333’s 4000th – To Keep That Good Thing

Friday, May 13, 2022

Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us (2 Timothy 1:13,14 KJV).

Saints, only by God’s grace, for 4,000 days now, we have striven “to keep that good thing!”

Paul the Apostle wrote in 1 Timothy 6:20,21: “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee.” Now, re-read today’s Scripture. In this second and final epistle, or formal doctrinal letter, to Timothy; Paul issued some parting instructions that we would do well to note. (Had the Church the Body of Christ actually obeyed these directions 2,000 years ago, there would be far less doctrinal error plaguing us right now!)

“Thing which was committed unto thee” and “that which is committed to thy trust” is the translation of “parakatatheken,” a compound Greek word composed of “para” (“with,” “alongside”) and “katatithemi” (“to place down”). The Lord Jesus Christ through Paul left with Timothy—and all other members of the Body of Christ—the principles of grace that are in effect today in the mystery program. If Timothy drew from the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, he would “keep” (guard from perversion or disrespect) that sacred deposit. Timothy was exhorted to be strict in his “holding fast” of sound Bible doctrine, not drifting around or “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). As the professing church continues to slip into more and more apostasy, darkness, and immaturity—and the Grace Movement itself is no exception—it is now more important than ever for us to be careful here at “333 Words of Grace.”

Dear brethren, over the course of 4,000 (!) daily devotionals now, we have followed the Lord’s instructions through Paul, making dispensational Bible truths plain to those interested in doing God’s will today. With that, we open our ninth 500-devotional unit. Thank you for your prayer and financial support, and now (only by God’s grace) we grow even more in sound Bible doctrine.

***NOTE: All former devotionals are archived here.***

The Best Option

Friday, May 6, 2022

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11 KJV).

Several decades back, a prosperous man summoned a famous preacher to visit a certain local church so he could help the congregation raise money to pay off a debt. The man offered the preacher accommodations in either his country house, his town house, or his seaside house. Using the frankest of terms, the preacher replied with a letter that simply read: “Sell one of those places and you will be able to pay off that debt yourself!”

The above preacher made wise use of his resources. He had no reason to visit that debt-laden assembly because one of its own members was more than financially capable of paying the bill. The preacher’s time and energy could be better spent elsewhere—and praise the Lord Jesus Christ he had the spiritual discernment to realize it! After all, one of the challenges of ministry is to be sure to allocate time for what really matters and not squander it with trivialities and other distractions. If the preacher truly values the Lord and His Word, and has grown up enough in the Word, he will know that he should “approve things that are excellent” (today’s Scripture). Out of all the choices he can make for his Saviour’s glory, he uses his renewed mind to select the best option. Saints, we would also do well to remember this on a daily basis.

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 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. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;…” (Ephesians 5:14-18).

The Little Gift and the Gift of Eternal Life

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

“For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (2 Corinthians 13:8 KJV).

Dear friends in Christ, it is no secret our world abounds with evil. At every turn, in every institution, in every realm, Satan’s policy of evil is alive and well. Even in so-called “Christian” circles, the Scriptures are largely ignored (unless they can be quoted to support a favorite theological position!). Oftentimes, the average believer cannot help but suppose maintaining and teaching sound Bible doctrine is a lost cause. “What can I possibly do to advance the truths of God’s Word? I am no preacher or teacher! I am just one person! Bible-believers are outnumbered by the billions so what difference could I possibly make for the Lord’s glory?!”

Long ago, a lady was preparing a package to send to missionaries far away overseas. A child gave her a penny, so the woman used it to buy a Gospel tract to place into the box. That Gospel tract reached the chief of a people in that foreign land. He came to trust Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour, and he shared his testimony with his friends (most of whom also believed unto eternal life). Also, a local church was eventually founded there, and over 1,500 other natives believed on Jesus Christ to pass from death to life. It all began with one child giving a single penny!

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Saints, share this devotional throughout social media platforms (only the Lord knows how far it will travel—or whom it will influence for His glory!).

Time’s A-Wastin’

Saturday, April 30, 2022

“…he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully…” (Jeremiah 23:28 KJV).

Many decades ago, a volunteer fire department arrived on the scene of a blazing house. The full-time fire company from a neighboring area also showed up to help. However, the first group’s chief protested that his team had the jurisdiction, so the second crew rolled up their hoses and left. Later, with the fire still raging out of control, the second company was called back. A third brigade was even recruited to aid. Alas, by the time the fire was extinguished, the house was a total loss and two adjacent buildings were damaged!

The above true story is an example of how denominationalism ruins the Church the Body of Christ and the entire world. We have spent 2,000 years (!) arguing about how this theological system is right, or that denomination is spot-on, or this sect is right, or that cult is truthful. Instead of believing the pure Word of God, and seeking to exalt it alone, we waste time arguing about petty and ridiculous issues that really do not matter. This world is ablaze with error, spiritually burning to the ground, while we in professing “Christian” circles debate in the energy of our flesh!!

