Successful!

Friday, March 23, 2018

“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:1-3 KJV).

Without further delay, saints, let us realize how to be successful!

Today’s Scripture is some of the Apostle Paul’s final words to young Timothy. The Roman government is preparing to execute the imprisoned, aged Apostle for preaching an “illegal religion.” After 35 years of glorious grace ministry, Paul is finally going Home—to the third heaven!!!

Notice a portion of the Holy Ghost’s concluding words to us the Church the Body of Christ. In all the “ups and downs” of life and ministry, we are to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Remember, when all else fails you, in the end, God’s grace will remain to sustain you. Paul is moving on to “be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). As his mentor passes off the scene, it is vital that Timothy never forgets that grace will abide. No matter how rough it gets down here, because of everything that Father God can do for us through Christ’s finished crosswork, we can endure it. Never should Timothy (or we) overlook that.

Furthermore, Paul instructs Timothy, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” God taught us through Paul so we can teach the same to others. The key word here is same:” we do not change the message, do not compromise the doctrine, and do not water down Pauline truth!! Timothy should never forget this either—especially since mass apostasy (many Christians abandoning truth to embrace error) surrounds him.

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” In light of what was just stated, we are to “endure hardness” (“suffer trouble,” 2 Timothy 2:9; “endure afflictions,” 2 Timothy 4:5). Saints, an intense spiritual battle is being waged. We have a vicious Adversary (Satan) to face. Nevertheless, we are “good soldiers of Jesus Christ.” We will win only because of God’s grace! 🙂

Silenced!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; (2 Timothy 1:7,8 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to preach sound Bible doctrine.

Brethren, Satan has a two-fold strategy for hindering God’s will. In “phase 1,” he attacks the message. Remember, his first words in Scripture are in Genesis 3:1: Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? Satan’s chief goal is to question (challenge) God’s Word, thus removing it as the authority. After repeatedly distorting the Bible, he outright denied it in verse 4. Satan effectually enticed Adam and Eve to corrupt, and thereby abandon, sound Bible doctrine.

If the saint maintains and defends sound Bible doctrine, not relinquishing it, then Satan begins “phase 2.” Satan’s objective here is to attack the messenger, to somehow silence him—through intimidation, hardship, embarrassment, discouragement, and so on. This is where we find Timothy in today’s Scripture. In 1 Timothy, he had dealt with false teaching in Ephesus. He has remained faithful to the grace message, having not compromised with the legalists. Satan has failed to get Timothy to pervert grace.

Now, in 2 Timothy (today’s Scripture), Timothy’s face is damp with “tears” (verse 4). He is crying, emotionally exhausted, overwhelmed by opposition and distress in the ministry. As Paul writes, pervasive doctrinal error exists now: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (verse 15). Most Christians have now abandoned Paul’s doctrine, preferring legalism and other heresies. Dejected Timothy has surrendered, having ceased (!) preaching Pauline doctrine (verse 6).

Paul, imprisoned far away in Rome for preaching God’s grace through Christ, is moved by the Holy Spirit to encourage Timothy to not be ashamed (today’s Scripture). “Timothy, remember who you are and where you came from. God’s power will get you through your situations. Share in those afflictions that accompany the Gospel! No matter what happens, boldly preach!” (Brethren, may we do likewise.)

Solace!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to enjoy the solace of the God of all comfort.

Today’s Scripture is the Apostle Paul at the lowest point in his whole ministry. Keep reading: “[8] For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: [9] But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: [10] Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;….” Did you sense Paul’s great depression in verse 8?

When the Apostle refers to his “trouble… in Asia,” that would have been something that occurred in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). On its western shore sat the city of Ephesus. Here, in Acts chapter 19, Paul had preached Jesus Christ and founded the church at Ephesus. You would do well to read the chapter sometime. Paul’s preaching the truth caused a revival in that spiritually dead, pagan city. With the idol-makers losing customers, they lashed out and caused a riot. Paul could have lost his life! Thankfully, God supported him physically (but most importantly, spiritually).

Saint, when you get “pressed out of measure” in ministry, “above strength, insomuch that [you] despair even of life,” you just keep on going! After all, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;….” If the saints of old found solace in the God of all comfort, then we will too!

Our archived Bible Q&A: “Should Christians celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?

Safe!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be spiritually and mentally safe.

Until the Rapture, Christian brethren, we are prone to worry. Anxiety—being full of care—is spiritually dangerous. We should replace our fretting with praying: we talk to God about our circumstances. His Word rightly divided has the answer, so we prayerfully study it and then apply pertinent verses to life. We thereby gain our Heavenly Father’s peace.

