Redeem the Year!

Friday, January 1, 2021

“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 2021!

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?

‘Twas the Sunday Night Before Christmas

Sunday, December 20, 2020

“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15 KJV).

Let us not be so sidetracked by religion and commercialization that we miss the reason for the Christmas Season….

During the Christmas Season, we wonder how many people are visiting church for the second time this year (the other being Easter Sunday). How many will be going to church today—the Sunday before Christmas—just to feel “religious” or “holy?” How many really know Jesus Christ? For many, visiting a church building is just an obligation; they do not have faith in God’s Word and have no interest in God’s Word.

We do not go to church to “feel closer to God,” for if we have trusted in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we cannot be any closer to God than we already are in Christ! “[Before salvation, we were] without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh [close to God] by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12,13).

Furthermore, we do not go to church in order to get God’s blessings, for God has already given us “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). We go to church, not because we are keeping Israel’s Sabbath day, since we are not obligated to observe Israel’s religious days (Colossians 2:16). We go to church to fellowship with like-minded believers and hear sound doctrine… more than twice a year, by the way.

In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy that whenever he would assemble with fellow Christians, certain behavior was acceptable and other types of behavior were not (described throughout the epistle of 1 Timothy). Recall that when the Bible refers to “the church,” it refers to the body of believers, not the physical building in which they meet.

As we get opportunities, let us make an effort to reach these dear souls misled by all the vain religious tradition and Christmas commercialization, and may we tell them of the wonderful Christ Jesus whose name is found in Christmas!

*Based on the poem “‘Twas the Sunday Night Before Christmas.”

Arrayed in Hypocrisy

Saturday, October 31, 2020

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?

Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #5

Friday, October 30, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

“I will be like the most High,” Lucifer boasted (Isaiah 14:14). As he told Christ, he desires worship: “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me(Matthew 4:9). Employing whatever sneaky means necessary, Satan accomplishes his goal. If he can counterfeit God’s actions, then people will be deceived and credit God. By attributing Satan’s work to God, man unwittingly worships Satan. It is an ingenious strategy, one seldom perceived!

Emotions mislead because the human heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). While something may “feel” right, it may not actually be right. Feelings are fickle, changing with our circumstances. Therefore, we cannot use them to gauge truth and error. Adrenaline rushes come and go, so never should we confuse them with the permanent Holy Spirit. If we are externalists or formalists, we run the risk of faking at some point. For instance, if we observe people raising hands or dancing, peer pressure urges us to mimic them. The Holy Spirit is thus quenched and our flesh—namely, the fear of being “left out”—motivates the behavior. Satan smiles. Except for the rare Berean Bible student, no one is able to notice the error.

So-called “Christian revivals” are being held where protests, riots, lootings, and shootings have occurred. It is claimed, “The Devil is active, but God is moving!” Online videos show musicians hosting “Christian rock” concerts. Crowds—mainly young adults—raise their hands, jump, run, sing, sob, and pray. Supposedly, they are “coming to Jesus;” yet, a clear Gospel message is absent. When we compare their activities with the Scriptures, what is allegedly “God’s work” turns out to be a mockery of Jesus Christ. Remember, we are not made perfect by the flesh!

Bible Q&As #779 and #780: “Should Christians observe All Saints’ Day?” and “Should Christians observe All Souls’ Day?

Not Made Perfect by the Flesh #4

Thursday, October 29, 2020

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3 KJV).

Can “the flesh” add anything to the Holy Spirit’s work? Nay, it cannot!

The Galatians were preoccupied with the Law of Moses (cf. Galatians 4:21). Religious rules and regulations captivated them. They were deceived into believing their performance—their “flesh”—could somehow enhance their Christian life (cf. today’s Scripture). Did the Holy Spirit come to indwell these saints because of their religious works? No! Would He need their pious deeds to continue living in and through them? No! Sadly, today’s professing church is equally “foolish.” Nearly 20 centuries later, it still refuses to recognize rites, rituals, and ceremonies are incompatible with God’s grace! Like the Galatians not thinking clearly, we lack even basic spiritual common sense. We too have not let the Message of Grace renew our mind.

