Stiffnecked, Gainsaying, and Disobedient

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

“But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people” (Romans 10:21 KJV).

Israel was God’s chosen people in the earth but they were just as stubborn and rebellious as the pagan Gentiles described in Romans 1:18-32. In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul quotes Isaiah 65:2 (in which the LORD says): “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;”

Verse 3 continues, “A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;…” Israel ignored the LORD and preferred the Gentiles’ pagan gods! How sad.

For 40 years Moses led the nation Israel in the wilderness wanderings. Their murmuring and rebellion against the LORD caused Moses great distress (Exodus 15:24; Exodus 16:2; Exodus 17:1-4; et al.). The Bible describes Israel as “stiffnecked” (stubborn) eight times in the Old Testament (Exodus 32:9; Exodus 33:3,5; Exodus 34:9; Deuteronomy 9:6, 13; Deuteronomy 10:16; 2 Chronicles 30:8). Miraculously, God in His longsuffering tolerated the Jews.

Unfortunately, Israel acted no better in the New Testament. She refused to listen to her Messiah Jesus and His apostles. Ultimately, she killed her Messiah in disobedience (1 Peter 2:7,8). In Acts 7:51 the prophet Stephen tells Israel’s religious leaders: “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” Did the Jews repent and obey God? No. They rebel and kill Stephen (verse 59)!

Before we condemn Israel for her wickedness, we need to understand we are just as much Adam’s physical descendants as they were. “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another” (Titus 3:3). Even as Christians, we rebel against God and His Word (see Romans chapter 7).

We too may be stiffnecked, gainsaying, and disobedient, but praise God for His longsuffering, grace, mercy, and forgiveness

10,000 Words of Gibberish

Saturday, July 23, 2011

“I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue” (1 Corinthians 14:18,19 KJV).

Religion tells of being “filled with the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues.” Tongue talking is certainly Biblical, for the Bible says that certain Christians had the spiritual gift of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:10,28,30). But, is speaking in tongues something we Christians should practice today?

Today church members claim to speak in allegedly “angelic language,” some special prayer language that only God understands. Upon listening to these people “pray in the Spirit,” we conclude it is nothing intelligent: “Hastala shandala hobbla gobbla.” Others repeat, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” This behavior is related to the Oriental religions’ “breath prayers” and uttering the Roman Catholic repetitious rosary. Vain worthless religious nonsense!

Corinth was the most spiritually immature Christian assembly Paul knew. These believers loved feel-good worship services, emotional highs, and being the center of attention (1 Corinthians 14:4,5ff.). Sound familiar? That is much of “the Church” today! Corinth abused spiritual gifts, so Paul devoted three chapters (1 Corinthians 12, 13, and 14) to address these problems. Chapter 14 deals entirely with tongue talking.

In today’s Scripture, and verses 2, 4, 13, 14, 19, and 27, Paul mentioned speaking in “unknown tongues.” That word “unknown”—absent from modern Bibles—indicates this was not God’s gift of tongues. This was some ecstatic, nonsensical utterance based on emotions: some believers in Corinth just loved to draw attention to themselves by abusing tongues (speaking in gibberish). God’s gift of tongues was always intelligent human languages, dialects (Acts 2:6-11).

Paul stated: “I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” Talking 10,000 words in gibberish will profit nothing! Speak with intelligence, not some “angelic tongue.”

By the way, the gift of tongues ceased when God’s Word was completed (1 Corinthians 13:8-13).

Life is Unfair Indeed

Thursday, July 21, 2011

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18 KJV).

Life is unfair. The guilty are declared innocent, and the innocent are condemned. Productive citizens’ lives are cut short by tragedy, yet those living ill-repute lives survive to do great damage to society. The wicked prosper while the Christians are mistreated. Corrupt millionaires seem to triumph over the people who live average to borderline-poverty lives. God’s people suffer persecution from Satan’s evil world system.

Indeed, life is so unfair. What better way to demonstrate that than to quote today’s Scripture: “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust….” The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:3 and Hebrews 1:3 that Christ died for “our sins.” “For he [God the Father] made him [God the Son] to be sin for us, who knew no sin;” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God the Father sent His perfect Son to Calvary’s cross to bear our shame, our sin, our punishment, and our debt.

