My Father’s Business #18

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

Going all the way back to Abraham, God in His grace had offered to bless and make Israel His people in Earth. However, Israel rejected God’s grace and insisted on making herself God’s people. She preferred the Law, performing to get the blessing. Exodus chapter 19: “[5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” That expression “if…then” is serious, for Israel must perform absolutely perfectly in religion or she will never be God’s people. Here is the Old Covenant.

Jeremiah 31:32 says, “…the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:….” While Israel promised to obey God’s every command (“All that the LORD hath spoken we will do”—Exodus 19:8), she did not. Like Adam, Israel sinned! “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4).

Israel refused God’s purpose and plan for her, ultimately opposing Him when He sent His Son (Jesus Christ) to minister to them. Her people overwhelmingly had no interest in doing Jesus’ “Father’s business.” She did not want to glorify Him in the Earth, and did not desire to reach the idolatrous Gentiles with God’s Word. It was Israel who conspired with the Roman government to crucify her Messiah. Moving into the Acts period, unbelief and resistance remain among the majority of the Jews. Here, God, rather than pouring out wrath, inaugurates a plan that He has kept hidden in Himself. He begins to form a heavenly people, according to a heavenly purpose He devised long ago….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is that sinless perfection in Matthew 5:48?

My Father’s Business #13

Friday, January 17, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

The word “dispensation” appears four times in a King James Bible. “For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me” (1 Corinthians 9:17). “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” (Ephesians 1:10). “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward” (Ephesians 3:2). “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God” (Colossians 1:25).

In Greek, “dispensation” is “oikonomia,” from which our English word “economy” is derived (they have similar pronunciations). The Greek term literally means “house rules”—a set of guidelines a master has laid out so his household runs as he sees fit. In Scripture, a “dispensation” is thus: “a unique set of instructions God distributes [dispenses] for man’s faith and obedience during a particular time.” God’s message to and dealings with mankind have changed through time because man has changed. We now analyze the above four passages in light of this information.

God has given to the Apostle Paul a body of Good News (Gospel)—“a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me” (1 Corinthians 9:17). The Divine truths revealed to Paul were imparted to him that he may then teach us, thereby being the final installment of God’s Word to man—“the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God” (Colossians 1:25). Jesus Christ entrusted Paul with an exclusive body of doctrine—“the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward” (Ephesians 3:2). (We will expound Ephesians 1:10 later.)

Our goal in dispensational Bible study is to see the Apostle Paul as God’s spokesman to us during His current affairs or “business” with man….

My Father’s Business #12

Thursday, January 16, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

In “time past,” the nation Israel was spiritually advantaged. Given God’s Word (Romans 3:1,2), they were to then believe it, accept their King (Jesus), and ultimately teach the Gentiles in His kingdom. Alas, Israel refused Jesus, demanding His crucifixion on Calvary’s cross. Her religious leaders shouted, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15)! Christ died the death of the worst criminal—but then resurrected victoriously! He returned to His Father in the third heaven as a rejected exile. The Holy Spirit descended and empowered the 12 Apostles (Matthias being Judas Iscariot’s replacement) to preach and call Israel to repentance. Israel ardently declined to change her mind: even now, she would not have Jesus.

Unfortunately, Israel’s unbelief culminated with her stoning the Prophet Stephen in Acts chapter 7. Stephen’s sermon was her final chance to turn to JEHOVAH God in faith so she could do her “Father’s business.” Alas, she fell, losing her spiritual position before God. Leading Israel’s rebellion against Jesus Christ was a religious leader named Saul of Tarsus. As unbelieving Saul was en route to arrest fellow Jews for believing on Jesus as Messiah; the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ intercepted him in grace, mercy, and peace (Acts chapter 9). Saul, having now believed on Christ, is commissioned as the Apostle Paul. The Lord orders Paul to go to the Gentiles with a new Gospel message.

The Holy Spirit moved Paul to pen in Romans chapter 11: “[11] I say then, Have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: [14] If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.” Here is our “Father’s business….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “When Paul says ‘there is no difference,’ is he referring to people outside the Body of Christ, or in it?

A Saviour Who Will Save

Thursday, January 2, 2020

“…Jesus Christ of Nazareth… Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:10,12 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us who alone can save man from the everlasting hellfire he deserves!

A frequent objection made against Christianity is that every religion has “good” members, and to ignore them and limit heaven to a few Christians is unfair. This is a defected notion. How does one arrive at a definite conclusion when there is no one standard to gauge everyone’s “goodness?” They are “good” according to whom, according to what standard? Remember, relative morality actually does not help the sinner—he may be a “better” sinner than another, but he is also a “worse” sinner than yet another, and whether “better” or “worse,” he is still a sinner!

