Voluminous Victuals

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

“And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals” (Matthew 14:15 KJV).

Dear friend, do you see any unbelief here? Look closely!

We begin by reading the verses previous to today’s Scripture: “[13] When Jesus heard of it [John the Baptist’s death, verses 10-12], he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. [14] And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.”

Today’s Scripture says that it is now late in the day. Those crowds are hungry and without food, in a desolate region far from cities. Notice what the disciples suggest: “This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.” The disciples tell Jesus to send the multitude away! What a SAD, SAD, SAD proposition! Here is the God-Man, having performed all those healings, and now He is to send away those people who came seeking His help? Dear friend, can you imagine telling someone, “Go away from the Lord, and get your own food!”?

Keep reading: “[16] But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. [17] And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. [18] He said, Bring them hither to me. [19] And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. [20] And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. [21] And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.”

The disciples admitted they could do nothing to help the hungry, so Jesus says, “Bring them to Me and I will provide!” As they all learned, disciples and crowd alike, He did just that!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who is the ‘foolish nation’ in Romans 10:19?

A Pattern of Longsuffering

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting (1 Timothy 1:15,16 KJV).

God could be righteously angered and vengeful today. Thankfully, He is not!

A friend saw a television preacher claiming to “heal” someone. The disabled person showed no improvement, so the minister obviously faked it. My friend wondered why God did not strike that preacher dead for using the name “Jesus Christ” to deceive millions. I explained to my friend that, as opposed to the strict Dispensation of Law, where God was so severe in meting out judgment on such charlatans, we live in the Dispensation of Grace.

God’s “longsuffering” is typified in the Apostle Paul (see today’s Scripture). His salvation is a “pattern” of how people are saved into Christ today. Saul was an unbelieving, rebellious, indoctrinated, self-righteous, zealous Jew. In early Acts, he traveled and arrested, tortured, and executed any Jew—including women!—who followed Jesus of Nazareth. The Lord Jesus Christ observed it all from Heaven. He could have easily struck down Saul and whisked him off to Hell! Contrariwise, the Lord chose to extend mercy and love toward that wretched sinner. He personally appeared to Saul in Acts chapter 9. Saul, amazed and humbled, trusted the Lord Jesus Christ whom he had passionately hated.

Indeed, God chose that leader of sinners, the head of Israel’s rebellion against Jesus Christ, to become the Apostle Paul. He commissioned that man to go to all nations and preach the same grace God had shown him. Hence, God’s spokesman to the world opens each of his 13 epistles with, “Grace and peace.” Rather than wrath and war, God is (temporarily) patiently tolerating sinful man. The Lord Jesus Christ has paid our sin debt; hence, we enjoy grace and peace today. However, to benefit from it forever, like Paul, we must receive and trust it. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did the Great Flood’s water save the eight souls in 1 Peter 3:20?

God Is Not Fooled!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings (Jeremiah 17:9,10 KJV).

Be not fooled, friend. You cannot fool God!

Long ago, a farmer said, “God, if You give me a good harvest, I will go to church.” Suffice it to say he reaped a great harvest. He then bragged with laughter, “I fooled God! I had no intention of going to church!” This cycle continued for years. The man never purposed to go to church, but he supposedly “talked God into” doing what he wanted, allegedly “making God believe” that he would attend church. This all occurred many decades ago, so he is likely already dead… physically.

When the aforementioned man died, he surely realized he had not fooled God after all. Furthermore, he saw that he was the fool! He wasted God’s grace, God being longsuffering and tolerating his nonsensical rhetoric for so long. Instead of being thankful for God’s goodness, he became increasingly hardened. He continually deceived himself, believing he could actually hide his true and innermost feelings from his Creator (see today’s Scripture).