Heaven’s best came to this nasty world to save us, earth’s worst. Jesus Christ always pleased His Father (Matthew 3:17). We never pleased God (Romans 8:8). Christ did not deserve to go to Calvary. He went there because we deserved to go there, and He took our place so we could be saved from sin’s penalty, the everlasting lake of fire.

Life is SO unfair. The beloved Son of God, Jesus Christ, who always pleased His Father, died for us rotten, disobedient, ungrateful, arrogant, foolish, stubborn, sinful, hell-bound men trapped inside of these earthly tabernacles.

  • The just Son of God died for us, the unjust sons of Adam.
  • The sinless Son of God died for us, the sinful sons of Adam.
  • The loving Son of God died for us, the unlovely sons of Adam.
  • The innocent Son of God died for us, the guilty sons of Adam.

Behold that cruel cross of Calvary and realize that life is unfair indeed.

The Holy Spirit: Person or Force?

Monday, July 18, 2011

“But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost? … Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God” (Acts 5:3,4 KJV).

Is the Holy Spirit a Person of the Godhead? According to the cults, the Holy Ghost is simply God’s “active force,” not God. Today’s Scripture says that the Holy Ghost is God. Will you believe God? (Will you believe the Holy Ghost?) Or will you believe the worthless, foolish tradition of men?

Furthermore, according to the Bible, the Holy Spirit exhibits the characteristics of a Person, not an inanimate force:

  • The Holy Ghost speaks, shows, and guides us into all truth (John 16:13).
  • The Holy Ghost can be blasphemed/spoken against (Matthew 12:31,32; Mark 3:29-31; Luke 12:10).
  • The Holy Ghost can be grieved/saddened (Ephesians 4:30).
  • The Holy Ghost teaches with words (John 14:26; 1 Corinthians 2:13).
  • The Holy Ghost speaks (2 Samuel 23:2; 1 Kings 22:24; 2 Chronicles 18:23; Ezekiel 11:5; Matthew 10:20; Mark 13:11; Acts 1:16; Acts 8:29; Acts 10:19; Acts 28:25; Galatians 4:6; 1 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 3:7; Revelation 2:7,11,17,29; Revelation 3:6,13,22; Revelation 14:13; Revelation 22:17).
  • The Holy Ghost reveals (Luke 2:26; Ephesians 3:5).
  • The Holy Ghost lives/dwells (John 14:17; Romans 8:9,11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Timothy 1:14).
  • The Holy Ghost appoints (Acts 20:28).
  • The Holy Ghost invites or requests (Acts 11:12).
  • The Holy Ghost bears witness (John 15:26; Acts 5:32; Acts 20:23; Romans 8:16; Hebrews 10:15; 1 John 5:6-8).
  • The Holy Ghost makes intercession for us (Romans 8:26,27).
  • The Holy Ghost reasons/thinks (Acts 15:28).
  • The Holy Ghost has knowledge (1 Corinthians 2:10,11).
  • The Holy Ghost can be tested (Acts 5:9).
  • The Holy Ghost can be vexed/troubled (Isaiah 63:10).

The above verses are just a few examples of the Holy Ghost exhibiting the attributes of a Person. He is not simply “God’s active force,” as the cults suggest. The Holy Spirit is a living Person, one of the three Persons of the Godhead.

Can the Trinity Be Found in the Old Testament?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1 KJV).

Is the Trinity exclusively a New Testament doctrine? Jews accuse us Christians of polytheism (worshiping three gods). Although the Jews avoid the New Testament, they cannot ignore the testimony of their Old Testament.

One of the verses used against the doctrine of the Trinity is Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:” However, this does not contradict the doctrine of the Trinity. Paul confirms that we serve “one God” and “one Lord” (1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 3:5,6), but we serve one God who exists in three Persons (2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 2:18).

Did you know that the Trinity is found in the Old Testament? Today’s Scripture translates the Hebrew word “Elohiym” as “God.” Actually, “Elohiym” is a plural noun, also used to refer to pagan “gods/idols” (Genesis 31:30; Exodus 20:3; et al.). This term “Elohiym” does not indicate God is three Gods, but one God in three Persons.

