The Greatest Veteran

Sunday, November 11, 2018

“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15 KJV).

Today is Veterans’ Day in the United States, so let us especially thank the “Greatest Veteran of All Time.”

We thank veterans, living and departed, the often-forgotten men and women who risked their lives to secure our freedom. Just as we remember flesh-and-blood veterans who fought for our physical liberty, we reserve our worship and utmost respect for the least esteemed Veteran, He who secured our spiritual liberty.

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). Through Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary, we have eternal victory over sin, death, hell, and Satan. Everything that God has planned for us is dependent upon Christ’s victory at Calvary.

Jesus Christ nailed the Mosaic Law to His cross (today’s Scripture). His sinless blood covered our failure to obey God’s laws; Jesus’ righteousness annulled our unrighteousness (sin). Christ not only liberated us from sin and its penalty (the everlasting lake of fire), but today’s Scripture affirms He also triumphed over Satan himself!

Christ has “spoiled [destroyed] principalities and powers [Satan’s power], he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it [His cross].” Jesus Christ destroyed Satan’s plans. Through Christ’s cross, God has “delivered us from the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13), Satan’s evil system of Ephesians 2:1-3.

During a recent cemetery visit, I noticed American flags flying above deceased veterans’ headstones. These individuals can no longer hear or regard our thanks, but Jesus Christ’s body is not decaying in some tomb. If there ever was a Veteran most worthy of our gratitude, it is our Lord Jesus Christ. Though He died in battle, allowing Himself to be executed on a Roman cross of shame and scorn, He resurrected. He is alive and well today, alive forevermore!

Saints, eternity will ring with our thanks to the Veteran worth thanking, the Lord Jesus Christ.

*Adapted from our 2010 Bible study, “The Greatest Hero.” The Bible study video can be viewed here.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Acts 19:13-16?

The Debtor, Ready and Unashamed!

Friday, November 9, 2018

I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Romans 1:14-16 KJV).

Behold, dear brethren, Pauline evangelism in one succinct passage!

  • “I am debtor” (verse 14) — “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.” The Apostle Paul understood that he had an obligation or duty to preach the Gospel of the Grace of God to all people—whether Greek or Barbarian (non-Greek), both the “cultured and educated” and the “unrefined and simple.” “…Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle,… a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity” (1 Timothy 2:5c-7).
  • “I am ready” (verse 15) — “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.” Paul was prepared, aware of his marching orders, and compliant with the Holy Spirit’s working within him. “[Christ] Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily” (Colossians 1:28,29).
  • “I am not ashamed” (verse 16) — “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Paul knew that just as Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection was sufficient payment for his sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), that Gospel of Grace was trustworthy in taking care of all the sins of all those precious souls to whom he preached so fervently. If they would simply believe that Gospel message, God’s power would yank them from their path to Hell and send them on their way to Heaven!

Why Death Loses

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57 KJV).

Behold, the deathblow to death!

Secular scientists claim “natural selection” (the heart of evolutionary theory) is nature’s mysterious method of “selecting” against weak and sickly traits while simultaneously ensuring beneficial characteristics are passed on to offspring. Organisms, if they do not adapt to their environments, die (making reproduction impossible). (On a larger scale, such vague genetic “selections” allegedly originated Earth’s millions of species of life over four billion years.) Since natural resources are limited, not all members of all species can survive anyway. Death is therefore viewed as advantageous: it eliminates the bad, that the good may have a chance to exist and thrive.

Indeed, it makes perfect sense in the lost person’s mind, but we with spiritual eyes simply cannot agree that death is suitable. Romans 5:12 declares: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:….” Originally, immediately after Creation, sin and death were nonexistent on planet Earth. It was not until Adam, the first man, intentionally followed Satan did our world (and human race) fall. Death made its grand entrance all those millennia ago… and has been stealing from us ever since!!

If death were “natural”—God’s intention from the very beginning—then He would have no reason whatsoever to abolish it with resurrection! Today’s Scripture in context: “[53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. [54] So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. [55] O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? [56] The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. [57] But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. [58] 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.”

Death loses simply because the Lord Jesus Christ resurrected and won, thereby giving us the victory too!

Bible Q&A 545: “O ye of little faith?

Powerful Service

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13 KJV).

Christian friend, is your life functionally dead? Here is the “jumpstart” to restore your spiritual energy!

We all tend to get “burned out” eventually. Actually, some of us take “breaks” for years! For those still going, it may be “low-energy”—just barely getting by. Love for God, His Word, and fellow man has waned to little or nothing. Perhaps, dear friend, you know firsthand how that is a sure way to utter misery!

It is easy to know the Bible, but unless we believe it, God’s indwelling Holy Spirit will not “effectually worketh” in us (today’s Scripture). “Effectually worketh” is the Greek word “energeo,” from which we derive “energy.” A related word is found in the classic verse, Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful [energes]….” When God’s Word is trusted, there results great activity. It was by these spoken words of God that He made the worlds from nothing (Hebrews 11:3)! What high-energy there!

God’s power will work in us when we put God’s Word within us. His Spirit will take His inspired words and work to produce His desired results. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). “Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily” (Colossians 1:29). Paul provided two illustrations. Firstly, Galatians 2:8: “(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:).” Secondly, Galatians 3:5, “He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”

Dearly beloved, may we take the King James Bible, especially Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, and believe what we read. That is the key to getting God’s power operating in our lives. There is no need to be “low-energy!”

Bible Q&A #515: “Why could the disciples not cast out the devil in Matthew 17:14-21?

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?’

The Work of the Ministry #5

Friday, June 29, 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!

What is the difference between doing good works to become a Christian and doing good works because one is a Christian? The flesh works to (try to) become a Christian whereas God works in the Christian. “The love of Christ constraineth [compels, motivates] us…” (2 Corinthians 5:14). Grace motivation, love motivation, underlies Christian good works.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12,13). “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us (Ephesians 3:20). Paul spoke of “the gift of the grace of God given unto [him] by the effectual working of his power(Ephesians 3:7). “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” (Philippians 1:6).

“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me (1 Corinthians 15:10). See Colossians 1:29, which we read earlier: “Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”

First Thessalonians 2:13 says, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” When we believe God’s Word to us, God the Holy Spirit will take that Word and work in our hearts and lives to produce His desired results….