Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Sunday, October 28, 2012

“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29 KJV).

Saints, let us be mindful that today’s Scripture is truer today than ever before.

In the context of today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul is bidding the Ephesian church leaders farewell. He is determined to return to Jerusalem, unsure if the Jews will kill him there (verses 22,23). Paul warns these church leaders to “take heed therefore unto [themselves], and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made [them] overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (verse 28).

They need to be on guard, for in the next verse—today’s Scripture—he cautions them that false teachers will come in and spiritually devour these Christian leaders and their local assemblies. Satan’s ministers, denominationalists/religionists/legalists, will devastate the spiritual health of God’s people. They will come in from the outside world, and infiltrate the church with heresy so Christians become ineffective.

But, the subsequent verse says, “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (verse 30). Not only will people outside the local church come in and deceive, there will be false teachers within the church (already doing the damage subtly and hypocritically). They claim “Jesus is Lord,” they talk about God’s love and grace, and some will even go so far as to agree with us by teaching the special ministry and gospel committed to the Apostle Paul’s trust. But, when you read the King James Bible for yourself, and compare their teaching to it, you realize that their ministry confirms today’s Scripture.

“With tears,” Paul warned the Ephesians for three years about false teaching (Acts 20:31). By the end of Paul’s ministry, several years after that warning in Acts chapter 20, Ephesus and the rest of Asia (Turkey) went into apostasy (2 Timothy 1:15). Dear saints, how we would STRONGLY URGE you to be very careful about what preacher, ministry, and/or church you follow. Many corrupt the word of God” (2 Corinthians 2:17).

Aid Not the Sinner in His Cause

Saturday, October 27, 2012

“And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them? And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief” (Exodus 32:21,22 KJV).

While we are to speak out against the world’s sins, let us make sure we are not aiding them to commit those sins.

For the past 40 days, Moses has been on Mount Sinai, receiving the Law from the LORD. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt” (verses 7,8).

So, Moses descends from Sinai, holding the tables of stone on which the LORD engraved His Law. “And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh [near] unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it” (verses 19,20).

Today’s Scripture describes the next event. Aaron was left in charge of Israel while Moses was away, so Moses demands of his brother why he allowed Israel to indulge in this pagan idolatry. Aaron confesses that when Israel wanted an idol, he took Israel’s gold, “cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf” (verse 24). Ridiculous—Aaron claims the idol just “magically” appeared! In today’s Scripture, notice how Aaron blames Israel’s wickedness, when he was ultimately to blame!

Saints, let us not encourage others to sin, as Aaron misled Israel. Church leaders should be especially cautious in that regard.

Many Coming and Going

Saturday, September 1, 2012

“And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat” (Mark 6:31 KJV).

Today’s Scripture testifies that ministry work in the Lord, although joyous and rewarding, can be extremely time-consuming, demanding, and exhausting.

The book of Mark focuses on Jesus Christ as God’s Servant, what He did (that is, the miracles He performed). In the context of today’s Scripture, the Lord Jesus and His apostles have preached, performed miracles, and travelled to such an extent that they have not even had time to eat! The Lord knows He and His apostles need a “lunch break,” so He invites them to come with Him into a “desert” (lonely, private) place to rest. “And they departed into a desert place by ship privately” (verse 32). Jesus Christ and His apostles need rest, so they attempt to quietly sail away! Will they escape?

Nevertheless, “And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him” (verse 33). The people see Jesus and His apostles floating away, so they run ahead of them, and meet Him and His apostles on the other side of the shore! Jesus and His apostles will get no rest.

“And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd [cf. Matthew 9:36; Matthew 10:6]: and he began to teach them many things” (verse 34). “And when the day was far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed:” (verse 35). Now, it is nearing evening, Jesus is still teaching, and He and His apostles still have not eaten! (Here, Jesus feeds the 5,000 with the two fishes and five loaves of bread; verses 36-44.)

Saints, ministry is very strenuous, but let us not grow weary. Yes, we do take time to rest, but may we never permanently rest! 🙂

The Propensity to Acquire Our Currency

Friday, August 31, 2012

“For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face” (2 Corinthians 11:19,20 KJV).

Sinful mankind naturally seeks dishonest material gain, and today’s Scripture explains that clerics are no exception.

Since Hurricane/Tropical Storm Isaac has passed through my area, police and other state officials are cautioning residents to be wary of phony contractors who are going door-to-door and “offering” their (fraudulent) services of rebuilding and demolition. These persons, like false religious teachers, prey on the weak and desperate, and we need to guard ourselves against them.

The Corinthians, although Christians, had precious little understanding of God’s Word rightly divided. Hence, they were vulnerable to doctrinal error (heresies), which abounded in their assembly (the Apostle Paul wrote First Corinthians to reprove them): “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be manifest among you” (1 Corinthians 11:19). Now, a year or so after writing that, Paul wrote today’s Scripture, and evidently the Corinthians are still “approving” these false teachers.

Notice Paul’s sarcasm in today’s Scripture: “Ye suffer [allow/permit] fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.” Essentially, “You Corinthians are so ‘wise’ that you gladly listen to a bunch of fools!” (Unfortunately, Paul would write this to Christendom today!) These false teachers discouraged the Corinthians from heeding and obeying the Lord’s Word through the Apostle Paul, and the Corinthians gladly allowed themselves to be deceived (cf. Galatians 3:1-4; Galatians 4:15-21). Today’s Scripture shows these false teachers acquired both the Corinthians’ trust and their income!

