Striving, Not Striving #5

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord (Philippians 4:1,2 KJV).

Rather than striving with each other, we saints need to strive together.

Philippians chapter 2 continues: “[5] Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: [6] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: [7] But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: [8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Here is the “mind” all Christians should have. It is a mental attitude of utter selflessness, total humility, and undivided dedication to Father God’s will. Dear brethren, if we would believe and obey these verses, then the inconsequential disagreements and stupid arguments would disappear from our local churches. We would set aside self and look to benefit others. If Euodias and Syntyche followed these Divine instructions, then they would “be of the same mind in the Lord.”

Now, we turn back to Philippians chapter 1: “[27] Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; [28] And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.”

Recall that “the gospel of Christ” focuses on Christ’s finished crosswork. Philippians 2:5-8 reports that a certain mentality drove Christ to Calvary. If we adopt His attitude, then we will “stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Our passion will be the defense of sound Bible doctrine as opposed to trifling opinions and self-centeredness. Then, our efforts will make a positive impact in eternity—something well worth our time and effort! 🙂

Striving, Not Striving #4

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord (Philippians 4:1,2 KJV).

Rather than striving with each other, we saints need to strive together.

As in every city, there were in Philippi “adversaries” or lost people contrary to the preaching of the Gospel (Philippians 1:28). They labored to frighten the Philippian saints into silence. Hence, verse 27 had exhorted these believers: Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel….” All Christians are on the same team, and should (!) be with each other (in mind and action) in the work of the ministry.

However, our sinful flesh gets in the way. The work of the ministry breaks down when one or more Christians adopt an attitude or opinion the Scriptures do not support. Now, lost and saved, those within and without, are united in upsetting God’s work. Philippians chapter 2 corrects this sin of pride of selfishness: “[1] If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, [2] Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. [3] Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. [4] Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

Like team sports, each member should be thinking about how to make the next point or goal. Inner conflicts are counterproductive: they do not compete against teammates. Likewise, we should not be vying against fellow members of the Body of Christ. It is not about us. We do not have to have the attention or recognition (what the flesh craves). For the sake of God’s work, Paul asks Euodias and Syntyche to “be of the same mind in the Lord.” God’s mind should unite all Christians….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “‘Speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt?’

Unity in Diversity

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal (1 Corinthians 12:4-7 KJV).

Despite the diversity in the Church the Body of Christ, behold the unity in the Church the Body of Christ!

The Corinthians were carnal, fleshly, selfish saints who were guilty of infighting (1 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Corinthians 3:1-3). They had to be taught a lengthy lesson on charity, love in action (1 Corinthians chapter 13). At that time when God the Holy Spirit was still giving out spiritual gifts, the Corinthians used their “gifts” to help themselves and draw attention to themselves. However the Holy Spirit was being revealed to them was not a time for them individually to profit. Ministry at the local assembly was not for them to seek their own good but rather the advancement of those around them.

We should never view ministry as a competition between ourselves and other believers in Christ. If sound Bible doctrine, or grace, is working in us, and sound Bible doctrine is working in them, then we are working to the same end. There should be no envy, as it is the same Holy Spirit. The only reason we would feel covetous is if we were under the impression that it was all about us. We still have so much to learn about grace if we think that the Bible is all about us. We still have so much to learn about the Bible if we think that ministry is all about us. It is (should be) all about the Lord Jesus Christ!

Yes, we all play our own little part, our own unique role, in Father God’s grand scheme of things. He does not need us to participate but He does want us. He does not force us but He does invite us. If we do not have the right attitude, then it is best for us not to get involved in ministry at all. It will do far more damage than good. Saints, despite our diversity, we have unity in Jesus Christ!

Family!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-28 KJV).

When grace saints gather in one place from various parts around the world, these “complete strangers” soon feel like they have known each other for years. This is the bond the Holy Spirit initiates because of sound doctrine.

You could stay with these brethren, studying and conversing with them, for hours upon hours. They feel like family—yea, they are family! It is like a pleasurable reunion of old friends. Today’s Scripture says all who have trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour are “children of God:” regardless of nationality, social status, or sex, they have all been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Church the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; cf. today’s Scripture).

If sound Bible doctrine is given supremacy—that is, Jesus Christ’s teaching is preeminent—unity will be manifested. Harmony does not mean we agree on every last doctrinal point. It means we agree that the King James Bible rightly divided is our final authority. We have believed on Jesus Christ dying for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). We know that Paul is our apostle (Romans 11:13). We believe that we are the Church the Body of Christ rather than the nation Israel (Romans 11:25). We understand that we live in the mystery program, not the prophetic program (Acts 3:21; Romans 16:25). We appreciate that we are under grace rather than law (Romans 6:14,15).

Sadly, like all families, the Body of Christ suffers from sibling rivalry and infighting. Numerous foreign ideas creep in, are accepted, and likeminded believers thus become increasingly incompatible. Jesus Christ is pushed aside so self can be emphasized. Doctrine is abandoned for the sake of unity. Charity disappears. The Body of Christ becomes an impotent entity, a fragmented group that loses sight of its identity and purpose. However, in due time, Father God, will make it right. After all, they are His family too!

