Heathen Churches #5

Saturday, August 6, 2022

For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess (Acts 19:37 KJV).

Do even the “heathen” attend church? Yes, according to today’s Scripture, they do!

The Holy Bible says “heathen,” among other traits, have “churches,” repetitious prayers (chants), and various “aids to worship” (idols, images, and shrines). In fact, the ancient Jews corrupted the LORD’S Jerusalem Temple with this false religion. “Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem(2 Chronicles 36:14). That evil religion had so infiltrated Israel during Christ’s earthly ministry that He addressed and condemned it (see Matthew 6:7,8; Matthew 23:1-39)! It had caused the deaths of countless Jewish saints, and even Jesus was ultimately murdered because this heathen mindset infected and confused His people.

In one sense, it was actually easier to become a Christian and learn Christian truth 2,000 years ago than it is today. Back then, there were not tens of thousands of “Christian” denominations riddled with heathenism all claiming to be “the church Jesus founded” as now. It was far simpler to identify Christian teaching, seeing how it was separate and distinct from heathenism. Over these last 20 centuries, however, the definite lines between truth and error have become blurred. The advanced revelations the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ gave the world through the Apostle Paul, have been increasingly set aside in favor of the pagan darkness they were meant to overcome.

“But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles [heathen!], unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me (Acts 26:16-18). If we are to guard against heathen churches, we had better look especially to Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

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Heathen Churches #4

Friday, August 5, 2022

For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess (Acts 19:37 KJV).

Do even the “heathen” attend church? Yes, according to today’s Scripture, they do!

The Holy Spirit’s commentary on Israel’s 10 northern tribes: “And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them. And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove [shrine], and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal [an idol]” (2 Kings 17:15,16). These sins resulted in their being taken away in judgment via the Assyrian Captivity.

About the two tribes of the Southern Kingdom (Judah), the Prophet Jeremiah penned: “Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good” (Jeremiah 10:1-5). Do you happen to know of any trees decorated with “silver and gold” for religious purposes? The Bible calls it heathenism, not Christianity!

“Images,” shrines, and “idols” are aids to worship in heathenism. “The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands” (Psalm 135:15). “And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone [idols] (Ezekiel 20:32). Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Heathen Churches #3

Thursday, August 4, 2022

For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess (Acts 19:37 KJV).

Do even the “heathen” attend church? Yes, according to today’s Scripture, they do!

Heathen also pray. Therefore, praying in and of itself is no automatic indication a person is a Christian. We ponder this excerpt from the Sermon on the Mount: But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:7,8).

In Christ’s day, the “heathen” (Gentiles, nations) recited prayers that were nothing but “vain repetitions.” Over and over and over and over and over again, these idolaters begged their deities (gods and goddesses) to intervene and give them this or give them that. They were under the impression that repeating something constantly would increase the likelihood of a “higher power” taking notice and helping them by answering their prayers. It was such mindless, mechanical, empty behavior that the speech was spiritual gibberish or babblings. The Lord Jesus instructed His followers that this was not how His Heavenly Father operated and it was not how He wanted them to function either.

We must always remember the religious or belief systems in existence today (except Judaism and Christianity), in their most basic form, can be traced back to the Tower of Babel in Genesis chapter 11. Consequently, the “vain repetitions” of Christ’s earthly ministry are with us even now. They have existed for millennia in Eastern or Oriental religions—and they are known as “breath prayers” (essentially, mantras or chants). When Roman Catholicism was being developed during the three or four centuries after Christ, these breath prayers influenced the institution of the rosary, a series of elaborate petitions and adulations meant to influence a “higher power” through habitual recital. Ignorant Protestants, while not accepting the rosary, nevertheless also practice similar “breath prayers” to some degree at times (for instance, “Jesus, I love you, Jesus, I love you;” or, “Praise God, Praise God, Praise God”). Yes, it is controversial. It is also heathenism in “Christian” churches….

Order My Steps #10

Sunday, July 24, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

Describing victorious Christian living, Paul taught in Romans 8:5-9: “[5] For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. [6] For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. [7] Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. [8] So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [9] But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

If we think like lost people, our conduct will resemble that of lost people. Our Christian life will die with “carnal” or fleshy thinking (chapter 7). “Minding” nothing but natural-man thoughts, our lifestyle reflects that faulty reasoning (chapter 7). Fighting against God, we live contrary to whom He made us in Christ. If, however, we are renewed in the spirit of our mind (Romans 12:1,2; Ephesians 4:20-24; Colossians 3:9-16), studying and trusting sound (grace!) Bible doctrine, we will “mind [pay attention to, think about] the things of the Spirit.” This spiritually-minded believer enjoys the life and peace impossible in Romans chapter 7 but achievable in chapter 6.

