In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 23, 2017

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV).

Dear saints, take a moment this Thanksgiving to learn a valuable lesson from the Holy Scriptures!

God wants “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4). To be “saved” here means you have been rescued from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire), and that you have a home in heaven, because you have trusted the death, shed blood, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for your sins. To “come unto the knowledge of the truth” is when a person who has trusted Christ, begins to understand why God saved him or her, and how God will use him or her for His glory. Although soul salvation is instantaneous, spiritual maturity is a life-long process (that is especially true regarding handling difficulties, the grace way!).

It is human nature to avoid difficulties and stress, to flee them, rather than confront them. This self-preservation is advantageous, particularly in “life or death” situations. However, running from troubling circumstances is not the way God has designed our life in Christ to function. Today’s Scripture says, In every thing give thanks,” notFor every thing give thanks.” We do not thank God for our troubles; we thank God while we are enduring those troubles. This is tough, I know, but it takes time for us to learn it. Even the Apostle Paul had to learn this.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

Be thankful in every thing. God’s grace is sufficient for you, dear saint, in all of life’s circumstances. When you learn this, you are “[coming] unto the knowledge of the truth.”

*Excerpted from our Thanksgiving 2012 Bible study with the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

You may also see, “What are our spiritual blessings in Christ?

The Greatest Veteran

Saturday, November 11, 2017

“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; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15 KJV).

Today is Veterans’ Day in the United States, so let us especially thank the “Greatest Veteran of All Time.”

We thank veterans, living and departed, the often-forgotten men and women who risked their lives to secure our freedom. Just as we remember flesh-and-blood veterans who fought for our physical liberty, we reserve our worship and utmost respect for the least esteemed Veteran, He who secured our spiritual liberty.

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). Through Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary, we have eternal victory over sin, death, hell, and Satan. Everything that God has planned for us is dependent upon Christ’s victory at Calvary.

Jesus Christ nailed the Mosaic Law to His cross (today’s Scripture). His sinless blood covered our failure to obey God’s laws; Jesus’ righteousness annulled our unrighteousness (sin). Christ not only liberated us from sin and its penalty (the everlasting lake of fire), but today’s Scripture affirms He also triumphed over Satan himself!

Christ has “spoiled [destroyed] principalities and powers [Satan’s power], he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it [His cross].” Jesus Christ destroyed Satan’s plans. Through Christ’s cross, God has “delivered us from the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13), Satan’s evil system of Ephesians 2:1-3.

During a recent cemetery visit, I noticed American flags flying above deceased veterans’ headstones. These individuals can no longer hear or regard our thanks, but Jesus Christ’s body is not decaying in some tomb. If there ever was a Veteran most worthy of our gratitude, it is our Lord Jesus Christ. Though He died in battle, allowing Himself to be executed on a Roman cross of shame and scorn, He resurrected. He is alive and well today, alive forevermore!

Saints, eternity will ring with our thanks to the Veteran worth thanking, the Lord Jesus Christ.

*Adapted from our 2010 Bible study, “The Greatest Hero.” The Bible study video can be viewed here.

Spirituality or Futility? #8

Friday, November 10, 2017

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. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

Here, we see two alternatives—spirituality and futility. Our choice?

God sent the Apostle Paul to us Gentiles to give us the Dispensation of the Grace of God, or Jesus Christ’s heavenly ministry (Ephesians 3:1-9). From Heaven, not Earth, Christ is speaking today. In this dispensation, God is forming the Church the Body of Christ, a heavenly people whom He has blessed “with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). We are not the nation Israel; God is not finished with Israel. She will rise again after our dispensation (Romans 11:1-36)!

We are saved by simple faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (Romans 3:23–4:8)—apart from any works of any kind. Upon believing the Gospel of the Grace of God, the Holy Spirit baptizes us into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13,14). We need no water (or any other) ceremony to “enhance” our Christian life. God gave us a new nature in Christ, power that produces good works and gives us victory over sin (Romans 6:1-23). The Law serves no purpose in our life because God’s grace teaches us to “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts,” and “to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11,12,14). Jesus Christ died to put away sin, so we put it away in our life. Our hope is not God’s earthly kingdom (Israel’s hope) but rather His heavenly kingdom (Ephesians 2:6,7; 2 Timothy 4:18).

Romans is the most basic Book for this dispensation. It outlines justification, how to have a right standing before God. Therein we also discover sanctification, how God has set apart believers to do His will. Moreover, we see Israel’s past, present, and future statuses. Finally, there are basic but specific grace principles for everyday living. Three useful Pauline passages are Romans chapter 12, Ephesians chapter 4, and Colossians chapter 3.

We study all the Bible, but anything other than Pauline doctrine and duty is but futility!

Anonymous Donors

Friday, October 27, 2017

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him (Colossians 3:17 KJV).

Whatever we do in word or deed, we should do all in the name of the Lord Jesusnot ourselves!

