Hark! The Herald Angels Sing #5

Friday, December 7, 2018

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 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. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:14-17 KJV).

The final verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King!”

Religion has done an excellent job (wrongly) teaching us that God likes to rehabilitate humans—that He wants to make us quit doing certain things (“fleshly”) and make us start doing other things (“churchy”). What a very shallow, and actually a false, perception. God wants to do much more than what we could ever do by ourselves.

For good works to reign in our lives, God has to kill us! As sinners, in Adam, we are dead in our trespasses and sins, no life in ourselves (see today’s Scripture). Nothing we can do in our own strength will ever change our (sinful) nature in Adam. However, God offers us death to Adam and a new identity through Christ at Calvary. When we trust that Jesus Christ died for our sins, in God’s mind, we died to sin, too. Christ did not simply die for us but as us. Romans chapters 5 through 8 describe the victory is in Christ, not in Adam or in ourselves. Success is by the power of the Holy Ghost working with the grace doctrines we study and believe, not in our struggles to do right. And so, “Christ [is] formed in [us]” (Galatians 4:19).

Something about which the angels cannot sing, but we can, should, and do! 🙂

Unity in Diversity

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal (1 Corinthians 12:4-7 KJV).

Despite the diversity in the Church the Body of Christ, behold the unity in the Church the Body of Christ!

The Corinthians were carnal, fleshly, selfish saints who were guilty of infighting (1 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Corinthians 3:1-3). They had to be taught a lengthy lesson on charity, love in action (1 Corinthians chapter 13). At that time when God the Holy Spirit was still giving out spiritual gifts, the Corinthians used their “gifts” to help themselves and draw attention to themselves. However the Holy Spirit was being revealed to them was not a time for them individually to profit. Ministry at the local assembly was not for them to seek their own good but rather the advancement of those around them.

We should never view ministry as a competition between ourselves and other believers in Christ. If sound Bible doctrine, or grace, is working in us, and sound Bible doctrine is working in them, then we are working to the same end. There should be no envy, as it is the same Holy Spirit. The only reason we would feel covetous is if we were under the impression that it was all about us. We still have so much to learn about grace if we think that the Bible is all about us. We still have so much to learn about the Bible if we think that ministry is all about us. It is (should be) all about the Lord Jesus Christ!

Yes, we all play our own little part, our own unique role, in Father God’s grand scheme of things. He does not need us to participate but He does want us. He does not force us but He does invite us. If we do not have the right attitude, then it is best for us not to get involved in ministry at all. It will do far more damage than good. Saints, despite our diversity, we have unity in Jesus Christ!

Teach Others Also

Sunday, November 25, 2018

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2 KJV).

There is much singing in “church” today, much clapping in “church” today, much dancing in “church” today, but scant teaching in “church” today!

Dear readers, it should never be our goal in Bible study to show others how much we know. We should not be motivated to go on a lifelong crusade to prove everyone else wrong. Such is petty and fleshly. Our aim is to teach the truth, God’s truth—the truth of God’s Word “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15). If all we ever do is focus on error, then we have inadvertently fallen into Satan’s trap. However, if we just teach the King James Bible as it is written, the lies will eventually be exposed. Alas, more time is spent on everything else. Consequently, the saints starve in tens of thousands of local assemblies worldwide.

The Lord of glory, Jesus Christ, is the Spokesman for the triune Godhead. He is thus called “the Word” (John 1:1,14) and “the Word of God” (Revelation 19:13). God the Father and God the Holy Spirit speak to mankind through the Son. The Spirit caused those words to be written down (inspiration) and sustains them through time (preservation). The Bible was not to provide us with knowledge to inflate ourselves with pride. “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth” (1 Corinthians 8:1b). “Charity” is love in action, seeking the other person’s highest good.

First Timothy chapter 1: “[3] As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, [4] Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. [5] Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:….” Provided we stay with Pauline doctrine—not changing it but rather preaching it—the Spirit of God will work to produce charity in and through us, transferring it to our hearers who can then pass it on to others.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the ‘present distress’ of 1 Corinthians 7:26?

To Help a Brother

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother (Deuteronomy 22:1 KJV).

Behold, the standard of selflessness!

