Young and Old(er), Take Heed!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word (Psalm 119:9 KJV).

By God’s grace, dear brethren, I celebrate my 29th birthday today!

Every passing birthday, Christian friends, causes us to realize two things. Firstly, we see how far we have come in our understanding of life, the world, and God’s ultimate plan. Secondly, we see how far we still have to go! Grace living is a process. Father God does not just “zap” us with sound Bible doctrine so we instantly have sinless behavior. We start as babes in Christ, knowing little. Yet, we do not stay there. Every time we open God’s Word and study it rightly divided, there is steady maturity. That daily intake of sound Bible doctrine allows the indwelling Holy Spirit more material to use in our lives. He takes those verses we believe and transforms us internally, thereby causing our behavior to conform to those grace doctrines.

Notice Ephesians 3:16: “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;….” And 1 Thessalonians 2:13: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” Finally, 1 Timothy 4:13: “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.”

Whether young or old(er), we can cleanse our filthy ways by paying attention to God’s Word rightly divided. Psalm 119 proceeds with: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (verse 105). The Holy Bible guides us right now, where we stand. It also illuminates us into the distant future, that we still not deviate left or right. When we do find ourselves drifting away from this right path, or if we find ourselves not even on that path anymore, then we take heed to the grace doctrines in the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon. (This reformation will save us much headache and heartache the next birthday… and countless 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!

No Sunday Morning Second-hand Sermons!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).

Rather than “second-hand” sermons, we need “study” sermons!

Long ago, a minister wrote the following: “Many sermons on Sunday morning are second-hand sermons, copied from some outline book published by the denominational headquarters… and that ought not be! Studying is hard work—but it is profitable in the ministry!” In this day and age, I wonder how sermons delivered from the pulpit are first downloaded from the internet?

Please do not misunderstand, friends. There is nothing wrong with consulting sources for Bible insight. We can all learn from teachers and preachers. However, there is a difference between using these sources and abusing them. Copying sermons verbatim is not ideal for two reasons. Firstly, the person copying is robbing himself of personal Bible study—not to mention running the risk of being greatly deceived! Secondly, those who will listen to the copied sermon will also be robbed of personal Bible study—to be deceived as well! The audience will figure that they can let the writer do all the hard work (studying) and they will simply (and easily) listen to the fruit.

The reason why denominational headquarters are followed so meticulously is that people fear displeasing men. They dread upsetting the denominational leaders, for they just may be “out-of-work” and “out-of-church” if they drift too far from “approved” verses and teachings! Today’s Scripture says that we are to be “approved unto God;” beloved, we are not to be “menpleasers.” Remember, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men (Colossians 3:23).

We are looking for God’s approval, not man’s approval. The quicker we learn that, the more joyous we will be in the ministry. We will not be disappointed when people disapprove of us, for we were never looking for their approval anyway! “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God(1 Corinthians 4:5).

Think Positive! Think Pauline!

Friday, June 9, 2017

“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” (Philippians 4:8 KJV).

Think positive! Think Pauline!

Friend, you literally dread the phone calls from some people, do you not? This is especially troubling when those “people” are family members, right? After they have sat for hours and hours fuming about how wrongly somebody treated them, or some other bit of bad news, they call you up in order to spew forth their negativity. They wallow in self-pity and want you to join in with them. Your day was going so well until they called! Thereafter, every time they ring your phone, you cringe. Sometimes, you cannot even bring yourself to answering—you just let the phone ring, ring, ring. You cannot bear to hear one more pessimistic comment!

Beloved, there is so much garbage teaching in the world that people have almost no exposure to Bible truths. Thus, their thoughts are riddled with fallacies, expending all their time and effort on trivial, nonsensical things. They need to get into the Bible, read and believe the Gospel of Grace (Romans chapters 1-5), and get saved into Heaven! If they have already come to Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, they need to study His Word rightly divided. Their minds should be constantly renewed by truth instead of being increasingly polluted by error. Oh, may they be delivered from foolishness!

Notice today’s Scripture: “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 actually descriptions of the Holy Bible. Read the next verse now: “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me [the Apostle Paul!], do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Think positive—think Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon!
🙂

Just Read the Book!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh (Ecclesiastes 12:12 KJV).

How can today’s Scripture help us avoid a lifetime of “weariness?”

In concluding the Book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon made a very famous confession: “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.”

