Thee and Two Gardens #6

Thursday, January 29, 2015

“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8 KJV).

Wilt thou choose to “live” in the Garden of Eden, or in the Garden of Calvary?

Many precious souls constantly think about symbols, tithes and offerings, confessionals, aisles, candles, prayer closets, “scholarship,” altars, programs, holy days, counterfeit Bibles, personalities and celebrities, ecclesiastical laws, baptisteries, pilgrimages, dreams and visions, bread and wine, jewelry, statues, “praise and worship,” charities, vestments, healings, paintings, shrines, gibberish, patristic writings, and other theological speculations and paraphernalia.

As Satan distracted Eve, so she knew not God’s Word to her (the context of today’s Scripture), “Christianity” is similarly confused. Most are so sidetracked that they have no time whatsoever to think about Calvary’s real meaning. They are too busy thinking about what they are doing, so they have no time to think about what God did for them 2,000 years ago.

Friends, apart from faith in Calvary’s finished crosswork, we have no power of God in our lives (1 Corinthians 1:18,23,24). Fulfilling rules and regulations does not change the fact that we are still weak children of Adam, sinners by birth, unable to perform perfectly. Thus, sin-management systems are of no help to us. We need divine intervention to overcome sin.

God’s grand design is that our Christian life begin in a tomb. He alone can crucify us so as to separate us from Adam, to bury us in Christ’s tomb, to raise us again with Christ and give us a new nature in Him. Contrary to human “wisdom,” it is God’s wisdom, thinking on a much higher plane than even what the “best” intellectuals and philosophers could ever imagine. God did not come to correct us, but to crucify us with Christ, and He did not come to reform us but to resurrect us with Christ. It is not outward reformation (religion) but inward regeneration (life in Christ Jesus!).

We conclude this devotionals arc by quoting Romans chapter 6….

Heart Service #15

Saturday, May 10, 2014

“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” (Romans 6:17 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is the key to being delivered from and guarded against today’s apostate Christendom.

Christendom’s various false –isms—asceticism, ritualism, denominationalism, legalism, formalism, et cetera—are religion’s methods of reforming outward behavior (ceremonies, rites, and rituals are sin-maintenance activities). Yet, there is no change in nature, in the heart (cf. Matthew 23:25-28).

We trusted the Gospel of Grace, “we obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered [us].” Thankfully, in God’s mind, today’s Scripture says we were the servants of sin”—past tense. God gave us a new nature: He took us out of Adam and He placed us into Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Thus, He does not see us in Christ as sinners; God sees us in Christ as saints, set apart unto His purpose and will (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; et al.). Father God does not consider us servants of sin, so does it make sense for us Christians to now serve sin? The answer is unequivocally, “NO!” (The renewed mind of Romans 12:1,2. It is not “reasonable” [logical] to serve sin; it is only “reasonable” to let our identity in Jesus Christ impact our daily living, for He alone deserves praise!)

Literally everything Father God could ever give us—including a new identity/nature—He already gave it all to us, in Jesus Christ! “Ye are complete in him” (Colossians 2:10; cf. Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 1:3). Dear saint, may you never, ever, EVER let the various –isms in religion deceive you and rob you of your spiritual wealth in Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:4,8,18).

Paul prayed for the Ephesians, “That Christ may dwell in [their] hearts by faith” (Ephesians 3:17). May we read, study, and believe Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, to the end the indwelling Holy Spirit works mightily in the hearts of us who believe those Scriptures, that the very life of Jesus Christ becomes more evident in ours!

So, dear saint, will you “obey from the heart [this] form of doctrine which was delivered you?”

FINIS! 🙂

Eye Service

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

“But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi” (Matthew 23:5-7 KJV).

Jesus Christ rebukes apostate Christendom with these same words even today.

Religion (Christendom) teems with people performing ceremonies, rites, and rituals to gain God’s attention and acceptance. However, Christianity focuses not on what we do for Jesus Christ, but what Jesus Christ did for us at Calvary, and what He will do in and through us if we, by faith, allow Him.

In today’s Scripture, Jesus condemned the religion of His day. Judaism was once the pure religion that JEHOVAH gave to Israel through Moses. In the 1,500 years since Moses, Israel’s religious leaders had polluted that God-given religion. Israel’s clergy were generally divided between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, although the Pharisees dominated (according to verse 2, Jesus is speaking mainly of them in today’s Scripture). Law-keeping was not about honoring JEHOVAH God who gave it, but rather rule-keeping for rules’ sakes. In fact, they added to the 600-plus laws God had given!! They largely preferred man-made rules, “the commandments of men” (Mark 7:1-13; cf. Colossians 2:8). Israel was burdened by and buried in laws (Matthew 23:4; Acts 15:10; cf. Galatians 4:9)!!!

The Apostle Paul admonished Christian servants (employees) not to work with “eyeservice” (Colossians 3:22-25). It was not to be showy, put-on, eye-catching work done diligently just for the sake of praise; it was to be honest, genuine labor from the heart, whether someone was watching or not.

