Redeem the Year!

Monday, January 1, 2018

“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 KJV).

What great advice for 2018!

Despite 2,000 years of Bible schools and seminaries, 2,000 years of a completed Bible canon, 2,000 years of Bible reading in churches, several decades of “Christian” television and radio, and just over a decade of widespread use of “Christian” websites, how sad that Bible ignorance is still quite extensive (it is as if God never gave His Word to start with!).

Frankly, the Church the Body of Christ needs to wake up! The verse previous to today’s Scripture says, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (verse 14). Paul, loosely quoting Isaiah 60:1, reminded us that the spiritual ignorance that gripped Israel in Isaiah’s day seized Christians in his day—and it still grips Christians 20 centuries later. Feel-good sermons, enjoyable “worship” services, and rites, rituals, and ceremonies will NOT solve this problem—they exacerbate it!

“[God] will have all men to be saved…” (1 Timothy 2:4a). Do you want this New Year to count for God’s glory? First, you need to get saved from sins and hell! You need to become a Christian by trusting in and relying on Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for your sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). That is only part of God’s will for you, for 1 Timothy 2:4b continues, “[God] will have all men… to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Now, God’s will for your Christian life is daily, personal Bible study to renew your mind, so your faith in those verses can cause God to work in your life—it will be His life, thus making you “perfect [spiritually mature], throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

Today’s Scripture urges us to buy back the time Satan has robbed from God (time created for God’s glory). By faith, we need to make that time glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by applying His Word, particularly Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, to our lives. Have a good year in Christ! 🙂

You can download our free “One-Year Bible Reading Schedule.”

See our archived Bible Q&A: “What Scriptural advice can you give me for the New Year?

Overseer, Not Dictator!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

“This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous” (1 Timothy 3:1-3 KJV).

A dear religious lady vented exasperation when describing to me the pitiful conditions in her local “Bible-believing, fundamental” assembly. She had been there all her life (many decades), but the new pastor, for the last two years, had become increasingly tyrannical. He was nothing like today’s Scripture!

As she described that pastor, I sat totally amazed (!) that any sensible group would retain him for any period! He “lashed out” at everyone with harsh words—refusing correction when his erroneous ideas were exposed, disrespecting the elderly members, and telling people not to question him since they were too ignorant in the Bible. He was even rude to those outside the assembly. In fact, someone who witnessed his evil ways asked the lady who talked to me, “What kind of preacher do y’all have down there?” Yes, the church’s reputation was tainted in the community because of him!

It gets worse. He had stolen money from the church! Furthermore, she said the only deacon who really knew anything in the Scriptures was “booted off” the board without notice. When I asked her if they could force that despotic pastor out, she said the congregation was equally divided. Half wanted to keep him (!); the other half wanted him gone. Dear friends, the blame for this spiritual circus actually falls on the previous pastor. He taught them nothing in the Scriptures to enable them to withstand the heretic now destroying the Lord’s ministry and people!

As today’s Scripture says, the “bishop” (episkopos, “overseer;” cf. Acts 20:28) should be the guardian of the local church. He should always be vigilant to spot error and defend the congregation from Satan’s policy of evil. However, sadly, so many church leaders today are nothing but Satan’s tools, wolves in sheep’s clothing (Acts 20:28-32). Let us beware of them, brethren, and either remove them from our midst, or remove ourselves from theirs!

Evil Communications #7

Saturday, November 18, 2017

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33,34 KJV).

What are “evil communications?” Are we immune to their effects?

First Corinthians chapter 5 was written to warn those Christians who say they can associate with sinful individuals and not be corrupted. Galatians chapter 5 was written to admonish those Christians who say they can keep attending denominational churches and not be deceived. They are just as human—prone to failure—as the Corinthians and Galatians. If the Corinthians and Ephesians were prone to spiritual slumber as the Adversary worked, we should not be surprised that believers in Christ today exhibit poor to dead Christian living!

Today’s Scripture thunders, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not!” Dear brethren, if we are those with functionally-dead Christian lives, it is not too late for us to reform. We may have reverted to the lifestyle we had before we trusted Christ, but the Holy Scriptures rightly divided can lead us to repentance. That change in mind will then transform our behavior.

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.” Let us not fall into Satan’s trap!

Whether the Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, or reverted Christians today, they should be walking in light of Titus chapter 2: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is there time in Heaven?

Evil Communications #6

Friday, November 17, 2017

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33,34 KJV).

What are “evil communications?” Are we immune to their effects?

For almost 2,000 years now, the Church the Body of Christ has had a completed Bible. Howbeit, instead of letting it transform them, and then allowing it to enlighten others through them, the church permitted the world to alter the Bible and them! Whether 20 centuries ago, or today, “evil communications corrupt good manners.” This is true of both wicked behavior and false teaching.

