Three Requests #4

Saturday, November 7, 2020

And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not (Luke 8:27,28 KJV).

There are three pleadings in this context. With which one should we align ourselves?

We read the concluding verses: “[38] Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, [39] Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.” Here is the third and final pleading. Formerly possessed with devils (one of his numerous problems), he asks the Lord Jesus if he can accompany Him back to Galilee. This is in stark contrast to his neighbors who have requested Jesus leave their area (cf. verse 37).

Those Jews living east of the Sea of Galilee were reckless in rejecting Christ. However, there was a believer who saw great value in God’s Son. It was the very man who had been delivered from a most pathetic existence. He knew firsthand there was complete victory in Jesus. “Lord, if they are sending You away, please let me come too!” Christ forbids him. Instead, he is advised to stay: “Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee.” He is to remain there to share his testimony with others—and he does. “And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.” To wit, “Listen to what the Son of God in His grace did for me! He saved me from a worthless life that glorified Satan!”

Brethren, while we may long to be with Christ in Heaven, still a fourth beseeching, a far greater (!) beseeching, is, “Lord, let me stay here on Earth, that I may tell others what You in Your grace did for me!” 🙂

Blinded!

Saturday, August 15, 2020

“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:1-4 KJV).

Look, the formidable enemy the Christian is up against in ministry!

Recently, I spoke with a relative about spiritual matters. She grew up in a cult, spent time in other churches, and now stays home. As she described her “Christian” life though, it sounded very much like she was as lost as lost could be! Whenever I and another Christian present shared the Gospel of Grace with her, she never seemed to respond in faith. Also, even if she used Bible terms, she attached denominational definitions to them. For example, she told me she would “repent of her sins every night.” When I asked her what she meant, she clarified, “I tell God I am sorry for what I did wrong!” When I told her repentance in Scripture means “change in mind,” she was shocked to realize just how misled she really was.

Long ago, her grandfather told her never to read the Bible from cover to cover, because she would “go crazy” by the time she got to the Revelation! For comfort, she recited the “Our Father” Prayer. She loved reading the Book of Psalms, though she read Ephesians or Colossians too. What made the whole exchange awkward was the constant interruptions from various sources. I thought we would never really make any progress with all the distractions!

The additional challenge in dealing with such people—and it is mindboggling to think there are hundreds of millions (yea, billions!)—is to unravel the decades of church tradition and peel back the layers of ingrained misinformation. Satan’s evil world has done a thorough job in deceiving! Let us be skilled in the Word rightly divided, fully equipped to lead them to the acknowledging of the truth (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

He Finished His Course!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing (2 Timothy 4:6-8 KJV).

Another one of our brothers, friends, and coworkers in the grace ministry has entered the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ!

For the last several years, Dr. Charlemagne “Charlie” Fouché, 59, suffered from diabetes. During the last three years, he was further debilitated with Parkinson’s disease. He battled melanoma (cancer) during his last two years on this Earth—including months of grueling radiation and then ineffective chemotherapy. Diabetes led to a partial foot amputation. Parkinson’s rendered him unable to dress himself, and even caused him to get lost at times. Finally, the cancer spread to his lungs; therefore, he coughed endlessly, unable to get adequate sleep at night. He spent his last few weeks housebound, bedridden, and just “existing.” Our dear brother, suffering tremendously in this temporary body, is now permanently healed!

I met this fellow Frenchman when we were teaching at a Bible conference four years ago. The Lord used him mightily to counsel with me during our ministry’s darkest hours (2018–2019). It was my privilege to serve him in his last few years during his difficulties too. His soon exodus from Earth was expected. Hence, I decided months ago to dedicate our New Testament Survey video series (still in production) to him. He knew. Our last Bible Q&A study of 2019 was dedicated to him. He enjoyed reading it, as well as our other Bible studies these last four years. How we thank Father God for having this saint to fellowship and serve with us on Earth. We look forward to serving the Lord with him in the ages to come!

Before his parting, I let Brother Charlie know how much he meant to us. Also, I told him to enjoy his retirement in the heavenly places until we meet again. “À plus tard, mon frère!” (“See you later, my brother!”) Louez votre Seigneur Jésus Christ! (Praise our Lord Jesus Christ!

-IN MEMORIAM-
Dr. C. F.
1960–2020

Blinded!

