Dear Friends Divided!

Monday, May 14, 2018

“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” (Romans 16:17,18 KJV).

Doctrine divides, dear friends—doctrine divides dear friends!

When the ecumenist laments, “Doctrine divides,” he or she (for once) is telling the truth. Dearest of friends, doctrine divides dearest of friends. It is asserted that false teachers “really are not that bad,” that “they can be reformed or salvaged,” that “they are entitled to their opinions as we ours.” We are urged, “Stop causing trouble by emphasizing doctrine and just preach the ‘love of Jesus!’ We can all be united as ‘Christians’ if nothing more.”

These last several months, I have learned firsthand (and most painfully!!) the closest-knit congregation is not immune to being split so mightily because it falls away from sound Bible doctrine. Intimate, long-time friends in the ministry have turned on me in the blink of an eye, becoming my enemies like I have never even dreamed. Once Christians turn away from the truth, Satan wastes no time to penetrate the group with as much as error as he possibly can. When the assembly reaches that point, your numerous warnings have been ignored, it is apparent that you can do nothing but apply today’s Scripture. With a broken heart (!), you have to give those precious brethren over to what they want.

So emotionally driven, these brethren passionately defend the false teacher and make you appear as the evil one. Be not surprised! When they have no sound Bible doctrine on which to stand, they, being deceived, will speak vicious, offensive words about you for calling attention to doctrinal error. You can and should pray for them (1 Corinthians 1:4-10), you can and should forgive them as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32), but things will never be the same between you and them as long Heaven is far away. The ministry is not for wimps, dear friends, the ministry is not for wimps!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What do you mean—‘the prophetic program’ and ‘the mystery program?’

Mother: A Virtuous Woman

Sunday, May 13, 2018

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10 KJV).

Today is Mother’s Day, so we dedicate this devotional to godly women (specifically mothers). I especially dedicate this to the virtuous woman who has been in my life for almost 30 years… my mom!

Today’s Scripture is the first verse of the Bible’s “Virtuous Woman” passage (Proverbs 31:10-31). King Solomon explained that the virtuous woman:

  • has a husband who safely trusts in her (verses 11,12).
  • is not lazy, but is strong because she works to feed and clothe her family and herself (verses 13-19,21,22,24,25,27).
  • pities the poor and needy (verse 20).
  • has a husband who is well-known because of her godly lifestyle (verse 23).
  • opens her mouth with wisdom, and speaks kindly and lovingly (verse 26).
  • has children and a husband who praise her (verse 28).
  • excels in what she does (verse 29).
  • has works that praise her (verse 31).

Verse 30 explains the virtuous woman is “a woman that feareth the LORD.”

The Apostle Paul wrote that godly women should: not slander/gossip, not be controlled by alcohol and emotions (sober minded), be teachers of good things, love their husbands and children, be cautious and modest, maintain the home, be “good,” and should obey (respect) their husbands… “that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5). A Christian woman, especially a mother, should be a virtuous woman in beliefs as well as in deed. She needs to set an example for her children (especially her daughters).

A Christian woman and/or Christian mother places her faith in this sound Bible doctrine, the indwelling Holy Spirit will then take that doctrine and transform her for God’s glory (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Her mind will be renewed by sound Bible doctrine, and that will transform her outward activity (Romans 12:1,2).

Are you a Christian woman or Christian mother who desires to be the woman God intends you to be in Christ Jesus? Place your faith in this sound Bible doctrine, and God will take care of the rest!

 HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO OUR READERS WHO ARE MOTHERS!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

Manage Your Time Wisely

Saturday, May 5, 2018

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:15-17 KJV).

A wise Christian brother recently explained to me that, since he would rather study his Bible, he had not watched television in four years. (I told him he had not missed anything important anyway!)

