Purity or Compromise? #5

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones” (Proverbs 3:5-8 KJV).

Will we be pure and thus purified? Or, will we compromise and thus be compromised?

The last Book of the Bible written, the Holy Spirit’s final instructions to the Church the Body of Christ, is 2 Timothy. Paul’s farewell epistle, chapter 2, educates: “[14] Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. [15] Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [16] But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. [17] And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; [18] Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

“[19] Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. [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.” Never, ever, ever, ever, ever are we to use grace as a license to sin! We are to avoid not only false teachers—who cause us to sin doctrinally by not “rightly dividing the word of truth!”—but also anyone else whose behavior is a stumblingblock to our own. They are leaning unto their own understanding, are wise in their own eyes, and have not acknowledged the LORD in their ways. He is not directing their paths; they have not departed from evil. Beloved, may we beware of them….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What are God’s ‘testimonies?’

Purity or Compromise? #4

Monday, October 18, 2021

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones” (Proverbs 3:5-8 KJV).

Will we be pure and thus purified? Or, will we compromise and thus be compromised?

“Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb [speechless, mute] idols, even as ye were led” (1 Corinthians 12:2). Before coming to Christ by faith in Paul’s Gospel, the Corinthians had worshipped and served pagan deities. Sadly, even after joining the Church the Body of Christ, they still worshipped and served idols! “Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them [ancient Jews under Moses]…. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry…. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils” (1 Corinthians 10:7,14,21).

In chapter 6 of 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul later writes to Corinth: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial [Satan]? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel [unbeliever]? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (verses 14-18).

The saints at Corinth had not fully abandoned their heathen religion, for they had not completely accepted Paul’s apostleship and doctrines. If they were to be doctrinally and functionally pure, able to be the Lord’s people in belief and practice (as they already were His people positionally), they would have to wholly separate from Satan’s religious system. Likewise, so must we….

The Lord’s Ministers

Thursday, October 14, 2021

“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:5-9 KJV).

As I write this, I am thinking of two particular brothers in Christ who have helped me to understand and enjoy the King James Bible. I have never met them, but I have read their books with great interest. They have contributed to my spiritual edification, and that of those I teach. Just as Paul and Apollos labored in the grace ministry, so we all work with God in bringing other believers in Christ to a greater awareness of spiritual truth.

Despite their denominationalism, they shared the spiritual light they had—even if it meant offending “scholarship” and being the object of ridicule. One of those saints was a bitter opponent of dispensational Bible study because it contradicted his religious traditions; therefore, his spiritual growth was stunted. The other Christian was quite deceived in seminary, so those shortfalls also prevented him from coming to a fuller understanding of Scripture than he had. Regardless, I can rejoice in the Lord those two brethren are in Heaven, one graduating to there long before I was born and the other moving to the Lord’s presence just a few years ago. However great their confusion was here, their Saviour has straightened them out there. They fight against their Lord no longer! When it comes my time to leave this world and relocate to Heaven, I will surely shake those two brothers by the hand and tell them what the Lord used them to do with me and all those our ministry reaches.

How we are ever thankful of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He not only works through men who believe, but also performs in us to build and expand on their understanding of His precious (and preserved) words.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘the one needful thing’ in Luke 10:42?

The Secret Things #12

Monday, September 27, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

In the beginning, Father God intended to glorify His Son, Jesus Christ, in Heaven and Earth. From Adam onward, an earthly kingdom exemplified the Creator’s message to man (Matthew 25:34; Acts 3:19-21). In this prophetic program, once Adam sinned by following Satan (a spirit being who had already corrupted Heaven with sin), the LORD began forming a new people in the Earth to be His kingdom of priests. The nation Israel was born, eventually receiving God’s words through Moses (today’s Scripture). As more centuries transpired, however, it became clearer Israel would not receive their King or their kingdom. In unbelief, they crucified Him, the Lord Jesus Christ! Israel’s temporary spiritual fall before God concerning Messiah’s rejection was no secret (Luke 2:34).

Of course, the God of Scripture is omniscient: Satan would not outsmart Him at Calvary’s cross (1 Corinthians 2:6-8). In eternity past, the Godhead had already determined to use that blood shed on the cross to form a second group of believers. Here is the mystery program, information God never told anyone about until He revealed it to and through the Apostle Paul (Romans 16:25,26). What would happen to the world through national Israel’s temporary fall? To save Paul (Saul of Tarsus) and those Jewish and Gentile unbelievers like him, God revealed a new Gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3,4): through Israel’s fall and Paul’s ministry and message (Romans 11:11-14), the Lord would make an heavenly kingdom of people: the Church the Body of Christ.

Now, with all prophetic truth revealed through the non-Pauline Scriptures, and the Pauline Scriptures unveiling “mystery” (previously hidden) truth, we know all God’s will (Ephesians 1:8-10). As Israel was without excuse concerning the “prophetic” things revealed to them through Moses (Dispensation of Law), so we are without excuse concerning the “secret” things revealed to us through Paul (Dispensation of Grace). We know what God is doing today (Romans through Philemon), and what He is not (the rest of Scripture). “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:38).

The Secret Things #11

Sunday, September 26, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

Father God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit were not surprised when Israel murdered their Messiah-King by nailing Him to Calvary’s cross in unbelief. Jesus’ death was already known to the Godhead, planned since eternity past: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:22-24).

Centuries beforehand, the Old Testament prophets glimpsed Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection in types and shadows (Genesis chapter 22; Psalm 16; Psalm 22; Psalm 69; Isaiah chapter 53; et cetera; cf. Hebrews chapter 9)—although God intentionally withheld all details until later (see 1 Peter 1:9-11). By Satan and his angels participating in Jesus’ death, they assumed the prophetic program was forever destroyed—the King’s very people had rejected and executed Him! Yet, in God’s wisdom, after Calvary transpired, He revealed to the Apostle Paul the “mystery” or secret things, the full scope of Jesus’ finished crosswork.

