Living By the Faith of Others #4

Friday, September 10, 2021

“For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands” (Deuteronomy 31:29 KJV).

Moses is quite spiritually minded. Is Israel?

Brethren, let it be made abundantly clear that having a spiritual mentor is not a sin. Yet, we must always remember our Christian life needs to depend on our own understanding and our own faith in the Scriptures. Walking with someone in sound Bible doctrine is absolutely not to be confused with leaning on them as they walk! If our spirituality hangs on other people, what will happen once they grow apostate (turn from the truth) or grow old and die (leave this life via physical death)?

The way to victorious Christian living is to take our own stand on the principles of God’s grace. We do this by reading God’s inspired and preserved words in English, the Authorized Version King James Bible, and studying them ourselves. It goes beyond letting someone else—parents, grandparents, spouses, preachers, priests, theologians, professors, commentary writers, et cetera—tell us what to believe. We need to do our own investigations and come to our own conclusions. Furthermore, it is our job to pass on to future generations not only what we believe, but why we believe it. Again, we do this by taking God’s inspired and preserved words in English, the Authorized Version King James Bible, and letting younger people follow along reading their personal copy as we read our personal copy.

Again, it is not a sin to have a spiritual mentor. It is not a sin to be a spiritual mentor either. Yet, neither is a substitute for the indwelling Holy Spirit teaching the Christian via personal Bible study. When our mentors are long gone (apostate, dead, et cetera), our Christian lives can go on as normal; when we can no longer mentor to our students (we are apostate, dead, et cetera), their Christian lives can go on as normal. Why? These Christian lives were never actually depending on men anyway!

Living By the Faith of Others #3

Thursday, September 9, 2021

“For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands” (Deuteronomy 31:29 KJV).

Moses is quite spiritually minded. Is Israel?

Read the dreadful account of once-spiritual King Joash/Jehoash. Second Chronicles chapter 24: “[15] But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died; an hundred and thirty years old was he when he died. [16] And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God, and toward his house. [17] Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them. [18] And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass.

“[19] Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear. [20] And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you. [21] And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at [!] the [!] commandment [!] of [!] the [!] king [!] in the court of the house of the LORD. [22] Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but [!] slew [!] his [!] son [!]. And when he died, he said, The LORD look upon it, and require it.”

Unfortunately, without Priest Jehoiada’s spiritual counsel, and heeding the “advice” of worldly-minded consultants, Joash/Jehoash reinstated the apostasy of his grandmother Queen Athaliah—even encouraging the murder of God’s Prophet Zechariah, Jehoiada’s own son! At age 47, Jehoash/Joash was wounded in battle with the Syrians, and his servants assassinated him (2 Kings 12:19-21; 2 Chronicles 24:23-26). Moses, in today’s Scripture, was correct….

Living By the Faith of Others #2

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

“For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands” (Deuteronomy 31:29 KJV).

Moses is quite spiritually minded. Is Israel?

Years ago, when training for ministry, I greatly benefited from some counseling video-sermons from a certain grace evangelist. The brother explained how he and his wife had trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, had left their denominational system, and were now growing in God’s grace. Years later, I asked a pastor friend (who had known them personally) whatever became of them. I learned the evangelist and his wife had remained grace-oriented for the remainder of the man’s earthly life, but once he moved to Heaven, his wife remarried. Her new husband was a member of her former denomination—and she returned to the group. My pastor friend had not heard from her or their family in several years, for she had broken off contact with all grace associates now that her grace evangelist husband was with the Lord. How tragic!

Over a century after King David’s death, one of his descendants is reigning in Jerusalem. Young Joash or Jehoash, crowned King of Judah at only seven years of age (!), had a wicked grandmother (Athaliah). Athaliah had slaughtered all her grandchildren but him. She usurped her son Ahaziah’s throne after his death in battle, and reigned as an idolatrous queen for seven years before her execution. Ahaziah’s son and rightful heir, Joash—in hiding all this time—now rules. Under his direction, Judah undergoes major religious reformation, including the renovations of Solomon’s Temple and purifications of all Athaliah’s heathen religion (2 Chronicles 24:1-14).

“And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him” (2 Kings 12:2). “And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest” (2 Chronicles 24:2). Let us see what happens to Jehoash/Joash after Jehoiada’s death….

Living By the Faith of Others #1

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

“For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands” (Deuteronomy 31:29 KJV).

Moses is quite spiritually minded. Is Israel?

Today’s Scripture in context: “[24] And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book [the Book of Deuteronomy], until they were finished, [25] That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, [26] Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee. [27] For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death? [28] Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them. [29] For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.

