Convert a Soul, Not the World!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come (2 Timothy 3:1 KJV).

Are we called to convert the world? Nay! We are called to convert souls out of the world!

Recently, a Christian friend and fellow American told me he thinks “we have lost our nation.” My reply to that depressed brother was simple: “We [Christians] have never been called to turn our culture around. It must come to an end at some point anyway. Jesus Christ will straighten it all out at His Second Coming!” He thereby recalled today’s Scripture.

Indeed, brethren, we have never been called to turn around or destroy this evil world system. God’s purpose in the Gospel is to “deliver us from this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4) rather than we fixing it. So many believers are discouraged because they see conditions worsening. Had they known their Bibles, they would not be surprised. God said it would happen!!

Today’s Scripture foretells “perilous” (dangerous) times. God the Holy Spirit continues: “[12] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse [not better and better!!], deceiving, and being deceived. [14] But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;….” Yes, the world is out of control, but that is to be expected. In the midst of such evil, we should continue in God’s Word rightly divided!

Chapter 4 supplements: “[2] Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. [3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. [5] But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

Again, rather than growing angry at lost people, or becoming overwhelmed by fear and despair, we are to “preach the Word!” We are to convert a soul, not the world! 🙂

The Work of the Ministry #7

Sunday, July 1, 2018

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

Ministry—what “work” it is!

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [purpose or intent] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16,17). God the Holy Spirit gave us His inspired, preserved Word (in English, the King James Bible) so we would believe it. Once we trust it (1 Thessalonians 2:13), it produces in and through us “all good works.” The greatest Christian good work is “the work of the ministry,” but spiritual development comes first. After all, today’s Scripture says only “perfected saints”—spiritually mature Christians—do “the work of the ministry.”

“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:12,13). These church leaders do “the work of the ministry” (cf. today’s Scripture; 1 Timothy 5:17,18), and they need to be especially appreciated.

Ministry is not to be taken lightly or flippantly. It is not “fun and games:” it is “work!” Eternal souls are at stake and they need to hear from us a clear Gospel message they can believe (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)! Otherwise, they will face an angry God and wind up experiencing His eternal fury. Eternal souls are at stake and they need to hear from us a study they can understand (2 Timothy 2:15)! Otherwise, they will experience tremendous loss of reward for their lack of Christian understanding and service.

Dear brethren, how exhausting ministry can be and is, but there is no greater way to spend our time and resources! It seems like we are wasting our time, but God forbid! “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58)! 🙂

Bible Q&A #510: “Can you explain John 1:17?

Grace Forsaken!

Monday, June 11, 2018

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1 KJV).

Grace did not leave the brother or sister—the brother or sister left grace!

A man trusted Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. He eventually discovered dispensational Bible study and left his denomination. For many years, this minister and his wife preached a pure grace message. Finally, he died and relocated to Heaven. His wife left the grace message entirely after marrying a man of her former denomination. While she did not lose her salvation, she did lose Bible understanding.

Dear friends, none of us are immune from apostatizing, willfully casting aside the truths of God for the sake of pleasing our fellow men. Galatians 3:1 says: “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” The idea of “bewitched” is someone operating under a spell, like living under hypnosis. False teachers have a powerful way with words, just as a magician would manipulate objects to fool an audience. There is no grace minister on Earth—even me (!)—who can boast exemption from ever becoming such a fraud.

Satan’s evil world system is quite charming—even a saved person’s flesh gravitates toward it. First Timothy chapter 4: “[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;….” These “seducing spirits” are preacher’s voices (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:8—“the spirit of his mouth”). To “seduce” literally means “to lead away.” A “reward” or “delight” motivates someone to abandon his or her position or duty. In order to “depart from the faith” they had to first be in it!!!! Religion feels good, dear friends, for it provides grounds for boasting (see Galatians 6:12-14).

Whether the sins of the flesh (humanism/worldliness) or the sins of the spirit (asceticism/religion), may we do our best to gently recover, if possible, our ensnared brethren (2 Timothy 2:24-26)!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Naaman want some of Israel’s soil?

The Greatest War Hero

Monday, May 28, 2018

“For God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).

In the United States, today is Memorial Day, when we remember those who sacrificed their time and lives to provide our physical freedom. Likewise, as Christians, we have spiritual freedom, which was more costly. Someone had to die to give us the eternal life we now enjoy….

Scripture describes a spiritual warfare between good and evil, God’s truth program versus Satan’s lie program: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:11,12; see also verses 13-20).

Satan distracts mankind from God’s pure Word, the Bible, keeping unbelievers lost (dead in their sins), and preventing unbelievers and Christians from knowing God’s will. The devil draws them away (seduces them) from God’s Word by using religious tradition and human “wisdom” (1 Timothy 4:1-3; cf. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Galatians 3:1-3).

God loves us, so at Calvary’s cross, Christ fought for us sinners, died in battle (today’s Scripture), shed His divine sinless blood, and eternally rescued us from Satan and sin: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15).

