Straightened Out—At Last!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13 KJV).

Having departed this present world, they are free from all the effects of sin—including doctrinal confusion!

Recently, I learned of the Homegoing of a brother in Christ whose writings I have read for several years. I was initially saddened, but then realized and rejoiced he was with his Lord and Saviour! What thrilled me the most was—at last—he was straightened out doctrinally. Although saved, denominationalism and seminary (Bible cemetery!) had severely corrupted and confused him. Hence, his articles frequently abounded with “scholarly” ramblings and sectarian slants. What he intended to be a Bible study was mostly Greek or Hebrew study: he would employ complicated terms here and there. As opposed to a lesson in Scripture, it was a lecture on theology. He did not “rightly divide the word of truth” either. All these unfortunate facts hindered the Holy Spirit from working through him more fully. Now, however, things have changed for him! Never again will he be spiritually puzzled!

Praise the Lord! The next time we see the saints who have graduated to Heaven, no doctrinal error will be present to divide or confuse us. Here is one more reason to “sorrow not, even as other which have no hope.” Continuing after today’s Scripture: “[14] For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. [15] For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. [16] For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: [17] Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. [18] Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

Moderation as Preparation #3

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:5 KJV).

Friend, are you ready for the Lord’s return? Today’s Scripture says you should be!

Christ’s coming is associated with our “moderation,” our avoidance of excess or extremes. That is, we are in control of our behavior; we are not acting wildly. Instead, we allow the Holy Spirit to govern us so we conform to sound Bible doctrine. “Moderation” in Greek is “epieikes.” Our King James translators rendered it elsewhere in the following ways.

The bishop must be “not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient [epieikes], not a brawler, not covetous” (1 Timothy 3:3). Christians are urged, “…speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle [epieikes], shewing all meekness unto all men” (Titus 3:2). “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle [epieikes], and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17). “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle [epieikes], but also to the froward” (1 Peter 2:18).

How often we believers cry out for His return, but are we prepared to meet Him? If He were to come back this very moment, would we be ashamed of our activities? Are we about the work of His ministry, or our ministry? Have we been walking/running in wisdom, or swaggering/staggering in foolishness (Ephesians 4:17–6:20)? Would He find us living in moderation,” or, like the Philippians, engaging in immoderation? Either way, lost people are watching us. Today’s Scripture therefore encourages us, Let your moderation be known unto all men.” In addition to the testimony of His truth that we display before the unsaved world, we remember the Lord Jesus at the Rapture could be just seconds from arrival! “The Lord is at hand.”

Christ said of believing Israel awaiting His Second Coming: “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” (Matthew 24:44-46). Likewise, let us be faithful and wise! 🙂

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “Who was more responsible for Jesus’ death, the Jews or the Romans?” and “If they were fulfilling Bible prophecy, how are Christ’s murderers culpable of wrongdoing?

Moderation as Preparation #2

Monday, March 8, 2021

“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:5 KJV).

Friend, are you ready for the Lord’s return? Today’s Scripture says you should be!

We want to look at two specific passages from the Book of Philippians. Firstly, we go to chapter 1: “[27] Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; [28] And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.”

Secondly, read from chapter 4, with today’s Scripture in context: “[1] Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. [2] I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. [3] And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. [4] Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. [5] Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.”

The primary weakness of the church at Philippi was its trivial infighting or petty quarreling. Two particular sisters in Christ, Euodias and Syntyche, just did not get along with each other. The nature of their disagreement is never disclosed in Scripture. Whatever the case, the Lord’s ministry suffered greatly. Moreover, even with bishops and deacons (1:1), the Philippians had not addressed and corrected the matter. Christians at Philippi being distracted with this fleshly nonsense could not focus on sound Bible doctrine. Such improper thinking was so unfortunate and destructive that the Holy Spirit through Paul issued today’s Scripture: “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” We want to draw our attention to that term “moderation,” and how it will prepare us for the Lord’s return when He does in fact come for us….

