The Children of God #3

Saturday, June 9, 2012

“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28 KJV).

Today’s Scripture describes the equality of Christians, “the children of God.”

  • “There is neither Jew nor Greek”Prior to our dispensation, God distinguished between Jew (“Circumcision”) and Gentile (“Uncircumcision”) (Ephesians 2:11,12): this distinction has been temporarily suspended (verses 13-18). In our dispensation, God looks beyond nationality; He only sees Christians (members of the Body of Christ) and lost people. “…For we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;… Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them [Jew and Gentile] that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:9,22,23).
  • “There is neither bond nor free” This refers to social-economic statuses: today’s employer-employee relationship. In Bible times, masters (“free”) employed slaves (“bond”). God gives no special status to Christian masters (employers), nor does He grant Christian slaves (employees) any special standing (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:20-24). Again, when God looks at mankind, He only sees those that are “in Christ” and those that are not. “Neither is there respect of persons with [God]” (Ephesians 6:9c; Colossians 3:25b).
  • “There is neither male nor female” — All members of the Body of Christ are equally “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). In God’s eyes, Christian women are of no lesser value than Christian men, and vice versa.

While the Body of Christ consists of men and women, Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, all Christians are equally saved in God’s sight (just as all lost people are equally dead in their trespasses and sins). All Christians “are complete in [Christ]” (Colossians 2:10), but few ever study the Bible dispensationally (as we do here) to discover their identity in Christ.

Mother: A Virtuous Woman

Sunday, May 13, 2012

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10 KJV).

Today is Mother’s Day, so we dedicate this devotional to godly women (specifically mothers). I especially dedicate this to the virtuous woman who has been in my life for almost 24 years… my mom!

Today’s Scripture is the first verse of the Bible’s “Virtuous Woman” passage (Proverbs 31:10-31). King Solomon explained that the virtuous woman:

  • has a husband who safely trusts in her (verses 11,12).
  • is not lazy, but is strong because she works to feed and clothe her family and herself (verses 13-19,21,22,24,25,27).
  • pities the poor and needy (verse 20).
  • has a husband who is well-known because of her godly lifestyle (verse 23).
  • opens her mouth with wisdom, and speaks kindly and lovingly (verse 26).
  • has children and a husband who praise her (verse 28).
  • excels in what she does (verse 29).
  • has works that praise her (verse 31).

Verse 30 explains the virtuous woman is “a woman that feareth the LORD.”

The Apostle Paul wrote that godly women should: not slander/gossip, not be controlled by alcohol or emotions (sober minded), be teachers of good things, love their husbands and children, be cautious and modest, maintain the home, be “good,” and should obey (respect) their husbands… “that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5). A Christian woman, especially a mother, should be a virtuous woman in beliefs as well as in deed. She needs to set an example for her children (especially her daughters).

A Christian woman and/or Christian mother places her faith in this sound Bible doctrine, the indwelling Holy Spirit will then take that doctrine and transform her for God’s glory (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Her mind will be renewed by sound Bible doctrine, and that will transform her outward activity (Romans 12:1,2).

Are you a Christian woman or Christian mother who desires to be the woman God intends you to be in Christ Jesus? Place your faith in this sound Bible doctrine, and God will take care of the rest!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

Final Voyage

Sunday, April 15, 2012

“Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away” (Psalm 144:4 KJV).

On 10 April 1912, a massive British passenger liner left Southhampton, England to embark on its maiden voyage. Its destination was New York. The ship, 882 feet (269 m) long, held over 2,400 passengers and nearly 900 crewmembers. On 14 April, just shortly before midnight, she struck an iceberg. Exactly 100 years ago today, RMS Titanic plunged into the frigid waters of the North Atlantic, taking with her 1,500-plus persons….

Some of the wealthiest people in the world boarded Titanic for her maiden voyage, oblivious to the fact that it would actually be Titanic’s final voyage. Millionaire John Jacob Astor IV, who would be worth nearly US$12 billion today, lost every last cent he had on that cold, April night 100 years ago today. Although he was the richest person aboard Titanic, death took his fortune just as much as it took the poorest victims’.

As the psalmist expressed in today’s Scripture, this earthly life is ever so brief. Life on earth is but a “shadow that passeth away,” “even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).

One day, short of the rapture, death will steal from us every last material possession we own. Large bank accounts, although nice, are not permanent because economic recessions and depressions can empty them quickly. Although we are expected to have jobs so we can eat and buy goods (2 Thessalonians 3:10; cf. 2 Corinthian 12:14), our priority is not seeing how much worldly possessions and “wealth” we can amass.

Our primary focus is to trust in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour now, while we still have breath. Then, as Christians, we desire to store up a treasure of sound doctrine in the inner man (studying and believing the Bible dispensationally). Although our “uncertain [material] riches” (1 Timothy 6:17) will eventually vanish, we are spiritually rich in Christ (2 Corinthians 8:9), “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

Praise the Lord—we can never lose our spiritual wealth in Christ!

By the way, our past two devotionals about Judas’ replacement have recently been combined and expanded to form the study “Judas’ Replacement: Matthias or Paul?

What Does God Want Me to Do? #6

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13 KJV).

God’s will according to religion and God’s will according to the Bible are contradictory—only one can be right. If you want to know and do God’s will, look to the Bible, which is our final authority in all matters of faith and practice.

