Graduated!

Monday, August 21, 2017

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 KJV).

Death is never easy, but the death of a Christian is easier. It is somewhat easier when an aged person dies, but a young person’s decease is quite difficult. Yet, if that young person was “in Christ,” that death is easier to bear.

Recently, an online friend passed on to Heaven after a long battle with cancer. She was only 18 years old. Even though she suffered much, she was a strong testimony for God’s grace. As her friends struggled with trying to reconcile how God could let His saint grow so horrifically ill, she reminded them that, while Father God has redeemed our souls, He has yet to redeem our bodies from sin’s curse. A firm foundation in the Bible rightly divided caused her to rejoice even in the midst of great trouble. While we are secure in Christ, there is no guarantee we will meet our Lord without first experiencing unspeakable bodily infirmities. An aged ministry coworker just told me his aching body was “falling apart.”

I just read the obituary of a dear saint whose Bible studies benefited me. The article was certainly written from the grace perspective. It began by saying that the brother “‘graduated’ on… to be with his Lord whom he loved and served so faithfully.” He was an evangelist for 40 years: “He loved preaching in Rescue Missions, proclaiming the Gospel of the Grace of God to the lost. His passion in life was leading people to Christ and encouraging the body of Christ.” After preaching the Gospel for so long, he at last experienced its hope. Doubtless, he is still enjoying the Lord’s presence all these years later!

Yes, we sorrow, but we sorrow not as those which have no hope. We have a sure expectation that our loved ones in Christ are not lost forever. Father God has them in His loving care, and we will see them (and Him) in His own time. There will be an endless eternity to fellowship with them around the Word of God. For now, dear brethren, we must remember that they want us to continue being ambassadors for Christ down here! 🙂

For Students This is Safe

Saturday, August 19, 2017

“Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:128 KJV).

As a new school year dawns, let us awake unto spiritual truth!

Although the autumnal equinox is still over a month away here in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is finally beginning to wind down for most of us. Students—with long faces and deep sighs—have returned or are beginning to return to school. As students return to the classroom, they need to be particularly mindful of the following.

Firstly, learning in and of itself is not a sin. Moses was “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22). Luke was a medical doctor (Colossians 4:14). Daniel and his companions were skilled in science (Daniel 1:4). Adam was the first taxonomist (Genesis 2:19,20). The God of the Bible is never against learning new things—remember, He gave us His Holy Bible so we can have plenty to learn for all of eternity!

Secondly, what the God of the Bible opposes is when we believe/trust ideas that do not seek our best interests, that contradict the way He designed our lives to function. Certainly, we Christians should never go around believing anything and everything heard and seen. Just because the professor, preacher, pope, or president says it is true, that does not make it so. Scientific consensus has been wrong before, religion has been wrong before, politicians have been wrong before. Much of the ideas that permeate our world today are wrong.

Lastly, there are many wonderful, exciting ideas and concepts out there—medical advancements, technological breakthroughs, and so on—but there are equally detrimental ideas that will mess up your life—religious traditions, secular humanism, and other philosophies. Daily intake of the King James Bible rightly divided will cleanse our souls of the filth and foolishness that we hear and see day in and day out in this evil world system. We highly exalt God’s Word, we know it is right “concerning all things,” and we hate and ignore the error.

Have a wonderful school year in our Lord Jesus Christ! 🙂

The Wise, The Rich, and The Generous

Sunday, August 13, 2017

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11 KJV).

The wise men… the rich men… the generous men!

Due to much abuse, money is always understandably a very touchy topic in churches. There are so many schemes and scams designed to take people’s hard-earned cash. Sadly, they are most successful in “Christian” settings. There is such a nice ring of truth to these religious messages. After all, over two billion people hold the name of “Jesus Christ” in such high regard. When that name is uttered—or even the general name “God”—people suspect nothing nefarious (even if the matter involves absurdities). The wise men of today’s Scripture indeed gave… carefully investigating instead of blindly supporting a charlatan!

When the wise men came to Jesus Christ, notice He was a “young child,” as much as two years old (see verse 16). He was not a baby. It was not the manger scene but a “house” in Nazareth. These wise men were also rich men, and they were willing to give their money for God’s work. They did not give indiscriminately. They gave in faith, believing God’s Word. They had seen the star of Israel’s King in the east. They had come to worship Him after that star had led them to His house. Their worship was not merely falling down before Him, or shouting, “Praise Jesus!” No, part of their worship was giving material goods. They were not greedy. They were not idolatrous. Rather than worshipping their wealth, they used it to worship Jesus Christ.

Brethren, let us by faith follow the example of the wise men. While we may not be rich, we can be wise in using what we do have, and we can be generous in giving to any sound (grace) Bible churches and ministries that benefit us. Second Corinthians 9:7: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Where in the Bible did Peter say he could not be crucified like his Lord?

The Best Day Ever!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

“And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay” (Matthew 28:5,6 KJV).

While we all have our good days, nothing will ever even come close to the best day of the Lord Jesus’ life!

Some days are so enjoyable, are they not, that you wish they would last forever? Things are going well at work, at home, and at church. There is money in the bank, romance in the air, promotion on the job, and good health in the body. While these are wonderful blessings in life, and we dare not take them for granted, they will never, ever compare to the best day of the Lord Jesus’ life.

