Together With Christ (Thrice)

Monday, July 16, 2018

“Even when we were dead in sins, [Father God] hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; ) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” (Ephesians 2:5,6 KJV).

The Greek preposition syn (or sun) appears three times in today’s Scripture. It means “with, together with” (as in synchronize, synthetic, synagogue, syncline, synoptic, et al.):

  1. “Hath quickened us together with” (synedzoopoiesen) “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians 2:13). We were both spiritually disadvantaged (sinners not saints—Ephesians 2:1-3) and racially, or covenantally, disadvantaged (Gentiles not Jews—Ephesians 2:11,12; Romans 9:4,5). As per our “dead in trespasses and sins,” God crucified us with Christ on Calvary (Romans 6:6-11). Then, our Heavenly Father quickened us together with Christ—resurrection. Now we are alive unto God. “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12). “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1).
  2. “Hath raised us up together” (synegeiren) — Our resurrection was already addressed, so this “raising up” must be ascension. Not only did Father God put us to death with Christ, not only did He resurrect us with Christ, He also raised us up together with Christ, which leads to the final phrase “made us sit together.”
  3. “Made us sit together” (synekathisen) — Sitting together means fellowshipping. Jesus’ enemies—along with poor, reverted Peter the Apostle—were “set down together” (Luke 22:55). In today’s Scripture, Father God reckons us as qualified to share in Jesus Christ’s authority in the heavenly places. The Lord Jesus is the highest Ruler, and we will share in His reigning. “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

While all said to be past tense in today’s Scripture, the last two are still future. God sees all as already accomplished, so we should—together with Him—consider it settled! 🙂

Dost Thou Keep This Commandment?

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1 KJV).

Legalistic Christendom constantly stresses “keeping” the “commandments” of God. Despite this alleged “commandment observance” in so many churches, precious few keep the commandment of acknowledging Paul as God’s apostle of us Gentiles. Friend, what about you?

Paul begins nearly every epistle by referring to himself as an “apostle” (Romans 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:1). He claims to be “an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God” (1 Corinthians 1:1) or “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God” (2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1). Today’s Scripture amplifies it—Paul was not chosen to be apostle merely “by” or “through the will of God.” He was ordained as apostle of Jesus Christ “by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ” (today’s Scripture; cf. Romans 16:25,26).

Galatians opens with a special expression: “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)” (1:1). No man invented Paul’s apostleship, and no man appointed him as an apostle. Jesus Christ and Father God personally and directly selected Saul of Tarsus as “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13). Acts 9:15-16: “But the Lord said unto him [Ananias], Go thy way: for he [Saul/Paul] is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

John 13:20: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” Acts chapter 26, Jesus Christ to Paul: “[17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, [18] 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.” What say you?

The Work of the Ministry #7

Sunday, July 1, 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).

Ministry—what “work” it is!

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [purpose or intent] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16,17). God the Holy Spirit gave us His inspired, preserved Word (in English, the King James Bible) so we would believe it. Once we trust it (1 Thessalonians 2:13), it produces in and through us “all good works.” The greatest Christian good work is “the work of the ministry,” but spiritual development comes first. After all, today’s Scripture says only “perfected saints”—spiritually mature Christians—do “the work of the ministry.”

“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:12,13). These church leaders do “the work of the ministry” (cf. today’s Scripture; 1 Timothy 5:17,18), and they need to be especially appreciated.

Ministry is not to be taken lightly or flippantly. It is not “fun and games:” it is “work!” Eternal souls are at stake and they need to hear from us a clear Gospel message they can believe (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)! Otherwise, they will face an angry God and wind up experiencing His eternal fury. Eternal souls are at stake and they need to hear from us a study they can understand (2 Timothy 2:15)! Otherwise, they will experience tremendous loss of reward for their lack of Christian understanding and service.

Dear brethren, how exhausting ministry can be and is, but there is no greater way to spend our time and resources! It seems like we are wasting our time, but God forbid! “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58)! 🙂

Bible Q&A #510: “Can you explain John 1:17?

The Work of the Ministry #6

Saturday, June 30, 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).

Ministry—what “work” it is!

Only one Man in ministry never had any trouble in dealing with the flesh. The God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, faithfully and tirelessly served Father God without fail. He said, “My meat [food] is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work(John 4:34). The Lord Jesus knew His purpose. Unlike so many Christians today, He did not aimlessly wander and wonder what Father God would have Him do in His life and ministry. He took the Old Testament Scriptures, found God’s words to and about His earthly ministry, and worked in accordance with them (Luke 4:16-21 cf. Isaiah 61:1-2; Matthew 8:16-17 cf. Isaiah 53:6; Matthew 12:15-21 cf. Isaiah 42:1-4; Mark 12:10-11 cf. Psalm 118:22-23; et al.).