Today’s Scripture says we need God’s peace to “keep [protect] [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Why? Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44), is the master deceiver: he assiduously seeks to use error to distract us from the truth. Two particular schemes, religion and circumstances, greatly advance his cause. Unfavorable situations cause us to assume God is displeased with us and is now chastening us. We then struggle in works-religion to “get back on His good side.” Absolutely, we are not living in reality; Satan has tricked us! Reality says God loves us—look at Calvary (Romans 5:8)—and accepts us in Christ the Beloved—look at Calvary (Ephesians 1:6,7)!

Romans 8:35-39 begins with “who,” for Satan exploits these various situations to mislead us into thinking God does not love us: “[35] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…. [37] Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. [38] For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, [39] Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

In all these circumstances, brethren, “we are more than conquerors.” Not only do we overcome them (remember 1 Corinthians 10:13?), we make them occasions to rely on Christ more (remember 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 and Philippians 4:11-13?). Strength having replaced helplessness, security having replaced vulnerability, we now replace our anxiety with God’s peace! 🙂

See!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to see that which is not seen.

Since we are flesh-and-blood creatures, we quite naturally focus on—and unhealthily emphasize—everything we can see, taste, smell, hear, and touch. Basically, we adopt the (secular/unsaved) worldview of, “Empirical evidence is the only reality!” “If it cannot be seen, it cannot be real” is an extremely shallow understanding of reality in and of itself. For example, can we smell love? Do we see air? Can we touch a thought? Do we hear the color green? Can we taste light? Certainly not! These are all fallacious premises. Those concepts must be approached in special ways, or they will not be perceived. Green is not heard but seen. Thoughts are not touched but heard.

Similarly, to experience what God tells and offers us, we do not exercise our five senses. There is something beyond our physical eyes, physical ears, physical noses, physical hands, and physical tongues. This is where the spiritual world lies. Now, just as we understand every creature in the physical world is not benevolent, so we understand that malevolent creatures exist in the spirit world. Whatever they are though, good and bad, we can perceive them if we exercise our spiritual senses.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Through the eyes of faith, we see that there is more to our existence than this life. Whatever we are facing, good or bad, this world is “temporal” (today’s Scripture). Our “light affliction,” our “minor difficulty,” is limited; it is subject to time constraints, temporary. If you keep reading into chapter 5, the verses immediately following today’s Scripture, you will see through the eyes of faith a small glimpse of the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” awaiting us!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the ‘Apocalypse?’

Salient!

Monday, March 5, 2018

But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ (1 Peter 3:14-16 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be striking in our handling of suffering.

The Holy Spirit wrote today’s Scripture concerning end-times persecution: Israel’s believing remnant will suffer immensely under the Antichrist. The Lord Jesus commented in Matthew chapter 24: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another” (verses 9,10). Verse 21 is worse: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since [!!!!] the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be [!!!!].”

In the midst of such dreadful torment and slaughter, God the Holy Spirit wants the Little Flock to be “ready always” to have an “answer” (Greek, apologia—a defense, as in apologetics) when someone will ask them for a reason of the hope in them. They are to be salient, prominent, for their endurance. Just what enables them to bear unparalleled pressure from the Adversary (Satan, embodied in the Antichrist)? How can they tolerate all the opposition, resist the majority, challenge this seemingly omnipotent tyrant, and not be crushed internally by hopelessness?

The answer was already provided in chapter 1: “[5] Who are kept [protected] by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. [6] Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: [7] That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing [Second Coming] of Jesus Christ:….”

Paul’s epistles provide us our defense!

Sagacious!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,… (Ephesians 3:9,10 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to manifest the wisdom of God.

With the mystery revealed to Paul, and now given us through his epistles, Romans through Philemon, we know “the wisdom of God.” God wisely kept a secret, showing it to man only once He saved and commissioned Paul in Acts chapter 9. First Corinthians chapter 2 says: “[6] Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: [7] But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

Part of the mystery program is the formation of the Church the Body of Christ, believing Jews and Gentiles reconciled in one body by Calvary’s cross. In those Christians—their mortal bodies (2 Corinthians 4:10,11; 1 Timothy 3:16)—God would show His wisdom to all people and angels (cf. today’s Scripture). Even today, as these believers live and function on a daily basis, they literally are God’s life on display. Sagacious means, “having or exhibiting wisdom and calm judgment.” With the Dispensation of Grace given to us through Paul’s ministry (Ephesians 3:1,2), we can show the world God’s wisdom, how He Himself lives (especially how to view and handle troubles and tragedies).

We have God’s life outlined in the grace principles Jesus Christ first committed to Paul. Obviously, though, there is no wisdom of God manifested if there is no wisdom of God internalized. Christians, if ignorant of the rightly divided Word of God, will exhibit ignorance before the world. Instead of glorifying God, they will be a reproach to the name of Christ. Never forget, Bible scoffers will then have all the more reason to mock.