Many attempt to “make deals with God.” If He will just help them out of their difficulty, they will turn to Him. Some legitimately come to personal faith in Christ. Others, however, have a religious high, mere temporary self-reformation. Still others had no intention of ever doing right—they just wanted to treat God like Santa Claus (“gimme, gimme, gimme”). In the end, however, they manifest themselves as fools. God sees who has a heart of faith in His Word to them, and who is simply speaking empty words out of an ungrateful (wicked and unbelieving) heart.

Hebrews 4:12-13: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

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!

Just As I Am #4

Saturday, July 22, 2017

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:30,31 KJV).

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

“Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind,
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

The sinner comes to Jesus Christ with nothing to offer—not a scintilla of righteousness, not an ounce of worthiness, and not one smidgen of spiritual sight. Apart from the Spirit of God, he or she is completely and totally destitute of anything that really matters. However, once the Gospel of Grace is heard, once the righteousness of God is evident, once the grace of God is known, once the light from the Word of God penetrates that dark heart, the sinner fades away in his or her own sight and sees the sufficiency of and in Christ. What a stunning revelation! All the sinner needs, all that the sinner has sought, it is in Christ Jesus!

In Christ, the sinner finds “wisdom!” In Christ, the sinner finds “righteousness!” In Christ, the sinner finds “sanctification!” In Christ, the sinner finds “redemption!” Dear friends, it is in God’s design that everything we need, He furnished it to us in Christ. He did this deliberately, that there never, ever be boasting on the Christian’s part. No one in Christ will be right in saying, “God chose me to serve Him because of my education! God chose me to serve Him because of my decency! God chose me to serve Him because of my holiness! God chose me to serve Him because of my payment for sin!” No! Boasting is “excluded” because self is excluded (Romans 3:27,28). “Ye are complete in Him,” not in yourselves (Colossians 2:10).

When the saved sinner feels compelled to boast, let that saved sinner remember well who gave him or her everything now possessed: “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord!”

NOTE: The Grace School of the Bible Summer Family Bible Conference will begin tonight, July 22, at 7PM Central U.S. Time. It will be broadcasted live via internet from outside Chicago, IL, running until Thursday, July 27. There will be over two-dozen grace preachers talking about a variety of Bible topics. For more information (times, topics, and speakers), download the brochure from http://understandgrace.com/conferences/summer-family-bible-conference/. The live video feed will be available here: http://shorewoodbiblechurch.org/primarystream.html.

Not Worthy

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18 KJV).

What hope in such a hopeless world!

Our world abounds with sickness, suffering, and death. My family recently learned a relative has been diagnosed with malignant (and terminal) brain cancer. Another relative’s great-granddaughter, age 2, just died of a defective lung. I have an online teenage friend whose cancer has returned. One elderly sister in Christ, after suffering bronchitis for days, has now developed pneumonia. Her husband suffered internal bleeding—losing half of his body’s volume!—and nearly died weeks ago. An elderly neighbor has bronchitis (which may turn to pneumonia). Another elderly neighbor died of pneumonia weeks back. Horrible!

Physical sickness and resulting death undoubtedly make this fallen creation most painful. While we should take care of our bodies, they are only temporary. No matter how much we diet or exercise, or take medications, we all have to die of something eventually (mostly true). That parenthetical statement is very important, for surely there will be a group of Christians living when Jesus Christ comes at the Rapture to take His Body to Heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:15,17). They will never, ever see death: their bodies will simply be transformed. We may be that generation of Christians—or, maybe not. I know of many Christians who have been waiting for 40 or 50 years, and they, because of advanced age, may very well go the way of death if the Lord tarries much longer. (We may find ourselves there in the coming decades.)

Remember, brethren, every day of the Dispensation of Grace holds back the wrath of God from being poured out on our world. There has been nearly 2000 years of God offering His grace, and yes, that grace will have to be withdrawn someday. Let us not be selfish. Lost souls still need to be saved in Christ before that righteous judgment comes. The only way this is possible is if God extends the curse another day, postpones the Second Coming of Christ for another day, delays that earthly kingdom of healing and restoration another day. Deliverance will come, but there are more important things on God’s schedule at the moment.:)