Preaching to Perfect

Monday, November 24, 2014

[Christ] Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily (Colossians 1:28,29 KJV).

And so, our grace Bible conference has concluded.

Our ministry goal as Pauline dispensationalists is to “have all men saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4)—to see that they hear the right Gospel (Paul’s Gospel, Christ’s finished crosswork [1 Corinthians 15:3,4]) so as to believe it, and to see that they hear the right Bible doctrine so as to receive it (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon). That is Father God’s will for them; if we delight in His will, it will become our will; and we will then do His will.

We are not here to prove ourselves right, or to force people to agree with us; we are here to declare that God is right and everyone else is wrong, and to be helpers of others’ joy. We know the heartaches and perplexities of religious tradition, we have found the key to recovering ourselves out of the snare of the devil, and now we hold forth “the word of life”not in arrogance, but in compassion, for we too were once foolish and deceived. We care about their souls, that they not be defiled with either sins of the flesh (“secular” human evil) or sins of the spirit (“pious” human good).

Rather than trying to take away something worthless that they have, we offer them God’s priceless wisdom that they need; if they embrace the latter, they will discard the former! If they prefer spiritual ignorance, that is their prerogative, and we should say no more; if they want spiritual maturity, that is our privilege of teaching them God’s Word rightly divided (today’s Scripture).

As our apostle Paul knew, it was really God’s Holy Spirit working in him mightily; it was not Paul struggling in himself to do the work of the ministry. When it is God working, there is no pride, failure, or misery; only charity, love in action, to see that lost souls are saved (justified) and those Christian souls are edified (strengthened). Yes, we “preach to perfect!” 🙂

NOTE: The 2014 Slidell Grace Bible Conference concluded yesterday. Videos of the messages to be uploaded to YouTube in due time, so stay tuned for updates. If you are interested in purchasing CDs or DVDs, please email me for more information at arcministries@gmail.com.

Time Travel and the Mystery #2

Thursday, November 13, 2014

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:7,8 KJV).

Will it ever be possible to manipulate natural laws, to travel back in time and manipulate events, that things (hopefully) turn out differently? Let us consider today’s Scripture.

Satan has always recognized God as the most powerful; however, he, operating with a very demented mindset, still seeks to outwit his Creator and prove himself to be the wisest. Ever since he became “lifted up,” prideful (1 Timothy 3:6), ever since he fell in love with himself (Ezekiel 28:15-19), Lucifer/Satan has sought so desperately to deflect and receive the recognition and worship that only belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:8-10 and Luke 4:5-8 thus explained).

The Bible says Lucifer, Satan’s name before his fall from the third heaven, purposed to “be like the most High, possessor of heaven and earth” (Isaiah 14:14; cf. Genesis 14:19,22). Down through Bible history, and up to the present-day, Satan has contrived and implemented various “wiles,” schemes and scams, to achieve his original goal (Ephesians 6:10-12). The Devil still distracts people from Jesus Christ, and causes them to focus on something or someone else (himself, themselves, other people, pagan idols, good works, et cetera).

No human can ever really keep a secret—he or she has to tell at least one other person, and eventually, it is common knowledge to many. However, God had to keep, and did keep, a secret for at least 4,000 years; the triune God withheld that secret, neither telling angel nor human until the appropriate time came. He knew that His chief enemy, Satan, was a very wise spirit-creature (originally created to devise ways to glorify his Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, now devising ways to glorify himself). The way to ultimately defeat Satan was to outsmart him. Today’s Scripture says God Almighty did exactly that, glorifying Jesus Christ forever in the process, undoubtedly demonstrating who was the wisest of all….

Glorious Freedom #3

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” (Romans 6:12 KJV).

The third verse of Haldor Lillenas’ classic 1917 hymn “Glorious Freedom” highlights today’s Scripture.

“Freedom from pride and all sinful follies;
Freedom from love and glitter of gold;
Freedom from evil temper and anger;
Glorious freedom, rapture untold!”

Once, when we were lost, under the control of the Adversary, separated from the Creator God, on our merry way to eternal hellfire, we “were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past [we] walked 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: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Ephesians 2:1-3). What a description!

