Doctrine Divides #3

Friday, September 14, 2018

But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles (Acts 14:4 KJV).

Have you ever heard the expression, “Doctrine divides?” Indeed, it does!

The attitude and actions of unbelieving Israel throughout the 30-year Acts period are summarized in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16: “…the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets [Stephen in Acts chapter 7; James in chapter 12], and have persecuted us [Paul, Silvanus/Silas, and Timotheus/Timothy]; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.”

Our ecumenical friends would do well to note today’s Scripture. Believers in Jesus Christ decided to follow His Apostles and keep separate from unbelieving Jews (apostates). Compromise was simply not an option: they had a legitimate reason for division. God’s enemies, although having some appearance of truth, were forcefully teaching false doctrine. It was certainly not the time for Christians to say, “All religions are the same. Some will believe in Jesus Christ and some will not. We are all children of God, so we need to try to get along with everyone. There is no need to cause trouble by splitting.”

Brethren, if we are preaching and teaching sound Bible doctrine (God’s Word rightly divided), we should not expect Satan to just sit by idly. Our Adversary will use whatever and whomever he can to corrupt us (so we change the doctrine) and—if he cannot get us to modify the doctrine—ultimately silence us (intimidation of various degrees). In the case of Paul, he utilized unbelieving Jews, unbelieving Gentiles, and even (!) fellow Christians. Satan had these “competitors” in place to obstruct God’s work through Paul and his ministry companions. Such rivals are working even today! Let us remember to side with God’s Apostle to us, Paul, even if that means leaving all others.

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate….” (2 Corinthians 6:17). “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself [from apostasy—verse 1], and them that hear thee” (1 Timothy 4:16).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did Acts 7:60 predict the Dispensation of Grace?

The Lord Stands With Thee Forever!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion (2 Timothy 4:16,17 KJV).

“Friends” come and go; the Lord surely stays forever!

We read earlier: “[6] For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. [7] I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: [8] Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

The Apostle Paul knows he is in his final days on Earth. Rome has set his execution date. Now, he waits to leave and “be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). When having his previous legal problems, stating his case before the Roman officials, today’s Scripture says not one Christian was there to support him! Wow! Let that sink in, dear brethren; let that sink in deeply. They had all abandoned him—due to fear, apathy, inconvenience, et cetera. Add to that Christians’ departure from his (grace) doctrine: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1:15).

Chapter 4, verses 10-11: “For Demas [a once-dedicated ministry coworker] hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.” The Apostle Paul is living his last moments sitting in a dark dungeon, lonely. In the midst of such terrible heartache and loss, a touching ray of light, “notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me.”

Dear brethren, when all your “Christian” “friends”—even your “grace” “friends”—abandon you, just remember the Lord will remain and strengthen you! 🙂

Grace Forsaken!

Monday, June 11, 2018

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1 KJV).

Grace did not leave the brother or sister—the brother or sister left grace!

A man trusted Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. He eventually discovered dispensational Bible study and left his denomination. For many years, this minister and his wife preached a pure grace message. Finally, he died and relocated to Heaven. His wife left the grace message entirely after marrying a man of her former denomination. While she did not lose her salvation, she did lose Bible understanding.

Dear friends, none of us are immune from apostatizing, willfully casting aside the truths of God for the sake of pleasing our fellow men. Galatians 3:1 says: “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” The idea of “bewitched” is someone operating under a spell, like living under hypnosis. False teachers have a powerful way with words, just as a magician would manipulate objects to fool an audience. There is no grace minister on Earth—even me (!)—who can boast exemption from ever becoming such a fraud.

Satan’s evil world system is quite charming—even a saved person’s flesh gravitates toward it. First Timothy chapter 4: “[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;….” These “seducing spirits” are preacher’s voices (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:8—“the spirit of his mouth”). To “seduce” literally means “to lead away.” A “reward” or “delight” motivates someone to abandon his or her position or duty. In order to “depart from the faith” they had to first be in it!!!! Religion feels good, dear friends, for it provides grounds for boasting (see Galatians 6:12-14).

Whether the sins of the flesh (humanism/worldliness) or the sins of the spirit (asceticism/religion), may we do our best to gently recover, if possible, our ensnared brethren (2 Timothy 2:24-26)!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Naaman want some of Israel’s soil?

Dear Friends Divided!

Monday, May 14, 2018

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17,18 KJV).

Doctrine divides, dear friends—doctrine divides dear friends!

When the ecumenist laments, “Doctrine divides,” he or she (for once) is telling the truth. Dearest of friends, doctrine divides dearest of friends. It is asserted that false teachers “really are not that bad,” that “they can be reformed or salvaged,” that “they are entitled to their opinions as we ours.” We are urged, “Stop causing trouble by emphasizing doctrine and just preach the ‘love of Jesus!’ We can all be united as ‘Christians’ if nothing more.”

These last several months, I have learned firsthand (and most painfully!!) the closest-knit congregation is not immune to being split so mightily because it falls away from sound Bible doctrine. Intimate, long-time friends in the ministry have turned on me in the blink of an eye, becoming my enemies like I have never even dreamed. Once Christians turn away from the truth, Satan wastes no time to penetrate the group with as much as error as he possibly can. When the assembly reaches that point, your numerous warnings have been ignored, it is apparent that you can do nothing but apply today’s Scripture. With a broken heart (!), you have to give those precious brethren over to what they want.

