Not Mixed With Faith

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Hebrews 4:2 KJV).

We can read and memorize all the verses we want, but, if we are not approaching Bible verses in faith, we will not gain the profit God put in them.

I had a recent phone conversation with a brother in Christ who is in the ministry. He is dealing with an individual who jumps from religious group to religious group (five or six current affiliations). This man, whether saved or not I am unsure, constantly asks the brother various Bible questions. How sad it is that people can ask so many questions and still be so ill equipped, unable to distinguish truth from error. Yea, treating the Bible like some “intellectual gym class” will severely harm rather than greatly help!

Take, for example, the nation Israel in the wilderness (Hebrews chapter 3— previous to today’s Scripture). They heard the voice of God thundering from Mount Sinai. They saw the two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments inscribed on them. Unlike the pagan nations around them, Israel had access to the one true God (Deuteronomy chapter 4 in its entirety). Alas, Israel did not believe a word God said (today’s Scripture)! They heard, heard, heard… but they did not believe, believe, believe! Hearing the Word of God does not benefit you if you do not believe it! Paul said this of unbelieving Jews in Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Israel had heard the Word of God for centuries, and yet was still in rank unbelief during his Acts ministry!

The writer of the Book of Hebrews, speaking to Israel during the future time after our Dispensation of Grace, urges the Jews to believe the kingdom doctrines Jesus Christ taught during His earthly ministry. They are to believe on Him as their Messiah, the Son of God, their Redeemer; they must wait for Him to return at His Second Coming to establish that earthly kingdom of God. That wonderful news cannot profit them if “not mixed with faith!”

A Prayer Life Fallen Apart

Monday, June 12, 2017

“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV).

Beloved, when your prayer life ceases, fret not!

An online Christian sister admitted on social media that she had just realized how her prayer life is “pretty close to useless.” Having learned more about how to study God’s Word dispensationally—how everything in Scripture is for us to read but not everything therein is to or about us—she recognizes how she has been praying inappropriately. I told her we have all been there at one time. It was good that she reached this point because most believers never do. Moreover, now that she has identified the problem, she can proceed to fixing it. The solution is there in God’s Word rightly divided, she just needs to study more and discover it!

As a Christian delves deeper into the Bible rightly divided, his or her prayer life increasingly disintegrates. Why? He or she has been praying primarily one of two ways. Firstly, praying like Israel. The primary model prayer of Christendom, of course, is the so-called “Lord’s Prayer,” Matthew 6:9-13—“Our Father which art in heaven….” Secondly, praying like heathen. Jesus Christ discussed that as well. Verse 7 says, “use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”

Friends, we should see how our Apostle Paul prayed. Since his salvation is our “pattern” (1 Timothy 1:15,16), then his ministry and life are also our patterns. If Paul knew what God was doing today, and he did according to Ephesians 3:2, then it is safe to assume that Paul prayed in-line with what God was doing today. As other members of the Body of Christ, we would do well to follow the four model Pauline prayers—Ephesians 1:16-23, Ephesians 3:14-21, Philippians 1:9-11, and Colossians 1:9-13.

Indeed, friends, we pray with whatever Bible understanding we have. We do it with understanding nonetheless—neither mindlessly repeating nor haphazardly snatching verses! As it becomes clear where and how we pray wrongly, we let the rightly-divided verses fix our thoughts and hearts. Once we are re-oriented by God’s grace (I speak from experience), we will not miss that old so-called “prayer life!” Onward to maturity! 🙂

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?

Think Positive! Think Pauline!

Friday, June 9, 2017

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8 KJV).

Think positive! Think Pauline!

Friend, you literally dread the phone calls from some people, do you not? This is especially troubling when those “people” are family members, right? After they have sat for hours and hours fuming about how wrongly somebody treated them, or some other bit of bad news, they call you up in order to spew forth their negativity. They wallow in self-pity and want you to join in with them. Your day was going so well until they called! Thereafter, every time they ring your phone, you cringe. Sometimes, you cannot even bring yourself to answering—you just let the phone ring, ring, ring. You cannot bear to hear one more pessimistic comment!

