A Filling—Not a Feeling!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; (Ephesians 5:18,19 KJV).

Notice, dear friends, this is a filling not a feeling!

A Christian woman approached me recently to ask if I believed in “the filling of the Holy Ghost.” I told her that I most certainly did, as the Bible does tell us to be “filled with the Spirit” (cf. today’s Scripture). However, knowing her background, I quickly added, “But there is no loss of self-control with this filling.” Whether today, or thousands of years ago, Satan’s religious system always has its counterfeits. While “praise dancing” feels good, while “holy laughter” brings some people happiness, feelings and emotions do not have the authority to gauge truth. What does it mean to be “filled with the Spirit?”

If we turn to the companion passage of today’s Scripture, we see the term defined for us. Colossians 3:16 says: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” To be “filled with the Spirit” is to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” In other words, His thinking controls us because we have studied and memorized His Holy Word. The Bible says that we need to “mind the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5-8). This is how the Spirit of God leads us. By recalling what we read, we walk in line with what His Word says today in the Dispensation of Grace (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon).

How sad it is when people reduce the role of the Holy Spirit to nothing more than some strange feeling that causes one to engage in some pretty wild, disorderly, absurd behaviors. Religious tradition is so intoxicating, so inebriating, it causes people to lose all sense of reason. Nevertheless, when we “let the word of Christ dwell in [us] richly in all wisdom,” it becomes a filling rather than a feeling!

Not Hearing God’s Words #6

Sunday, July 30, 2017

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (John 8:47 KJV).

Friend, have you ever talked to a lost person about the Bible? Have you also ever spoken to another Christian about the Bible? If you paid attention to both scenarios, you will recall that they were two drastically different conversations. There was such disconnect when dealing with the lost person whereas there was more receptivity on the part of the Christian (usually). Why? Today’s Scripture highlights the reason.

Considering John chapter 8, the Lord Jesus’ conversation with unsaved and disbelieving religionists, we see typified our interactions with such individuals today. When we present spiritual issues, they can respond only in fleshly or material terms. To them, the Scriptures are nonsense: spiritual insanity afflicts them. Focusing on their works, they do not believe God’s message to them. Lacking spiritual insight, they have no ability to see they are lost, enslaved to sin. They cannot handle the message, so they resort to petty name-calling and other personal attacks directed toward us (the messengers). Convicted, they seek to harm, silence, imprison, and even kill us—using whatever means available to them.

Sadly, some believers behave similarly when we attempt to share the rightly-divided Bible with them. They entertain such shallow, manmade perceptions of Scripture. Did you notice the parenthetical “usually” in the introduction? Most lost people refuse to hear the Gospel. Usually, Christian people will talk about the Bible, albeit loosely. Once you delve into the “meat”—deeper things such as the Dispensation of Grace—they behave as lost people. Thinking and walking in the energy of their flesh, they too love religion, human “goodness.” They rebel against those “grace” verses you cite! Second Timothy 2:26 speaks of they “that oppose themselves… [in] the snare of the devil… taken captive by him at his will.” Such Christians, polluted by religious tradition and non-dispensational Bible understanding, cooperate with the Adversary… to defeat themselves!

Thankfully, there are lost people who want to receive the Gospel by faith. They are still coming to trust in Christ every day. Thankfully, there are some Christians who still want to receive the rightly divided Bible. They too are coming to God’s light… “hearing God’s words” also!

Rejecter Rejected

Monday, July 10, 2017

“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48 KJV).

What will God do with Bible rejecters?

The Holy Bible is God’s gift to man. Like salvation through Jesus Christ His Son, He was under no obligation whatsoever to provide it. He purposed something awesome in creation, and He wanted to inform us. He gave us that Word so that it would point us to that which He delighted in the most—His beloved Son. From cover to cover, in every Book of that Book of Books, we see a thread of red—the shed blood of that obedient Son. From creation to consummation, the exaltation of that Son is of prime importance.

Alas, man always knows better. Despite his fallen nature and darkened heart, he thinks he can improve the Bible. When he comments on the Scriptures, he does so with great difficulty. His thoughts muddled, his words cumbersome and prolix, his “insight” worth less than the materials on which he wrote and the air which he used to breathe out those statements. With his every struggle in interpreting the Bible using the flesh, he further mars the face of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures become repulsive to the hearers and the readers. He has failed to grasp and convey simple Bible truths because the Holy Spirit’s teaching ministry is absent.

Dear friends, we had better thank God every day that we are not the lost people using the Holy Bible to mislead millions upon millions upon millions upon millions of precious souls. Their theological systems will be reduced to nothing one day. Their endless speculations will be silenced. They will no longer be able to deceive God’s people. They had the priceless Word of God but they changed it into the worthless word of men! What an indictment! They will stand before that great God Jesus Christ, to give an account to Him! What will they say to Him? Or, better yet, what will He say to them?

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?… And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:22,23).

Our latest Bible Q&A: Are there modern-day apostles and prophets?

Be Wise, Not Foolish!

Friday, July 7, 2017

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise (Proverbs 12:15 KJV).

Amen and Amen!

Our world is so busy—there is so much to do and so little time to do it. Our world abounds with instant communication—there is so much to learn about so many things, places, and people. While human society is quite different today than it was when God first placed Adam on the Earth, human nature is still the same as it was in the Garden of Eden. Man still does not want to be bothered with the notion of God; he is “too busy” to hear or read any divine thoughts. He has his modern educational system that supposedly “rescues” him from all the “barbaric,” “primitive,” “simplistic” viewpoints of old. Yet, his nature is still the same—self-centered, self-sufficient, self-willed. Self! Self! Self! Sin! Sin! Sin!