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us [given us life and power to function in life] together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (verses 4,5). Now, we are dead with Christ and raised with Christ (Romans 6:3-11). Today’s Scripture says that we do not have to serve sin anymore; sin does not have to reign as a king over us anymore. We can choose to walk by faith in our new identity in Christ.

We are freed from pride (Philippians 2:5-11), for it is not us, but Christ living in us (Galatians 2:20). We are freed from foolishness (Ephesians 5:3,4; Titus 3:3), for we have Christ’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Corinthians 2:9-16). We are freed from materialism, for “the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10; cf. 1 Timothy 6:6). We are freed from unrighteous anger; we are to be “kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven [us]” (Ephesians 4:26,32).

Freedom, not to serve self, but to serve others! Inexpressible delight indeed! 🙂

Jesus Christ, Preeminent One

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

“…that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18c KJV).

Behold, the Person who alone will have preeminence in all things!

A celebrity once questioned why people had to talk about Jesus Christ “so much.” (Perhaps people should be talking about her instead?) Beloved, such people are actually indicating that they have no clue as to why they exist. They are so self-absorbed that they are thoroughly shocked when they learn it is not “all about them.”

Imagine the pride that filled Lucifer’s heart when he saw his own reflection, and the envy that filled his heart when he realized that God was on the throne rather than he! These two emotions—pride and envy—permeate the sinful human soul; hence, the Bible calls lost mankind, “children of the devil” (John 8:44), “[those] of that wicked one” (1 John 3:12), and “children of disobedience” and “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:2,3). No wonder God has to kill that awful nature before He can let us into heaven!

The mystery of God’s will is to have all of heaven and earth under Jesus Christ’s authority (Ephesians 1:9,10). Colossians 1:16-20 says that Jesus Christ will have preeminence over all things, all the governments of heaven and earth. Throughout eternity future, Jesus Christ will have preeminence in everything, and He will use us to glorify Himself in heaven and redeemed Israel to glorify Himself on earth.

Philippians 2:9-11 says that all creatures in heaven, in earth, and under the earth (lost mankind and all the fallen angels in hellfire), will bow before Jesus Christ one day. Although the lost are permanently severed from Him, they will admit and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of Father God. All of the world’s religious leaders—popes, preachers, seminary professors, imams, gurus, “prophets,” Dalai Lamas, priests—will be forced to bow to Jesus Christ and give Him all the worship He alone deserves.

“Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

That is why we talk about Jesus Christ “so much!” 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A’s: “Did the Church the Body of Christ Begin in Acts 2?” and (our special 50th Q&A) “When Did the Church the Body of Christ Begin?

At Calvary #1

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).

The first verse of William R. Newell’s classic 1895 hymn “At Calvary” highlights today’s Scripture.

“Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
On Calvary.”

Before we came by faith to Jesus Christ, our lives epitomized emptiness and arrogance. We may not have been murdering, stealing, committing adultery, bowing before statues, or cursing the Lord Jesus Christ’s name; yet, our lives were vain and prideful. We were “walking, in the vanity [emptiness] of [our] mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that [was] in [us], because of the blindness of [our] heart: who being past feeling [had] given [ourselves] over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Ephesians 4:17-19).

Romans chapter 1 explains how God gave us Gentiles up and over to our “vain imaginations” and “foolish, darkened hearts” (verse 21). In Genesis chapter 11, God relinquished us Gentiles to enjoy the spiritual ignorance—“reprobate [worthless] mind” (verse 28)—we so desired. Once He let the Gentile nations go on their way, He created the nation Israel to become His earthly people. For the next 2,000 years, Satan’s sin (pride; 1 Timothy 3:6) operated in us Gentiles; hence, the Devil himself, the ruler “over all the children of pride” (Job 41:34), was our king. While we Gentiles were “without God” and “without Christ” (Ephesians 2:12), Jesus Christ died for us (today’s Scripture). As our pagan Gentile ancestors offered their worthless sacrifices in their heathen temples, Jesus Christ offered Himself to pay for their sins.

