Strong Participants Wanted

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

“Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV).

The nation Israel should be matured in God’s Word—alas, they are not!

I attended my nephew’s recent basketball tournament. For the last few months, our team had diligently practiced and played regular games. At the tournament, we competed against several proficient teams and won… first place! One particular player did exceptionally well, scoring numerous points all by himself (some amazing distant shots). After our final victory, I asked his mother, “He practices a lot, huh?” She replied, “Oh, yes, all the time!” Indeed, it showed.

Watching all those young men playing basketball, I could see who was expert and who was novice. All were clumsy at times—tripping, falling, slipping, and/or throwing too high or too far. A select number were remarkably skilled. These particular individuals strategized: they were not aimlessly wandering the court. They knew how to block opponents, pass the ball to their teammates, outmaneuver rivals without dropping the ball, and so on. Knowledgeable coaches, careful training, focused teamwork, and good sportsmanship were all key to first place!

If only the members of the Church the Body of Christ cooperated as players of a sports team do. Instead, we see it as a competition against other believers in Jesus Christ: the flesh envies, complains, pouts, and attacks. If only we could be as skilled in handling the Word of God rightly divided as undefeated sports players. There is always room for improvement but, sadly, more room has been given to ignorance, immaturity, slothfulness, and carelessness. Israel of old was rebuked in today’s Scripture. Let us learn the lesson she never did! 🙂

Scrooges and Christians

Saturday, December 16, 2017

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV).

To the old identity, we say, “Bah, Humbug!” To the new, we say, “God has blessed us, everyone in Christ.”

Other than Jesus Christ’s conception and birth as found in the Holy Bible, there is one other classic story associated with Christmastime. British author Charles Dickens’ 1843 book, A Christmas Carol, focuses on the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge (the novella has some Christian influence).

From the onset, Scrooge is a wealthy, miserable, mean, stingy, and selfish old man. His employee, Bob Cratchit, is underpaid (yet, strangely, Ebenezer observes, Cratchit is cheerful). Scrooge refuses to donate to charities collecting for the destitute—to him, Christmastime is a time for others to “pick his pocket.” He even refuses to attend his nephew’s Christmas party. What a miser!

Through visitations by four Spirits—his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley; and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future—Scrooge is forced to realize what a thoroughly rotten man he is. Once confronted with his future, the awful events that lie ahead, he asks for another chance to make things right (which, thankfully, he receives and does!). The Scrooge at the end of the book is drastically different from the Scrooge at the beginning. Scrooge is now loving, warm, cheerful, and generous—he is a brand-new man.

Bible-believing Christians recognize parallels between Dickens’ work and the Holy Scriptures. The sinner starts off rotten, a rebel from birth—selfish, miserable, and mean. When he or she comes to realize that pitiful condition he or she is in, and comes by simple faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins, God gives him or her a new identity (today’s Scripture). That identity is designed to influence subsequent actions. Scrooge did not simply change his outward activity; he had a change in heart first. This Christmas, let us be submissive to God’s Holy Spirit working in our hearts, as He uses sound Bible doctrine to manifest in our behavior our identity in Christ, that we be not Scrooges.

NOTE: All videos for the 2017 Slidell Grace Bible Conference are now on YouTube. Click here to watch these Bible prophecy studies, dispensationally delivered. Enjoy!

Light Bulbs and Lenses #2

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130 KJV).

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

Every lost person who has come to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ has known the initial thrill of total forgiveness of all sins. They have experienced the joy of deliverance from the eternal penalty of sin—Hell and the Lake of Fire. The Bible, what once seemed “nonsensical,” is now viewed as invaluable. There is now a consciousness of sin, something absent prior to coming to Christ. Works-religion, once appearing so “meritorious,” is now recognized as worthless. Almighty God, once thought of as a “distant and cruel ogre,” is now seen as a loving Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice on Calvary’s cross—His sinless shed blood and resurrection—is appreciated personally. There are eternal life, hope, peace, acceptance, love, and mercy. None of this was known before faith in Jesus Christ.

The above scenarios accentuate the spiritual light that God’s words bring when they are spoken in Gospel preaching and/or written in Gospel literature. It is not until the lost soul becomes a saved soul, that it really begins to realize its former destitution and wretchedness. Many have rightly likened this unto a light bulb being turned on inside the heart. What was hidden in shadows is now manifested. There is a whole new worldview, a strange but fascinating and fitting way of looking at life. However, sadly, spiritual confusion begins to creep in. So many contradictory churches and groups start introducing spiritual darkness. The new Christian soul, still eternally secure in the Lord Jesus Christ, starts experiencing the “lost” mentality it once suffered!

There is a reversion to ignorance. The Gospel and Scripture in general are no longer clear—now muddled by every belief imaginable. The high hopes at the moment of justification, being declared righteous before God, have disappeared. Christian thought and living now seems uncertain and burdensome. Whatever sharp Bible knowledge the soul had is now being worn down. At this point, some Christians just throw away the Bible in hopelessness. They go back to the world, indulging in human evil. Other Christians, still reeling to and fro spiritually, remain in church, simply because human “good” appeals to them.

They all need more light, and lenses….

Our latest Bible Q&A article: “Can you explain 2 Kings 2:23-25?

Liberated to Serve

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 KJV).

Today, as we in the United States celebrate the 241st anniversary of our nation’s independence, we invite our Christian brethren worldwide to rejoice with us concerning our freedom in Jesus Christ.

When we proclaim Romans 6:14—“Ye are not under the law, but under grace”—people tend to assume “loose living.” Does “grace living” really mean we can now live any way we want? Lest anyone be misled in that regard, God the Holy Spirit moved the Apostle Paul to write in the next verse, “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid [May God never let that happen!]” (Romans 6:15). Grace living is not Law-keeping, but it certainly is not Law-breaking either.