The Bible is God’s “counsel.” It is His advice to us. He took some time to write it so we had better take some time to read it! If we evaluate ourselves using our own standards, we look pretty good. However, when we consider that divine counsel, we realize just how depraved and wayward we actually are. We had better “hearken,” take heed to, that counsel. There is such great disappointment and misery in life for Christians who fail to learn how God the Holy Spirit is working today. There is eternal damnation awaiting those who die apart from the Lord Jesus Christ! Yet, we are all “too busy” being entertained in religion, “too busy” making money to hoard, “too busy” seeking fame, “too busy” learning in educational institutions, “too busy” talking when we should be listening, “too busy” indeed, to worry about anything of spiritual value.

Without delay, friends, let us come by faith in Jesus Christ alone, that “He died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Without delay, brethren, let us walk according to the grace of God, rather than the law of God (Romans 6:14). Let us “hearken” to the “counsel” of God. Let us be “wise!”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did God get angry with Balaam in Numbers 22:22?

Lost (And Unknowingly So)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

They do not know they are lost!

Recently, I sat with a woman who I had met some eight years earlier. Long ago, I had attempted to strike up a Bible conversation with her, but she really was not interested. When we met recently, she refused to discuss Scripture. Could it be any clearer that religious works have so blinded her? There are millions of people like this poor soul—religious error has been so forcefully drilled into them that it rarely goes away. From the cradle to the grave, Satan blinds them using unbelievable power. How does he do it? Utilizing religious leaders who pervert the Word of God!

Before we read 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, friends, we should notice the two heading verses: “[1] Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; [2] But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” Did you notice the references to “the hidden things of dishonesty,” “walking in craftiness,” and “handling the word of God deceitfully?” Paul says he has “renounced” them, given them up; that is, as Saul of Tarsus, an Israeli religious leader, he sent many people to Hell using works-religion (the Mosaic Law—Scripture!!)!

Still, on the road to Damascus, in Acts chapter 9, Saul of Tarsus realized that, despite all his religiosity, he was headed for Hell! Before one can be saved into Heaven, friend, one must realize he or she is lost. No matter how “good” you are in religion, sin will damn your soul forever. However, the Gospel of the Grace of God declares: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Believe it, and be saved unto eternal life. Know you are lost and then know you are saved!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is wrong with ‘praise and worship?’

The Greatest War Hero

Monday, May 29, 2017

“For God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).

In the United States, today is Memorial Day, when we remember those who sacrificed their time and lives to provide our physical freedom. Likewise, as Christians, we have spiritual freedom, which was more costly. Someone had to die to give us the eternal life we now enjoy….

Scripture describes a spiritual warfare between good and evil, God’s truth program versus Satan’s lie program: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:11,12; see also verses 13-20).

Satan distracts mankind from God’s pure Word, the Bible, keeping unbelievers lost (dead in their sins), and preventing unbelievers and Christians from knowing God’s will. The devil draws them away (seduces them) from God’s Word by using religious tradition and human “wisdom” (1 Timothy 4:1-3; cf. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Galatians 3:1-3).

God loves us, so at Calvary’s cross, Christ fought for us sinners, died in battle (today’s Scripture), shed His divine sinless blood, and eternally rescued us from Satan and sin: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15).

Hebrews 9:12 says Jesus Christ has “obtained eternal redemption for us.”

If we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). Now, God can use us for His glory for all eternity.

Beloved, let us rejoice in our victory over sin, death, and hell that Jesus Christ secured for us by going to Calvary’s rugged cross! Jesus Christ is now alive forevermore—He is our Hero, the Greatest Hero!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study “The Greatest Hero,” which can be read here or watched here.

Answering a Matter

Saturday, May 27, 2017

“He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him” (Proverbs 18:13 KJV).

Behold, herein is wisdom for every persuasion!

Long ago, a wise and older Christian brother told me, “People cannot take a stand for anything because they do not know anything.” (Those words have never left me. They have become increasingly apparent in the years since I heard them.) The “people” were actually professing Christians. He was lamenting how he, in his 40 years of being a Christian, and nearly two decades of church leadership, had known some really pitifully ignorant church members. Lacking a sound foundation in the Scriptures, they could not distinguish truth from error. They would hear the “matters,” but it was “folly and shame unto [them]” because they would “answer” the matters by siding with the errors! Those outside of Christendom fare no better.

For example, I recently had an online encounter with a Bible scoffer. This individual did not compose one true statement about the Scriptures—it was merely false information. No legitimate arguments were leveled against the Bible. Nothing factual was offered. Rather, the ridiculer, parading as an “authority,” merely employed stereotypes and misconceptions (which, of course, I exposed as fallacious). Sadly, Christians, without any factual data themselves, are often guilty of answering the scoffers. The scoffer further mocks because the Christian knows too little about the skeptic’s position—no marvel because Christians are frequently uninformed concerning their own beliefs!

Friends, whether skeptics or Bible believers, we would do well to listen to others before we evaluate their claims. We Christians know today’s Scripture: “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Though you may dislike the Bible, you skeptics would agree with it here and you would do especially well to heed it on this point. The Bible says that those who rashly comment on something they have never heard or studied appear foolish and disgraceful. This is applicable to both scoffers (unversed in the Scriptures) answering Bible believers, and Bible believers (unskilled in the pertinent skepticism) answering scoffers.