Beloved, there is so much garbage teaching in the world that people have almost no exposure to Bible truths. Thus, their thoughts are riddled with fallacies, expending all their time and effort on trivial, nonsensical things. They need to get into the Bible, read and believe the Gospel of Grace (Romans chapters 1-5), and get saved into Heaven! If they have already come to Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, they need to study His Word rightly divided. Their minds should be constantly renewed by truth instead of being increasingly polluted by error. Oh, may they be delivered from foolishness!

Notice today’s Scripture: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” These are actually descriptions of the Holy Bible. Read the next verse now: “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me [the Apostle Paul!], do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Think positive—think Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon!
🙂

Shine as Lights #10

Thursday, May 25, 2017

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Philippians 2:14-16 KJV).

Shine as lights, brethren, shine as lights!

When Paul’s converts—whether the Philippians of old, or us today—follow by faith those principles of grace the ascended Lord Jesus Christ entrusted to him, they are preparing for the Judgment Seat of Christ. We want to have this “gold, silver, precious stones” (sound Bible doctrine) stored up in our inner man: we want to have as little as possible of “wood, hay, stubble” (worthless teaching) (1 Corinthians 3:8-15).

All members of the Church the Body of Christ are the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s 2,000-year-long ministry through the Apostle Paul. Brethren, if we walk now by faith in the Dispensation of Grace, Romans through Philemon, there will be so much rejoicing on Paul’s part at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Moreover, all Christians will see the results of their ministries fully exposed, also rejoicing in how God used them to benefit other Christians. (I look forward to seeing you there, dear brethren!)

Immediately after the Judgment Seat of Christ, Father God will gather all His “lights” (members of the Body of Christ), and literally light up the heavens with them! Romans 8:18,19 says: “[18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” What a day that “manifestation” of “glory” will be!

We began this series with a quote by a brother who has since moved to Heaven. Accordingly, to conclude, we use another quote from him: “We are the only Bible this careless world will read. We are God’s signboards in a sinful world. Men watch us, and they judge Jesus by the way we live, work, act, and talk.” Think as lights—“shine as lights!” 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A articles: “What is ‘the botch of Egypt?’” and “What are ‘emerods?’

Shine as Lights #9

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Philippians 2:14-16 KJV).

Shine as lights, brethren, shine as lights!

Christian living in the Dispensation of Grace is summarized so beautifully in 2 Corinthians 5:14-21. We should constantly remind ourselves of this our “Great Commission:”

“[14] For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: [15] And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. [16] Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. [17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. [18] And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Brethren, Christianity is not about us striving to demonstrate our love for God. Nay! It is Christ’s immense, unfailing love for us that drives us, both to preach and live the Gospel of Grace. We live and preach, that others may believe, live, and preach; also becoming “lights” to shine in this dying, dark world. In the ages to come, there will be a grand “lighting” like this universe has never seen….

Shine as Lights #8

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Philippians 2:14-16 KJV).

Shine as lights, brethren, shine as lights!

While Paul ministered for 35 years throughout the Roman Empire, he risked his life daily. As he preached the Gospel of the Grace of God, an “illegal religion,” he suffered greatly at the hands of unbelieving, sinful men—imprisonments, beatings, lashings, muggings, deaths!, and so on (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). Sometimes, he lacked food, clothing, and shelter (Philippians 4:11-13). How many modern “feel-good” preachers would endure this for Christ’s sake?

Today’s Scripture concludes: “…that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” Despite all the Apostle’s suffering, something thrilled his heart beyond words. A mighty of harvest of souls had resulted! His time and energy were not wasted! One day, he would see those former idol-worshipping pagans stand in Heaven, there only because of Christ’s finished crosswork! But, there was more. They had not only believed that Gospel of Grace for justification unto eternal life—they had believed it to enjoy eternal life daily. Now, the Lord Jesus Christ would accept their work, their Christian service, at the Judgment Seat of Christ. They had shined as lights in the world; they had held forth the word of life!

These dear souls, once Hell-bound, now in Heaven, will be Paul’s reason for praising God! First Thessalonians 2:19,20: “[19] For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? [20] For ye are our glory and joy.” Philippians 4:1: “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” Paul did not “run in vain” when he initially preached the Gospel to them. Neither had he “laboured in vain” when he spent time teaching them daily grace living….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How do we not live after the flesh if we live in bodies of flesh?