Straightened Out—At Last!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13 KJV).

Having departed this present world, they are free from all the effects of sin—including doctrinal confusion!

Recently, I learned of the Homegoing of a brother in Christ whose writings I have read for several years. I was initially saddened, but then realized and rejoiced he was with his Lord and Saviour! What thrilled me the most was—at last—he was straightened out doctrinally. Although saved, denominationalism and seminary (Bible cemetery!) had severely corrupted and confused him. Hence, his articles frequently abounded with “scholarly” ramblings and sectarian slants. What he intended to be a Bible study was mostly Greek or Hebrew study: he would employ complicated terms here and there. As opposed to a lesson in Scripture, it was a lecture on theology. He did not “rightly divide the word of truth” either. All these unfortunate facts hindered the Holy Spirit from working through him more fully. Now, however, things have changed for him! Never again will he be spiritually puzzled!

Praise the Lord! The next time we see the saints who have graduated to Heaven, no doctrinal error will be present to divide or confuse us. Here is one more reason to “sorrow not, even as other which have no hope.” Continuing after today’s Scripture: “[14] For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. [15] For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. [16] For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: [17] Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. [18] Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

Christ Liveth in Me

Sunday, April 4, 2021

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

“He is risen” is not a simple blasé cliché!

When Jesus’ disciples came to His tomb on that glorious Sunday morning nearly 2,000 years ago, they were startled to find it empty! Angels inform them that He has resurrected, but they are still in shock (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8). Jesus Christ Himself must later explain the Scriptures to them regarding what happened those last few days (Luke 24:44-46).

However, until Paul’s ministry, Christ’s finished crosswork is not preached as good news for salvation. Peter and Israel’s other apostles simply preach that Jesus Christ is now resurrected to “sit on [David’s] throne” (Acts 2:30)—that is bad news for much of Israel, for they still reject Him, weeks and months after His resurrection and ascension. Throughout early Acts, Israel’s apostles warn her that Jesus Christ is coming back to judge them.

When we come to the Apostle Paul’s ministry, we learn that we Gentiles can benefit from Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. Israel’s rejected Messiah is now our way to heaven! Yes, Israel hated Him, and demanded that He experience the most awful method of execution devised, but God allowed it in order to accomplish His will. Satan attempted to hinder God’s will by having Christ killed, but all that did was provide the method whereby God could save us pagan Gentiles. Calvary’s finished crosswork frees us from Satan’s evil system and gives us a chance to be God’s people (Acts 26:17,18)!

As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins, that crucifixion is our death to self and sin, and that resurrection is our raising to walk in newness of life—His life (today’s Scripture; cf. Romans 6:1-11)!

Indeed, Jesus Christ is alive, and He lives in and through those who walk by faith in God’s Word to them, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon! 🙂

HAPPY EASTER!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study by the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #35

Friday, February 12, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

In the context of intense social difficulties, including religious deception, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul penned in chapter 3 of 2 Timothy: “[14] But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; [15] And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. [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.” (Read the whole chapter for the contrast.)

Proceed into chapter 4: “[1] I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; [2] Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. [3] 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; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

Christians should “continue… in the things” they have “learned,” remembering these “things” are Pauline doctrine, the grace principles of Romans through Philemon. The very reason the professing church is in such shambles today is because it refused to heed this advice 2,000 years ago (cf. 2 Timothy 1:15). Believe and preach the Word rightly divided! If we believers in Christ save ourselves from the erroneous teachings of Satan’s evil world system, then we have a pure message to share with lost people, that they might also believe and pass from death to life, that their sin not find them out in eternity and perpetually fracture them in twain.

-FINIS!-

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #34

Thursday, February 11, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

We recall Galatians 6:7, although with the next two verses now: “[7] Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. [8] For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. [9] And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Firstly, we can sow to the flesh, and the flesh will give us a harvest of corruption (losing our battle with sin). Let us not be misled into thinking the flesh (our sin nature from Adam) will result in something other than failure. Or, we can sow to the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will give us a harvest of life everlasting (winning our battle with sin). Let us not be tricked into thinking the Spirit (our new nature from Christ) will result in something other than victory.

