Liberated to Serve

Saturday, July 4, 2020

“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 244th 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.

333’s 3300th – The Stability of Our Times!

Friday, June 12, 2020

And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure (Isaiah 33:6 KJV).

Dear readers and saints, only by God’s grace, we mark our 3300th daily devotional today!

We live in a crazy world, huh? Since we are “creatures of habit,” its vicissitudes or changes greatly affect us. Our culture is shifting at a phenomenal speed—and for the worse rather than the better! Despite all our technological innovations, we cannot engineer a more ethical, moral, or righteous human. The problems mankind faced centuries and millennia ago still plague us this very moment. A larger population, a more brazen populace, and a greater enticement to do evil are the differences that make our society exceptionally precarious.

For exactly 3,300 consecutive days now, we have had here literally myriads of opportunities to use God’s Word rightly divided to stabilize ourselves spiritually. The cares of this evil world system will tear us down if we are not careful. Hence, it is absolutely critical we continue in sound Bible doctrine, lest we fall prey to the dumbness, deception, and doubt currently besetting people all around the world.

In today’s Scripture, the nation Israel is enjoying her future kingdom on Earth. Jesus Christ has returned at His Second Coming, has delivered her from all her enemies, and now reigns as King. Verse 5 says, “The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness.” Today’s Scripture, the next verse, continues, “And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.”

Spiritual wisdom and spiritual knowledge will provide Zion, Jerusalem or the nation Israel’s capital city, with “stability” and “strength of salvation.” Instead of false religion or pagan idolatry debilitating her, Israel will be spiritually equipped to function as God’s nation. Why? His pure Word will be there to support them. Likewise, in these uncertain times, how wonderful it is to have a firm foundation in which we can trust—the King James Bible, taught and believed rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15). The stability of our times! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Were the King James translators justified in adding ‘women’ to Matthew 24:41?

Far Better

Friday, May 29, 2020

“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. 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 1:20-24 KJV).

To “be with Christ” is “far better!”

As believers in Jesus Christ, we cannot help but remember saints we have known here on Earth who have since graduated to Heaven. Various dear friends come to my mind. How we look forward to the day when we see them again—without the effects of aging, disability, and petty denominationalism to disrupt and terminate our fellowship!

In 2 Corinthians 12:1-4, the Apostle Paul speaks of a man who experienced physical death and temporarily visited “paradise” or “the third heaven.” While never actually identifying the individual, there is strong evidence it was Paul himself. After all, he was seemingly put to death by stoning in Lystra (Acts 14:19). God miraculously restored him to life to continue his apostolic ministry for another 20 years!

Therefore, when Paul, in today’s Scripture, spoke of life on Earth and life in Heaven, he knew both firsthand. To live here or die here, he would glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. Being a vessel of His grace while on Earth, or dying as a martyr and leaving Earth, Paul had his eyes firmly fixed on the goal. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Yet, he had a ministry to conduct on Earth—and, for now, he was in prison in Rome, writing to the Philippians (1:7,13,14,16). “But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.” Still, Paul wanted to return to Heaven—and to be with one Person in particular. “To be with Christ; which is far better.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is ‘room’ a King James Bible mistake in Matthew 23:6?

The Greatest War Hero

Monday, May 25, 2020

“For God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).

In the United States, today is Memorial Day, when we remember those who sacrificed their time and lives to provide our physical freedom. Likewise, as Christians, we have spiritual freedom, which was more costly. Someone had to die to give us the eternal life we now enjoy….

Scripture describes a spiritual warfare between good and evil, God’s truth program versus Satan’s lie program: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:11,12; see also verses 13-20).

Satan distracts mankind from God’s pure Word, the Bible, keeping unbelievers lost (dead in their sins), and preventing unbelievers and Christians from knowing God’s will. The devil draws them away (seduces them) from God’s Word by using religious tradition and human “wisdom” (1 Timothy 4:1-3; cf. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Galatians 3:1-3).

God loves us, so at Calvary’s cross, Christ fought for us sinners, died in battle (today’s Scripture), shed His divine sinless blood, and eternally rescued us from Satan and sin: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15).

Hebrews 9:12 says Jesus Christ has “obtained eternal redemption for us.”

If we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). Now, God can use us for His glory for all eternity.

Beloved, let us rejoice in our victory over sin, death, and hell that Jesus Christ secured for us by going to Calvary’s rugged cross! Jesus Christ is now alive forevermore—He is our Hero, the Greatest Hero!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study “The Greatest Hero,” which can be read here or watched here.

All Joy and Peace in Believing

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost (Romans 15:13 KJV).

With coronavirus restrictions gradually being relaxed around the world, society has begun to transition back to “normal.” It remains to be seen, however, exactly how this new world will be different from the old world of just a few months ago. Regardless, in Christ, we can be “filled… with all joy and peace in believing, that [we] may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Some individuals cannot fathom how 2020 could get any worse—and we are not yet halfway through the year! Hundreds of thousands of people have died. Schedules have been severely disrupted or even abolished. Fortunes have been greatly reduced or completely lost. Businesses have closed—some permanently. Loneliness, depression, and other mental stresses have set in due to prolonged confinement and isolation. Face masks, gloves, and “social distancing” are still seen in various and sundry places.

During these last few months, the people of the world have had opportunity to contemplate eternity like never before. Better understanding their own mortality, and how this physical world can change in a moment’s notice, they have become more receptive to spiritual truth. Having additional free time, they have certainly read the Bible more. A portion of them undoubtedly got saved by trusting Jesus Christ alone as sufficient payment for their sins.

