Understanding Your Apostle Paul

Friday, May 20, 2022

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” (Romans 11:13 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand your Apostle Paul?

“Who is your Apostle?” Had the professing church correctly answered that question through these last 2,000 years, Christianity’s testimony would be far more potent because we would actually know God’s will better than the world knows Satan’s policy of evil. Alas, the average church member is totally unable to discern and combat bad doctrine—and it is not God’s fault!

Regarding what the Bible titles “time past,” God was forming the nation Israel, distinguishing the world between “circumcision” (Jew) and “uncircumcision” (non-Jew, Gentile). “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:…” (Ephesians 2:11,12). Yet, in “but now,” God has erected a new arrangement: “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (verse 13). Today, there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—all can come to God by faith in Christ’s finished crosswork alone and join the Church the Body of Christ.

In the context of today’s Scripture, we learn: “[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:….” Here is Paul’s ministry, the Lord sending this man to notify us of the dispensational change from “time past” to “but now” (Acts 26:16-18). We therefore see God’s current operations are confined to Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. Appealing to other Scriptures to find God’s will for today is how Christendom has failed miserably in using God’s Word God’s way—and look at the disastrous results!

A Higher Education: It Is Up to You!

Thursday, May 19, 2022

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 KJV).

Sixteen years ago today, I graduated high school. Consequently, we dedicate this devotional to high school students who are nearing graduation.

Are you about to graduate high school? What would God have you do afterward? Go to college? Trade school? Something else? What career should you pursue? If you do plan on education after high school, where should you attend school? These are tough questions, and while God’s Word does not answer them, you can make decisions that conform to sound Bible doctrine—that is God’s will.

In today’s Scripture, Paul encourages downcast Timothy. Timothy was considerably younger than the Apostle Paul. Older people who are teaching false doctrine are intimidating young Timothy: “Tim, you are too young to teach God’s Word. Let us handle it.” Young Timothy conceded, became silent, and allowed the (“older and wiser”) false teachers to continue teaching their damnable heresies (cf. 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 1:5-8). Paul replied, “Timothy, Speak up! Let no man despise thy youth!”

Christian youth can be just as effectual in their station in life as Christian adults. The lost world is watching us Christians, and we need to be sure that our actions are in accordance with the sound Bible doctrine we claim to believe (lest we be guilty of confusing the already-puzzled unbelievers). Whether “young or old,” our speech, our lifestyle, our acts of love, our determination, our belief in sound Bible doctrine, and our separation from that which God hates, is the way we communicate to the lost world God’s Word and its preeminence in our lives and hearts (today’s Scripture).

Above all, dear graduates, whatever you do post-graduation, “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17). After all, it really is not your life—it is Christ’s life in you (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:4), so He alone deserves the glory! 🙂

*Based on a Bible study by the same name, which can be read here. Also, see the study “The Spirit-Filled Student.”

By the way, you may also be interested in reading this archived special-edition study about my own college experience.

Understanding Right Division

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

“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 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand right division?

Observe professing “Christianity.” For decades and centuries, literally tens of thousands of denominations, sects, and cults have tirelessly vied for the title of “the church Jesus founded.” Any appeal to the Holy Bible to settle disputes appears hopeless, for they all cite their “proof-texts” or favorite verses with which they have thoroughly familiarized themselves. Someone of a world religion or no religion is far too disinclined to ever associate with any of these “Christian” institutions. “If this chaos is ‘following Jesus,’ I will gladly die a pagan!”

Heaven, if the name means anything, is totally unlike Earth. Surely, God Himself can and will resolve the religious confusion around us. How will He do it? Why, today’s Scripture is surely the solution. Once we eliminate the “man-pleasing,” we can see what is God-pleasing. The way we have God’s approval is “study… rightly dividing the word of truth.” Compare two simple passages. The Apostle Peter preached in Acts 3:21: “[Jesus Christ] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 16:25,26: “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:….”

Scripture is divided into “prophecy” (what God spoke by His prophets since the world began—that which is outside of Paul’s epistles or doctrinal letters, Romans through Philemon) and “mystery” (what God did not speak by His prophets since the world began but has now revealed through Paul’s epistles). “Mystery” truth is what God Himself is doing today in “but now;” if we want to learn God’s will for us, let us hear mystery truth. If we are patterning our lives after something else, including prophetic truth, we are outside of God’s will.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Jesus Christ Himself never water baptize anyone?

Understanding Your Purpose

Sunday, May 15, 2022

“Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 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 1:9,10 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand your purpose?

As human society continues spiraling downward and away from the truths of the Creation Week in Genesis chapters 1 and 2, it becomes increasingly ignorant of just why we are here. Prevailing thought today is that the heavens and the earth originated from some still inexplicable, random interaction of natural laws 14 billion years ago. Life is but an accident, meaningless. Our world is “unplanned.” We are just “highly evolved animals.” It is this depreciating of human life that has contributed to abortion on-demand, environmentalism, suicide, tyranny, violence, bloodshed, and all the other tragedies preventing the human race from ever enjoying real (!) progress (!).