Saints, let us be “perfect” (spiritually mature) and “edified” (spiritually built up, strengthened) in God’s Word rightly divided, “that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight [trickery] of men, and cunning craftiness [scams], whereby they lie in wait [secretly] to deceive;” (Ephesians 4:12,14).

Let us be wary of false teachers, who have “the propensity to acquire our currency.”

The Saints with the Hoary Head

Saturday, August 25, 2012

“The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31 KJV).

What is a “hoary head,” and why does Proverbs refer to it as “a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness?”

The Bible uses the term “hoary head” only twice. It is found once in today’s Scripture. The other time the Bible uses it is when God instructed Israel in the Mosaic Law: “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:32).

Leviticus 19:32 explains that “hoary head” is connected to “old man.” In fact, “hoary” is defined as “white or gray haired; aged.” In other words, the expression “hoary head” actually refers to the gray hair of the elderly. Interestingly, the Bible uses “hoary” to also describe the white frost that falls from heaven and covers the ground (Job 38:29).

We “young” people can learn much by listening to the counsel of the older generations, since they have had more experience in life. But, notice how today’s Scripture shows that the “hoary head” that is “a crown of glory”—literally the older person to be praised and honored—is the hoary head that “be found in the way of righteousness.”

We do not hearken unto the advice of just any older person, but the older people who are saints, who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as their Saviour and who value God’s Word. They (should) show us how they apply God’s Word to various life situations by being examples.

For example, within the local church, God wants “aged [Christian] men” to be “sober [clear mind], grave [serious], temperate [self-controlled], sound in faith [not an heretick], in charity [deeds of love], in patience [endurance],” setting an example for the young Christian men (Titus 2:2). The “aged [Christian] women” are to “be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers [gossipers, liars], not given to much wine [having responsible minds], teachers of good things…,” setting an example for the young Christian women (verse 3).

Jesus Christ: A Minister of the Circumcision #1

Friday, June 29, 2012

“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” (Romans 15:8 KJV).

Today’s Scripture clearly explains to whom Jesus ministered during His earthly ministry, but most of Christendom absolutely refuses to believe it.

Someone rightly stated that “Christianity” is merely “bastardized Judaism.” Today, what is called “Christianity” is actually Old Testament Judaism with “New Testament” verses tacked on. The root cause of the abounding doctrinal error and chaos in Christendom is a failure to believe today’s Scripture, and to practice dispensational Bible study, “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). All of the Bible is for us, but not all of the Bible is to us or about us.

The doctrine that God gave us through the Apostle Paul for this the Dispensation of Grace is almost totally ignored today. It was to Paul alone that God revealed our mystery program, the Church the Body of Christ and God’s purpose and plan for heaven (Ephesians 3:1-9). What has Christendom done? It has mostly ignored Paul’s epistles, preferring to steal the Bible verses—especially the Four Gospels—that God gave strictly to Israel. Israel’s doctrine does not belong in our dispensation, yet denominations continue to attempt to obey God’s will for Israel.

For the past 2,000 years, religious tradition has instructed us to obey what Jesus taught in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Entire denominations and churches are built and sustained by “naming and claiming” (actually “taking and faking”) the ceremonies, prayers, doctrines, and promises found in the Four Gospels.

In religion, “Follow Jesus” is a phrase mindlessly and faithlessly uttered. Repeating the so-called “Lord’s Prayer” is greatly emphasized, as is “following Jesus in ‘believer’s baptism’” and “claiming the Beatitudes.” No wonder people are so confused about the Bible! They are claiming verses that belong to a program God is not operating today, and when the verses do not work, the Bible is ridiculed.

Jesus Christ, during His earthly ministry, ministered only to Israel (the “circumcision”): He was not speaking to us Gentiles (today’s Scripture)!

Take Heed to Thy Ministry

Saturday, June 16, 2012

“And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it” (Colossians 4:17 KJV).

Each of us members of the Church the Body of Christ has a role in what God is doing today. Are we willing to “fulfil” (complete) that ministry? Do we even realize we have it?

Archippus is only mentioned twice in God’s Word—in today’s Scripture, and in Philemon 2, where he is called Paul and Timothy’s “fellow-soldier.” While we do not know much else about Archippus, we gather that he resided in Colosse (perhaps someone who fellowshipped in the church who met in Philemon’s house?).

In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul instructed the Colossian believers to admonish Archippus to “take heed to the ministry which [he had] received in the Lord, that [he] fulfil it.” Exactly what opportunity this “ministry” was, we can only speculate (teaching Scripture? giving? leading the Colossian assembly as bishop?). Whatever this ministry was, it was of great importance (hence Paul’s warning to Archippus to “take heed [pay attention!]” to it and complete it. (Do not overlook your God-given responsibility, Archippus!!)

Paul could have written today’s Scripture to you and me as individuals. All of us Christians have been given “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). We are God’s ambassadors, His representatives in the earth, temporarily left here to declare His wonderful grace in Christ Jesus to this lost and dying world (verses 19-21)! We need to “take heed” to our ministry, to “fulfil” it.

As a Christian brother once stated, “God did not save us so we could sit on the stool of do-nothing, saying, ‘I shall not be moved!’” Brethren, let us exploit our resources to further the message of salvation found only in Jesus Christ. We do not have to all teach and preach, but we can pray for, give to, and help in local grace churches in whatever role we wish, as God’s Word instructs us. Time is precious, so let us not waste it on trivial (temporal) matters. “Take heed to [thy] ministry,” which will reap eternal benefits….