To Look Beyond the Makeup #12

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

Through the Apostle Paul’s ministry, the Holy Spirit warned the Church the Body of Christ, in 1 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; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: [5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

“[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. [9] This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. [10] For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. [11] These things command and teach.”

To locate sound Bible doctrine, a good local church or home Bible study, we must look beyond superficialities. “Go to the church of your choice, the denomination does not matter” is downright foolish. “I love this group because of its multimillion-dollar ‘sanctuary’ and ‘moving worship services’” is downright ignorance. “You belong with us because we alone have these ceremonies and rituals” is stark nonsense. Dear friends, if the Word of God rightly divided is not valued there, if God’s grace is not taught and the Gospel of Grace is not clearly proclaimed there, it is utterly useless.

We now conclude this devotionals arc….

Bible Q&A articles #759 and #760: “What is the ‘judgment’ of Galatians 5:10?” and “Will God kill false teachers?

A Mobile Temple!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:19,20 KJV).

The temple of the Holy Ghost is mobile—legs enable it to relocate!

Recently, a dear Christian brother conveyed to me his distaste for a family gathering. Originally intended to be a birthday party, the get-together finally turned into a celebration of drunkenness. Deeply disturbed, he ultimately decided to leave; yet, some of his Christian relatives stayed behind.

Unfortunately, dear brethren, getting as far away as possible from these situations is really the only wise choice. Whether it is family members or friends (even professing believers!), we do not have to remain there and watch them “act the fool.” Neither is there a need for us to “cause a scene,” publicly condemning their activity and drawing attention to it. We can (and should) feel righteous anger—knowing the destructiveness of such behavior—but we are under no obligation to stay. We simply bid them “farewell” and quietly go our way.

Today’s Scripture is written to carnal, fleshly or worldly, saints. With great incredulity, the Apostle Paul commented on the Corinthians’ actions. “What?,” he opened the verse. In other words, “Huh? I do not believe it! Have you no spiritual understanding? Were you not paying attention when I taught you about grace living for several months? Did you not learn about Christian maturity and civility from me?”

According to the Bible, the Holy Ghost, the third Member of the Godhead, indwells us as members of the Church the Body of Christ. If He would not be comfortable in the situation, would it be appropriate for us to take Him, the indwelling Spirit of God, into it? No, it would not. Christian living is not selfish living. We should be walking in the will of God—and if we tread into a “sinful place,” we need to walk out quicker than we came in! Brethren, let us have the spiritual sense, the discernment, to leave behind any setting which is not compliant with the principles of grace!

World Lost! #10

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:9,10 KJV).

Some have cried out, “This world is going to hell in a handbasket!” Others have exclaimed, “We have lost our country!” Surely, surely, they are all correct!

For centuries, church members have constructed buildings, lit candles, walked aisles, distributed religious literature, donned choir robes, knocked on doors, held “revivals,” organized concerts, and raised money for “missions.” Our leaders have wasted decades and billions of dollars on seminary and Bible college, having learned nothing but man’s speculations and traditions. Spreading their error to the congregations, the Body of Christ—lacking God’s wisdom and power—is rendered impotent and unable to withstand the deceitful cultural revolution already begun.

The formalism was but a veneer. All its gold and silver cannot hide the spiritual poverty of the professing church. Neither can all the water in every baptistery fount wash away its hypocrisy. All the professions of “faith” cannot mask the unbelief that pervades it. Simply put, people have been “playing church”—and the “actors” have finally taken off their masks! In the Apostle Paul’s time, the challenge was preaching the newly-revealed Gospel of Grace so the nations would trust it and abandon their paganism. Now, having gone through 20 centuries of individuals rejecting that Good News, we are witnessing a reverse. Light refused becomes darkness. Today, the nations know the Gospel of Grace—and are returning to heathenism anyway!

Jesus Christ’s return will right everything wrong. Until then, we Christians need to believe and proclaim a clear Gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), and then believe teach sound Bible doctrine (the Word of God rightly divided—especially Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon). Brethren, let us faithfully pass that to future generations, so we may say, “We are not responsible for the world lost!”

A Grace Study Bible

Saturday, August 1, 2020

“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2 KJV).