While we will not see a global revival until the Lord Jesus returns at His Second Coming, we do expect to see more people around the world continue to come to Him by faith and join the Church the Body of Christ. More and more will realize that if all they are living for is the “here and now,” they will surely be disturbed, disappointed, and hopeless. However, if they are conducting themselves with spiritual eyes, and appreciating and trusting the Word of God rightly divided, the Holy Spirit will cause them to have joy, peace, and hope (today’s Scripture). As verse 4 says, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

A Higher Education: It Is Up to You!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 KJV).

Fourteen years ago today, I graduated high school. Consequently, we dedicate this devotional to high school students who are nearing graduation.

Are you about to graduate high school? What would God have you do afterward? Go to college? Trade school? Something else? What career should you pursue? If you do plan on education after high school, where should you attend school? These are tough questions, and while God’s Word does not answer them, you can make decisions that conform to sound Bible doctrine—that is God’s will.

In today’s Scripture, Paul encourages downcast Timothy. Timothy was considerably younger than the Apostle Paul. Older people who are teaching false doctrine are intimidating young Timothy: “Tim, you are too young to teach God’s Word. Let us handle it.” Young Timothy conceded, became silent, and allowed the (“older and wiser”) false teachers to continue teaching their damnable heresies (cf. 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 1:5-8). Paul replied, “Timothy, Speak up! Let no man despise thy youth!”

Christian youth can be just as effectual in their station in life as Christian adults. The lost world is watching us Christians, and we need to be sure that our actions are in accordance with the sound Bible doctrine we claim to believe (lest we be guilty of confusing the already-puzzled unbelievers). Whether “young or old,” our speech, our lifestyle, our acts of love, our determination, our belief in sound Bible doctrine, and our separation from that which God hates, is the way we communicate to the lost world God’s Word and its preeminence in our lives and hearts (today’s Scripture).

Above all, dear graduates, whatever you do post-graduation, “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17). After all, it really is not your life—it is Christ’s life in you (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:4), so He alone deserves the glory! 🙂

*Based on a Bible study by the same name, which can be read here. Also, see the study “The Spirit-Filled Student.”

By the way, you may also be interested in reading this archived special-edition study about my own college experience.

Death! #8

Monday, May 18, 2020

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19 KJV).

It is a morbid topic, but a reality we know all too well….

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Sin has “wages” (payments): physical death (soul and spirit separated from physical body), spiritual death (soul and spirit separated from God on Earth—can be remedied by faith in Christ!), functional death (believer separated from Christian living), and second death (soul and spirit separated from God in the Lake of Fire—permanent!).

We enter this world “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us [resurrected us, given us life and energy] together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; )…” (verse 4). Thus, God through Christ overcomes spiritual death. The “eternal life” of Romans 6:23 especially emphasizes subsequent Christian living. If we as believers want deliverance from daily sinful conduct, we read and trust chapters 6–8. Thus, God through Christ conquers functional death.

Some of the Church the Body of Christ will physically die, but not all. Those believers alive at the Lord’s return—the Rapture, the resurrection, “the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:18-25)—will never experience physical death. “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…” (1 Corinthians 15:50-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Living or dead, all Christians will receive a new body. Thus, God through Christ overcomes physical death. “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile [sinful, corrupt, subject to death] body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:20,21).

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25,26).

Death! #7

Sunday, May 17, 2020

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19 KJV).

It is a morbid topic, but a reality we know all too well….

Second Timothy 1:9-11 states: “[9] Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, [10] But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: [11] Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” As saints, people who trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we have a hope that, when this earthly life ends with death, it is really not the end!

First Corinthians chapter 15 speaks of resurrection life: “[18] Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. [19] If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. [20] But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. [21] For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. [22] For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. [23] But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. [24] Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. [25] For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. [26] The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

The Bible labels death an “enemy.” It was not in God’s original design in creation. Adam’s sin caused it. Therefore, the Lord has gloriously conquered it before (Christ’s bodily resurrection), and He will magnificently overcome it again (all subsequent bodily resurrections). Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Death! #6

Saturday, May 16, 2020

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19 KJV).

It is a morbid topic, but a reality we know all too well….

While physical death is certain, He [The LORD] will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it” (Isaiah 25:8). “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2). Through His power demonstrated at Calvary’s cross, Almighty God will physically raise the dead.

The Bible speaks of the bodily resurrection of the saints: “[4] And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. [5] But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. [6] Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation chapter 20).

Turning to 1 Corinthians chapter 15, we see a special bodily resurrection as pertaining to us, the Church the Body of Christ: “[50] Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. [51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” Due to the Lord’s “special working,” some in human history will not physically die….

Death! #5

Friday, May 15, 2020

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19 KJV).

It is a morbid topic, but a reality we know all too well….

Genesis 35:18 says physical death occurs when the soul separates from, or exits, the body of flesh and blood. What becomes of the physical body? Exactly what Genesis says, the rest of the Scripture repeats so eloquently.

“They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust(Job 17:16). “His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust (Job 20:11). “All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust(Job 34:15). “Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust (Psalm 104:29). “All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again(Ecclesiastes 3:20). “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

Scripture also speaks of physical death more bluntly, as in Job 21:26: “They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them.” Of course, these “worms” are maggots, indicative of the decaying or rotting process. Job 24:19,20: “Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned. The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree.” Yet, we bring to mind that classic Bible passage of hope: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27).

Due to sin, physical death is a part of life. Nonetheless, the saint is aware of another reality—bodily resurrection….