Your Spiritual Bank Account

Friday, December 30, 2011

“For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account” (Philippians 4:16,17 KJV).

In the Dispensation of Grace, as members of the Church, the Body of Christ, God has not guaranteed us material riches. Actually, believers in Macedonia (northern Greece, perhaps Thessalonica and Berea) experienced “deep poverty” (2 Corinthians 8:1,2). Paul sometimes lacked certain material goods including food and shelter (2 Corinthians 11:27; Philippians 4:11,12). Material riches are uncertain riches” (1 Timothy 6:17). Instead, God has promised us spiritual wealth in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 8:9).

We who have trusted exclusively in the Lord Jesus Christ—His blood shed for our sins, His death, His burial, and His resurrection—have eternally gained “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). As “children of God,” we are “then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:16,17). Imagine that—we are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ!”

In addition to those spiritual blessings we already have, we are accumulating further spiritual wealth by daily studying and believing sound (dispensational) Bible doctrine. That sound Bible doctrine is likened to “gold, silver, and precious stones”—everything else (philosophy, religious tradition, et cetera) is the worthless “wood, hay, and stubble” that should be avoided (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

Furthermore, today’s Scripture speaks of “fruit abounding to our account”—our spiritual bank account. The indwelling Holy Ghost will take the aforementioned sound doctrine and empower us to invest time, money, and energy in Christian service (like assisting other Christians, as in today’s Scripture). This will yield eternal benefits—spiritual growth/maturity, salvation of others, et cetera (2 Corinthians 9:6,7).

Once we Christians leave this life, we leave behind material wealth (1 Timothy 6:7). “Godliness,” or “doctrine according to godliness” (sound Bible teaching), is all we will be taking to heaven (1 Timothy 6:3-6). This sound doctrine and spiritual wealth is everlasting, never to be lost to recession or depression. Rejoice! 🙂

Three Keys to a Solid Local Church

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

“Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13 KJV).

Look at the Church the Body of Christ. What shame and heartache. The average church member knows as much Bible as someone who has never gone to church! Courtesy of most churches, hundreds of thousands die and go to hell every day, led astray by works-religion. Millions of precious souls are daily denied the truths of God’s Word because church leaders fear losing their “faithful monetary support.”

In today’s Scripture, what did the Apostle Paul urge Timothy to do to combat the false teaching that had engulfed Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3-11)? Develop a new church program? Schedule a revival? Pray? Organize a vigorous x-step process of re-dedication? Do nothing? (These are Christendom’s common “solutions” for carnality and disarray—especially the latter of “do nothing!”)

To correct false teaching, Paul gave Timothy a charge: “Give attendance [pay attention] to…:”

  1. “READING.” What were they to read? Denominational creeds? “Christian” bestsellers about the Bible? Advice columns written by lost people? Obviously, they were to read the Bible like the Bereans who “searched the scriptures daily, to see whether those things [they heard] were so” (Acts 17:10,11). The Colossians were urged to read the epistle Paul wrote to Laodicea, and the Laodiceans were instructed to read the epistle written to Colosse (Colossians 4:16). Ephesians 3:4 and 1 Thessalonians 5:27 also instruct believers to read the Bible. The Bible says to “study” it (2 Timothy 2:15).
  2. “EXHORTATION.” Christians should exhort (encourage) one another to continue in sound dispensational Bible study so the Bible can transform them for God’s glory (1 Thessalonians 2:10-12; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-18; 1 Timothy 6:1-21; 2 Timothy 4:1-5; Titus 2:1-15).
  3. “DOCTRINE.” Doctrine is important, for it separates us from the world’s religious system. Our doctrine for this dispensation is only found in Paul’s epistles: what God has to say to us today is in Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon (Romans 11:13; 1 Corinthians 14:37).

If Christians gave attendance to these things—especially #3—we would not be in this spiritual mess.

The Little Flock #4

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 KJV).

When Jesus Christ came to the nation Israel, He came to fulfill hundreds of Old Testament prophetic statements. He was the Messiah-King of whom God’s holy prophets had spoken for centuries. Israel’s long-prophesied kingdom was finally going to be established!

But, most Jews rejected Jesus as King-Messiah (John 1:11), eventually demanding the Romans crucify Him. In John 19:15 they cried, “We have no king but Caesar!” The few Jews who trusted in Jesus as their Messiah received John the Baptist’s water baptism (Matthew 3:1-6; Mark 1:1-5). They became Israel’s believing remnant (this was “the church” that followed the twelve apostles’ doctrine in early Acts [2:41-47]; cf. John 21:15-17).