Philosophy and other vain speculations of lost (pagan!) people distracted the Corinthian believers. The first three chapters of 1 Corinthians are the Holy Spirit’s instructions to straighten out their confusion. Selfishness abounded in Corinth because spiritual ignorance flourished there. Whereas the Galatians were quite “strict” with their legalism, the Corinthians were quite “loose” with their sensuality. The Corinthians acted like spiritual babies because they also thought like spiritual babies. This too describes today’s professing church. Actually, the conundrums in 1 Corinthians parallel the chaos and confusion of modern “praise and worship.” Recall 1 Corinthians 14:40!

Instead of being thankful for the Message of God’s Grace—what the Holy Spirit has revealed in Pauline doctrine, Romans through Philemon—we unwisely believe we can improve the Christian life. Whether from Galatia or Corinth, we must learn the lesson: neither formalism (strict rules and regulations) nor fanaticism (no rules or regulations whatsoever) will ever replace the Holy Spirit’s work in grace believer’s heart. Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Jesus offer Himself to Israel if He knew they would reject Him?

To Look Beyond the Makeup #13

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

Prior to our Dispensation of Grace, Satan’s evil world system contaminated ancient Israel with pagan idolatry (especially through King Ahab and Queen Jezebel). After our Dispensation, this will be repeated via “King” Antichrist and “Queen” Whore of Babylon. Remember, once Satan learns something works to his advantage, he will use it repeatedly. For thousands of years now, false religion has deceived mankind. If it was beneficial to the Devil’s plan then, and it will be helpful to him later, then he is indeed (!) operating it right now… and practically no one detects it!

Scripture explains how the harlot seduces a young man “void of understanding” (Proverbs 7:7). He is among the “simple [uneducated, unskilled] ones.” Carefully read the whole chapter. Exercising great subtilty, she lures him with the promise of physical delight (cf. 1 Timothy 4:1-3). Naïve and uninformed, he absolutely cannot resist. He merrily jumps in bed with her… and then she kills him! That man represents unsuspecting Israel—or even gullible “Christians” today—falling for Satan’s lie program of evil religion. The LORD God gave them His Word, but they ignore that Divine wisdom. Focusing on mere outward appearance (a “painted” face), they lack any sense to realize they have joined themselves to a “woman of the street!”

Finally, consider “eye-opening” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15: “[13] For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. [14] And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. [15] 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.” False religion is attractive yet sneaky, Satan’s precise method in Genesis 3:1-6. It shoves aside God’s grace, and stresses our (self-) “righteousness.” With our eyes on the creature, they are off the Creator (Romans 1:25). Ignoring God’s Grace Message through the Apostle Paul, the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon, we have failed to look beyond the makeup… yea… fakeup!

To Look Beyond the Makeup #12

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

Through the Apostle Paul’s ministry, the Holy Spirit warned the Church the Body of Christ, in 1 Timothy chapter 4: “[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: [5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

“[6] If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. [7] But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. [8] For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. [9] This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. [10] For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. [11] These things command and teach.”

To locate sound Bible doctrine, a good local church or home Bible study, we must look beyond superficialities. “Go to the church of your choice, the denomination does not matter” is downright foolish. “I love this group because of its multimillion-dollar ‘sanctuary’ and ‘moving worship services’” is downright ignorance. “You belong with us because we alone have these ceremonies and rituals” is stark nonsense. Dear friends, if the Word of God rightly divided is not valued there, if God’s grace is not taught and the Gospel of Grace is not clearly proclaimed there, it is utterly useless.

We now conclude this devotionals arc….

Bible Q&A articles #759 and #760: “What is the ‘judgment’ of Galatians 5:10?” and “Will God kill false teachers?

Blinded!

Saturday, August 15, 2020

“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 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. 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 4:1-4 KJV).

Look, the formidable enemy the Christian is up against in ministry!