Like the idiotic fire chief who should have seen his colleagues as friends instead of foes—his foolish pride leading to a catastrophe!—so we genuine believers in Jesus Christ need to unite around sound Bible doctrine to address the world’s dire situation. Over 100,000 people are dying and going to Hell every single day! Yet, the average “Christian” is unable to do anything about it, for he or she cannot identify the true Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)—let alone share it with others! Millions of true believers in Christ are wallowing in such spiritual darkness, weakness, and helplessness.

Dear brethren, we have the answers in the Holy Bible rightly divided. The work of the ministry is cooperating with other likeminded saints in making those truths known to as many souls as we possibly can. Quarreling in foolish pride about trivialities is a waste of time. Remember, the house is ablaze, so let us be about watering instead of arguing!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What are ‘fitches?’

We Are Just Men #5

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another” (1 Corinthians 4:6 KJV).

If there is one thing that does not belong in the Christian’s life, it is that ugly sin of pride. Egos are at stake—and may we be willing to lose them!

The Lord, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, will judge or evaluate men’s ministries, meaning they themselves are not important or above suspicion (verses 1-5). Speaking on behalf of Apollos, Paul reminded the Corinthians how they (Paul and Apollos) viewed grace ministry. It was not about “I prefer Paul,” it was not about “I like Apollos,” it was not about “I fancy Cephas [Peter],” and it was not about “I choose Jesus’ earthly ministry.” These believers at Corinth were “puffed up for one against another” (today’s Scripture). Instead of following God’s pattern for this the Dispensation of Grace, and doing it humbly (!), they were proudly exalting mere men (Paul, Apollos, Cephas/Peter) and seeing them and their adherents as competitors or enemies.

As opposed to being so shallow-minded and spiritually juvenile, the Corinthians were (and we are!) to meekly adopt this principle: “Wherefore I beseech [beg, ask] you, be ye followers of me [Paul]…. Be ye followers of me [Paul], even as I also am of Christ (1 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 11:1). The operative words are “even as I also am of Christ.” It was Jesus Christ preached according to the mystery who ultimately mattered (1 Corinthians 3:10,11; cf. Romans 16:25,26)! God’s spokesman to them was not the Apostle Peter, and not Jesus during His earthly ministry. While Apollos was a ministry coworker of the Apostle Paul, the Lord Jesus Christ had revealed the doctrine first and foremost to and through Paul (Galatians 1:11,12; Ephesians 3:1-3; Colossians 1:23-26). Apollos had learned grace doctrines from Paul’s friends, Aquila and Priscilla, whom Paul himself had first taught (Acts 18:1-3,24-28). We magnify Paul’s “office” or ministry, not Paul the man (Romans 11:13)!

Dear saints, remember: That ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written.”

We Are Just Men #4

Monday, March 21, 2022

“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another” (1 Corinthians 4:6 KJV).

If there is one thing that does not belong in the Christian’s life, it is that ugly sin of pride. Egos are at stake—and may we be willing to lose them!

The Holy Spirit through Paul corrected the dear saints at Corinth in chapter 3: “[4] For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal [fleshly, worldly]? [5] Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? [6] I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. [7] So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” Who ultimately mattered was not Paul or Apollos (for they were just men); God was most important, for it was His words that Paul and Apollos preached and taught in Corinth.

Now, chapter 4, the context of today’s Scripture: “[1] Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. [2] Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. [3] But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. [4] For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. [5] Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” Concerning ministry, Paul neither evaluated himself nor depended on other people to properly assess him. He knew the Lord would do this one day—and for all saints (Apollos, the Corinthians, et cetera). Let us not think of men above that which is written….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the ‘train’ in 1 Kings 10:2?

Low Pricing, Low Prizing #3

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it” (Amos 8:11,12 KJV).

Unbelieving Israel has taken God’s words for granted for many centuries, so now He will be silent for the next 400 years. May we not be so foolish in declining the Divine revelation given us!

For 2,000 years now, the world has had a completed Bible, the full revelation from God and of God. Contrary to theologians’ speculations, there is no “secret will of God.” The Apostle Paul remarks in the first chapter of Ephesians: “[8] Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; [9] Having made known unto us the mystery [secret!] of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:….”

In the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon, we find “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest…” (Romans 16:25,26). Outside of those 13 Pauline epistles and the mystery program, we find in the rest of Scripture the prophetic program, “[the preaching of Jesus Christ concerning that] which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21). Whether prophecy or mystery, it is all God’s Word. “For thou [O LORD] hast magnified thy word above all thy name (Psalm 138:2).

Billions of lost people, non-Christians, are quite eager to share with us whatever they believe. Are we believers in Christ just as enthusiastic about teaching them the Holy Scriptures rightly divided? If not, indeed, the low pricing of the Bible has resulted in our low prizing of the Bible!

One Having Authority

Sunday, March 13, 2022

And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes (Matthew 7:28,29 KJV).

