Lack of Knowledge!

Friday, September 4, 2020

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children” (Hosea 4:6 KJV).

Despite living in this prosperous world, one possession is often scarce. What?

Recently, I heard a religious man remark concerning a devastating natural disaster: “I don’t know why bad things happen to good people, but if I make it to Heaven, I am going to ask about it.” This is a disturbing statement for two reasons. Firstly, even as a faithful church member of a “Christian” denomination, he lacks the very answers the Bible has already provided on that subject (Genesis chapter 3, for example!). Secondly—and this makes it most unsettling—he said “if” he would get to Heaven!

Never can we fault church members for being idle. They know how to go through the motions of praying, fasting, kneeling, hand-raising, clapping, singing, confessing, shouting, weeping, dancing, speaking in “tongues,” jumping, giving alms, lighting candles, water baptizing, and so on. Yet, most lack even a basic understanding of Scripture. This was the Jews, over 700 years before Christ. The LORD commented, “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). Dutifully offering animal sacrifices, they were unfamiliar with God’s words! Written around the same time was Isaiah 5:13: “Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.”

The Hebrew word rendered “knowledge” in today’s Scripture is “da`ath.” It was paired with the negative prefix “beliy” (“without”). The same idea is found in Deuteronomy 4:42—“unawares”—when someone killed his neighbor unintentionally. It is translated “ignorantly” in Deuteronomy 19:4 and “unwittingly” in Joshua 20:3. Just as this manslayer was oblivious to his victim neighbor’s presence, so we can be equally ignorant of Scripture. Unfortunately, that is sometimes deliberate: Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?” (Job 21:14,15; cf. today’s Scripture). May spiritual ignorance—especially purposeful—not be true of us!

To Look Beyond the Makeup #13

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

Prior to our Dispensation of Grace, Satan’s evil world system contaminated ancient Israel with pagan idolatry (especially through King Ahab and Queen Jezebel). After our Dispensation, this will be repeated via “King” Antichrist and “Queen” Whore of Babylon. Remember, once Satan learns something works to his advantage, he will use it repeatedly. For thousands of years now, false religion has deceived mankind. If it was beneficial to the Devil’s plan then, and it will be helpful to him later, then he is indeed (!) operating it right now… and practically no one detects it!

Scripture explains how the harlot seduces a young man “void of understanding” (Proverbs 7:7). He is among the “simple [uneducated, unskilled] ones.” Carefully read the whole chapter. Exercising great subtilty, she lures him with the promise of physical delight (cf. 1 Timothy 4:1-3). Naïve and uninformed, he absolutely cannot resist. He merrily jumps in bed with her… and then she kills him! That man represents unsuspecting Israel—or even gullible “Christians” today—falling for Satan’s lie program of evil religion. The LORD God gave them His Word, but they ignore that Divine wisdom. Focusing on mere outward appearance (a “painted” face), they lack any sense to realize they have joined themselves to a “woman of the street!”

Finally, consider “eye-opening” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15: “[13] For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. [14] And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. [15] Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” False religion is attractive yet sneaky, Satan’s precise method in Genesis 3:1-6. It shoves aside God’s grace, and stresses our (self-) “righteousness.” With our eyes on the creature, they are off the Creator (Romans 1:25). Ignoring God’s Grace Message through the Apostle Paul, the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon, we have failed to look beyond the makeup… yea… fakeup!

A Mobile Temple!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

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).

The temple of the Holy Ghost is mobile—legs enable it to relocate!

Recently, a dear Christian brother conveyed to me his distaste for a family gathering. Originally intended to be a birthday party, the get-together finally turned into a celebration of drunkenness. Deeply disturbed, he ultimately decided to leave; yet, some of his Christian relatives stayed behind.

Unfortunately, dear brethren, getting as far away as possible from these situations is really the only wise choice. Whether it is family members or friends (even professing believers!), we do not have to remain there and watch them “act the fool.” Neither is there a need for us to “cause a scene,” publicly condemning their activity and drawing attention to it. We can (and should) feel righteous anger—knowing the destructiveness of such behavior—but we are under no obligation to stay. We simply bid them “farewell” and quietly go our way.

Today’s Scripture is written to carnal, fleshly or worldly, saints. With great incredulity, the Apostle Paul commented on the Corinthians’ actions. “What?,” he opened the verse. In other words, “Huh? I do not believe it! Have you no spiritual understanding? Were you not paying attention when I taught you about grace living for several months? Did you not learn about Christian maturity and civility from me?”

According to the Bible, the Holy Ghost, the third Member of the Godhead, indwells us as members of the Church the Body of Christ. If He would not be comfortable in the situation, would it be appropriate for us to take Him, the indwelling Spirit of God, into it? No, it would not. Christian living is not selfish living. We should be walking in the will of God—and if we tread into a “sinful place,” we need to walk out quicker than we came in! Brethren, let us have the spiritual sense, the discernment, to leave behind any setting which is not compliant with the principles of grace!

