Arrayed in Hypocrisy

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:27,28 KJV).

“Looks can be deceiving” is not only true during Halloweentime, but confirmed year-round within Christendom.

Today is Halloween, when children dress up and feign themselves to be creatures they are not. Likewise, many church leaders today wear “Christian” garbs, but their ministries do not bring the Lord Jesus Christ glory and honor. They promote their denomination, and seek to perpetuate it, rather than serve and exalt the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. The Bible manifests these who appear to be good, as “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

In today’s Scripture, Jesus Christ exposed Israel’s corrupt religious leaders who misled the nation in His day. In His Parable of the Tares, Matthew 13:24-30,37-43, Christ explained how just as He had sown good seed (wheat, believing Jews) in Israel, Satan had also sown tares/weeds (unbelieving Jews). Tares resemble wheat; unbelieving Jews resemble believing Jews. The unbelieving Pharisees and scribes, for instance, looked like God’s people (believing Israel). Judas Iscariot was another example of Satan’s tares—the apostles never realized who Judas really was until it was too late!

But Satan’s counterfeit believers are not confined to Israel’s program. Today, within local assemblies of the Body of Christ, there are people feigning themselves to be Christians: For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

Beloved, beware of the church leaders who are arrayed in hypocrisy, “and avoid them” (Romans 16:17b). If their teaching does not agree with the rightly divided King James Bible, you have no business as a child of God to be listening to them.

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

You may also see our special study, “Should Christians celebrate Halloween?

Believe What You Want!

Monday, October 29, 2018

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:12,13 KJV).

Beware, friend! The Bible will let you believe whatever you want!

Long ago, I wondered how Almighty God could let people use His Word to teach false doctrine. After all, they appealed to Scripture and still wound up confused: quoting the Bible, they taught the most heretical, apostate, blasphemous ideas. Need a verse to prove water baptism saves? Mark 16:16! Want a passage to show that eating Christ’s physical body and drinking His physical blood imparts eternal life? John 6:53-57! Need a verse to demonstrate that Jesus is just a Man and not God? Mark 13:32! Want to emphasize legalism as pleasing to God today? Matthew 19:16-17!

The Holy Bible (King James Bible in English) is plain and clear to any soul honestly and humbly seeking God’s truth. However, most who use it are simply looking for proof texts to defend their denomination. They do not want Scripture to say what it says where it says it when it says it and to whom it says it. Actually, since they are filled with religious arrogance (what God’s Book knows—yes, knows!!—about them), He has supplied verses to validate their pet positions! The result? Millions upon millions upon millions going to Hell… while quoting Scripture!!! Millions of Christians losing reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ… while quoting Scripture!!!

Certainly, God’s Word is no ordinary Book. It is “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (today’s Scripture). The Bible reads us as we read it! It, being supernatural, evaluates our heart attitude and aim. If we approach it snubbing its dispensational layout (2 Timothy 2:15), we can expect nothing but difficulty and destruction (2 Peter 3:15-18). The God of the Bible values free will—yea, we are free to even deliberately choose error (Romans 1:18-32)!

Willfully Ignorant!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

“For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (2 Peter 3:5,6 KJV).

Ignorance is not a sin; willful ignorance is!

Recently, I attempted to teach a professing Christian lady quite steeped in her religious tradition. After I explained how she had not been taught the truth, I believe (for just a few seconds) she saw in her heart the plain facts of Scripture we discussed. Immediately, however, she shut out that light. She said the Bible was “complicated,” “hard to follow” here. Basically, refusing to forsake her warped theology, she dismissed Scripture as “confusing.” Frankly, I let her have her ignorance. When she stopped the conversation, so did I. She was clearly deceived, but willfully ignorant. Nothing more could be done for her. We changed subjects.

Later, I spoke with two other professing Christian women. One dear soul, certainly unsaved, had no interest whatsoever in hearing how to have her sins forgiven, a right standing before God, and an eternal home in Heaven. She told me not to speak about that to her anymore (and I have not!). The other woman, allegedly a believer in the Gospel of Grace, did not care about sound Bible doctrine. She was “too busy” with other issues—evidently “more important” ones. That evening, I talked with a Christian brother whom I have known for some years. As I offered Biblical insight concerning the anxieties and troubles bothering him, he expressed disagreement with the verses. Decades of religious tradition had gripped him tightly, and he had gripped it tightly too!! (He then hung up the phone!)

Similarly, in today’s Scripture, deniers of God’s wrath deliberately ignored His truth. He had judged the world with the Great Flood that destroyed nearly all Earth’s biosphere. They merely had to read and believe the preserved record of Genesis chapters 6-8, but they refused and claimed obliviousness! Dear friends, may we not follow their example. To be unskilled in the Word of Righteousness is one thing; to be firmly uninformed, fervidly declining to learn the truth, is entirely different!

Filthiness and Foolishness!

Friday, October 19, 2018

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6 KJV).

Human nature, often assumed to generate only “worldly sins,” is actually composed of two extremes. Yes, we are naturally inclined to lasciviousness, dirty sins, wild living (what the religious crowd “shuns” and “condemns”). However, a more serious (but seemingly innocuous) vulnerability exists within us.

We are also inherently ascetic, self-disciplined, strict. Religion—offering our works to please God—actually leads to greater evil. Self-righteousness attempts to replace God’s righteousness (cf. Romans 10:1-3). Mankind believes he can substitute his “goodness” for God’s and God will supposedly be none the wiser. We can indeed fool other people but God looks beyond outward appearances. He sees our intentions, heart attitude (1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:9,10). We really want Him to let us into Heaven, not solely because of Jesus Christ’s work, but rather because of our work. God sees it as foolishness!