In today’s Scripture, Jesus exposed how the watered-down Jews’ religion” (Galatians 1:14) enabled Israel’s religious leaders to brag about their “broad phylacteries” (large boxes that held many scraps of “paper” with Old Testament verses on them, worn on the forehead or wrist). They loved to wear special clothing (long robes with large fringes; Luke 20:46), to be seen and praised of men because of their long prayer” (Matthew 23:14), to be commended for their “pious” appearance and dedication.

Beloved, avoid those who make such “a fair shew in the flesh” (Galatians 6:12)!

On God

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

“All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him” (Matthew 11:27 KJV).

If you are seeking God today, you can find Him today!

As our world drifts further and further from our Creator’s original design and purpose, it seems like it becomes more difficult for anyone seeking His truth, to find it. Some seek God in emotional experiences and inner impressions; others church buildings and altars; still others prayers, water ceremonies, “good” works, wine and wafers; and so on. Despite all that searching, very few ever actually find God because of the confusion as to how to find Him and because nearly all of the ways that are presumed to lead to God lead to everyone and everything but Him!

In today’s Scripture, the Lord Jesus Christ provided some valuable insight, but we need to look at in light of previous verses in order to get the full impact: “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him” (verses 25-27).

God’s Word explains that if we want to know Him, we must come to Jesus Christ. We do not seek guidance to God from those who are controlled by the world’s wisdom, for (as Jesus said) they know not how to reach Him either! God has given to Jesus Christ some information, and Jesus Christ offers this information to mankind, that we may know Him, and in doing so, we may know His Heavenly Father. The Bible is very clear that we find God, not by what we do or do not do, but by Jesus Christ, and what He did for us.

Bible Study 101 #3

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).

The only verse that tells you to study the Bible also tells you how to study the Bible!

One can hardly ever find a sound local church today (I speak from experience). Many churches advertise enjoyable “worship” services, some very emotional (hour of loud music, toe-tapping, pew-jumping, tongue-talking) and others extremely solemn and almost silent (ceremonial correctness, eloquent prayers and benedictions, meditation). There are plenty of fleshly activities, but how much Bible study? No, not churches where a few familiar Bible verses are read and then followed by stories and jokes for the rest of the hour, but churches where the congregation actually flips pages in printed Bibles to compare verses? Very rare indeed! (Bible study is “boring,” so the average church feigns like the world in order to cram the world into the pews.)

Beloved, God’s power is in God’s Word (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12), so if God’s Word is not being studied, then we need not wonder why the Body of Christ is so ineffectual in reaching the lost for Jesus Christ’s glory! People today quote and follow the Bible, and yet, they are usually outside of God’s will. Daily, I deal with individuals—Christians and lost people—who read the Bible, but they seldom understand it and rarely know God’s will for their lives. People who have attended “church” for decades but who are still unfamiliar with even basic Bible concepts. Dear friends, how can we do God’s will if we do not know His will (what He is doing)? This is why Bible studynot simply verse reading, verse skimming, or verse memorization—is so critical!

The Bible tells us what God is doing today (His will for us), but we cannot just go to any part of the Bible to find God’s will for us. We must study the Bible to find the verses that describe God’s current operations, His present-day dealings with mankind. This is the goal of dispensational Bible study….

A Life That Will Please

Saturday, January 4, 2014

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us who alone can live a life pleasing in God’s sight!

Everyone does “good” deeds. Yet, doing “good” is not necessarily good. For instance, people often do “good” just to receive praise/reward, make up for their wrongs, feel good, et cetera. Furthermore, despite our “good” deeds, we have plenty more bad ones! Pride, lying, evil thoughts, being a false witness, and being contentious are some of the things the LORD hates (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Mankind cannot even keep 10 simple rules from God. However, religion continues to urge us to keep seven sacraments, utter various prayers, give assorted offerings and “tithes,” attend numerous feasts and festivals, and perform sundry other tasks to “hopefully” please God and avoid hellfire. Whether we attempt to keep a church’s laws, our laws, or God’s laws, our flesh is far too weak to ever measure up. Just look at what God’s religion did to Israel—how much worse some man-made religion does to us!

As Saul of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul was a Pharisee, a religious leader of Israel. He was a nitpicker concerning Law-keeping, and yet, after his soul salvation, he admitted that all of his religion was “but dung” compared to Jesus Christ’s righteousness (Philippians 3:3-11). Even for the Christian, to live a perfect life is impossible (read of Paul’s miserable existence in Romans chapter 7). Paul had to forsake his vain religion and learn today’s Scripture: the Christian life is NOT the performance of the Christian, but the Lord Jesus Christ living and working in the Christian, as the Christian walks in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to him or her!

If we trust a Saviour who will save—the Lord Jesus Christ—and trust a Book that will teach—the King James Bible—we can redeem the year for the great God and our Saviour, “who loved [us], and gave himself for [us]!”

Redeem the Year!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

“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 2014!

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.

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