Lifted and Fallen #3

Friday, February 10, 2017

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:12,13 KJV).

Does the Bible teach “entire sanctification?” Today’s Scripture screams, NO!

Verses 1-4 say Israel started right—a leader, Moses (God’s spokesman to them); the cloud (God’s presence); the Red Sea crossing (passing to new life in Christ); spiritual food (manna and quail); and spiritual drink (water). However, they were not content with God’s provisions.

We continue reading: “[5] But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. [6] Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. [7] Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. [8] Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. [9] Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. [10] Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.”

Verse 5, sinful Jews dying in the wilderness, refers to Numbers 14:29. Verse 6, them craving the old life (sinful pleasures) in Egypt, compares to Numbers 11:4-6. Verse 7 refers to Exodus 32:6, them worshiping the golden calf idol and engaging in orgies (lewd dancing parties). Verse 8 quotes Exodus 32:28,35—God striking those fornicators with a deadly plague. Verse 9 refers to Numbers 21:5,6—God sending serpents to bite and kill defiant Jews. Finally, verse 10 compares to Numbers 14:36-37 and/or Numbers 16:46-50—God destroying the complainers with a plague. They doubted He would bring them into the Promised Land. Rather than being thankful for His blessings, they preferred their old life. Instead of serving Him, they worshiped pagan idols. They repeatedly challenged Him and complained. Those same sins exist in the professing church today….

A Friend Forever

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5,6 KJV).

While today’s Scripture is to and about the nation Israel, there is a parallel with us today in the Dispensation of Grace. Let us see what it is!

Recently, I dealt with a despairing child. One “friend” had “stolen” another friend from her. Now, those two friends were associating… and ignoring her. My advice to her was that dissolved friendships are a part of life (this was her first direct experience of it). Sometimes, friendships can be repaired; other times, they cannot. Even after we reach adulthood, envy and self-centeredness divide us and our friends. My additional advice to her was though her friends disappoint, leave, and abandon her entirely, she still has the Lord Jesus Christ, one who never disappoints, leaves, or abandons. Israel has been granted such a promise in today’s Scripture.

To fully appreciate today’s Scripture, we must remember that the Book of Hebrews relates to end-times prophecy (see Hebrews 1:1,2; Hebrews 2:3-5; Hebrews 10:25-31; Hebrews 12:25-29; Hebrews 13:12-14; et cetera). It especially deals with Jews living in the future seven-year Tribulation, the Antichrist’s reign. This satanic political leader will institute his infamous “mark of the beast,” a special relationship needed to buy or sell in his economy (Revelation 13:16-18). Since Messianic Jews who believe in Christ will reject the Antichrist, they will also reject his “mark,” thus causing them inevitable economic hardships (namely, famine and homelessness). It will also break apart their families, unbelievers shunning believers in Christ (Matthew 24:9,10; cf. Matthew 10:21,31-37).

In the midst of their financial struggles, their “friends” and family abandoning them, the Lord speaks to Israel’s Little Flock, these circumcision believers, in today’s Scripture. They should be content with what they have. Most importantly, they should be thankful they have HIM, ever, ever, EVER faithful to them. He will provide them with the spiritual stability needed to get them through their troubles, until He returns for them. We have the same promise—a Friend in Christ forever! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does 1 John 1:8 mean, ‘We deceive ourselves?’

In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 24, 2016

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV).

Dear saints, take a moment this Thanksgiving to learn a valuable lesson from the Holy Scriptures!

God wants “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4). To be “saved” here means you have been rescued from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire), and that you have a home in heaven, because you have trusted the death, shed blood, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for your sins. To “come unto the knowledge of the truth” is when a person who has trusted Christ, begins to understand why God saved him or her, and how God will use him or her for His glory. Although soul salvation is instantaneous, spiritual maturity is a life-long process (that is especially true regarding handling difficulties, the grace way!).

It is human nature to avoid difficulties and stress, to flee them, rather than confront them. This self-preservation is advantageous, particularly in “life or death” situations. However, running from troubling circumstances is not the way God has designed our life in Christ to function. Today’s Scripture says, In every thing give thanks,” notFor every thing give thanks.” We do not thank God for our troubles; we thank God while we are enduring those troubles. This is tough, I know, but it takes time for us to learn it. Even the Apostle Paul had to learn this.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

Be thankful in every thing. God’s grace is sufficient for you, dear saint, in all of life’s circumstances. When you learn this, you are “[coming] unto the knowledge of the truth.”

*Excerpted from our Thanksgiving 2012 Bible study with the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

You may also see, “What are our spiritual blessings in Christ?

Enjoy, With Godliness and Contentment

Monday, September 26, 2016

“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17 KJV).

Enjoy life, friends, with godliness and contentment!

Some Christians, seeking the title “The Epitome of Simplistic Living,” consider pleasure a sin. (Supposedly, the more basic one’s lifestyle is, the “holier” he or she is!) Eating at a nice restaurant—NO! Wearing makeup and nice clothing—NO! and NO! Watching television shows and movies—NO! (“Christians should remain home and avoid the world!”) Or, maybe their life’s goal is to scrimp and stash spare change in their pockets, and collect every last penny on sidewalks. They “stash” it underground for “Jesus’ glory!” (Ignoring, “God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.”) Furthermore, although they have taken great precautions to hold to that wealth, something bad will eventually happen—another person may find and keep it, the economy may collapse, or they just may die!