“Calvary” (Greek, kranion; Latin, calvaria, “skull”) only appears once in our King James Bible (Luke 23:33)—modern English versions eliminate it. In Hebrew, the place is “Golgotha” (Matthew 27:33; Mark 15:22; John 19:17), meaning “the place of a skull.” It was on this hill whose rocky formation resembles a human cranium, outside of Jerusalem, that Jesus Christ was crucified for us. While we were on our merry way to eternal hellfire, the eternal Son of God was put to death on Calvary’s cross that we might have eternal life!

Judge Not? #4

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

“Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1 KJV).

Today’s Scripture, often used against the Bible believer who exposes sin for what it is, is not teaching what it is often assumed to assert.

Clearly, Jesus, in today’s Scripture, was not teaching we should be silent about exposing sin (He merely forbade hypocritical judging; verses 2-5).

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul preached against sin in order to show lost people they needed to be saved from those sins through the finished crosswork of Jesus Christ (Acts 13:26-41; Acts 14:11-18; Acts 17:16-31; Acts 24:25; et cetera). Notice the Holy Spirit’s references to specific sins which gender His righteous wrath—murder, envy, pride, homosexuality, drunkenness, fornication, idolatry, witchcraft, disobedience to parents, theft, hatred, gossiping, cruelty, lying, and so on (Romans 1:21-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9,10; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Timothy 1:9,10; 1 Peter 4:1-5). Notice Paul’s divinely-inspired instructions about having no relations with Christians who are fornicators, covetous, extortionists, idolaters, railers, and drunkards (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).

Christ declared, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day (John 12:48). God in His Word has already declared what is and what is not sin. Technically, we are not judging the world; God’s Word does that when we believe it and preach it! Remember, “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:15,16).

Dearly beloved in Christ, let us be bold to speak out against sin by sharing God’s Word with others, but let us do it in meekness and love (2 Timothy 2:24-26). Our goal is not to be unkind to lost people, but to tell them the answer to their sin problem is only found through the shed blood, death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ! By preaching this Gospel of Grace, we remind ourselves we were once where they are.

Churning, Wringing, and Forcing

Saturday, April 20, 2013

“Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife” (Proverbs 30:33 KJV).

There is more to today’s Scripture than meets the eye….

Today’s Scripture is an example of parallelism. Note the gerunds “churning, wringing, forcing” and their corresponding nouns “butter, blood, strife.” This grammatical structure is a teaching technique that God the Holy Spirit utilizes here in His Word to reinforce both comparison and distinction. He helps us understand deeper concepts by using simpler, more familiar ones.

Interestingly, one Hebrew word, miyts, is translated to render three diverse English words—“churning,” “wringing,” and “forcing.” Nevertheless, these three different English terms convey the same concept: effort vigorously applied to achieve a desired result.

So, what does today’s Scripture mean? It should be pretty obvious. If you churn (stir) milk long enough, butter will be produced. If you twist someone’s nose long enough, blood will gush out. If you anger someone long enough, strife (fighting) will result. (Notice the parallelism in this paragraph.)

“The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with” (Proverbs 17:14). This verse likens the beginning of strife to a giant wall of water rushing forth—you had better leave quickly, or you will literally be swept away by a flood of conflict!

One of the main reasons why sinful man wants to argue is pride. He does not want to admit that he is wrong, that he is not the final authority, and that he is a feeble frame of dust that is subject to fallibility. Having one individual like this is bad enough, but when two such persons are gathered together, our Lord Jesus Christ anticipated the outcome—anger and a disagreement that, if not settled in a Christian manner, may never be resolved.

Today’s Scripture could not be simpler. If you do not want butter, churn not the milk. If you do not want blood to come forth, wring not the nose. If you do not want the argument, force not the anger.

Wilt Thou Love Instruction or Hate Reproof?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

“Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish” (Proverbs 12:1 KJV).

We can choose to either love instruction, or hate reproof.

No one person has the perfect answer to every issue in life. God’s Word, the Holy Bible, does not tell us specifics about how to handle every life matter. However, there is plenty of “instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16) contained therein, and it will literally take an eternity to soak it all in. Will we, by faith, submit to God’s instructions to us, or will we distance ourselves from the Being whose “understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5)?

