One Another

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

“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).

Grace living is living for othersnot for self.

A dear sister in Christ shared her distresses with me regarding appalling posts she had seen on social media from fellow “Christians” (?). The wife of a “grace” pastor wrote something highly inappropriate. On another website, the sister saw a video where members of another assembly acted like fools with their “contemporary Christian music.” Here, their pastor had joined them in the entertainment! Most disastrous!!!

It is lamentable, but Christians often have no one to blame but themselves when lost people refuse to hear them talk about the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures. Unsaved souls see right through hypocrisy—especially in places where “righteousness” is proclaimed loudly and proudly. We have far too many individuals in denominational churches—and that number, sadly, is growing among “grace” circles—engaging in flagrant (open!) misconduct. Have they no shame? The church members? Not even the preachers and teachers? No wonder the complaint is lodged (and certainly with merit): “You Christians use grace as a license to sin!”

In contrast to Judaism, Christianity is certainly not a list of “dos” and “don’ts.” Yet, 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 declares: “[1] Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. [2] For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. [3] For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: [4] That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; [5] Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: [6] That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. [7] For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.”

We are free in Christ—to serve others (not self!).

Shunned!

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?’

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!

A Double Promise, A Triple Failure, A Second Chance

Friday, May 4, 2012

“And Peter went out, and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62 KJV).

Why is Peter weeping bitterly in today’s Scripture?

Moments from His arrest, trial, and ultimate crucifixion, our Lord Jesus tells His eleven apostles: “All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written [Zechariah 13:7], I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee” (Matthew 26:31,32).

Jesus knows that He is about to be arrested. He explains to His apostles that they will be ashamed of Him and they will abandon Him when the soldiers come to capture Him. “Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended” (verse 33).

The Lord Jesus then replies, “Verily, I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice [three times]” (verse 34). Peter argues, “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee” (verse 35). In fact, all of the disciples agree they will not abandon Jesus Christ (verse 35).

Once Jesus is arrested, Peter goes to the palace to watch Jesus’ trial from a distance. On three separate occasions, Peter is recognized as a follower of Jesus, and all three times he denies he is a disciple of Christ (Matthew 27:69-74; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62); then, the rooster crows.

What a heartbreaking verse: And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice” (Luke 22:61). Then today’s Scripture says, “And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.”

Peter miserably failed the Lord—thrice—despite his double promise not to. We too are sinners: oftentimes, we miserably fail the Lord, even when we doubly promise not to. But, just as Jesus Christ forgave Peter and gave him another chance (John 21:15-17), we are thankful that our gracious God has forgiven us in Christ (Colossians 2:13) and that He gives us second chances too! 🙂