Oh, how He preached with conviction! Oh, how He spoke like He actually believed what He said! Oh, how He imparted wisdom with such skill!

After Christ closed His remarkable Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5–7), the Apostle Matthew commented in today’s Scripture: “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” As their title implies, the “scribes” were Hebrew Bible copyists—and also Bible teachers. They were the leading, literate (able to read and write) class in Israel.

Yet, like so many religious leaders today, the scribes relied heavily—not on the Bible alone but—on what others said about it, quoting particularly the rabbinical interpretations and oral religious traditions attached to Bible verses. Think of such prefaces as, “The church says, Rabbi So-and-So says, the denominational hierarchy says, Doctor So-and-So says,” and the like. Of course, the Lord Jesus was God in human flesh, so He had no need to appeal to fallible men for authority. Any survey of His discourses yields one incontrovertible fact: the Lord was no spiritual wimp, He knew what the pure Hebrew Bible itself taught, and He unapologetically taught it to His Jewish people, that it be restored to its rightful preeminence. Where Jewish traditions had reigned supreme—uncontested for centuries—the Lord through His sermons corrected the countless erroneous beliefs besetting His nation. “This is what your Hebrew Bible really says. Here is what it says in its purity.”

Dear brethren, it is ever so important to realize we are “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). We are the Church the Body of Christ, and, as His Body, we are to be about His work! He has given us His preserved Word, the Holy Bible (King James in English!), He has given us His indwelling Holy Spirit, and He has given us the authority and privilege to teach His pure Word (dispensationally!), that it be rescued from the hands of apostate spiritual leaders, and correctly deposited into the minds and hearts of the commoners.

NOTE: Saints, after some months of delay, I have finally created and updated a “Second Decade” Master List of Devotionals Links page. This set goes back to the beginning of our Second Decade—June 1, 2021and will (Lord willing) span to May 31, 2031. Click the link here. Remember, our First Decade is here.

Only One Left? #7

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away (1 Kings 19:14 KJV).

Was the Prophet Elijah really “the only one left?”

Indeed, the Christian’s life is difficult, for it concerns surviving the pitfalls of the pervasive evil world system. Everyone, everywhere is actually walking through a spiritual minefield. As grace-oriented Christians, dispensational Bible students, we are even more mindful of the perils. Religious apostasy is universal!

Spending his last moments on Earth imprisoned in Rome, the Apostle Paul lamented: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1:15). The precious believers in Christ in Turkey—that is, Galatia, Ephesus, Colosse, Laodicea, and so on—had forsaken grace doctrine. Paul himself had led them to faith in Christ, and taught them several years. Awaiting his execution, he recalled the heartbreaking news of their departure from the truth.

Demas, once an immensely helpful ministry friend (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 24), deserted Paul too: “[Timothy] Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus” (2 Timothy 4:9-12). Despite all that heartache, Paul was not the only one left: faithful Timothy, faithful Crescens, faithful Titus, faithful Luke, faithful John Mark (having recovered from his own disappearance from ministry a decade-plus prior; Acts 13:13), and faithful Tychicus remained. Paul himself would soon pass off the scene—but the Holy Spirit would use his epistles, Romans through Philemon, to continue his ministry right up to our current moment.

If ever our associates in even grace ministry leave us, or even if we must take a stand against them for their error, we will feel like the “only one left.” Yet, we are not alone, for if we are on the Lord’s side, He is with us, and He (that) is sufficient! 🙂

Only One Left? #6

Monday, February 21, 2022

And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away (1 Kings 19:14 KJV).

Was the Prophet Elijah really “the only one left?”

No, he was not. Likewise, neither are we. To be sure, while there are far fewer genuine Christians than there could be, there are far more than we know personally. Although there is an even smaller number of mature saints among them, it involves more than you and me. The Message of Grace existed for almost 20 centuries before our birth; if the Lord permits, it will go on well after our death and subsequent graduation to Heaven. Our King James Bible has endured for over 400 years; it will outlast us. Whether we live or die, God’s rightly divided words will go on and on and on, throughout the endless ages to come. He will always be working through someone somewhere. “The word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8).

Unquestionably, the very nature of the Dispensation of Grace is one of departure from the truth. Ever since Genesis chapter 3, it has always been popular to disregard God’s current revelation. Throughout the history of the nation Israel, God’s words were ignored. With the formation of the Church the Body of Christ these last 2,000 years, church history mirrors what happened with Israel. There was great spiritual light imparted at the beginning, but it was gradually overlooked and replaced with traditions and opinions of men. By the time of Christ’s earthly ministry, the doctrine He had given to Israel was just a hollow, worthless religious system. When He comes to take us at the Rapture, the organized church will be revealed to be a failure (a great many of the two billion “Christians” today left behind, lost as lost can be!); the few who are true believers, much of their doctrine will be exposed as insignificant at the Judgment Seat of Christ. As the Lord returns yet again for Israel, there will be another small believing remnant.

Again, even if it appears feeble and declining, God’s ministry goes on….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘had in abomination’ mean?