Not Hearing God’s Words #6

Sunday, July 30, 2017

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (John 8:47 KJV).

Friend, have you ever talked to a lost person about the Bible? Have you also ever spoken to another Christian about the Bible? If you paid attention to both scenarios, you will recall that they were two drastically different conversations. There was such disconnect when dealing with the lost person whereas there was more receptivity on the part of the Christian (usually). Why? Today’s Scripture highlights the reason.

Considering John chapter 8, the Lord Jesus’ conversation with unsaved and disbelieving religionists, we see typified our interactions with such individuals today. When we present spiritual issues, they can respond only in fleshly or material terms. To them, the Scriptures are nonsense: spiritual insanity afflicts them. Focusing on their works, they do not believe God’s message to them. Lacking spiritual insight, they have no ability to see they are lost, enslaved to sin. They cannot handle the message, so they resort to petty name-calling and other personal attacks directed toward us (the messengers). Convicted, they seek to harm, silence, imprison, and even kill us—using whatever means available to them.

Sadly, some believers behave similarly when we attempt to share the rightly-divided Bible with them. They entertain such shallow, manmade perceptions of Scripture. Did you notice the parenthetical “usually” in the introduction? Most lost people refuse to hear the Gospel. Usually, Christian people will talk about the Bible, albeit loosely. Once you delve into the “meat”—deeper things such as the Dispensation of Grace—they behave as lost people. Thinking and walking in the energy of their flesh, they too love religion, human “goodness.” They rebel against those “grace” verses you cite! Second Timothy 2:26 speaks of they “that oppose themselves… [in] the snare of the devil… taken captive by him at his will.” Such Christians, polluted by religious tradition and non-dispensational Bible understanding, cooperate with the Adversary… to defeat themselves!

Thankfully, there are lost people who want to receive the Gospel by faith. They are still coming to trust in Christ every day. Thankfully, there are some Christians who still want to receive the rightly divided Bible. They too are coming to God’s light… “hearing God’s words” also!

Sharing With Caution

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you (Matthew 7:6 KJV).

Share the Word with caution!

A young man, a Bible believer, recently contacted me to ask about a specific centuries-old religious topic. Having had a heated discussion with an acquaintance, he was seeking answers and assistance. I was delighted to share with him some pertinent Bible verses and history to guard himself against particular theological errors. In closing, I cautioned him that that information was for his personal use, not for the contentious, ill-informed, and close-minded individual he had dealt with earlier.

Proverbs 26:4-5 reminds us: “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” Yes, sometimes, we strictly limit how much sound Bible doctrine we share with certain people. We dare not argue with them, especially once they refuse to be taught plain and simple Bible truths. Scripture says we must “redeem the time” (Ephesians 5:15-17)—we cannot fight every battle. We choose our battles very carefully, never expending time and energy when it could be used better elsewhere. You will encounter two extremes: those who want to hear nothing from the Bible and those who want to hear everything from it. There are many of the former—and precious few of the latter. With experience, you will recognize them when you see them!

The Lord Jesus Christ instructed, paraphrased, “Cast not your pearls before swine.” Or, do not give something valuable—namely, the Word of God—over to people who will not appreciate it. They can talk about how much they “love” Jesus, how religious they are, or how many Bible verses they have memorized. However, when you share the Bible with them, they flat-out reject it. You see the real them, beyond the superficial, on the inside, what they really think about the God’s Word. Brethren, we should be willing to spend as much time as possible with those who are interested in the truth. However, we will not waste our time on those more concerned with error!

The Lord Jesus Christ is Everything!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:5-7 KJV).

We are not important; the Person we preach is!

Many months ago, I gave a Gospel tract to an employee at a local store. A coworker in the ministry recently informed me he had had a Bible conversation with a worker at that store. It was the same man I had dealt with! When I later spoke with a local sister in Christ, I discovered she had talked with that man about the Bible many years earlier. As it turned out, she planted the seed, and then the brother and I watered. Perhaps she actually watered too—maybe some other Christian reached him before she.

The conversion of a human soul is a slow process. It can take many years or several decades. Some people never do trust Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. They do wind up going to Hell. Still, others do get saved—but we may not live to see it. It does not really matter what we witness but rather that we witness. There is a responsibility on our part to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2). Regardless of what we see, what people do with that Word is up to them. Never do we “twist arms” or force people onto their knees. All we do is offer, extend, hold out, the plan of salvation. We cannot believe for them, but we can give them a message worthy of their belief.

Furthermore, “God… giveth the increase.” He alone can cause that word of life to impart life to the lost and dying sinner. While we want to force or rush things, we dare not. We cannot give the increase because we are powerless; we can only plant and water (along with other Christians). This is the work of the ministry, laboring with other believers, putting self aside, and endeavoring to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Saviour! He is everything!

To Abide in the Flesh

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

“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).

We Christians often want to go on to Heaven to meet our loved ones, instead of staying here in this present evil world. Countless brethren throughout the centuries have agreed with Paul that “to depart, and to be with Christ… is far better.” But, we must also agree with his other recognition!

Paul’s epistle to Philippi was written from a Roman prison—technically, he was under house arrest (Acts 28:30). When he penned in today’s Scripture, “this is the fruit of my labour,” the “this” was his “bonds,” his confinement (see Philippians 1:13). He was a hated man preaching an “illegal religion.” No doubt, in the midst of all his suffering for the Gospel’s sake, there were times when he just wanted to leave this wretched world forever. However….

