The Person of the Year

Monday, December 31, 2018

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…” (Philippians 2:9,10a KJV).

Let us praise the 2018 Person of the Year—our Lord Jesus Christ!

Society’s most stressful time of year, the Christmas Season, is winding down. The year 2018 is nearly over, and a new year, 2019, will dawn soon. At this time every year, various groups and publications feature their particular choice for “Person of the Year.” Whether a chief of state, a philanthropist, a religious leader, a distinguished author or scientist, a television or radio personality, or some other “professional” who impacted society in a negative or positive way the most during the past year, they are all still people with limitations and frailties. One can accomplish all sorts of praiseworthy, generous, and awe-inspiring feats. However, what carries the most weight is the attitude, the heart, underlying the action, not the action. Was it Jesus Christ, or simply the flesh?

The one single event in history that pleased God the Father most was when His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, went by faith in His Word, to an awful Roman cross to suffer the worst possible and most graphic death a human ever experienced, to pay for our sins. “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Mark 1:11). It is through that finished crosswork of Jesus Christ that He is still doing mighty works, 20 centuries later. How our Lord Jesus Christ has saved countless souls from sins and hell this past year, and how He has saved innumerable Christian souls from false doctrine and spiritual ruin.

Jesus Christ, who in death defeated His greatest enemy (Satan), was raised by God the Father and is now the ascended and glorified Lord Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture). Saints, may we ever thank and praise our Saviour Jesus Christ for what He has done for us, what He has done with us, and what He will do with us next year… and all the countless ages thereafter….

NOTE: As we close another year of ministry, we look forward to serving you for another! One of our goals for 2019 is to undertake an Old Testament Survey. Written and video material will cover the “high points” of the Bible Books of Genesis through Malachi. This project has been in development for a few weeks, and should be available beginning in the first half of January. As long as our Lord Jesus Christ tarries, we aim to accomplish this (and eventually a New Testament Survey as well). By God’s grace alone, onward, higher, and faster to a new year! 🙂

Sanctified Through God’s Truth

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth (John 17:17 KJV).

Jesus Christ prayed to His Heavenly Father for His followers in Israel’s program (especially His Apostles—verse 12). He would do likewise for us today in the Dispensation of Grace.

Sanctification is not to be confused with justification. The former is to be “set apart for the purpose for which God intended;” the latter means “declared righteous before God.” One must be justified (righteousness imputed to his account) before he can be sanctified (useful to God’s work—“holy,” a “saint”).

Just moments before His arrest, Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane communes with Father God by praying throughout John chapter 17. Verse 8 is crucial to grasping today’s Scripture: “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.” Now, verse 14: “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

The Lord was not praying for His followers to be saved unto eternal life (they were already justified). What He desired was spiritual fruit, their identity in Him being manifested in the form of works. Father God’s Word—which He (Jesus) had just taught them for over three years—would be how the Holy Father would use those men for His purposes. He would send His Holy Spirit (Acts chapter 2) to empower them according to the words He had already given them in Christ’s earthly ministry. That message would be further expanded once the Holy Spirit came (see John 14:26; John 15:25-27; John 16:7-14).

“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). Saints, God’s Word to us—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—will effectually work in us on a daily basis if we believe it. Then, we too will be “sanctified through [God’s] truth!”

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. 🙂

Death in the Pot!

Friday, August 24, 2018

So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot (2 Kings 4:40 KJV).

Why is there “death in the pot?” What is the remedy?

“[38] And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth [famine] in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets. [39] And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not. [40] So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.”

Elisha, God’s prophet, instructed his servant to boil a soup for the sons of the prophets. One “son” scouted and unwittingly collected gourds from “a wild vine.” He tossed them into the pot without their knowledge. Later, the men realized they were eating toxic food! Verse 41 continues, “But [Elisha] said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.” Elisha had them bring “meal” (flour), which he threw into the soup to make it harmless. Strange! What is being communicated by this miracle?

Israel is called God’s “vine” (Isaiah 5:7; Psalm 80:8); in contrast, the wild vine is sinful, man’s efforts (note the “wild grapes” of Isaiah 5:2). Human works corrupt God’s work. However, when God’s Word is added, the evil is overcome. Scripture is likened unto bread, flour (Matthew 4:4). God’s Word can transform sinful (spiritually deadly) Israel into a blessing! “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:27). Israel has a glorious hope indeed! 🙂

Growing in Grace #1

Saturday, August 11, 2018

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18 KJV).

What does it mean to “grow in grace?”

Dear friends, it has been this author’s personal experience that, contrary to popular belief, the Holy Bible can be understood and enjoyed. Over the last decade-plus, he has come to realize just how wrong his former denominational system is! He has increasingly had to toss aside his, and others’, long-held opinions, that he may better align his mind with that of Almighty God. What a delightful, insightful journey it has been… and will continue to be!

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8). Indeed, the wisdom of God far exceeds the wisdom of men, so philosophy is not the means whereby we grasp spiritual truth. The traditions of men and the rudiments of the world are of no use to us either because none of them lead us to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians chapter 2 says: “[1] And you hath he [Father God] quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. [4] But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, [5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; )….”

The above Scriptures not only portray the evil world system in which we live, but also how Father God has labored so mightily with His Son Jesus Christ to deliver us from it. Satan and sin are responsible for the pervasive difficulties and profound suffering all around our world. Yet, in the midst of such pitiful plights, we can “grow in grace….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain 1 Corinthians 14:36?

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?

Edifying #7

Wednesday, July 11, 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).

What does “edifying” mean here?

According to Romans 16:25-26, God uses a three-fold method to “stablish” us the Church the Body of Christ. Without Paul’s Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), without his epistles (Romans through Philemon), and without the Bible in light of that Pauline revelation, we will not be spiritually stabilized.

Paul ordered Timothy in 1 Timothy chapter 1: “[3] As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, [4] Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.” Those teaching “other doctrine” are legalists, law advocates (verses 5-11). They do not embrace God’s grace, fully and freely, but rather mix law and grace, which thereby abolishes grace. They are not “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Grace is all that God does for us through Christ’s finished crosswork. However, law is our performance to please God. These systems cannot mix; otherwise, confusion and frustration will result. So many professing believers have failed to keep pure grace as their operating system. Consequently, their spiritual lives have been greatly weakened or totally destroyed (cf. 2 Peter 3:15,16). Since they lack a proper view of the Scriptures, they cannot understand those words of God. Non-dispensational Bible study has rendered them impotent. They need to be edified, built up!

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6,7). “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:20-22). They need to be taught the Scriptures according to Pauline edification! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does the Bible contain a contradiction about Solomon’s molten sea?