He Took My Sins Away #3

Friday, August 22, 2014

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1 KJV).

The third verse of Margaret Jenkins Harris’ classic 1903 hymn “He Took My Sins Away” highlights today’s Scripture.

“No condemnation have I in my heart,
He took my sins away, He took my sins away.
His perfect peace He did to me impart,
He took my sins away.”

Sin produces guilt, and guilt weighs heavy on the sinner’s heart and mind. Many people go to bed at night feeling so horrible because of their actions earlier that day. They beat themselves up over and over—as if the rigid religionists at the local church do not knock them “black-and-blue” enough on Sunday mornings!

Yea, many Christians lay their heads on their pillow wondering if God really loves them, if He really is for them, and if He really has forgiven them in Jesus Christ. They feel so rotten, so “sorry” (?) for their sins, that they promise to change, but despite all the remorse, they wake up the next morning and wind up repeating their mistakes of the previous day. It would behoove them to read and believe the first eight chapters of the book of Romans, and if they would apply those verses by faith, they would literally see a whole new life. They would be released from such misery, self-pity, guilt, and failure.

If you have relied exclusively on the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished crosswork at Calvary for the complete payment for your sins, you are “accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6). You be loved in Christ! The most important barrier in your life—sin, separation from God—has been dealt with in full. Today’s Scripture says that you are “justified” (made right before God) and you have “peace with God” through Jesus Christ. God is not mad at you, saint, He loves you in Jesus Christ; He has completely paid for your sins, and that sin is hidden in His tomb forever. If God is not bringing them up, why are you? Because of Calvary, we can talk to Him in prayer, and have His peace to enjoy despite our failures.

Yea, He annulled our sin debt….

Tips to Timid Timothy to Tolerate Troubling Times #4

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV).

We have often heard the expression “timid Timothy,” but have you ever wondered why he was timid?

Let us read today’s Scripture in its context (Paul writing to Timothy): “Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; when I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 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” (verses 4-8).

Timothy was a young man when he trusted Jesus Christ alone as his personal Saviour. His grandmother and mother had educated him in the Scriptures (cf. 2 Timothy 3:15). Before Paul first met him in Acts 16:1-3, Timothy had a respectable testimony among other Christians. Thereafter, Timothy faithfully served with Paul in his ministry amongst the Gentiles: Paul had ordained Timothy to function in that ministry as a “secondary” apostle (“the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands;” 2 Timothy 1:6). In the context of today’s Scripture (see previous paragraph), Paul is reminding Timothy of his ordination (which he evidently forgot because of his dire circumstances).

Timothy is now ashamed: he wants to surrender to the opposition. The persecution, the false teaching, his young age, and now Paul’s imprisonment, have distracted Timothy (Satan’s goal). He is not thinking like God has designed a Christian to think, and today’s Scripture is the key to him handling the opposition as a mature Christian….

Of the Light, Not of the Night

Monday, October 14, 2013

“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him” (John 3:1,2 KJV).

Why do you suppose Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night?

Today’s Scripture, excerpted from the Bible’s most recognized passage, involves a Pharisee asking Jesus questions to which he should already know the answers. Nicodemus is a religious leader who studied the Old Testament Scriptures, and yet he is totally ignorant of the spiritual rebirth that Israel needs because of her biological link to Adam (the Old Testament prophets discussed this “heart circumcision” in Deuteronomy 10:16, Deuteronomy 30:6, Jeremiah 4:4, Jeremiah 31:33, et cetera).

Space prevents an in-depth discussion of John chapter 3, but here, we want to briefly discuss why Nicodemus has come to Jesus “by night (today’s Scripture). John 7:50 confirms, “he that came to Jesus by night.” Nicodemus is sneaking about at nighttime, lest his colleagues see him talking with Jesus. He knows that if he is seen in public in broad daylight speaking with Jesus Christ, he will lose his reputation, livelihood, income, everything.

John 12:42,43 are an excellent commentary as to how the Pharisees treated those who confessed Jesus as Messiah: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

Sadly, like Nicodemus, many church leaders today “creep about in shadows,” too fearful to publicly stand up for God’s truth. They avoid embracing a “King James only” position, lest they be considered “unscholarly.” They withhold the fact that Paul’s epistles are written to and about us, lest they be called “unorthodox.” They dare not speak about the sins of the world, lest they be deemed “unloving.”

Saints, may we boldly stand in God’s grace to us in Jesus Christ, unapologetically preaching Him from God’s Word, the King James Bible, rightly divided! 🙂

Biblical Stigmata

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

“From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus” (Galatians 6:17 KJV).

The Apostle Paul wrote in today’s Scripture that no one could deny his apostleship was of Jesus Christ, for he bore “in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” What were these “marks?”

Interestingly, the Greek word here translated “marks” is stigmata, which in English means “signs of disgrace or shame.” Understand that these stigmata which Paul suffered were Scriptural, and they involved shame and hatred, not awe and pride like the “stigmata” of religious tradition (wounds on one’s hands and feet superstitiously believed to be Christ’s scars, which leads to nothing more than pagan idolatry).