Other Christians know nothing but pleasure. They love entertainment wherever they go… at home, at school, at work, at church, and so on. They too have trusted in “uncertain” riches. Life for them is all about how much they can spend and sport—bigger homes, faster cars, beautiful spouses, highest-paying jobs, educations, and so on. They have a God-shaped vacuum in their hearts, and they are desperately trying to fill it with everything but sound Bible doctrine.

Dear friends, God wants us at neither extreme. We need to strike a balance. Today’s Scripture says, “Nor trust in uncertain riches… but in… God… who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” Contrary to popular belief, it is not a sin to “enjoy” life by owning nice possessions. If we can afford what we want, we may purchase it—“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7)! Yet, let us not trust in those “uncertain” riches. Remember, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Timothy 6:6-8).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who, crucified on Calvary, mocked Jesus?

Bent on Being Content

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

“… Supposing that gain is godliness…. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:5-10 KJV).

Most definitely, there is no wagon behind a hearse, but you will be taking your spiritual purse!

In this life, the Bible says we should be thankful if we have only food and clothing. However, “the love of money”—as history bears record to time and time again—has led to ever so many other evils. This is particularly true of religions (the context of today’s Scripture). Human flesh is a pig—it wants more and more and more. Envy creeps in and you become willing to take the life of anyone who has what you want. Yet, after all the effort of trying to gain, gain, gain, we lose it all anyway.

No matter how tightly people try to hold on to their material possessions, they will lose them in the end. Death is the ultimate thief. It takes away our loved ones, it takes away our material goods, and it takes away our life. People can put wads of cash into our pockets as our body lies in its casket for its last viewing. Still, it will profit us nothing because we are not even there anyway. We will be either in heaven or in hell—and earthly wealth is useless in both.

The only thing that matters in eternity is God’s Word because it will never, ever, ever disappear. Friend, if you do not have God’s Word, you have nothing. “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (today’s Scripture). You read all about godliness in the Bible, particularly Paul’s epistles. Learn of the spiritual wealth God offers you in Christ, and, friend, be content with it. It is “great gain.” 🙂

He is Not Done With Us Yet!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

“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).

God cannot use us in heaven until He is done with us on earth!

Recently, a Christian brother was telling another believer and myself that he was ready to go home to heaven. He was tired of the struggles and troubles. He longed to meet a certain loved one in heaven. But, he explained how he was able to share the Lord Jesus Christ with a lost person not long ago. It was then that the thought struck him. God had not taken him home yet because He was still using him for His glory!

Beloved, the same could be said all of us. Our time, talent, prayer lives, material goods, and so on, we can all use them to further the name of Jesus Christ in some way or another. First Corinthians chapter 12 describes how one Body of Christ is actually many members working together. All parts are needed. Sadly, a lot of Christians wrongly believe it is not their responsibility to share Jesus Christ with others. They think that it is the “pastor’s job,” the “evangelist’s job,” and the “Bible teacher’s job.” If that were true, I am quite sure all the non-pastors, all the non-evangelists, and all the non-teachers would have been taken to heaven by now!

Our Apostle, Paul, in today’s Scripture, wanted to “be with Christ,” which is “far better.” It was better than a prison in Rome. Yet, he put aside his selfish desires. He preferred to stay on Earth, for many people still needed to benefit from his ministry. There were still sermons to be preached, more Scripture to write, more people to meet. Yes, we all long to go to Heaven, but until we find ourselves there, may we be content staying until Father is done with us on Earth! 🙂

Their Loss Not Ours!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

“Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked; For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out” (Proverbs 24:19,20 KJV).

What great advice—to Israel or to us!

A Christian sister recently browsing social media grew angry. (We can all relate.) She had drifted onto the webpages of certain people who had greatly wronged her in the past. Her stirred-up emotions, not having a mind of their own, had caused her to (wrongly) believe the past was ongoing. She had kept perusing to see more text and additional pictures of their “success,” “popularity,” and overall “nice” outward appearance. Everyone had “flocked” to them—she was the outcast, even after all those years trying to do right. The anger gradually escalated. My advice to her was simple: “Get off! Move on! Get off!”

Brethren, let today’s Scripture sink into your hearts and minds. This is as close to “heaven” as lost people will get. Let them heap to themselves as many “friends” as possible on Earth—there are no “friends” in hell! Let them heap to themselves as many “pennies” as possible on Earth—there are no “riches” in hell! Let them heap to themselves as much “nice outward show” as possible on Earth—there is no “beauty” in hell! Let them live it up now. Except they die in Jesus Christ, here is as good as it will ever get for them. Once their “candle” is “put out”—their house is darkened because they have died—we certainly do not want to envy them at that point! Most certainly, they gained the whole world temporarily and lost their soul eternally (Matthew 16:26)!

Today’s Scripture is actually God the Holy Spirit encouraging believing Israelites (poor, destitute of goods, rejected, despised, imprisoned, bereaved) not to look at their unsaved Jewish brethren who are prospering materially and socially for following the Antichrist, yet future (Revelation 13:15-17; cf. Psalm 37). Why? The unsaved… when death comes, they lose their fortunes, their friends, their lives, and finally their souls. My, how we pray earnestly for their eternal salvation in Jesus Christ before it is too late. Without Him, it is their loss, not ours!