A little girl, partly raised by her poor widowed Christian grandmother, could not afford a coat for church. Her grandmother informed her that a couple had given her money to purchase such a garment. They requested to remain anonymous, so the grandmother withheld their names from the little girl. Years later, after their deaths, she revealed those names to her granddaughter. It was a deacon and his wife from the church.

Let us face it, dear friends. Our flesh loves to glory in itself. That is what makes religion so popular and enticing. “Look at what I did! Notice how I did it ‘just right,’ with ceremonial exactness!” Study Matthew chapter 23 and see the Lord Jesus’ harsh words for Israel’s religious leaders who were stuck on advertising all their religious performances. They loved to “make a fair shew [beautiful display] in the flesh” (Galatians 6:12,13)—what religious people do even today.

It is better to be like the aforementioned humble deacon and his wife. They did the right thing, but they never sought the praise of men. Rather than wanting their names known far and wide, it is assumed they loved the Lord Jesus Christ. What they did was not for themselves, for they requested to remain unnamed. One day, God will reward all Christians for their service to Him. We need not worry about being acknowledged by man for every good work our Saviour does in and through us. After all, He is the Witness who matters, and that is enough.

First Corinthians chapter 4: “[4] For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. [5] Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.”

(That little girl was Mom!)

Filled with the Fruits of Righteousness

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God (Philippians 1:9-11 KJV).

“Fruits” are “the results of work or activity.” Who exactly is working?

Works-religion parading as “Christianity” has led us to believe that Christian living involves us making ourselves holy by working to keep rules and regulations. However, the Bible says Christian living is “being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ.” This is not self-righteousness, what religion produces. It is not artificial or superficial righteousness, what religion generates.

Nay, it is true righteousness, a new (righteous) nature in Christ and its resultant actions. First Corinthians chapter 1, verse 30: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:….” If we have trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we share His identity—He is our wisdom, He is our righteousness, He is our sanctification (holiness), and He is our redemption (freedom from sin). From Him springs forth our righteousness. From Him working in us through the indwelling Holy Spirit, righteousness abounds in our hearts and lives.

First Thessalonians 2:13: “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.” Ephesians 3:16 says: “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;….” Finally, Galatians chapter 5: “[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” There is the life of Christ, friend, in its fullness, available by daily faith in Him… something religion can never produce!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is ‘excellent’ a ‘mistranslation’ in Philippians 1:10 in the King James Bible?

Loving the Unlovely

Thursday, October 5, 2017

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8 KJV).

Behold, the Man (Jesus Christ) who loves the unlovely (you and me)!

An individual said that he was so disgusted with people as a whole after learning about a recent tragic crime. Despite what we may see in the news, dear friends, we will never see the atrocious view that the LORD God saw in Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Now, read verse 10: “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” So, God investigated the human heart. What did He see?

The answer is in Mark 7:20-23, the words of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself: “[20] And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. [21] For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, [22] Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: [23] All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”

If we could see the above heart—multiplied by (say) 10 to 15 billion—would we want to have anything to do with people? Well, God sees that all the time, and in spite of that awareness and foreknowledge, He sent His Son Jesus Christ (Heaven’s best) to die for us (Earth’s worst)! God’s very nature is love, seeking the benefit of others (even when they do not deserve it). That worked to our advantage, as Calvary’s cross demonstrates.

The aforementioned individual who was disgusted regarding the heartbreaking news, he added that he found it encouraging that heroes were protecting and saving lives during that troublous time. Likewise, it thrills our hearts to remember the Hero of today’s Scripture, who risked (and literally lost!) His life protecting and saving us from the eternal flames of Hell!

Light Bulbs and Lenses #10

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130 KJV).

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

Dear friends, in this world of intensifying spiritual darkness, God’s Word rightly divided provides us great light. Yea, in this world of increasing obscurity, we can be blessed with great understanding from God’s words dispensationally understood. For us English-speaking people, the rightly divided King James Bible is a brilliant beacon in these times of abounding uncertainty, mass confusion, and widespread ignorance.

The Holy Spirit will teach us using the Holy Bible, provided that we pay special attention to His words spoken through the Apostle Paul. First Corinthians 2:13 says, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” And, 2 Timothy 2:7: “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” Finally, today’s Scripture: “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”

Dear brethren, as we let God’s grace teach us, we are, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;…” (Titus 2:13). The earthly life we have in Christ now will continue into eternity future, the heavenly places. God the Holy Spirit illuminates us about this and other important Christian truths, as Ephesians chapter 1 says: “[17] That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: [18] The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,….”

In light of Pauline revelation, we understand that we are the Church the Body of Christ, never to be confused with the nation Israel. We are under grace, not law, thus free to walk in the victorious identity given us in Christ. Sin does not have to reign over us. We can enjoy God’s life, now and forever. As long as we respond positively to the spiritual light we have, God will honor that and give us more… light… bright… lenses… sight! 🙂