Friday, November 22, 2019

“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:1-4 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is just as true today as it was 20 centuries ago!

A Christian sister and I were once speaking with a dear, sweet lady about the Bible. We asked her if she knew where she was going when she died. She replied rather confidently, “I am going to Heaven.” This sounded good, obviously, and we were waiting for her to tell us the Gospel. However, when we proceeded to ask her how she knew she was going to Heaven, she responded: “People have told me so!”

Long ago, a man had been taking care of his ailing wife for several years at their home. Someone heard of that arrangement and commented, “Surely, he is going to Heaven. He is so good to her.” It was later determined—to that “someone’s” shock—that that man was physically and sexually abusing his wife!

Friends, it is most unfortunate that, of all topics, people are so ill-informed concerning the Gospel of Grace. Their eternal souls are in danger of going to a place of everlasting torment. Yet, they believe otherwise because they are depending on weak speculations and faulty assumptions. Satan’s evil world system has so blinded them with works-religion (cf. today’s Scripture). In fact, they are so lost they really cannot appreciate the fact they are lost!

The Apostle Paul, as unsaved Saul of Tarsus, was once deceived in works-religion. He had likewise deceived others. Once he trusted Christ, however, he gave up believing and telling religious lies. Brethren, let us speak the truth of the Gospel of Grace—1 Corinthians 15:3,4—with such clarity that we avoid any misunderstandings in the minds of people already thoroughly confused about God’s Good News!

Jesus, Please Leave! #10

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

“And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Matthew 8:34 KJV).

Friend, what would you do if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself happened to knock on your front door or ring your doorbell?

Read Christ’s words in Matthew chapter 12: “[43] When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. [44] Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. [45] Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”

Here is Israel’s sad condition. Messiah Jesus could cleanse her of her devil possession, but since she refused His influence, her spiritual state would further deteriorate. Once Israel rejected Christ’s offer to liberate her from satanic bondage, she opened herself to more spiritual corruption. The Antichrist will thus arise one day (see 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12; cf. John 5:43).

Satan works wherever God’s Word is absent. If we are “too busy” to renew our minds with the Scriptures rightly divided (Israel’s problem!), we automatically fall for Satan’s lie. Lost people stay unsaved, and Christians remain confused. The answer is to preach and believe sound Bible doctrine! Second Timothy chapter 2: “[24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

Friends and brethren, may we hold to Pauline doctrine, Romans through Philemon. As the Holy Spirit through Paul penned, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord [Jesus!]. But if any man be ignorant [refusing Jesus], let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:37,38)!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does ‘not’ belong in Isaiah 9:3?

 

Jesus, Please Leave! #9

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

“And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Matthew 8:34 KJV).

Friend, what would you do if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself happened to knock on your front door or ring your doorbell?

The Bible instructs, “Quench not the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). To “quench” means “to stifle,” “to restrain the influence of.” When we refuse to follow the Spirit of God, we are saying, “Jesus, please depart!” Watch unsaved people “quench the Spirit” when the Apostle Paul preaches to them in Acts chapter 17: “[31] Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. [32] And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. [33] So Paul departed from among them.

Paul urged us members of the Body of Christ not to quench the Spirit. Notice Ephesians chapter 4: “[17] This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, [18] Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: [19] Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. [20] But ye have not so learned Christ; [21] If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: [22] That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; [23] And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; [24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Saints, if we are not walking with a renewed mind—thinking as Christ would—then we are basically asking Him to leave us too. We have rebuffed His guidance and life. May we not be like the foolish people of today’s Scripture….

Jesus, Please Leave! #8

Monday, June 24, 2019

“And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Matthew 8:34 KJV).

Friend, what would you do if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself happened to knock on your front door or ring your doorbell?

As far as the record of Scripture is concerned, the Lord Jesus never again set foot on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. They requested His departure—and He obliged. Someone may ask, “What about those there who wanted to believe on Jesus but had not yet heard of Him and never got to meet Him?” Well, the message of Messiah was still proclaimed there, even after His parting.

Now healed, the formerly devil-possessed man wanted to accompany Jesus (Mark chapter 5): “[19] Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. [20] And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.” God’s testimony was still there east of the Jordan River, but the Saviour Himself had withdrawn. See also Luke chapter 8: “[38] Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, [39] Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.