God still cares how we live, albeit He is not operating the “weak and beggarly” system of “bondage” (Law) that He once did with Israel (Galatians 4:9). God proved to the entire world that since Israel could not keep His commandments perfectly, no other sons of Adam (the Gentiles) could either: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them [Israel] who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world [Gentiles] may become guilty before God (Romans 3:19).

We sinners cannot keep the Law. However, God in His grace provided us a way to escape that condemnation by sending Jesus Christ to offer Himself on Calvary’s cruel cross to pay for our sins. By simple faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the fully-satisfying payment for our sins, we can now be “made the righteousness of God in [Christ]” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We can be delivered from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire) and the power of sin (flesh-walking).

Why are we Christians free? To selfishly live any way we want? NO! Today’s Scripture says we are liberated to now serve others, especially our Christian brethren, just as Jesus Christ selflessly served His Father and selflessly died on our behalf. That is grace living!!!!

Please see our 2011 Fourth of July Bible study “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land,” which can be watched here or read here.

What a Treasure!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

“I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil” (Psalm 119:162 KJV).

The Holy Bible—what a treasure!

Recently, I sat with a dear Christian lady who has been saved for just under two years. She came out of a false religion, and she is still taking “baby steps” in Bible understanding. It is an extremely slow process, as her background and age hinder her, but she is making progress and we thus rejoice in Christ. I was delighted to talk with her for a couple of hours, answering her Bible questions. How thankful she was to see how simple and enjoyable the Scriptures were!

Brethren, whether we have been in Christ for two years or two decades, we should be growing steadily in the Word. Sadly, some of us have stopped in our understanding. They never reached maturity, and they have ceased maturing. Once fervent in the Word, their zeal has diminished. They gradually drifted from the Word, and now they are ever so far away from where their Heavenly Father would have them. The cares of this world have distracted them, and, what little Bible knowledge they had is now suppressed. Sadly—and, oh, what a shame!—they have given up!

The moment a lost soul comes by faith to the knowledge of sin, and the knowledge of soul salvation found only in Jesus Christ, the Bible is seen as a great treasure. After all the years of misery, confusion, disappointment, and deception in various places, that soul has finally found the greatest answer of all. God’s Holy Word shows itself to be a fortune in the midst of poverty! Instead of meager crumbs, there is a spiritual feast! However, as the years pass, the Christian soul loses that grand perspective. If there is no steady (daily) intake of that same Word, the distractions will overwhelm them, and they will go back to thinking like the lost people they used to be.

Christian friend, if you find yourself in this dilemma, there is a solution. You need to adopt the view of the Bible you held when you first came to Christ. It is a great treasure! Get back in it and rejoice in it! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Satan want to ‘sift’ the circumcision saints?

Competition

Saturday, February 18, 2017

“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)” (Philippians 3:17-19 KJV).

Even today, we find such “enemies of the cross of Christ” among our “Christian” brethren!

A pastor friend once held a grace Bible conference at his local church. He had discovered dispensational Bible study a few years earlier. Now, he was eager to hold a conference by inviting some grace preachers to his assembly. Of course, a denominational preacher in the same town, not far away from his church, who had already rejected right division and decided to compete against it. The same weekend my preacher friend held his Bible conference, the denominational pastor had his own conference. This was strategic. His church members were distracted, unable to attend the nearby grace conference and hear dispensational Bible study. They would not be freed from his denominational system!

Dispensational Bible study allows us to understand God’s grace given us in Jesus Christ. We find that in the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon. Once we recognize Grace—not Law—is how God deals with us today, then we will not stumble over Scripture’s legalistic passages. Rather than struggling under Law, we will know that it was nailed to Christ’s cross: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross” (Colossians 2:14).

However, some Christians fight against this—they want Law, the performance-based acceptance system found in the Bible. They prefer their rites, rituals, and ceremonies because human flesh gravitates toward human “goodness” (religion). Since they follow Scripture’s water baptism, tithing, Sabbath-day keeping, and so on, they believe this “Scriptural” approach is God’s will for them.

However, the Holy Spirit instructed in today’s Scripture for us to “follow Paul and those who follow him.” Only Paul’s epistles tell us we are dead to the Law, and free under grace (Romans 6:14,15). How sad many professing Christians ignore this!

Lifted and Fallen #6

Monday, February 13, 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!

Since we are all genetically related to Adam, all humans are equally prone to sin. Whatever Satan has used to seduce you to sin, he has utilized it to allure every other person, present or past. That is why the Bible says, “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….”

Still, today’s Scripture pronounces we can indeed be victorious over sin. Nonetheless, it has nothing to do with our faithfulness (works-religion). Today’s Scripture goes on to say, God is faithful.” While Satan’s evil world system tantalizes us with various temptations, we escape them by “bearing” (enduring) them—not by having them removed. We have complete victory in Christ, but only in Christnot ourselves! Hence, Paul issues the command: “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry” (verse 14). The indwelling Holy Spirit can cause us to avoid idolatry (that is, Israel’s mistakes). Yes, we will still sin, but that is because we reverted to the flesh when we should have been relying by faith on the Spirit of God and His Word rightly divided.

Dear friends, we had better learn—and never forget!—these lessons from Israel’s history. They serve as our example in how not to behave, how not to respond to God’s generosity (goodness and grace). While we hope we will not sin, we will sin until we are taken to Heaven. Thankfully, God has already taken care of our sin. Nearly 2000 years ago, He settled IN FULL our sin debt at Calvary. Now, we just walk in Him, living day-to-day, relying on Him (resulting in good works) not self (resulting in sins). When we sin, we just return to His Word, find verses to correct our behavior, and implement them to life by faith! 🙂