Perfecting #7

Sunday, June 24, 2018

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

What does “perfecting” mean here?

Dear friends, it is utterly impossible to become sinless in this life. Still, we can indeed be “perfected.” Whatever doctrine is lacking in our inner man, we can gain it by reading and believing God’s Word to us (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16,17). Are we going to daily read, daily study, and daily trust that Word—or just continue to claim ignorance?

If we do not have the assurance of salvation and a home in Heaven, we should without delay believe the Gospel of the Grace of God: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Faith in this Gospel is how God can forgive us of all our sins and make us right before Him. If we are saved unto eternal life, members of the Church the Body of Christ, then we need to study and believe the Scriptures rightly divided on a daily basis. Otherwise, we will not think and behave like God would intend Christians to reason and walk!

The Holy Bible, the completed canon, is meant to bring all Christians to spiritual maturity, an increasingly fuller understanding of all that Father God aims to do right now and on into the endless ages to come. Such believers can then oppose Satan’s lie program. It is therefore no surprise that Satan employs various schemes to tamper with and hinder that pure Word from spreading—counterfeit Bible manuscripts, false teachings (including non-dispensational Bible study, philosophy, and religious tradition), assorted “experiences” and emotional highs, and numerous other diversions.

If any of us in Christ today find ourselves unskilled and confused regarding the Scripture, it is not God’s fault but our own! Perhaps our preacher is culpable, maybe our denomination is also guilty of misleading, but God the Holy Spirit has done everything to spiritually enlighten us. Alas, 1 Corinthians 14:38 is spoken to many of us in Christ: “If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” Brethren, may that not be true of us! 🙂

Perfecting #6

Saturday, June 23, 2018

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

What does “perfecting” mean here?

Second Timothy 3:16-17 again: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” God the Holy Spirit not only inspired His Word, the Holy Bible, He also preserved it through history via a multiplicity of copies. As English-speaking people, His inspired and preserved Word for us is the King James Bible. Therein is everything we need to learn, that He may then do everything He wants to do in and through us members of the Church the Body of Christ.

Now, we look at the result of local churches “perfecting” (maturing, “throughly furnishing”) the saints, whether in Israel’s kingdom program (prophecy) or Paul’s mystery ministry (us). Again, this is all possible because of a completed Bible, a full revelation from God.

For the Body of Christ: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11). “Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith” (1 Thessalonians 3:10).

For Israel’s Little Flock: “[The God of peace] Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:21). “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Peter 5:10).

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What if someone asks me a Bible question I cannot answer?

Perfecting #5

Friday, June 22, 2018

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

What does “perfecting” mean here?

First Corinthians chapter 13 is the Holy Spirit telling the Corinthians that charity (love in action) is more important than entertainment. They should not be abusing spiritual gifts (chapters 12 and 14), using them for personal gain and attention. Spiritual gifts will pass away. Such unhealthy fixation on these experiences will damage their Christian lives once the spiritual gifts disappear.

Again: “[8] Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. [9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. [10] But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. [11] When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. [12] For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

There is knowledge “in part” and prophesying (preaching) “in part.” One day, Paul says, they will have the entire revelation of God’s Word. When “that which is perfect” comes, all the partial will vanish. Remember, Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:1, “I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.” Eventually, God would show man His Word in full. Once the Apostle Paul’s writings were penned, Romans through Philemon, God’s revelation to man stopped (Colossians 1:23-28).

Second Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” Paul’s Book of 2 Timothy was the final writing of God the Spirit. Although there are no more spiritual gifts today, God’s people can still reach spiritual maturity because of the completed Bible….

Perfecting #4

Thursday, June 21, 2018

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

What does “perfecting” mean here?

The Lord Jesus granted supernaturally-gifted men to the early Body of Christ so Christians would be internally repaired (remember the fisherman mending his beaten and broken nets). Using those gifted men, the Holy Spirit filled the “holes” Christians had in their spiritual knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Remember, these saints came from various pagan, idolatrous backgrounds (see 1 Corinthians 12:1,2; Galatians 4:8; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 1:9). They had much religious tradition to abandon—especially rank spiritual inexperience. Moreover, still living among unsaved (pagan) loved ones, they were daily exposed and enticed to return to their former ways.

As today’s Scripture says, the five types of gifted men in the ministry would generate spiritual health and growth among those early Christians. God would then use these mended Christians to do the work of the ministry. The work of the ministry was the edifying of the entire Church the Body of Christ. It was a miraculous process that God the Spirit superintended; otherwise, Satan’s policy of evil (ignorance) would have prevailed.