The Holy Spirit transformed his mind. Despite the pleasure he would get in leaving to be with the Lord Jesus Christ, something was much more important than alleviating his pain and suffering. He needed to stay here on Earth in order to continue ministering to his Gentile converts. After struggling to decide what to do, notice his resolution in the verses following today’s Scripture: “[25] And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; [26] That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.”

Paul hoped to be freed, thereby allowing him to return to Philippi and encourage his Christian brethren in person. He decided Earthnot Heaven!—was the best place to be at the moment. Let us realize the same, brethren! There are still more people (lost and saved alike) for us (!) to reach with sound Bible doctrine, so let us be about “abiding in the flesh!” 🙂

Eager to Preach, Eager to Leave!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (2 Timothy 4:2-4 KJV).

One is ready to preach—the other is ready to leave!

Recently, I saw a man sitting and reading his Bible. I walked over, introduced myself, shook his hand, and sat down beside him. I began to ask him some questions to get a sense of his spiritual understanding. Although not talkative, he permitted me to share verses with him. Suddenly, we were interrupted, distracted, and a pressing matter forced him to temporarily leave. I told him we could talk some more when he returned. Eventually, he did come back to the room where I was, but no longer with a Bible in hand. Also, he did not approach me. (I had already decided not to engage in any further dialog unless he initiated it.)

The above scenario, while terrible, has repeated itself millions of times throughout the centuries. People have read the Bible, appeared to be genuine Scripture readers, sounding like Christians, but really having no interest in hearing the things of God. They would rather keep their worthless church traditions, preconceived ideas, and age-old superstitions. While we cannot read hearts, God can and does. We can fool a preacher into thinking we love the Bible (as that man did with me), but God is never fooled by anyone. He knows who is a member of the Church the Body of Christ, and who is simply a church member. He knows who has been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ, and who was baptized simply into water.

Saints, we should do our very best to preach a clear Gospel message and teach plainly the rightly divided Scriptures. Still, some people will object. They want religion, not Bible. They want themselves, not Christ. They want fables, not truth. We need to respect their wishes. If they do not want the truth, then they should be left in error!

Heart’s Desire

Saturday, October 1, 2016

I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart (Romans 9:1,2 KJV).

Why did Paul have “great heaviness and continual sorrow in [his] heart?”

Mom and I recently visited a family friend, a new Christian only a year old in the Lord. After our three-hour Bible study answering her questions, she spoke to us as we were leaving. Having just learned many precious truths from God’s Word, this dear lady began to literally weep. She now fathomed the immense deception of her former denomination. How she was so burdened that her son, her daughter, and her grandchildren were still trapped in that cult. She had raised them in that religious group, and while she had escaped, they had chosen to remain in it. We comforted and encouraged her.

In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul was deeply disturbed, constantly sorrowful. Verse 3 explains, “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Paul was so saddened to see his Jewish brethren stuck in their apostasy—Satanic deception and anti-Jesus-Christ attitude. They hated Jesus so much they often attempted to take Paul’s life for preaching His name! Chapter 10 opens: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” And, verse 3: “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

Friend, do you know what made it especially hurtful for Paul to see Israel utterly fallen and thoroughly deceived? As Saul of Tarsus, he had encouraged Israel to reject Jesus and kill His followers (Acts 8:1-4; Acts 26:9-11)! Being lost, Paul had led Israel’s rebellion against Jesus Christ! Now, having been saved from hell’s flames, he felt deep remorse for what he had done. Until his dying day, Paul surely prayed for his unbelieving brethren. They were to give up their works-religion and embrace Jesus Christ, as he had! Beloved, let us not cease to pray for our unsaved loved ones—and be ready to speak God’s truth when they want it!

Bible Q&A #310: “Can you explain 1 Corinthians 8?

When Christ Jesus Returns

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:1,2 KJV).

“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (verses 3,4).

Christian people often ask, “When is Christ Jesus coming back?” Various and sundry dates are provided. Church history abounds with many instances of such speculations. None have been accurate yet!

Years ago, I heard the following advice: “We Christians live like Jesus Christ is coming within the next 10 minutes. We plan like He is not coming for the next 10 years.” The point is our lifestyles should be glorifying Him whenever He comes for us. Furthermore, we should plan ahead as though He will not come for another decade. By what other means can we reach more lost people with the Gospel of the Grace of God? By what other methods can we teach other Christians the Word of God rightly divided? While we are waiting for Him, we have more opportunity to serve Him. As long as the Dispensation of Grace operates, Paul’s Gospel is still valid. The Church the Body of Christ is still open to membership. God’s attitude toward the world is still grace and peace.

Doubtless, we should anticipate our Saviour’s coming. The Bible calls it our “blessed hope” and we should be “looking” for it (Titus 2:13). However, we should not sit around idly waiting and guessing dates. God before ordained that we the saints should walk in good works (Ephesians 2:1). These good works should continue as long as we are on this Earth. Good works should cease only for two reasons—physical death or the Rapture. Even a bedridden saint can pray, particularly for those Christians who are mobile!

Whenever Jesus Christ returns, whether in our lifetime or not, two things should be true. Firstly, may it be true that it was His life living in us. Secondly, let it be true that we planned to continue letting Him live in us, had these physical bodies continued! 🙂