Stand It As Long As You Can! #2

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:25-27 KJV).

Is anger ever appropriate?

Before we came to Christ, we were spiritually darkened (verses 17-19). In the Gospel of Grace, in Jesus Christ, we were enlightened (verses 20,21). Verses 22-24: “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Now read today’s Scripture.

Having escaped Satan’s dominion, “delivered from the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13), does it make sense for us to return to it? No! Therefore, when we see our Adversary using lies to work in our lives, we should be angered. Anger is not sinful if caused by the right reasons (see Matthew 5:22 and Mark 3:5). “Be ye angry, and sin not.” Today’s Scripture continues, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” While commonly taken to mean, “Do not go to bed angry, settle the dispute before sunset,” the more probable admonition is, “Do not let your non-sinful anger dissipate.” Brethren, if we do not constantly respond negatively toward sin—especially lying (see context)—it will dominate us. May we not soften our opposition to sin, for Satan will gain the advantage.

Righteous anger should cause us to deny sin (see Galatians 5:19-26). “Sin is not who I am! I am a saint of the Most High God, not a sinner!” We are not making ourselves holy; we are simply being whom Father God has made us in Christ (Romans 12:1,2). Whenever religious tradition obscures or refutes that truth, we should be angry and separate from the tradition, lest Satan keep entry to us. However, only Christian believers mature in grace fully grasp that. Until then, they will keep “experimenting” with their denominations. My advice to them is always, “Stand it as long as you can!” (It is their choice to flee, and I never make the decision for them.)

Stand It As Long As You Can! #1

Monday, November 19, 2018

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:25-27 KJV).

Is anger ever appropriate?

A dear brother in Christ just informed me that he was angry regarding the denominational church he was attending. He understands that it promotes almost no sound Bible teaching, but he has not yet formally divested from it. Like many Pauline dispensationalists endure at one time or another, he sits in “the trying transition” (I speak from experience).

As he has matured in God’s Word rightly divided, so false teaching has become more annoying to him. What he is hearing at church is often “Scriptural,” but it is not “dispensational” (and he knows it). He is conflicted inside: the flesh (old nature, or sin nature) gravitates toward the religious doctrine whereas the new nature cannot tolerate it. Read Galatians chapter 5: “[16] This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. [17] For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” The Holy Spirit and our flesh—both natures residing in us Christians—fight. Both religious sins and worldly sins oppose the working of God the Holy Spirit within us.

The above struggle is an indication that Christians are indeed saved unto eternal life, possessing God’s life. No lost individuals would ever find themselves opposed to “being good” and “hearing nice words” at the local hotspot for the traditions of men. This will be most harsh, but let it be said. Denominations lie. Whether deliberate or oblivious, cruel or sincere, denominational preachers are doctrinally dishonest. They distort Israel’s verses, pretending like they are written to and about us, the Church the Body of Christ. Today’s Scripture declares most authoritatively that we should eliminate lying—both in our lives and in our pulpits! The mature grace saint will come to a crossroads at some point: leave the denomination altogether, or cave in to the overbearing pressure and compromise….

Bible Q&A #555: “Does John 15:6 discredit the notion of ‘once saved, always saved?’

A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #7

Sunday, November 18, 2018

“But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss” (Acts 27:21 KJV).

Despite little doctrinal content in this chapter, the narrative contained therein illustrates the Church the Body of Christ operating in the Dispensation of Grace.

When we survey the professing “Church” today, as we examine the records of ecclesiastical history, we see figuratively what Paul and his sailing companions witnessed literally out in the Mediterranean Sea all those centuries ago. Furious storms—the Adversary, Satan, using false teaching from various angles to defy and obstruct God’s work—have battered and will continue to hammer us. The Body of Christ, “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14), is en route to Heaven and must endure a mammoth hurricane of lies. God is not at fault; He has given us all the doctrine, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, to survive. We disregard His Word through the Apostle Paul at our spiritual peril—and never, ever, EVER forget it!!

Although “shipwreck” is an apt representation of the Church the Body of Christ corporately, it does not have to be true of our individual Christian lives. We can choose to, “Study to shew [ourselves] approved unto God, [workmen] that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Brethren, Satan cannot gain the advantage over us unless we let him. We must not ignore our identity in Christ, and we must listen to the Lord’s heavenly ministry through Paul.

