The Wise Masterbuilder #15

Friday, January 19, 2018

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

The solution to Christendom’s schisms—sectarianism/denominationalism—is “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Paul is our Apostle, God’s spokesman to us Gentiles in the Dispensation of Grace (Romans 11:13; Ephesians 3:1,2): we do not exalt Paul but we “magnify” his God-given “office”/apostleship (Romans 11:13). He is the “wise masterbuilder” who laid the foundation—Jesus Christ “according to the revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25,26; cf. today’s Scripture).

We study all the Bible: we do not discard the non-Pauline Bible Books. Nevertheless, we understand that, in Paul’s epistles alone, we find our doctrine, duty, walk, destiny, and hope as members of the Church Body of Christ. Paul is not “just another world religious leader.” He has been God’s messenger to the nations these last 2,000 years—the entire Dispensation of the Grace of God. If we ignore Paul, we discount Jesus Christ who sent him to us. When we emphasize Christ’s earthly ministry (Matthew through John), we overlook His subsequent heavenly ministry (Romans through Philemon).

Whenever someone says that doctrine does not matter, remember today’s Scripture. God the Holy Spirit believed that the Corinthians should follow the Apostle Paul as he followed Jesus Christ. In the Dispensation of Grace, Paul is the “pattern”—for salvation unto eternal life and salvation from false teaching (cf. 1 Timothy 1:12-17). Do we agree with Him?

Colossians chapter 1: “[25] Whereof I [Paul] am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; [26] Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: [27] To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory!”

-FINIS!-

The Wise Masterbuilder #14

Thursday, January 18, 2018

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

We study all of the Bible—Genesis to Revelation—as God inspired it all. However, we are not the only saints in God’s Word. The nation Israel needs Scripture written to and about her: these are the non-Pauline Books. When we “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), we are simply recognizing distinctions that God has already made in His Book.

Nonetheless, most rebel and voice their excuses and objections. “I follow Jesus; I do not follow some man such as Paul!” “You throw away everything before Paul!” “You Paul-worshipper!” The Holy Spirit anticipated these protestations and mischaracterizations, as 1 Corinthians chapter 14 shows: “[37] If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. [38] But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” Pay close attention to verse 38!!

Do you remember our comments when we started? God values free will. If we want to stay biblically-confused (so as to support our denomination), if we prefer spiritual darkness (so as to keep our preconceived ideas), God will give us our way! To wit, “If you want to be without knowledge of Paul’s special ministry and message, be without knowledge!” (Unfortunately, many church members—and even most genuine Christians—have actually chosen this route. Notice, God gave them their desire!!)

However, for us who are interested in “godly edifying” (1 Timothy 1:4), we remember Paul’s words in 2 Timothy chapter 1: “[13] Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. [14] That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.”

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How was Jesus Christ crucified among the Galatians?

The Wise Masterbuilder #13

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

Today’s Scripture with its successive verses: “[10] According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. [11] For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. [12] Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; [13] Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. [14] If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. [15] If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

The Corinthians were not building proper doctrine in their inner man. Such loss of reward will be apparent at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:9,10; Colossians 3:23-25). If there is to be grace edification in our lives, we must follow the “wise masterbuilder”—Paul (today’s Scripture). Notice the admonitions throughout the first Corinthian epistle: “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me (4:15,16). Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (11:1). “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord(14:37).

To achieve spiritual maturity in the Dispensation of Grace, we follow the Apostle Paul as he follows the Lord Jesus Christ….

The Wise Masterbuilder #12

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

Earlier, 1 Corinthians chapter 2 said: “[7] But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Had Satan really known Father God would use Jesus Christ’s crucifixion to form the Church the Body of Christ, Satan would have done everything he could to keep Jesus off the cross. (Paul could not teach these immature Corinthian believers such wisdom.)

By letting Satan work through sinful Israel and sinful Rome, God let him bring about his own defeat. Colossians chapter 2: “[14] 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; [15] And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

Today, through Christ’s crosswork, God is forming the Body of Christ, an entity He is training to accomplish His will in the heavenly places in the ages to come (Ephesians 1:9-23; Ephesians 2:6,7; et cetera). The doctrine that will spiritually mature that Body is the grace principles outlined in the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon. Saints at Corinth were largely ignoring Paul’s ministry; hence, he told them to “take heed” (beware) in today’s Scripture. They were not building on the proper foundation—“the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25,26). Rather than using gold, silver, and precious stones—sound Bible doctrine, the Scriptures rightly divided—they were using wood, hay, and stubble. Israeli kingdom doctrine would not develop them; Peter and Christ’s earthly ministry were not to the nations.

Therefore, throughout 1 Corinthians, we read, “follow Paul….”

Emmanuel’s Tabernacle

Saturday, December 23, 2017

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23 KJV).

Using the Scriptures, we can date the birth of Emmanuel, Jesus Christ.

John the Baptist’s father, Zacharias, was a priest, “of the course [order] of Abia [Abijah]” (Luke 1:5). Under King David, Israel’s priests were organized into 24 courses (1 Chronicles 24:7-19). A priest from each course served a week in the Temple ministration (and thus served one week twice a year). Israel’s calendar began with Abib/Nisan, equivalent to March 16-April 15 (Exodus 12:1,2; Exodus 13:4). Passover was observed on April 14, starting Israel’s religious calendar.