It was on that resurrection day, today’s Scripture, that He conquered Satan, sin, death, and Hell! While the good things in our life, being subject to change, are not guaranteed, the victory that Jesus Christ secured on that resurrection morning is eternal. Death still cannot hold His soul. His physical body still has not experienced decay. He has paid man’s sin debt in full by shedding His blood on that awful cross. Now, He is raised again as a confirmation of that payment being fully satisfying to Father God. He will never die again and will never again suffer physical torture. His Father has never left Him again. He has secured the nation Israel’s salvation from sin, and He has secured the Body of Christ’s salvation from sin. Now, He is the glorified Son of God, heir of all the governments of Heaven and Earth. His reign will never end.

Dear friends, such victory is beyond our comprehension. We can read about it in the pages of Scripture but these events really do not sink in. Just how shocked were Satan and all his evil cohorts (angels and humans) when they learned that that tomb of Christ was empty? Think of the joy of Jesus’ disciples! Like them, we are speechless. What we can do, the feeble souls that we are, is tell Him, “Thank You, Lord, for the best day in human history!”

The Worst Day Ever!

Friday, August 11, 2017

“And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour [9 A.M.], and they crucified him” (Mark 15:24,25 KJV).

No matter how bad a day we are having, there is always someone worse off. For example, look at the worst day of the Lord Jesus’ life!

We complain about fighting with a broken computer while someone else is down at the cemetery burying a loved one. We whine about high food prices while someone is sleeping in a cardboard box in the alley behind the store. We complain about someone calling us a bad name when at least they did not torture or imprison us!

On the worst day of Jesus’ life, many horrible things happened to Him. You can read Matthew chapters 26 and 27, Mark chapters 14 and 15, Luke chapters 22 and 23, and John chapters 18 and 19. While we always have bad days, we can be thankful that we will never, ever experience the worst of all days in human history. It was far worse than even the Fall of man in Genesis chapter 3. On that day that the Lord Jesus died, His most trusted apostle betrayed Him. His chief apostle denied Him thrice. He was falsely accused and blasphemed against. They spat in His face and punched Him. They yanked His beard off. He was whipped. They struck Him on the head with a reed. A crown of thorns was forced into His scalp. They mocked Him. He was forced to carry His cross. They stripped Him of His clothing. He was nailed to the cross. They taunted Him as they sat at the foot of that cross. After slowly suffocating for six hours, He let Himself die!

Dear friends, such suffering is beyond our comprehension. We can read about it in the pages of Scripture but these events really do not sink in. How could God love us that much, to go through with all of that, just so we could have our sins paid in full? We are speechless. What we can do, the feeble souls that we are, is tell Him, “Thank You, Lord, for the worst day in human history!”

A Filling—Not a Feeling!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; (Ephesians 5:18,19 KJV).

Notice, dear friends, this is a filling not a feeling!

A Christian woman approached me recently to ask if I believed in “the filling of the Holy Ghost.” I told her that I most certainly did, as the Bible does tell us to be “filled with the Spirit” (cf. today’s Scripture). However, knowing her background, I quickly added, “But there is no loss of self-control with this filling.” Whether today, or thousands of years ago, Satan’s religious system always has its counterfeits. While “praise dancing” feels good, while “holy laughter” brings some people happiness, feelings and emotions do not have the authority to gauge truth. What does it mean to be “filled with the Spirit?”

If we turn to the companion passage of today’s Scripture, we see the term defined for us. Colossians 3:16 says: “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.” To be “filled with the Spirit” is to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” In other words, His thinking controls us because we have studied and memorized His Holy Word. The Bible says that we need to “mind the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5-8). This is how the Spirit of God leads us. By recalling what we read, we walk in line with what His Word says today in the Dispensation of Grace (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon).

How sad it is when people reduce the role of the Holy Spirit to nothing more than some strange feeling that causes one to engage in some pretty wild, disorderly, absurd behaviors. Religious tradition is so intoxicating, so inebriating, it causes people to lose all sense of reason. Nevertheless, when we “let the word of Christ dwell in [us] richly in all wisdom,” it becomes a filling rather than a feeling!

Confidence

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day (2 Timothy 1:12 KJV).

What assurance the Christian has!

I recently watched a sad documentary on the kidnapping and murder of a teenager. Her murderer had been captured, incarcerated, and executed. Near the end, her father, a preacher, revealed that “she knew where she was going.” In her farewell note, she urged her family to keep on living for Jesus Christ, and that all would turn out right. Undoubtedly, God’s grace is the only reason this family has coped with such a loss all these decades. While it will never bring her back here, it gives them hope to see her in Heaven one day.

Friends, there is no guarantee that our physical bodies will remain intact until we die (or reach Heaven via the Rapture). Due to various sicknesses and injuries, we may lose limbs, tissue, and organs. However, in Christ, we never have to worry about our spirits being separated from Almighty God. By simple faith in Jesus Christ’s finish crosswork, we have been bound forever to God Himself. The Apostle Paul, awaiting execution, wrote in today’s Scripture that he was “persuaded.” God was “able”—yes, more than able—to hang on to him. As someone would store a valuable item in a safe, so Paul had entrusted his soul to Father God. There was complete security in Christ: nothing would be lost or misplaced. God the Holy Spirit would personally see to it that Paul made it safely to Heaven. The Apostle would in the meantime have some obstacles to endure—ultimately, a decapitation—but his eternal abode in Heaven was sure!

Evidently, that was the confidence that that preacher and his wife had concerning their murdered daughter. She had lost her life at a very young age, but Father God did not lose her soul and neither did she. What persuasion, what hope, what confidence Calvary’s cross provides us! “That ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is Romans 2:24 talking about?