Powerful Service

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

“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” (1 Thessalonians 2:13 KJV).

Christian friend, is your life functionally dead? Here is the “jumpstart” to restore your spiritual energy!

We all tend to get “burned out” eventually. Actually, some of us take “breaks” for years! For those still going, it may be “low-energy”—just barely getting by. Love for God, His Word, and fellow man has waned to little or nothing. Perhaps, dear friend, you know firsthand how that is a sure way to utter misery!

It is easy to know the Bible, but unless we believe it, God’s indwelling Holy Spirit will not “effectually worketh” in us (today’s Scripture). “Effectually worketh” is the Greek word “energeo,” from which we derive “energy.” A related word is found in the classic verse, Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful [energes]….” When God’s Word is trusted, there results great activity. It was by these spoken words of God that He made the worlds from nothing (Hebrews 11:3)! What high-energy there!

God’s power will work in us when we put God’s Word within us. His Spirit will take His inspired words and work to produce His desired results. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). “Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily” (Colossians 1:29). Paul provided two illustrations. Firstly, Galatians 2:8: “(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:).” Secondly, Galatians 3:5, “He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”

Dearly beloved, may we take the King James Bible, especially Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, and believe what we read. That is the key to getting God’s power operating in our lives. There is no need to be “low-energy!”

Bible Q&A #515: “Why could the disciples not cast out the devil in Matthew 17:14-21?

Perfecting #4

Thursday, June 21, 2018

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

What does “perfecting” mean here?

The Lord Jesus granted supernaturally-gifted men to the early Body of Christ so Christians would be internally repaired (remember the fisherman mending his beaten and broken nets). Using those gifted men, the Holy Spirit filled the “holes” Christians had in their spiritual knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Remember, these saints came from various pagan, idolatrous backgrounds (see 1 Corinthians 12:1,2; Galatians 4:8; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 1:9). They had much religious tradition to abandon—especially rank spiritual inexperience. Moreover, still living among unsaved (pagan) loved ones, they were daily exposed and enticed to return to their former ways.

As today’s Scripture says, the five types of gifted men in the ministry would generate spiritual health and growth among those early Christians. God would then use these mended Christians to do the work of the ministry. The work of the ministry was the edifying of the entire Church the Body of Christ. It was a miraculous process that God the Spirit superintended; otherwise, Satan’s policy of evil (ignorance) would have prevailed.

Now, someone is bound to ask, “Brother Shawn, you keep saying the early Body of Christ. What about us today? Do we not need gifted men right now, that God’s work continue unabated?” First Corinthians chapter 13 answers: “[8] Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. [9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. [10] But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. [11] When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. [12] For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

Spiritual gifts were temporary, but something permanent was coming….

Bible Q&A #505: “‘Made his arrows bright… consulted with images… looked in the liver?’

Perfecting #3

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

What does “perfecting” mean here?

Sin has radically changed man’s spiritual—and even physical—makeup. When a person comes to faith in Jesus Christ alone as personal Saviour, the soul is restored. It is enlightened to the things of God because of the indwelling Holy Spirit’s influence. However, the new Christian is not an automatic expert in sound Bible doctrine. Spiritual maturity is often an extremely slow process. For many Christians, unfortunately, it never comes in this life. This is not at all what God intended.

Jesus Christ, after His resurrection and ascension, gave the early Body of Christ various gifted men to bring Christians to a fuller understanding of His doctrine (cf. today’s Scripture). Father God does not want immature infants or toddlers as His children; He wants adults, fully grown men and women who are skilled in His Word and will for this the Dispensation of Grace. Children are easily deceived, but not adults.

Today’s Scripture in context: “[11] And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; [12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: [13] Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: [14] That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; [15] But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: [16] From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

In this succinct snapshot (a single sentence!), we see the functions of the local church….

A Miserable “Law-Keeper!”

Thursday, May 31, 2018

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin (Romans 7:24,25 KJV).

As Paul closes Romans chapter 7, he is miserable and despondent. How he wants to be delivered from daily failures (religious bondage, legalism)! Suddenly, he realizes that he needs to thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Chapter 8 is the key to being rescued from all his daily disappointments and faults. He is to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh! He is to mind the things of the Spirit and not the things of the flesh!

Romans 8:1-6 is the key to Paul’s dilemma at the conclusion of chapter 7: “[1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [5] For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. [6] For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” We are to think the way the Holy Spirit thinks (grace), and that is how we guard against the predicament in chapter 7.

Today, read Romans chapters 6-8 in one sitting. Watch the truths in chapter 6 be ignored in chapter 7. Then, notice how they are reaffirmed and expanded in chapter 8. We are dead to sin (chapter 6), we are dead to the Law (chapter 7), and we are alive unto God by the indwelling Holy Spirit (chapter 8). “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18).

Dear friends, we now close seven full years of “333 Words of Grace!” Only by God’s grace, onward into Year 8! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did the Law kill Paul?

