Death! #8

Monday, May 18, 2020

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19 KJV).

It is a morbid topic, but a reality we know all too well….

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Sin has “wages” (payments): physical death (soul and spirit separated from physical body), spiritual death (soul and spirit separated from God on Earth—can be remedied by faith in Christ!), functional death (believer separated from Christian living), and second death (soul and spirit separated from God in the Lake of Fire—permanent!).

We enter this world “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us [resurrected us, given us life and energy] together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; )…” (verse 4). Thus, God through Christ overcomes spiritual death. The “eternal life” of Romans 6:23 especially emphasizes subsequent Christian living. If we as believers want deliverance from daily sinful conduct, we read and trust chapters 6–8. Thus, God through Christ conquers functional death.

Some of the Church the Body of Christ will physically die, but not all. Those believers alive at the Lord’s return—the Rapture, the resurrection, “the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:18-25)—will never experience physical death. “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…” (1 Corinthians 15:50-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Living or dead, all Christians will receive a new body. Thus, God through Christ overcomes physical death. “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile [sinful, corrupt, subject to death] body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:20,21).

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25,26).

Without Hands #3

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

“Among the gods there is none like thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works” (Psalm 86:8 KJV).

Let us see what the Bible says about works made “without hands.”

The expression occurs one final time in Colossians chapter 2: “[11] In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: [12] Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”

Once we trust Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins, the Holy Spirit identifies us with Him and makes us members of the Church the Body of Christ: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13). Here is our “baptism”—and it is not water! Instantaneously, we are also spiritually circumcised, cut off from our identity in Adam and given Christ’s identity. Instead of being the work a Jewish rabbi, this circumcision was made “without hands.” Believing Israel has both an outward/fleshly circumcision and an inward/spiritual circumcision: “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:28,29).

It will take Almighty God Himself to defeat Israel’s enemies—no one else can do it. Here is one act done “without hands.” It will take Almighty God Himself to deliver Israel and the world from Satan and the Antichrist—no one else is able to accomplish it. Here is a second act done “without hands.” It will take Almighty God Himself to remove man’s sinful heart—no one else can do it. Here is a third act done “without hands.” Now, we close with today’s Scripture: “Among the gods there is none like thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.”

Careful—But Not Careful! #15

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

Even as Christians, we are never, ever guaranteed a life without pain, suffering, hardship, sickness, grief, or loss. Still, that does not mean God does not love us or care about us. We look to Calvary’s cross—not our circumstances—to see God’s love for us. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

No matter our surroundings—good or bad—Father God has fully equipped us with His grace to handle everything. Second Corinthians chapter 12: “[9] And he [the Lord Jesus] said unto me [Paul], My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Philippians chapter 4 again: “[11] Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. [12] I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. [13] I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Contentment is not automatic but rather something “learned.” Sound Bible doctrine must be continuously absorbed. It also takes a long time to sort through the deception, misinformation, and confusion that often distract us from God’s Word rightly divided. The more difficult the situation, the harder it is to correct the distortion associated with it. Remember, we must be prepared for Satan’s attacks. That evil work is subtle, but with Romans through Philemon, we have “the mind of Christ” and can thus overcome the Adversary (1 Corinthians 2:16)! 🙂

-FINIS-

Careful—But Not Careful! #14

Monday, April 20, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

We should always use common sense. Being careful, or alert, is wise. We should do our best to preserve our health and life, and protect the health and lives of those around us. However, being “careful”—as in worrisome, consumed by hypervigilance—is unwise. Anxiety is actually counterproductive, as it weakens our health and shortens our life. Living in fear or paranoia is the very last thing God wants for us, members of the Church the Body of Christ.

Instead of fretting, we should take advantage of the provision our Heavenly Father already put in place for us. Worrying is the result of not knowing the future. However, if we are already familiar with Paul’s Epistles, Romans through Philemon, we know what God is doing with us now and what He will do with us later. Whatever else happens to us really does not matter. Eternity—that which never ends—outweighs anything and everything that could possibly come our way in this temporary world.

