Merciful to a Sorry World

Thursday, June 15, 2017

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting (1 Timothy 1:15,16 KJV).

You can trust that!

The United States—yea, the world—has been rocked by so many tragedies in recent days. Current trends on social media read, “Sending our thoughts and prayers.” Scoffers ask, “How is that working out?” To wit, despite all the “thoughts and prayers,” well wishes, and hopes of religious people, violence and bloodshed remain “front page” news. Where is God? When will He get enough? Will He ever show Himself? Does He even care? When will enough be enough? Is “He” even there?

Christians, who have the Holy Bible, the true Word of the true God, should be leading the world in understanding prayer. They should know what prayer is, and what it is not. Alas, how ignorant they are—how unbelievably and pathetically uniformed! They have the Scriptures but have no idea what they say about prayer. Now we see why skeptics say what they do—they mock people who really do not know the truth either! Beloved, religious people talk about “God” so flippantly we need not criticize the scoffers for doing likewise!

Friends, here is the simple truth. God is not working according to the way most people are praying. Hence, people pray for a certain outcome that actually does not come. They pray for violence to end, for peace, for God to come and judge the evildoers. Actually, here is a shocker…. God is not working today as He did in time past. What He is interested in today is having people come to His Son, Jesus Christ, by faith, that they receive forgiveness of sins and a home in Heaven. Rather than God pouring out wrath today, ushering in world peace today, He is pouring out peace and grace on undeserving sinners!

He will come back in due time and judge this wicked world. Today, He silently offers grace, extending an opportunity for all to be made right with Him! 🙂

A Prayer Life Fallen Apart

Monday, June 12, 2017

“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV).

Beloved, when your prayer life ceases, fret not!

An online Christian sister admitted on social media that she had just realized how her prayer life is “pretty close to useless.” Having learned more about how to study God’s Word dispensationally—how everything in Scripture is for us to read but not everything therein is to or about us—she recognizes how she has been praying inappropriately. I told her we have all been there at one time. It was good that she reached this point because most believers never do. Moreover, now that she has identified the problem, she can proceed to fixing it. The solution is there in God’s Word rightly divided, she just needs to study more and discover it!

As a Christian delves deeper into the Bible rightly divided, his or her prayer life increasingly disintegrates. Why? He or she has been praying primarily one of two ways. Firstly, praying like Israel. The primary model prayer of Christendom, of course, is the so-called “Lord’s Prayer,” Matthew 6:9-13—“Our Father which art in heaven….” Secondly, praying like heathen. Jesus Christ discussed that as well. Verse 7 says, “use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”

Friends, we should see how our Apostle Paul prayed. Since his salvation is our “pattern” (1 Timothy 1:15,16), then his ministry and life are also our patterns. If Paul knew what God was doing today, and he did according to Ephesians 3:2, then it is safe to assume that Paul prayed in-line with what God was doing today. As other members of the Body of Christ, we would do well to follow the four model Pauline prayers—Ephesians 1:16-23, Ephesians 3:14-21, Philippians 1:9-11, and Colossians 1:9-13.

Indeed, friends, we pray with whatever Bible understanding we have. We do it with understanding nonetheless—neither mindlessly repeating nor haphazardly snatching verses! As it becomes clear where and how we pray wrongly, we let the rightly-divided verses fix our thoughts and hearts. Once we are re-oriented by God’s grace (I speak from experience), we will not miss that old so-called “prayer life!” Onward to maturity! 🙂

A Prayer According to God’s Will

Thursday, May 4, 2017

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (1 Timothy 2:1-3 KJV).

On this United States’ National Day of Prayer, we pray you pray according to the Lord Jesus Christ’s will for today!

Today, religious people—the general public, clergy, and government officials—will assemble nationwide, like they do every year, and pray for spiritual and moral revival of the “Christian” (?) United States of America. We commend their noble efforts, but God’s Word says there will be no godly revival of any of the world’s Gentile nations until Jesus Christ returns to earth at His Second Coming (Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 59:20–60:3; Zechariah 8:20-23; Revelation 11:15; et cetera).

The LORD’s words to King Solomon are often quoted on this day: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Friends, this is certainly God’s Word, but has nothing to do with Gentiles in the United States in the Dispensation of Grace. This verse has a context often overlooked—the nation Israel under the Mosaic Law, praying in relation to God’s Temple in Jerusalem (verses 15,16). Actually, that Temple was destroyed over 19 centuries ago! Unlike Israel, the United States was never a divinely-founded nation. The American people as a whole are not God’s people like Israel was.

Rather than praying 2 Chronicles 7:14, remember today’s Scripture (God’s Word to us Gentiles). The verse following today’s Scripture says, “[God] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Pray for those in authority, that they would trust Jesus Christ alone as their personal Saviour, and then grow in His Word to them so they can make wise decisions on behalf of the people they govern.

Heart-Felt Prayer

Friday, February 17, 2017

“Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah” (Psalm 62:8 KJV).

Prayer from the heart—not from the prayer book!

Everyone prays. It is unfortunate, however, that many Christians have allowed superstitious (that is, non-Christian) ideas to creep into their prayer lives. These erroneous notions have caused them to have a distorted sense of what prayer is in the Holy Bible.

First and foremost, prayer in Scripture is not about manipulating God to do what you want Him to do. Many Christians have reduced prayer to, “Santa Claus, I have been good, and I would like this, that, and the other….” They believe that if they say the right words, and do the right things, God will acquiesce and make some (or all) of their wishes come true. Moreover, it is terribly sad that we often pray only when we want to ask God for something.

