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. 🙂

Go Against the Grain!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

“Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them” (Proverbs 24:1 KJV).

Satan, “the god of this world,” is controlling the world today (2 Corinthians 4:4). Because we Christians do not live wild lives, our lost friends and family members shun us. As King James Bible-believing Pauline dispensationalists, we are contrary to much of Christendom. We are continually pressured to “go with the flow,” urged to follow religious tradition. As we struggle with the sins of the flesh, we are up against fellow “Christians?!” Considering the great opposition we face, our battle seems futile, right? Should we just give up and join our opposition? Not at all!

Today’s Scripture comforts us. As we observe the world’s evil people driving their exotic cars, abiding in their multi-million dollar mansions, and wearing their expensive apparel, the Bible instructs us not to envy them. When we see corrupt people prospering, while we, God’s children, live common, sometimes poverty-stricken lives, let us be mindful that we do not belong here. “Our conversation [lifestyle reflecting citizenship] is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).

There is nothing wrong with us, beloved in the Lord: the problem lies with the world! They, not us, are headed in the wrong direction. God’s Word describes lost people as “walking according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). We Christians seem “odd” because the rest of the world is following Satan’s “course!”

Paul instructed Timothy: “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). We are to be examples to the lost world by letting them see the life of Christ living in us. If we live like the rest of the world, the world will see nothing different about us, thus making us hypocrites.

May we follow the Apostle Paul as he follows Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). Let us forge forward, forever going against the grain!

Thou Art Beside Thyself! (To God’s Glory)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

“And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad” (Acts 26:24 KJV).

Saints, we are privileged to be called “crazy Christians.” To the world, we are “nuts.” In the context of today’s Scripture (Acts chapter 26), Paul is giving his testimony to King Agrippa. God’s wisdom is always foolishness with lost men, so Festus, Roman governor of Judaea, replies, “Paul, you are mad [crazy]!”

The world’s intelligentsia is skilled in the wisdom of men. These puffed-up individuals consider God’s Word “foolishness.” “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:14: “The natural man [the lost, unsaved man] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him:”

Paul preached the wisdom of God’s Word to the “brilliant” philosophers of Athens. These lost individuals considered Paul’s preaching as nothing more than hearsay and folly, so they called Paul a “babbler” (Acts 17:16-21). Interestingly, followers of John Wycliff, who translated the first English Bible in the late 1300s, were affectionately termed “the Lollards” (“the babblers!”).

The Lord Jesus told His Jewish disciples: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:11,12; cf. Luke 6:22,23).

God’s Word says in 2 Corinthians 5:13: “For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.” If we are crazy for being Christians, “it is to [the glory of] God!” We must continue, and faint not when individuals call us “crazy.” In the end, the Good Book says it will be worth it (1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:9).

Christ Which Strengtheneth Me

Monday, July 25, 2011

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is often misconstrued. People take this verse out of its context and misunderstand it. Does this verse mean that God will empower us to do anything and everything (heal the sick, raise the dead, and so on)? This verse has a context, and it is not miracles.

Remember that the Apostle Paul was imprisoned when he wrote to Philippi (1:12-16). Paul was experiencing some rather difficult circumstances, yet notice what he wrote in Philippians 4:11-12, the context of today’s Scripture: “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 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.”

God never promised us Christians carefree living. Sometimes, we may experience financial burdens while other times we may have material riches. Whether shackled in a Roman prison, or free to do the work of the ministry abroad, Paul could be content. Regardless of our circumstances, God’s Word says that we can endure them in Christ.

Colossians 1:11 says we are “strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;” The Lord told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Where will God strengthen us? God will strengthen us “with might by his Spirit in the inner man,” in our soul (Ephesians 3:16).

We can benefit from trying circumstances, beloved! “We glory [rejoice!] in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:3-5).

In moments of heartache or happiness, of poverty or abundance, of sickness or wellness, “we can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us!”

On the Sufferings of This Present Time

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18 KJV).

Everyone suffers, Christians and lost people alike. Our suffering originates from three sources:

  1. We all live under the curse of sin. According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, matter is becoming less and less usable. Every living creature grows sick and eventually dies. Romans 8:21,22 and Genesis 3:16-19 explain the curse (the bondage of corruption) was instituted on creation because of sin. Romans 5:12 says, “Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
  2. We make mistakes, hurting ourselves and others. Others make bad decisions, and they negatively affect us. Of course, this too is closely related to #1 (sin). Christ said, “That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:20-23).
  3. We Christians suffer for righteousness’ sake. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29).

Until we leave this present evil world of Satan, we will continue to suffer from all of the above. The good news is what Paul writes in today’s Scripture: this temporary suffering is nothing when compared to the eternal glorification that is awaiting us as members of the Body of Christ.

When we Christians receive our glorified bodies in heaven, we will be free from these bodies of sinful flesh, never to suffer again. What a hope we have in heaven, all because of Christ Jesus and His finished cross work on Calvary!

Obey God or Men?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29 KJV).

What would you do if your government threatened to imprison or execute you for your refusal to deny the Lord Jesus Christ? Notice what the saints of old did when faced with such a predicament.

Israel’s religious leaders commanded the Apostles Peter and John to stop preaching in the name of Jesus Christ, yet the apostles continued preaching (Acts 4:18-19)! Peter and John were eventually arrested and imprisoned, but God miraculously released them from the jail (Acts 5:17-19).

Now, in the context of today’s Scripture, Peter and John have been recaptured. The high priest asked (Acts 5:28): “Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name?” The apostles’ response is today’s Scripture: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” After the apostles were beaten, they were released, yet they went right back to teaching and preaching Jesus Christ again (verses 40-42)!

In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar commanded everyone to bow down and worship a golden image. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, Jewish believers in JEHOVAH God, refused to worship the silly idol, even after Nebuchadnezzar threatened to throw them into a fiery furnace (verses 13-18). Miraculously, they were unharmed inside the furnace (verses 24-28)!

Later on, Daniel’s enemies manipulated King Darius to decree a law that no man should petition any God or man, other than petitioning Darius, for thirty days. The punishment for doing so was being cast into a lions’ den. Daniel, having full knowledge of that law, still prayed to JEHOVAH God, three times a day (Daniel 6:10). Finally, Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den. The Bible says, “So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God” (verse 23).

And so, we follow the ensample of the saints of old. Even when faced with the threat of imprisonment or execution, “we ought to obey God rather than men!”

Endure Hardness, Christian Soldier!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3 KJV).

Whether we realize it or not, a battle is being fought today. Satan, the archenemy of God, is fighting against God’s purpose and program for the heaven and the earth. This battle between good and evil has been underway for 6,000 years now.

In Matthew 12:30, the Lord Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Today, we are either on God’s side, or we are on Satan’s side. There is absolutely NO neutral ground!

If we have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are on God’s side, so Satan seeks to discourage or destroy us. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 6:11,12: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Satan attempts to prevent God’s will from being fulfilled, so he has devised many “wiles,” schemes that he utilizes to attack us Christians. One of Satan’s most effective wiles is persecution (see today’s Scripture). Satan’s goal is to intimidate us into silence. This world is no friend of Christians because it has never been the friend of God. The Lord Jesus told His Jewish disciples, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18).

The whole world is against us Christians because our world is against God. Satan, the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4), governs our evil world system. “Evil men,” especially most religious leaders, are cooperating with Satan’s policy of evil (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Even some “Christian” pastors and theologians will oppose us when we teach and preach God’s Word!

Regardless of what “hardness” you may endure as a Christian soldier, remember, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).