We can have either no Christian living or triumphant Christian living. If we are not living with Galatians 6:7-9 in our thoughts, we are walking “in the vanity [emptiness, worthlessness] of [our] mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in [us], because of the blindness of [our] heart” (Ephesians 4:17,18). As the lost world has sown to the flesh—that is, lived in sin—and its sin has found it out and divided it (negative), so we can sow to the Holy Spirit—that is, live in righteousness—and our righteousness will find us out and unite us (positive). Our maintaining grace doctrine as Bible believers will hinder the lie program from advancing faster. Yet, if we continue in our ways of false teaching, the Body of Christ itself will be divided and hasten the furtherance of evil. It is our choice.

Let us (finally!) conclude this devotionals arc….

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

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #33

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

Not only are non-Christians living contrary to God’s will for them, many of us “Christians” are equally disobedient. As they refuse to hear the truth, so we have ignored the rightly divided Scriptures to keep our church traditions. Just as they have their “holy books,” so we have used 100 modern English (different!) Bible translations to confuse and divide us for 120 years. As they bow to their pagan idols, so we have worshipped our “wafer gods,” relics, scholarship, statues, and “experiences.”

The sins of the flesh are easy to spot, but the sins of the spirit are more insidious. Relying on the sins of the spirit to fight the sins of the flesh, have we finally learned we cannot conquer sin with sin? Substitutes tricked us. We were religious, but not Christian: we were “playing” church. If we read the Bible, it was a quick verse here and there, passages our denominations approved. Whatever Bible we read, we really did not believe it. Our “feel-good” inspirational/motivational speeches distracted us from sound Bible doctrine. If this is how we got into this mess, then we do the opposite to escape it.

We must get back to the King James Bible: we need one final authority, not a hundred competing books. Also, we must return to the principles of grace, the Apostle Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—Jesus Christ’s ministry today. Paul is our apostle (Romans 11:13), God’s spokesman to us. Supporting lies appears to bring harmony and progress, but there is no true, lasting unity and victory without sound Bible doctrine. The lost world must learn that, but we as believers in Christ must realize it first. We expect lost people to think and act like Christians when we do not think and act like Christians ourselves! Ridiculous! Until we believers are thankful for testimony of the Scriptures—grateful for our Bible heritage (albeit meager)—we have no testimony ourselves.

Let us summarize this devotionals arc….

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #32

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

As members of the Body of Christ, we have two choices. Firstly, we can throw our hands up and cry out, “We surrender! Why keep believing the truth when error abounds everywhere?!” Or, we can remind ourselves of the following facts. Although America has overwhelmingly languished in unbelief for centuries, there was a remnant of believers. Therefore, the truth passed down to us. Faithful saints, teachers, delivered to us the pure Word they were taught, being traced all the way back to the Apostle Paul.

Like they, we can continue the Christian ministry of 2 Timothy 2:2: “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.” If we choose to follow our culture as it increasingly disintegrates, we will definitely be wasting our time. Remember, “the word of God is not bound” (2 Timothy 2:9). Also, “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (2 Corinthians 13:8). With or without our cooperation, the Word of God rightly divided will continue and triumph—as always. It will never lose or be lost.

Christian friends, we will not reverse our culture’s inevitable collapse. Yet, we can slow it down with sound Bible doctrine. However, it is easier said than done because it has gained momentum—and, we have let it, since we have squandered our own time on foolishness instead of believing sound Bible doctrine and then teaching it to those lost souls who needed to believe on Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. If success is where we find the Word of God dispensationally considered and believed, why not join ourselves to it? Only what God does will last forever. If we find out what He is doing today, we can do that by faith, thereby ensuring what we do will last forever….

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #31

Monday, February 8, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

As to what the future holds, or how to proceed in handling it, even at this late hour the professing church still seeks answers, searching for any scintilla of understanding or glimmer of hope. Many Christians have no idea what to think or do. Paralyzed with fear, they wonder what is God’s will. Again, this underscores Christendom’s spiritual ignorance and feebleness. Have they not read their Bible that He gave them to teach them His will?! “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17).

Other believers are praying for revival, that God intervene and somehow perform a miracle to save our errant culture and nation from self-destruction. Honestly, dear friends, if I could be so bold in telling you, this is wishful thinking. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:12,13).

For far too long, the Church the Body of Christ has fought evil using the wrong weapons. We have relied on the energy of our flesh instead of the power of the Holy Spirit via sound Bible doctrine. Our thoughts were not God’s thoughts. Underestimating Satan, we presumed we could beat him apart from the Word of God rightly divided. Hence, the church has failed. We have assumed we can “bring in the Kingdom”—that is, make Earth so heavenly and sweet that Jesus must come down to join us. The fact is, this evil world is headed for the Tribulation, God’s undiluted wrath, and nothing we can do will stop it. There will be no national or global revival until Christ’s Second Coming.