Passover week (The Feast of Unleavened Bread) lasted from April 15-21. The first course of priests served in the Temple around this time. Zacharias’ course, Abijah, was the eighth course after Passover (1 Chronicles 24:10), thus placing Zacharias’ service roughly eight weeks after Passover (or June 17-23). This was the time when the angel appeared to Zacharias to announce John’s conception (Luke 1:8-22). Once Zacharias and his wife Elisabeth leave the Temple and go home, Elisabeth conceives John (late June; Luke 1:23-25).

Six months after Elisabeth conceived John in late June (Luke 1:26), Mary conceived Jesus—in late December. Contrary to religious tradition, the birthday of Christ is not December 25. Late December is the time of Christ’s conception. The conception of Christ in Mary’s womb, not Mary’s conception in her mother’s womb, is the biblical immaculate conception: it was Christ’s conception, not Mary’s, that was sinless (Luke 1:35).

If a perfect human gestation lasts 280 days (9 months), late September/early October is the time of Christ’s birth. During this time of year, recall that God had Israel observing the Feast of Tabernacles, when Jews would dwell in “booths” (tents, tabernacles) for seven days (Leviticus 23:39-44).

While Israel was observing Tabernacles in September/October, God was born as a man (Jesus Christ) of the virgin Mary, and dwelt (“tabernacled”) with them! Sadly, very few Jews paid any attention to Jesus, “Emmanuel,” “God with us” (today’s Scripture). The rest of Israel ignored “God dwelling among them” (John 1:14).

For more information, see our archived Bible Q&A: “Was Jesus born on the 25th of December?

You may also see our other archived study: “Why do people use ‘Xmas’ instead of ‘Christmas?’

Bethlehem of Judaea

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2 KJV).

Today’s Scripture, written about 700 B.C., prophesies the exact birthplace of Israel’s Messiah.

Notice the Bible is very specific: “Bethlehem Ephratah pinpoints the Bethlehem in southern Israel (there was another Bethlehem, in Galilee, northern Israel). Bethlehem of Judaea, as today’s Scripture teaches, is “little among the thousands of Judah” (a little-known village).

The Bible tells us that Bethlehem Ephratah was the birthplace of King David (1 Samuel 16:1-18). John 7:42 reads: “Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” Jesus Christ will inherit His father David’s throne, and David is a type/preview/shadow of Christ (Isaiah 9:6,7; Luke 1:31-33). Thus, they share Bethlehem Ephratah as their birthplace (cf. Luke 2:4).

“Bethlehem” is an interesting term. Jesus Christ likened Himself to the manna of the Old Testament. He claimed, “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world…. I am that bread of life: I am the bread which came down from heaven…. I am that bread of life” (John 6:33,35,41,48). Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1,5,6): “Bethlehem” is Hebrew for “house of bread.” Thus, the “Bread of Life,” Jesus Christ, was born in the “House of Bread,” Bethlehem. Fascinating!

Furthermore, Joseph (Jesus’ legal father) lived in Nazareth. When Roman emperor Caesar Augustus sent out a decree for taxing the people of the empire (conducting a census), Joseph had to leave Nazareth and go to Bethlehem of Judaea, taking pregnant Mary with him (Luke 2:1-5). Christ was born there in Bethlehem. Some 700 years beforehand, the Bible knew Joseph and Mary would not be in Nazareth for Christ’s birth, but in Bethlehem, thereby fulfilling the prophecy of today’s Scripture. Amazing!

These are evidences that the Bible is a supernatural Book—indeed, it is God’s Book.

God’s Perfect Timing

Sunday, December 17, 2017

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4,5 KJV).

As today’s Scripture indicates, the birth of Jesus Christ was no accident—God planned its exact moment from eternity past.

When God placed the first man, Adam, on earth, He purposed that man would “subdue [control] it,” to “have dominion” over it and everything on it (Genesis 1:28). Nevertheless, Adam sinned by joining Satan in his rebellion against God. Because of sin, man was now unable to accomplish on earth what God originally created him to do. God left the human race a promise, however, that there would come a Man, who would do what Adam failed to do. Instead of cooperating with God’s adversary like Adam had, this “seed of the woman” would “bruise [Satan’s] head” (Genesis 3:15).

Traveling up through the Scriptures, we see how God lays the groundwork for that seedline. In Genesis 12:1-3, or 2,000 years after Adam’s sin, we read God’s covenant with Abraham, that through Abraham a nation, Israel, will be born, and salvation and blessing will flow to the Gentiles through Israel. The seed of the woman becomes the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16).

In 2 Samuel 7:12-16, and 1,000 years after Abraham, we read of God’s covenant with King David, that “his seed” will inherit his throne and reign forever. The seed of the woman and of Abraham becomes the seed of David.

About 1,000 years after David, Matthew 1:1 speaks of Christ’s birth, and declares, “…Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” This is exactly what God had promised for thousands of years!

Jesus Christ’s birth was not some haphazard event of nature. God the Father had preplanned the exact moment of the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture). Over a period of some 4,000 years, the three members of the Godhead worked to bring about the birth of man’s Redeemer, a plan they had even before man was created! Amazing!