Secondly, prayer is always, always, about talking to God in light of what His Word says to you. Our Heavenly Father has promised to do certain things today in the Dispensation of Grace, and those promises are found in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. Grabbing anything in the Bible and repeating it in prayer is unwise. You may be demanding God do something He never promised He would do for you. Dispensational Bible study is critical to understanding where you are in the Bible, what God is doing today, and what He wants you to do today.

No matter the time in human history, prayer is best defined in today’s Scripture—“pour out your heart before him.” If you study prayer in the Bible, and the various prayers of the saints therein, they are not mindlessly repeating prayer books and prayer cards. They speak to God from their heart, intimately, personally. Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” That is, if we memorize God’s Word rightly divided (dispensationally considered), we hide it in our hearts, and we pour out our hearts before God in prayer, that is genuine prayer. We will really be confirming in our minds, and telling Him, what He already said He would do! 🙂

Special-edition Bible Q&A #350: “What are ‘instant’ Christians?

The Daysman #5

Thursday, January 26, 2017

“For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:32,33 KJV).

What is a “daysman?” Who is it?

Sacred Scripture could not be clearer when it says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5,6). Apart from Jesus Christ’s crosswork on Calvary, we have no access to God. Therefore, for us to appeal to some other “mediator” is to have no mediator whatsoever! Such an outcome will be worse than had we not approached God at all.

Dear friends, there will come a day when Christ-rejecters will stand before the God-Man they ignored. He will be their Judge, ready to punish them for their evil. It would have been far better for them not to know about Him, than for to know about Him and instead appeal to “patron saints” and “Mother Mary.” He will not take it lightly that they counted His perfect sacrifice at Calvary as insufficient, lacking in some way, needing supplemental enhancements. That they had the audacity to substitute the favor He offered them freely, with “good” works they and others did to merit that favor! We shudder to think of that dreadful day when He pronounces upon them those terrible words found in Matthew 25:41: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels!”

The Bible says God wants His Son, Jesus Christ, to have the “preeminence in all things” (Colossians 1:18). He is the central figure in creation, and He will not share His mediatorship with anyone. For which reason, no room is left for distracting characters such as “Mother Mary,” “Father Joseph,” “Saint” Jude, “Saint” Francis of Assisi, “Saint” Teresa, et cetera. All the religious speculation aside, friends, the Scriptures say we Christians are accepted in the beloved [Christ]” (Ephesians 1:6). God has bestowed upon us divine favor because of the Lord Jesus. He is enough for us, and we are enough in Him. After all, He is the Daysman!”

The Daysman #4

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

“For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:32,33 KJV).

What is a “daysman?” Who is it?

Hebrews chapter 10 talks about how Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on Calvary fulfilled the type depicted in Judaism’s animal sacrifices. God became a Man that He might have blood to shed and pay for man’s sins: “[4] For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. [5] Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he [Jesus] saith [to the Father], Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: [6] In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. [7] Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”

If Jesus Christ, by virtue of His crosswork, is the one mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5), then there is no more need for other good works to please God. What have “patron saints” done to merit God’s favor that Jesus Christ has not already done? If they were human like we are—and they were—they failed God just as much as we do. What advantage do they have that we do not? The answer is no advantage. The fellowship that God the Son has with God the Father is the same relationship all we Christians have with Him: “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). We cannot get any closer to God, gain any more access to God, than what we already have by virtue of our position in Christ!

We “give thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20) because we are approaching God according to Christ’s merits not our own or someone else’s merits. Whenever we must seek help from some other person to access God, we are saying that the cross is not enough….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘the foolishness of God’ in 1 Corinthians 1:25?

The Daysman #3

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

“For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:32,33 KJV).

What is a “daysman?” Who is it?

Those desperately defending religious tradition say the “intercession of saints” in “no way” diminishes Jesus’ role as the only mediator between God and man. (Heretically, though, they call the virgin Mary “co-mediatrix,” a female mediator who, according to her very title [prefix “co-,” “with”], shares a mediatorship. Whose mediatorship would she be sharing?!) They say we pray and influence the “saints” in our favor, the “saints” influence Jesus in our favor, and Jesus influences Father God in our favor. In other words, God is manipulated to do what we by ourselves could not persuade Him to do!

Friends, all the mental gymnastics and speculations of men aside, we look at Sacred Scripture to see no one exists between Jesus Christ and us. Holy Writ, in today’s Scripture, defines a mediator (or “daysman”) as someone who lays one hand on one party and the other hand on another party. If there is one mediator—one who can identify with both parties—a third-party is completely unnecessary. We do not need a mediator between Jesus Christ and us: He is the mediator. Again, “For there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus Christ is God, so He can take God by the hand. He is also Man, so He can take man by the hand. He thus joins man and God together. According to the very concept of “mediator” in Scripture, there is no room for some interceding “saint!”

The fact is, every single person on earth today has the same opportunity to access Father God through Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, most do not take advantage of it. They ignore Jesus Christ’s crosswork; they want nothing to do with Him. Rather, they want to substitute their own works, and/or substitute the works of other religious people (namely, “patron saints”). Friends, God is not impressed; in fact, by pushing aside the sole mediatorship of Christ, they are treasuring up wrath! Oh, dear friends, how foolish are they….