Lifted and Fallen #3

Friday, February 10, 2017

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:12,13 KJV).

Does the Bible teach “entire sanctification?” Today’s Scripture screams, NO!

Verses 1-4 say Israel started right—a leader, Moses (God’s spokesman to them); the cloud (God’s presence); the Red Sea crossing (passing to new life in Christ); spiritual food (manna and quail); and spiritual drink (water). However, they were not content with God’s provisions.

We continue reading: “[5] But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. [6] Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. [7] Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. [8] Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. [9] Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. [10] Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.”

Verse 5, sinful Jews dying in the wilderness, refers to Numbers 14:29. Verse 6, them craving the old life (sinful pleasures) in Egypt, compares to Numbers 11:4-6. Verse 7 refers to Exodus 32:6, them worshiping the golden calf idol and engaging in orgies (lewd dancing parties). Verse 8 quotes Exodus 32:28,35—God striking those fornicators with a deadly plague. Verse 9 refers to Numbers 21:5,6—God sending serpents to bite and kill defiant Jews. Finally, verse 10 compares to Numbers 14:36-37 and/or Numbers 16:46-50—God destroying the complainers with a plague. They doubted He would bring them into the Promised Land. Rather than being thankful for His blessings, they preferred their old life. Instead of serving Him, they worshiped pagan idols. They repeatedly challenged Him and complained. Those same sins exist in the professing church today….

Lifted and Fallen #2

Thursday, February 9, 2017

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:12,13 KJV).

Does the Bible teach “entire sanctification?” Today’s Scripture screams, NO!

Closing chapter 9, Paul wrote about his own Christian life: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (verse 27). My friends, please stop and let that sink in. Read it again: “…lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” That word “castaway” is adokimos, literally meaning “unapproved.” The opposite is found in 2 Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved [dokimos] unto God….”

To be a “castaway” is for God to reject your Christian service. While you have not lost your salvation, God disapproves of your behavior. The great Apostle Paul—led by the Holy Spirit—thought his Christian service could potentially become unacceptable. To wit, Paul thought he could sin! By the time chapter 10 opens, he warns the saints at Corinth that they could fail God as well. Since some of them had a synagogue (Jewish worship) background, they knew the “Old Testament” writings (cf. Acts 18:1-17).

These Corinthian believers are reminded they are prone to repeating Israel’s sins. Notice, 1 Corinthians chapter 10, verses previous to today’s Scripture: “[1] Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; [2] And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; [3] And did all eat the same spiritual meat; [4] And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. [5] But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.” Brethren, we need not be ignorant of our vulnerability to sin….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Will Israel’s Little Flock be put to death or not?

Lifted and Fallen #1

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:12,13 KJV).

Does the Bible teach “entire sanctification?” Today’s Scripture screams, NO!

Certain individuals who confess Jesus Christ as Saviour will tell you, “I no longer sin.” (This odd idea is called “entire sanctification,” completely separated unto doing all of God’s work without fail.) While these souls may be the kindest in the world, they are only fooling themselves by thinking they have quit sinning. No, contrary to what they insist, they have not stopped sinning. Rather, they have swapped one sin for another one less obvious (one they do not recognize as sin).

The Book of Proverbs says much about “vices and virtues,” evil traits and good ones, sins and good works. In light of today’s Scripture, three verses are cited for your consideration. Firstly, Proverbs 11:2: “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.” Secondly, Proverbs 13:10: “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” Lastly, Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Why does Proverbs 11:2 say that shame follows pride? Proverbs 16:18 tells us that destruction follows pride. Pride, a “haughty spirit,” caused one to assume failure was impossible. When the fall came (cf. today’s Scripture), so did shame (embarrassment).

In 1 Corinthians chapter 10, the verses previous to today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul recounted for the saints at Corinth the nation Israel’s transition from Egyptian bondage (a type of sin and the world) to life across the Red Sea (new life in Christ). The Jews started off well, they had so much going for them, such wonderful prospects—the likes of which the world had never known. Nevertheless, they began to drift from God’s Word, relying more and more on self, and less and less on JEHOVAH God. They became lifted up, and then came their downward spiral….

Silly, Selfish Saints

Friday, February 3, 2017

And he [the Lord Jesus] came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest (Mark 9:33,34 KJV).

Today’s Scripture shows us just how human the 12 Apostles were!

If Jesus was the all-knowing God in human flesh, why did He ask them the nature of their argument? It was to bring them to the point of accountability, to force them to see their frivolity. Having behaved childishly, they were ashamed and did not answer Jesus. They knew they had not been saved to serve or glorify themselves. Rather, they were God’s servants, and should have been submitting to Him and glorifying His Son. Actually, they had argued to the point where they eventually asked Jesus (Matthew 18:1), “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Luke 9:46-48 reports: “[46] Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. [47] And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him, [48] And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.” Later, the mother of James and John sons of Zebedee asked Jesus if they could be the two highest officials in His kingdom (Matthew 20:20-28—be sure to read Christ’s answer). She meant well—wanting what she thought was best for her sons—but God disapproved.