Religion causes us to have a superstitious understanding of God’s will. Does God want me to work here, or work there? Marry this person or that person? Buy this house, or that house? Attend school here, or there? Drive this vehicle, or that vehicle? Eat this, or that? Go here, or there? Beloved, God has given us doctrine to make those decisions, but ultimately, He has given us free will. God has not preselected our house, vehicle, spouse, or job: these are decisions we must make—God does not want robots (religion does!).

God’s will—His “eternal purpose” (Ephesians 3:11)—is to exalt Jesus Christ in heaven and on earth (Ephesians 1:9,10). Whenever faced with a decision, you need to ask yourself, “What decision will hinder God’s eternal purpose?” (Avoid that choice.) “What choice will accomplish God’s eternal purpose?” (Choose that alternative.) God’s will is “to have all men saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4). God wants to use you to lead others to Jesus Christ and to use you to share sound Bible doctrine (dispensational Bible study) with others. Your purpose as a member of the Church the Body of Christ is to let Christ live His life in and through you, where you are now (your job, home, marriage, et cetera). That is God’s will for your life!

When you study and believe God’s Word dispensationally (understanding that Paul is your apostle, and our Dispensation of Grace is not associated with Israel’s Dispensation of Law), God the Holy Spirit will work in you, and fulfill His will in you (today’s Scripture), enabling you to make wise choices to prove/demonstrate God’s will—to glorify Christ (Romans 12:1,2).

Vinegar, Smoke, and a Sluggard

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

“As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him” (Proverbs 10:26 KJV).

What do vinegar, smoke, and a sluggard have in common? Today’s Scripture gives us the interesting explanation.

Firstly, vinegar is an acid, so over time, it will corrode tooth enamel. To the structure of the tooth, vinegar is irritating. Secondly, smoke annoys the eyes by causing them to sting (burn). Lastly, a sluggard aggravates those who charge him with responsibility because he will never get the job done! Vinegar, smoke, and sluggards are all bothersome.

The book of Proverbs makes five other references to the “sluggard.” Read Proverbs 13:4: “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” God’s Word says that lazy people always beg for something, but it also says that hard workers will prosper. Consider Proverbs 20:4: “The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.” The sluggard never gets the job done!

So, God commands, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man” (Proverbs 6:6-11).

Lastly, Proverbs 26:16: “The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.” A lazy person thinks his activity is acceptable, and nothing will cause him to believe otherwise: he is “wiser in his own conceit.” Isaiah 5:21: “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!”

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul writes this to sluggards in this the Dispensation of Grace: “If any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Be not a sluggard!

Busybodies with Busy Lips and Idle Bodies

Thursday, February 9, 2012

“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread” (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 KJV).

The church at Thessalonica was one of the Apostle Paul’s exemplary assemblies. They exhibited spiritual growth, and their testimony impacted their lost and saved neighbors for God’s glory (1 Thessalonians 1:3-10). Their love for one another was also noteworthy (4:9,10). However, some of the Thessalonian believers were guilty of being busy… only with their lips.

In his first letter, Paul exhorted the Thessalonians: “[We beseech you to] study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you” (4:11). Some of these believers were so busy moving their lips that their bodies never moved (lazy). What little they did, they were interfering in the lives of others (being meddlesome), and then repeating the matter to others. This was obviously problematic, and Paul warned them to do less talking (“be quiet!”) and more work.

Perhaps a year or two later, Paul writes to the Thessalonians again. In today’s Scripture, we read that the previous issue—the busybodies with the busy lips and the idle bodies—is still unresolved. There are still believers who “are walking disorderly, working not at all.” Instead, these “busybodies” must be told again, “work with quietness” and “eat [your] own bread.” Yes, Paul had to tell some believers to quit being lazy, to quit mooching off of others, to work, and to do their tasks quietly (minding their own business and avoiding gossip).

Saints, we need to guard against laziness and busy lips (gossiping). We are just as human as the Thessalonians; we need to take an opportunity to examine our hearts in this regard. Am I guilty of gossiping or being lazy? If yes to either, why not obey today’s Scripture by faith?

The Ever-Luminous Beacon

Saturday, October 15, 2011

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105 KJV).

Life is sometimes a lonely, dark, confusing maze. During these disappointing and chaotic periods, where should we turn for advice? Today’s Scripture enlightens us. The Bible is a beacon shining brightly in the midst of life’s troubles.

Proverbs 2:6 says, “For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” The Bible is “given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16): it came from His mouth (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4). Scripture gives us God’s wisdom regarding marriage, the workplace, parenting, friendships, enduring difficult times, but most importantly, how to be saved from our sins and obtain eternal life through Jesus Christ.

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130). God never intended His Word to answer every possible question. Contrariwise, God gave us His Word to teach us what we need to know—information that is of eternal value. We need sound doctrine that will carry us through this earthly life and right into eternity. The Bible does not give us all the answers, but it does educate us about God’s purpose and plan for the heaven and earth. Furthermore, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon teach us what God is doing today.

God has “magnified [his] word above all [his] name” (Psalm 138:2). “The word of the Lord endureth for ever” (Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:25). The Bible is “truth” (John 17:17). God’s Word is unlike any other book. The King James Bible is God’s preserved Word in English, so it should serve as your final authority in life. As we study God’s Word rightly divided as 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs—understanding what Scripture is written to and about us versus what is written to Israel—and place our faith in what we read, God the Holy Spirit will then take His Word and use it to work within us for His glory.

With the King James Bible in hand, we always have the (free!) counsel of God, the ever-luminous beacon, literally at our fingertips….