If there is no God, no higher power of any kind, and we exist “just by chance,” then there really is no incentive for us to do right. Our accomplishments—no matter how grand—will all count for nothing because there is no one to make a final, decisive evaluation of them. Life is worthless, with no eternal significance. It makes no difference what we do. “Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32). This is precisely where natural-man thinking gets us, and exactly where human society is at this very moment, self-destructing because it is too prideful to come by faith to its Creator and submit to His plan for the heaven and the earth (Romans 1:18-32)!

Today’s Scripture explains that Father God has one overall aim for the heaven and the earth. Why do they exist? Why do we exist? No matter what sinful mankind purposes to do or actually does, God will ultimately exalt the Lord Jesus Christ in both realms. We can participate by faith—or not. Regardless, the life of Christ will fill the entire universe one day and He will be glorified throughout the endless ages to come. In that day, creatures with eternal life will finally bring to pass the Creator’s original objective!

God’s “Imperceptible” Work #4

Thursday, May 12, 2022

“And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them” (Exodus 2:23-25 KJV).

Beloved, the LORD is never idle, so may we grow in His words to better see His works….

God is neither “asleep” nor “on vacation;” He is quite alive and alert. Are we? He does care, having appointed a day when He will lift the curse of sin, restore creation to its original state, punish evil, and cause righteousness to prevail in the Earth. That is Christ’s glorious Second Coming of Revelation chapter 20. However, the prophetic program to which all these events belong is momentarily suspended.

The Apostle Peter himself ultimately realized that in 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack [lazy, inattentive] concerning his promise [coming in wrath], as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Peter learned this from the Apostle Paul (see verses 15,16); we should ascertain it too. God’s wrath is delayed because the Dispensation of Grace has interrupted prophecy, thereby allowing people to come to faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork alone, before that wrath does fall. Saul of Tarsus himself experienced that truth firsthand in Acts chapter 9 (cf. 1 Timothy 1:12-17).

Why does God not hurry up and accomplish His will in the Earth by judging sin now? He is forming the Church the Body of Christ, His heavenly people. Indeed, this world is a mess (Genesis chapter 3! Romans chapter 1! Romans chapter 8!)—and it will only worsen because it is headed for the Tribulation or Daniel’s 70th Week. Israel’s national restoration is delayed, for God is doing something amongst the Gentiles through Paul’s ministry (Romans 9–11); this parallels the LORD waiting to redeem Israel from Egypt until He had wrought a work with Gentile Pharaoh (cf. Romans 9:17,18). By faith, brethren, we see the Lord administering the mystery program, knowing full well the prophetic program will resume when “grace and peace” finishes!

God’s “Imperceptible” Work #3

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

“And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them” (Exodus 2:23-25 KJV).

Beloved, the LORD is never idle, so may we grow in His words to better see His works….

John the Baptist prophesied: “the wrath to come… every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire…. he shall baptize you… with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor… he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:7,10-12; cf. Luke 3:7,9,16-17). Messiah (Jesus) would judge and destroy unbelievers in His fiery wrath!

Yet, as it turned out, wicked King Herod Antipas imprisoned John. With Herod unpunished, John spent many months incarcerated and eventually questioned if Jesus really was Messiah after all (Matthew 11:2-6; Luke 7:18-23). John was finally beheaded. The Lord Himself preached wrath was on its way (Matthew 13:24-30,36-42), before Israel killed Him. In early Acts, this fiery judgment was the Apostle Peter’s message on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:34-36). Even Stephen, just before his murder, saw Jesus Christ standing at the Father’s right hand, ready to return in wrath (Acts 7:55,56; cf. Psalm 110:1).

As aged, dying Peter pens his second epistle, over 30 years have passed since Christ’s earthly ministry. “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? (2 Peter 3:3,4). The mockers inquire most arrogantly, “Where is that so-called ‘wrath’ to punish us, Peter, that all you ‘believers’ have been warning about for the last three decades? It was all a lie! We have gotten away with our unbelief and other sins!”

So, what of that Divine wrath? It has been 2,000 years now—and still nothing. Rest assured, God is at work, temporarily doing something else….

God’s “Imperceptible” Work #2

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

“And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them” (Exodus 2:23-25 KJV).

Beloved, the LORD is never idle, so may we grow in His words to better see His works….

Centuries before the Israelites suffered under the Egyptians, the LORD had prophesied: “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Genesis 15:13-16). God had not forgotten about them in Egypt. He could not deliver the Jews from Pharaoh until the Gentiles living in the land of Canaan had sinned enough with their idols. Once the idolatry had provoked the LORD enough, He would throw the Gentiles out and bring Israel in.