Now, someone is bound to ask, “Brother Shawn, you keep saying the early Body of Christ. What about us today? Do we not need gifted men right now, that God’s work continue unabated?” First Corinthians chapter 13 answers: “[8] Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. [9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. [10] But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. [11] When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. [12] For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

Spiritual gifts were temporary, but something permanent was coming….

Bible Q&A #505: “‘Made his arrows bright… consulted with images… looked in the liver?’

Open Spaces and Empty Thoughts

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

“A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” (Jeremiah 5:30,31 KJV).

What is God’s controversy with ancient Israel?

I once accompanied an older Christian on a shopping trip. As he entered the parking lot, an empty lane near the store caught our attention. He told me, “The Lord knew we were coming,” and proceeded to park his vehicle there. God allegedly had cleared the way for us to get a good parking space so we would not have far to walk!

With all due respect, foolishness needs to be called out as foolishness. God is not in the business today of giving us empty parking spaces close to stores. There is not one Bible verse to support it; it serves no eternal purpose. Yet, this is not an isolated incident. Religious tradition has conditioned us the world over to embrace all sorts of wild ideas—beliefs that have absolutely nothing to do with God’s Word to us. It is vain superstition and utter silliness. We have to think like mature Christians instead of small children. If our Christian life is to function as God intended, we must have a renewed mind (Romans 12:1,2).

In reference to “God knowing we were going to the store,” what should we conclude if there are no vacant parking spaces adjacent to the building? Did He not know we were coming? If He knew, why did He not give us an open spot? I have shopped many times and not found a space next to the store. Does God does not love me? Why does He not want me to have an open lane?

Today’s Scripture is God upset with Israel. They have let religious leaders so thoroughly confuse them. Not only that, they “love” it: they enjoy those religious “highs,” feel-good doctrines, emotional experiences, pathetic superstitions! Meanwhile, it does nothing for them but harm their souls. God is righteously angered that Israel has allowed herself to be contaminated. Dear friends, may we get into the Pauline Books, Romans through Philemon, and fill our heads and hearts with that!

Bible Q&A #490: “Who are the ‘fearful’ in Revelation 21:8?

Separate!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be separate from the religious system.

It is often lamented, “Doctrine divides. Let us rather gather around the love of Jesus Christ.” The Holy Spirit disagrees: sound Bible doctrine matters! Romans 16:17,18: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”

First Timothy 6:3-5: “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”

Second Timothy 3:1-5: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

Beloved, if there is no sound Bible doctrine—King James Bible, Pauline dispensationalism—we have no reason to get involved with it!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How can God be ‘jealous’ and not be guilty of sin?

Superstitious!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

That we henceforth be no more children, 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; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (Ephesians 4:14,15 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to guard against superstition.

When tragedy strikes, people plead for God to stop it. They pray for the criminal’s apprehension, a miraculous recovery from an illness or mortal injury, floodwaters to recede, earthquakes to cease, poverty and war to disappear. When these things continue, it is supposed that God does not love them, was not listening, or could not care less. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Dear friends, what masquerades as “Christianity” is usually nothing but vain superstition. Most church members have not a clue as to what God is doing today—not a clue! How skilled they are in what God did in time past—miracles, signs, wonders, Sabbath days, water baptism, tithing, et cetera. They are naïve as to what He is doing in the but now. Dispensational Bible study is completely foreign to them; hence, they cannot find where they fit in God’s timeline for the ages. They are totally unable to locate their information in Scripture. They just grab whatever verses fit their agenda/denomination; context means nothing.

The most inconspicuous place for superstition in a Christian’s life is prayer. Doubtless, superstition abounds in most prayer lives. Church members are asking or demanding God do things He is not doing today. He has already declared in His Word to us, the Pauline epistles of Romans through Philemon, what He is doing today. However, they go to the rest of Scripture—what God did long ago and what He will do yet future—and try to make Him do that now. We cannot make God do something He is not doing. Just because the Bible says it, that does not mean that it is God’s Word to us. Do we build a boat as Genesis chapter 6 says? Do we bring a trespass offering for touching an unclean animal as Leviticus chapter 5 commands? See, stop grabbing things haphazardly from the Bible and start respecting contexts.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “But what if they read the Bible at my church…?!