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?

An Enjoyable Marriage

Friday, August 10, 2018

“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones” (Ephesians 5:28-30 KJV).

What is God’s idea of a perfect marriage?

Some Christian friends—a husband and wife—are currently miserable. The woman is far away visiting family, but her husband could not travel and thus stayed home. Now, she is concerned because he is “going crazy” without her. Even though they speak via phone, he is still so sad. Having been married for 16 years, and rarely apart, such separation (even for a few days) is nerve-racking. How he loves her, and she, of course, loves him. This is quite appropriate (cf. today’s Scripture).

It is quite unfortunate, but it is no secret. Some people literally leap and shout for joy when their spouses go away on trips. Retirement can be a nightmare for the other partner! Such a “sweet, lovey-dovey couple” on the wedding day may wind up a “bitter, cruel couple” at divorce court the very next! Think of a poor lady who hated the idea of going to Heaven if her husband would be there!

Saints, you can have “a marriage made in Heaven”—one that glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. There can be love, joy, peace, and pleasure. Someone once rightly stated, “Marriage is the highest halls of human happiness.” Yet, such relationships are few and far between… remarkably few (!!) and extremely far between!! How awful it is, but it must be repeated. There can be “a marriage from Hell” too, and habitual selfishness is the speediest route to get there!

Marriage is not a competition between both parties but rather an alliance Satan is constantly attempting to abolish. The husband, as the spiritual head, guards by taking the lead. If the Holy Spirit controls the husband, the wife (also led by the Holy Spirit) will follow him. The husband initiates the faith, love, stability, and so on. Conversely, if he is not leading, the marriage will eventually collapse. “Holy matrimony” will become “hellish matrimony.” Friends, you have been warned!!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is there a geographical error in 2 Kings 2:2?

Serving!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another (Galatians 5:13 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be by love serving one another.

There is a prevailing myth about the Gospel of Grace. When we quote Colossians 2:13 about total forgiveness of all trespasses,” someone immediately opposes with, “Grace is a license to sin! If I had complete forgiveness of all sins, I would live any way I wanted to live!” Oh, dear friend, you were doing that quite well before you came to Christ, yes? You were living “any way” you wanted to live long before you heard the Gospel of Grace. Be not silly in suggesting then that you need grace to sin!

Father God set us free from sin, not for us to then place ourselves back under its bondage. Immediately after writing, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20), the Holy Spirit anticipated an objection. We hear that protest even today. The Spirit’s answer 2,000 years ago is valid now as it was then.

Romans chapter 6: “[1] What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? [2] God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? [3] Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. [5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. [7] For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Brethren, we are dead, crucified with Christ, risen with Christ, free from sin’s control. We do not have to serve sin! Now, we have been enabled to “serve God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9) and “by love serve one another” (today’s Scripture).

Forgiven for Christ’s Sake #3

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 KJV).

Verses 31 and 32 contain nine items worth discussing: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

  • Bitterness—“intense antagonism or hostility.” The Bible says this characterizes lost mankind (Romans 3:14).
  • Wrath—“strong, stern, or fierce anger; deeply resentful indignation; ire.” Idolaters in Ephesus were very angry—“full of wrath”—when their religion was threatened (Acts 19:28).
  • Anger—“a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire.”
  • Clamour—“raise an outcry.” This was the “great cry” when Israel’s religious leaders argued (Acts 23:9); Jesus’ “strong crying” when He prayed to Father God in Gethsemane (Hebrews 5:7); the “loud cry” of an angel concerning judgment (Revelation 14:18). In the context of Ephesians, it means shouting over others—a crowd whose conversation is indistinct chatter.
  • Evil speaking—“harmful or immoral words.” Transliterated, the Greek word is blasphemia. This means “to speak evil,” and the context of Ephesians 4:31 implies “gossip” and/or “slander.”
  • Malice—“desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness.” Paul discouraged the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 5:8; 1 Corinthians 14:20) and the Colossians (Colossians 3:8) from behaving this way. Maliciousness also characterizes lost people (Titus 3:3). Peter instructed the kingdom saints of Israel’s program to avoid malice too (1 Peter 2:1).
  • Kind one to another—“gentle; sympathetic.” In stark contrast to how the world hates us (1 John 3:12,13).
  • Tenderhearted—“pitiful; well-compassionate” (cf. 1 Peter 3:8). The idea is opposite a hard heart, one that feels no sympathy and is unaffected when others suffer.
  • Forgiveness—“send away.” This definition is the answer to all the confusion as to what forgiveness is and what forgiveness is not. It is such an intricate topic that we must withhold it until our next study!

