Living As Peaceably As Possible

Monday, August 27, 2012

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18 KJV).

Having recently listened to family members and friends discuss their struggles, my advice to them was simple—apply today’s Scripture.

Saints, today’s Scripture is clear. We should make every attempt possible to get along with others, especially with our Christian brethren (as always, please remember that we never, EVER compromise sound Bible doctrine for the sake of unity). But, there does come a point where we cannot resolve conflict, and we must leave the situation alone. Notice today’s Scripture: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” It is not always possible to live peaceably, even with fellow Christians (which is so sad).

In fact, there are such deep divisions among some Christians—including myself—that they cannot be resolved until heaven. I have met people who cause their own problems, thereby making other people’s lives—and mine—miserable. We all make mistakes, but what makes it sadder is that even after they are warned repeatedly, they continue in their error, with little to no remorse.

When dealing with these kinds of people who absolutely refuse to apply sound Bible doctrine in handling a disagreement, we must step back and say, “There is nothing more that I can do. It is time to leave these individuals alone.” Again we apply today’s Scripture and move on; otherwise we risk making the situation worse with hatred, bitterness, physical altercations, gossiping, cursing, et cetera.

Regrettably, sin causes squabbling, which results in division. Our “friends” will turn other friends against us, and divorce destroys our marriages and families. It is most pitiful when these divisions occur within the local church, disrupting the unity of God’s people and furthering the plan of the adversary (Satan). While we do “forgive [others] as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven [us]” (Ephesians 4:32), we are not to be doormats. In this sinful world, we cannot live harmoniously with everyone.

“If it be possible,” saints, “IF it be possible,” “live peaceably with all men….”

Lest Satan Should Get an Advantage of Us

Saturday, August 4, 2012

“To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:10,11 KJV).

In today’s Scripture, we learn that the Corinthians and the Apostle Paul had forgiven someone. Who was this individual, and why was it necessary for the Christian brethren to forgive him? Grace brethren, be on guard, for Satan employs the oldest military strategy—“divide and conquer.”

When Paul wrote the epistle of First Corinthians, he addressed nearly a dozen issues that disrupted Christian fellowship and hindered spiritual growth in Corinth. The problem associated with today’s Scripture is described in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5. A Christian brother in Corinth was having sexual relations with his father’s wife, an act that not even the pagan Gentiles committed! Unfortunately, the Corinthians were bragging of this sin, making light of it, and Paul’s solution was to temporarily cast out the man from fellowship, which would hopefully bring him to his senses, and cause him to change his lifestyle (verses 9-11).

Now, in today’s Scripture, a year or so has passed since the penning of First Corinthians. Evidently, the Corinthians had heeded Paul’s instructions by having nothing to do with the fornicator (2 Corinthians 2:6). Paul now writes to the Corinthians, “So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that you would confirm your love toward him” (verses 7,8). This brother had now straightened up, so the Corinthians were to forgive him, accept him, and show their love toward him, lest Satan would use bitterness and strife to further divide these Christians.

Saints, we must never be ignorant of Satan’s “devices,” tactics he uses to thwart the ministry of the local grace church (today’s Scripture). May we forgive, and not “give place to the devil” by holding grudges or being bitter (Ephesians 4:25-32). Satan is our enemy, not our grace brethren.

Take Heed to Thy Ministry

Saturday, June 16, 2012

“And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it” (Colossians 4:17 KJV).

Each of us members of the Church the Body of Christ has a role in what God is doing today. Are we willing to “fulfil” (complete) that ministry? Do we even realize we have it?

Archippus is only mentioned twice in God’s Word—in today’s Scripture, and in Philemon 2, where he is called Paul and Timothy’s “fellow-soldier.” While we do not know much else about Archippus, we gather that he resided in Colosse (perhaps someone who fellowshipped in the church who met in Philemon’s house?).