Taking a firm stand by faith in the sound Bible doctrine we have read, we now talk to our Heavenly Father. We know that He, as we keep reading that Divine revelation, will supply what we need—strength, wisdom, and so on. Since we have that assurance, we thank Him for it in advance. As long as we prayed the “Pauline way,” we will be neither surprised nor disappointed. If we failed to read and believe His words through Paul, then we had better go back and look to see what God is doing (lest we try to force Him to do something else, and wind up spiritually ruined!). Finally, we have God’s peace, inner tranquility, something far beyond human reasoning or explanation. Protected internally from all of Satan’s attacks—doubts, questions, concerns, and so on—we have the victory over every circumstance!

Let us now conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Titus 1:12?

Careful—But Not Careful! #13

Sunday, April 19, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

When we scan Christendom—the professing “Church,” the tens of thousands of denominations that all claim to serve Jesus Christ—we see no spiritual strength. Some two billion church members worldwide all appeal to the Bible… and, yet, there is practically no unity among them. It is quite easy to figure out why! For the last 20 centuries, we have not been consistent in our handling of the Holy Scriptures. What we have done is treated the Bible as a buffet.

Snatching a “plate” in a frenzy, we grabbed from Scripture a little of “this”—but not too much! We clutched a little of “that” from the Bible—but not too much! Then, we simply “retranslated” or outright ignored whatever verses we found unappealing. Next, we heaped to ourselves assorted traditions and opinions of men. Finally, with our plate full, able to receive no more, we ran to sit and eat. Gobbling up that mess like starving animals, we violently wrench with sudden stomach pains. Expectedly, there is such disorder, disability, and disease!

We have utterly failed to obey 2 Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Instead of “rightly dividing,” we have combined everything in the Bible and then “picked and chose” from that jumbled chaos. Had everyone simply followed the Apostle Paul as he follows Jesus Christ, there would be stability and unity. Christians could handle life’s problems—if they had only listened to and believed Pauline doctrine, Romans through Philemon!

Read Philippians 4:9: “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Here is the Holy Spirit writing through the Apostle Paul. Provided we listen to this sound Bible doctrine, “the God of peace” will be with us. Let us summarize this devotionals arc….

Careful—But Not Careful! #12

Saturday, April 18, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

Let us read today’s Scripture with its subsequent verses: “[6] Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. [7] And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. [8] Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. [9] Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Remember, our “mind” affords us the ability to know; our “heart” is what we use to exercise faith or trust. We can know information without actually believing it; however, if it is in our heart, it is communication we trust. Through Christ Jesus—knowing and believing the sound Bible doctrine that defines what He did for us at Calvary and all its resultant realities—we are protected. Provided we are concentrating on God’s Word rightly divided, Satan’s lies cannot penetrate our inner man.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” These are descriptions of the Holy Bible—whatever is “true” (factual, trustworthy), “honest” (honorable, dignified), “just” (right, correct), “pure” (uncorrupted, wholesome), “lovely” (acceptable, pleasing), and “of good report” (well spoken of). We are to think on that which is virtuous (upright) and praiseworthy (exemplary). Again, at all times, it is crucial for us Christians to have clear thinking in order to nullify Satan’s lies that threaten us….

Careful—But Not Careful! #11

Friday, April 17, 2020

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Friend, as we live in these strange times, let us “be careful for nothing!”

Satan cannot harm the Lord Jesus Christ. Nonetheless, he can do the next best thing—harm us, the Church that is His Body. We Christians are at war! Consider Ephesians 6:12: “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.” Turn to 2 Corinthians chapter 10 now: “[3] For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: [4] (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; ) [5] Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;….”