Moderation as Preparation #1

Sunday, March 7, 2021

“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:5 KJV).

Friend, are you ready for the Lord’s return? Today’s Scripture says you should be!

I was just communing with a dear brother in Christ and coworker in the ministry. Now 84 years old, his health is failing—especially his eyesight and mobility. The sordid affairs of this present evil world have made him long for Heaven all the more! He voiced uneasiness about the pathetic condition of governments, the senseless behavior of society, and the doctrinal deterioration of the professing Body of Christ. Candidates corrupt! Culture corrupt! Churches corrupt! How he wants to go Home and leave all this stupidity behind!

Today’s Scripture again: “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” Christ is coming back, as we see from other verses. “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body…. But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it (Romans 8:23,25). “So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ(1 Corinthians 1:7). “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith (Galatians 5:5).

“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:20,21). “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10). “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ(2 Thessalonians 3:5). Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13).

Every Christian should live in constant expectation of meeting the Lord Jesus Christ at any time. After all, the Apostle Paul conducted himself with that fact in mind….

Earnest #8

Monday, November 23, 2020

Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts (2 Corinthians 1:21,22 KJV).

What exactly is an “earnest?” How is the Holy Spirit involved?

Although Father God has wrought a mighty work in us believers in Christ, we are actually a “work in progress.” Indeed, our souls and spirits have been redeemed, purchased out of sin’s slave market with Christ’s shed blood.

Romans chapter 3: “[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. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

However, we are not yet redeemed physically: we are still in these mortal bodies of flesh and blood. Since God is still operating the Dispensation of Grace, He has left the Church the Body of Christ on Earth. To delay His wrath another day—so more people trust His Son and escape the coming judgment this present evil world deserves—He keeps us here. The Apostle Peter learned this from the Apostle Paul: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

We have been justified (made right in God’s sight). We are being sanctified (daily set apart unto His plan and purpose). We will be glorified (brought into the heavenly places). The indwelling Holy Spirit is our “earnest”—or “taste” (“arrabon” in Hebrews 6:5)—that what mighty work God started in us He will also finish. The eternal life we are promised in Heaven can be ours now… and the indwelling Spirit of God guarantees it! 🙂

Earnest #7

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts (2 Corinthians 1:21,22 KJV).

What exactly is an “earnest?” How is the Holy Spirit involved?

As believers in Jesus Christ, we have the indwelling Holy Ghost, the third Member of the Godhead. Remember today’s Scripture: “God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” Ephesians chapter 2 closes: “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Also, Romans 5:5: “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.First Corinthians 3:16: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Now, chapter 6, verse 19: “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?” Finally, 2 Timothy 1:14: “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.”

We thrice read about the Holy Spirit being the “earnest”—today’s Scripture, 2 Corinthians 5:5, and Ephesians 1:13,14. Recall the Ephesians reference: “Ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Father God gave us the indwelling Holy Spirit to show us He will one day finish His transaction in securing us from sin. We have been redeemed soul and spirit—Christ’s blood bought us out of sin’s slave market (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). Yet, we are waiting to receive a physical redemption; this is the bodily resurrection in Romans 8:18-25, Ephesians 1:14, and Ephesians 4:30 (“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”). Just as “earnest money” in the business world anticipates the full purchase, so the Holy Spirit is our “earnest” in expectation of our whole redemption.

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….

Earnest #6

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts (2 Corinthians 1:21,22 KJV).

What exactly is an “earnest?” How is the Holy Spirit involved?

Ephesians 2:8-10: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” God does not justify us based on our good works. However, He wants to do good works in and through us. We are His “workmanship”—His “poiema” (Greek), poem, creature. He has wrought such a mighty deed in rescuing us from the penalty of sin (Hell and the Lake of Fire).