Today, we reflect on eight full years of the arC Ministries’ Grace Study Bible Project!

Some 100 years ago, the Scofield Study Bible was published. It was a work that popularized—not invented—dispensational Bible study. For a century, the Church the Body of Christ has used this monumental aid to edify itself. It was (and still is) useful in recovering precious Bible truths that had been lost for centuries, doctrines still pushed aside by denominational hierarchies that prefer to be the “authority” with their “tradition of men.”

Eight years ago today, after much prayer and consideration, I began the formation of a new grace study Bible. Using the King James Bible, my goal in this project is to build on Dr. Scofield’s foundation laid long ago. We are (and will always be) indebted to that brother for his faithful service, his submission to the Holy Spirit to produce a profitable study Bible. (Incidentally, Dr. Scofield led a missionary to Christ, that missionary led a preacher to Christ, that preacher led a woman to Christ, that woman led Mom to Christ, and Mom led me to Christ.) What took Dr. Scofield decades to learn, we can acquire in a fraction of that time. Brother Scofield did not live long enough to progress any further in Bible understanding, but in the century since he has gone to heaven, a faithful remnant within the Body of Christ has expanded upon Dr. Scofield’s insightful notes. We recognize where he was wrong in certain areas, and we can improve those areas in our understanding and study.

In brief, some stats about our grace study Bible. We seem to be roughly 75 percent completed with it. How many more years it will take remains to be seen, but rest assured, what cannot be condensed into marginal notes or footnotes, will be, Lord willing, expanded into a full-Bible commentary book series! Stay tuned in the coming years and thank you for your prayer in this regard! 🙂

Special-edition Bible Q&A #750: “How many dispensations are there?

* You can read more about our Grace Study Bible Project below.

A Naughty Tongue! #11

Sunday, July 19, 2020

“A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue” (Proverbs 17:4 KJV).

In today’s world of widespread social media, “wicked doer,” “false lips,” “liar,” and “naughty tongue” are all appropriate nouns!

Continue reading Ephesians’ “speech alway with grace” verses. Chapter 4 concludes: “[29] Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. [30] And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. [31] Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour [screaming, commotions], and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: [32] And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Move to chapter 5: “[1] Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; [2] And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. [3] But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; [4] Neither filthiness [obscenities], nor foolish talking, nor jesting [flippant, ridiculous words], which are not convenient [suitable]: but rather giving of thanks…. [19] Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; [20] Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; [21] Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

The “naughty tongue,” relaying its poppycock, interrupts “grace speech:” “But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers [uttering foolish, silly babblings!] also and busybodies [meddling gossips, blabbermouths!], speaking things which they ought not. I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary [unbeliever] to speak reproachfully (1 Timothy 5:11-14).

Let us see how God will deal with sinful man’s naughty tongue….

A Naughty Tongue! #10

Saturday, July 18, 2020

“A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue” (Proverbs 17:4 KJV).

In today’s world of widespread social media, “wicked doer,” “false lips,” “liar,” and “naughty tongue” are all appropriate nouns!

Unfortunately, the average Christian’s speech cannot be distinguished from the world’s communication… and this goes far beyond “dirty four-letter words.” They are not speaking like members of the Church the Body of Christ. While struggling to describe even the simplest Bible truths, church members effortlessly explain false teaching and other lies. They can tell us why this group is wrong, that sect is heretical, this cult is perverted, and that denomination is evil, but they cannot expound sound Bible doctrine. Furthermore, they sound like members of the nation Israel. They focus on Israel’s legalistic doctrine and ignore God’s grace message through the Apostle Paul.

Ephesians chapter 4: “[15] But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: [16] From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. [17] This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, [18] Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: [19] Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

“[20] But ye have not so learned Christ; [21] If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: [22] That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; [23] And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; [24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. [25] Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

Again, our words should conform to the Word of God’s Grace….

A Naughty Tongue! #9

Friday, July 17, 2020

“A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue” (Proverbs 17:4 KJV).

In today’s world of widespread social media, “wicked doer,” “false lips,” “liar,” and “naughty tongue” are all appropriate nouns!