Friends, read all of Acts chapter 27, all the while considering the material we have just covered. Notice how the sailors snubbed Paul’s counsel from the outset, and met a terrible outcome. “Learning the hard way,” they were extensively devastated and despondent that Pauline guidance was truly their last hope. That same information could have prevented the ruin in the first place. The same is true of us. All hope is not lost. God’s Word rightly divided is as powerful as ever, and if only we believe it, it will thus “effectually work in us” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). 🙂

A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #6

Saturday, November 17, 2018

“But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss” (Acts 27:21 KJV).

Despite little doctrinal content in this chapter, the narrative contained therein illustrates the Church the Body of Christ operating in the Dispensation of Grace.

Bearing Acts chapter 27 in mind, we now notice a striking parallel outlined in 1 Timothy chapter 1: “[18] This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; [19] Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: [20] Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

The above (figurative) “shipwreck” of an individual Christian’s life can be, has been, and will be true of the Church the Body of Christ as a whole. Faith—trusting God’s Word rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15)—has been willfully rejected. Consequently, spiritual disaster is ahead. Once God’s Word through the Apostle Paul is rebuffed, the Christian life will be devastated. Salvation unto eternal life will not be lost, but victory and clarity will vanish. Two men in the A.D. first century leading that apostasy are named—Hymenaeus and Alexander. Their non-grace, non-Pauline teaching ministry is called “blasphemy” (cf. 2 Timothy 2:14-18).

Chapter 4 of 1 Timothy: “[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:…. [13] Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine…. [16] Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”

We can avoid the shipwreck….

A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #5

Friday, November 16, 2018

“But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss” (Acts 27:21 KJV).

Despite little doctrinal content in this chapter, the narrative contained therein illustrates the Church the Body of Christ operating in the Dispensation of Grace.

We (finally) finish the chapter: “[39] And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship. [40] And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised [hoisted] up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore. [41] And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves. 

“[42] And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. [43] But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: [44] And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.”

Back during the storm, Paul had declared by God’s Word that they would “be cast upon a certain island” (verse 26). They have at least reached that land, safe and sound, though the fierce waves have smashed their ship to pieces. Chapter 28 begins, “And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.” This is modern Malta, a tiny island south of present Sicily (southwest of Italy). All 276 souls on board survive unharmed, just as the Lord predicted through Paul (Acts 27:22-26,31-37). Not one member of the Church the Body of Christ will be lost. However, as the ship was destroyed, so the organization overall will be a failure for ignoring the Apostle Paul in the first place….

A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #4

Thursday, November 15, 2018

“But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss” (Acts 27:21 KJV).

Despite little doctrinal content in this chapter, the narrative contained therein illustrates the Church the Body of Christ operating in the Dispensation of Grace.

Imagine the black, squally seascape Paul and his mates are experiencing in the Mediterranean. Now, their final day: “[27] But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria [Adriatic Sea, southeast of Italy, near center of Mediterranean Sea], about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country; [28] And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms. [29] Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.

“[30] And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, [31] Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. [32] Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off. [33] And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. 

“[34] Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. [35] And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. [36] Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat. [37] And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. [38] And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea.”

Freighter ship damaged, all cargo cast off, yet not one soul with Paul perished….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘under colour’ mean in Acts 27:30?

A Shipwreck That Could Have Been Avoided! #3

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

“But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss” (Acts 27:21 KJV).

Despite little doctrinal content in this chapter, the narrative contained therein illustrates the Church the Body of Christ operating in the Dispensation of Grace.

The winds of the Mediterranean Sea oppose the ship carrying Paul and his companions. False teaching rocks the Body of Christ, that it be “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14). A deceptive wind follows: “And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete” (Acts 27:13). Blowing “softly,” the wind leads them to believe their troubles are past. Yet, verse 14: “But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.” A stormy east wind roars!

“[18] And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; [19] And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. [20] And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away. [21] But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. [22] And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. [23] For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, [24] Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. [25] Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. [26] Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.”

Listening to Paul, they will survive the storm….