Something in Common

Thursday, November 10, 2016

“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus…. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26,28 KJV).

Have you trusted Jesus Christ alone as your personal Saviour? Then, you are a child of God!

Recently, I was privileged to meet and thank a 90-year-old (!) United States veteran. Having served in World War II over 70 years ago (!), he was a guest speaker at a private Christian school’s Veterans Day function. He mentioned not only such physical battles, but also the greatest spiritual battle—Satan trying to keep every last human soul he currently owns! He proceeded to share the Gospel with the crowd. After the program, I approached this dear man, talked with him, and learned he was a Christian. Not just some “church member,” I consider him a saved individual. Actually, we may never see each other on this earth again, so I told him, “At least we will see each other in heaven some day!”

Friends, the above scenario is very interesting. This veteran and I had no earthly reason to ever meet one another. He is over three times my age. We live in separate cities many miles apart. We do not share professions. We are not blood related. He had never heard of me and I had never heard of him. Ultimately, the common factor was Christ. He had become a Christian, and I had become a Christian. Many, many years later, it was because of Jesus Christ that we (recently) gathered in an assembly (unaware of each other until the very end).

Think about right now, friends. We would have probably never “met” here had it not been for Jesus Christ. We live in different cities, different states, and/or different countries. Thankfully, God can use any person anywhere at anytime who will simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that He died to pay for their sins and He was raised again to give them eternal life. Amazingly, Father God can take all believing sinners of various centuries, put them into the same Body of Christ, and then they meet each other in heaven (who would have not met otherwise)!

Satan and Dispensationalism #13

Sunday, October 18, 2015

“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:” (Ephesians 3:1,2 KJV).

Satan knows that Dispensational Bible Study is the key to understanding God’s Word. Thus, he denies it and corrupts it every chance he gets!

There are various “dispensations” in the Word of God, different instructions God gives to a people group in history to believe and obey. The “Dispensation of the Grace of God” is the one that affects us Gentiles today. Paul says in today’s Scripture that the risen, ascended, and glorified Jesus Christ gave him this dispensation so that he could give it to us. That dispensational boundary and change is of critical importance. It involves these last 2,000 years—one-third of human history! It affects the formation and function of the Church the Body of Christ. If Satan can introduce the least amount of uncertainty regarding this dispensation, he confuses the Body of Christ and disrupts two millennia of God’s working in the world.

The most confusion concerning dispensational Bible study is exactly when the Dispensation of Grace began and when our Church the Body of Christ began. Some say Acts chapter 2, others say chapter 9, still others chapter 13, and still others chapter 18, still others chapter 20, or even chapter 28, or even beyond. Confusion! Confusion! Confusion! Some start the Body of Christ in one part of Acts and start the Dispensation of Grace in another part of Acts. We have those who say, “Grace began at the cross but the Body of Christ did not begin until Acts 2.” We have those who say the Body of Christ began in Acts 9 but the Dispensation of Grace did not begin until late Acts or post Acts. We have one group that says the Dispensation of Grace and the Church the Body of Christ both began in late Acts or post Acts. Confusion! Confusion! Confusion!

When did the Dispensation of Grace begin? When did our Church the Body of Christ begin? Unless we have a denominational or “traditional grace” system to promote, we will just agree with the Bible. Let us see what God’s Word says.

The Key to Harmony

Saturday, May 2, 2015

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 KJV).

Behold, the key to harmony!

We all recall times when fellow Christians mistreated us. We all remember times when we wronged other Christians. While Father God has granted us abundant forgiveness in Christ (today’s Scripture), it is very difficult to apply that forgiveness to others. What they did to us hurt, and what we did to them hurt. Some wrongs are especially painful, very tough to relinquish (which then fester to become grudges). When we see these people, what they did to us immediately comes to mind. It was five, 10, 20, or over 50 years ago, but we still remember what happened. Our emotions (tainted by sin) then get involved, and how we want to lash out at them!

As a brother in the ministry once said, “We grace Christians need to be the kindest, gentlest, most loving people.” Today’s Scripture should be committed to memory. No, we are not to be doormats, but we should make every possible effort to make any situation better, especially if it involves another member of the Church the Body of Christ (Romans 12:18; Galatians 6:10). Sometimes, because of pride, the other party refuses to yield. They decline to reconcile—no apologies are offered, no kindness is shown, wrongdoing is denied, et cetera. Some matters just cannot be straightened out. Unfortunately, they will only be made right in heaven (when neither person’s flesh is in the way).

We need to take a moment to pray for those who have wronged us. If they are unsaved, may we be burdened to pray for their salvation unto eternal life. They need to believe the Gospel of Grace now before they die and go to hell and have to pay for those sins forever. If they are Christians, we need to pray ever so earnestly that they grow in God’s grace, and straighten up, and hurt the cause of Christ no more. Yes, they have done us wrong, but Jesus Christ took care of it at Calvary, and we need to send those wrongs there! 🙂