John also warned that Jews who refused his message and water baptism would be “baptized with fire” (Matthew 3:7-12; Luke 3:7-9, 16-17). We know this as the period of God’s wrath, the seven-year Tribulation. The twelve apostles in Acts chapters 1-8 were unsuccessful in converting every Jew (a prerequisite for the kingdom). Now, God was about to pour out His wrath on rebellious Israel. But, God temporarily paused Israel’s prophetic program, and postponed that wrath and earthly kingdom.

Today, we live the Dispensation of Grace, separate from Israel’s kingdom program. But, when our dispensation ends (at the rapture), God will return to Israel and begin the seven-year Tribulation. God will continue the “little flock” by saving one-third of Israel, bringing them through that wrath (Zechariah 13:8,9; Matthew 24:15-21; Revelation 13:6,14-17). But, unbelieving Jews, as John predicted, will burn up in God’s wrath (cf. Matthew 24:36-44).

After Christ’s Second Coming to conclude the seven years, the “little flock” of the Tribulation will join the resurrected members of the “little flock” of Christ’s earthly ministry and early Acts, and the resurrected Old Testament believers. This entire group will inherit that earthly kingdom (today’s Scripture; Matthew 25:34).

The “little flock” should not be confused with us, the Church the Body of Christ. We believers in this dispensation will inherit God’s kingdom in the heavens (2 Corinthians 5:1; Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 2:6,7; 2 Timothy 4:18).

I Pray Thou Discardest Thy Prayer Books #2

Friday, December 2, 2011

“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8 KJV).

In today’s Scripture, the Lord Jesus quoted Isaiah 29:13 to describe the religious Jews of His day. These individuals spoke like believers and claimed to love and obey the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Their lips and mouths praised His name, yet God was unimpressed. Why? Because “their heart is far from [God].” It was all put-on (hypocritical, faithless activity)!

Psalm 62:8 says: “Trust in him [God] at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah [Rest].” God wants you to “pour out your heart before Him.” Tell Him your thoughts/heart. Prayer is simply you speaking to and fellowshipping with God in light of His Word. It is not mindlessly uttering some prescribed phrases in a prayer book.

Pray to God in an intelligent, understandable manner (1 Corinthians 14:15): pray as a grace saint, a member of the Body of Christ, not as a member of Israel. We need not pray Israel’s prayers like the “Lord’s Prayer” of Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4 (that was God’s will for them, not for us). Also, let us not be guilty of stealing Israel’s prayer promises (i.e., Matthew 18:19; John 14:14; et al.).

Paul’s epistles describe what God is doing today, so let us pay attention to the things for which our Apostle Paul prayed. Ephesians 1:16-23, Ephesians 3:14-21, Philippians 1:9-11, and Colossians 1:9-12 are valid things for which to pray in our dispensation (these describe God’s will for us). Pray for 1 Timothy 2:3,4 to come to pass—that lost souls would be saved, and Christians would be edified (strengthened, built up).

Exact words to pray are not the issue: the heart attitude (faith in God’s Word to us) is the issue. Note that God has given us some model prayers in Paul’s epistles. Thus, if we pray in accordance with them, we will be praying for God’s will to be accomplished. So, I pray thou discardest thy prayer books!

Like the Most High

Sunday, November 27, 2011

“…I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14b KJV).

Satan (Lucifer speaking in today’s Scripture) is the arch-nemesis of God. The devil is the master counterfeiter. Notice:

  1. False witnesses (Psalm 27:12; Matthew 26:60,61) cf. the Lord’s witnesses (John 8:14; Acts 5:32).
  2. False visions (Jeremiah 14:14) cf. the Lord’s visions (Ezekiel 1:1).
  3. False dreams (Jeremiah 23:32) cf. the Lord’s dreams (Matthew 2:12,13).
  4. False prophets (Mark 13:22; 1 John 4:1) cf. the Lord’s prophets (Ephesians 3:5).
  5. False Christs (Matthew 24:24) cf. the Lord’s Christ (Psalm 2:2; Luke 2:26).
  6. False apostles (2 Corinthians 11:13) cf. the Lord’s apostles (Luke 11:46).
  7. False brethren (2 Corinthians 11:26; Galatians 2:4) cf. the Christian brethren (Philippians 1:14).
  8. False ministers (2 Corinthians 11:14,15) cf. the Lord’s minister to us, Paul (Romans 15:16).
  9. False gospels (Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians 11:3,4) cf. Paul’s Gospel (Acts 20:24; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Timothy 2:8).
  10. False doctrines (1 Timothy 4:1) cf. Paul’s doctrines (1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Corinthians 14:37; 2 Timothy 2:7).
  11. False wonders, miracles, and signs (2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:13,14) cf. the Lord’s wonders, miracles, and signs (Mark 16:17-20; Acts 2:22).
  12. False spirits (1 John 4:1-6) cf. the Holy Spirit/Spirit of Christ (1 Peter 1:11; 2 Peter 1:21).
  13. False Bibles (2 Corinthians 2:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:2)—“as from us” indicates a letter appearing to be from the Apostle Paul, but it was actually a forged epistle because it contained false doctrine that troubled the Thessalonians—cf. God’s Bible (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12).

