Demas, a Reverted Saint

Monday, September 12, 2011

“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” (2 Timothy 4:9,10 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is found near the conclusion of Paul’s final epistle. Recall that Paul is imprisoned and awaiting execution. He urges Timothy to come visit him in Rome, for “only Luke is with me” (verse 11). Beside Luke and the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul is alone. Today’s Scripture tells us that Titus, Crescens, and Demas have left. While we know not why Titus and Crescens are absent, Demas’ nonattendance is (sadly) explained.

Years earlier, Paul wrote to the believers in Colosse. One of his concluding remarks was, “Demas, greet you” (Colossians 4:14). He also wrote in Philemon 1:24 that Demas was one of his “fellow-labourers.”

Today’s Scripture says Demas “loved this present world”—that is not a good thing. Galatians 1:4 speaks of “this present evil world.” The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:4 that Satan is “the god of this world.” Demas had been helpful to Paul in the ministry, but as the years lapsed, Demas lost interest in the things of God.

Demas, evidently, reverted to his former lifestyle. Something evil had captivated his attention, and he abandoned Paul. Instead of standing beside his brothers in Christ, Luke and Paul, Demas fled Rome and was now in Thessalonica. While Demas never lost his salvation, he did trade his eternal wealth in Christ for the cheap, empty “pleasures” of this evil world.

How sad it is to see newly saved people return to their old, wild lifestyles. It is quite tragic to see children raised in the grace movement who later, as adults, abandon the rightly divided King James Bible for religion or a perverted modern Bible.

We need to “hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21b). Let Christ live His life in and through you as you study and believe the King James Bible rightly divided, and you will not end up like poor Demas, who discarded God’s riches for the world’s rubbish.

Two Extreme Ministries

Saturday, September 10, 2011

“For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers” (Galatians 1:13,14 KJV).

Saul of Tarsus, a religious fanatic, hated Jesus Christ. According to Philippians 3:5, Saul was a Pharisee, a religious leader in Israel, and a member of the Sanhedrin (Israel’s governing religious council). If Saul heard you had trusted in Jesus Christ, he wanted you imprisoned or dead (Acts 26:9-11)!

Jesus of Nazareth threatened his religion, so Saul personally made sure Jesus’ followers deeply suffered (see today’s Scripture). In a great persecution immediately following the prophet Stephen’s death, which Saul encouraged, Saul forced every Jewish believer in Jesus out of Jerusalem, except for the twelve apostles (Acts 8:1).

As angry Saul was heading north to Damascus, to arrest any Jewish believers in Christ there, the Lord Jesus from heaven suddenly struck down Saul and saved him in His grace and mercy (Acts 9:1-8)! Saul’s fanatical ministry against Jesus Christ was eternally “out of commission;” his fanatical ministry for Jesus Christ had “come into commission!”

For the next 35 years, Saul of Tarsus (now the Apostle Paul) served and preached Jesus Christ, the very Person he had so hated (Acts 9:21): “But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name [Jesus Christ] in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?” Galatians 1:23: That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.”

Until his death, Paul tirelessly preached God’s grace and Christ crucified, suffering greatly for Christ’s name (2 Corinthians 11:22-28). Paul was once known for his zeal against Jesus Christ. But, even to this day, he is known for his zeal for Jesus Christ.

By faith, we follow our Apostle, considering the name “Bible fanatics” a privilege. 🙂

That Which is Perfect is Come

Friday, September 9, 2011

“For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (1 Corinthians 13:9,10 KJV).

The context of today’s Scripture is spiritual gifts. In verse 8, the Bible says: “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” According to this verse and today’s Scripture, the spiritual gifts of prophecy, tongues, and knowledge (Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28-31) will vanish “when that which is perfect is come.” What is “that which is perfect?”

Attempting to insert their warped theology into Scripture, certain individuals insist that “that which is perfect is come” refers to Christ’s Second Coming. Hence, they make the Bible say that the spiritual gifts are still operating today. However, we notice the wording of the King James: THAT which is perfect.” Jesus Christ is a “he,” not a “that.” So, in a last-ditch effort to defend their heresy, these individuals retreat to a (corrupt) modern Bible that reads (NIV): “when perfection comes….” How dishonest!

Today’s Scripture concerns partial knowledge and partial wisdom. The context makes no reference to Christ’s Second Coming. The answer to partial knowledge is complete knowledge; complete wisdom does away with partial wisdom (see 1 Corinthians 13:11-13).

During Paul’s time, the Bible’s canon was incomplete. Paul wrote: “I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 12:1). God had not revealed all of His Word yet. When the completed (“perfect”) Bible came nearly 2,000 years ago, so did complete wisdom and knowledge. Accordingly, spiritual gifts—the partial wisdom and knowledge—were done away.

Today, spiritual gifts are unnecessary, for we have the full revelation of God in the form of the Holy Bible (King James Bible). In 2 Timothy 3:16,17, we read: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

333’s 100th: Be Ye Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind

Thursday, September 8, 2011

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1,2 KJV).

The Bible is “the mind of Christ” in printed form (1 Corinthians 2:16). God does not want you as a Christian to be conformed to the world’s profligate example. He wants to take His Word and renew your mind so that you will think like He does, and then your life will reflect the “good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” The key to the Christian life is not obeying a list of rules, but rather placing your faith in sound doctrine so that sound doctrine can transform you from the inside out for God’s glory!

Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me….” “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Christ lives His life in and through us: we do not live the Christian life because we cannot live the Christian life.

As we Christians study and believe the Holy Scriptures “rightly divided,” using dispensational Bible study, the indwelling Holy Ghost will utilize that sound doctrine to transform us. The more sound doctrine we store in our inner man, the more material the Holy Ghost will use inside of us to spiritually mature us. “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

Spiritual growth requires a daily study of God’s Word rightly divided, and our minds need to be cleansed daily by God’s Word, as taught in Ephesians 5:26, and daily devotionals fulfill both. The Scriptures we discuss daily will make a difference in your life and the lives of those around you if you will study them and, most importantly, if you believe them.

[*Beloved, we rejoice in the Lord that this is our 100th devotional. We trust that these devotionals, despite their brevity, have been a great help and blessing to your inner man, and that they have contributed to your spiritual growth and enlightenment, as they have to ours. It thrills our hearts to prepare these devotionals and hear of the wonderful work that God is accomplishing with them. It is our great hope and prayer to continue this project for many years to come, Lord willing. Thank you for your continued prayer regarding this ministry endeavor.  –in Christ, Shawn Brasseaux]

This Present Evil World

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

“[Jesus Christ] Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Galatians 1:4,5 KJV).

The world is overwhelmed with violence, corruption, and injustice. How did earth become “this present evil world?”

When God created Adam, He gave him dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:26-28). By eating the forbidden fruit, Adam disobeyed God and lost that dominion. Satan then assumed the dominion that Adam had. Now, Satan is “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) and “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2).

In our Lord’s temptations, Satan shows Christ all the world’s kingdoms and their glory. Satan entices Jesus, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8). Satan would give the world’s governments to Christ if Christ would worship him—Satan bragged that he had dominion over the earth instead of God!

God’s Word says, “…the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19). Christ told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36).

Today’s Scripture gives us good news. Christ Jesus “gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world.” He died to “deliver us from the power of darkness,” Satan’s evil world system; as Christians, we are now spiritually in “the kingdom of [God’s] dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). At the rapture, Christ will physically deliver us Christians from this evil world.

Furthermore, at His Second Coming, Jesus Christ will return to earth to demolish Satan’s evil world system: its governments, religious organizations, and educational systems. In that day, “the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one” (Zechariah 14:9).

Our planet will not always be “this present evil world.” Stay tuned…. 🙂

An Addiction Worth Keeping

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

“I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) that ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth” (1 Corinthians 16:15,16 KJV).

The Bible warns, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient [profitable, beneficial]: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12). “Brought under the power” is another way of saying “addiction.” While we are under grace, not law (Romans 6:14,15), there are some activities that are inconsistent with our identity in Christ because they will negatively dominate our lives. A “thou shalt not…” may not exist, but that does not necessarily mean that activity is acceptable to God.

God’s grace teaches us to “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, [that] we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11,12). Our priority should be the things of God, not the world’s worthless distractions. Addictions are often unhealthy and wasteful. Being controlled and influenced by something other than the indwelling Holy Spirit is very detrimental to your Christian life and even harmful to those around you. Here is one addiction worth keeping….

Notice today’s Scripture. Stephanas’ house was the “firstfruits of Achaia,” meaning they were the first people to be saved in southern Greece under Paul’s ministry. Furthermore, Stephanas’ house had “addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.” Now, this is an addiction worth keeping!

The believers of Stephanas’ house literally “addicted” themselves to playing a role in the Christian ambassadorship. They were so willing to let God’s Word work effectually in them that they could not help but do the work of the ministry. God’s Word had transformed their minds so they now valued what God valued and were determined to spreading God’s Word.

We should desire to be just as addicted to the work of the ministry as Stephanas’ house. May we never break that habit! 😉

The Sin of Presumption?

Monday, September 5, 2011

“Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (for we walk by faith, not by sight:) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8 KJV).

If one has the assurance of going to heaven because he or she is relying exclusively on Christ’s finished cross work—and not on his or her own performance—religion calls this “self-righteous arrogance.” According to church tradition, “the sin of presumption” is committed when an individual has the assurance of eternal salvation in Christ.

Church tradition demands that in order to avoid the sin of presumption, we must never rely on our good works, but we must never rely on God’s power alone either. In other words, religion teaches salvation comes by our “good” works and God’s power. That is a devil’s lie, beloved (Romans 4:1-5; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5)!

Today’s Scripture says that we are “always confident,” fully persuaded that while we live in these physical bodies, we are not in heaven’s glory. As members of the Church the Body of Christ, we are equally confident that our souls will appear in heaven as soon as these physical bodies die. According to today’s Scripture, if we have no confidence in going to heaven, then we have no confidence in presently being here on earth and not in heaven.

The Bible says we need to be made right with God, and in Christ, we are forgiven and eternally saved! According to Paul’s Gospel, the Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), we need to trust exclusively in Christ’s shed blood, His dying for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection if we are to receive eternal life.

The so-called “sin of presumption” is nothing more than a “cunningly devised fable” used to keep people fearful and bound in religious systems (2 Peter 1:16). I have assurance of going to heaven because Christ was “good enough.” I boast in Jesus Christ’s righteousness that has been applied to me, and I am saved in Christ.