“But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work (John 5:17). “But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me” (verse 36). I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).

The night before His crucifixion, Christ prayed to the Holy Father: “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me” (John 17:4,6,8). What work did Father God give His Son Jesus Christ? Heavenly Father wanted His Son to give (teach) His Word to His people. Jesus Christ did exactly that, “the work of the ministry!”

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘shamefacedness?’

Nothing But the Blood #7

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the chorus of Robert Lowry’s 1876 hymn, “Nothing But the Blood.”

“Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

More than 700 years before Calvary, Israel was promised forgiveness: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (today’s Scripture). With the revelation of the mystery given to the Apostle Paul, we see just what the LORD God meant. Christ’s shed blood would purify them!

Romans chapter 3 again: “[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 displayed for all to see Jesus Christ crucified as a “propitiation,” a fully-satisfying payment for sin. He believes the blood of His Son Jesus Christ can cleanse us of all sin (cf. 1 John 1:7). Do we agree with Him by faith? Or, are we so infatuated with self-righteousness that we claim not to have any sin? Or, if we do recognize our sin, will we cling to the defense, “I will do the best I can to make up for it?” Father God does not have faith in our works!! He knows better than that. Either Jesus Christ will pay our sin debt entirely, or it will never be paid and we will go straight to Hell forever!

God will not (!) receive our “good” works to get us into His Heaven. What will He accept? Indeed, nothing but the blood of Jesus! 🙂

Family!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-28 KJV).

When grace saints gather in one place from various parts around the world, these “complete strangers” soon feel like they have known each other for years. This is the bond the Holy Spirit initiates because of sound doctrine.

You could stay with these brethren, studying and conversing with them, for hours upon hours. They feel like family—yea, they are family! It is like a pleasurable reunion of old friends. Today’s Scripture says all who have trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour are “children of God:” regardless of nationality, social status, or sex, they have all been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Church the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; cf. today’s Scripture).

If sound Bible doctrine is given supremacy—that is, Jesus Christ’s teaching is preeminent—unity will be manifested. Harmony does not mean we agree on every last doctrinal point. It means we agree that the King James Bible rightly divided is our final authority. We have believed on Jesus Christ dying for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). We know that Paul is our apostle (Romans 11:13). We believe that we are the Church the Body of Christ rather than the nation Israel (Romans 11:25). We understand that we live in the mystery program, not the prophetic program (Acts 3:21; Romans 16:25). We appreciate that we are under grace rather than law (Romans 6:14,15).

Sadly, like all families, the Body of Christ suffers from sibling rivalry and infighting. Numerous foreign ideas creep in, are accepted, and likeminded believers thus become increasingly incompatible. Jesus Christ is pushed aside so self can be emphasized. Doctrine is abandoned for the sake of unity. Charity disappears. The Body of Christ becomes an impotent entity, a fragmented group that loses sight of its identity and purpose. However, in due time, Father God, will make it right. After all, they are His family too!

Benoni and Benjamin #7

Saturday, April 21, 2018

And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin (Genesis 35:18 KJV).

Dear friend, look and see—herein lies prophecy!

At the close of Peter’s life and ministry, the Holy Spirit wrote in 2 Peter chapter 3: “[9] The Lord is not slack concerning his promise [of Christ’s Second Coming], as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance…. [15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

Romans chapters 9-11 and 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 are the Apostle Paul’s divine explanations why the Second Coming and Millennium (“Benjamin”) have not yet followed Christ’s earthly ministry (“Benoni”). Of course, as Peter himself knew, some were failing to rightly divide the word of truth. So thoroughly confused in Scripture, they had created unspeakable spiritual destruction in themselves and their foolish audiences! (Sound familiar?)

In closing, perhaps you are saying, “How wonderful and insightful this was, Brother Shawn!” (I agree.) “I wish more people would see it!” (Indeed.) “So, why do they not see it? Has God not revealed it to them?” Friend, they can read as well as we, can they not? It is a heart problem—sin. The flesh, the natural man, sees this all as foolishness. It is easier to mock instead of study. When we look beyond Christendom’s superficial teachings, and refuse to be the lazy church members who do not (nor care to) understand the Bible, we actually have something fascinating to see in, and say about, it. Rather than wasting time with church tradition, superstition, and philosophy, we spend our time wisely by reading and studying (!!) Scripture.

Yea, we find amazing treasures in God’s Word when we look with the eyes of faith! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is Hebrews 13:3 a reference to the Body of Christ?