Signs of Shallowness #2

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

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).

Behold the signs of shallowness!

“Tell people about Jesus.” “A.S.A.P.: always say a prayer.” “Praise God.” “Thank Jesus.” “Let God’s love be inside us.” “Jesus, I surrender to you.” Local churches featured these messages on their signs. Dear friends, do you not see how shallow they are? There is no spiritual steak here, something of sustenance—just spiritual milk and childishness. No wonder the professing church is so doctrinally weak! We abound with spiritual children in the church because spiritual children lead it! Have these ministers not taught their people enough Scripture to post powerful, thoughtful Bible messages?

For over 18 months, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul directly taught the Corinthians (Acts 18:1-18). Later, Paul wrote to these new saints (1 Corinthians chapter 3): “[1] And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. [2] I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. [3] For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”

It is certainly not a sin to be immature. Development is a process—whether spiritual or physical. We begin in our mother’s womb as a fertilized egg, but we do not remain like that indefinitely. Eventually, we are delivered at birth, passing from infancy to toddlerhood, then to childhood, next to adolescence, and finally to adulthood. How preposterous is the notion that one never leaves mother’s womb! Apply this simple illustration to the spiritual realm….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What are ‘evil communications’ in 1 Corinthians 15:33?

Signs of Shallowness #1

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

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).

Behold the signs of shallowness!

The writer of the Book of Hebrews—not the Apostle Paul!—understood the nation Israel’s dire spiritual state. For 15 centuries, they had possessed the Word of God (Romans 3:1,2). Eventually, they should have spiritually matured in it, able to take those words of God out to the world (Gentiles/nations). Alas, Israel had spent most of those centuries depending on the traditions and opinions of men. She allowed Satan’s evil world system to “convert” her: they held rabbinical traditions in high esteem, they loved their idols of wood and stone, and they were so comfortable in self-righteousness.

The Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures were overwhelmingly shunned; therefore, Israel was unable to identify her Messiah (Jesus) when He ultimately presented Himself to them! When God the Holy Spirit penned the Book of Hebrews, Jesus Christ has already come and gone. He had been born in Bethlehem Judaea, He had lived for 30 years among His Jewish brethren, He had preached and performed miracles for His last three years—and His own nation demanded He die on a cruel cross!

Even now, as the Holy Spirit writes during the Acts period, Israel is nationally floundering in spiritual ignorance and impotence. They are still refusing to listen to the preaching of the Apostle Peter and the other 11 Apostles serving with him; in fact, they are persecuting and killing Christ’s messengers. Not only so, they are opposing the Apostle Paul. Israel is spiritually crippled, childish in the Scriptures. Let us not look down upon them, for that describes many professing Christians today….

Teamwork!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:20,21 KJV).

It is a group effort—guarding the principles of grace given us.

Recently, I attended another one of my niece’s softball tournaments. Those young women have greatly matured in the last two years. By trial and error, training and careful thought, they have learned exactly what it takes to be victorious. It does not come easy, as “teamwork” really is about cooperating with others instead of operating alone. There are great frustrations. Situations look grim, maybe hopeless. In the midst of it all is the foreboding feeling of wanting to give up. Much effort is required to achieve anything important. The Christian ministry is quite similar.

Brethren, we have the Bible—God’s “playbook” that also lays out how our Adversary (Satan) works as the opposing team. The Holy Spirit has already outlined therein what Father God is doing today as well as what the Devil is doing to contest it. Grace has given us the privilege of serving with other Christians to gain the advantage with sound Bible doctrine.

If we want to “train up” in the world’s way, learning how lost people think and applying that to life, we most certainly can do it. While not what God originally wanted for us, He is more than willing to give us over to “do our own thing.” We will “swing the bat at nothing”—too high, too low, too fast, too slow (struggling and imprecise). If we do manage to run toward a base, again, we run too slow or too fast—not reaching the base, or passing it and being tagged out. Tripping, we fall, unable to achieve that higher level of maturity and work.

We can do the work of the ministry, and see God’s words and will be conveyed to the masses. Or, we can fall victim to infighting and self-defeat. Unless we give careful thought to what we are doing—what Father God is doing—we will be weak and incompetent. Far better we remain in the “dugout” than go out “on the field” inexperienced and stumbling; more harm than good will result with recklessness!

What Pleases God #8

Saturday, November 9, 2019

For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (2 Peter 1:17 KJV).

Using the Scriptures, we will define exactly what God thinks well of….

