Who is Our Apostle? #3

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” (Romans 11:13 KJV).

Behold, the verse that most have never noticed in the Bible!

The objection can be heard. How can Paul claim to be “the apostle of the Gentiles?” Were not the 12 sent to all nations (Gentiles)? What about what Jesus told the 12 Apostles in Matthew 28:19-20? “[19] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Indeed, but this is to be understood in light of Jesus’ words in Luke 24:46-48 and Acts 1:8.

Luke 24:46-48: “[46] And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: [47] And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. [48] And ye are witnesses of these things.” And, the companion verse, Acts 1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” The 12 Apostles were not to preach to “all nations” until they preached to all of Israel first! National, converted Israel would then evangelize “all nations.”

Scripture is clear that the 12 Apostles conducted a ministry with Israel at the forefront of God’s dealings with man. However, as we will see, Paul’s apostleship involved the fall of Israel, she no longer being at the head of God’s program for mankind. That is, rather than the 12 Apostles converting all of Israel and then all of Israel reaching the Gentiles, Paul was reaching the Gentiles without nationally-converted Israel. Hence, Paul’s apostleship should in no way be confused with the 12 Apostles’ ministry, and neither should it be seen an extension of it….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did King Saul die?

Who is Our Apostle? #2

Monday, June 26, 2017

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” (Romans 11:13 KJV).

Behold, the verse that most have never noticed in the Bible!

Friend, I will be very frank with you. If you are going to adopt the position of “every promise in the Bible is mine,” you have set yourself up for—literally—your worst nightmare. You will stumble over one Bible contradiction after another. You doubt this? Just look around at the professing church—all that spiritual confusion and impotence is because they embraced the “everything-in-the-Bible-is-mine” philosophy! Do you still want to follow through with it?

Consider this partial listing of Bible contradictions people often gripe about. Those in Matthew 5:18-19 are commanded to teach the law; Romans 6:14-15 says we are not under the law but under grace. Mark 16:16 teaches water baptism is necessary for salvation; Romans 3:28 says faith in Jesus alone, without works, is enough for salvation. Exodus 20:8-11 demands Sabbath-day observance; Colossians 2:16 says the Sabbath day is unimportant.

Genesis 17:9-14 teaches physical circumcision is necessary in having a relationship with God; Galatians 5:6 and Galatians 6:15 say God does not care about physical circumcision and physical uncircumcision. James 5:14-15 guarantees physical healing after the anointing of oil; there was neither physical healing nor anointing of oil for ill Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:23 or sick Trophimus in 2 Timothy 4:20. While this list could be expanded, there is enough here to see the “all-the-promises-in-the-Book-are-mine” mentality is utter preposterousness. There are mutually exclusive promises!

Friend, do you really want to claim all the verses in the Bible as applicable to you? If you persist, you go right ahead—no one will stop you. Still, you should be further warned that, you will eventually find yourself fallen into unbelief, waffling between “yes” and “no” on dozens of Bible issues. In fact, you give it long enough and you will throw away the Bible in exasperation! Innumerable church members have already done so, and while I urge you not to do it, you have free will and you must make a choice. You can either believe today’s Scripture, or disbelieve it….

Lingering Lot

Saturday, June 24, 2017

“And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city” (Genesis 19:15,16 KJV).

In “lingering Lot,” we see many a Christian today!

Nephew to Abraham, Lot was a very compromising believer. While the world’s sins bothered him (2 Peter 2:6-9), he did not mind dabbling in them himself. For example, Lot “sat in the gate of Sodom” (Genesis 19:1): he was an important statesman in that most wicked city, enjoying high social standing and great wealth. Once God had enough of the homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah, He sent two angels to destroy them (see Genesis 18:16-22; Genesis 19:1ff.).

God also sent those angels to deliver Lot and his family before His righteous wrath falls upon Sodom and Gomorrah. In today’s Scripture, the angels urge Lot to hurry and take his wife and two daughters and escape. Three words stand out: “and while he lingered….” Lot wanted to stay just a bit longer, to take one last look at all his possessions he had acquired while officiating over Sodom. His beautiful home and its furnishings would be destroyed. His sinful acquaintances would be killed. (Notice how his wife “looked back behind him” once they did leave in verse 26, and she “became a pillar of salt!” She too had been attached to the material goods she and Lot had.)

Lot should have led his family out of such wickedness, yet he “lingered.” The angels had to thus forcefully grab all four of them (he, his wife, and their two daughters) and bring them outside the city! JEHOVAH God could have consumed Lot for being so wicked, so idolatrous, and yet He was “merciful unto him.” No doubt, many such saints will want to “linger” at the Rapture, when Christ returns to take all Christians to Heaven, desiring to stay behind and enjoy this evil world one last time. May we not be those “lingering” believers!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does the Bible say about blood transfusions?

Darkened Counsel

Friday, June 23, 2017

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:1,2 KJV).

Can we hear God’s question echoing today?

Many years ago, a friend in the ministry was preaching at his church when a man showed up carrying several books under his arm. The man lied down on the floor and spread several books before him. After the service, my friend approached the man to learn that he had actually brought 10 different Bible translations to read. He would flip through each one! As my pastor friend began to talk to this man, he learned that the man did not actually believe any of those books… and why should he, seeing as to they all read differently?!

