Time’s A-Wastin’

Saturday, April 30, 2022

“…he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully…” (Jeremiah 23:28 KJV).

Many decades ago, a volunteer fire department arrived on the scene of a blazing house. The full-time fire company from a neighboring area also showed up to help. However, the first group’s chief protested that his team had the jurisdiction, so the second crew rolled up their hoses and left. Later, with the fire still raging out of control, the second company was called back. A third brigade was even recruited to aid. Alas, by the time the fire was extinguished, the house was a total loss and two adjacent buildings were damaged!

The above true story is an example of how denominationalism ruins the Church the Body of Christ and the entire world. We have spent 2,000 years (!) arguing about how this theological system is right, or that denomination is spot-on, or this sect is right, or that cult is truthful. Instead of believing the pure Word of God, and seeking to exalt it alone, we waste time arguing about petty and ridiculous issues that really do not matter. This world is ablaze with error, spiritually burning to the ground, while we in professing “Christian” circles debate in the energy of our flesh!!

Like the idiotic fire chief who should have seen his colleagues as friends instead of foes—his foolish pride leading to a catastrophe!—so we genuine believers in Jesus Christ need to unite around sound Bible doctrine to address the world’s dire situation. Over 100,000 people are dying and going to Hell every single day! Yet, the average “Christian” is unable to do anything about it, for he or she cannot identify the true Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)—let alone share it with others! Millions of true believers in Christ are wallowing in such spiritual darkness, weakness, and helplessness.

Dear brethren, we have the answers in the Holy Bible rightly divided. The work of the ministry is cooperating with other likeminded saints in making those truths known to as many souls as we possibly can. Quarreling in foolish pride about trivialities is a waste of time. Remember, the house is ablaze, so let us be about watering instead of arguing!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What are ‘fitches?’

We Are Just Men #5

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another” (1 Corinthians 4:6 KJV).

If there is one thing that does not belong in the Christian’s life, it is that ugly sin of pride. Egos are at stake—and may we be willing to lose them!

The Lord, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, will judge or evaluate men’s ministries, meaning they themselves are not important or above suspicion (verses 1-5). Speaking on behalf of Apollos, Paul reminded the Corinthians how they (Paul and Apollos) viewed grace ministry. It was not about “I prefer Paul,” it was not about “I like Apollos,” it was not about “I fancy Cephas [Peter],” and it was not about “I choose Jesus’ earthly ministry.” These believers at Corinth were “puffed up for one against another” (today’s Scripture). Instead of following God’s pattern for this the Dispensation of Grace, and doing it humbly (!), they were proudly exalting mere men (Paul, Apollos, Cephas/Peter) and seeing them and their adherents as competitors or enemies.

As opposed to being so shallow-minded and spiritually juvenile, the Corinthians were (and we are!) to meekly adopt this principle: “Wherefore I beseech [beg, ask] you, be ye followers of me [Paul]…. Be ye followers of me [Paul], even as I also am of Christ (1 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 11:1). The operative words are “even as I also am of Christ.” It was Jesus Christ preached according to the mystery who ultimately mattered (1 Corinthians 3:10,11; cf. Romans 16:25,26)! God’s spokesman to them was not the Apostle Peter, and not Jesus during His earthly ministry. While Apollos was a ministry coworker of the Apostle Paul, the Lord Jesus Christ had revealed the doctrine first and foremost to and through Paul (Galatians 1:11,12; Ephesians 3:1-3; Colossians 1:23-26). Apollos had learned grace doctrines from Paul’s friends, Aquila and Priscilla, whom Paul himself had first taught (Acts 18:1-3,24-28). We magnify Paul’s “office” or ministry, not Paul the man (Romans 11:13)!

Dear saints, remember: That ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written.”

We Are Just Men #4

Monday, March 21, 2022

“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another” (1 Corinthians 4:6 KJV).

If there is one thing that does not belong in the Christian’s life, it is that ugly sin of pride. Egos are at stake—and may we be willing to lose them!

The Holy Spirit through Paul corrected the dear saints at Corinth in chapter 3: “[4] For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal [fleshly, worldly]? [5] Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? [6] I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. [7] So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” Who ultimately mattered was not Paul or Apollos (for they were just men); God was most important, for it was His words that Paul and Apollos preached and taught in Corinth.

Now, chapter 4, the context of today’s Scripture: “[1] Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. [2] Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. [3] But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. [4] For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. [5] Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” Concerning ministry, Paul neither evaluated himself nor depended on other people to properly assess him. He knew the Lord would do this one day—and for all saints (Apollos, the Corinthians, et cetera). Let us not think of men above that which is written….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the ‘train’ in 1 Kings 10:2?

We Are Just Men #3

Sunday, March 20, 2022

“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another” (1 Corinthians 4:6 KJV).

If there is one thing that does not belong in the Christian’s life, it is that ugly sin of pride. Egos are at stake—and may we be willing to lose them!

