Sunday, March 18, 2018

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; (2 Timothy 1:7,8 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to preach sound Bible doctrine.

Brethren, Satan has a two-fold strategy for hindering God’s will. In “phase 1,” he attacks the message. Remember, his first words in Scripture are in Genesis 3:1: Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? Satan’s chief goal is to question (challenge) God’s Word, thus removing it as the authority. After repeatedly distorting the Bible, he outright denied it in verse 4. Satan effectually enticed Adam and Eve to corrupt, and thereby abandon, sound Bible doctrine.

If the saint maintains and defends sound Bible doctrine, not relinquishing it, then Satan begins “phase 2.” Satan’s objective here is to attack the messenger, to somehow silence him—through intimidation, hardship, embarrassment, discouragement, and so on. This is where we find Timothy in today’s Scripture. In 1 Timothy, he had dealt with false teaching in Ephesus. He has remained faithful to the grace message, having not compromised with the legalists. Satan has failed to get Timothy to pervert grace.

Now, in 2 Timothy (today’s Scripture), Timothy’s face is damp with “tears” (verse 4). He is crying, emotionally exhausted, overwhelmed by opposition and distress in the ministry. As Paul writes, pervasive doctrinal error exists now: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (verse 15). Most Christians have now abandoned Paul’s doctrine, preferring legalism and other heresies. Dejected Timothy has surrendered, having ceased (!) preaching Pauline doctrine (verse 6).

Paul, imprisoned far away in Rome for preaching God’s grace through Christ, is moved by the Holy Spirit to encourage Timothy to not be ashamed (today’s Scripture). “Timothy, remember who you are and where you came from. God’s power will get you through your situations. Share in those afflictions that accompany the Gospel! No matter what happens, boldly preach!” (Brethren, may we do likewise.)


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to enjoy the solace of the God of all comfort.

Today’s Scripture is the Apostle Paul at the lowest point in his whole ministry. Keep reading: “[8] For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: [9] But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: [10] Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;….” Did you sense Paul’s great depression in verse 8?

When the Apostle refers to his “trouble… in Asia,” that would have been something that occurred in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). On its western shore sat the city of Ephesus. Here, in Acts chapter 19, Paul had preached Jesus Christ and founded the church at Ephesus. You would do well to read the chapter sometime. Paul’s preaching the truth caused a revival in that spiritually dead, pagan city. With the idol-makers losing customers, they lashed out and caused a riot. Paul could have lost his life! Thankfully, God supported him physically (but most importantly, spiritually).

Saint, when you get “pressed out of measure” in ministry, “above strength, insomuch that [you] despair even of life,” you just keep on going! After all, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;….” If the saints of old found solace in the God of all comfort, then we will too!

Our archived Bible Q&A: “Should Christians celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?


Friday, March 16, 2018

Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake (Luke 6:22 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be joyful when people shun us for our Christian testimony.

A dear brother in Christ once shared some very insightful comments about us separating from the world. If we have a Christian testimony—a life “filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11)—the world will actually separate from us! That is, our sound Bible doctrine will drive them away from us. At that point, they will not care to hear or see us (they will have already discovered our affection and forcefully announced to us, “No thanks!!”).

“Stop talking about God so much! Only weirdoes study Scripture to that extent! Close that Bible and go away! You have a social/mental/developmental disorder!” We are outcasts: they want nothing to do with us. They see us as “fanatics,” “kooks,” “crazies” who need to be locked away forever in some institution. This is to be expected; marvel not, dear brethren. They said of our Lord Jesus Christ in John 10:20: “And many… said, He hath a devil, and is mad [crazy!!]; why hear ye him?” Festus said: “Paul, thou art beside thyself [a raving maniac!!]; much learning doth make thee mad [insane!!]” (Acts 26:24).

Since we who have trusted Christ Jesus have the indwelling Holy Spirit, He gives us desires natural (lost) people lack. They thus consider our behavior unconventional and farcical. First Peter 4:3-4 speaks of the Little Flock that will experience a similar “sticking out” in the evil world system: “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:….”

If this is what we must endure, saints, then let us endure it with joy unspeakable. The world avoids us, but (most importantly) we have eternal fellowship with God.

Bible Q&A #475: “What did Jesus mean, ‘Take up your cross?’


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be separate from the religious system.