Had Satan been omniscient (all-knowing), he would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:6-8)! Not only would that blood shed on Calvary pay for Israel’s sins via the New Covenant, that shed blood would become the basis for another entity—the Church the Body of Christ. Both the nation Israel and the Church the Body of Christ would thereby become God’s people in Earth and Heaven (respectively), thus glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ in both realms—just as Father God had wisely purposed all along (Colossians 1:14-20; Ephesians 1:3-14; Ephesians 3:1-11).

We now summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

The Secret Things #10

Saturday, September 25, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

As there was a secret coming of Jesus Christ to save and commission the Apostle Paul, thus commencing the mystery program and starting the Church the Body of Christ, so another secret coming of Christ (the Rapture) will close the mystery program and finish the Body of Christ. If we are ignorant of the first secret coming, then we will be of the second secret coming—and most church members are aware of neither!

In Acts chapter 9, the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Saul of Tarsus to justify him unto eternal life and reveal his apostolic commission: “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles(2 Timothy 1:10,11). Again, this un-prophesied appearance of Christ anticipates His “Rapture” appearance for us yet future. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 6:14).

First Corinthians chapter 15: “[50] Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. [51] Behold, I shew you a mystery [secret, un-prophesied truth]; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. [53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” This resurrection of saints, not that of Revelation 20:1-6, is the bodily resurrection of the Body of Christ (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), our corporation translation into the heavenly places so the mystery program can stop and the prophetic program can resume….

Bible Q&A #880: “Did Moses write about his own death?

The Secret Things #9

Friday, September 24, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

First Timothy chapter 1, Paul’s own testimony: “[12] And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; [13] Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. [14] And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. [15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

According to the prophetic program, there was no justification of Saul of Tarsus. Nothing in prophecy delivered anyone from blaspheming the Holy Ghost: what could not be forgiven was speaking against the third Member of the Godhead working through Israel’s Little Flock during the early Acts period: “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matthew 12:31,32).

Yet, Saul of Tarsus opposed the Holy Spirit working in and through Stephen and other Little Flock believers (Acts 7:51-60; Acts 8:1-4; Acts 9:1-22; Acts 26:9-11). The dispensational change is striking! Jesus Christ’s next scheduled appearance on Earth was to pour out wrath and wage war. Yet, in Acts chapter 9, the Lord returned in grace, mercy, and peace to save Saul of Tarsus unto eternal life and commission him as the Apostle Paul, having thus begun the mystery (un-prophesied) program and the mystery (secret) Church the Body of Christ….

The Secret Things #8

Thursday, September 23, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

Colossians chapter 1: “[23]… I Paul am made a minister; [24] Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: [25] Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; [26] Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: [27] To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery [secret] among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:….”

The companion passage to Ephesians chapter 3 (re-read verses 1-11), it reminds us God gave a special “dispensation” to the Apostle Paul. As defined in Scripture, a “dispensation” is a body of truth God issues to mankind for a specific time (an age) for man’s faith and obedience. In Paul’s case, it is “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2): there is Divine revelation given to “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13) so he could then deposit it with us… Gentiles! Christ’s words to us are Paul’s 13 epistles, Romans through Philemon. Of course, denominationally-minded souls rebel against this, for their entire theological systems are built on the assumption Matthew through John and early Acts are applicable to us. (They are wrong; God is right.)

With the prophetic program being one portion of the Bible (non-Pauline Books), and the mystery program the other part (Pauline Books), the Word of God is thus “fulfilled” or brought to completion (Colossians 1:25).“Wherein he [God] hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:…” (Ephesians 1:8,9). Now, we know all the wisdom of God—even the hidden wisdom….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain, ‘Standing against the blood of thy neighbour?’”

The Secret Things #7

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

Whereas God in “time past” differentiated between Jew and Gentile, today is an entirely different set of circumstances. Ephesians chapter 2 continues: “[13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. [14] For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: [17] And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. [18] For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

The mystery committed to Paul’s trust is the “but now,” God’s current dealings with man. With the temporary suspension of distinguishing between Jew and Gentile, national Israel is fallen and momentarily blinded: “[11] I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: [14] If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them…. [25] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:11-14,25).

Prophetic wrath is delayed, for God is forming a “mystery” body, the Church the Body of Christ….

Co-op

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward (Matthew 10:41 KJV).

A “co-op” is a cooperative society, business, or enterprise: people work together to achieve a desired, common end. The Lord’s ministry functions likewise….

Today’s Scripture in context: “[40] He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. [41] He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. [42] And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”

Chapter 10 of Matthew is the first installment of the so-called “Great Commission.” The Lord Jesus Christ is sending out 12 disciples or students—the 12 “Apostles” (“sent ones;” cf. verses 5,6)—to preach to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As His Father has sent Him to them, so He sends them to the rest of Israel; they are His representatives, like He is His Heavenly Father’s Spokesman. In closing, He reminds them that whoever receives them into their company also accepts Him and His Father.

Draw your attention now to verses 41 and 42. Those converts or believers who receive the Apostles are also partakers of the Apostles’ ministry. Furthermore, as the Apostles will receive a reward from God, so those who bless the Apostles will partake of the Apostles’ reward. Similarly, the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians chapter 4: “[15] Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. [16] For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. [17] Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.As we labor in ministry with other members of the Church the Body of Christ, so we too will share in their eternal reward!