Words Precious

Sunday, September 23, 2018

He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD (Psalm 147:19,20 KJV).

“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Romans 3:1,2).

Ephesians 2:11-12 tells us: “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:….”

In “time past,” the nation Israel had a special privilege. She had been given the words of the living and true God. Romans 9:4,5: “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.”

Moses said to Israel in Deuteronomy 4:6-8: “Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?”

Israel, however, did not keep herself doctrinally pure. She threw aside the words of God in order to pick up the traditions of men. May we Gentiles learn from her mistake, and not repeat it! “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13). “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Doctrine Divides #3

Friday, September 14, 2018

But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles (Acts 14:4 KJV).

Have you ever heard the expression, “Doctrine divides?” Indeed, it does!

The attitude and actions of unbelieving Israel throughout the 30-year Acts period are summarized in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16: “…the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets [Stephen in Acts chapter 7; James in chapter 12], and have persecuted us [Paul, Silvanus/Silas, and Timotheus/Timothy]; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.”

Our ecumenical friends would do well to note today’s Scripture. Believers in Jesus Christ decided to follow His Apostles and keep separate from unbelieving Jews (apostates). Compromise was simply not an option: they had a legitimate reason for division. God’s enemies, although having some appearance of truth, were forcefully teaching false doctrine. It was certainly not the time for Christians to say, “All religions are the same. Some will believe in Jesus Christ and some will not. We are all children of God, so we need to try to get along with everyone. There is no need to cause trouble by splitting.”

Brethren, if we are preaching and teaching sound Bible doctrine (God’s Word rightly divided), we should not expect Satan to just sit by idly. Our Adversary will use whatever and whomever he can to corrupt us (so we change the doctrine) and—if he cannot get us to modify the doctrine—ultimately silence us (intimidation of various degrees). In the case of Paul, he utilized unbelieving Jews, unbelieving Gentiles, and even (!) fellow Christians. Satan had these “competitors” in place to obstruct God’s work through Paul and his ministry companions. Such rivals are working even today! Let us remember to side with God’s Apostle to us, Paul, even if that means leaving all others.

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate….” (2 Corinthians 6:17). “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself [from apostasy—verse 1], and them that hear thee” (1 Timothy 4:16).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did Acts 7:60 predict the Dispensation of Grace?

Doctrine Divides #2

Thursday, September 13, 2018

But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles (Acts 14:4 KJV).

Have you ever heard the expression, “Doctrine divides?” Indeed, it does!

Today’s Scripture says the city of Iconium was divided between the “unbelieving Jews” (cf. verse 2) and the apostles “Barnabas and Paul” (cf. verse 14). These two factions are a physical representation of an invisible, spiritual reality.

JEHOVAH God had given His Word—our “Old Testament” Scriptures—to the nation Israel rather than the nations (Gentiles). Romans 2:17-20 looks back in time: “Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.” Also, Romans 3:1,2: “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.”

While Israel possessed God’s Word, very few Jews had placed their faith in it. Furthermore, as we learn from Matthew through John and the Acts period, Israel corporately and persistently refused to be the vessel that God would utilize to bring that Word to Gentiles. When God turned to the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul’s new message and ministry (Acts chapter 9 onward), unbelieving Israel stalked Paul for the rest of Acts. Throughout the Roman Empire, for some 35 years, they frequently schemed to assault, discredit, and even kill him!

Ironically, the people to whom God originally gave His Word refused to believe it, declined to share it, discouraged anyone from believing it, and vehemently opposed those who preached it. Acts 13:45 again: “But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.” There is a contest between two wills, and it goes far beyond trivial religious disagreements. God and Satan are engaged in a most serious battle….

To Esteem the Greater Words #5

Monday, September 10, 2018

“Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12 KJV).

Friend, do you pay more attention to the words of men than the words of God?

Moved by the Holy Ghost, King David remarked in Psalm 19: “[7] The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. [8] The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. [9] The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. [10] More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”

How many in this materialistic, greedy world can say with David that they desire God’s words more than gold, even much fine gold?! Who claims those Divine words are sweeter than honey and the honeycomb?! How many in our deceived, gluttonous society agree with Job that they esteem God’s inspired words more than their necessary food?!