Also, God would not liberate Israel until He judged Egypt with 10 plagues, proving His superiority to the Egyptians’ gods and goddesses (Exodus 12:12; Numbers 33:4); Pharaoh himself had been worshipped as a god. The LORD could have instantly caused Pharaoh’s death, but instead delayed it and Egypt’s ruin until He had wrought a mighty work in Egypt to cause all Gentiles to hear and fear: “For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth” (Exodus 9:15,16).

The LORD was working His will, but only imperceptibly to the natural man….

God’s “Imperceptible” Work #1

Monday, May 9, 2022

“And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them” (Exodus 2:23-25 KJV).

Beloved, the LORD is never idle, so may we grow in His words to better see His works….

A Bible teacher once wisely explained: “God’s cogs or wheels grind ever so slowly, to the point where they even look like they are not moving at all, but, rest assured, they are in motion!” The more I have thought about that since hearing it several years ago, the greater my understanding of it has become. To many—yea, likely, to most—God does not seem to be doing anything. Has He gone away on a very long vacation? Is He just sitting back in a recliner in the third heaven, twiddling His fingers and stretching out His legs as He watches our helpless society struggle with all its miseries and woes?

In chapter 1 of Exodus, the Jewish people are being mercilessly mistreated in Egypt: “And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour [cruelty, severity, harshness]: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour. And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live…. And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive” (verses 13-16,22). How could Almighty God just let His people be so brutally injured and eradicated?

Let us use the renewed mind….

Mother: A Virtuous Woman

Sunday, May 8, 2022

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10 KJV).

Today is Mother’s Day, so we dedicate this devotional to godly women (specifically mothers). I especially dedicate this to the virtuous woman who has been in my life for almost 34 years… my mom!

Today’s Scripture is the first verse of the Bible’s “Virtuous Woman” passage (Proverbs 31:10-31). King Solomon explained that the virtuous woman:

  • has a husband who safely trusts in her (verses 11,12).
  • is not lazy, but is strong because she works to feed and clothe her family and herself (verses 13-19,21,22,24,25,27).
  • pities the poor and needy (verse 20).
  • has a husband who is well-known because of her godly lifestyle (verse 23).
  • opens her mouth with wisdom, and speaks kindly and lovingly (verse 26).
  • has children and a husband who praise her (verse 28).
  • excels in what she does (verse 29).
  • has works that praise her (verse 31).

Verse 30 explains the virtuous woman is “a woman that feareth the LORD.”

The Apostle Paul wrote that godly women should: not slander/gossip, not be controlled by alcohol and emotions (sober minded), be teachers of good things, love their husbands and children, be cautious and modest, maintain the home, be “good,” and should obey (respect) their husbands… “that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5). A Christian woman, especially a mother, should be a virtuous woman in beliefs as well as in deed. She needs to set an example for her children (especially her daughters).

A Christian woman and/or Christian mother places her faith in this sound Bible doctrine, the indwelling Holy Spirit will then take that doctrine and transform her for God’s glory (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Her mind will be renewed by sound Bible doctrine, and that will transform her outward activity (Romans 12:1,2).

Are you a Christian woman or Christian mother who desires to be the woman God intends you to be in Christ Jesus? Place your faith in this sound Bible doctrine, and God will take care of the rest!

 HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO OUR READERS WHO ARE MOTHERS!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

Archived: “What does the Bible say about motherhood?

A Prayer According to God’s Will

Thursday, May 5, 2022

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;(1 Timothy 2:1-3 KJV).

On this United States’ National Day of Prayer, we pray you pray according to the Lord Jesus Christ’s will for today!

Today, religious people—the general public, clergy, and government officials—will assemble nationwide, like they do every year, and pray for spiritual and moral revival of the “Christian” (?) United States of America. We commend their noble efforts, but God’s Word says there will be no godly revival of any of the world’s Gentile nations until Jesus Christ returns to earth at His Second Coming (Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 59:20–60:3; Zechariah 8:20-23; Revelation 11:15; et cetera).

The LORD’s words to King Solomon are often quoted on this day: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Friends, this is certainly God’s Word, but has nothing to do with Gentiles in the United States in the Dispensation of Grace. This verse has a context often overlooked—the nation Israel under the Mosaic Law, praying in relation to God’s Temple in Jerusalem (verses 15,16). Actually, that Temple was destroyed over 19 centuries ago! Unlike Israel, the United States was never a divinely-founded nation. The American people as a whole are not God’s people like Israel was.

Rather than praying 2 Chronicles 7:14, remember today’s Scripture (God’s Word to us Gentiles). The verse following today’s Scripture says, “[God] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Pray for those in authority, that they would trust Jesus Christ alone as their personal Saviour, and then grow in His Word to them so they can make wise decisions on behalf of the people they govern.