Liberated to Serve

Sunday, July 4, 2021

“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 245th 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.

Eyes Fixed on the Lord!

Saturday, July 3, 2021

“And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:28-31 KJV).

We often hear of “doubting Thomas,” but what can “doubting Peter” teach us here?

The Lord Jesus instructed His disciples to board a boat and meet Him across the Sea of Galilee (verse 22). On land, He prayed high in a mountain, delayed for several hours (verse 23). A mighty storm arose, blowing against the disciples’ ship; they have made very little progress traversing the lake (verse 24). Suddenly, Christ appears, walking on the water, but, not expecting Him, they assume it is a spirit (verses 25,26). As per superstition, a “water spirit” was a bad omen. Supposing disaster, they scream in terror! “But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid” (verse 28).

As Matthew indicates in today’s Scripture, Peter desires to walk on the water to meet the Lord. Once Christ gives Peter permission, Peter begins to tread across the lake! “But when he saw the wind boisterous.” Peter took his eyes off the Lord, looked at his circumstances, and began to sink! Similarly, if we look at our fellow man—and even many of our genuine brethren in Christ—we will surely grow discouraged. They just have little to no understanding of sound Bible doctrine. If we gaze at the evil world system around us, we will definitely wind up in spiritual ruin. We must keep our eyes on Christ!

While Paul was preaching in Acts chapter 20, verse 9 tells us: “And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.” Eutychus, sitting between light and darkness, looked away from Pauline doctrine, and literally perished as he fell from the third floor. Beware!

Shine

Friday, July 2, 2021

“[The great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14 KJV).

Christian friend, there are at least two reasons people have distasteful feelings about “church.”

Firstly, having a sin problem, the mere thought of any “higher power” reminds them of the Creator whom they will eventually face in judgment! “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:…” (Romans 1:18-20). Avoiding dealing with their sins, they contrive defenses: “There is no God, no afterlife, no Heaven or Hell.” They have conveniently “forgotten” what they know to be true!

Secondly, it does not seem they are angry at Christianity per se. Rather, their ire stems from their misperception of it. They saw something hypocritical in a church setting and assumed that was Christianity. Unfortunately, what they beheld was vain religion and nothing more. Actually, they likely never understood the Scriptures in the first place. Yet, they concluded that jumble of thoughts was a fair and adequate assessment of the Bible. “Look at all these contradictions and mistakes! I do not believe the Bible!” Concerning the scoffers with whom I have dealt through the years, nearly all of them did not even have a working knowledge of the Scriptures. They were just repeating what someone else said—and that “someone else” was just as clueless about the verses as the one reiterating the matter!

In sharing the Gospel of Grace with others, we cannot avoid the “offensive message” that Jesus Christ is the only answer to their sin problem. However, let us endeavor to be Christians skilled in the Scriptures and full of good works—that they know the immense value of what they are rejecting. Remember, unless we prove we have something of worth, we cannot expect someone else to want it!

A Radical Change

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

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).

Genuine faith in Christ should produce good works!

Not long ago, a new Christian—just a few years old in the Lord—told me how people who knew him as a lost man can certainly see a difference in his lifestyle now. He did not elaborate on his former sins, and it was none of my business anyway, but even he sees the simple truth of Ephesians 2:10: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

The Thessalonians of today’s Scripture were once pagan idolaters; however, Paul visited them in Acts chapter 17, preached the Gospel of Grace to them, and they passed from death to life. Such new life in Christ was to produce fruit. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 1:3: “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;….” Interpreting this verse in light of today’s Scripture, we can recognize “work of faith” corresponds to “ye turned to God from idols,” “labour of love” is “serve the living and true God,” and “patience of hope” matches “wait for his Son from heaven.” Here are saints walking in their identity in Christ (Romans chapters 6-8), a rare occurrence in both the Bible and today.

Alas, then we encounter the Corinthians in the Bible record. Even a casual reading of Paul’s two epistles to Corinth leaves us with the impression these “Christians” are still unsaved and dead in trespasses and sins! No, as difficult as it seems, they are alive in Christ, possessors of eternal life: unfortunately, they have largely continued to live just like they were before they came to faith in Christ. Such an awful state of affairs besets the professing Body of Christ even now. We would do well to follow the “ensample” of the Thessalonians!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “If meat-eating occurred only after the Flood, who was eating the animal sacrifices prior?