Recently, I spoke with a relative about spiritual matters. She grew up in a cult, spent time in other churches, and now stays home. As she described her “Christian” life though, it sounded very much like she was as lost as lost could be! Whenever I and another Christian present shared the Gospel of Grace with her, she never seemed to respond in faith. Also, even if she used Bible terms, she attached denominational definitions to them. For example, she told me she would “repent of her sins every night.” When I asked her what she meant, she clarified, “I tell God I am sorry for what I did wrong!” When I told her repentance in Scripture means “change in mind,” she was shocked to realize just how misled she really was.

Long ago, her grandfather told her never to read the Bible from cover to cover, because she would “go crazy” by the time she got to the Revelation! For comfort, she recited the “Our Father” Prayer. She loved reading the Book of Psalms, though she read Ephesians or Colossians too. What made the whole exchange awkward was the constant interruptions from various sources. I thought we would never really make any progress with all the distractions!

The additional challenge in dealing with such people—and it is mindboggling to think there are hundreds of millions (yea, billions!)—is to unravel the decades of church tradition and peel back the layers of ingrained misinformation. Satan’s evil world has done a thorough job in deceiving! Let us be skilled in the Word rightly divided, fully equipped to lead them to the acknowledging of the truth (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

World Lost! #10

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:9,10 KJV).

Some have cried out, “This world is going to hell in a handbasket!” Others have exclaimed, “We have lost our country!” Surely, surely, they are all correct!

For centuries, church members have constructed buildings, lit candles, walked aisles, distributed religious literature, donned choir robes, knocked on doors, held “revivals,” organized concerts, and raised money for “missions.” Our leaders have wasted decades and billions of dollars on seminary and Bible college, having learned nothing but man’s speculations and traditions. Spreading their error to the congregations, the Body of Christ—lacking God’s wisdom and power—is rendered impotent and unable to withstand the deceitful cultural revolution already begun.

The formalism was but a veneer. All its gold and silver cannot hide the spiritual poverty of the professing church. Neither can all the water in every baptistery fount wash away its hypocrisy. All the professions of “faith” cannot mask the unbelief that pervades it. Simply put, people have been “playing church”—and the “actors” have finally taken off their masks! In the Apostle Paul’s time, the challenge was preaching the newly-revealed Gospel of Grace so the nations would trust it and abandon their paganism. Now, having gone through 20 centuries of individuals rejecting that Good News, we are witnessing a reverse. Light refused becomes darkness. Today, the nations know the Gospel of Grace—and are returning to heathenism anyway!

Jesus Christ’s return will right everything wrong. Until then, we Christians need to believe and proclaim a clear Gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), and then believe teach sound Bible doctrine (the Word of God rightly divided—especially Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon). Brethren, let us faithfully pass that to future generations, so we may say, “We are not responsible for the world lost!”

World Lost! #9

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:9,10 KJV).

Some have cried out, “This world is going to hell in a handbasket!” Others have exclaimed, “We have lost our country!” Surely, surely, they are all correct!

Regardless of the nation, a society bitterly opposed to Scripture is the result of people failing to appreciate and faithfully pass those truths to the next generation (today’s Scripture). What is done is permanent; the damage will not be reversed. As members of the Church the Body of Christ, our best course of action is three-fold.

Firstly, we must realize the basic problem. It is not negative thinking. Thus, inspirational and motivational messages will not solve the dilemma! It is not racism. Therefore, reparations and apologies will not improve the situation! It is not ignorance. So, education and degrees will not make the circumstances better! It is not poverty. Consequently, jobs and money will not improve the situation! Sin is the fundamental problem. Sin is the fundamental problem. Sin is the fundamental problem. Sin is the fundamental problem.

Secondly, we must recognize the solution. It is not raising our hands, dancing to “contemporary Christian music,” praying, eating Communion wafers and sipping Communion wine, joining local churches, getting water baptized, or forcing people to kneel and “feel really sorry.” The answer is “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Here is payment for sin in full. Here is life. The answer to sin is righteousness. The answer to death is Christ bringing life.

Finally, we must understand we absolutely will not prevent the house’s fall. However, being mindful of the first two points, we can slow down the collapse so more souls can escape the inevitable ruin….