World Lost! #10

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:9,10 KJV).

Some have cried out, “This world is going to hell in a handbasket!” Others have exclaimed, “We have lost our country!” Surely, surely, they are all correct!

For centuries, church members have constructed buildings, lit candles, walked aisles, distributed religious literature, donned choir robes, knocked on doors, held “revivals,” organized concerts, and raised money for “missions.” Our leaders have wasted decades and billions of dollars on seminary and Bible college, having learned nothing but man’s speculations and traditions. Spreading their error to the congregations, the Body of Christ—lacking God’s wisdom and power—is rendered impotent and unable to withstand the deceitful cultural revolution already begun.

The formalism was but a veneer. All its gold and silver cannot hide the spiritual poverty of the professing church. Neither can all the water in every baptistery fount wash away its hypocrisy. All the professions of “faith” cannot mask the unbelief that pervades it. Simply put, people have been “playing church”—and the “actors” have finally taken off their masks! In the Apostle Paul’s time, the challenge was preaching the newly-revealed Gospel of Grace so the nations would trust it and abandon their paganism. Now, having gone through 20 centuries of individuals rejecting that Good News, we are witnessing a reverse. Light refused becomes darkness. Today, the nations know the Gospel of Grace—and are returning to heathenism anyway!

Jesus Christ’s return will right everything wrong. Until then, we Christians need to believe and proclaim a clear Gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), and then believe teach sound Bible doctrine (the Word of God rightly divided—especially Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon). Brethren, let us faithfully pass that to future generations, so we may say, “We are not responsible for the world lost!”

An Ambassador Turns 32!

Friday, August 7, 2020 🎂

“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:” (Proverbs 1:5 KJV).

A certain ambassador marks another birthday!

With the passing of every year, today’s Scripture should be increasingly applicable to the saint of the Most High God. As the aging process continues—mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually—more strength should be gained. It is the intention of the Holy Spirit to use the Holy Bible to focus especially on “the inner man,” affording the reader or listener the opportunity to augment his knowledge. Once this is allowed to occur, the person graduates to “wise counsels,” having not simply disjointed fragments of assorted information but possessing a comprehension of the larger picture.

Over in 2 Timothy 2:22, we read: “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Pastor Timothy was a young man, so he still had a lot of growing to do. As opposed to being conformed to this world, he was to make steady progress in being transformed by the renewing of his mind (Romans 12:2). Sin was to have a lessening grip on him, and it would—provided he set his focus on uprightness, trust in God’s words, love in action, and tranquility.

In His grace, the Lord has blessed me with 32 years of earthly life. However, there is an afterlife to anticipate too. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). For the past 25 years, I have come to enjoy eternal life—and that will continue forever. There is still so much for me to learn about this life and the life to come. If I were granted another 50 years here—to come to an even greater spiritual maturity, and to bring many more lost people to Christ and many more Christians to full-grown status—that would be awesome beyond description. Still, the Lord may have other plans. For example, before then, He may decide to return and close the Dispensation of Grace with our gathering together unto Him. We shall have to see! Since we have opportunity now, let us continue being about our Father’s business! 🙂

Who Will Go? #7

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8 KJV).

May we agree with the Prophet Isaiah!

Second Timothy chapter 2: “[20] But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. [21] If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. [22] Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. [23] But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. [24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

A servant is just a nobody—no one special. Yet, if the Lord Jesus Christ is involved, nothing becomes something: His vessels are filled with His mighty power! In this world growing wilder and darker daily, we should have a clear Gospel message to share with lost souls: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). This is how they escape Satan’s policy of evil! We should also have a well-defined Bible study system for those interested in understanding and enjoying the Scriptures: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). This too frees souls from spiritual darkness.

Conducting our ministries, we recruit others to God’s family… who, in turn, go out to convert others. As pertaining to the Dispensation of the Grace of God, the Lord is interested in sending out preachers and teachers. In unison, all members of the Church the Body of Christ should cry out, “Here are we!” 🙂

Who Will Go? #6

Monday, July 27, 2020

Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8 KJV).

May we agree with the Prophet Isaiah!

The evil world system, having mercilessly beaten them down, has caused so many precious Christians to become diverted and discouraged through the centuries. How they need to renew their mind and stop sitting around idly! As a famous evangelist wrote in his Bible by today’s Scripture: “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do, and what I ought to do, by the grace of God I will do!

