A Higher Education: It Is Up to You!

Friday, May 19, 2018

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 KJV).

Twelve years ago today, I graduated high school. Consequently, we dedicate this devotional to high school students who are nearing graduation.

Are you about to graduate high school? What would God have you do afterward? Go to college? Trade school? Something else? What career should you pursue? If you do plan on education after high school, where should you attend school? These are tough questions, and while God’s Word does not answer them, you can make decisions that conform to sound Bible doctrine—that is God’s will.

In today’s Scripture, Paul encourages downcast Timothy. Timothy was considerably younger than the Apostle Paul. Older people who are teaching false doctrine are intimidating young Timothy: “Tim, you are too young to teach God’s Word. Let us handle it.” Young Timothy conceded, became silent, and allowed the (“older and wiser”) false teachers to continue teaching their damnable heresies (cf. 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 1:5-8). Paul replied, “Timothy, Speak up! Let no man despise thy youth!”

Christian youth can be just as effectual in their station in life as Christian adults. The lost world is watching us Christians, and we need to be sure that our actions are in accordance with the sound Bible doctrine we claim to believe (lest we be guilty of confusing the already-puzzled unbelievers). Whether “young or old,” our speech, our lifestyle, our acts of love, our determination, our belief in sound Bible doctrine, and our separation from that which God hates, is the way we communicate to the lost world God’s Word and its preeminence in our lives and hearts (today’s Scripture).

Above all, dear graduates, whatever you do post-graduation, “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17). After all, it really is not your life—it is Christ’s life in you (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:4), so He alone deserves the glory! 🙂

*Based on a Bible study by the same name, which can be read here. Also, see the study “The Spirit-Filled Student.”

By the way, you may also be interested in reading this archived special-edition study about my own college experience.

Curb Appeal

Thursday, May 17, 2018

“And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!” (Mark 13:1 KJV).

“Look, Lord, the beautiful Jerusalem Temple!” “Yes, I see—and what awful doctrine is here too!”

Friend, ask individuals why they attend their particular local church. Curb appeal will likely come up first: “Our building and grounds are so beautiful!” Other reasons are various and sundry. “The rituals and programs are thrilling!” “We have the best ‘praise and worship’ team in town!” “Our preacher is an outstanding motivational speaker!” “Momma and Daddy went there, I was baptized there, and I will die there!” “My friends invited me to go!” “My spouse makes me go there!” Rarely will you ever hear, “I go there because they teach me sound Bible doctrine!”

Once you ask 100 people, you will break yourself of the habit of being startled when you meet church members ignorant of Scripture. They were never going for the Bible study anyway. What mattered was chitchat with friends about the weather and politics, participation in ceremonies, and entertainment at a music concert—all amounting to nothing in eternity.

First Timothy chapter 4: “[6] If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. [7] But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. [8] For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”

“Godliness” is proper worship of God. The Lord Jesus said in John 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” We worship God—not with our flesh but with our spirit (inner man). We also worship Him “in truth”—according to sound Bible doctrine as opposed to everything else. “Bodily exercise” (religion) “profiteth little:” it looks and feels good now, but will bitterly disappoint eventually. However, dispensational Bible study “is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come!”

Bible Q&A #495: “Is the United States’ recent embassy move to Jerusalem a fulfillment of Bible prophecy?

The Awareness of a Temporary Earth

 Sunday, April 22, 2018

“And, Thou, O Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail” (Hebrews 1:10-12 KJV).

On this Earth Day, let us not confuse the creation with the Creator!

Today, people worldwide celebrate “environmental awareness.” According to the secular, naturalistic worldview, our planet and its sun could last many more billions of years. They claim that we have done so much damage to our planet—climate change, overpopulation, deforestation, pollution, et cetera—that we must change our attitude toward “mother earth” and change our lifestyles before we destroy her and civilization as we know it! You can sense the zeal in their message, can you not? While these people are sincere, they are wasting all of their time, energy, and resources on a temporary planet.

Let us be very clear that the Lord Jesus Christ placed man on the earth, especially the Garden of Eden, to “dress it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Adam was to take care of the Earth: he was God’s representative, God’s king, who had a divine commission to rule this planet for God’s glory (Genesis 1:26-28).

It was not long, however, before Satan distracted mankind from understanding God’s purpose for him. Adam began to focus on himself: like Satan, he began to “worship and serve the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). Thus began man’s continual downward spiral into spiritual ignorance. He would continually worship himself, as we well know today.

Today’s Scripture reminds us that, because of sin, this creation will pass away. The Lord Jesus Christ, however, will live forever. Why worship that which is temporary? It makes no sense! The Lord Jesus Christ gave you life, not the pagan goddess “mother earth.” Environmental awareness? Indeed, be aware that our world is temporary, as God will one day create “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1).

The Mischievous Minister of Music #13

Thursday, February 8, 2018

“Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created (Ezekiel 28:13 KJV).

Who is this musician, and how did he destroy his ministry?

Dear friends, Satan knows music far more than we ever will. Yea, his superior intellect and expertise in musicology for thousands of years, afford him skill in operating in that unseen (!) realm to advance his cause. Satan’s policy of evil is summarized in Romans 1:25: “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” What better way to worship and serve Satan than to fall into his trap of music designed to satisfy the lust of our flesh?