Notice what an apostle endured in Bible times: “For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; and labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day (1 Corinthians 4:9-13).

How many of today’s (self-proclaimed) “apostles” could write what Paul did in the above verses? Today, Christendom uses the title “apostle,” not to refer to those who have been directly commissioned and sent by Jesus Christ to travel abroad preaching the Gospel (which is the Biblical definition), but to those who have deceived themselves into believing they have a special “anointing” of God. In Paul’s day, “apostle” was a term of scorn and hatred; today, it is one of great fame and wealth.

Read 2 Corinthians 11:22-30, and notice the beatings, stonings, imprisonments, 195 (!) lashes, and other pains Paul suffered for the Gospel’s sake. How many are willing to endure that stigmata for Christ?

Saint, Why Sayest Thou Nothing? #5

Thursday, January 31, 2013

“Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews” (John 7:13 KJV).

You are not alone in being shy about witnessing for Jesus Christ….

Once the Apostle Paul began his ministry, and started preaching the glorious Gospel of the Grace of God (that we are saved by grace through faith without works), legalism (works-religion/Mosaic Law-keeping) contradicted his message and confused and divided Christians (sound familiar?). Two areas where legalism was dominant were Ephesus and Galatia.

Paul instructed Timothy, a church leader in Ephesus, to “charge [command] some that they teach no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3). They have swerved from “godly edifying” and “faith unfeigned [genuine],” and have “turned aside unto vain jangling [useless, foolish talking]; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm” (verses 6,7).

Sometime later, Paul writes a second epistle to Timothy. It is the Apostle’s final letter. Paul pens that he is “mindful of [Timothy’s] tears” (2 Timothy 1:4). Timothy is very discouraged in the ministry, as evidenced by Paul’s encouragement: “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 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” (verses 6-8).

Timothy is now ashamed of God’s Word and of Paul’s imprisonment. He once courageously proclaimed God’s Word, but now he is craven. The false teachers in Ephesus have intimidated him to silence, lest they have “competition.” Paul instructs Timothy not to fear the lost world. He should endure the suffering that comes with being a Christian. He should speak up about God’s Word! How can he do this? “According to the power of God!” Dear saints, our flesh is weak, but God’s power is more than sufficient to give us boldness to speak His Word to this lost and dying world.

Saint, Why Sayest Thou Nothing? #4

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

“Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews” (John 7:13 KJV).

You are not alone in being shy about witnessing for Jesus Christ….

In Mark 14:27 (cf. Matthew 26:31), just before His arrest, the Lord Jesus declared to His disciples, “All ye shall be offended because of me this night.” Peter replied, “Although all shall be offended, yet will not I” (Mark 14:29; cf. Matthew 26:33). When Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him thrice, Peter spake the more vehemently, and all the other disciples affirmed that, to the death, they would never be ashamed of Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:34,35; Mark 14:30,31).

Once the multitude came and bound Jesus, “all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56). When thrice asked whether or not he was with Jesus Christ, Peter denied it all three times (Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:55-62). “And Peter went out, and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62). The very men who claimed they were going to die for and with Jesus Christ, were the ones who abandoned Him during the moments leading up to His death!

Our flesh is weak, as the above verses demonstrate. We can say we will do one thing, but end up doing the opposite. Nevertheless, there is hope for them… and us! Many weeks after Calvary’s crosswork, these timid men, “…Prayed, [and] the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness(Acts 4:31). Earlier, on the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter preached a magnificent sermon to Israel (Acts 2:14-40). “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (verse 4).

Notice this stark difference. Christ’s disciples were shy and weak in their own strength. However, when they relied on the power of the Holy Ghost, they boldly proclaimed God’s Word! The same is true with us today. We grow timid and fearful when witnessing because that is our weak flesh. However, God the Holy Spirit is more than willing to speak through us!

Saint, Why Sayest Thou Nothing? #3

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

“Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews” (John 7:13 KJV).

You are not alone in being shy about witnessing for Jesus Christ….

In John chapter 9, Jesus Christ heals a man who was blind from birth. Because it is the Saturday Sabbath, the pedantic, “law-keeping” Pharisees are filled with anger (verse 14). They proceed to interrogate and harass the healed man, further hardening their unbelieving hearts. Unless they can ask His parents if he was blind, they will not believe that he was healed. So, they call forth his parents.

Read their “testimony” in John 9:20-23: “His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: but by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.”

Notice why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” They would have to admit that Jesus Christ performed the healing miracle, and this they refuse to do because it would jeopardize their social standing. They would be labeled a “God nut” and they would lose their “friends,” so, they do not dare declare Jesus is Christ/Messiah.

John 12:42,43 summarizes this issue: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

People do not always welcome us with “open arms” when we preach the Gospel of the Grace of God, so we are prone to stay silent, just as these people in the Bible did, lest we are relegated to a “Bible-believing fanatic” status. This should not be so. Thankfully, with God, there is a solution!