Whenever Almighty God commissions anyone in any age of any age, He never fails to provide them with exactly what they need to accomplish His work. Never has He told them and never will He tell them, “I want you to go do this, and that, and this, and that. Oh, and, good (!) luck (!) figuring (!) out (!) your (!) way (!) and (!) finding (!) the (!) necessary (!) equipment (!) to (!) use (!) therein!” No, if ever there is a “crippled” saint, a soul confused in life and ministry, it is not God’s fault. Instead of appreciating what Father God has already given them in Christ, they endeavor in a struggle with their flesh and that of others. Exerting great effort, they still make no progress.

In this the Dispensation of the Grace of God, the Holy Spirit has given us a completed Bible—the mystery program fully revealed (Paul’s ministry) and the prophetic program fully revealed (the rest of Scripture). If we do not know God’s will, it is our own fault. The only way we know His will is if we know His Word, so if we do not know His Word, it is because we have not read His Word. We have paid attention to church tradition, speculations, and assumptions—and our ignorance could not be more pronounced. He has told us to “go” in ministry, and by our faith in His grace, we go in ministry….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What distance is ‘a stone’s cast?’

Turn Not from It! #3

Thursday, July 2, 2020

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:7 KJV).

Dear readers, let us learn this vital lesson from ancient Israel’s history.

“All churches believe roughly the same.” “One religion is as good as another.” “Doctrine does not matter.” “It makes no difference what Bible translation we use.” Such pervasive myths they are! When JEHOVAH God commanded Israel to obey His Word, He likened it to them following a path from which they should never deviate. To introduce just one scintilla of false teaching would be to veer off course—to the left hand or right. The Holy Spirit had inspired, had spoken forth, the Mosaic Law. Accordingly, Israel was to not drift from it. Alas, Israel had a lackadaisical attitude—like the Body of Christ today. They were loose in their beliefs… until they were finally free from God’s control entirely!

Titus chapter 1 again: “[10] For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision [Jews]: [11] Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. [12] One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. [13] This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; [14] Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

We, the Body of Christ, were cautioned in Paul’s epistles to carefully adhere to sound doctrine. There are more evil schools of thought in the world than good, more false teaching than truth. Yet, little spiritual discernment is the norm today. For 2,000 years, we have spent most of our time swerving doctrinally—left and right, here a denomination and there a denomination—than we have staying on the course of Pauline teaching. We have allowed lost people, under the guise of “scholarship,” to take leading positions in our Bible colleges and churches. No wonder we see such spiritual confusion and ruin amongst ourselves!

Let us depart neither right nor left….

Careful—But Not Careful! #15

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

Even as Christians, we are never, ever guaranteed a life without pain, suffering, hardship, sickness, grief, or loss. Still, that does not mean God does not love us or care about us. We look to Calvary’s cross—not our circumstances—to see God’s love for us. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

No matter our surroundings—good or bad—Father God has fully equipped us with His grace to handle everything. Second Corinthians chapter 12: “[9] And he [the Lord Jesus] said unto me [Paul], My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Philippians chapter 4 again: “[11] Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. [12] I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. [13] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Contentment is not automatic but rather something “learned.” Sound Bible doctrine must be continuously absorbed. It also takes a long time to sort through the deception, misinformation, and confusion that often distract us from God’s Word rightly divided. The more difficult the situation, the harder it is to correct the distortion associated with it. Remember, we must be prepared for Satan’s attacks. That evil work is subtle, but with Romans through Philemon, we have “the mind of Christ” and can thus overcome the Adversary (1 Corinthians 2:16)! 🙂

-FINIS-

Careful—But Not Careful! #14

Monday, April 20, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

We should always use common sense. Being careful, or alert, is wise. We should do our best to preserve our health and life, and protect the health and lives of those around us. However, being “careful”—as in worrisome, consumed by hypervigilance—is unwise. Anxiety is actually counterproductive, as it weakens our health and shortens our life. Living in fear or paranoia is the very last thing God wants for us, members of the Church the Body of Christ.

Instead of fretting, we should take advantage of the provision our Heavenly Father already put in place for us. Worrying is the result of not knowing the future. However, if we are already familiar with Paul’s Epistles, Romans through Philemon, we know what God is doing with us now and what He will do with us later. Whatever else happens to us really does not matter. Eternity—that which never ends—outweighs anything and everything that could possibly come our way in this temporary world.

Taking a firm stand by faith in the sound Bible doctrine we have read, we now talk to our Heavenly Father. We know that He, as we keep reading that Divine revelation, will supply what we need—strength, wisdom, and so on. Since we have that assurance, we thank Him for it in advance. As long as we prayed the “Pauline way,” we will be neither surprised nor disappointed. If we failed to read and believe His words through Paul, then we had better go back and look to see what God is doing (lest we try to force Him to do something else, and wind up spiritually ruined!). Finally, we have God’s peace, inner tranquility, something far beyond human reasoning or explanation. Protected internally from all of Satan’s attacks—doubts, questions, concerns, and so on—we have the victory over every circumstance!

Let us now conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Titus 1:12?