Modern Bible publishers have devised various clever sales pitches to advertise their products. They talk about the “up-to-date scholarship,” the thorough system of references, the nice leather cover, the online resources, the wide margins and/or large print, the “easy-to-read” wording, and so on. Yet, they will not tell you that they are actually introducing more confusion in the minds of people concerning the Bible. Why have dozens upon dozens of Bible versions? Is it really to make the Bible clearer? Certainly not, for the diversity of versions and readings make the Bible less clear. The point is, people want to produce their own sectarian or denominational handbook, and if they can change the derivative work enough, they can secure a copyright and start “cashing in” on God’s Word!

While there are many sincere, unsuspecting people in the Bible versions debate, we must also be mindful that many in the leadership know exactly what they are doing. They are not excused from their spiritual wickedness; their polluting lost and saved souls alike is not to be, and will not be, overlooked. Just as JEHOVAH God rebuked Job for rattling on and on about spiritual things he knew nothing about, so God condemns the religious leaders who make His Word harder to understand. They need to hush and study the Bible, gaining knowledge, before they start attempting to teach it to others!

Bereans

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:10,11 KJV).

“Bereans.” Have you ever heard of this title, friend? If you have been around Bible-believing circles, of course you have. It comes right out of today’s Scripture. What Christian meaning does it carry?

After unbelieving Jews traveled to Thessalonica (northern Greece) to harass Paul and his ministry coworkers, the Christian brethren were forced to secretly send Paul and Silas by night. Paul and Silas arrived in nearby Berea, again entering the synagogue to preach to lost Jews. The wicked, unbelieving Jews heard of Paul’s entrance into Berea, so they traveled there to bother him again; the saints in Berea had to sneak Paul and his companions away once again, lest they be injured or killed.

Verses 12-14 follow today’s Scripture: “Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still.”

Friends, the title “Berean” will be forever preserved in the Word of God as indicative of someone who “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (today’s Scripture). These Jews had copies of the writings of Moses and the Prophets (cf. Acts 13:15; Acts 15:21), and they appealed to that inspired record to verify if Paul and his companions were really preaching the truth. (There were no “New Testament” Scriptures as of yet, remember.) They did not simply sit in the pew and mindlessly shout “Amen!” to whatever they heard the preacher say! As they eagerly heard the Apostles preach, they took the Word of God and studied it, using it to determine the quality of the message spoken. May we follow suit, beloved!

The Finger of God

Monday, June 19, 2017

Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said (Exodus 8:19 KJV).

What does it mean, “the finger of God?”

If ever we wonder about the meaning of a certain Bible expression, it is best to search for another verse that uses it. Using this method, we can restrict possible definitions, eliminate senses, and identify the most likely explanation. “The finger of God” appears four times in the King James Bible; its first occurrence is today’s Scripture. Let us look at those remaining instances.

Exodus 31:18 says the following: “And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” Reading Deuteronomy 9:10: “And the LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.”

Finally, the Lord Jesus Christ said in Luke 11:20: “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.” This verse is especially helpful in identifying “the finger of God,” for its parallel verse, Matthew 12:28, says: “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” Notice how “the finger of God” and “the Spirit of God” are used interchangeably—they are synonyms.

Therefore, the Bible phrase “the finger of God” should be taken to mean the Person of God the Holy Spirit. By the Holy Ghost, the Godhead judged wicked Egypt for enslaving His people, the nation Israel. By the Holy Ghost, the Godhead issued their divine and living words to Israel. Finally, by the Holy Ghost, the Godhead purged Israel of Satanic possession and influence. While it is commonly assumed the Holy Spirit is not found in the “Old Testament,” we can clearly see this is an erroneous supposition.

Father: A Godly Man

Sunday, June 18, 2017

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4 KJV).

Since today is Father’s Day, we dedicate today’s devotional to the godly (Christian) fathers.

What is a godly father? Oftentimes, fathers are either too authoritative (very strict) or too carefree (little to no concern for their children). According to the Bible (today’s Scripture in particular), fathers must have a balance between setting boundaries and enforcing them, and refraining from being a heartless tyrant.

  • On one hand, the Christian father is to “bring [his children] up in the nurture of the Lord.” “Nurture” is simply defined as “caring for and encouraging their growth or development.” All too often, fathers (sadly) ignore this, usually being too rough, or even, apathetic (unconcerned).
  • On the other hand, the Christian father is to “bring [his children] up in the admonition of the Lord.” “Admonition” is simply defined as “authoritative counsel or warning.” He is to lovingly guide them in life, instructing them from God’s Word rightly divided.

A father is not simply one who procreates. God’s Word makes it very clear that they should serve a lifelong, active role in their children’s lives. A Christian man, especially a father, should be a godly man in beliefs as well as in deed. He needs to set an example for his children (especially his sons): it is his duty as an older Christian man to set an example for younger men.

He should be a hard worker, he should meditate on the things of God (the Bible), his speech should conform to sound Bible doctrine, he should be hospitable and caring, kind and loving, he should respect and love his wife, he should love his children, and he should be reserved and cautious in his actions.

Are you a Christian man or Christian father who desires to be the man God intends you to be in Christ Jesus? Place your faith in this sound Bible doctrine, and God will take care of the rest! Then, you will become the godly man described on the pages of Scripture.

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