Spirituality or Futility? #1

Friday, November 3, 2017

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

Here, we see two alternatives—spirituality and futility. Our choice?

A lady once hired a handyman to install a belt on her lawnmower. He spent four (!) hours with the owner’s manual to no avail; it was late at night so he finally gave up. The next morning, he returned and spent another six (!) hours attempting to fix it. Amazingly, he still was unable to install it. Through careful investigation, it was discovered that the repair shop had given her the wrong belt. That poor handyman wasted 10 hours trying to connect something that did not even belong!

Dear friends, I am afraid the above scenario is where most church members—and even true Christians—find themselves. They are so busy straining and striving with a wide array of ceremonies, prearranged prayers, confessions, sacraments, rules and regulations… but are they really getting anywhere spiritually? Nay, it is a treadmill—and they are running in the same place on the same belt! The flesh has them moving, doing religious works, but they are too deceived to recognize the scenery has never changed!

The Corinthian saints were enthusiastically and actively pursuing spiritual gifts. However, they were using God’s gifts to do Satan’s work. First Corinthians 14:12 says: “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” Being carnal Christians—so dominated by their sin nature instead of the Holy Spirit—they were busy utilizing those gifts to satisfy and glorify themselves. What futility!

Chapter 13—the Bible’s wonderful “charity” passage—is the core of three chapters that gently address the Corinthians for their abuse of spiritual gifts. Such gifts were to profit everyone, not just the select few “exercising” them (chapter 12). The gift of prophesying (preaching) was being ignored and the gift of tongues was being emphasized (chapter 14). These “zealous” Christians boasted in their “spirituality”… when, in fact, it was futility….

Light Bulbs and Lenses #1

Monday, September 25, 2017

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

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

Second Corinthians chapter 4 says: “[3] But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: [4] In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Satan blinds people by using the spiritual darkness of works-religion. However, when God’s words enter the soul, there is light. Verse 6 says: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Today’s Scripture says God’s words give “understanding unto the simple.”

The word “simple” here means “silly, foolish, seducible.” In other words, this uninformed person is actually naïve, believing anything and everything heard. The soul has not been grounded in God’s Word rightly divided, so it is vulnerable to constant major shifts in thought and belief. Imagine someone spending an entire lifetime jumping from religious group to religious group to religious group, or bouncing from theological idea to theological idea to theological idea. This was never God’s intention.

In the A.D. first century, God the Holy Spirit gave the Church the Body of Christ gifted men who wrote, collected, copied, and distributed the completed canon of Scripture. Their ministries culminated in the Holy Bible that we have preserved today (in English, it is the King James Bible). God did this, “[12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:…. [14] That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;…” (Ephesians chapter 4).

Since God’s words give light, and they give understanding to the simple, God gave us those words in a written and preserved form. Alas, much darkness remains, until the soul walks in the light that he or she has….

An Eternal House in the Heavens #2

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1 KJV).

You may not see it, but God already does!

A dear friend of mine has been entangled in the “Charismatic Movement” for years. She thus boasts of her “gift of healing.” (Her husband and one of her friends both died of cancer years back.) Afflicted by chronic illness herself, she talks about how she has visited her sick and aging friends in nursing homes, praying and “laying hands” on them to restore their health. (She still visits the same people at those same institutions!) While she has a testimony of salvation in Christ, she is a most confused lady concerning the Bible. She always seeks “signs and wonders” to know God is working.

Friends, since it has utterly failed to uphold the Word of God rightly divided, the Church the Body of Christ is largely caught up in thinking and behaving like Bible skeptics. You ask an atheist what it would take before he or she would “believe in God,” and he or she will probably reply, “If only I could see this miracle happen or that miracle occur, I would believe in God.” In other words, “I will not believe unless I see God working.” Friend, do you know anyone like that in Scripture?

Why, chapter John 20 says of “doubting Thomas:” “[25] The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe…. [27] Then saith [Jesus] to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. [28] And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. [29] Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

If only we would “believe without seeing….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What Gospel message did Lazarus believe to wind up in Abraham’s bosom?

We Are Not Our Own

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19,20 KJV).

We belong to God, not to ourselves!

Nearly one-dozen specific problems existed in the Christian assembly at Corinth. Troubles! Troubles! Troubles! If you look closely at today’s professing “Church,” every last one of them still plagues the Body of Christ—deep divisions, deceived by philosophy, puffed up with pride, engaging in fornication, lawsuits amongst brethren, living selfishly and tearing down Christian brethren in the process, rampant idolatry, abuse of the Lord’s Supper, misuse of spiritual gifts (especially tongues), and denying Christ’s bodily resurrection. While more technologically sophisticated today, we still have not learned the lessons from the Book of 1 Corinthians. In fact, the primary theme of the Book of 2 Corinthians is Paul defending his apostleship against Christians who were rejecting it. Friend, do you know any “Christians” today who hate Paul’s apostleship? (See, it is the “same old, same old!”)

Today’s Scripture sits in the context of fornication, or sexual relations involving the unmarried. Verse 18 says: “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” Today’s Scripture continues: What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Notice how Paul began today’s Scripture with, “What?” You can sense his shock. He is appalled that these Corinthians, despite him being with them and teaching them for over a year, do not know the most basic truth of Christian living. The Holy Spirit lives in us Christians! Our physical bodies are His “temple,” His dwellingplace. Wherever we go physically, we take Him with us! Have we been taking Him where He would have us go? Are we taking Him where He would want to go?

Bible Q&A #315: “Why are there Christians who persistently live like lost people?

