Indecisive Israel #12

Monday, September 18, 2017

“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14,15 KJV).

Whom shall Israel follow? (It depends on their circumstances!)

Israel forsook the Law of Moses, God’s primary instructions to them. Therefore, awful religious, moral, and social conditions overwhelmed the nation. In keeping with the Law Covenant, beginning in the Book of Judges, God punished Israel with the first course of judgment or chastisement promised in Leviticus chapter 26. Foreigners would oppress them, exactly as verse 17 predicted: “And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.” This repeatedly occurred throughout Judges.

Similarly, the Church the Body of Christ has abandoned God’s apostle to us Gentiles, Paul (Romans 11:13). The last 2,000 years of the Body of Christ mimics Israel’s vacillation throughout the Book of Judges. There have been recurrent apostasies and isolated revivals, but an overall doctrinal deterioration. Ultimately, there is utter spiritual ruin—God’s people compromised and neutralized. Brethren, remember, the same evil world system—especially Satan’s religious system—that existed in Judges remains today over 3,000 years later. It will culminate in the Antichrist beyond our day.

Some “Christians” believe there is “no harm” in mixing with world religions, or intermarrying with non-Christians. Scripture disagrees. (Remember Israel’s pagan neighbors and spouses in Judges!) Some “grace believers” see “nothing wrong” with attending services at denominational churches. The Holy Spirit disagrees. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Brethren, let us not be indecisive like Israel. We should “be separate,” unapologetically and totally removed from the (pagan) religious system! 🙂

A Widespread Error

Saturday, August 26, 2017

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13,14 KJV).

On social media, Twitter to be exact, there are currently more than 34,000 tweets containing the tag “#HurricanHarvey.” How can this help us understand today’s Scripture?

It is generally assumed that everybody goes to Heaven. You read obituaries, and you will never read about someone going to Hell. They all are in a “better place.” After all, we hear, “One religion is just as good as every other.” (This is constantly used against Bible believers.) It is also commonly asked, “If Christianity is the right religion, how could so many people be so wrong? Christians are not the majority of the world’s population.” Well, all we have to do is just remember the aforementioned Twitter incident. Mistakes are quite common, even among large groups. There is supposedly “safety in numbers,” but that is not necessarily true concerning arriving at proper beliefs. Groupthink can be dangerous… and those tweets show us!

The Lord Jesus spoke of few believers in the one true God and His truth (today’s Scripture). Friend, you study the Bible, and you see just a few believers in the God of the Bible. Think of the 7,000 who did not bow and kiss idols in a nation of millions in Elijah’s day. Remember the eight believers on Noah’s Ark? Think of the 120 believers in Christ in Jerusalem just after His ascension. Recall the two out of 12 spies who had a favorable report concerning the Promised Land.

Beloved, majority does not determine truth. When people object and inquire, “How can Jesus Christ be the only way to Heaven when so few people believe it? How can the King James Bible be the Bible for English-speaking people when so few people believe it? How can dispensational Bible study be true when so few people believe it?” Well, we just recall today’s Scripture… and the widespread error on Twitter!

Answers in Scripture

Friday, August 25, 2017

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5 KJV).

Are you lacking wisdom, friend? Why not “ask of God?”

Not long ago, Mom and I visited a nearly 96-year-old relative. For a few years now, my parents and I have tried to keep Scriptural dialog open with her. While she is still content in being bound in her works-religion, Mom told me the woman seemed more receptive to truth than usual. She heard the Gospel of the Grace of God many times again during our most recent visit. We tried to emphasize to her that all the “crazy” things happening in the world are the result of sin and that Jesus Christ died to save us from such depravity. She learned once again that the Holy Bible is a beacon of light in this world of darkness, and a solid foundation in this world of uncertainty. Her religion is powerless to help her, educate her, or comfort her in such troubling times.

Another point I stressed with this dear lady is the fact that people are groping around, looking for answers, but apart from God. Notice how the Holy Spirit through James in today’s Scripture encouraged people to consult God when they wanted wisdom. True, the Bible was not yet complete at that time (James was perhaps the earliest “New Testament” Book written); hence, that partially-revealed Word of God left people with various unanswered spiritual questions. Even so, God did not discourage anyone from seeking His truth. He was willing to provide more information if they wanted it!

Many years after James, Paul wrote in the final Bible Book: “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” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). With the Pauline revelations exposed and written down, everything that God wants man to know and do, we find it in the completed Bible. Thus, the way we “ask” God for wisdom today is to submit to His written words, Holy Scripture. If we are in spiritual darkness, God is not to blame!

The Wise, The Rich, and The Generous

Sunday, August 13, 2017

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11 KJV).

The wise men… the rich men… the generous men!

Due to much abuse, money is always understandably a very touchy topic in churches. There are so many schemes and scams designed to take people’s hard-earned cash. Sadly, they are most successful in “Christian” settings. There is such a nice ring of truth to these religious messages. After all, over two billion people hold the name of “Jesus Christ” in such high regard. When that name is uttered—or even the general name “God”—people suspect nothing nefarious (even if the matter involves absurdities). The wise men of today’s Scripture indeed gave… carefully investigating instead of blindly supporting a charlatan!