The evil world system attacks us internally—mentally. Just as in a physical battle, there are injuries and casualties. Usually, Christians are not thinking as their Heavenly Father designed them. They are not renewing their minds with His Word rightly divided. Hence, their Christian lives are functioning improperly—if at all. Romans chapter 12 reminds us: “[1] I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. [2] And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Instead of wasting our time with human wisdom, we enjoy God’s peace that exceeds human understanding. We “mind [think about] the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5). Consequently, our Heavenly Father “shall keep [guard, protect from Satan’s assaults] [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” We have victory with God’s power, and we have God’s power when we arm ourselves with His words to us….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who was ‘Caesar?’

Without Honour #7

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house (Mark 6:4 KJV).

What valuable lesson can we learn from Nazareth—a moral the Nazarenes deliberately failed to learn?

Christianity’s bitterest enemies, the Bible’s most outspoken critics, are often people who grew up in “church.” Why? Although they were “close to the truth,” they did not walk in the light they had or have heart faith in that information. It was just mental gymnastics, merely “playing church.” They did not “honour” the sound doctrine they had opportunity to learn.

Look at it another way. Some Protestants endlessly ridicule their own Protestant Bible—the King James text and its underlying manuscript witnesses. For over 400 years, the Authorized Version has protected Bible-believing Christians from the doctrinal errors of Roman Catholicism (the manuscripts underlying the modern English versions). However, the Church the Body of Christ has overall demonstrated it has not received God’s Word with a grateful heart (just like the Nazarenes!).

Romans chapter 1: “[18] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; [19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. [20] For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: [21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

“[22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [23] And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. [24] Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: [25] Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”

The Nazarenes are just a small sample of this worldwide problem….

Perfect Peace #3

Monday, March 16, 2020

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3,4 KJV).

Despite their grim circumstances, those who trust in the God of Scripture will be kept in “perfect peace!”

Israel will learn she cannot in and of herself be victorious over this evil world system. Her believing remnant must wait for Jesus Christ’s ultimate deliverance at His Second Coming. Psalm 68: “[1] Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. [2] As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. [3] But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice. [4] Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.[34] Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds. [35] O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.”

The Holy Spirit, moving the Prophet Isaiah, is looking down through time—at least 2,700 years—to see Israel’s Little Flock at the end of Daniel’s 70th Week. Preparing to enter the Millennium, they are rejoicing. The LORD God has brought them through their horrendous suffering. By reading and trusting their prophetic promises in Scripture, they have been kept safe! Walking by faith in Isaiah, the Book that spoke of both their tribulation and their kingdom, they knew that, no matter what, they would survive to see His earthly kingdom. God was faithful!

Likewise, brethren, regardless of our struggles, heartaches, and uncertainties in this life, we already know our final destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ remains unchanged! Our eternal future is certain; thus, our temporary trials are certainly bearable (1 Corinthians 10:13). “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18). Enjoy that “perfect peace!” 🙂

Sin Divides #11

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

“Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:5,6 KJV).

In religious circles, it is frequently bemoaned, “Doctrine divides! Doctrine divides! We should throw away ‘doctrine’ and just assemble around ‘love!’” Today’s Scripture and its context expose that dictum for the utter foolhardiness that it really is….

Notice such unfortunate traits of the Corinthian Christians: “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” (1 Corinthians 1:10). “For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (11:18,19). Denominations, sects, and cliques will be our lot if we soften the importance of doctrine!

Sound Bible doctrine creates unity. Ephesians chapter 4: “[1] I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, [2] With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; [3] Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. [4] There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; [5] One Lord, one faith, one baptism, [6] One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

We are not struggling to get along with others superficially (often confused with true unity). Rather, we maintain the sound Bible doctrine that produces genuine, lasting unity. Unity at the expense of sound doctrine is not unity at all; it is nothing more than shared ignorance of Satan’s policy of evil and fleshliness. Moreover, since our sinful flesh caused the split, reliance on the flesh only deepens and fosters additional discord.

Let us summarize this devotionals arc….