Such a Man is quoted in Isaiah 50:4,5: “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.” Here is the Lord Jesus Christ speaking of God the Father, 700 years before the former’s earthly ministry (check verse 6). Christ treasured every word that His Heavenly Father spoke to Him, so much so that He obeyed it without fail. Satan’s evil world system would not—and did not—distract Him from what information carried eternal value.

Brethren, may we be especially careful to listen to and believe Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, God’s Word to us today. “But [Jesus Christ] answered and said [to Satan], It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Most importantly, may we remember those words! 🙂

To Esteem the Greater Words #4

Sunday, September 9, 2018

“Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12 KJV).

Friend, do you pay more attention to the words of men than the words of God?

While precious few—even Christians—know it, an invisible and spiritual battle is being waged. It involves the souls of all mankind!

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; ) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Satan’s policy of evil prevents man from understanding what God wants him to know. Competing information distracts from the truths of God’s Word rightly divided. If we Christians are not vigilant, Satan will deceive even us. Therefore, we must grow to maturity in sound Bible doctrine! That is our only hope in guarding ourselves.

Ephesians 4:13-16: “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

Job, in today’s Scripture, did not have a competed Bible like we do. Yet, what divine revelation he had was highly important to him. In fact, he preferred God’s Word to eating physical food….

The Thing Which is Good

Monday, September 3, 2018

“Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Ephesians 4:28 KJV).

On this Labor Day, we talk about work, “the thing which is good.”

In this day and age of increasing “government assistance,” people are becoming less and less aware of our hard work being the Lord Jesus’ preferred method of the source of our incomes. While the physically and mentally disabled are obvious exceptions, the God of the Bible expects all of us to contribute labor in order to provide for ourselves. For children and young adults, even being a student in school is work enough!

Observe the doctrine being communicated in today’s Scripture. The grace life does not merely teach us to quit doing bad things, but it also instructs us to start doing good things (Titus 2:11,12). Once a thief trusts the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished crosswork as sufficient payment for his sins, then God expects that thief to quit stealing and find a job so he can provide for his needs!

The God of creation calls work “the thing which is good” (today’s Scripture). Work is not something to be avoided; it is something to be embraced for the Lord’s glory!

When the Lord Jesus Christ put the first man, Adam, on earth, that man had a divine commission. Adam was not to simply loaf around and do nothing: “And the LORD God took the man, and put him in the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Adam was to protect that garden, to till its ground, to prepare it for Jesus Christ to come down and dwell in with he and Eve (because of sin, that earthly kingdom over which Jesus Christ will rule is still awaiting fulfillment!).

Saints, may we work to provide for our families (1 Timothy 5:8), and may we work to help those who truly are needy (today’s Scripture). In the words of God the Holy Spirit, that is “good!” 🙂

Buried Servants, Not Buried Program

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel (Joshua 1:1,2 KJV).

Yea, “God buries His servants, but not His program.”

Moses was certainly dead: his soul has departed his body, and God Himself has buried the corpse (Deuteronomy 34:5,6). Yet, Israel will still enter the Promised Land—except under Joshua’s headship. Had it depended on Moses, it would have never happened. Moses is deceased… but God is living and in control!

While the God of the Bible uses men and women to accomplish mighty things, they are nevertheless bound to frail, temporary “houses of clay” (Job 4:19). He does not shield them from old age and ultimate physical death. Dying King David, another servant of Israel’s God, remarked, “I go the way of all the earth” (1 Kings 2:2).

These men were mighty testimonies of God’s power and grace, so why did He not spare them physical death? People ask today, “Why do the good die young and the evil live to old age?” Why does God let His servants die? He does not want them to be praised and worshipped. He is showing how it is His program, and He really does not need man’s cooperation. With or without man, God will achieve His goals in creation. He does not need us, but He does invite us to join Him! He wants to share His good pleasure with us, that it may become our good pleasure.

If we do join God’s side by faith, working with Him in His program, let us remember that it is still His program. We are not the issue. Hence, we will have a limited time on Earth to participate in His plan. Brethren, once we physically die and relocate to serve Him in the heavenly places, His purpose down here on Earth will continue (without us!!!!). It never depended on us anyway: it was here long before we were born and will remain long after we are gone. 🙂