Remember, the Summer Family Bible Conference continues today and into tomorrow!

Hope, Joy, and Peace

Thursday, November 12, 2015

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13 KJV).

Life in this world of sin is always unpredictable; Jesus Christ’s faithfulness is always certain!

Dad woke up very early yesterday morning, about 3 a.m., complaining of intense abdominal pain. I drove him and Mom to the hospital emergency room. We discovered his gallbladder was severely inflamed and infected and had to be removed as soon as possible. The laparoscopic cholecystectomy was performed yesterday afternoon, and he is now resting comfortably at the hospital. He has a reputation for being very tenacious, so this should not keep him confined to a sickbed for long. 🙂

Mom and I were concerned throughout those dozen-plus hours waiting at the hospital, but we were not worried about the spiritual aspect. Dad has a testimony of having trusted Jesus Christ alone as his personal Saviour. Father God decided to keep him on Earth for a longer time. Whenever this earthly sojourn concludes, he, like all who have believed and trusted the Gospel of the Grace of God, has the assurance of going to heaven upon physical death. Eternity is already settled for we who have trusted in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins. “To be absent from the body [is] to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). If eternity is already settled, taken care of, we need not be worried about the “light afflictions” of this temporary world.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18: “[16] For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. [17] For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; [18] While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

If God can (and did) take care of our biggest problem (eternal damnation in hell), surely, everything else is infinitesimally smaller, and not impossible for Him (or us through Him) to handle! 🙂

Where True Love is Found

Saturday, September 12, 2015

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10 KJV).

Behold where true love is found!

Many people today seek “love” in all the wrong places—“pimping,” prostitution, homosexual unions, pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, and all sorts of other illicit acts. Even concerning “straight” couples (involving two humans), there is usually a very shallow understanding of what true love is. There is a lot of “take, take, take” from one or both sides, and a lot of “me, me, me” on one or both sides. There is very little, if any, altruism (“give, give, give”). Both people really seeking the other person’s best interest—the rarest of all!

Beloved, let us never, ever, ever place another human on a level he or she will never attain. We are all sinners. Mistakes will happen. Other people will disappoint us, as individuals have done before. Break-ups happen, divorces happen, infidelity happens, betrayal happens. Even though both sides try their very hardest, there is still heartache and heartbreak. (Then, there is one or both parties doing nothing to make the situation better, leading to the same dismal end.)

All the unlovely people we have met in our life, the horrible individuals who treated us as though we were utter scum, we need not be bitter against them. We need to pray for them. They have not got a clue what real love is, and were thus unable to show it to us. We should take a moment to remember today’s Scripture. If no one else loves us, if everyone else betrays us, if everyone else disappoints us, if everyone else abandons us, there is still Father God and His free gift offered to us. His only begotten Son shed His rich, royal blood, that He may pay our sin debt. He had nothing left to give! Jesus Christ was Father God’s most precious relationship, and He (yea, They) gave it up, that we sinners might enjoy that perfect relationship forever!

In no other Person but Jesus Christ will we find true love. Let us not search for it elsewhere. Such a search is a waste of time… and of true love.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What about unmarried, divorced, and remarried men in the ministry?