Teamwork!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:20,21 KJV).

It is a group effort—guarding the principles of grace given us.

Recently, I attended another one of my niece’s softball tournaments. Those young women have greatly matured in the last two years. By trial and error, training and careful thought, they have learned exactly what it takes to be victorious. It does not come easy, as “teamwork” really is about cooperating with others instead of operating alone. There are great frustrations. Situations look grim, maybe hopeless. In the midst of it all is the foreboding feeling of wanting to give up. Much effort is required to achieve anything important. The Christian ministry is quite similar.

Brethren, we have the Bible—God’s “playbook” that also lays out how our Adversary (Satan) works as the opposing team. The Holy Spirit has already outlined therein what Father God is doing today as well as what the Devil is doing to contest it. Grace has given us the privilege of serving with other Christians to gain the advantage with sound Bible doctrine.

If we want to “train up” in the world’s way, learning how lost people think and applying that to life, we most certainly can do it. While not what God originally wanted for us, He is more than willing to give us over to “do our own thing.” We will “swing the bat at nothing”—too high, too low, too fast, too slow (struggling and imprecise). If we do manage to run toward a base, again, we run too slow or too fast—not reaching the base, or passing it and being tagged out. Tripping, we fall, unable to achieve that higher level of maturity and work.

We can do the work of the ministry, and see God’s words and will be conveyed to the masses. Or, we can fall victim to infighting and self-defeat. Unless we give careful thought to what we are doing—what Father God is doing—we will be weak and incompetent. Far better we remain in the “dugout” than go out “on the field” inexperienced and stumbling; more harm than good will result with recklessness!

What Pleases God #8

Saturday, November 9, 2019

For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (2 Peter 1:17 KJV).

Using the Scriptures, we will define exactly what God thinks well of….

“He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me” (2 Samuel 22:20; cf. Psalm 18:19). King David celebrates after JEHOVAH God “delighted” (was pleased with) him and delivered him from all his enemies. This previews believing Israel’s future deliverance at Christ’s Second Coming, liberated from Satan and all other Jew-haters. “For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation” (Psalm 149:4).

When compared to His Son’s perfect sacrifice of Himself on Calvary’s cross, God has “no pleasure” in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin (Hebrews 10:6-8). As concerning us Christians in the Body of Christ, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21). God has “no pleasure” in hearts of unbelief (Hebrews 10:38). He was “not well pleased” with a large number of Jews who came out of Egypt (1 Corinthians 10:5); hence, they died in unbelief in the wilderness in the Book of Numbers. As Israel killed Messiah Jesus, and then persecuted and slew His Apostles and their converts during the Acts period, the Holy Spirit commented on how the Jews “please not God” (1 Thessalonians 2:15).

“But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased (Psalm 115:3; cf. Psalm 135:6). “By him [Christ] therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased (Hebrews 13:15,16). “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs” (Psalm 69:30,31). Saints, we know what pleases God! Now, how will we respond? 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the ‘appearing’ of the Lord in 2 Timothy 4:8?

What Pleases God #7

Friday, November 8, 2019

For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (2 Peter 1:17 KJV).

Using the Scriptures, we will define exactly what God thinks well of….

Ephesians 1:6 says Father God “hath made us accepted in the beloved.” The Greek word rendered “accepted” is “charitoo,” translated “highly favoured” in Luke 1:28. (“Charis” is Greek for “grace.”) It naturally follows that since we are God’s children, our activities should reflect our identity. Just as we please God positionally—in Christ, sharing all His traits (righteous, holy, beloved of God, et cetera)—so we should please Him practically by letting that identity transform our lifestyles on a daily basis.

First Thessalonians chapter 4: “[1] Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. [2] For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. [3] For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: [4] That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; [5] Not in the lust of concupiscence [strong desire], even as the Gentiles which know not God: [6] That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. [7] For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.”

Sinners cannot help but sin; sin is all the “old man,” the old nature, knows! Saints, however, are “freed from sin” (Romans 6:7); sin does not have dominion over us. We can choose to take our stand by faith in Pauline doctrine, and walk in accordance with it. When our conduct matches Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, we please Father God. The Holy Spirit is “grieved” (saddened) when we “quench” (hinder, prevent) Him from working in our lives (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Let us now summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

What Pleases God #6

Thursday, November 7, 2019

For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (2 Peter 1:17 KJV).

Using the Scriptures, we will define exactly what God thinks well of….