Sinful conduct, except it is addressed according to God’s grace, will certainly pollute the local church. First Corinthians chapter 5 says of humanism (worldliness—namely, philosophy): “[6] Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? [7] Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: [8] Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” As a small amount of yeast taints the whole lump of dough, so a little misbehavior corrupts many! If you read the chapter, you see it is about a fornicating Christian man whom the Corinthians overlooked. God commanded they excommunicate him until he reformed…lest he contaminate them all!

Evil doctrine, unless corrected using rightly divided Scripture, is sure to corrupt the local church. Galatians chapter 5 speaks of legalism (works-religion—namely, Law-keeping): “[7] Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? [8] This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. [9] A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” As a small amount of yeast taints the whole lump of dough, so a little false teaching corrupts many! If you read the chapter, you learn that false teachers (denominationalists) had tricked the Galatians to abandon grace and return to works-religion (specifically, the Mosaic Law). God commanded they separate from those false teachers…lest they continue deceiving them all!

We now summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Evil Communications #5

Thursday, November 16, 2017

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33,34 KJV).

What are “evil communications?” Are we immune to their effects?

Romans chapter 13 reminds us: “[11] And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. [12] The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. [13] Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness [sexual sins], not in strife and envying. [14] But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

Since the Lord Jesus Christ could come at any time for us at the Rapture, we should be walking as the people we are instead of who we are not. It is absurd for us Christians to behave like we were still under “the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13): we have been “translated… into the kingdom of [God’s] dear Son.” We should conduct ourselves in that light.

Hence, in today’s Scripture, Paul wrote to Corinth: “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” They were to sober up, spiritually speaking, and start thinking according to Romans chapter 13 (quoted above). Jesus Christ was their “righteousness” (1 Corinthians 1:30). They were to think about their justified and sanctified identity in Him, and walk by faith in that. This is how they would “sin not.” The Word of God’s Grace to them through Paul’s ministry—not Greek philosophers and Judaistic legalists—was the key to successful Christian living.

Today’s Scripture concludes, “…for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” The Corinthians should be ashamed to the point of correcting their error. They should separate from “evil communications” (bad influences). Paul had preached to them, but they ignored the doctrine. They wasted the opportunity to know God’s grace, but they have another chance….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did God judge Nadab and Abihu so strictly?

Evil Communications #4

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33,34 KJV).

What are “evil communications?” Are we immune to their effects?

Returning to Ephesians chapter 5: “[14] Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. [15] See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, [16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [17] Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. [18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;….”

The issue of “wine” is explained in Revelation 14:8: “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Also, Revelation 17:2: “With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” The Antichrist’s political-religious system, while future from our day, nevertheless has elements that have been around since just after the Fall of man. Satan’s evil world system promotes mind-altering doctrines that corrupt believers. There is spiritual fornication, dabbling with devils, here. It enticed the Corinthians, lured the Ephesians, and even ensnared ancient Israel.

Ephesians 5:14, which we just read, loosely quoted Isaiah 60:1: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.” This is Israel, gripped by spiritual ignorance and slumber, and God’s conversion and restoration of her at Christ’s Second Coming. Notice God’s warning to His people who will live during the Antichrist’s reign, and the final phases of religious Babylon: “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4). Yes, “evil communications corrupt good manners.” God’s people are not to be associated with Satan’s evil world system… past, present, or future!

If it happened to Israel, to the Corinthians, and to the Ephesians, we indeed are not immune….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What was the significance of Joseph’s ‘coat of many colours?’

Evil Communications #3

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33,34 KJV).

What are “evil communications?” Are we immune to their effects?

Today’s Scripture resumes, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not.” Here, “awake” means (figuratively) “to rouse out of a stupor.” Imagine a drunkard becoming sober, restored to clear thinking. In other words, false teaching had lulled the Corinthians to sleep. They were slumbering—inactive—as pertaining to Christian living. Rather than walking according to the Holy Spirit’s current operations, they thought and behaved as the Adversary (Satan) desired. Some years later, a similar satanic assault was launched on the Christians at Ephesus.

Chapter 5 of Ephesians: “[7] Be not ye therefore partakers with them [the “children of disobedience,” unbelievers, of verse 6]. [8] For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: [9] (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; ) [10] Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. [11] And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. [12] For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.”

“[13] But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. [14] Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. [15] See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, [16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [17] Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. [18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;….”

Notice the advice in verse 18—“Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” The “wine” here is not simply literal alcohol. It is, more specifically, the intoxicating doctrines of devils that distort and dull one’s spiritual senses to the point of spiritual drunkenness and fainting. This loops back to the “awakening” in today’s Scripture….