“He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me” (2 Samuel 22:20; cf. Psalm 18:19). King David celebrates after JEHOVAH God “delighted” (was pleased with) him and delivered him from all his enemies. This previews believing Israel’s future deliverance at Christ’s Second Coming, liberated from Satan and all other Jew-haters. “For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation” (Psalm 149:4).

When compared to His Son’s perfect sacrifice of Himself on Calvary’s cross, God has “no pleasure” in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin (Hebrews 10:6-8). As concerning us Christians in the Body of Christ, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21). God has “no pleasure” in hearts of unbelief (Hebrews 10:38). He was “not well pleased” with a large number of Jews who came out of Egypt (1 Corinthians 10:5); hence, they died in unbelief in the wilderness in the Book of Numbers. As Israel killed Messiah Jesus, and then persecuted and slew His Apostles and their converts during the Acts period, the Holy Spirit commented on how the Jews “please not God” (1 Thessalonians 2:15).

“But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased (Psalm 115:3; cf. Psalm 135:6). “By him [Christ] therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased (Hebrews 13:15,16). “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs” (Psalm 69:30,31). Saints, we know what pleases God! Now, how will we respond? 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the ‘appearing’ of the Lord in 2 Timothy 4:8?

What Pleases God #7

Friday, November 8, 2019

For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (2 Peter 1:17 KJV).

Using the Scriptures, we will define exactly what God thinks well of….

Ephesians 1:6 says Father God “hath made us accepted in the beloved.” The Greek word rendered “accepted” is “charitoo,” translated “highly favoured” in Luke 1:28. (“Charis” is Greek for “grace.”) It naturally follows that since we are God’s children, our activities should reflect our identity. Just as we please God positionally—in Christ, sharing all His traits (righteous, holy, beloved of God, et cetera)—so we should please Him practically by letting that identity transform our lifestyles on a daily basis.

First Thessalonians chapter 4: “[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 [strong desire], 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.”

Sinners cannot help but sin; sin is all the “old man,” the old nature, knows! Saints, however, are “freed from sin” (Romans 6:7); sin does not have dominion over us. We can choose to take our stand by faith in Pauline doctrine, and walk in accordance with it. When our conduct matches Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, we please Father God. The Holy Spirit is “grieved” (saddened) when we “quench” (hinder, prevent) Him from working in our lives (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Let us now summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Weirdoes #7

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord (1 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

Brethren, we may be unfairly judged of other Christians and/or the world, but the final verdict will come of the Lord.

Read today’s Scripture in context: “[1] Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. [2] Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. [3] But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. [4] For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. [5] Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.”

The Corinthians were the fleshliest (worldliest) Christians in all of Scripture. Their assembly epitomizes most of the Church the Body of Christ today. Considering their doctrinal confusion and spiritual immaturity, who were they to judge whether or not Paul was an apostle and servant of Jesus Christ? They themselves could not discern truth from error, but, having such a high opinion of themselves, they believed they could accurately assess doctrine! Paul answered them (today’s Scripture), “I could not care less about what you carnal Christians think of me! It makes no difference to me whether or not you approve of me! Who cares if your Greek philosophy disagrees! I will let the Lord evaluate my Christian service at the Judgment Seat of Christ!” (See 1 Corinthians 3:9-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9,10; and Colossians 3:23-25).

We thus answer the denominationalists who question whether or not we Bible-believing, Pauline dispensationalists are really Christians believing and teaching true Christian doctrine. Since they are deceived and stumbling in the confusion of their vain speculations and traditions of men, they are certainly in no position to identify Christian beliefs!

Bible Q&As #663, #664, and #665: “Does Matthew 1:8-9 contain errors?,” Does Matthew 1:11 contain errors?,” and Does Matthew 1:12 contain an error?

Weirdoes #6

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord (1 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

Brethren, we may be unfairly judged of other Christians and/or the world, but the final verdict will come of the Lord.

First Corinthians chapter 3 admonishes the Corinthians to immediately cease their involvement with pagan philosophy. Like most church members today, they had not been careful in their edification. Bad doctrine—non-Pauline teaching—had severely arrested their spiritual development!

“[10] According to the grace of God which is given unto me [Paul], as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed [beware!!!] how he buildeth thereupon. [11] For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. [12] Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; [13] Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. [14] If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. [15] If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 

“[16] Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? [17] If any man [false teacher!] defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. [18] Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. [19] For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. [20] And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. [21] Therefore let no man glory in men….”

Rather than “glory in men,” praising man’s “wisdom” (philosophy), we listen to God’s wisdom….