In the meantime, here is what we can (and should) do….

Scrooges and Christians

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

“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 5:17 KJV).

To the old identity, we say, “Bah, Humbug!” To the new, we say, “God has blessed us, everyone in Christ.”

Other than Jesus Christ’s conception and birth as found in the Holy Bible, there is one other classic story associated with Christmastime. British author Charles Dickens’ 1843 book, A Christmas Carol, focuses on the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge (the novella has some Christian influence).

From the onset, Scrooge is a wealthy, miserable, mean, stingy, and selfish old man. His employee, Bob Cratchit, is underpaid (yet, strangely, Ebenezer observes, Cratchit is cheerful). Scrooge refuses to donate to charities collecting for the destitute—to him, Christmastime is a time for others to “pick his pocket.” He even refuses to attend his nephew’s Christmas party. What a miser!

Through visitations by four Spirits—his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley; and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future—Scrooge is forced to realize what a thoroughly rotten man he is. Once confronted with his future, the awful events that lie ahead, he asks for another chance to make things right (which, thankfully, he receives and does!). The Scrooge at the end of the book is drastically different from the Scrooge at the beginning. Scrooge is now loving, warm, cheerful, and generous—he is a brand-new man.

Bible-believing Christians recognize parallels between Dickens’ work and the Holy Scriptures. The sinner starts off rotten, a rebel from birth—selfish, miserable, and mean. When he or she comes to realize that pitiful condition he or she is in, and comes by simple faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins, God gives him or her a new identity (today’s Scripture). That identity is designed to influence subsequent actions. Scrooge did not simply change his outward activity; he had a change in heart first. This Christmas, let us be submissive to God’s Holy Spirit working in our hearts, as He uses sound Bible doctrine to manifest in our behavior our identity in Christ, that we be not Scrooges.

Earnest #8

Monday, November 23, 2020

Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts (2 Corinthians 1:21,22 KJV).

What exactly is an “earnest?” How is the Holy Spirit involved?

Although Father God has wrought a mighty work in us believers in Christ, we are actually a “work in progress.” Indeed, our souls and spirits have been redeemed, purchased out of sin’s slave market with Christ’s shed blood.

Romans chapter 3: “[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

However, we are not yet redeemed physically: we are still in these mortal bodies of flesh and blood. Since God is still operating the Dispensation of Grace, He has left the Church the Body of Christ on Earth. To delay His wrath another day—so more people trust His Son and escape the coming judgment this present evil world deserves—He keeps us here. The Apostle Peter learned this from the Apostle Paul: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

We have been justified (made right in God’s sight). We are being sanctified (daily set apart unto His plan and purpose). We will be glorified (brought into the heavenly places). The indwelling Holy Spirit is our “earnest”—or “taste” (“arrabon” in Hebrews 6:5)—that what mighty work God started in us He will also finish. The eternal life we are promised in Heaven can be ours now… and the indwelling Spirit of God guarantees it! 🙂

Earnest #7

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts (2 Corinthians 1:21,22 KJV).

What exactly is an “earnest?” How is the Holy Spirit involved?

As believers in Jesus Christ, we have the indwelling Holy Ghost, the third Member of the Godhead. Remember today’s Scripture: “God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” Ephesians chapter 2 closes: “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Also, Romans 5:5: “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.First Corinthians 3:16: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Now, chapter 6, verse 19: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” Finally, 2 Timothy 1:14: “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.”

We thrice read about the Holy Spirit being the “earnest”—today’s Scripture, 2 Corinthians 5:5, and Ephesians 1:13,14. Recall the Ephesians reference: “Ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Father God gave us the indwelling Holy Spirit to show us He will one day finish His transaction in securing us from sin. We have been redeemed soul and spirit—Christ’s blood bought us out of sin’s slave market (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). Yet, we are waiting to receive a physical redemption; this is the bodily resurrection in Romans 8:18-25, Ephesians 1:14, and Ephesians 4:30 (“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”). Just as “earnest money” in the business world anticipates the full purchase, so the Holy Spirit is our “earnest” in expectation of our whole redemption.

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….