Educate the Children

Saturday, July 15, 2017

“Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 11:18,19 KJV).

If children are untaught in Scripture, the parents (especially the father) are usually to blame!

Someone recently told me of a certain unruly, indecent young woman in her “Christian” family. When it was suggested that her father get involved, the woman told me that the mother “wore the pants in the family.” The young woman’s father is actually “scared of” the mother, and he will not reprimand his daughter “for fear of” his wife (her mother). Such a sad predicament, and very common!

As our “rotted” society demonstrates, most fathers have failed in their duties at home. Perhaps they are hard workers, good providers. The Bible does say: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8). However, according to the Bible, fathers—not mothers—are to be the primary Bible teachers of their children: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Husbands are to be the Bible teachers of their wives: “And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church” (1 Corinthians 14:35). Furthermore, God commands the husband to be the spiritual leader of the marriage, as Ephesians 5:23,24 instructs: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

To the men reading this, if you care about your family, my friends, you will heed these Scriptures!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How was Jesus Christ ‘raised again?’ Why ‘again?’

Sharing With Caution

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you (Matthew 7:6 KJV).

Share the Word with caution!

A young man, a Bible believer, recently contacted me to ask about a specific centuries-old religious topic. Having had a heated discussion with an acquaintance, he was seeking answers and assistance. I was delighted to share with him some pertinent Bible verses and history to guard himself against particular theological errors. In closing, I cautioned him that that information was for his personal use, not for the contentious, ill-informed, and close-minded individual he had dealt with earlier.

Proverbs 26:4-5 reminds us: “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” Yes, sometimes, we strictly limit how much sound Bible doctrine we share with certain people. We dare not argue with them, especially once they refuse to be taught plain and simple Bible truths. Scripture says we must “redeem the time” (Ephesians 5:15-17)—we cannot fight every battle. We choose our battles very carefully, never expending time and energy when it could be used better elsewhere. You will encounter two extremes: those who want to hear nothing from the Bible and those who want to hear everything from it. There are many of the former—and precious few of the latter. With experience, you will recognize them when you see them!

The Lord Jesus Christ instructed, paraphrased, “Cast not your pearls before swine.” Or, do not give something valuable—namely, the Word of God—over to people who will not appreciate it. They can talk about how much they “love” Jesus, how religious they are, or how many Bible verses they have memorized. However, when you share the Bible with them, they flat-out reject it. You see the real them, beyond the superficial, on the inside, what they really think about the God’s Word. Brethren, we should be willing to spend as much time as possible with those who are interested in the truth. However, we will not waste our time on those more concerned with error!

Instructing Those That Oppose Themselves

Friday, June 30, 2017

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will (2 Timothy 2:24-26 KJV).

How do we combat Bible ignorance? We “in meekness instruct those that oppose themselves!”

We all begin life as physical babies but we do not remain in that state. Eventually, we grow up and become adults. Rather than depending on others all our life, we increasingly do for ourselves. Just as we move on in our experience in life, so we become better aware of what is going on and what is expected of us. It is abnormal for us not to make such progress. We all grow at different rates, but we still grow. For an adult to think and behave like a small child is most tragic, and sadly, most churches today are nothing but spiritual nurseries. Spiritual immaturity is not a sin. Prolonged spiritual immaturity is!

Colossians 2:7 says of the Christian life: “Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” The Lord Jesus Christ is the source of the Christian life. We are edified in Him. We should be “stablished [stabilized] in the faith:” that is, we are spiritually steadied, not “children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness…” (Ephesians 4:14). The key is to be “taught” sound Bible doctrine—and there is rarely any teaching going on in Christian assemblies today. Most of the focus is on music, dancing, singing, liturgy, ceremonies, and prayers!

Friends, so many Christians are living contrary to who God has made them in His Son, Jesus Christ. In humility, gentleness, we must use the Word of God rightly divided to warn them, to teach them, to tell them how to come to the knowledge of the truth and escape the snare of the Devil! We must “instruct those that oppose themselves!”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should I preach the same Bible messages I have preached before?

Not Entangled

Friday, June 16, 2017

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier (2 Timothy 2:4 KJV).

Before you get too worked up about this world’s conditions, remember not to get distracted from what really matters!

Recently, I was talking with a brother in Christ who was very disturbed by what is going on in the world. In his own words, his “blood was boiling.” He was angry, raging, quite frustrated over corrupt politicians, violence, and evildoers going unpunished. Moreover, he ranted and raved against his national government. While I understand his frustrations, I did politely remind him to be civil when he would discuss it with others (he said he was going to tell others what he had told me). The man has been saved for years, many decades, but God’s grace has yet to transform the way he thinks about this world.

