Shine as Lights #8

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Philippians 2:14-16 KJV).

Shine as lights, brethren, shine as lights!

While Paul ministered for 35 years throughout the Roman Empire, he risked his life daily. As he preached the Gospel of the Grace of God, an “illegal religion,” he suffered greatly at the hands of unbelieving, sinful men—imprisonments, beatings, lashings, muggings, deaths!, and so on (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). Sometimes, he lacked food, clothing, and shelter (Philippians 4:11-13). How many modern “feel-good” preachers would endure this for Christ’s sake?

Today’s Scripture concludes: “…that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” Despite all the Apostle’s suffering, something thrilled his heart beyond words. A mighty of harvest of souls had resulted! His time and energy were not wasted! One day, he would see those former idol-worshipping pagans stand in Heaven, there only because of Christ’s finished crosswork! But, there was more. They had not only believed that Gospel of Grace for justification unto eternal life—they had believed it to enjoy eternal life daily. Now, the Lord Jesus Christ would accept their work, their Christian service, at the Judgment Seat of Christ. They had shined as lights in the world; they had held forth the word of life!

These dear souls, once Hell-bound, now in Heaven, will be Paul’s reason for praising God! First Thessalonians 2:19,20: “[19] For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? [20] For ye are our glory and joy.” Philippians 4:1: “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” Paul did not “run in vain” when he initially preached the Gospel to them. Neither had he “laboured in vain” when he spent time teaching them daily grace living….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How do we not live after the flesh if we live in bodies of flesh?

Shine as Lights #7

Monday, May 22, 2017

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Philippians 2:14-16 KJV).

Shine as lights, brethren, shine as lights!

We should “do all things without murmurings and disputings,” that we be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom [we] shine as lights in the world—us “holding forth the word of life”—that the Apostle Paul may “rejoice in the day of Christ.” “The day of Christ” is “the Judgment Seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:9,10)—when Christians are rewarded for their service to their Saviour while they lived in this present evil world.

Read Philippians chapter 1: “[6] Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:…. [9] And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; [10] That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. [11] Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”

Notice verse 6 above points to Philippians 2:13, a verse that heads today’s Scripture: God is working in us “both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Until “the day of Jesus Christ,” the Holy Spirit has sealed us: He is working in us, so we should not “grieve”/sadden Him (Ephesians 4:30) or “quench”/hinder Him (1 Thessalonians 5:19). God’s grace teaches us how to live (Titus 2:11-14). We are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are dead to sin; we are alive unto God (Romans chapter 6). We who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts; if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:24,25).

We return to Philippians….

Shine as Lights #6

Sunday, May 21, 2017

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Philippians 2:14-16 KJV).

Shine as lights, brethren, shine as lights!

“Holding forth the word of life….” As we reprove the works of darkness by preaching and living the truth (Ephesians 5:1–6:9), so we “hold forth the word of life” by preaching and living it. “Holding forth” means “identifying it, paying attention to it, seizing it, and extending it to others.” Notice related usages. Jesus “marked” how some guests chose prominent positions at the feast (Luke 14:7). The lame man “gave heed” to Peter and John, expecting to receive something (Acts 3:5). Paul decided to “stay” for a while in Asia while he sent Timothy and Erastus into Macedonia (Acts 19:22).

“The word of life,” of course, is the Holy Bible, especially rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15). Jesus said: “It is the spirit that quickeneth [gives life to and makes active]; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Peter replied: “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (verse 68). “Life” here is God’s life—how God lives—how Jesus Christ lives—how we Christians (should) live. God created physical life from nothing by using His spoken Word; He provides spiritual life similarly.

When we “hold forth the word of life,” we urge others to receive it (after all, eternal life through Christ is a gift offered—Romans 6:23). Again, we are not merely preaching the Gospel of Grace; we are living it. Titus 2:11,12,14 says: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;…. [14] [Christ Jesus] gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Let us see the result….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the difference between a disciple and an apostle?

Shine as Lights #5

Saturday, May 20, 2017

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Philippians 2:14-16 KJV).

Shine as lights, brethren, shine as lights!

No matter our country, it is a “crooked and perverse nation.” Governed by Satan, “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), it is thus turned away from God and wholly corrupt. (That evil world system will remain until the Lord Jesus Christ’s Second Coming.) God has left us on this planet as “outposts of the third heaven.” Since we are from another world (“the kingdom of [God’s] dear Son”), we are to behave differently from this world controlled by “the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13).