While Christ trained these men, He tolerated their sinfulness. They did not always pay attention to His preaching and miracles. Sometimes they argued about the dumbest things, insignificant distractions. We should not be hard on them. Why? We Christians today often fall into the same traps. Churches split over the stupidest issues, ministers argue about petty matters, and church members often try to outdo everyone to gain the most recognition. As the Apostles learned, Christian living is not prideful living. If we wanted to live for self, we should have stayed lost, for it does not make sense for saints to live in such sin, selfishness, and silliness!

We Are Not Our Own

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19,20 KJV).

We belong to God, not to ourselves!

Nearly one-dozen specific problems existed in the Christian assembly at Corinth. Troubles! Troubles! Troubles! If you look closely at today’s professing “Church,” every last one of them still plagues the Body of Christ—deep divisions, deceived by philosophy, puffed up with pride, engaging in fornication, lawsuits amongst brethren, living selfishly and tearing down Christian brethren in the process, rampant idolatry, abuse of the Lord’s Supper, misuse of spiritual gifts (especially tongues), and denying Christ’s bodily resurrection. While more technologically sophisticated today, we still have not learned the lessons from the Book of 1 Corinthians. In fact, the primary theme of the Book of 2 Corinthians is Paul defending his apostleship against Christians who were rejecting it. Friend, do you know any “Christians” today who hate Paul’s apostleship? (See, it is the “same old, same old!”)

Today’s Scripture sits in the context of fornication, or sexual relations involving the unmarried. Verse 18 says: “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” Today’s Scripture continues: What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Notice how Paul began today’s Scripture with, “What?” You can sense his shock. He is appalled that these Corinthians, despite him being with them and teaching them for over a year, do not know the most basic truth of Christian living. The Holy Spirit lives in us Christians! Our physical bodies are His “temple,” His dwellingplace. Wherever we go physically, we take Him with us! Have we been taking Him where He would have us go? Are we taking Him where He would want to go?

Bible Q&A #315: “Why are there Christians who persistently live like lost people?

Created for God’s Glory

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

“Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee” (Ezekiel 28:15 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

Scanning “Christian” television, I saw one preacher answering viewer-submitted questions. One inquiry concerned the origin of Satan’s great power. The warped preacher responded, “Satan worked his way up to the powerful role he has. God never gives anything free!” Of course, he never actually took his Bible and/or gave verse references—there are no such Bible verses! He was merely speculating and had no business talking about such matters.

Dear friends, Lucifer was created “perfect” from the moment of his creation (today’s Scripture). As the anointed cherub that covered, decorated, and protected God’s throne, he was “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (verses 11-19). Lucifer did not have to “work his way up.” Rather than lead all of creation in worship of the Lord Jesus Christ, he wanted praise and worship all to himself. Lucifer loved himself: pride was his downfall (1 Timothy 3:6). Actually, Lucifer worked his way down and became Satan (meaning Adversary)! Lucifer was not content in functioning in the capacity God had given him, so he fell “as lightning fall from heaven” (Luke 10:18). Adam too was given a job, to rule Earth for God’s glory (Genesis 1:26,27). Yet, Adam abandoned that position and followed Satan’s policy of evil. Thus, mankind has no relationship with God today.

The preacher who said God gives nothing free, what a liar. He knows nothing about the riches of God’s grace to us in Christ, nothing of “being justified freely [without cost to us] by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). Just as Lucifer did not work his way into functioning for God’s glory, we cannot work our way into heaven. God offers us soul salvation unto eternal life (justification) apart from any works of any kind (water baptism, confession of sins, commandment keeping, church membership, et cetera). We need to come to Jesus Christ by simple faith in Him alone, relying entirely upon Him exclusively (and not upon Him and our religious works). We will be thus created for God’s glory! 🙂

Paul and Dispensationalism #11

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

“As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (1 Timothy 1:3-5 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

The goal of dispensational Bible study, particularly Pauline dispensationalism, is not simply to fill one’s head with Bible knowledge. There is no spirituality in drawing the Bible timeline. No spirituality is in merely talking about God’s grace and Paul’s special ministry. Spirituality is when you know where to go in the Bible to find your information and then using that information to benefit others (“charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned”). Grace doctrine is not meant to be kept secret, spoken only when you want to argue. Grace living is to be… lived!

Our goal in sharing dispensational truths should never be to pick fights, debate, et cetera. Religion has deceived many, many precious people. We should seek their highest good (“charity”). They need to learn God’s truth, and we who know God’s truth should share that truth in love and gentleness. We have the doctrine that can save them from their sins, renew their minds, mature them spiritually, et cetera. How marvelous! How exciting!

