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!

What is God Doing? #21

Friday, January 25, 2019

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9 KJV).

What exactly is God doing? Can we say? Or, must we remain clueless?

Friends, honestly, God owes us absolutely nothing. Our selfish human nature, however, refuses to believe that. We demand He “do this” or He “should be doing that,” much like an inexperienced child attempts to “guide” (wiser) adults to behave a certain way. Let us be people (creatures), and let us let God be God (Creator). He made us; we did not make Him. It will be a happy day in the lives of billions when they get off the throne of their lives and trust the Lord Jesus Christ to sit there instead. “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:25).

We can grow accustomed to seeing problems as occasions to inquire, “Where is God?” Indeed, if we are not thinking properly, that will we wonder. Having adopted the view of the world, the mindset of religious traditionalists, we lose sense of reality and wind up in the trap of delusion. Poor choices bring about horrible outcomes, yes. A fallen creation causes us suffering, indeed. Satan employs others to persecute us Christians, certainly. Nevertheless, despite the difficulties, the God of the Bible offers to work on our behalf. Still, He will respond as He sees fit, not as we see fit.

The Apostle Paul had to learn this personally: “[11] Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. [12] I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. [13] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-13). Rather than God removing our troubles, He gives us the grace (ability) to bear them….

What is God Doing? #6

Thursday, January 10, 2019

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9 KJV).

What exactly is God doing? Can we say? Or, must we remain clueless?

Miserable Job wailed, “Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!” (Job 19:23,24). Little did he know that his distress, and even these very words about them, would be entered into the record of God’s eternal Word! Job was likely the first Bible Book written, as it highlights events that occurred a few decades before Israel escaped Egypt under Moses’ command. Yes, it seems this Job was the Job who was a son of Issachar (Genesis 46:13), thus making Job grandson of Jacob, great-grandson of Isaac, and great-great-grandson of Abraham.

Job did not know it, and neither did his friends “the miserable comforters,” but God allowed his unpleasant circumstances to transpire in order to hearten the Jewish saints living in the end times. The Apostle James remarks: “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (James 5:10,11).

First Peter 4:19 aptly summarizes both Job’s plight, suffering under Satan’s “reign,” and the end-times saints’ dilemma, anguishing under the Antichrist’s brutal rule: “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” Even in the midst of trouble, God is still hard at work, fully dependable. No matter who opposes His efforts or troubles His people, He will bring His will to pass and He will bring them through it. Right now, in spite of the world’s mess, society’s degradation, God is quite busy doing His good pleasure….

Doctrine Divides #3

Friday, September 14, 2018

But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles (Acts 14:4 KJV).

Have you ever heard the expression, “Doctrine divides?” Indeed, it does!

The attitude and actions of unbelieving Israel throughout the 30-year Acts period are summarized in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16: “…the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets [Stephen in Acts chapter 7; James in chapter 12], and have persecuted us [Paul, Silvanus/Silas, and Timotheus/Timothy]; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.”

Our ecumenical friends would do well to note today’s Scripture. Believers in Jesus Christ decided to follow His Apostles and keep separate from unbelieving Jews (apostates). Compromise was simply not an option: they had a legitimate reason for division. God’s enemies, although having some appearance of truth, were forcefully teaching false doctrine. It was certainly not the time for Christians to say, “All religions are the same. Some will believe in Jesus Christ and some will not. We are all children of God, so we need to try to get along with everyone. There is no need to cause trouble by splitting.”

Brethren, if we are preaching and teaching sound Bible doctrine (God’s Word rightly divided), we should not expect Satan to just sit by idly. Our Adversary will use whatever and whomever he can to corrupt us (so we change the doctrine) and—if he cannot get us to modify the doctrine—ultimately silence us (intimidation of various degrees). In the case of Paul, he utilized unbelieving Jews, unbelieving Gentiles, and even (!) fellow Christians. Satan had these “competitors” in place to obstruct God’s work through Paul and his ministry companions. Such rivals are working even today! Let us remember to side with God’s Apostle to us, Paul, even if that means leaving all others.