How do we guard against using music to glorify Satan instead of the God of the Bible? Primarily, we must, must, must know sound Bible doctrine. My, what rank spiritual ignorance there is in the tens of thousands of “Christian” churches worldwide! No wonder deception and immaturity abound. Religious tradition is deficient; the Word of God not rightly divided is dangerous. We must, must, must understand the Bible dispensationally delivered. No prayer in the world can save us from false teaching if we refuse to use the Bible God’s way.

Moreover, we must look beyond the type of music that is nothing more than a way to “feel good.” Contemporary “Christian” songs are often so shallow in doctrine; their rhythms induce physical movement, do they not? In the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon, however, we are encouraged to seek spiritual edification. Entertainment will profit us absolutely nothing in eternity. Let the Word of Christ rightly divided dwell in you richly, and then you will sing songs to the Lord to express gratitude (Colossians 3:16; cf. Ephesians 5:15-20). Jesus Christ will indeed be honored.

Dear friends, one final thought. If we let that mischievous minister of music into our assembly, he will surely destroy our ministry too!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who will be Israel’s King in the Millennium—Jesus Christ or David?

The Mischievous Minister of Music #12

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

“Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created (Ezekiel 28:13 KJV).

Who is this musician, and how did he destroy his ministry?

Satan, the narcissistic creature that he is, will not eagerly surrender his mischievous ministry of music. What Lucifer was designed to utilize to glorify his Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, he perverted to praise himself and all those other angelic beings that rebelled against God. Once he transformed into Satan, he brought that evil music ministry down to man. Whether man in the centuries preceding the Flood, or the nation Israel after her deliverance from Egypt, or the Jews after David’s demise, or Israel in Babylonian captivity, Satan tirelessly peddled his vain musical “arrangements.” Under no circumstances would he let music praise the Creator God. Even today, he subtly uses music to draw attention from the Creator to himself. The future will be no different.

The Bible’s final reference to music is Revelation 18:22: “And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee;….” After our dispensation, New Babylon, the Antichrist’s political-religious system, will play music for the Devil. Thankfully, it will be utterly destroyed at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Satan will never again be allowed to undertake his mischievous music ministry on the Earth! God’s praises thereafter will be heard and His Son will be glorified like this universe has never seen. The “New Song” Psalms are sung by all of God’s elect (people and angels) as their Heavenly Father inaugurates Jesus Christ as King over all the Earth (see Psalms 93–100). What a day that will be!

Until then, dear brethren, we had better (!!) not be ignorant of Satan’s devices (schemes). Those plans are very ingenious, hiding under the guise of “religious music.” We must guard our Christian lives from music that fails to express and reinforce God’s Word rightly divided. Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

The Mischievous Minister of Music #11

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

“Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created (Ezekiel 28:13 KJV).

Who is this musician, and how did he destroy his ministry?

Nearly everyone is familiar with the following Scripture found in Ephesians chapter 5: “[18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; [19] Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;….” What exactly does it mean to be “filled with the Spirit” though? Is it an emotional high—loss of self-control, speaking in gibberish, the sudden ability to perform healing miracles? Religion tells us yes, but we let the Bible interpret itself, dear friend.

Colossians 3:16 is the companion verse: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Notice how “the word of Christ dwell[ing] in [us] richly in all wisdom” is a synonym for “be[ing] filled with the Spirit.” God the Holy Spirit wrote the Bible, thus making it “inspired” (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). When we study and believe the Holy Bible (rightly divided, of course), the Holy Spirit is then controlling us. He is governing our hearts and minds, “renewing” our thought processes and outlook (Romans 12:1,2; Ephesians 4:23; Colossians 3:10).

Once God’s Word gets inside of us, our spirit and soul (inner man), it will flow out of us in the form of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. These are not (as commonly assumed) to entertain but rather to edify, build up. They are to “teach” and “admonish” (Colossians 3:16): they should be instructing and warning, reinforcing truth. This is why sound Bible doctrine is so important! If there is no sound Bible doctrine, the lyrics “praise and worship” anyone and everyone but the God of the Bible….

The Mischievous Minister of Music #10

Monday, February 5, 2018

“Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created (Ezekiel 28:13 KJV).

Who is this musician, and how did he destroy his ministry?

Notice more about Israel’s worship services under King David. Second Chronicles 5:13: “It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD;….” Finally, 2 Chronicles 7:6: “And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of musick of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood.”

Notice Amos 6:5, Israel a few centuries after David: “That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David;….” While mimicking David’s actions of making musical instruments, they do not share his attitude. It is a counterfeit worship system: pagan idolatry has consumed Israel’s music ministry. David had not used music to praise himself; he worshipped JEHOVAH God. Second Chronicles 7:6 again: “…the Levites also with instruments of musick of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever,….” However, the Jews in Amos’ day are defiled, thus pursuing and fulfilling their own desires: “they invent to themselves instruments of musick….” Also, they are chanting (something totally new—a pagan practice adopted). This, of course, is Satan’s policy of evil.

In this the Dispensation of Grace, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, let us not repeat Israel’s mistake. Let us not allow Satan to become our minister of music….