Unlike modern-day Ecumenists who minimize doctrine, bulldoze denominational barriers, and simply “fellowship with all ‘Christians’ around the love of ‘Jesus,’” today’s Scripture says Paul approved sound doctrine and exposed false doctrine. Paul commanded young Timothy to rebuke false teachers in Ephesus. They were not to teach any other doctrine than what the Lord Jesus Christ had taught them through the Apostle Paul. Actually, the Bible says their error was legalism (1 Timothy 1:6-11), forcing the Mosaic Law into Christian living. Paul had predicted this apostasy years earlier in Acts 20:28-35. Paul had encouraged them, verse 32, to embrace “the word of [God’s] grace.” This was the Bible rightly divided—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, the grace doctrines!

Filthy Feet with Hideous Hearts

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

“[Jesus] riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?” (John 13:4-6 KJV).

How willing are you to grab someone’s stinky feet and wash them?

A pastor friend of mine frequently refers to how Jesus bothered to wash the disciples’ smelly feet (today’s Scripture). Imagine what those feet were like. They had been in sandals for many hours (it was now nighttime), sweating in that hot Middle Eastern sun all day, caked with sand. What gritty, filthy, stinky feet!!

Here we have “the Lord from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:47) coming to Earth and wanting to wash the dirty, foul-smelling feet of sinners! But, that is not all. The hearts of sinners are much more putrid-smelling to God’s nostrils. Yet, He still chose to come to Earth and wash those dirty hearts that were connected to those dirty feet.

John concluded the passage: “[12] So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? [13] Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. [14] If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. [15] For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. [16] Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. [17] If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”

As the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ could have made sinners wash His feet. Instead, He followed the local custom and humbly chose to wash their feet instead. (Peter was shocked!) What lesson can we learn here? Simple. If the Almighty Creator was meek, we have no reason to be prideful!

Boasting Excluded

Saturday, March 28, 2015

“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith” (Romans 3:27 KJV).

How plain—there is no room in Christ for boasting!

We all have pride (not to mention those “proud to be humble!”). Hence, God wisely planned there would be no such bragging when it comes to the Gospel of Grace. In His grand design of the plan of salvation for this the Dispensation of Grace, He only requires one thing: “[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

“Believing in Jesus,” or trusting in (relying on) Jesus, is the only requirement to have eternal life and go to heaven today. Today’s Scripture: “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.” In this Dispensation, there is no physical circumcision, water baptism, Law-keeping, Sabbath-day observance, repentance, or confession of sins, necessary for salvation. The principle today is “of faith,” not “of works.” “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (verse 28).

Thus, not one person can brag, “I out-gave you to get into heaven! I out-prayed you, I out-joined you, I out-attended you, I out-did you, blah, blah, blah.” Either we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, or we have not. Thus, those in Christ are equal (heaven-bound), and those outside of Christ are equal (hell-bound). Those who are in Christ have believed Him equally and are secure in Him equally—there are no “more-saved” or “less-saved” Christians.

Ultimately, not only is boasting excluded, but worry is, too. We did not get into Christ because of our works; thus, we cannot be put out of Christ because of our works. What a marvelous salvation! 🙂

Instant Christians #14

Monday, January 19, 2015

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2 KJV).

In this day and age of “instant this and instant that,” we need more “instant” Christians!

When “instant” Christians share dispensational Bible truths, they meet many stubborn, proud, and resistant people. Detractors, swearing they never heard or read those verses before, stiffen and angrily hurl accusations. Instead of believing the verses, they exclaim, “Paul worshipper, cult member, heretic, Bible worshipper, fanatic, church splitter, Bible chopper” (the “nicer” names!). Those verses are in their Bible as they are in ours—plain English—but they close their eyes to them. Once their willful ignorance is manifested, we move on: God will use what we told them, but our work with them is done. They do not realize that, by defending their preconceived Bible ideas and denominational views, they have refused the key to understanding and enjoying the Bible.

Dear “instant” Christian, daily study your King James Bible rightly divided. Perhaps read it through at least once a year to familiarize yourself with it. You are just one person, but remember all the common individuals God used to accomplish great things—Noah, Abraham, Moses, Deborah, Samuel, David, Esther, Peter, Paul (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). God’s Word will go to work in our lives when we believe it, and His power will be with us as we minister to others: “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). God’s power that worked in them works in us. We need to store God’s Word inside us, believe it, and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. Dear brethren, seek people who do want to hear the truth and be ready to tell them!

Remember, it is God’s church and He will take care of it. We just need to be faithful in our neighborhood. If every grace Christian focuses on his or her own community, God’s work will literally be accomplished everywhere.

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Will we recognize our loved ones in heaven?