Over the years of my Christian life and ministry, I have witnessed the spiritual deterioration of families and friends that I dearly love. For example, one specific strong Christian lady I knew was the “spiritual glue” of her family. When she graduated to Heaven, her husband, children, and grandchildren became as worldly as ever. Evidently, they were living somewhat decently while she was with them—living by her faith. Howbeit, once she was absent, they were no longer “forced” to go along with her understanding of the Bible. If she could see them now, her heart would be broken many times over! Dying Moses, through prophetic insight, was in a similar predicament….

The Great Eagle #3

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent” (Revelation 12:14 KJV).

Who or what is this “great eagle?”

If curious about the meaning of the eagle in today’s Scripture, we simply look up the word “eagle” in a Bible concordance and see related verses. These passages will then shed light on the verse about which we have a question. Remember, the Bible features its own built-in dictionary: we let it interpret itself. Obviously, though, it requires effort to find and read cross-referenced verses. However, the common church member is accustomed to being shallow in the Scriptures; therefore, Bible study is frequently dismissed as “boring,” and is thus rare. Yet, study and subsequent meditation is the only way to grow spiritually. Still, we are usually tempted to let someone else (preacher, priest, teacher, professor, church father, et cetera) study and think for us. Until we break ourselves of that bad habit, false teachers will continue to master us and we will remain in darkness and childishness.

The first “eagle” appears in a King James Bible in Exodus chapter 19, the LORD addressing Moses as touching Israel’s rescue from Pharaoh’s (Satan’s) bondage: “And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself” (verses 3,4). Four decades later, just before he dies physically, Moses reminds Israel of that marvelous escape: “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the LORD alone did lead him [Israel], and there was no strange god with him” (Deuteronomy 32:11,12). Notice the striking parallels to today’s Scripture. Were American troops present to deliver Israel from Egypt? No! That was over 3,000 years before the United States existed!

Let us continue searching the Scriptures and forming our chain of “eagle” Bible cross-references….

A Radical Change

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:9,10 KJV).

Genuine faith in Christ should produce good works!

Not long ago, a new Christian—just a few years old in the Lord—told me how people who knew him as a lost man can certainly see a difference in his lifestyle now. He did not elaborate on his former sins, and it was none of my business anyway, but even he sees the simple truth of Ephesians 2:10: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

The Thessalonians of today’s Scripture were once pagan idolaters; however, Paul visited them in Acts chapter 17, preached the Gospel of Grace to them, and they passed from death to life. Such new life in Christ was to produce fruit. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 1:3: “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;….” Interpreting this verse in light of today’s Scripture, we can recognize “work of faith” corresponds to “ye turned to God from idols,” “labour of love” is “serve the living and true God,” and “patience of hope” matches “wait for his Son from heaven.” Here are saints walking in their identity in Christ (Romans chapters 6-8), a rare occurrence in both the Bible and today.

Alas, then we encounter the Corinthians in the Bible record. Even a casual reading of Paul’s two epistles to Corinth leaves us with the impression these “Christians” are still unsaved and dead in trespasses and sins! No, as difficult as it seems, they are alive in Christ, possessors of eternal life: unfortunately, they have largely continued to live just like they were before they came to faith in Christ. Such an awful state of affairs besets the professing Body of Christ even now. We would do well to follow the “ensample” of the Thessalonians!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “If meat-eating occurred only after the Flood, who was eating the animal sacrifices prior?

“Christianettes” #10

Saturday, June 12, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

The Holy Spirit’s deliberate arrangement of Paul’s epistles in the canon of Scripture—Romans first and Philemon last—brings successive waves of doctrine, reproof, and correction. All is “instruction in righteousness,” Christian living. To move from childish/simplistic thinking to adult/critical thinking, one must be taught increasingly deeper concepts. However, since any teaching, especially sound Bible teaching, can be found in so few Christian institutions and assemblies, spiritual babies abound instead of grownups. If they are reading Scripture, it is usually not the Dispensation of Grace but rather a non-Pauline/tradition assortment or Pauline/non-Pauline/tradition hybrid.

Christendom often appeals to Matthew through John, Christ’s earthly ministry, attempting to force those passages onto us. Yet, Christ ministered to Israel only (Matthew 15:24) on the basis of Jewish covenants (Romans 15:8), including the Mosaic Law (Galatians 4:4). However, Christ through Paul says to us: “Ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14,15). We know Jesus today, not through His earthly ministry to Israel, but rather through His heavenly ministry to us Gentiles via Paul’s apostleship: “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” (2 Corinthians 5:16).

Alas, as early as the A.D. first century, the Body of Christ had forsaken Pauline doctrine (grace): “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1:15). Evidently, they preferred legalism (Mosaic Law)—precisely the sentiments of nearly all churches today! Satan’s evil world system is responsible for such ignorance, but the pastors and teachers who should have guarded their local assemblies are not without blame. Brethren, unless we expel the spiritual babies from our seminaries and pulpits, and return to the Apostle Paul’s pattern for edification, the professing church has absolutely no hope of being victorious over its constant sins, false teaching, and impotence.