It is often lamented, “Doctrine divides. Let us rather gather around the love of Jesus Christ.” The Holy Spirit disagrees: sound Bible doctrine matters! Romans 16:17,18: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”

First Timothy 6:3-5: “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”

Second Timothy 3:1-5: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

Beloved, if there is no sound Bible doctrine—King James Bible, Pauline dispensationalism—we have no reason to get involved with it!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How can God be ‘jealous’ and not be guilty of sin?


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

“And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe” (Acts 14:19,20 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be spry.

Unbelieving Jews, who pursued and persecuted Paul as he traveled throughout the Roman Empire, stoned him during his first apostolic journey. Such rocks were not meant to injure but kill! Thus, it is highly likely that Paul not only came close to dying here, but that he actually died! Considering the chronology, Paul seems to be the dead man in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4.

Paul was persecuted and stoned in a city. They dragged his body out. He then rose up and… left the region? No! He reentered that city! Just think, a dead Christian is raised again and returns to the city where they had just mercilessly flattened him! What would drive a man to go to such extremes? He wanted to share God’s Word yet again. After suffering himself for God, he warned believers: “[21] And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, [22] Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

If God’s power could raise this physically dead Christian to keep on going in life and ministry, would He not want us to be functionally alive to continue our life and ministry? How many Christians just sit around doing nothing day in and day out—no witnessing, no Bible study, no good works, no supporting ministries, nothing. “Leave me alone! I am alive in Christ, and I am comfortably dead in conduct!” Oh, dear brethren, this should not be! May it not be true of us… may it never be true of us either!

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be sincere.

Hypocrisy is a charge frequently laid against believers in Christ: “I do not go to church because of all the hypocrites there!” Actually, to some extent, everyone is a hypocrite—even the critics of Christians! We are not 100 percent genuine every single second of every single day, are we? Christian and non-Christian alike, we can all be “actors” to some degree: all of us can appear to be individuals we really are not.

Non-Christians speak and behave as if they can access the one true God without His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. They cannot. Yet, they want to say that this religion and that religion are “just as good” as Christianity. They assume they can be “good” people apart from Jesus Christ. Scripture disagrees: “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). Christians talk and conduct themselves as if they are still lost and going to Hell. They are not. Nevertheless, they claim, “I cannot help but sin; the Devil made me do it!” They suppose that they are still the slaves to sin. The Bible disagrees: “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Romans 6:22).

Unless Christians have grace edification, they do not know how to behave. Why? They have no idea what to believe. Why? They do not know how to understand and enjoy the Holy Bible. They, using religion, thus pretend to live the Christian life: when they fail, the critics gleefully wail, “Hypocrite!” However, friend, if God’s wisdom from His rightly divided Word fills your spirit and heart, you will be no hypocrite, and you will be “without offence [violation].” It will really be Christ Jesus living in you! You will be “filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ!”


Monday, March 12, 2018

“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be free from sanctimoniousness.

Christians engage in wishful thinking when talking about being “sinless.” Earnestly trying to control their sin, they place themselves (or allow a denomination to put them) under a sin-management system. For example, they have been programmed to exclaim, “Keep the 10 Commandments!” Why, how many do they obey? Fewer than those they hang around our necks? When the Law system fails—and we know it does fail because “the Law… [is] weak through our [sinful] flesh” (Romans 8:3), “weak and beggarly” (Galatians 4:9)—what do they do? They attempt to cover it up with more works, further disappointing and winding up more condemned. No, brethren, we do not need rules and regulations to live right: the Law commands us to please God always, but gives us no capacity whatsoever to do it. Rather than the laws of God, we need the grace of God!

Today’s Scripture outlines how grace living operates. When we came to faith in Christ Jesus as our personal Saviour, God saw us crucified and resurrected with Christ (Romans chapter 6). “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (verse 11). This is the “renewed mind” of Romans 12:1-2, Colossians 3:8-17, and today’s Scripture—“put off” (sin) and “put on” (righteousness). Positionally it is factual, but it must be applied daily by faith if it is to be practically true (daily living fits the identity). We still have a sin nature, but we do not have to sin.

God wisely arranged it this way (Grace not Law) so we could never have a “goody-goody” attitude, glorying in our “fair shew in the flesh” (Galatians 6:12,13). Brethren, we have nothing about which to brag. We are not making ourselves holy (religion); we are simply behaving like the people God already made us in Christ! This is not simulated holiness; this is true holiness.” It is all God’s doing, not ours!