Thanks to various distractions, we could all study Scripture more (yes, even me). To study more verses, we would have to give up time spent on other activities—movies, games, television shows, vacations, social media, and so on. Indeed, we are to hold down a job and spend quality time with our families: these cannot and should not be infringed upon. However, the fact remains that we should spend our (free) time wisely.

Pleasures per se are not sinful, for God “giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). Contrary to popular belief, Christian living is not about how much one can suffer and give up to please God. It is about recognizing the significance and brevity of this earthly life, this “training period” before eternity, with our goal being to have gold, silver, and precious stones (sound Bible doctrine) rather than wood, hay, and stubble (1 Corinthians 3:9-15). Therefore, some centuries ago, a man declared that he would be locking up all his books for seven years—except his Bible! Those distracting volumes were no longer his priorities. He would finally stress the eternal rather than the temporal!

Today’s Scripture is Paul’s admonition to the Ephesian saints who, in part, have become thoughtless and wasteful. Verse 14, sadly, says they are spiritually asleep. This could have easily been written to today’s professing Body of Christ. They have grown dull to perceiving the Satanic policy of evil working mightily around them in this present world. Their spiritual ignorance means they participate in the Devil’s plans to thwart God’s will for them! Having already had plenty of opportunity to learn, they still lack a clear understanding of what God wants for them. They (we) need to learn and believe sound Bible doctrine. Satan is foolishly wasting his time, but that does not mean we have to join him!

A Prayer According to God’s Will

Friday, May 4, 2018

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (1 Timothy 2:1-3 KJV).

Yesterday was the United States’ National Day of Prayer. Today, we pray you pray according to the Lord Jesus Christ’s will for today!

Religious people—the general public, clergy, and government officials—recently assembled nationwide, like they do every year, and prayed for spiritual and moral revival of the “Christian” (?) United States of America. We commend their noble efforts, but God’s Word says there will be no godly revival of any of the world’s Gentile nations until Jesus Christ returns to earth at His Second Coming (Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 59:20–60:3; Zechariah 8:20-23; Revelation 11:15; et cetera).

The LORD’s words to King Solomon are often quoted on this day: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Friends, this is certainly God’s Word, but has nothing to do with Gentiles in the United States in the Dispensation of Grace. This verse has a context often overlooked—the nation Israel under the Mosaic Law, praying in relation to God’s Temple in Jerusalem (verses 15,16). Actually, that Temple was destroyed over 19 centuries ago! Unlike Israel, the United States was never a divinely-founded nation. The American people as a whole are not God’s people like Israel was.

Rather than praying 2 Chronicles 7:14, remember today’s Scripture (God’s Word to us Gentiles). The verse following today’s Scripture says, “[God] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Pray for those in authority, that they would trust Jesus Christ alone as their personal Saviour, and then grow in His Word to them so they can make wise decisions on behalf of the people they govern.

Purloining

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things (Titus 2:9,10 KJV).

What exactly is “purloining?”

According to The Oxford English Dictionary, “purloin” is the formal term for “to steal.” Another English dictionary says, “to appropriate wrongfully and often by a breach of trust.” When used in the context of “servants” and “masters” (as in today’s Scripture), it acquires the sense of stealing from one’s employer or boss. The legal term is “embezzlement” (misuse of entrusted money or property). (The English word is from the French purloigner “put away,” from pur- “forth” + loign “far.”) What is most painful is the identity of the purloiner—usually it is the most trusted member of the team!

Experts tell us that theft in the workplace causes American businesses to lose an estimated $50 billion annually! Whether stealing parts from inventory, taking money from cash registers, using company equipment and accounts for personal gain, check fraud, swiping so much as ink pens and pencils, it costs the company. Over many years, a worker can siphon and remove the merchandise or funds little by little. It is difficult to notice. The median age for purloiners at the workplace is the late 40s (both men and women). Women are more often guilty of it.