When the wise men came to Jesus Christ, notice He was a “young child,” as much as two years old (see verse 16). He was not a baby. It was not the manger scene but a “house” in Nazareth. These wise men were also rich men, and they were willing to give their money for God’s work. They did not give indiscriminately. They gave in faith, believing God’s Word. They had seen the star of Israel’s King in the east. They had come to worship Him after that star had led them to His house. Their worship was not merely falling down before Him, or shouting, “Praise Jesus!” No, part of their worship was giving material goods. They were not greedy. They were not idolatrous. Rather than worshipping their wealth, they used it to worship Jesus Christ.

Brethren, let us by faith follow the example of the wise men. While we may not be rich, we can be wise in using what we do have, and we can be generous in giving to any sound (grace) Bible churches and ministries that benefit us. Second Corinthians 9:7: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Where in the Bible did Peter say he could not be crucified like his Lord?

Not Hearing God’s Words #6

Sunday, July 30, 2017

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (John 8:47 KJV).

Friend, have you ever talked to a lost person about the Bible? Have you also ever spoken to another Christian about the Bible? If you paid attention to both scenarios, you will recall that they were two drastically different conversations. There was such disconnect when dealing with the lost person whereas there was more receptivity on the part of the Christian (usually). Why? Today’s Scripture highlights the reason.

Considering John chapter 8, the Lord Jesus’ conversation with unsaved and disbelieving religionists, we see typified our interactions with such individuals today. When we present spiritual issues, they can respond only in fleshly or material terms. To them, the Scriptures are nonsense: spiritual insanity afflicts them. Focusing on their works, they do not believe God’s message to them. Lacking spiritual insight, they have no ability to see they are lost, enslaved to sin. They cannot handle the message, so they resort to petty name-calling and other personal attacks directed toward us (the messengers). Convicted, they seek to harm, silence, imprison, and even kill us—using whatever means available to them.

Sadly, some believers behave similarly when we attempt to share the rightly-divided Bible with them. They entertain such shallow, manmade perceptions of Scripture. Did you notice the parenthetical “usually” in the introduction? Most lost people refuse to hear the Gospel. Usually, Christian people will talk about the Bible, albeit loosely. Once you delve into the “meat”—deeper things such as the Dispensation of Grace—they behave as lost people. Thinking and walking in the energy of their flesh, they too love religion, human “goodness.” They rebel against those “grace” verses you cite! Second Timothy 2:26 speaks of they “that oppose themselves… [in] the snare of the devil… taken captive by him at his will.” Such Christians, polluted by religious tradition and non-dispensational Bible understanding, cooperate with the Adversary… to defeat themselves!

Thankfully, there are lost people who want to receive the Gospel by faith. They are still coming to trust in Christ every day. Thankfully, there are some Christians who still want to receive the rightly divided Bible. They too are coming to God’s light… “hearing God’s words” also!

Just As I Am #6

Monday, July 24, 2017

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the sixth and final verse of Charlotte Elliott’s 1835 hymn, “Just As I Am.”

“Just as I am, Thy love unknown,
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

We receive the indwelling Holy Spirit after we hear and believe the Gospel of Grace, as Ephesians chapter 1 says: “[13] In whom [Christ Jesus] ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

Contrary to popular belief, everyone is not God’s child. For example, in John 8:44, the Lord Jesus uttered one of the harshest censures in all of Scripture, aimed at unsaved religious leaders: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do….” Ephesians 2:2-3 calls non-Christians “children of disobedience” and “children of wrath!” Today’s Scripture says we are God’s children by faith in Jesus Christ. We are not born into God’s family at physical conception or at physical birth. Scripture says we are born into God’s family—namely the Church the Body of Christ—when we place our trust solely in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour. But, never forget: it took God to put that system into place. No man dreamed it up. It was God’s invention.

Had Father God not made the first move by sending Jesus Christ, mankind would have never approached God. What sinner would have ever asked God to die for his or her sins? Who would have ever expected Him to do just that? Mankind would have been too prideful to ask anyway. Indeed, friends, it was a mighty gulf that God did span on that awful Roman cross on Calvary! That God would go through that much trouble to save such wretched creatures, this is something we will ever fathom. It is simply too far beyond us! All we can say is, “Thank You, Lord, I come and receive You!” 🙂

Our latest two Bible Q&As: “Who are ‘the poor’ in Galatians 2:10?” and “Who are ‘the fatherless and widows’ of James 1:27?

Just As I Am #5

Sunday, July 23, 2017

“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” (1 Timothy 4:10 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the fifth verse of Charlotte Elliott’s 1835 hymn, “Just As I Am.”

“Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

Habakkuk 1:13 says of God: “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity….” Almighty God is so holy that He cannot even look upon sin. Yet, Scripture speaks about some sinners going to God’s Heaven rather than Satan’s Hell. How is that possible? How can God be just in saving us sinners from our deserved ill fate? Does not His justice demand the punishment of those who offend His righteousness?

Today’s Scripture says “the living God… is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” How can these believing sinners escape their deserved eternal doom? Romans chapter 3: “[22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: [23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

Father God made His Son, Jesus Christ, a “propitiation,” a fully satisfying payment for sin. Through that substitutionary death—Jesus Christ suffering God’s wrath and dying in our place—God can spare us our eternal death penalty of sin. We simply trust that good news to benefit from it! Father God promises to take, receive, welcome, cleanse, and relieve the believing sinner. Make no mistake, dear friends—Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork is truly the sinner’s only hope!