While we are certainly under Grace and not the Mosaic Law (Romans 6:14,15), we do not throw away the non-Pauline Scriptures. We study all 66 Bible Books, Genesis through Revelation, for “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). On whatever topics God the Spirit is silent in Paul’s writings, Romans through Philemon, we can and should seek advice elsewhere in the Bible. As an illustration, take today’s Scripture. It does not contradict Pauline doctrine but rather complements it (cf. Galatians 6:10; Romans 12:9,10).

Read today’s Scripture in context: “[1] Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother. [2] And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again. [3] In like manner shalt thou do with his ass [donkey]; and so shalt thou do with his raiment [clothing]; and with all lost thing of thy brother’s, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself. [4] Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.”

Interestingly, the Lord Jesus took verse 4 and made an application in Matthew 12:11 to expose “Sabbath-worshippers” (not Jehovah God-worshippers) as the heartless, rigid, self-centered religionists that they were. Whether God through Moses, or God through Paul, we learn, “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth” (1 Corinthians 10:24). If we follow the God of the Bible, self-regard will not be true of us! 🙂

Distracted Eutychus Dies! #7

Thursday, November 8, 2018

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 (Acts 20:9 KJV).

What can the context of today’s Scripture teach us about the Dispensation of Grace?

Saints, Ephesians chapter 6 describes our spiritual war: “[10] Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. [11] Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. [12] 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. [13] Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Verses 14-18 describe our armor.) We must (!) be grounded in Pauline doctrine, lest Satan distract and wound us.

Today’s Scripture is followed by, “[10] And Paul went down, and fell on him [Eutychus], and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. [11] When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. [12] And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.” God’s Word dispensationally delivered—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—can revive and maintain the powerless Church the Body of Christ. Once the Body is resuscitated, and endures a steady diet of Pauline doctrine, it, now edified, can speak a “long while,” until it is caught up into the heavenly places (when Paul leaves).

“That he [Father God] would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man (Ephesians 3:16). Also, 1 Thessalonians 2:13: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who are the ‘lawyers’ in Scripture?

Distracted Eutychus Dies! #6

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

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 (Acts 20:9 KJV).

What can the context of today’s Scripture teach us about the Dispensation of Grace?

The verse following today’s Scripture articulates, “And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.” Eutychus is deceased, but he is not perpetually hopeless and helpless (his name actually means “fortunate!”). God’s man—His spokesman in the Dispensation of Grace—is nearby. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Not only is God’s Word living, it is also life-giving. There is functional life in God’s Word rightly divided—namely, Pauline doctrine.

In light of those who “shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1), we are instructed: “[6] If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. [13] Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine…. [16] Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”

Eutychus demonstrates verse 1: he was “seduced” (drawn away with the promise of delight). Satan’s evil world system tantalized him from stable (or Pauline) doctrine into fleshly (carnal), worldly doctrine. Yet, like with him, Pauline doctrine can save or restore us from functional destruction and death. It can deliver us from deception, false teaching, and restore health to our Christian thought and behavior. Verse 11 (after today’s Scripture) continues, “When he [Eutychus] therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he [Paul] departed.”

Now, we summarize and conclude….

Distracted Eutychus Dies! #5

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

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 (Acts 20:9 KJV).

What can the context of today’s Scripture teach us about the Dispensation of Grace?

It is no coincidence that Eutychus sat in “the third loft” (today’s Scripture). We the Church the Body of Christ have an inheritance in the heavenly places rather than the earth (Ephesians 2:6,7). Therefore, Paul was caught up into the third heaven” to receive Divine revelations concerning us (2 Corinthians 12:1-4).

Diverted from Pauline doctrine, Eutychus sleeps, becomes unstable, falls, and dies. The Church the Body of Christ, if focused on the evil world system (darkness outside), will die functionally. Looking at today’s professing “church,” we see pervasive confusion, all-encompassing impotency, and functional death! Bible ignorance is disturbing. There is no power of God, there is no life of God, as there is no Word of God: church traditions and human opinions abound. “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:9).

The Church the Body of Christ must be heavenly in thought if it is to be heavenly in conduct. Colossians 3:1-3: “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 [concentration] on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

Philippians 3:18-21: “(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile 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.”

We Christians must study and believe the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon, to save and guard ourselves from Satan’s mesmerizing doctrines….