Another Year for Grace Living

Sunday, January 1, 2012

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6,7 KJV)

Dear saints, having just exited 2011 we have crossed into 2012, another year for grace living! This is not another year for us to live our lives for Christ, but rather another year to let Christ live His life in and through us as we apply by faith the grace doctrines in Paul’s 13 epistles, Romans through Philemon. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Our Father God saved us, dearly beloved brethren, so we could, in eternity, be His vessels in the heavenly places. For now, however, He has left us here on earth so we can be His vessels of grace to the lost, hopeless, dying people of this “present evil world” (Galatians 1:4). (This ministry on earth is preparing us for our ministry to come in heaven’s glory!)

Today’s Scripture is one of the key verses of grace living. How did we receive Christ Jesus? By faith, according to Galatians 3:2,24,26 and Ephesians 2:8,9. Our Christian lives will operate in the same way it started—faith in Christ’s performance, not our performance. As we place our faith in sound Bible doctrine, especially the doctrine in Paul’s epistles (God’s Word to us), the indwelling Holy Spirit will transform our lives for His glory (Romans 12:1,2; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). God will use that sound doctrine working in us to forever impact our world (1 Thessalonians 1:5-10).

Beloved, this year, study sound (dispensational) Bible doctrine and by faith in that doctrine, allow God to work in you, to change you and impact those around you for His glory. Praise the Lord—we have been given another year for grace living!

*You may read our 2011/2012 Bible study here or watch the Bible study video here.

We Suffer Persecution

Friday, November 18, 2011

“…Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day” (1 Corinthians 4:12bc,13 KJV).

Contrary to the damnable teachings of prosperity theology, the Christian life is not always pleasant and carefree. In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul explains we “suffer” persecution. While “suffer” means “endure pain,” its older English definition was “allow, permit.” Both definitions are applicable here.

In Acts 24:5, lost people called Paul a “pestilent fellow.” Jesus told His Jewish disciples: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you… I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18,19). The lost world hated Jesus Christ so much that they preferred a murderer’s release as opposed to Jesus’ release (Matthew 27:15-22; Mark 15:7-15)!

The Apostle Peter, writing to Jewish believers, the little flock, who will endure the seven-year Tribulation: “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified” (1 Peter 4:13,14).

Christians are the outcasts of society. Compared to the world, we think differently, we act differently, and we even look different. Accordingly, we are targets of their criticism. Christians down through the past 20 centuries have suffered some rather graphic treatment, far too explicit to mention here. This evil world system has never been God’s friend, so it will certainly be unfriendly to us Christians.

In fact, today’s Scripture tells us that the world will treat us Christians like “filth” and “offscouring” (trash, scum, castaways). We are called names, ostracized, and we may be imprisoned or even tortured and executed, but we are privileged to “suffer for righteousness’ sake” (1 Peter 3:14)!

Beloved, we suffer persecution… for God’s glory!

Only One Gave Glory to God

Friday, October 28, 2011

“And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger” (Luke 17:17,18 KJV).

In Luke 17:11 we find our Lord Jesus passing through Samaria and Galilee (northern Israel) on His way to Jerusalem. Verse 12 explains that there are ten lepers standing outside of a town. (Remember “leprosy” describes various skin diseases, so these unclean men are outcasts of society.) The ten lepers cry out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” (verse 13). Verse 14 says, “And when he [Jesus] saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that as they went, they were cleansed.”

In Leviticus 14:1-ff., the LORD had given instructions to Moses concerning lepers (in the day of their healing, they were to go to the priest). Although they are still leprous, Jesus commands the ten lepers to go to the priests, as though they were already healed.

By faith, these ten lepers begin heading toward the Temple. Interestingly, notice how they were not healed until after they followed Christ’s instructions and had already begun walking to the Temple. These ten lepers knew Christ had the power to heal them, and they knew that as long as they obeyed Him, they would be healed. So, they begin walking (as though they were already cleansed). Because they had faith in Jesus’ words, they followed Jesus’ commands.

Luke 17:15,16 continue: “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.”

As indicated in today’s Scripture, only one of the ten lepers thanked and glorified God. The other nine, sidetracked by the relief and healing, never bothered to glorify the God who had healed them. May we be like that lone leper, mindful of what the LORD has done for us, grateful to Him, and giving Him the glory that He so rightly deserves!

Systems Declare the Glory of the LORD

Monday, October 24, 2011

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1 KJV).

In science, a “system” is any part of the universe that we select for study. Systems can be as large as galaxies, planets, and moons, or as small as cells, mineral grains, and subatomic particles. Analyses of these systems reveal their extremely complex, highly organized nature. Thus, one who knows nothing about God or the Bible still understands an intelligent Creator exists (Romans 1:20). Anyone who refuses to believe in God has not only rejected the Bible’s testimony, but also visible, tangible scientific proof… trillions of systems!

The general consensus among scientists is that there was chaos during the formation of our universe, and that a coincidence process operating billions of years “magically” assembled everything into order. This is as ridiculous as any fairy tale used to lull children to sleep!

Consider the highly complex periodic table of elements. How can the structure of the 92 naturally occurring elements be so systematic that we can arrange them? Before man studied them to organize them into that diagram, Someone first had to predetermine their orderly structure.

Why is the human body symmetrical and equipped with a complex immune system? How can the planets and their 100 moons orbit the sun in such a highly complex array? How can organisms (“extremophiles”) thrive and reproduce in exceptionally arid, frigid, and boiling environments? Why does earth not freeze over completely or bake completely, annihilating the biosphere?

In today’s Scripture, we read of “the heavens declaring the glory of God.” Interestingly, verses 4 and 5 speak of God “setting [in the heavens] a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.” The very path that the sun travels to traverse Earth’s sky, or actually the Earth’s orbit around the sun, is another clear indication of God’s wisdom and another product of God’s imagination.

These are just a few of the many systems that declare the glory of the LORD Jesus Christ!