Corinth was just a two-day journey from Athens, the intellectual capital of the then-known world. Therefore, not surprisingly, Greek philosophy had infiltrated Corinth both before and after the Apostle Paul’s arrival. Human viewpoint, man’s wisdom, was a lingering problem that arrested the spiritual development of these Corinthian saints. The Holy Spirit issued frequent warnings about this in the opening three chapters of 1 Corinthians (but note particularly chapter 1, verse 17, all the way to the end of chapter 2). Philosophy—founded on heathen (natural-man, non-Christian) speculations—is definitely not the means whereby we obtain spiritual insight into God’s will and work. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, anything and everything in our soul incompatible with Pauline (sound) Bible doctrine will be considered “wood, hay, stubble” (worthless) and thus will be burned up (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-23)—a loss of Christian reward.

Although the Corinthian believers in Christ had access to the Word of God’s Grace, they were not using the indwelling Holy Spirit to properly interpret that material. God’s wisdom and man’s wisdom are two different languages, hopelessly unharmonious, the spirit of man being wholly incapable of discerning the words of the Spirit of God. “Educated” Apollos himself had to learn this in Acts 18:24-28, after being long-time behind concerning Divine revelation. Once converted to dispensational truth, he eventually became a valuable coworker of Paul in Corinth (see 1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:4-6,22; 1 Corinthians 4:6; 1 Corinthians 16:12). Alas, the Corinthians began gravitating toward Apollos the man, Paul the man, Peter (Cephas) the man, and Christ’s earthly ministry (see 1 Corinthians 1:12-16). These denominations sprung up because, as the natural or lost man operates, people were being followed instead of doctrine….

We Are Just Men #2

Saturday, March 19, 2022

“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another” (1 Corinthians 4:6 KJV).

If there is one thing that does not belong in the Christian’s life, it is that ugly sin of pride. Egos are at stake—and may we be willing to lose them!

Arrogance is a mark of immaturity. We have not yet learned enough, we have not grown up, to know and appreciate the full extent of our weaknesses and limitations. The result is a distorted view of reality. We have an inaccurate opinion of ourselves. Also, we lack a clear picture of those around us, individuals just as human as we are. The Corinthian assembly of saints had sufficient exposure to the truth of God’s Word to form adult spiritual thoughts and make wise spiritual decisions. For at least 18 months, the Apostle Paul himself lived in Corinth, won them to Christ, and taught them sound Bible doctrine (Acts 18:11). Later, Apollos, a convert of Paul’s converts Aquila and Priscilla, taught in Corinth too (Acts 19:1). Alas, Corinth was a center of such pride.

For example, look at these “babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3) “puffed up” in today’s Scripture. Or, how they were “puffed up,” daring Paul to come back and straighten them out (1 Corinthians 4:18,19)! Furthermore, they were “puffed up” in connection to a fornicating brother they refused to reform (1 Corinthians 5:2). Of course, “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth” (verse 1 of chapter 8). Finally, there was the admonition in chapter 13, verse 4, of how charity “is not puffed up;” these saints were using their spiritual gifts for the benefit of self, self, self instead of assembly, assembly, assembly. Imagine a set of bellows stirring up a fire, or a pump inflating a tire. They are swollen or bloated—unsightly in the Lord’s eyes! Consequently, the Holy Spirit through Paul intervenes, penning today’s Scripture and its context. These confused saints need godly examples of how to look at people, including genuine Christian leaders….

We Are Just Men #1

Friday, March 18, 2022

“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another” (1 Corinthians 4:6 KJV).

If there is one thing that does not belong in the Christian’s life, it is that ugly sin of pride. Egos are at stake—and may we be willing to lose them!

Once, I spoke with an immature friend and brother in Christ who followed our ministry. When I related to him a certain problem in my life, he told me he was quite surprised to learn I even had challenges. Imagine! He did not believe I (of all people!) had problems. I quickly reassured him that I did indeed have troubles—and I would have to apply pertinent Bible verses to deal with them.

Never do we want to place anyone—especially religious leaders—“on a pedestal.” They might be knowledgeable in the Scriptures, they may have graduated Bible college or seminary (Bible cemetery!), and they might have even led us to the Lord Jesus Christ, but they are still just people who have the same sin nature we all do. They eat, sleep, and go to the restroom like everyone else! We should not “roll out the red carpet” and fall prostrate on floor when they enter the room. We should not drool with open mouths or stare at them with our eyes as large as saucers. We should not manufacture statues of them to $ell to the gullible “Christian” public. We should not seek their autographs. They are just men!

Personality cults have always been especially injurious throughout church history. Leaders have been portrayed in such a way so their followers believe they are above all suspicion of wrongdoing. Consequently, emotions cloud the issue, and people begin defending erring individuals instead of sound doctrine. For example, when a pastor or teacher is justly denounced for his false teaching or misconduct, his congregants cry out, “How dare you attack him and his ministry!” In their eyes, that man is immune from mistakes. They have not learned the lesson of today’s Scripture….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did God give the stars for nations to worship?