Hebrews 9:12 says Jesus Christ has “obtained eternal redemption for us.”

If we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). Now, God can use us for His glory for all eternity.

Beloved, let us rejoice in our victory over sin, death, and hell that Jesus Christ secured for us by going to Calvary’s rugged cross! Jesus Christ is now alive forevermore—He is our Hero, the Greatest Hero!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study “The Greatest Hero,” which can be read here or watched here.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should women speak in church?

Curb Appeal

Thursday, May 17, 2018

“And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!” (Mark 13:1 KJV).

“Look, Lord, the beautiful Jerusalem Temple!” “Yes, I see—and what awful doctrine is here too!”

Friend, ask individuals why they attend their particular local church. Curb appeal will likely come up first: “Our building and grounds are so beautiful!” Other reasons are various and sundry. “The rituals and programs are thrilling!” “We have the best ‘praise and worship’ team in town!” “Our preacher is an outstanding motivational speaker!” “Momma and Daddy went there, I was baptized there, and I will die there!” “My friends invited me to go!” “My spouse makes me go there!” Rarely will you ever hear, “I go there because they teach me sound Bible doctrine!”

Once you ask 100 people, you will break yourself of the habit of being startled when you meet church members ignorant of Scripture. They were never going for the Bible study anyway. What mattered was chitchat with friends about the weather and politics, participation in ceremonies, and entertainment at a music concert—all amounting to nothing in eternity.

First Timothy chapter 4: “[6] If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. [7] But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. [8] For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”

“Godliness” is proper worship of God. The Lord Jesus said in John 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” We worship God—not with our flesh but with our spirit (inner man). We also worship Him “in truth”—according to sound Bible doctrine as opposed to everything else. “Bodily exercise” (religion) “profiteth little:” it looks and feels good now, but will bitterly disappoint eventually. However, dispensational Bible study “is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come!”

Bible Q&A #495: “Is the United States’ recent embassy move to Jerusalem a fulfillment of Bible prophecy?

Whose Child and Servant?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44 KJV).

Beware, beloved! According to the Lord Jesus Himself, a religious leader is not necessarily a child (and servant) of God!

Once, I read a biography of a chief religious leader in Christendom. Now a dead man, his denomination referred to him as “a servant of God.” That made me wonder—just whose servant was he before he died? Had they realized what they had done by giving him such a “flattering” title posthumously?!

The Lord Jesus Christ, while a kind and loving Man, was nevertheless quite direct when it came to the souls of men being damned to Hell in the name of vain religion. Israel’s religious system, centered in the Jerusalem Temple, was wholly corrupt. Today’s Scripture is the Lord Jesus speaking directly to Israel’s religious leaders—mainly, the Pharisees (verse 13)—and He holds nothing back. “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do!” Actually, they were so in tune with Satan’s policy of evil that they would soon crucify Him on Calvary’s cross in unbelief! The Devil had so infected God’s people with lies, especially in religion (where it appeared as truth and godliness). Sound familiar?!

In addition to “children,” Satan has “ministers” (servants). We read some sobering words in 2 Corinthians chapter 11: [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.” Again, a religious leader is not necessarily doing the work of the God of the Bible! If you want to avoid the charlatans and the chicanery, friend, you had better study and know your King James Bible rightly divided!

Manage Your Time Wisely

Saturday, May 5, 2018

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:15-17 KJV).

A wise Christian brother recently explained to me that, since he would rather study his Bible, he had not watched television in four years. (I told him he had not missed anything important anyway!)

Thanks to various distractions, we could all study Scripture more (yes, even me). To study more verses, we would have to give up time spent on other activities—movies, games, television shows, vacations, social media, and so on. Indeed, we are to hold down a job and spend quality time with our families: these cannot and should not be infringed upon. However, the fact remains that we should spend our (free) time wisely.

Pleasures per se are not sinful, for God “giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). Contrary to popular belief, Christian living is not about how much one can suffer and give up to please God. It is about recognizing the significance and brevity of this earthly life, this “training period” before eternity, with our goal being to have gold, silver, and precious stones (sound Bible doctrine) rather than wood, hay, and stubble (1 Corinthians 3:9-15). Therefore, some centuries ago, a man declared that he would be locking up all his books for seven years—except his Bible! Those distracting volumes were no longer his priorities. He would finally stress the eternal rather than the temporal!

Today’s Scripture is Paul’s admonition to the Ephesian saints who, in part, have become thoughtless and wasteful. Verse 14, sadly, says they are spiritually asleep. This could have easily been written to today’s professing Body of Christ. They have grown dull to perceiving the Satanic policy of evil working mightily around them in this present world. Their spiritual ignorance means they participate in the Devil’s plans to thwart God’s will for them! Having already had plenty of opportunity to learn, they still lack a clear understanding of what God wants for them. They (we) need to learn and believe sound Bible doctrine. Satan is foolishly wasting his time, but that does not mean we have to join him!