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate….” (2 Corinthians 6:17). “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself [from apostasy—verse 1], and them that hear thee” (1 Timothy 4:16).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did Acts 7:60 predict the Dispensation of Grace?

Doctrine Divides #2

Thursday, September 13, 2018

But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles (Acts 14:4 KJV).

Have you ever heard the expression, “Doctrine divides?” Indeed, it does!

Today’s Scripture says the city of Iconium was divided between the “unbelieving Jews” (cf. verse 2) and the apostles “Barnabas and Paul” (cf. verse 14). These two factions are a physical representation of an invisible, spiritual reality.

JEHOVAH God had given His Word—our “Old Testament” Scriptures—to the nation Israel rather than the nations (Gentiles). Romans 2:17-20 looks back in time: “Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.” Also, Romans 3:1,2: “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.”

While Israel possessed God’s Word, very few Jews had placed their faith in it. Furthermore, as we learn from Matthew through John and the Acts period, Israel corporately and persistently refused to be the vessel that God would utilize to bring that Word to Gentiles. When God turned to the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul’s new message and ministry (Acts chapter 9 onward), unbelieving Israel stalked Paul for the rest of Acts. Throughout the Roman Empire, for some 35 years, they frequently schemed to assault, discredit, and even kill him!

Ironically, the people to whom God originally gave His Word refused to believe it, declined to share it, discouraged anyone from believing it, and vehemently opposed those who preached it. Acts 13:45 again: “But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.” There is a contest between two wills, and it goes far beyond trivial religious disagreements. God and Satan are engaged in a most serious battle….

Doctrine Divides #1

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles (Acts 14:4 KJV).

Have you ever heard the expression, “Doctrine divides?” Indeed, it does!

Chapters 13 and 14 of Acts are Paul and Barnabas on their first apostolic journey. As chapter 14 opens, they are still in Galatia (modern south-central Turkey): “[1] And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed. [2] But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren. [3] Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.”

During Paul’s Acts (provoking) ministry, it was customary for him to travel to and preach Jesus Christ in synagogues (Jewish worship centers scattered throughout the Roman Empire). Unbelieving Jews grew jealous that Jesus was constantly being endorsed as Messiah—since Israel’s leadership had, many years earlier, crucified Him as a fraud. These unsaved Jews, driven by sin and Satan, caused as much trouble as possible for Paul, his ministry companions, and their converts.

Read what occurred at the conclusion of Acts chapter 13: “[45] But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming…. [49] And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. [50] But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.”

As we already saw at the beginning of chapter 14, Paul and Barnabas then move into the area of Iconium. When large crowds begin turning to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, unbelieving Jews launch a “mind-poisoning” campaign by exciting the pagan Gentiles to oppose these new Christians. As today’s Scripture recorded, there is a massive split in the city. Part of Iconium sides with those unsaved Jews, and the others side with Paul and Barnabas….

The Lord Stands With Thee Forever!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion (2 Timothy 4:16,17 KJV).

“Friends” come and go; the Lord surely stays forever!

We read earlier: “[6] For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. [7] I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: [8] 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.”

The Apostle Paul knows he is in his final days on Earth. Rome has set his execution date. Now, he waits to leave and “be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). When having his previous legal problems, stating his case before the Roman officials, today’s Scripture says not one Christian was there to support him! Wow! Let that sink in, dear brethren; let that sink in deeply. They had all abandoned him—due to fear, apathy, inconvenience, et cetera. Add to that Christians’ departure from his (grace) doctrine: “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).

Chapter 4, verses 10-11: “For Demas [a once-dedicated ministry coworker] 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.” The Apostle Paul is living his last moments sitting in a dark dungeon, lonely. In the midst of such terrible heartache and loss, a touching ray of light, “notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me.”

Dear brethren, when all your “Christian” “friends”—even your “grace” “friends”—abandon you, just remember the Lord will remain and strengthen you! 🙂