“…Among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” In the midst of the unbelieving masses, we Christians live—nay, rather, we shine. As luminous celestial bodies contrast the deep, dark recesses of outer space, so we “stick out” in this lost and dying world. We are lighthouses, guiding souls away from danger and destruction. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, describing Israel’s believing remnant, excerpted: “[14] Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. [15] Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. [16] Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

Ephesians chapter 5 adds: “[7] Be not ye therefore partakers with them [children of disobedience, verse 6]. [8] For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: [9] (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; ) [10] Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. [11] And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” We return to Philippians….

Given Versus Came #3

Friday, February 24, 2017

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17 KJV).

One is distant; the other is near.

Hebrews chapter 12 summarizes the drastic change in how God dealt the Israelites when they rejected His grace and preferred a performance-based acceptance system: “[18] … the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, … blackness, and darkness, and tempest, [19] And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: [20] (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: [21] And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake: )….”

With the institution of the Mosaic Law (delineated in Exodus chapter 20), JEHOVAH God became distant and severe. If there was so much as an animal that touched Mount Sinai, God demanded it be killed! A man was to be put to death if he touched Sinai! Israel, up to this point, had not been fearful of God. They had seen God deal harshly with Egypt, but not with them. Now, they literally tremble as the Old Covenant is ratified!

Friend, the Law is not the sinner’s friend. No, the Law is not flawed: God’s Law is “holy, just, and good” (Romans 7:12). However, it is “weak through [our] flesh” (Romans 8:3). The Law “worketh wrath” (Romans 4:15). We cannot measure up to God’s righteous standards. Not only are our deeds evil; we, by nature, in heart, are evil (Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 7:11). The Law exposes our sinful nature and deeds: “For by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). “The strength of sin is the law” (1 Corinthians 15:56b). The Law only highlights our failures. It was intended to teach Israel they could not be God’s people based on their efforts!

As long as they had a performance-based acceptance system, their religious works being the issue, God would always be distant, displeased, offended, and angry. They would need JEHOVAH God to institute a more advantageous, and personal, system….

Given Versus Came #2

Thursday, February 23, 2017

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17 KJV).

One is distant; the other is near.

In Exodus 19:1-8, Israel accepted God’s Covenant of Law. They will be His people only if they obey His Law. How does God react? How is His relationship with Israel changed? Their wish is granted via an extremely frightening encounter with Him!

“[9] And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD. [10] And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, [11] And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. [12] And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: [13] There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.”

“[16] And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. [17] And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. [18] And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. [19] And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.”

The dreadful Law of God will be implemented….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why is Hell forever if life on Earth is but decades?

He Who Knew No Sin

Thursday, June 2, 2016

“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” (2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV).

What does the Bible mean—Christ “knew” no sin?

The Greek word translated “knew” (ginosko) in today’s Scripture in the King James Bible, is rendered “had” in six modern English versions. That is, “had no sin” is found in: NIV, NIV-UK, Easy-to-Read Version (ERV), Expanded Bible (EXB), International Children’s Bible (ICB), and New Century Version (NCV). While this rewording avoids copyright infringements, it is a poor translation. Out of 50 English versions, only these six use “had.” The majority—agreeing with the KJV—renders ginosko as “knew.” Why is “knew” superior?

Jesus did not merely “have no sin.” As someone once pointed out, “had” allows the possibility that Jesus had personal sins that God did not simply credit to His account. Nay, our KJV has the correct reading—“who knew no sin.” As 1 John 3:5 says: “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” And 1 Peter 2:22 confirms: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth….” Jesus had no sins for Father God to reckon because He never “knew” (experienced) sin! Our Lord Jesus had no relationship with sin like we. How was this possible?

The Lord Jesus was far from a “good man” and “great teacher.” He was the perfect Man, God manifested in our humanity. There is no way a man cannot sin… unless, of course, he lacks a human father. So, the Lord Jesus did not have a biological earthly father. Therefore, he had no Adamic sin nature to inherit. He merely had a human mother, with God the Holy Spirit supplying the male sex cell. Notice Luke 1:35: “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” That “holy thing” was Jesus’ sinless human nature, contrasted with our “unclean thing,” or sinful human nature (cf. Isaiah 64:6).

Without a sin nature, Jesus could never “know” sin!