One More Night with the Frogs! #3

Monday, January 31, 2022

And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the LORD our God (Exodus 8:10 KJV).

Who has replied with, “To morrow,” and why has he answered thusly?

Before we dismiss today’s Scripture and its context as mere “fairytales told around ancient Jewish campfires,” we would do well to see the modern parallel. Whenever an unsaved person responds to the Gospel of Grace with, “Let me have fun in the world first, and then I will become a Christian,” he or she is following in Pharaoh’s footsteps. “I just want to live in sin one more day, before I submit to my Creator’s will.” Whenever a believer in Christ responds to the Gospel of Grace with, “Let me have fun in the world first, and then I will behave like a Christian,” he or she is also following in Pharaoh’s footsteps.

Overall, Pharaoh was both deceived and deceptive. When he noticed the plague of frogs ending, he saw no reason to keep his word. He still refused to free Israel! “[12] And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the LORD because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh. [13] And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields. [14] And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank. [15] But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.” After another eight devastating plagues, Pharaoh desperately forced Israel out of his land—only to ultimately fight them with his army and drown with all his troops in the Red Sea!

Friends, may we not be foolish or proud. If we are suffering “frogs” today—the ill effects of our sin—may we not be willing to spend one more night with them. Rather, let us trust Paul’s Gospel: Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised again for our justification (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Herein is deliverance from the penalty of sin (Hell and the Lake of Fire) and the power of sin (worldly living).

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “How can there be ‘eleven’ Apostles if both Judas Iscariot and Thomas are absent?” and “Was Apollos at fault in 1 Corinthians 16:12?

The Lowest Room #5

Saturday, October 30, 2021

“But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee” (Luke 14:10 KJV).

What is this “lowest room?” Can we gain any counsel from today’s Scripture?

The Lord tells us through our Apostle Paul: “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Romans 12:3). “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself (Galatians 6:3). Finally, 1 Corinthians 4:3-5: “[3] But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. [4] For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. [5] Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” We seek God’s approval, not man’s praise (cf. 2 Timothy 2:15).

It has been rightly observed, “The middle letter of the word ‘sin’ is ‘i;’ it is also the middle letter of the word ‘pride!’” Neither sin nor pride belongs in God’s family. Beloved, we need to exercise our renewed mind of Romans 12:1,2. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8). If the awesome Lord of glory could humble Himself, then we can take the “lowest room” too!

Bible Q&As #894 and #895: “What is ‘mammon?’” and “What are ‘prognosticators?’

The Lowest Room #4

Friday, October 29, 2021

“But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee” (Luke 14:10 KJV).

What is this “lowest room?” Can we gain any counsel from today’s Scripture?

Read Christ’s words immediately following: “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (verse 11). Their fundamental problem, of course, was that ugly sin of pride! Never should we forget this concerns religion, self-righteous people who considered themselves gods and therefore worthy of worship. “I give more than anyone else, pray more than anyone else, and fast more than anyone else!” The Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:1-18, exposes and condemns this attitude.

Also bear in mind that expression appears in another religious context, Luke chapter 18: “[9] And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: [10] Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. [11] The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. [12] I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. [13] And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. [14] I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Finally, we dare not forget Matthew 23:12, also regarding religious pride: “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (see entire chapter for context). The arrogant will be brought low, for apostate Israel will be destroyed in God’s wrath; however, believing, humble Israel will be magnified in God’s Kingdom (Matthew 18:1-4).

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “What does ‘choler’ mean?” and “What does ‘sith’ mean in Ezekiel 35:6?

The Lowest Room #3

Thursday, October 28, 2021

“But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee” (Luke 14:10 KJV).

What is this “lowest room?” Can we gain any counsel from today’s Scripture?

How embarrassing it would be to assume we warranted a seat reserved for someone of a higher rank! Yet, the guests at this Pharisee’s house were so egocentric they were carefully placing themselves into the most admired spaces. As the Lord Jesus noted, “When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room” (verses 8,9).

Instead of praising themselves, they were to let someone else honor them. Far better was it for the host to bring them to a higher seat, than for them to assume they deserved the higher seat but then be forced to vacate it when the more praiseworthy person arrived. The Book of Proverbs had already educated Israel: “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips” (27:2). Yet, like with Proverbs 25:6-7, unbelieving Israel ignored these precious words of God.

Luke 14:10 again: “But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.” The King James translators have been faulted for rendering the Greek “doxa” as “worship” here, for, they are allegedly insinuating Jesus encouraged people to “worship” others. However, while “doxa” is often rendered “glory” in the Authorized Version New Testament (almost 150 times), Jesus’ usage of “worship” here is sarcasm or mockery. Essentially, “If you conceited people are seeking worship from your fellow man, here is how you get it! You let the host do it, not yourself!”

Now, let us make application….