Satan knows that as long as you focus on his counterfeits, you will ignore God’s original. To Satan’s delight, whenever Israel would worship pagan gods, she would ignore the true God. As long as the Church the Body of Christ does not believe nor know of the things that God has specifically for us, then God cannot use us for His glory and purposes. Saints, be discerning, for Satan’s “cunning craftiness” abounds (Ephesians 4:14; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:3,4) and hold fast to the rightly divided King James Bible so you will not be deceived by the counterfeits.

Ye Are Complete in Him

Thursday, November 24, 2011

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:9,10 KJV).

Today’s Scripture says all the power of the Godhead—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—dwells in Christ Jesus (God the Son). Consequently, we are “complete [lacking nothing] in Christ.” The moment we trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation, God instantly gave us everything He can ever give us.

We read in Philippians 4:19: “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” In Christ, we have all our “need” (singular) met. What is our “need?” “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 spiritual blessings we have in Christ as a present and permanent possession are our “need.”

What are these spiritual blessings? Throughout Paul’s epistles, we read of over 120 spiritual blessings we have in Christ Jesus. Our spiritual blessings in Christ include:

  1. Sealed by and with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30)
  2. Peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1)
  3. New identity in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  4. Holy, unblameable, and unreproveable in God’s sight (Colossians 1:22)
  5. Crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6)
  6. Alive with Christ (Romans 6:8)
  7. Liberty (Galatians 5:1)
  8. Accepted in the beloved, God’s Son Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:6)
  9. The temple of the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 3:16)
  10. Heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17)
  11. Access by one Spirit unto the Father (Ephesians 2:18)
  12. Preserved unto the Lord’s heavenly kingdom (2 Timothy 4:18)
  13. Eternal life (Titus 1:2)
  14. Grace to endure suffering (2 Corinthians 12:9)
  15. Deliverance from this present evil world (Galatians 1:4)

We cannot see these spiritual blessings with our physical eyes, but we see them with our spiritual eyes of faith (Hebrews 11:1). Let us always thank God for these blessings, not just during the Thanksgiving Season, but for all eternity.

*This is excerpted from a larger Bible study titled “A Cornucopia of Spiritual Blessings.” The Bible study can be read here.

The Vacuum

Saturday, November 19, 2011

“And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26 KJV).

During the past few days, a tragic situation has unfolded. An internet acquaintance of mine and dear saint, just 31 years old, shortly after communicating with me electronically, passed away in a tragic house fire. Instantly, his wife and children lost both their home and their husband-father. Now, saints are donating money and supplies. Why are they doing this?

In today’s Scripture (and its context of verses 12-27), God the Holy Spirit gives an analogy. Just as our physical bodies and its members (organs, limbs, et cetera) are interconnected, the Church the Body of Christ (all present-day Christians) and its members (individual Christians) are linked.

The indwelling Holy Spirit unites us as members of the Body of Christ. When one Christian suffers, the Holy Spirit inside of each of us grieves. He causes us to have sympathy for that Christian. The love of Christ that drove Him to Calvary’s cross operates within us, the believers. It is a selfless, unconditional love, that seeks another person’s highest good. In Philippians 2:1-11, Paul urges us believers to have the same (self-sacrificing) mind that Jesus Christ had.

The verse preceding today’s Scripture is: “…but that the members should have the same care one for another” (verse 25b). God’s grace teaches us to “seek another’s wealth” (1 Corinthians 10:24). Human nature is selfish, but as Christians, when we let Christ live His life in us, He will seek the highest good of all with whom we interact. God’s grace teaches us to seek another person’s benefit, not ours.

Just as this unnamed family has a vacuum in its heart, we too have a vacuum. We mourn as they mourn and pray for them in this time of suffering. When these tragedies happen, God’s Word works within saints so they help with prayer and donations.

But, just as we mourn the lost of that saint, we rejoice with his family as he is now dwelling in the presence of the Lord, to be seen again!