The Lord Jesus Christ is Everything!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:5-7 KJV).

We are not important; the Person we preach is!

Many months ago, I gave a Gospel tract to an employee at a local store. A coworker in the ministry recently informed me he had had a Bible conversation with a worker at that store. It was the same man I had dealt with! When I later spoke with a local sister in Christ, I discovered she had talked with that man about the Bible many years earlier. As it turned out, she planted the seed, and then the brother and I watered. Perhaps she actually watered too—maybe some other Christian reached him before she.

The conversion of a human soul is a slow process. It can take many years or several decades. Some people never do trust Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. They do wind up going to Hell. Still, others do get saved—but we may not live to see it. It does not really matter what we witness but rather that we witness. There is a responsibility on our part to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2). Regardless of what we see, what people do with that Word is up to them. Never do we “twist arms” or force people onto their knees. All we do is offer, extend, hold out, the plan of salvation. We cannot believe for them, but we can give them a message worthy of their belief.

Furthermore, “God… giveth the increase.” He alone can cause that word of life to impart life to the lost and dying sinner. While we want to force or rush things, we dare not. We cannot give the increase because we are powerless; we can only plant and water (along with other Christians). This is the work of the ministry, laboring with other believers, putting self aside, and endeavoring to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Saviour! He is everything!

To Abide in the Flesh

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you” (Philippians 1:21-24 KJV).

We Christians often want to go on to Heaven to meet our loved ones, instead of staying here in this present evil world. Countless brethren throughout the centuries have agreed with Paul that “to depart, and to be with Christ… is far better.” But, we must also agree with his other recognition!

Paul’s epistle to Philippi was written from a Roman prison—technically, he was under house arrest (Acts 28:30). When he penned in today’s Scripture, “this is the fruit of my labour,” the “this” was his “bonds,” his confinement (see Philippians 1:13). He was a hated man preaching an “illegal religion.” No doubt, in the midst of all his suffering for the Gospel’s sake, there were times when he just wanted to leave this wretched world forever. However….

The Holy Spirit transformed his mind. Despite the pleasure he would get in leaving to be with the Lord Jesus Christ, something was much more important than alleviating his pain and suffering. He needed to stay here on Earth in order to continue ministering to his Gentile converts. After struggling to decide what to do, notice his resolution in the verses following today’s Scripture: “[25] And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; [26] That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.”

Paul hoped to be freed, thereby allowing him to return to Philippi and encourage his Christian brethren in person. He decided Earthnot Heaven!—was the best place to be at the moment. Let us realize the same, brethren! There are still more people (lost and saved alike) for us (!) to reach with sound Bible doctrine, so let us be about “abiding in the flesh!” 🙂

Liberated to Serve

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 KJV).

Today, as we in the United States celebrate the 241st anniversary of our nation’s independence, we invite our Christian brethren worldwide to rejoice with us concerning our freedom in Jesus Christ.

When we proclaim Romans 6:14—“Ye are not under the law, but under grace”—people tend to assume “loose living.” Does “grace living” really mean we can now live any way we want? Lest anyone be misled in that regard, God the Holy Spirit moved the Apostle Paul to write in the next verse, “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid [May God never let that happen!]” (Romans 6:15). Grace living is not Law-keeping, but it certainly is not Law-breaking either.

God still cares how we live, albeit He is not operating the “weak and beggarly” system of “bondage” (Law) that He once did with Israel (Galatians 4:9). God proved to the entire world that since Israel could not keep His commandments perfectly, no other sons of Adam (the Gentiles) could either: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them [Israel] who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world [Gentiles] may become guilty before God (Romans 3:19).

We sinners cannot keep the Law. However, God in His grace provided us a way to escape that condemnation by sending Jesus Christ to offer Himself on Calvary’s cruel cross to pay for our sins. By simple faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the fully-satisfying payment for our sins, we can now be “made the righteousness of God in [Christ]” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We can be delivered from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire) and the power of sin (flesh-walking).

Why are we Christians free? To selfishly live any way we want? NO! Today’s Scripture says we are liberated to now serve others, especially our Christian brethren, just as Jesus Christ selflessly served His Father and selflessly died on our behalf. That is grace living!!!!

Please see our 2011 Fourth of July Bible study “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land,” which can be watched here or read here.

Waiting for His Son from Heaven

Saturday, July 1, 2017

“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:9,10 KJV).

Friend, have you ever excitedly waited for a loved one to stop by for a visit?

The Bible says that we members of the Church the Body of Christ are “waiting” for a very special Loved One to come and visit us (and He will literally “drop by” at anytime!). While many people—even some professing Christians—are waiting for the Antichrist to appear on earth, today’s Scripture says we as Bible believers are looking for Jesus Christ to appear in heaven. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ…” (Titus 2:13).

While we are waiting for God’s Son from heaven, we are not sitting around doing nothing. We are praying. We are preaching the Gospel of the Grace of God. We are studying our Bibles. We are passing out tracts and Bible literature. We are teaching Scripture to others. We are working at our secular jobs. We are being upright spouses, parents, and children. Before we leave though, others must come with us. That grace of God on display in our lives entices them to join us in that heavenly abode that awaits all those who have placed their faith in Christ alone.