So emotionally driven, these brethren passionately defend the false teacher and make you appear as the evil one. Be not surprised! When they have no sound Bible doctrine on which to stand, they, being deceived, will speak vicious, offensive words about you for calling attention to doctrinal error. You can and should pray for them (1 Corinthians 1:4-10), you can and should forgive them as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32), but things will never be the same between you and them as long Heaven is far away. The ministry is not for wimps, dear friends, the ministry is not for wimps!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What do you mean—‘the prophetic program’ and ‘the mystery program?’

Family!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-28 KJV).

When grace saints gather in one place from various parts around the world, these “complete strangers” soon feel like they have known each other for years. This is the bond the Holy Spirit initiates because of sound doctrine.

You could stay with these brethren, studying and conversing with them, for hours upon hours. They feel like family—yea, they are family! It is like a pleasurable reunion of old friends. Today’s Scripture says all who have trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour are “children of God:” regardless of nationality, social status, or sex, they have all been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Church the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; cf. today’s Scripture).

If sound Bible doctrine is given supremacy—that is, Jesus Christ’s teaching is preeminent—unity will be manifested. Harmony does not mean we agree on every last doctrinal point. It means we agree that the King James Bible rightly divided is our final authority. We have believed on Jesus Christ dying for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). We know that Paul is our apostle (Romans 11:13). We believe that we are the Church the Body of Christ rather than the nation Israel (Romans 11:25). We understand that we live in the mystery program, not the prophetic program (Acts 3:21; Romans 16:25). We appreciate that we are under grace rather than law (Romans 6:14,15).

Sadly, like all families, the Body of Christ suffers from sibling rivalry and infighting. Numerous foreign ideas creep in, are accepted, and likeminded believers thus become increasingly incompatible. Jesus Christ is pushed aside so self can be emphasized. Doctrine is abandoned for the sake of unity. Charity disappears. The Body of Christ becomes an impotent entity, a fragmented group that loses sight of its identity and purpose. However, in due time, Father God, will make it right. After all, they are His family too!

A Conference Worth Attending

Friday, April 27, 2018

“Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13 KJV).

A great Bible conference is coming up very soon!

It will be nice to see old friends in the ministry as well as new ones. We are all going to fellowship with each other around our Saviour (Jesus Christ), our final authority (King James Bible), and our apostle (Paul). There will be delicious food for the (temporary) outward man to enjoy, but more importantly, there will be strong spiritual meat on which the (eternal) inner man can feast forever!

We saints are not assembling to feel religious, but rather to be reminded of God’s life in us. We saints are not assembling to be entertained, but rather to be edified by God’s Word rightly divided. We saints are not assembling to fill our minds with complex denominational doctrines, but rather to fill our hearts with the simple doctrine that is in the King James Bible. We saints are not assembling to exalt preachers, but rather to encourage one another to continue in sound Bible doctrine. We saints are not assembling to tell God the Holy Spirit what He should be doing in the present-day, but rather to let God the Holy Spirit tell us what He is doing so we can by faith do that as well.

It is because of today’s Scripture that, at our Bible conference, we will “give attendance” (or, pay attention to) “reading,” “exhortation [encouragement/advice],” and “doctrine [teaching].” Very rarely is the Bible actually read in “Christian” churches today. They read novels, commentaries, and Greek grammars, but not much Bible (unless it fits the system the denomination promotes). Oftentimes, the “encouragement” in “Christian” churches today is some feel-good message instead of a sound (“healthy”) message. Very rarely is “doctrine” mentioned in most “Christian” churches today. “Boring” Bible study and “divisive” doctrine have been replaced by moving, jumping, and singing. No need to wonder why the professing church is so impotent and functionally dead!

Above all, we are meeting to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ, right now, and forever! 🙂

NOTE: The Grace School of the Bible “Soldiers Training for Service” Bible Conference begins tonight, Friday, at 7 P.M. Central U.S. Standard Time. Meetings on Saturday and Sunday are roughly between 9 A.M. and noon, and at 7 P.M. Saturday, and 6 P.M. Sunday. The live video feed will be here: http://understandgrace.com/watch-live/.

Strong Participants Wanted

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

“Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV).

The nation Israel should be matured in God’s Word—alas, they are not!

I attended my nephew’s recent basketball tournament. For the last few months, our team had diligently practiced and played regular games. At the tournament, we competed against several proficient teams and won… first place! One particular player did exceptionally well, scoring numerous points all by himself (some amazing distant shots). After our final victory, I asked his mother, “He practices a lot, huh?” She replied, “Oh, yes, all the time!” Indeed, it showed.

Watching all those young men playing basketball, I could see who was expert and who was novice. All were clumsy at times—tripping, falling, slipping, and/or throwing too high or too far. A select number were remarkably skilled. These particular individuals strategized: they were not aimlessly wandering the court. They knew how to block opponents, pass the ball to their teammates, outmaneuver rivals without dropping the ball, and so on. Knowledgeable coaches, careful training, focused teamwork, and good sportsmanship were all key to first place!

If only the members of the Church the Body of Christ cooperated as players of a sports team do. Instead, we see it as a competition against other believers in Jesus Christ: the flesh envies, complains, pouts, and attacks. If only we could be as skilled in handling the Word of God rightly divided as undefeated sports players. There is always room for improvement but, sadly, more room has been given to ignorance, immaturity, slothfulness, and carelessness. Israel of old was rebuked in today’s Scripture. Let us learn the lesson she never did! 🙂