In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul instructed the Colossian believers to admonish Archippus to “take heed to the ministry which [he had] received in the Lord, that [he] fulfil it.” Exactly what opportunity this “ministry” was, we can only speculate (teaching Scripture? giving? leading the Colossian assembly as bishop?). Whatever this ministry was, it was of great importance (hence Paul’s warning to Archippus to “take heed [pay attention!]” to it and complete it. (Do not overlook your God-given responsibility, Archippus!!)

Paul could have written today’s Scripture to you and me as individuals. All of us Christians have been given “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). We are God’s ambassadors, His representatives in the earth, temporarily left here to declare His wonderful grace in Christ Jesus to this lost and dying world (verses 19-21)! We need to “take heed” to our ministry, to “fulfil” it.

As a Christian brother once stated, “God did not save us so we could sit on the stool of do-nothing, saying, ‘I shall not be moved!’” Brethren, let us exploit our resources to further the message of salvation found only in Jesus Christ. We do not have to all teach and preach, but we can pray for, give to, and help in local grace churches in whatever role we wish, as God’s Word instructs us. Time is precious, so let us not waste it on trivial (temporal) matters. “Take heed to [thy] ministry,” which will reap eternal benefits….

The Children of God #4

Sunday, June 10, 2012

“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).

Today’s Scripture describes the unity of Christians, “the children of God.”

After briefly summarizing the identity of the members of the Body of Christ, Paul concludes with, “For ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Just as Jesus Christ desired unity amongst His Jewish kingdom believers—“That they all may be one” (John 17:16)—God wants unity in the Church the Body of Christ. (Understand, we should not and do not sacrifice doctrine for the sake of unity!)

If you have trusted in Christ Jesus alone as your personal Saviour, then these seven doctrines/issues unite you with every other member of the Body of Christ. The “[seven-fold] unity of the Spirit” is “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).

All members of the Body of Christ are positioned in that one body forever, they are all indwelt by the same Holy Spirit of God, they are all destined to reign in heaven with Christ forever, they have all trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, they all rely on Christ’s faith (Calvary’s finished crosswork), they have all been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ, and they all have God as their heavenly Father. This is our God-given position in Christ! “Ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Our Lord looks beyond denominations, ethnicities, social-economic statuses, education, gender, weaknesses, and strengths. He looks at the hearts of all people, to only see two groups: those who are children of the devil (John 8:44), and those who are “the children of God” (today’s Scripture).

*The past four devotionals have been combined and expanded to form a larger Bible study with the same name, which can be read here or watched here.

Be of the Same Mind in the Lord

Sunday, August 21, 2011

“I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord” (Philippians 4:2 KJV).

In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul mentions two Christian women, Euodias and Syntyche, in opposition to one another. We know not the nature of that disagreement, but it was disruptive in the Philippian church, so Paul addressed the matter and begged them to resolve it.

There should be unity within the Church the Body of Christ, but there is very little because human viewpoint and religious tradition divide. Unfortunately, even among some “grace brethren,” we find “strange doctrines” that generate arguments. We should make every attempt to get along with our Christian brethren, but we should never, ever seek unity at the expense of sound doctrine. There should be no disagreement in the Body of Christ regarding matters clearly taught in the King James Bible.

The Corinthian church was noteworthy for its divisions (“denominations!”). Some Corinthians followed Christ according to His earthly ministry, others followed Peter, some followed Apollos, and still others followed Paul (1 Corinthians 1:10-13). Paul wrote, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (verse 10). How were they to avoid these divisions? They were to follow Paul as he followed Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

The Bible says (Galatians 5:15,16): “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Arguments can get rather nasty amongst Christians (spiritually “biting and devouring” each other). As long as we “walk in the Spirit,” allowing God’s Holy Spirit to teach us to follow the doctrine in Paul’s epistles, we will believe what the King James Bible says where it says what it says, and not argue with God. This is the unity that God desires the Body of Christ to have.