In Genesis 1:26, God says, “Let us make man in our image….” The pronoun “us” indicates God is three Persons. While some attempt to make “us” a reference to God speaking to angels, verse 27 confirms “so God created man in his own image.” God did not make man in His image and the angels’ image. God made man is His image.

In Genesis 3:22, after Adam and Eve fall into sin, God says, “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil:” God says in Genesis 11:7: “Go to, let us go down….” Again, “us” indicates there are three Persons of the Godhead. Psalm 2:2,3 also uses “their,” using a plural pronoun to refer to God the Father and God the Son.

The seraphim (similar to angels) cried, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:3). Each “holy” applies to one of the members of the Godhead: one for the Father, one for the Son, and one for the Holy Ghost.

The Trinity is both an Old and New Testament doctrine.

A Three-Fold Temptation

Saturday, July 2, 2011

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world” (1 John 2:16 KJV).

Every temptation in the world fits into one of the above categories. Did you know that Eve faced all three temptations at once? Compare 1 John 2:16 to Genesis 3:6:

  • “the lust of the flesh” — the forbidden tree was “good for food” (Was Eve hungry?)
  • “the lust of the eye” — the forbidden tree was “pleasant to the eye” (An awesome sight!)
  • “the pride of life” — the forbidden tree was “desired to make one wise” (Eat from it, and you can be like God, Eve!)

Using this very cunning scheme, Satan triumphed over Eve, and later Adam. Sadly, they both ate the forbidden fruit.

In Matthew 4:1-10 and Luke 4:1-13, Satan tempts Christ using the same format. However, where Adam and Eve failed, the perfect Man, Jesus Christ, triumphed. Remember that Christ has been fasting for forty days.

  • “the lust of the flesh” — Satan tempts Christ to turn stones into bread  (Christ was hungry!)
  • “the lust of the eye” — Satan tempts Christ to cast Himself from the Temple pinnacle, and have angels rescue Him (An awesome sight!)
  • “the pride of life” — Satan tempts Christ to worship him, promising to give Him the kingdoms of the world (You can have God’s power! Little did Satan know that Christ would one day have the kingdoms of the world, without having to worship Satan; Revelation 11:15.)

How did Jesus Christ triumph over Satan? The Bible says Christ properly quoted Scripture! Eve could not triumph over Satan because she did not properly quote Scripture. Find verses in Paul’s epistles that fit your temptations and weaknesses, and memorize them. Then, whenever you are tempted with sin, bring to mind the applicable grace doctrines. Do not just quote random Bible verses, quote from Paul. Properly quoting (and believing) the Bible is your key to triumphing over the three-fold temptation!

God’s Abounding Grace

Friday, July 1, 2011

“Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20,21 KJV).

When God instituted the Mosaic Law in Exodus 24, He intended to manifest Israel’s sins. The Law did not just condemn the Jews as sinners, but all the world, Jew and Gentile, was unable to live up to God’s perfect standards. God proved mankind’s “righteousness” was anything but. Everyone was declared guilty before God: “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in [God’s] sight” (Romans 3:9-20).

The result of sin is death, eternal death (Romans 6:23a). “Sin reigned unto death,” today’s Scripture says. It also says that although sin produced death, God’s grace produces life, eternal life. “…Even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Believers in Corinth had been fornicators, homosexuals, idolaters, thieves, drunkards, extortionists, and perverts (1 Corinthians 6:9,10). Now that the saving power of God’s grace entered their lives, their lifestyles changed. Paul told them, “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (verse 11).

Even though mankind was sinful, God’s grace could overcome and cover even the vilest offender of the Law. Do you feel you are too sinful for God’s saving grace? The Bible says that God can save anyone and everyone, regardless of what sins they have committed.

The Bible says that none of us are worthy of God’s grace, but God gives it to us freely, apart from our efforts. Jesus Christ lived the sinless life we cannot. He died and shed His sinless blood to forgive us our sins, and He buried our sins. Christ died for your sins, He was buried, and He was raised against for your justification. Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour.

I am saved forever because of God’s abounding grace. Are you?