Walking by faith in our position in Christ—we are dead to sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:11)—we are delivered from the power of sin. Daily victorious Christian living is Titus 2:11,12: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;….” Now, there is one more type of salvation, which we await. It is deliverance from the presence of sin (leaving this sin-cursed world to enter Heaven).

Romans chapter 8 speaks of this future bodily, or physical, redemption: “[20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?”

Let us summarize this devotionals arc….

Earnest #5

Friday, November 20, 2020

Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts (2 Corinthians 1:21,22 KJV).

What exactly is an “earnest?” How is the Holy Spirit involved?

In business terms, “earnest money” is a percentage of the purchase price the buyer pays the seller, as a gesture that the buyer will eventually pay the full amount to complete the transaction. Even more succinctly, it is “part of the purchase-money or property given in advance as security for the rest.” This deposit or pledge can also be seen as a down-payment that the entire amount will be subsequently paid.

The Greek word is “arrabon,” transliterated from the Old Testament Hebrew “`arabown.” Greeks and Romans evidently borrowed the term from the Phoenicians, the inventors of traffic or trade. In the Greek New Testament, the word is found thrice—the very three passages now familiar to us here. Before we deal with the “earnest of the Spirit” any further, we turn to the Old Testament for the equivalent idea. While a rather distasteful context, a deal between Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar amplifies Paul’s usage of the term.

In Genesis chapter 38, Judah (one of Jacob’s 12 sons) had three children with a Canaanite woman. The first boy (Er) was evil, so God killed him and left his wife (Tamar) childless. Judah married Tamar to his second son (Onan), but Onan too was wicked so God slew him. Tamar is still childless. Judah’s last son (Shelah) is too young for marriage, but Judah promises Tamar she can have Shelah when he has matured. Unfortunately, as the years pass, Judah fails to give Shelah to Tamar, so she connives to bear a child with Judah’s bloodline directly. Disguised as a harlot, she renders “services” to unwitting Judah, producing twins Zerah and Pharez. (Pharez was Jesus’ ancestor through both Mary [Luke 3:23,33] and Joseph [Matthew 1:3,16].) Judah ultimately paid his daughter-in-law in the form of a lamb, but he used his signet (seal ring), his bracelets, and his staff as a “pledge” until he paid in full with the sheep (Genesis 38:17,18,20).

Now, back to Paul’s employment of the term….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is a ‘fuller?’

Earnest #4

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts (2 Corinthians 1:21,22 KJV).

What exactly is an “earnest?” How is the Holy Spirit involved?

Read this excerpt from Ephesians chapter 1, which is really three colossal sentences in Greek (!): “[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: [4] According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: [5] Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, [6] To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

“[7] In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; [8] Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; [9] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: [11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: [12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

“[13] In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Again, the Holy Spirit has “sealed” us, permanently making us—and marking us as—God’s own. We have a destiny in the Heavenly Places, sure to arrive at that inheritance because of “the earnest of the Spirit….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Are denominationalists deliberately lying?

Earnest #3

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts (2 Corinthians 1:21,22 KJV).

What exactly is an “earnest?” How is the Holy Spirit involved?

Moving to the final verses of chapter 4 of 2 Corinthians, and reading into chapter 5: “[4:16] For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. [4:17] For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; [4:18] While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

“[5:1] For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. [5:2] For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: [5:3] If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. [5:4] For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. [5:5] Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.”

Friend, do you have the same strength and energy you had when you were younger? In case you have not noticed, your physical body is wearing down with age. You can no longer do what you used to do. Also, you do not feel as good as you once did. The aging process is not pleasant, for the body daily grows frailer and more susceptible to disease, injury, and limitation. Finally, death occurs. How depressing! Thankfully, the good news is we are not perpetually bound to this “earthly house of this tabernacle.” In Christ, we are guaranteed new glorified bodies. At the resurrection, we will receive bodies immune to all sickness and debility. Yea, we have “the earnest of the Spirit” to prove it….