Confession Confusion #7

Sunday, June 27, 2021

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Lo, the chief proof-text of the “short-account system!” (And how to look at it afresh, without [!] denominational eyeglasses!)

Contrary to popular belief, 1 John 1:9 is not written to any believers—Messianic Jews (Israel’s Little Flock) or the Church the Body of Christ. It is a Gospel invitation to unsaved Israelites in the prophetic program. Paul, “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), never once taught in Romans through Philemon daily confession of sins was victorious Christian living. Whether Roman Catholic auricular confession to a priest, or Protestant confession directly to God, it is legalism (bastardized Judaism!) and not Christianity!

Through confession of sins, lost Israel expressed her understanding of the Law’s purpose: “We cannot be God’s people through our own efforts. Having been persistently idolatrous, we confess our violation of the righteous standards of the Law!” Once Israel sees that, she is delivered from all five courses of judgment (redeemed from the Old Covenant), Jesus Christ returns to ratify the New Covenant, and He founds God’s earthly kingdom promised to their father Abraham!

Brethren, we must “rightly divide the word of truth” concerning this and all other doctrines (2 Timothy 2:15). It is ever so important to distinguish between Law and Grace, Israel and the Body of Christ, prophecy and mystery, Earth and Heaven. Our relationship with God depends entirely on Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary. Either He took care of our sins (Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 1:14; Colossians 2:13; Colossians 3:13), or not! Having trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, God will not “impute” any trespasses unto us (Romans 4:6-8).

Christ’s shed blood cleanses us from all sin… all unrighteousness” only once, whether believing Israel or the Body of Christ (1 John 1:7,9). We have permanent, total, perpetual fellowship with God—regardless of our performance. Confession of sins merely repeats what Calvary already took care of! We have already declared our guilt and admitted our sin problem by trusting the fact Jesus died for our sins, so it makes no sense to keep bringing up the past. Christ paid for all our sins at Calvary; leave them there and mature in grace, brethren (Titus 2:11-15)! 🙂

Father: A Godly Man

Sunday, June 20, 2021

“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.

ARCHIVED: “What does the Bible say about fatherhood?

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is a ‘buckler?’

“Christianettes” #10

Saturday, June 12, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

The Holy Spirit’s deliberate arrangement of Paul’s epistles in the canon of Scripture—Romans first and Philemon last—brings successive waves of doctrine, reproof, and correction. All is “instruction in righteousness,” Christian living. To move from childish/simplistic thinking to adult/critical thinking, one must be taught increasingly deeper concepts. However, since any teaching, especially sound Bible teaching, can be found in so few Christian institutions and assemblies, spiritual babies abound instead of grownups. If they are reading Scripture, it is usually not the Dispensation of Grace but rather a non-Pauline/tradition assortment or Pauline/non-Pauline/tradition hybrid.

Christendom often appeals to Matthew through John, Christ’s earthly ministry, attempting to force those passages onto us. Yet, Christ ministered to Israel only (Matthew 15:24) on the basis of Jewish covenants (Romans 15:8), including the Mosaic Law (Galatians 4:4). However, Christ through Paul says to us: “Ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14,15). We know Jesus today, not through His earthly ministry to Israel, but rather through His heavenly ministry to us Gentiles via Paul’s apostleship: “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more” (2 Corinthians 5:16).

Alas, as early as the A.D. first century, the Body of Christ had forsaken Pauline doctrine (grace): “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). Evidently, they preferred legalism (Mosaic Law)—precisely the sentiments of nearly all churches today! Satan’s evil world system is responsible for such ignorance, but the pastors and teachers who should have guarded their local assemblies are not without blame. Brethren, unless we expel the spiritual babies from our seminaries and pulpits, and return to the Apostle Paul’s pattern for edification, the professing church has absolutely no hope of being victorious over its constant sins, false teaching, and impotence.

Only saints mature in grace can do the work of the grace ministry… and only Paul’s epistles will bring us from the status of carnal “Christianettes” (babes) to spiritual Christians (adults) (1 Corinthians 14:37,38)! 🙂

“Christianettes” #9

Friday, June 11, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

“God wants the very best for you!” “It is a sin to be sick and poor!” “Jesus wants you to fulfill your dreams!” As ear-tickling and motivational as they sound, the shallow, puerile dictums of modern Christendom are void of God’s wisdom for the Dispensation of Grace. They do not provide us with any victory over sin or insight into the Lord’s current dealings with man.