Only saints mature in grace can do the work of the grace ministry… and only Paul’s epistles will bring us from the status of carnal “Christianettes” (babes) to spiritual Christians (adults) (1 Corinthians 14:37,38)! 🙂

“Christianettes” #9

Friday, June 11, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

“God wants the very best for you!” “It is a sin to be sick and poor!” “Jesus wants you to fulfill your dreams!” As ear-tickling and motivational as they sound, the shallow, puerile dictums of modern Christendom are void of God’s wisdom for the Dispensation of Grace. They do not provide us with any victory over sin or insight into the Lord’s current dealings with man.

Contrariwise, 2 Timothy chapter 3 informs: “[16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [17] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” “Doctrine” is teaching we are to believe: Romans (basic), Ephesians (advanced), and 1 and 2 Thessalonians (super-advanced) fit here. “Reproof” identifies what we are doing wrong: these are 1 and 2 Corinthians (basic) and Philippians (advanced). “Correction” tells us how to adjust erroneous thinking: Galatians (basic) and Colossians (advanced) go here. Again, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon are guides to administering a local grace assembly. Even the layout of Paul’s 13 epistles, from Romans all the way through Philemon, brings the saint from spiritual infancy to full adulthood.

The Corinthians and Galatians knew Pauline truth, but they did not appropriate it by faith. Read 1 Corinthians and Galatians. These are some sinful saints, especially in Corinth! A believer without edification is actually a child of God who thinks and behaves like a child of Satan. Such souls are no threat to the Devil; they may not be going to Hell any longer, but they are still his vessels to send many millions there in their place. Their lack of spiritual growth inhibits them from sharing a clear Gospel message and other Bible teaching: too confused to clearly articulate what they believe, any lost people they could have potentially reached stay lost, and any fellow Christians they could have possibly taught remain ignorant. Whoever is watching them responds, “Whatever that ‘Christian’ believes, I want no part in it! Let me stay in my world religion, philosophy, non-Christian worldview, et cetera.” If we follow Pauline edification, that will not be said of us!

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Acts 19:13-16?

“Christianettes” #8

Thursday, June 10, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

Christ Jesus asserted: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me” (John 13:20). As He sent the 12 Apostles to be His spokesmen in the prophetic program, so He sent Paul to be His spokesman in the mystery program. Under the Holy Spirit’s leadership, Paul thus declared: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office” (Romans 11:13).

First and foremost, the Apostle Paul reveals “my gospel,” the initial step to being “stablished” or stabilized (Romans 16:25,26). “The Gospel of the Grace of God” (Acts 20:24) is clearly defined in 1 Corinthians chapter 15: “[1] Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you,…. [3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:….”

Romans, Paul’s first epistle in the canon of Scripture, describes the Gospel of Grace by which we receive forgiveness, justification, sanctification, redemption, eternal life, et cetera. His next three epistles—1 and 2 Corinthians plus Galatians—expand on Romans and correct any misconceptions or confusions. Most church members, if they ever (!) grasp Romans through Galatians, never get beyond here. Remember, the Corinthians and Galatians failed to learn and apply Romans truth!! Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians are a higher plane of understanding.Very few gain this maturity, “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery” being the second step to establishment as per Romans 16:25,26. Finally, 1 and 2 Thessalonians are “the scriptures of the prophets:” all of the Bible in light of Pauline revelation. Practically no one gets to this final phase of maturity (Romans 16:25,26). Paul’s last four epistles—1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon—are handbooks for running the local church efficiently, also rarely mastered.

Following the Lord’s pattern through Paul, as shown here, we avoid becoming “Christianettes….”

“Christianettes” #7

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

As touching the nation Israel’s spiritual immaturity, the Holy Spirit through the writer of the Book of Hebrews commented in chapter 5: “[11] Of whom [Christ] we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. [12] 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. [13] For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. [14] 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.”

When Hebrews was written—the latter half of the Acts—the seven years of Tribulation should have already passed, Christ should have already returned at His Second Coming, and He should have already established Israel in His earthly kingdom (thus evangelizing Gentiles). By this time, however, the nation is unable to teach God’s words to non-Jews. The Jews themselves must first learn fundamental truth before they can share it with others. Like the Corinthians, they have responded poorly to the spiritual light given to them. Hence, they are “unskilful in the word of righteousness”—like a baby sucking on a milk bottle! They are not spiritual adults, “them that are of full age,” so they cannot eat spiritual meat (solid food): essentially, they are useless to God’s ministry. Hebrews is the Holy Spirit re-teaching Israel the basics, preparing them for Christ’s return and kingdom once our mystery program terminates.

Likewise, Father God would like us members of the Body of Christ to move from “babe” to “full age”—milk to meat, unskilful to experienced, students to teachers! Most importantly, He wants us to grow up now (as opposed to waiting to reach maturity in Heaven). The Pauline Epistles are the means whereby we undergo this transformation….