Today, there are various ways to say, “Jesus, please leave!” It can be a lost person mocking God’s preacher and grace doctrine. They prefer their works-religion. Or, it can be individuals who have already believed on Christ as personal Saviour, who hang on to the Law system as means for Christian living. They may even live like the world, quenching or putting out the influence of the Holy Spirit. As the old preacher said, “I went in the world and found the church, I went in the church and found the world!” Sadly, the Lord is often rejected even now….

Jesus, Please Leave! #7

Sunday, June 23, 2019

“And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Matthew 8:34 KJV).

Friend, what would you do if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself happened to knock on your front door or ring your doorbell?

Mark chapter 5 says, “[17] And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. [18] And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him…. [21] And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.”

Luke chapter 8 records it like this: “[37] Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again. [38] Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, [39] Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him. [40] And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him.”

Once Christ was asked to leave, He left! Having crossed the Sea of Galilee going eastward and been rejected there, He returned westward by ship. On the western shore, though, “the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him” (Luke 8:40). Dear friends, if there ever were a lesson to learn here, it is this: never, ever are we to waste time with people who do not want to hear the truth. We tell them God’s Word rightly divided, but if they refuse, we need to move on to those who do have a sincere desire to hear and believe. Time is ever so precious, and must be mindful as to how to handle those who reject the Scriptures even now….

God’s Enemies Through the Ages

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Therefore thus saith the LORD of the men of Anathoth, that seek thy life, saying, Prophesy not in the name of the LORD, that thou die not by our hand… (Jeremiah 11:21 KJV).

Have you ever noticed how God’s Word divides people? (What old news!)

The Prophet Isaiah asked (53:1), “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” His audience overwhelmingly refused to take heed to his speaking forth God’s Word. The Prophet Jeremiah, in today’s Scripture, even had his own brethren and neighbors threaten to kill him if he kept preaching God’s Word to them!

Jesus Christ declared in John chapter 3, “[18] He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [19] And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. [20] For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” They avoid God’s words because that message exposes their works of darkness.

Christ said in Matthew chapter 10: “[34] Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. [35] For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. [36] And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. [37] He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. [38] And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” Talk about estranged relatives!

So, when they refuse to hear you share the Scripture, take heart, and gladly join the saints of the previous ages. The LORD said most appropriately, “[F]or they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me” (1 Samuel 8:7). Finally, never forget, dear saint, you really have nothing to complain about until they crucify you on a cross!

The “Offensive” Gospel!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5 KJV).

Behold, “the offence of the cross” (Galatians 5:11)!

I recently asked an elderly lady if she thought people could know where they go when they die. She answered, “Since most people are good, Heaven.” Afterward, naturally, she revealed her good deeds—especially her kindness toward others. Therefore, I inquired again, “Where will you go?” That pointed question was unexpected, prompting her hesitant reply, “I hope Heaven.” Notice when it became personal she was unsure. The Holy Spirit used those questions to convict her, and she actually expressed concern of being “scared.” Yes, this sweet little lady could not hide behind her “good works” any longer. She recognized she was Hell-bound!!

It was quite a friendly conversation from start to finish. Without doubt, by the time we parted ways, she understood her dire predicament and, most importantly, the solution. What she did with the Gospel of the Grace of God was her choice. I left her some printed material (verses). Just maybe she will contact me and we can talk more if necessary.

We often hear people stressing “good works” as necessary to enter Heaven. Point out to them Matthew 7:11—“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children….” Focus on the fact that man’s nature is “evil” despite doing “good” deeds. Rather than God emphasizing man doing evil, He underscores man being evil.” By nature, man himself is the problem. Consider Matthew 7:21-23 quite carefully: read it over and over until you get the impact. It is surprising to say the least! “Good” deeds can be exceedingly deceptive.

Lastly, I offered her a simple analogy. We can pick all the oranges from an orange tree, hang apples on it, and yet never change its nature. The tree can produce only oranges. Likewise, the sin nature can yield only sins. We can trade fleshly sins (lasciviousness) for religious sins (self-righteousness), and our nature is unaffected. However, in Christ, through Calvary’s crosswork, we receive a new nature, and it produces the good works God accepts. Ultimately, though, it is the new nature (not its resultant good works) that gets us into Heaven (2 Corinthians 5:14-21).

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