Praying for What You Already Have

Friday, April 15, 2016

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17 KJV).

Have a question about God’s will? Get in His Book!

Indeed, someone once said we peer into a person’s soul by listening to him or pray audibly. If you pay close attention, you will hear where they are in their understanding of the Scriptures. You can particularly hear their denominational biases. It is truly awful when believers ask God to reveal His will. It is worse, ever so much worse, when they pray for God’s wisdom and yet do not open the Bible!

Friends, either the Bible is complete, or it is not. We either believe it, or we do not. If we want to know what God would have us to do in any particular circumstance, we need to look into the Bible. Beloved, quit asking God to show us things He already revealed in His Word! We have 66 Bible books, 13 epistles written directly to us the Church the Body of Christ (Romans through Philemon), and we still go around wondering and asking what God would have us to believe and do. It is perhaps the silliest thing. How it so grieves the Holy Spirit to see God’s people floundering in ignorance and foolishness!

Once, God’s written Word was incomplete. Divine revelation was still coming, little by little. However, once Paul wrote his last epistle, 2 Timothy, the final book of the Bible was complete (cf. today’s Scripture). Both Israel’s Little Flock and the Body of Christ had complete revelation from God. There would be no more need for spiritual gifts and angelic messages. To say otherwise is to deny the authority and sufficiency of the Scriptures for God’s people unto all good works.” Everything that God wants us to know, and everything He wants us to do, is in His written Word, particularly the Pauline epistles. If it is not in the Bible, then you make a decision with the information you do have. If you make a mistake, fix it. Simple!

Friends, thank goodness this is not “rocket science!”

Satan and Dispensationalism #10

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant” (1 Corinthians 12:1 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is one of the six key areas that Satan has found to be advantageous regarding confusing God’s people in this Dispensation of Grace, the Church the Body of Christ!

Satan wants ignorant Christians. After all, he can only rule over people who are unaware of what really matters. As one dear brother often says, “Ignorant brethren are the world’s largest denomination!” To add insult to injury, the exact six instances where Paul says not to be ignorant of some doctrine, they are the very doctrines of which Christendom is totally ignorant today! Awful! Shameful! Awful!

The fourth exhortation not to be ignorant is in today’s Scripture. It is part of Paul’s answers to the Corinthians’ list of questions (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Corinthians 8:1). Chapters 12-14 are his instructions concerning spiritual gifts operating during the Acts transitional period. The Corinthians were so carnal (fleshly, worldly) (1 Corinthians 3:1-3), using their spiritual gifts without charity (chapter 13) and glorifying their flesh with “flashiness” in the assembly. “Look at my gift—I speak gibberish, I heal the sick, I blah…blah…blah…!” (Sound familiar?) Paul had to sternly rebuke them. They were not led by God’s Spirit. Furthermore, they were so unhealthily fixated on those spiritual gifts, their Christian lives would finish falling apart in the coming years when those gifts would finish falling away.

There is still a satanic agenda today to deceive Christians concerning spiritual gifts. So many Christians believe God is currently operating the gifts of tongues, healing, prophesy, knowledge, et cetera. Friends, let us ever be mindful of it. Spiritual gifts were for a sign to unbelieving Israel (1 Corinthians 1:22; 1 Corinthians 14:21,22) and only temporarily (1 Corinthians 13:8-13). Christendom proudly refuses to acknowledge those sign gifts fell away when the written Word of God was completed. Like the Corinthians, they are still stuck on selfishness and immaturity—using spiritual gifts to gratify the flesh and glorying in limited Bible understanding. Like Israel in Hebrews 5:11-14, when they should be able to teach God’s Word to others, they themselves must first be taught it. Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, are largely ignored… thus, Christendom is largely ignorant!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does God give us faith?

Paul and Dispensationalism #10

Monday, August 17, 2015

“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

Just what is the test for true spirituality? How many hymns we sang? How many large tithes we gave? How many “unknown tongues” we uttered? How many long prayers we recited? How many theology books we read? How many miracles we performed? How well we know Hebrew, Greek, and Latin? How many confessions we made? How many times we attended church? How high we jumped and how well we danced during “worship?” While in religion these are seen as “marks” of true Holy-Spirit-led Christian service, the Holy Spirit Himself has quite a different opinion (today’s Scripture).

In Corinth, carnality and Biblical ignorance abounded among Christians. It broke Paul’s heart to see that assembly in spiritual shambles… the very same saints he had taught personally for 18 months (Acts 18:11)! Pagan philosophy had enticed and deceived them, they were suing each other, they behaved as drunken gluttons at the Lord’s Supper, they abused spiritual gifts for personal gratification, et cetera. The Corinthians thought they were so spiritual and so wise, while in reality they were so fleshly and so silly! (Like today’s professing “church!”)

Today’s Scripture declares that a Spirit-led Christian, one speaking on behalf of God, acknowledged Paul’s apostolic authority over us Gentiles. The Corinthians were not spiritual—they rejected Paul’s apostleship in chapters 10 through 13 of 2 Corinthians. Paul knew, however, some Christians would continue deliberately ignoring his apostleship. His advice? Let them stay “ignorant!”

First Corinthians 2:6-8 says God’s “hidden wisdom” is manifested for all to see in the writings of Paul the Apostle, Romans through Philemon. Sadly, like the Corinthians, most true Christians today are too deceived, too weak, and too immature to appreciate “the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery.” They cannot handle the deeper things of God. May we be as patient with them as possible, but when they persistently resist God’s truth, do not waste time. Friend, move on to others!