333 Turns 8!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:16,17 KJV).

Only by God’s grace, dear readers, “333 Words of Grace” marks its eighth birthday today!

It was eight years ago this very day that we “took the leap of faith” to launch this devotionals blog. At the time, I had no idea it would continue this long and be this impactful. For those of you who have been with us from “day 1,” thank you for staying thus far. If you have recently found us, we hope that you will stay (at least for the next eight years, okay?). Brethren, it has been an absolute thrill “meeting” with you here around God’s Word. Such great fellowship indeed!

When we started (ever so long ago), we endeavored to “fill the void” where daily grace Bible studies were lacking. Looking back on the nearly 3,000 devotionals we have now covered, we can rejoice that Father God accomplished that to some degree. However, there is still so much left for us to learn from His Word. We have imperfect understanding concerning various Scripture themes, so we aim to continue “pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

In today’s Scripture, Christ Jesus made it clear that if someone truly desired to know His Father’s doctrine, that person would acquire it. It was not impossible to grasp or impossible to find. There it was, plain and simple to the soul who actually cared to seek His knowledge. Likewise, here, we have presented daily the King James Bible for all these years. None of us can plead ignorance or claim “unlearnedness.” We know a clear Gospel message—Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). We know the Christian life—Christ lives in us by our faith in His words of grace, not by our works and commandment-keeping (Galatians 2:20,21).

Dear brethren, as we have aged physically these last eight years—perhaps, just perhaps—we have grown spiritually even more! Now, by God’s grace, onward into Year 9 of “333!” 🙂

Note: Links to all eight years of devotionals are here: https://333wordsofgrace.org/master-list-of-devotionals-chronological.

Bible Q&A #615: “What does the Bible mean, ‘Shake the dust from your feet?’

333’s 2900th – The Mutual Faith of Paul and Us

Thursday, May 9, 2019

“For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me” (Romans 1:11,12 KJV).

Dear friends, only by God’s grace, we have arrived at devotional #2900!

The word “faith” in today’s Scripture is the body of doctrine the Apostle Paul himself believed. He desired—yea, Holy Spirit working in and through him longed—to “establish” the believers at Rome. Such a yearning applies to all Christians, whether there or elsewhere, whether in the A.D. first century or the A.D. twenty-first century. On several occasions, Paul had intended to visit Rome personally, but hindrances abounded. Verse 13: “Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.” Satan’s evil world system delayed him (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:18).

Unable to travel to Rome, Paul wrote to them, and that epistle became our Book of Romans. In other words, Romans is the written form of what Paul would have spoken audibly had he had opportunity in Rome. Romans is a treatise—an exposition—of the Gospel of the Grace of God and how it impacts the world and us in particular once we believe it. If those 16 chapters were thoughtfully considered and believed, there would be far less heresy plaguing the professing church, far less confusion, far less ignorance, far less impotency, far less spiritual immaturity, and far less lost people sitting in the pews.

Over the last 2,900 days, dear brethren, we have striven in accordance with God’s grace to provide you with clear and concise Bible studies. We have endeavored to show you how the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul looks at our world and how He would have us function in it. If we want to have Christian lives and ministries just as impactful as Paul himself did, then we must (!) pay attention to and trust especially his 13 epistles, Romans through Philemon. Therein do we find Jesus Christ preached according to the revelation of the mystery (Romans 16:25,26). May we agree with the Apostle Paul!

Saints, thank you for praying for us, and onward we go to devotional #3000! 🙂

Logomachy!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers (2 Timothy 2:14 KJV).

Can you spot the logomachy in today’s Scripture?

Every Christian leader—preacher, Bible teacher, evangelist, deacon—would do well to become familiarized with the guidelines found in the “Pastoral Epistles.” These four Books—1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon—have been rightly called “the handbooks for the local church.” Therein, we find Divine counsel as to how the ministry should be established and maintained.

There are great threats to God’s work, and they often gain a stronghold in the subtlest ways. Chiefly, there is counterfeit (or false) teaching. Instead of grace-oriented doctrine, it is legalistic (law-oriented—performance) and/or humanistic (man-oriented—philosophical). Other ways Satan thwarts God’s ministry include: foolish questions, petty disagreements with brethren, bitterness and grudges, intimidation, spiritual immaturity, discouragement, selfishness, formalism/ritualism, pride, greed and materialism, carnality/fleshliness among church leaders and common members, and persecution (from other believers, the government, or lost people).

If we concentrate on today’s Scripture, we find the “charge” (or order) to behave a certain way so as to prevent the Adversary from gaining a particular advantage. We are to “strive not about words to no profit.” In Greek, “strive about words” is “logomachein.” As you might have guessed, “logos” carries the meaning of “thought, word, saying;” “machomai” is “war, quarrel, dispute.” That is to say, “striving about words” refers to “word-fights” or “heated debates.” (We actually have a rare English word derived from that Greek term—logomachy, “an argument about words.”)

Yet, is it not good to “defend the truth?” Hold it, friend. Read the entire verse: Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. There is “no profit” in such word-wars. Actually, the audience will be “subverted”—spiritually overturned, demolished, apostate (the Greek is “katastrophe!”). It was nothing but a “flesh parade:” there was destruction instead of edification. God the Holy Spirit was not involved; it was sinful man operating under the guise of “godliness.”