As sons and daughters of Adam, we do not naturally “love instruction” (today’s Scripture). We want to do things our own way, in our own time, and at our own pace. “Me! Me! ME! You are not my boss! Do not tell me what to do! I will make my own decisions, no matter what the consequences are.” Such an attitude is “brutish” (today’s Scripture): it is uncivilized, senseless, and even animal-like. God has tolerated this for 6,000 years from billions of people—imagine the longsuffering of God for witnessing it for this long!

The Bible is one giant book of instruction, for it informs us regarding what God has done, is doing, and will do. It also demonstrates His mercy, wisdom, love, and grace. Alas, very few “love [that] instruction.” In fact, the Bible’s claims are often met with, “I do not believe in God; leave me alone!” “That Book has mistakes; it was written by man.” Such replies are “brutish.”

The Bible is one giant book of reproof, for it reprimands us concerning our fallen (sinful) state. It also provides information about God’s plan to restore us unto Himself through Jesus Christ. Alas, almost all “hate [that] reproof.” In fact, the Bible’s claims are often met with, “Oh no, not me! I am no sinner!” “I can get to heaven without Christ.” Again, such responses are “brutish.”

Let us cherish and believe God’s instructions to us—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. Let us not be brutish.

A Brother Offended

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

“A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle” (Proverbs 18:19 KJV).

Today’s Scripture reminds us that backstabbing (betrayal) often has irreversible results.

Within the last few weeks, I have personally had to endure two backstabbings, so today’s Scripture is especially fresh in my mind. What grieves me is that both parties were professing grace Christians. Both gained my trust, and both played the hypocrite rather subtlety. One inflicted great damage on me spiritually and emotionally, which I cannot adequately express in words.

One was a “friend” of mine for just over a year, and the other a family “friend” for decades. Both of those relationships were highly distracting for my ministry, they still are, and they pose some difficulties for the ministry and me in the coming years. I was insulted, humiliated, and betrayed, and it makes it all the more painful that they claimed to be grace brethren in Christ. In short, dear saints and readers, I have a broken heart.

As today’s Scripture indicates, an offended family member—either physically or spiritually a family member—is “harder to be won than a strong city.” You can eventually conquer a walled city, but the upset human heart is far more resilient. Some broken relationships can never be restored. We do make every human attempt possible to “live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18), but this does not always come to pass. There are people who are stubborn and prideful, and while they claim to be Christians, they persistently mock Christian charity (even after being repeatedly admonished). They make fellowship with them impossible, so we must avoid them in order to keep the situation from escalating.

Saints, we may lose all of our “friends” for the Lord’s sake—even professing grace Christian brethren will forsake us. Let us not be surprised, but let us rejoice that the Lord is glorified in that. Saints, since our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ lost everything to provide our eternal salvation, let us be willing to lose every relationship in this life for Him.

We Troublemakers Are Grace Partakers #2

Thursday, July 26, 2012

“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” (Romans 3:9 KJV).

God’s Word proceeds to describe mankind, exposing him as the bestial creature that he naturally is….

In verses 10-12 Paul quotes Psalm 14:1-3 (Psalm 53:1-3). From verses 13-18, he continues to quote the Old Testament to describe mankind as wicked:

  • Romans 3:13: “Their throat is an open sepulchre [tomb]; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [snakes, vipers] is under their lips:” (Psalm 5:9: “For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.” Psalm 140:3: “They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips. Selah.”) Mankind is a liar!
  • Romans 3:14: “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:” (Psalm 10:7: “[The wicked, verse 2] His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.”) Mankind is a sly blasphemer who is angry with God!
  • Romans 3:15: “Their feet are swift to shed blood:” (Proverbs 1:16: “For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.” Isaiah 59:7a: “Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood:…”) Mankind is a murderer!
  • Romans 3:16: “Destruction and misery are in their ways:” (Isaiah 59:7bc: “…their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.”) Mankind destroys everything he touches and produces misery!
  • Romans 3:17: “And the way of peace have they not known:” (Isaiah 59:8: “The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.”) Sinful mankind enjoys fighting (James 4:1)!
  • Romans 3:18: “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Psalm 36:1: “The transgression of the wicked saith within his heart, there is no fear of God before his eyes.”) Mankind is haughty and irreverent!

Frankly, we humans are troublemakers!