Graduated!

Monday, August 21, 2017

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 KJV).

Death is never easy, but the death of a Christian is easier. It is somewhat easier when an aged person dies, but a young person’s decease is quite difficult. Yet, if that young person was “in Christ,” that death is easier to bear.

Recently, an online friend passed on to Heaven after a long battle with cancer. She was only 18 years old. Even though she suffered much, she was a strong testimony for God’s grace. As her friends struggled with trying to reconcile how God could let His saint grow so horrifically ill, she reminded them that, while Father God has redeemed our souls, He has yet to redeem our bodies from sin’s curse. A firm foundation in the Bible rightly divided caused her to rejoice even in the midst of great trouble. While we are secure in Christ, there is no guarantee we will meet our Lord without first experiencing unspeakable bodily infirmities. An aged ministry coworker just told me his aching body was “falling apart.”

I just read the obituary of a dear saint whose Bible studies benefited me. The article was certainly written from the grace perspective. It began by saying that the brother “‘graduated’ on… to be with his Lord whom he loved and served so faithfully.” He was an evangelist for 40 years: “He loved preaching in Rescue Missions, proclaiming the Gospel of the Grace of God to the lost. His passion in life was leading people to Christ and encouraging the body of Christ.” After preaching the Gospel for so long, he at last experienced its hope. Doubtless, he is still enjoying the Lord’s presence all these years later!

Yes, we sorrow, but we sorrow not as those which have no hope. We have a sure expectation that our loved ones in Christ are not lost forever. Father God has them in His loving care, and we will see them (and Him) in His own time. There will be an endless eternity to fellowship with them around the Word of God. For now, dear brethren, we must remember that they want us to continue being ambassadors for Christ down here! 🙂

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!

Not Hearing God’s Words #5

Saturday, July 29, 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.

Chapter 8 closes: “[48] Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? [49] Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. [50] And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. [51] Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. [52] Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. [53] Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?”

“[54] Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: [55] Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. [56] Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.”

“[57] Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? [58] Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. [59] Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” (They want to kill Him yet again!)

We summarize this gigantic passage and conclude this devotionals arc….

Not Hearing God’s Words #4

Friday, July 28, 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.

Chapter 8 says: “[41] [The Lord Jesus told His religious Jewish critics] Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. [42] Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” They do not recognize their real father (verse 41). After attacking Jesus’ virgin conception—arguing He is a bastard child!—they claim they are God’s children! If they were God’s children, Jesus rebuts, they would love Him because God sent Him to them (verse 42).

“[43] Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. [44] Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. [45] And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. [46] Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? [47] He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

Like lost people today, their ears heard sound waves as God’s words went forth. Nevertheless, there was no understanding. Sin had blinded them. They did not care for the spiritual light God’s Word brought. Let us not be shocked when deep hatred for God’s Word and God’s Son are manifested even today….

A Father to Follow

Thursday, July 13, 2017

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Ephesians 5:1,2 KJV).

Lo, a Father to follow!

Early one morning, after a snowfall, a drunkard walked from his house to the saloon. As he left footprints, he heard the snow crunching behind him. Turning around, he saw his four-year-old son. The little boy giggled, “Daddy, look, I am following in your footsteps!” Instead of going to the saloon, the man picked up his son and they went home. He never went to the saloon again!

Brethren, it is no secret that children are a reflection of their parents. Usually, people unwittingly adopt their parents’ habits. A small child told me recently he yells all the time because “my daddy does it.” Bless his little heart, but he has no idea that his daddy is not to be his pattern if his daddy disregards the Holy Word of God. While some parents do their very best to lead their children in the ways of Christian living, unfortunately, that is often not the case. Many of the world’s problems originated from individuals whose parents taught them wrongly or failed to teach them anything decent at all!

Today’s Scripture says that, in light of everything that has gone before in Ephesians, we should be “followers of God, as dear children.” We are to be cognizant of God’s love for us at Calvary, and we are to “walk in love.” The pattern for us “walking in love” is to see how “Christ also hath loved us.” He loved us even to the point of self-sacrifice—yea, literally, to the death! It is that love of Christ that makes God pleased with us: He does not smell our rotten sin or sins, but rather the wonderful fragrance of Jesus Christ! He wants what is best for us, and, if we love Him, we will listen to His words and obey them. Will we act in accordance with how He “smells” us? Remember, He is a Father worth following!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What was ‘the epistle from Laodicea?’

The Heavenly Places #5

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12 KJV).

Why does Ephesians conclude with this description of the war between good and evil?

It is not until we come to Paul’s ministry do we learn how God will cleanse the heavenly places. Ephesians highlights our eternal destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ. Just as Father God will use Israel to accomplish His will in the Earth, so He will use us to achieve His will in the Heavens. He will exalt His Son, Jesus Christ, in both realms. Ephesians chapter 1: “[9] [Father God] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: [11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance….”

One day, brethren, we will be displayed for all of the universe to see. All creatures will witness God’s wisdom fully manifested in outer space. We will participate in Jesus Christ’s exaltation in the heavenly places throughout eternity future. Ephesians chapter 2 declares: “[6] And [God] hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

As good as this all is, however, we are not there yet. The heavenly places are still so far away! Howbeit, one day, Jesus Christ will return to Earth—at the Rapture—to take His Body (us) beyond the sky. Until we get there, though, we are vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. Knowing full well that we will replace him and his minions in the heavenly places, he fights us every chance he gets. We had better don all the armor of God, beloved, that “we stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-20)! 🙂

 

The Comforter and Teacher

Sunday, May 28, 2017

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26 KJV).

The Holy Bible is a progressive revelation: God gradually made known His Word to mankind throughout history. He knew the end from the beginning, but He chose not to tell the end at the beginning. As the end came closer, it became clearer. Here, we see the “New Testament” Scriptures predicted—God the Holy Spirit’s method of comforting, coming alongside to aid and strengthen, God’s people.

When God the Father sent the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter 2, the Spirit caused Israel’s believing remnant—especially the 12 Apostles—to remember everything that Jesus taught them during the previous three years (His earthly ministry). See today’s Scripture. They did not have to rely on fallible human memory; they had the omniscient, omnipotent Holy Ghost guiding their minds and hearts, giving them the final pieces of information needed to understand their prophetic program.

The early Acts period (chapters 1-7) and the Bible Books of Hebrews through Revelation provide details not found in Genesis through Malachi and Matthew through John. The Lord Jesus predicted in today’s Scripture that Israel’s Little Flock would receive the capstone of knowledge as touching the prophetic program. They would see how everything fit together so beautifully, and they would be able to appreciate what God had planned in eternity past. Despite everything that Satan and evil men would do to sabotage God’s plan for the Earth, they would be unable to overcome Him.

Compare today’s Scripture to what Jesus spoke later, John 16:12-14: “[12] I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. [13] Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. [14] He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” In our Bible, inspired and preserved by the Holy Spirit, we see the result of the prophetic program too!