God considers all human nature wicked. Thus, He deems all (not some) of its works unacceptable. Whether in religion or non-religion, man is constantly striving to replace God’s efforts with his, God’s ideas with his, God’s objectives with his. Almighty God will not overlook it: He will not alter His plan of salvation simply because we want Him. He will forgive us all our sins and save us unto eternal life, and then He will do good works in and through us. It is not to be confused with religion—us doing good works to gain forgiveness and eternal life. From all outward appearance, what God produces in and through people is identical to what religion produces in and through people. Nevertheless, God sees the difference inside.

When God the Holy Spirit comments on human “goodness,” His inspired Word calls it “but dung” (Philippians 3:8). How flattering! Notice today’s Scripture—“all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” The Hebrew root employed implies the monthly courses of a woman’s menstrual flux. “Filthy rags” is literally “menstruous cloths” (“sanitary pads” in modern English). Dirty, soiled! (Consult Leviticus 15:33, Leviticus 20:18, and Isaiah 30:22.) Again, from God’s vantage point, human “goodness” is filthiness!

A Child of God

Sunday, July 29, 2018

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-28 KJV).

Who is a “child of God?” Who is a Christian?

Someone once stated, “Today, it seems like a Christian is anyone who is not a Jew or a Muslim.” Think about it, dear friend. The name “Christian” has been used so flippantly and inappropriately that its meaning is misconstrued and buried under layers of false teaching. What makes a Christian? What is Christian doctrine?

The Bible rightly divided is the textbook of Christianity—the standard whereby we gauge right from wrong, truth from error. As English-speaking people, God’s Word for us is the King James Bible. It was translated properly (formal equivalence) from the correct Greek and Hebrew texts (Textus Receptus Greek and Masoretic Hebrew). It has every verse, every word, and every letter that should be there. We must be careful to identify and avoid competing authorities—corrupt modern English versions representing ancient but perverted Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, church tradition, preachers’ opinions, et cetera.

A Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. The first (and most important) way a person follows Jesus Christ is by believing what He believes—He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Faith in this Gospel of Grace alone is how we show God we understand there is absolutely nothing we can do to please Him in our flesh (efforts). Notice, a Christian is not defined as somebody who faithfully attends church services, reads the Bible, prays, does good deeds.

God is not looking for our works (religion). He is looking first and foremost for “faith in Christ Jesus” (today’s Scripture). Faith is an admission that our works are not the issue, but an affirmation that Christ’s finished work at Calvary is the issue! After we trust Jesus Christ as personal Saviour, then we follow Him on a daily basis by reading and trusting what He instructed the Apostle Paul to tell us in the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Do Galatians 6:2 and Galatians 6:5 contradict each other?

No Good Deeds, No Good Things #10

Friday, July 27, 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!

When pure Grace is proclaimed, the objection will invariably arise: “Grace is a license to sin, and I can live any way I want!” Dear friend, if you say that, you really have no idea what Grace is. Moreover, others will complain, “But do I not have to do something to make God happy with me?” Dear reader, you have not paid attention to what these passages have been teaching. Your flesh can do nothing to please God!

The Law system, once it shows a lost person his or her sinful state, has no further place in that individual’s life. “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient…” (1 Timothy 1:8,9). God added the Law to Israel’s program “because of transgressions” (Galatians 3:19)—to point out Israel’s sin, her failure to get God’s blessings based on her works. “For by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). How senseless it is to then have the Christian live under the Law… continually beleaguered by the sinfulness he or she has already confronted the moment of coming to Christ by faith!

“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18). Read the entire Epistle to the Galatians: they had fallen prey to legalism. “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). Our religious performance will add NOTHING (!) to what the Spirit of God has already wrought, and is working, in our hearts. Father God gave us all blessings in Christ the instant we believed on His finished crosswork—everlasting life, limitless forgiveness, justification (imputed righteousness), free redemption, eternal sanctification, unconditional acceptance, and so on. Now, dear brethren, we go live in and enjoy those blessings! 🙂

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13).

No Good Deeds, No Good Things #9

Thursday, July 26, 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!

Law and Grace are mutually exclusive—they cancel each other. Speaking of the Little Flock, the few Jewish believers in the midst of an apostate nation Israel, the Holy Spirit wrote: “Even so then at this present time [the Acts period] also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Romans 11:5,6).

Romans 6:14 affirms, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Sin overpowers us under the Law. Thankfully (praise God!), we are under Grace. Rather than God demanding we work to gain His blessings (the Law system given to Israel to show her and all nations we cannot perform perfectly!), He put us under a Jesus-based acceptance system in the Dispensation of Grace. Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” And, 2 Corinthians 8:9: “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” Finally, Ephesians 1:6: “He [Father God] hath made us accepted in the beloved [Christ].”

If we have been blessed in Christ with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places,” if we have been made spiritually rich because of Christ’s finished work at Calvary, and if we are accepted in Christ, then why place ourselves under a system of curses (Law)? Christ crucified has already given us all the blessings God offers. Should we now strive in religion to gain those blessings (which is impossible)? See, dear friends, in the Law system, “No good deeds equals no good things.” Nonetheless, because of Christ’s good work (His sinless blood sacrifice at Calvary), we have avoided all curses and partaken of all blessings!!

Now, we summarize and conclude….

ATTENTION: Shorewood Bible Church’s 2018 Summer Family Bible Conference continues today, Thursday, at 9 A.M. Central U.S. Time. The theme is “God’s Prophetic Calendar,” and the conference runs until tonight around 9 P.M. 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!