Contrariwise, 2 Timothy chapter 3 informs: “[16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [17] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” “Doctrine” is teaching we are to believe: Romans (basic), Ephesians (advanced), and 1 and 2 Thessalonians (super-advanced) fit here. “Reproof” identifies what we are doing wrong: these are 1 and 2 Corinthians (basic) and Philippians (advanced). “Correction” tells us how to adjust erroneous thinking: Galatians (basic) and Colossians (advanced) go here. Again, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon are guides to administering a local grace assembly. Even the layout of Paul’s 13 epistles, from Romans all the way through Philemon, brings the saint from spiritual infancy to full adulthood.

The Corinthians and Galatians knew Pauline truth, but they did not appropriate it by faith. Read 1 Corinthians and Galatians. These are some sinful saints, especially in Corinth! A believer without edification is actually a child of God who thinks and behaves like a child of Satan. Such souls are no threat to the Devil; they may not be going to Hell any longer, but they are still his vessels to send many millions there in their place. Their lack of spiritual growth inhibits them from sharing a clear Gospel message and other Bible teaching: too confused to clearly articulate what they believe, any lost people they could have potentially reached stay lost, and any fellow Christians they could have possibly taught remain ignorant. Whoever is watching them responds, “Whatever that ‘Christian’ believes, I want no part in it! Let me stay in my world religion, philosophy, non-Christian worldview, et cetera.” If we follow Pauline edification, that will not be said of us!

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Acts 19:13-16?

“Christianettes” #8

Thursday, June 10, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

Christ Jesus asserted: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me” (John 13:20). As He sent the 12 Apostles to be His spokesmen in the prophetic program, so He sent Paul to be His spokesman in the mystery program. Under the Holy Spirit’s leadership, Paul thus declared: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office” (Romans 11:13).

First and foremost, the Apostle Paul reveals “my gospel,” the initial step to being “stablished” or stabilized (Romans 16:25,26). “The Gospel of the Grace of God” (Acts 20:24) is clearly defined in 1 Corinthians chapter 15: “[1] Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you,…. [3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:….”

Romans, Paul’s first epistle in the canon of Scripture, describes the Gospel of Grace by which we receive forgiveness, justification, sanctification, redemption, eternal life, et cetera. His next three epistles—1 and 2 Corinthians plus Galatians—expand on Romans and correct any misconceptions or confusions. Most church members, if they ever (!) grasp Romans through Galatians, never get beyond here. Remember, the Corinthians and Galatians failed to learn and apply Romans truth!! Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians are a higher plane of understanding.Very few gain this maturity, “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery” being the second step to establishment as per Romans 16:25,26. Finally, 1 and 2 Thessalonians are “the scriptures of the prophets:” all of the Bible in light of Pauline revelation. Practically no one gets to this final phase of maturity (Romans 16:25,26). Paul’s last four epistles—1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon—are handbooks for running the local church efficiently, also rarely mastered.

Following the Lord’s pattern through Paul, as shown here, we avoid becoming “Christianettes….”

“Christianettes” #7

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

As touching the nation Israel’s spiritual immaturity, the Holy Spirit through the writer of the Book of Hebrews commented in chapter 5: “[11] Of whom [Christ] we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. [12] 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. [13] For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. [14] 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.”

When Hebrews was written—the latter half of the Acts—the seven years of Tribulation should have already passed, Christ should have already returned at His Second Coming, and He should have already established Israel in His earthly kingdom (thus evangelizing Gentiles). By this time, however, the nation is unable to teach God’s words to non-Jews. The Jews themselves must first learn fundamental truth before they can share it with others. Like the Corinthians, they have responded poorly to the spiritual light given to them. Hence, they are “unskilful in the word of righteousness”—like a baby sucking on a milk bottle! They are not spiritual adults, “them that are of full age,” so they cannot eat spiritual meat (solid food): essentially, they are useless to God’s ministry. Hebrews is the Holy Spirit re-teaching Israel the basics, preparing them for Christ’s return and kingdom once our mystery program terminates.

Likewise, Father God would like us members of the Body of Christ to move from “babe” to “full age”—milk to meat, unskilful to experienced, students to teachers! Most importantly, He wants us to grow up now (as opposed to waiting to reach maturity in Heaven). The Pauline Epistles are the means whereby we undergo this transformation….