“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,…” (Ephesians 4:17). “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). “Brethren, be followers together of me [Paul], and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17). “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;…” (Colossians 1:10). “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:…” (Colossians 2:6).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is the United States of America in Bible prophecy?

Order My Steps #9

Saturday, July 23, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

The first five chapters of Romans lay out the doctrine of justification—to wit, how a sinner worthy of God’s righteous wrath in Hell and the Lake of Fire can trust Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for his sins and thereby be declared a Christian or saint (eternally righteous in God’s sight, bound for Heaven).

Chapters 6–8 outline the doctrine of sanctification—namely, how the Christian, in light of his position, is set apart unto God’s purpose and plan on a daily basis in practice. The believer’s walk each and every day will be victorious over sin only if two facts are never forgotten. Firstly, we are under grace not law (Romans chapter 6). Secondly, we are under the Holy Spirit’s authority not the flesh’s power (Romans chapter 8). To ignore (or fail to learn) either of these principles is to suffer that horrendous spiritual shipwreck of chapter 7!

Let us state it another way. When sin masters or controls us, we have not been mindful of Romans chapter 6 (dead to sin, alive unto God). Abandoning chapter 6, we have fallen into the snare of Romans chapter 7 (defeat, misery, hopelessness). To be recovered from the dreadful trap of fleshly living, we learn the lesson Paul himself realized in chapter 8: “[1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

There, right there, is the Christian overcoming sin on a daily basis….

Order My Steps #8

Friday, July 22, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

Brethren, our Heavenly Father has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). “Ye are complete [lacking nothing] in [Christ]” (Colossians 2:10a). All we truly need, we permanently have in the Lord Jesus Christ. Four necessities given us in Christ are defined in 1 Corinthians 1:30,31: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

Firstly, we need spiritual wisdom, the ability to correctly apply spiritual truths to life. Jesus is our spiritual wisdom. Secondly, we need righteousness, a right standing before God. Christ is our righteousness. Thirdly, we need sanctification, separation unto Father God’s will. Jesus is our sanctification. Finally, we need redemption, a buying back from sin’s dominion. Christ is our redemption. God’s instructions to us are simple: Walk according to the people we already are in Christ!

After three chapters presenting our wealth in Christ, the Holy Spirit through Paul opens the final three chapters of Ephesians concerning our walk: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,…” (Ephesians 4:1). “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:…” (Ephesians 5:8). After concentrating on our wealth in Christ for two chapters, the second half of Colossians begins with our walk: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above [in heaven], where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:…” (Colossians 3:10).

Paying attention to the Holy Spirit’s words through Paul, we enjoy victorious Christian living. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh [sin]…. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law…. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16,18,25). Here is Romans chapter 8….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How are the LORD God and His works ‘terrible?’

Order My Steps #7

Thursday, July 21, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

The Lord ordered the Apostle Paul’s steps in this the Dispensation of the Grace of God. “Paul, here in Romans chapters 1–6 are the principles of grace for victorious Christian living as a member of the Church the Body of Christ.” However, by the time of chapter 7, Paul personally struggled to overcome his sinful flesh like us all. Why?

Remember, before he was the Apostle Paul, he was Saul of Tarsus. Having been born and raised in the Dispensation of Law as a strict works-religion Pharisee (Acts 23:6; Acts 26:4,5; Philippians 3:3-7), a great deal of Paul’s life as a saint was spent trying to stop thinking like a legalistic lost person. Being Scriptural was not enough, for the Law of Moses (Scripture!) was no longer in effect. God was doing something different—the Dispensation of Grace. To fall back on prior Divine revelation was to fight against the Lord’s current work. We must be Scriptural and dispensational. Since Paul reverted to the Law system, he wound up in the pitiful, miserable condition of Romans 7:24: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Like many poor souls under the heavy hand of works-religion today, Paul was utterly defeated, troubled, and unhappy. His Christian life was nonfunctional.

Consider the Galatian saints, and the Bible Book that bears their name. They too grew up in works-religion—albeit heathenism or pagan idolatry. Paul visited them and shared the Gospel of Grace with them. They passed from death to life by trusting Jesus’ finished crosswork. Alas, legalistic teachers subsequently misled them, necessitating Paul’s epistle to them. “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (Galatians 4:9). They too had strayed from the path of grace, returned to works-religion, and become entrapped and depressed! “Where is then the blessedness [happiness, joy] ye spake of?” (Galatians 4:15a).

Whether Paul, or the Galatians, or even us, remembering our identity in Christ is the key to successful Christian living….

Order My Steps #6

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). As a slave is purchased out of a marketplace, so Jesus Christ’s shed blood paid for our release from being “in Adam” (sin’s authority). As believers—people in Christ—we do not have to sin!

