making them fit Israel, is to fail to “rightly divide the word of truth.” It is to go the way of “profane and vain babblings,” “ungodliness,” worthless teaching. It is to follow Christendom—“the blind leaders of the blind” (Matthew 15:14)!

Now, dearly beloved, we summarize!