Brethren, may we exercise great discernment in this regard, lest we fall into such a trap!

God’s Enemies Through the Ages

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Therefore thus saith the LORD of the men of Anathoth, that seek thy life, saying, Prophesy not in the name of the LORD, that thou die not by our hand… (Jeremiah 11:21 KJV).

Have you ever noticed how God’s Word divides people? (What old news!)

The Prophet Isaiah asked (53:1), “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” His audience overwhelmingly refused to take heed to his speaking forth God’s Word. The Prophet Jeremiah, in today’s Scripture, even had his own brethren and neighbors threaten to kill him if he kept preaching God’s Word to them!

Jesus Christ declared in John chapter 3, “[18] He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [19] And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. [20] For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” They avoid God’s words because that message exposes their works of darkness.

Christ said in Matthew chapter 10: “[34] Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. [35] For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. [36] And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. [37] He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. [38] And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” Talk about estranged relatives!

So, when they refuse to hear you share the Scripture, take heart, and gladly join the saints of the previous ages. The LORD said most appropriately, “[F]or they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me” (1 Samuel 8:7). Finally, never forget, dear saint, you really have nothing to complain about until they crucify you on a cross!

She Finished Her Course!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing (2 Timothy 4:6-8 KJV).

Back in early 1980, “Ms. P.” led my parents to Christ. I played at her house as a 5-year-old boy with one of her grandsons. Her (late) husband was a Bible teacher of our family. For the last decade, I had the privilege of being her Bible teacher: she was an asset to our ministry. Physical age 80 years—and 50 years old in Christ—she has finally met her Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ!

At age 30, she left Roman Catholicism, having heard the Gospel of the Grace of God, recognizing her righteousness was but filthy rags. She saw and trusted Jesus Christ’s shed blood as the fully-satisfying payment for her sins. Ten years later, she met my parents and shared the Gospel with them. She was zealous in reaching as many people as she could for our Lord Jesus Christ. Several years ago, she opened her house to host some of my home Bible studies. (These videos are here.) We will surely miss her fellowship and counsel, but she is far better with Christ. He has her, and we have Him. There is great peace and hope in knowing that we will see her again, when we assemble at the Grand Bible Conference!

Only a week ago, she fell at home and broke three ribs. Complications arose—she had a host of other chronic bodily afflictions—and we had been preparing for her departure. Now, she has graduated to glory! Our joy is indescribable in knowing that her suffering has ended, having given way to our Lord’s presence. She is free from the curse of sin. We know she was a genuine warrior for Jesus Christ, we can testify she fought a good fight, we rejoice she finished her course, and we are thankful she kept the faith! With this devotional memorial, we now send her off to her heavenly retirement, grateful to have known her—our strong and dedicated coworker in the Lord’s grace ministry! (Please pray for her family, especially her husband.)

-IN MEMORIAM-
Ms. P. K.
1938–2019

 

 

Striving, Not Striving #5

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord (Philippians 4:1,2 KJV).

Rather than striving with each other, we saints need to strive together.

Philippians chapter 2 continues: “[5] Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: [6] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: [7] But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: [8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Here is the “mind” all Christians should have. It is a mental attitude of utter selflessness, total humility, and undivided dedication to Father God’s will. Dear brethren, if we would believe and obey these verses, then the inconsequential disagreements and stupid arguments would disappear from our local churches. We would set aside self and look to benefit others. If Euodias and Syntyche followed these Divine instructions, then they would “be of the same mind in the Lord.”

Now, we turn back to Philippians chapter 1: “[27] Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; [28] And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.”

Recall that “the gospel of Christ” focuses on Christ’s finished crosswork. Philippians 2:5-8 reports that a certain mentality drove Christ to Calvary. If we adopt His attitude, then we will “stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Our passion will be the defense of sound Bible doctrine as opposed to trifling opinions and self-centeredness. Then, our efforts will make a positive impact in eternity—something well worth our time and effort! 🙂

Striving, Not Striving #4

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord (Philippians 4:1,2 KJV).

Rather than striving with each other, we saints need to strive together.

As in every city, there were in Philippi “adversaries” or lost people contrary to the preaching of the Gospel (Philippians 1:28). They labored to frighten the Philippian saints into silence. Hence, verse 27 had exhorted these believers: Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel….” All Christians are on the same team, and should (!) be with each other (in mind and action) in the work of the ministry.

However, our sinful flesh gets in the way. The work of the ministry breaks down when one or more Christians adopt an attitude or opinion the Scriptures do not support. Now, lost and saved, those within and without, are united in upsetting God’s work. Philippians chapter 2 corrects this sin of pride of selfishness: “[1] If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, [2] Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. [3] Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. [4] Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

Like team sports, each member should be thinking about how to make the next point or goal. Inner conflicts are counterproductive: they do not compete against teammates. Likewise, we should not be vying against fellow members of the Body of Christ. It is not about us. We do not have to have the attention or recognition (what the flesh craves). For the sake of God’s work, Paul asks Euodias and Syntyche to “be of the same mind in the Lord.” God’s mind should unite all Christians….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “‘Speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt?’