Mother: A Virtuous Woman

Sunday, May 13, 2018

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10 KJV).

Today is Mother’s Day, so we dedicate this devotional to godly women (specifically mothers). I especially dedicate this to the virtuous woman who has been in my life for almost 30 years… my mom!

Today’s Scripture is the first verse of the Bible’s “Virtuous Woman” passage (Proverbs 31:10-31). King Solomon explained that the virtuous woman:

  • has a husband who safely trusts in her (verses 11,12).
  • is not lazy, but is strong because she works to feed and clothe her family and herself (verses 13-19,21,22,24,25,27).
  • pities the poor and needy (verse 20).
  • has a husband who is well-known because of her godly lifestyle (verse 23).
  • opens her mouth with wisdom, and speaks kindly and lovingly (verse 26).
  • has children and a husband who praise her (verse 28).
  • excels in what she does (verse 29).
  • has works that praise her (verse 31).

Verse 30 explains the virtuous woman is “a woman that feareth the LORD.”

The Apostle Paul wrote that godly women should: not slander/gossip, not be controlled by alcohol and emotions (sober minded), be teachers of good things, love their husbands and children, be cautious and modest, maintain the home, be “good,” and should obey (respect) their husbands… “that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5). A Christian woman, especially a mother, should be a virtuous woman in beliefs as well as in deed. She needs to set an example for her children (especially her daughters).

A Christian woman and/or Christian mother places her faith in this sound Bible doctrine, the indwelling Holy Spirit will then take that doctrine and transform her for God’s glory (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Her mind will be renewed by sound Bible doctrine, and that will transform her outward activity (Romans 12:1,2).

Are you a Christian woman or Christian mother who desires to be the woman God intends you to be in Christ Jesus? Place your faith in this sound Bible doctrine, and God will take care of the rest!

 HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO OUR READERS WHO ARE MOTHERS!

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

Shunned!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake (Luke 6:22 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be joyful when people shun us for our Christian testimony.

A dear brother in Christ once shared some very insightful comments about us separating from the world. If we have a Christian testimony—a life “filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11)—the world will actually separate from us! That is, our sound Bible doctrine will drive them away from us. At that point, they will not care to hear or see us (they will have already discovered our affection and forcefully announced to us, “No thanks!!”).

“Stop talking about God so much! Only weirdoes study Scripture to that extent! Close that Bible and go away! You have a social/mental/developmental disorder!” We are outcasts: they want nothing to do with us. They see us as “fanatics,” “kooks,” “crazies” who need to be locked away forever in some institution. This is to be expected; marvel not, dear brethren. They said of our Lord Jesus Christ in John 10:20: “And many… said, He hath a devil, and is mad [crazy!!]; why hear ye him?” Festus said: “Paul, thou art beside thyself [a raving maniac!!]; much learning doth make thee mad [insane!!]” (Acts 26:24).

Since we who have trusted Christ Jesus have the indwelling Holy Spirit, He gives us desires natural (lost) people lack. They thus consider our behavior unconventional and farcical. First Peter 4:3-4 speaks of the Little Flock that will experience a similar “sticking out” in the evil world system: “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:….”

If this is what we must endure, saints, then let us endure it with joy unspeakable. The world avoids us, but (most importantly) we have eternal fellowship with God.

Bible Q&A #475: “What did Jesus mean, ‘Take up your cross?’

Strengthened!

Monday, February 26, 2018

That he 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).

Without further delay, we need to be strengthened by God’s Spirit in the inner man.

The Apostle Paul advised young Pastor Timothy at Ephesus: “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do” (1 Timothy 1:4). Accentuating religious stories and lauding personalities should be discouraged in ministry; they only cause uncertainties. The local church should engage in “godly edifying.” Edification means constructing a building or strengthening someone spiritually.

In Ephesians 4:11-16, God’s goal is to produce mature saints, Christians who have grown up into grace doctrines beyond elementary level. Only perfected saints do the work of the ministry (which leads to everyone’s maturity). By and large, though, the professing “Church” is weak, mixed up, spiritually crippled. Why? There is ungodly entertainment and no godly edification! We read books about Scripture, but we rarely read Scripture. We sing about the Bible, but we seldom read the Bible. We talk about Scripture, but we hardly study Scripture.

God’s power lies in His Word, as 1 Thessalonians 2:13 says: “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.” Friend, you toss out the Bible, you thereby remove faith (Romans 10:17), and the Holy Spirit has nothing to use to strengthen you internally. Now you know why the alleged “Church” is able only to confuse and amuse you!

Second Timothy 3:16,17: “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 [spiritually mature!], throughly furnished unto all good works.” Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, were the final installment of God’s revelation to man (see Colossians 1:23-28, especially verses 23-26). Since Pauline authority and doctrine are largely ignored today, we need not marvel at or wonder why spiritually impotency is characteristic of most Christians.