Rather than stealing from the company, the Christian worker is to “shew all good fidelity.” Faithfulness or trustworthiness should be demonstrated, “that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” The purpose of a Christian’s on-the-job honesty is to make God’s doctrine attractive. If the Christian employee talks about how Satan lies and Jesus Christ is “the Truth,” but then steals from his company, he will lose both his job and his testimony! Rather than being attractive, the Bible will be hideous before the eyes of lost men. They will not care to hear from hypocrites who say one thing and do something else. Let us always bear this in mind when on the job!

Open Spaces and Empty Thoughts

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

“A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” (Jeremiah 5:30,31 KJV).

What is God’s controversy with ancient Israel?

I once accompanied an older Christian on a shopping trip. As he entered the parking lot, an empty lane near the store caught our attention. He told me, “The Lord knew we were coming,” and proceeded to park his vehicle there. God allegedly had cleared the way for us to get a good parking space so we would not have far to walk!

With all due respect, foolishness needs to be called out as foolishness. God is not in the business today of giving us empty parking spaces close to stores. There is not one Bible verse to support it; it serves no eternal purpose. Yet, this is not an isolated incident. Religious tradition has conditioned us the world over to embrace all sorts of wild ideas—beliefs that have absolutely nothing to do with God’s Word to us. It is vain superstition and utter silliness. We have to think like mature Christians instead of small children. If our Christian life is to function as God intended, we must have a renewed mind (Romans 12:1,2).

In reference to “God knowing we were going to the store,” what should we conclude if there are no vacant parking spaces adjacent to the building? Did He not know we were coming? If He knew, why did He not give us an open spot? I have shopped many times and not found a space next to the store. Does God does not love me? Why does He not want me to have an open lane?

Today’s Scripture is God upset with Israel. They have let religious leaders so thoroughly confuse them. Not only that, they “love” it: they enjoy those religious “highs,” feel-good doctrines, emotional experiences, pathetic superstitions! Meanwhile, it does nothing for them but harm their souls. God is righteously angered that Israel has allowed herself to be contaminated. Dear friends, may we get into the Pauline Books, Romans through Philemon, and fill our heads and hearts with that!

Bible Q&A #490: “Who are the ‘fearful’ in Revelation 21:8?

Setting Dates of Disappointment

Saturday, April 14, 2018

“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: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 KJV).

Did you notice the precise date the Holy Spirit provided here? (Neither did I!)

Bible prophecy, already rather difficult, becomes insufferable if not approached dispensationally. Wherever dispensational Bible study is absent; deception, confusion, and disappointment are present. Failing to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) is a total disregard of how God designed His Word. Expect nothing but trouble!

Concerning Israel’s program, Scripture issues exact numbers of years, months, and/or days when God will act regarding the Jews (for instance, see Genesis 15:13-16; Daniel 9:24-27; Luke 13:7,8; Revelation 11:2,3,11; Revelation 12:6,14; Revelation 13:5; Revelation 20:2-7). However, in our mystery program, God gives no dates whatsoever: the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon, are utterly “calendar-less.” Consequently, we do not know the length of the Dispensation of Grace, when this Age of Grace will close.

Therefore, whenever sensationalist “date-setters” tell us, “The Rapture is coming on—” or “The Second Coming will occur at—;” they want nothing more than attention to sell their book or DVD and start a cult. Regardless of their purpose, Satan’s policy of evil has tricked them. Until our program terminates, whatever prophetic dates Scripture does provide have no meaning. People persistently attempt to limit our dispensation’s duration by using values from Israel’s prophetic calendar. Despite their best efforts, it will never work. Frustration, unbelief, and mockery are certain!

In today’s Scripture, we see the Rapture, our gathering unto Christ to meet Him in the air (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:1). If the date were so important, why did the Holy Spirit never reveal it to Paul in today’s Scripture or anywhere else? Should we thus be setting dates? No! Saints, our Lord Jesus Christ could come at any moment. Let us live like He may come today; let us plan like He is not coming for another 10 years! 🙂