As “outposts from the third heaven,” beloved, we simply cannot get too attached to the people and things of this temporary world. We can get all worked up about scandals and conundrums in politics, religion, economics, sports, educational institutions, social issues, and so on. It is only human to get so enmeshed, trapped, involved, entwined with human affairs. However, as members of the Church the Body of Christ, we are God’s people. We are to be concentrating on God’s thoughts instead of common human thoughts. Father God is not worrying or fretting in Heaven today, and if anyone should concerned, it should be the Person who can control it.

Dear friends, we must never let Satan’s evil world system distract us from what really matters. Those “doctrines of devils” can come in the subtlest forms, and we must be vigilant that they do not get a stronghold in our thoughts. As soldiers of Jesus Christ, we must concentrate on our “marching orders,” and those instructions are: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection [focus] on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3).

Bible Q&A #390: “Does Acts 26:22 disprove the Apostle Paul’s special doctrine?

The Heavenly Places #5

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

“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 6:12 KJV).

Why does Ephesians conclude with this description of the war between good and evil?

It is not until we come to Paul’s ministry do we learn how God will cleanse the heavenly places. Ephesians highlights our eternal destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ. Just as Father God will use Israel to accomplish His will in the Earth, so He will use us to achieve His will in the Heavens. He will exalt His Son, Jesus Christ, in both realms. Ephesians chapter 1: “[9] [Father God] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: [11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance….”

One day, brethren, we will be displayed for all of the universe to see. All creatures will witness God’s wisdom fully manifested in outer space. We will participate in Jesus Christ’s exaltation in the heavenly places throughout eternity future. Ephesians chapter 2 declares: “[6] And [God] hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

As good as this all is, however, we are not there yet. The heavenly places are still so far away! Howbeit, one day, Jesus Christ will return to Earth—at the Rapture—to take His Body (us) beyond the sky. Until we get there, though, we are vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. Knowing full well that we will replace him and his minions in the heavenly places, he fights us every chance he gets. We had better don all the armor of God, beloved, that “we stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-20)! 🙂

 

The Heavenly Places #4

Monday, June 5, 2017

“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 6:12 KJV).

Why does Ephesians conclude with this description of the war between good and evil?

Parroting the misguided claims of so-called “Bible authorities,” critics complain about the King James’ italicized words. The phrase “heavenly places” is heavily derided because the original Greek does not have “places.” Thus, people refuse to quote the Authorized Version verbatim here—they prefer “heavenlies.” “Places” is needed to construct a complete English thought; therefore, our 1611 translators rightly inserted it. Upon removing “places,” we rob ourselves of an important link.

Revelation 12:7-9: “[7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, [8] And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. [9] And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Friend, did you notice “place” in verse 8? It means a “room, position, dwelling.” Satan and his fallen angels functioning in heaven today (today’s Scripture) will be tossed out onto the Earth halfway through the future seven-year Tribulation. (Recall the “Old Testament” references about God and Satan both working in the heavenly places, with God cleansing those regions of evil. The Revelation is the capstone.)

With the heavenly places vacated of evil beings, Father God installs us the Church the Body of Christ into those positions of power (refer to the “heavenly” references in Ephesians—1:3-12, 1:20-23, 2:6-7, 3:10-11). Colossians chapter 1: “[16] For by him [Christ Jesus] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:… [20] And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth [using Israel], or things in heaven [using us the Body of Christ].”

Now, we wrap it up….

The Heavenly Places #3

Sunday, June 4, 2017

“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 6:12 KJV).

Why does Ephesians conclude with this description of the war between good and evil?

The first reference to the “heavenly places” affirms that God has given us, the Church the Body of Christ, resources in them: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:…” (Ephesians 1:3). The second mention is how God the Father, because of Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, has given Christ power over all creatures and positions in creation: “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,…” (Ephesians 1:20).

The third reference talks about how Father God, through Christ’s finished crosswork, has qualified us to share Christ’s authority in the “heavenly places:” “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:…” (Ephesians 2:6). The fourth mention identifies us as the objects of attention of the fallen angels currently polluting the “heavenly places:” “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,…” (Ephesians 3:10).

The final reference, today’s Scripture, reminds us that our battle is not between other people here on Earth, but rather invisible evil spirits functioning in the “heavenly places:” 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 6:12).

Throughout the “Old Testament,” and for good reason, there is very little about God’s activity in the heavenly realm of creation. Those Scriptures are all about God forming the nation Israel, a group who will restore His authority in the Earth: “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine (Exodus 19:5). When we come to the Apostle Paul’s ministry, however, the Bible switches to the “heavenly places….”

Our latest Bible Q&A:Could you explain, ‘From his shoulders and upward he was higher…?’