Just As I Am #1

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the first verse of Charlotte Elliott’s 1835 hymn, “Just As I Am.”

“Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

Over the years, this beautiful hymn has been the (appropriate) background melody for Gospel invitations. Many a lost souls had heard the Bible verses read and preached, and they had possibly seen them on the printed page. Still, they resisted the Holy Spirit’s prompting. Pride was keeping them from coming to Jesus Christ by faith. They waited. How the preacher urged them not to delay—life was fleeting, they were dying, and Hell was waiting to receive their souls! The lyrics are spoken by a lost person who is finally coming to Christ as personal Saviour.

The sinner has come to recognize his or her sinful, lost, state, that that blood of Christ was shed for the forgiveness of their sins (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). Many souls today are so blinded by works-religion they believe they are good enough for Heaven, that they do not need the atoning blood of Christ. They have been kind to others so frequently, they have prayed so fervently, they have attended church so faithfully, and they have “kept” the Law so diligently. Despite all of their busyness, they are just one breath away from a devil’s eternal hell!

As works-religion blinds precious souls today, so it did 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ walked this earth. He spoke to them in today’s Scripture. They were so weighed down with religious rules and regulations. He called to them, promising their souls rest. They were to come to Him and leave that old vain, weakly religion behind! How He is urging the lost people of the world today to come to Him and find rest for their souls!

The Love of the Truth

Sunday, July 16, 2017

“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9,10 KJV).

What is “the love of the truth?”

Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The “love of the truth” in today’s Scripture is the love of God manifested in the truth of God, and the truth of God is the Word of God (particularly the Gospel of Grace). The people in today’s Scripture rejected God’s love to them as He offered it to them in the Gospel of the Cross of Jesus Christ. That is, they “believed not the truth” (verse 12), and “the truth” is the Gospel mentioned in chapter 1.

Chapter 1 already said: “[7] And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, [8] In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:….” Those individuals consumed in the fiery wrath at Christ’s Second Coming, God had a controversy with them. They did not have an intimate relationship with Him. Why did they lack that personal bond with Him? They “obey[ed] not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Our Gospel is that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ without works (Ephesians 2:8,9). These people refused to come God’s way, so they will not be saved from God’s judgment (short-term, the Antichrist’s deception [today’s Scripture]; ultimately, hell and the lake of fire).

Returning to chapter 2, we see their punishment for their receiving not the love of the truth, that they might be saved: “[11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: [12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” They rejected God’s love manifested in the truth, so He has given them over to the lie that the Antichrist is the true Christ.

A Father to Follow

Thursday, July 13, 2017

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Ephesians 5:1,2 KJV).

Lo, a Father to follow!

Early one morning, after a snowfall, a drunkard walked from his house to the saloon. As he left footprints, he heard the snow crunching behind him. Turning around, he saw his four-year-old son. The little boy giggled, “Daddy, look, I am following in your footsteps!” Instead of going to the saloon, the man picked up his son and they went home. He never went to the saloon again!

Brethren, it is no secret that children are a reflection of their parents. Usually, people unwittingly adopt their parents’ habits. A small child told me recently he yells all the time because “my daddy does it.” Bless his little heart, but he has no idea that his daddy is not to be his pattern if his daddy disregards the Holy Word of God. While some parents do their very best to lead their children in the ways of Christian living, unfortunately, that is often not the case. Many of the world’s problems originated from individuals whose parents taught them wrongly or failed to teach them anything decent at all!

Today’s Scripture says that, in light of everything that has gone before in Ephesians, we should be “followers of God, as dear children.” We are to be cognizant of God’s love for us at Calvary, and we are to “walk in love.” The pattern for us “walking in love” is to see how “Christ also hath loved us.” He loved us even to the point of self-sacrifice—yea, literally, to the death! It is that love of Christ that makes God pleased with us: He does not smell our rotten sin or sins, but rather the wonderful fragrance of Jesus Christ! He wants what is best for us, and, if we love Him, we will listen to His words and obey them. Will we act in accordance with how He “smells” us? Remember, He is a Father worth following!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What was ‘the epistle from Laodicea?’

The Lord Jesus Christ is Everything!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:5-7 KJV).

We are not important; the Person we preach is!

Many months ago, I gave a Gospel tract to an employee at a local store. A coworker in the ministry recently informed me he had had a Bible conversation with a worker at that store. It was the same man I had dealt with! When I later spoke with a local sister in Christ, I discovered she had talked with that man about the Bible many years earlier. As it turned out, she planted the seed, and then the brother and I watered. Perhaps she actually watered too—maybe some other Christian reached him before she.

The conversion of a human soul is a slow process. It can take many years or several decades. Some people never do trust Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. They do wind up going to Hell. Still, others do get saved—but we may not live to see it. It does not really matter what we witness but rather that we witness. There is a responsibility on our part to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2). Regardless of what we see, what people do with that Word is up to them. Never do we “twist arms” or force people onto their knees. All we do is offer, extend, hold out, the plan of salvation. We cannot believe for them, but we can give them a message worthy of their belief.