When we sin, it is because we have reverted to our old (lost/natural man) thinking patterns (Romans chapter 7!). We believe we are still in Adam, dead in trespasses and sins (which we are not). “I beseech [ask, beg] you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice [who we are in Christ!], holy [who we are in Christ!], acceptable unto God [who we are in Christ!], which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1,2).

The basic principles of grace living, Romans chapters 1–8, correct our erroneous mindset. We begin thinking like the people we are (saints), and we cease thinking like the people we are not (sinners). If we Christians do not have a clear understanding of these Bible truths, it is the equivalent of lost people with no Bible whatsoever. Since spiritual ignorance often prevails, even among professing believers, Christians typically resemble non-Christians.

Instead of “I must do good works to receive God’s blessings” (Law, works-religion), the Christian life is “I have already received God’s blessings in Christ, and good works flow from that position” (grace living!). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). “Hath blessed” is the present perfect tense. God blessed us in Christ (past tense) the moment we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, and the results impact us right now (presently)….

Order My Steps #5

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).

May we share the Psalmist’s wish!

Saints, not only have we died with Christ, we have resurrected with Him (Romans 6:1-10). “Likewise reckon [think, believe it to be true!] ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (verse 11). In Christ, we are dead to sin: the Adamic nature, as far as God is concerned, is powerless over us. So then, why do we sin as believers in Christ? The Bible has already answered that question.

The Apostle Paul’s Christian life died—this is functional death, separation from being active—in Romans chapter 7. “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me (verses 9-11). Paul tried so hard to live the Christian life—but failed miserably! Where there should have been victory over sin, there was just the opposite. His sin nature, his Adamic nature, constantly overcame him. Two billion church members in Christendom needlessly struggle with that dilemma even now. Like Paul, they have ignored the truths laid out in chapter 6!

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for [because] you are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14). Our flesh, Adamic nature, or sin nature, likes to boast, so it gravitates toward religious works. We deceive ourselves—yea, sin deceives us—into thinking we can manage sin. Even today, it is claimed: “I can keep the commandments of God. Give me rules and regulations to obey and I will copy the life of Jesus Christ.” This is precisely Israel’s faulty reasoning at Mount Sinai. They supposed they could perform in religion to make themselves God’s kingdom of priests (see Exodus 19:3-8, especially verse 8). God ultimately gave them the Law to point out their need for the Saviour, though (like today!) most never actually learned that lesson. Currently, however, God has us under the Dispensation of Grace, that the Law not be an occasion for our flesh to master us….

Understanding the Right Bible

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

“Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away” (Mark 13:31 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand the right Bible?

Ministries and churches have statements of faith invariably declaring they believe “the Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant, authoritative Word.” Yet (contrary to how impressive that sounds), preachers, teachers, and seminary professors usually have another (private!) view. Ask them to show you that “perfect Bible” they claim to “love,” “believe,” and “defend.” Hear their dreadful reply. “No, my perfect Bible disappeared when the original manuscripts disintegrated over 1,500 years ago! All we have now are error-filled copies and flawed translations!” Of course, this is not their public admission. They conceal their real beliefs by carefully wording it as “the inspired, inerrant Word of God in the autographs or original manuscripts.”

Incredibly, they have been taught not to believe the Bible. They have been trained to reduce the Scriptures to just an ordinary Book that had no Holy Spirit watching over it. Consequently, they belittle whomever actually does believe in perfect Bible that we can hold and read today. Scholars will not submit to a perfect Bible in existence now, because then will be rendered pointless their work in retranslating, discussing variant readings, and so on. A settled, final Bible is their enemy! Here is the culmination of the Roman Catholic Church’s 500-year-long, Counter-Reformation efforts to shift Protestants from an authoritative Bible. Rome cleverly “fills the void” with skeptical teachers, weak retranslations, and worthless church traditions.

Knowing God promised to preserve His words (today’s Scripture) through a multiplicity of manuscript copies (Deuteronomy 17:18-20, for example), and understanding He is the Creator of human languages (which do not limit Him at all—Genesis 11:1-9; Acts 2:1-11), He could and did certainly furnish us with a perfect Bible in English. Unashamedly, we believe and use the Authorized Version King James Bible as the correct, infallible translation of the Old Testament Hebrew Masoretic Text and the New Testament Greek Textus Receptus (Received Text). If we are labeled an “old-fashioned, narrow-minded, King James cult,” so be it. At least we actually possess what we claim to believe in—unlike those who hide behind a nonexistent “authority” (missing original Bible manuscripts). We seek God’s approval (2 Timothy 2:15), not man’s (John 12:42,43). (Or, at any rate, that is the way it should be.)