Hebrews 11:6 is a transdispensational truth: “But without faith it is impossible to please him [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” No matter the dispensation or place on the Bible timeline, the God of Scripture always looks first and foremost for faith. He is interested in people trusting His words to them (the content of the Divine revelation changing through time). If they believe His Word to them, then they will have works.

Works can be faked—someone simply “going through the motions.” Faith, however, cannot be faked. We can see people’s works, but they can fool us (mindless actions). God alone can see a heart of faith; He cannot be tricked. He can discern a heart of faith with Christ working in it (righteousness), versus a heart of unbelief attempting to counterfeit Christ’s works (self-righteousness). Belief in the Gospel of Grace makes the difference!

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God(Hebrews 11:5; cf. Genesis 5:24; Jude 14,15). Again, faith is most important—not works! As pertaining to us in the Church the Body of Christ, Father God “hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). God’s “beloved” here is Jesus Christ. As soon as we believed on Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (Ephesians 1:6,7,12-14); God the Holy Spirit eternally united us with Jesus Christ. Placing us into the Church the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13), the Holy Spirit simultaneously transferred Christ’s identity to us!

The God of the Bible does not accept sinners; He does, however, see sinners in Christ as saints. Since Jesus Christ is God’s “beloved” Son (today’s Scripture), and we are in that Son, we are equally God’s “beloved,” and thus well pleasing in His sight as well….

What Pleases God #1

Saturday, November 2, 2019

For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (2 Peter 1:17 KJV).

Using the Scriptures, we will define exactly what God thinks well of….

Dear friend, if you were asked what pleases God, could you use Bible verses to answer? Surely, in our religious “goodness,” we all would eagerly claim, “Why, I please God, and what I do pleases God.” We would proceed to mention how faithful we are in our daily prayers, our giving “generous” “tithes” and “offerings,” our “keeping” the 10 Commandments, our following the Sermon on the Mount, our participation in ceremonies and programs and rituals, and on and on. Would all that be enough to please God? (No!)

Today’s Scripture is the Bible’s final reference to a historical event that is recorded in God’s Word four times. It is Father God’s declaration connected to Jesus Christ’s water baptism. “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). “And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Mark 1:11). “And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased(Luke 3:22).

Matthew the Apostle quoted Isaiah 42:1, Father God’s description of the Lord Jesus Christ: “Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles” (Matthew 12:18). At the Mount of Transfiguration, Matthew 17:5 reports: “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”

Finally, we read Christ’s words in John 8:29: “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” Here is what—here is He that—pleases God….

Children of Light #8

Sunday, September 1, 2019

“While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them” (John 12:36 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is one of three instances of the expression “children of light” in the Bible. What is the significance of this title?

First Thessalonians chapter 5 contains the final occurrence: “[1] But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. [2] For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. [3] For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. [4] But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. [5] Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.”

We are not in darkness or ignorance concerning the end times, after our Dispensation of Grace. As members of the Church the Body of Christ, we will not be susceptible to the spiritual darkness that will come after our mystery program. The Antichrist—key figure in Satan’s future plans—will not deceive us or catch us by surprise. We will be in Heaven by that time (see chapter 4). If we are not a part of the lie program (and we are not), then it does not make sense for us to behave as though we were or are.

Here is what the future holds for Israel. Isaiah 2:5: “O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.” Chapter 9, verse 8: “The LORD sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.” Chapter 42, verse 6: “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;….” Chapter 60, verses 1 and 3: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee…. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”

Bible Q&A #445: “What Bible Book should I read first?

Children of Light #7

Saturday, August 31, 2019

“While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them” (John 12:36 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is one of three instances of the expression “children of light” in the Bible. What is the significance of this title?

Saints, before we came to faith in Christ, we were in Satan’s darkness. Now, as “children of light,” we should act accordingly. Ephesians 6:12 speaks of Satan’s minions, “the rulers of the darkness of this world.” Second Corinthians 6:14 says we as “light” have no communion with “darkness.” Romans 13:12 tells us: “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” Ephesians 4:17,18: “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:….”

Ephesians chapter 5: “[8] For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: [9] (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; ) [10] Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. [11] And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. [12] For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. [13] But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. [14] Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”

Philippians 2:15 exhorts us, “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;….” Brethren, we should be careful to maintain good works. If we properly represent Father God in this present evil world, we will not repeat Israel’s mistakes of preferring darkness.

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How could John the Baptist question if Jesus really is Christ?