Brethren, we need to be about Father God’s business. If we are to truly experience the Christian life as He intended, we must be learning and doing that which fits Pauline doctrine. We are serving “the living and true God,” not some dead idol of wood or stone. What we do for Him will matter; it will not be overlooked in eternity future. If we really honored and valued Him, we would get into His Word, get His Word into us, get off our behinds, and let that Word work in us because we believe it! We are indeed waiting… but we are working too! 🙂

Bible Q&A #395: “Should we use Bibles on electronic devices?

Instructing Those That Oppose Themselves

Friday, June 30, 2017

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will (2 Timothy 2:24-26 KJV).

How do we combat Bible ignorance? We “in meekness instruct those that oppose themselves!”

We all begin life as physical babies but we do not remain in that state. Eventually, we grow up and become adults. Rather than depending on others all our life, we increasingly do for ourselves. Just as we move on in our experience in life, so we become better aware of what is going on and what is expected of us. It is abnormal for us not to make such progress. We all grow at different rates, but we still grow. For an adult to think and behave like a small child is most tragic, and sadly, most churches today are nothing but spiritual nurseries. Spiritual immaturity is not a sin. Prolonged spiritual immaturity is!

Colossians 2:7 says of the Christian life: “Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” The Lord Jesus Christ is the source of the Christian life. We are edified in Him. We should be “stablished [stabilized] in the faith:” that is, we are spiritually steadied, not “children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness…” (Ephesians 4:14). The key is to be “taught” sound Bible doctrine—and there is rarely any teaching going on in Christian assemblies today. Most of the focus is on music, dancing, singing, liturgy, ceremonies, and prayers!

Friends, so many Christians are living contrary to who God has made them in His Son, Jesus Christ. In humility, gentleness, we must use the Word of God rightly divided to warn them, to teach them, to tell them how to come to the knowledge of the truth and escape the snare of the Devil! We must “instruct those that oppose themselves!”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should I preach the same Bible messages I have preached before?

Father: A Godly Man

Sunday, June 18, 2017

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4 KJV).

Since today is Father’s Day, we dedicate today’s devotional to the godly (Christian) fathers.

What is a godly father? Oftentimes, fathers are either too authoritative (very strict) or too carefree (little to no concern for their children). According to the Bible (today’s Scripture in particular), fathers must have a balance between setting boundaries and enforcing them, and refraining from being a heartless tyrant.

  • On one hand, the Christian father is to “bring [his children] up in the nurture of the Lord.” “Nurture” is simply defined as “caring for and encouraging their growth or development.” All too often, fathers (sadly) ignore this, usually being too rough, or even, apathetic (unconcerned).
  • On the other hand, the Christian father is to “bring [his children] up in the admonition of the Lord.” “Admonition” is simply defined as “authoritative counsel or warning.” He is to lovingly guide them in life, instructing them from God’s Word rightly divided.

A father is not simply one who procreates. God’s Word makes it very clear that they should serve a lifelong, active role in their children’s lives. A Christian man, especially a father, should be a godly man in beliefs as well as in deed. He needs to set an example for his children (especially his sons): it is his duty as an older Christian man to set an example for younger men.

He should be a hard worker, he should meditate on the things of God (the Bible), his speech should conform to sound Bible doctrine, he should be hospitable and caring, kind and loving, he should respect and love his wife, he should love his children, and he should be reserved and cautious in his actions.

Are you a Christian man or Christian father who desires to be the man God intends you to be in Christ Jesus? Place your faith in this sound Bible doctrine, and God will take care of the rest! Then, you will become the godly man described on the pages of Scripture.

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

Not Entangled

Friday, June 16, 2017

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier (2 Timothy 2:4 KJV).

Before you get too worked up about this world’s conditions, remember not to get distracted from what really matters!

Recently, I was talking with a brother in Christ who was very disturbed by what is going on in the world. In his own words, his “blood was boiling.” He was angry, raging, quite frustrated over corrupt politicians, violence, and evildoers going unpunished. Moreover, he ranted and raved against his national government. While I understand his frustrations, I did politely remind him to be civil when he would discuss it with others (he said he was going to tell others what he had told me). The man has been saved for years, many decades, but God’s grace has yet to transform the way he thinks about this world.

As “outposts from the third heaven,” beloved, we simply cannot get too attached to the people and things of this temporary world. We can get all worked up about scandals and conundrums in politics, religion, economics, sports, educational institutions, social issues, and so on. It is only human to get so enmeshed, trapped, involved, entwined with human affairs. However, as members of the Church the Body of Christ, we are God’s people. We are to be concentrating on God’s thoughts instead of common human thoughts. Father God is not worrying or fretting in Heaven today, and if anyone should concerned, it should be the Person who can control it.

Dear friends, we must never let Satan’s evil world system distract us from what really matters. Those “doctrines of devils” can come in the subtlest forms, and we must be vigilant that they do not get a stronghold in our thoughts. As soldiers of Jesus Christ, we must concentrate on our “marching orders,” and those instructions are: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection [focus] on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3).

Bible Q&A #390: “Does Acts 26:22 disprove the Apostle Paul’s special doctrine?