Furthermore, “God… giveth the increase.” He alone can cause that word of life to impart life to the lost and dying sinner. While we want to force or rush things, we dare not. We cannot give the increase because we are powerless; we can only plant and water (along with other Christians). This is the work of the ministry, laboring with other believers, putting self aside, and endeavoring to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Saviour! He is everything!

Liberated to Serve

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 KJV).

Today, as we in the United States celebrate the 241st anniversary of our nation’s independence, we invite our Christian brethren worldwide to rejoice with us concerning our freedom in Jesus Christ.

When we proclaim Romans 6:14—“Ye are not under the law, but under grace”—people tend to assume “loose living.” Does “grace living” really mean we can now live any way we want? Lest anyone be misled in that regard, God the Holy Spirit moved the Apostle Paul to write in the next verse, “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid [May God never let that happen!]” (Romans 6:15). Grace living is not Law-keeping, but it certainly is not Law-breaking either.

God still cares how we live, albeit He is not operating the “weak and beggarly” system of “bondage” (Law) that He once did with Israel (Galatians 4:9). God proved to the entire world that since Israel could not keep His commandments perfectly, no other sons of Adam (the Gentiles) could either: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them [Israel] who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world [Gentiles] may become guilty before God (Romans 3:19).

We sinners cannot keep the Law. However, God in His grace provided us a way to escape that condemnation by sending Jesus Christ to offer Himself on Calvary’s cruel cross to pay for our sins. By simple faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the fully-satisfying payment for our sins, we can now be “made the righteousness of God in [Christ]” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We can be delivered from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire) and the power of sin (flesh-walking).

Why are we Christians free? To selfishly live any way we want? NO! Today’s Scripture says we are liberated to now serve others, especially our Christian brethren, just as Jesus Christ selflessly served His Father and selflessly died on our behalf. That is grace living!!!!

Please see our 2011 Fourth of July Bible study “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land,” which can be watched here or read here.

Merciful to a Sorry World

Thursday, June 15, 2017

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting (1 Timothy 1:15,16 KJV).

You can trust that!

The United States—yea, the world—has been rocked by so many tragedies in recent days. Current trends on social media read, “Sending our thoughts and prayers.” Scoffers ask, “How is that working out?” To wit, despite all the “thoughts and prayers,” well wishes, and hopes of religious people, violence and bloodshed remain “front page” news. Where is God? When will He get enough? Will He ever show Himself? Does He even care? When will enough be enough? Is “He” even there?

Christians, who have the Holy Bible, the true Word of the true God, should be leading the world in understanding prayer. They should know what prayer is, and what it is not. Alas, how ignorant they are—how unbelievably and pathetically uniformed! They have the Scriptures but have no idea what they say about prayer. Now we see why skeptics say what they do—they mock people who really do not know the truth either! Beloved, religious people talk about “God” so flippantly we need not criticize the scoffers for doing likewise!

Friends, here is the simple truth. God is not working according to the way most people are praying. Hence, people pray for a certain outcome that actually does not come. They pray for violence to end, for peace, for God to come and judge the evildoers. Actually, here is a shocker…. God is not working today as He did in time past. What He is interested in today is having people come to His Son, Jesus Christ, by faith, that they receive forgiveness of sins and a home in Heaven. Rather than God pouring out wrath today, ushering in world peace today, He is pouring out peace and grace on undeserving sinners!

He will come back in due time and judge this wicked world. Today, He silently offers grace, extending an opportunity for all to be made right with Him! 🙂

The Heavenly Places #5

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

“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 KJV).

Why does Ephesians conclude with this description of the war between good and evil?

It is not until we come to Paul’s ministry do we learn how God will cleanse the heavenly places. Ephesians highlights our eternal destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ. Just as Father God will use Israel to accomplish His will in the Earth, so He will use us to achieve His will in the Heavens. He will exalt His Son, Jesus Christ, in both realms. Ephesians chapter 1: “[9] [Father God] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] 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: [11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance….”

One day, brethren, we will be displayed for all of the universe to see. All creatures will witness God’s wisdom fully manifested in outer space. We will participate in Jesus Christ’s exaltation in the heavenly places throughout eternity future. Ephesians chapter 2 declares: “[6] And [God] hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

As good as this all is, however, we are not there yet. The heavenly places are still so far away! Howbeit, one day, Jesus Christ will return to Earth—at the Rapture—to take His Body (us) beyond the sky. Until we get there, though, we are vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. Knowing full well that we will replace him and his minions in the heavenly places, he fights us every chance he gets. We had better don all the armor of God, beloved, that “we stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-20)! 🙂