Several key Pauline passages tell us how to use our tongues wisely in this Age of Grace, as members of the Church the Body of Christ. For example, Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6). As opposed to “bland or ordinary dialog,” we should speak words “seasoned with salt”—words that preserve souls not destroy them. What will make our speech pleasant and productive? It is that which is “alway [entirely, completely] with grace.” If it embodies the Message of God’s Grace—communication that conforms to sound (Pauline) doctrine—then it is the appropriate “answer” we should give to inquisitive minds.

Titus chapter 2: “[1] But speak thou the things which become [are suitable for, correspond to, parallel] sound doctrine:…. [7] In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, [8] Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you…. [15] These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” Chapter 3, verses 1 and 2: “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.”

Instead of hastily running our mouths and making ourselves look like fools (as we Christians have often done—and continue to do!), we should frame our words based on our careful study and understanding of Romans through Philemon. While the lost world around us will call us unpleasant names, as long as we follow these verses, their accusations will be groundless. Their tongues can echo Satan’s lies, but we take our stand by faith and choose rather to declare God’s truth!

Let us see other Pauline exhortations that speak to the usage of our tongues….

A Naughty Tongue! #8

Thursday, July 16, 2020

“A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue” (Proverbs 17:4 KJV).

In today’s world of widespread social media, “wicked doer,” “false lips,” “liar,” and “naughty tongue” are all appropriate nouns!

As people who live in this Age of Grace, and members of the Church the Body of Christ, we should exercise great caution as to how we use our tongues. Many are still utilizing their speaking organs to communicate lies of all kinds in all circles, so we should be careful not to fall for this false teaching or repeat it. Otherwise, we will be yet another extension of Satan’s policy of evil—his lie program being perpetuated further!

“Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:30). “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits [enticing voices], and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;…” (1 Timothy 4:1,2). “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair [beautiful, embellished] speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17,18).

The Apostle Paul himself, being led by the Holy Spirit, did not employ man’s wisdom or clever philosophical gimmicks to convert people to Christ. Read 1 Corinthians chapter 2: “[1] And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God…. [4] And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:….” In chapter 4, verse 19, there were Christians in Corinth using their tongues to express their pride in being “independent believers,” enjoying a life of sin and freedom from all apostolic influence or guidance: “But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.” Our tongues should rather convey God’s grace….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What are ‘the secret chambers’ of Matthew 24:26?

Turn Not from It! #8

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:7 KJV).

Dear readers, let us learn this vital lesson from ancient Israel’s history.

Second Peter chapter 2: “[1] But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. [2] And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. [3] And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” Whether Old Testament Israel, future Israel, or even the present time, Satan’s preachers always labor!

As today’s Scripture indicates, spiritual prosperity is achieved only when we follow the doctrinal path Almighty God has laid out for us. Israel would suffer tremendously if she drifted from the Law of Moses. Once Joshua died, the Jews waxed worse and worse. The Old Testament record abounds with a myriad of resultant tragedies—civil wars, collapse of family, droughts and famines, Gentile oppression, plagues and diseases, poverty, death, and so on. All these unfortunate situations were because Israel failed to maintain sound Bible doctrine.

Romans chapter 16: “[17] Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. [18] For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Here is the Holy Spirit’s warning to us the Church the Body of Christ. People will use false doctrine to split local churches and cause saints to stumble. Their main perversion is stressing Law and ignoring Grace (Romans 6:14,15). Mixing God’s Word and will for us, with God’s Word and will for Israel, is sure to bring spiritual ruin. Therefore, follow Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. Turn not from the rightly divided Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)!

Turn Not from It! #4

Friday, July 3, 2020

“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:7 KJV).

Dear readers, let us learn this vital lesson from ancient Israel’s history.

The LORD through Moses taught Israel in Deuteronomy chapter 17: “[14] When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; [15] Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother…. [18] And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: [19] And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: [20] That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.”

Israel’s kings were to make a copy of God’s Word, and study that copy of the Law of Moses. Doing so would save them and their nation from spiritual destruction. King Josiah of Judah is described in 2 Kings 22:2 thusly: “And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.” Unfortunately, this could not be said of all Jewish kings. Like the Body of Christ, they overwhelmingly turned aside to the right and to the left….

NOTE: We interrupt this devotionals arc for one day in order to present a special study.