The God of the Bible has a simple method for determining righteousness. Today, He sees two types of people—saints and lost people. While both groups were born in sins (Ephesians 2:1-3), “shapen in iniquity [in the womb]” (Psalm 51:5), and “condemned already” (John 3:18), only the saints have come to realize their lost state. Job asked in Job 9:2, “How should a man be just [righteous, acceptable] with God?” Saints have come to the acknowledgement that they needed God’s righteousness, that they had a massive sin debt that they could never satisfy, that their “righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), that they could never possibly make themselves right before a holy God (He is the standard; Romans 3:23). The lost people, however, do not realize they are lost, for they believe their religious works “score points” with God and make up for their sinful deeds (2 Corinthians 4:3,4). They ignore the finished crosswork of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for their sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

Saints have come by faith to Jesus Christ, whose name literally means, “Anointed Saviour” (cf. Psalm 2:2; Matthew 1:21). As the writer of the book of Hebrews said, “[Jesus] is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him” (7:25). Literally, no world religion has such a “Saviour” as Jesus Christ!

The Misunderstood Messiah #5

Monday, December 30, 2019

“Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God” (John 8:41 KJV).

Did you ever notice the magnitude of the insult put forth toward Jesus Christ in today’s Scripture?

Once Christ replied with sound doctrine (verses 42-47), Israel’s religious leaders simply resorted to name-calling again (verse 48): “Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” A Samaritan was half-Jew/half-Gentile, and “the Jews [had] no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9). Notice Jesus was insulted twice more—they called Him a “Samaritan” and “devil possessed.” Throughout the rest of John chapter 8, Israel’s religious leaders continue arguing with Jesus and nearly stone Him to death (verse 59)!

Why did Jesus not simply “zap” these religionists and instantly throw them into hellfire? They belittled and blasphemed Him several times in this one account, and then attempted to murder Him, but rather than Jesus killing them with His spoken word (which would have been justified), He only conversed with them. Why?

Remember, when the Apostles James and John saw how the Samaritans refused to accommodate Jesus, they asked Him if He wanted them to call down fire from heaven and consume those sinners, He replied, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:55,56). This First Coming of Christ was His “meek and lowly” coming: He did not come to judge man’s sins, but to die for them!

Even today, God is still not pouring out His wrath on wicked mankind (2 Corinthians 5:19), creatures who still snicker at Jesus Christ, deceive others in His name, persecute His saints, ignore His Word, and “rub His nose” in their sins. Lost mankind is wasting God’s grace and mercy that He is offering so freely. When His grace is finally exhausted, the undiluted wrath that has accumulated will finally be poured out (His Second Coming). May we trust Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour now so we have our sins forgiven now, lest we face that angry, righteous God in judgment (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)!

For more information, you may also see our archived Bible Q&A: “Did God ‘rape’ Mary?

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing #5

Saturday, December 7, 2019

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:14-17 KJV).

The final verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King!”

Religion has done an excellent job (wrongly) teaching us that God likes to rehabilitate humans—that He wants to make us quit doing certain things (“fleshly”) and make us start doing other things (“churchy”). What a very shallow, and actually a false, perception. God wants to do much more than what we could ever do by ourselves.

For good works to reign in our lives, God has to kill us! As sinners, in Adam, we are dead in our trespasses and sins, no life in ourselves (see today’s Scripture). Nothing we can do in our own strength will ever change our (sinful) nature in Adam. However, God offers us death to Adam and a new identity through Christ at Calvary. When we trust that Jesus Christ died for our sins, in God’s mind, we died to sin, too. Christ did not simply die for us but as us. Romans chapters 5 through 8 describe the victory is in Christ, not in Adam or in ourselves. Success is by the power of the Holy Ghost working with the grace doctrines we study and believe, not in our struggles to do right. And so, “Christ [is] formed in [us]” (Galatians 4:19).

Something about which the angels cannot sing, but we can, should, and do! 🙂

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing #4

Friday, December 6, 2019

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:8-11 KJV).

The fourth verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Come, Desire of nations come
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Oh, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart!
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”

Angels can sing about God’s operations, but, unlike us humans, they cannot sing about salvation in Jesus Christ. When we read today’s Scripture, there should be leaping for joy! The God of creation, the God of the Holy Bible, the God of Christianity, has attempted to mend the broken relationship between Him and us. He has done everything to save us from our sinful selves and our utter foolishness. He can do no more than Calvary. Those merits of Christ’s finished crosswork cannot benefit us individually unless we individually appropriate them by faith. There is no merit in our faith, but there is immeasurable merit in what Jesus Christ did. We either agree with God by faith that Calvary’s finished crosswork is enough, or we ignore it and continue on our way to eternal hellfire. Simple indeed!

Reading from 2 Corinthians chapter 5: “[19] To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Do we agree with God by faith?

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should we pray to ‘bind evil spirits?’