Recently, I dealt with a confused woman who I have been ministering to for some years. She has attended our Bible studies, asked questions, and even came to one of our grace conferences. Over the years, she has been tossed back and forth with various ideas. She also attends local denominational churches where perverted doctrine is taught. Her overall problem is not that she is lost. I believe she is a saved woman. No, her problem is that she reads too many best-selling “Christian” books rather than reading only the Book.

Reading non-biblical religious books is okay, provided that you first know how to rightly divide the Word of God. Friend, you CANNOT afford to expose yourself to hundreds upon hundreds of books written by people who do not even know how to use God’s Word, God’s way. You will disorient and exhaust yourself. Just think about the poor woman. Looking for the will of God in “books, books, books, books…” will tire and defeat you. Remember today’s Scripture!

There are billions of weary people today in religion. Why? They have spent so much time reading confessions, catechisms, and commentaries. Since their church authorities have not taught them how to use the Bible, they do not know how to use it. Thus, they rely on the church authorities to “interpret” it for them. Many of these precious souls are not even told the truth about the Bible anyway because the “authorities” do not know the truth either!

While this lady I reach still has a long way to go in Bible understanding, she was recently exposed to rightly divided Bible verses yet again. She needs to believe those verses, and push aside all of the books competing for her allegiance! Let us by faith do the same! 🙂

Bible Q&A #355: “Do some things happen by ‘chance?’

You may also see our archived Bible Q&A: “Should Christians observe Lent?

Redeem the Year!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17 KJV).

What great advice for 2017!

Despite 2,000 years of Bible schools and seminaries, 2,000 years of a completed Bible canon, 2,000 years of Bible reading in churches, several decades of “Christian” television and radio, and just over a decade of widespread use of “Christian” websites, how sad that Bible ignorance is still quite extensive (it is as if God never gave His Word to start with!).

Frankly, the Church the Body of Christ needs to wake up! The verse previous to today’s Scripture says, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (verse 14). Paul, loosely quoting Isaiah 60:1, reminded us that the spiritual ignorance that gripped Israel in Isaiah’s day seized Christians in his day—and it still grips Christians 20 centuries later. Feel-good sermons, enjoyable “worship” services, and rites, rituals, and ceremonies will NOT solve this problem—they exacerbate it!

“[God] will have all men to be saved…” (1 Timothy 2:4a). Do you want this New Year to count for God’s glory? First, you need to get saved from sins and hell! You need to become a Christian by trusting in and relying on Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for your sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). That is only part of God’s will for you, for 1 Timothy 2:4b continues, “[God] will have all men… to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Now, God’s will for your Christian life is daily, personal Bible study to renew your mind, so your faith in those verses can cause God to work in your life—it will be His life, thus making you “perfect [spiritually mature], throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

Today’s Scripture urges us to buy back the time Satan has robbed from God (time created for God’s glory). By faith, we need to make that time glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by applying His Word, particularly Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, to our lives. Have a good year in Christ! 🙂

You can download our free “One-Year Bible Reading Schedule.”

See our archived Bible Q&A: “What Scriptural advice can you give me for the New Year?

By the way, I recently wrote and released a 45-page special Bible article, “The 2016 United States Presidential Election: A Bible-Believing, Grace Perspective.”

‘Twas the Sunday Night Before Christmas

Sunday, December 18, 2016

“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15 KJV).

Let us not be so sidetracked by religion and commercialization that we miss the reason for the Christmas Season….

During the Christmas Season, we wonder how many people are visiting church for the second time this year (the other being Easter Sunday). How many will be going to church today—the Sunday before Christmas—just to feel “religious” or “holy?” How many really know Jesus Christ? For many, visiting a church building is just an obligation; they do not have faith in God’s Word and have no interest in God’s Word.

We do not go to church to “feel closer to God,” for if we have trusted in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we cannot be any closer to God than we already are in Christ! “[Before salvation, we were] without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh [close to God] by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12,13).

Furthermore, we do not go to church in order to get God’s blessings, for God has already given us “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). We go to church, not because we are keeping Israel’s Sabbath day, since we are not obligated to observe Israel’s religious days (Colossians 2:16). We go to church to fellowship with like-minded believers and hear sound doctrine… more than twice a year, by the way.

In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy that whenever he would assemble with fellow Christians, certain behavior was acceptable and other types of behavior were not (described throughout the epistle of 1 Timothy). Recall that when the Bible refers to “the church,” it refers to the body of believers, not the physical building in which they meet.

As we get opportunities, let us make an effort to reach these dear souls misled by all the vain religious tradition and Christmas commercialization, and may we tell them of the wonderful Christ Jesus whose name is found in Christmas!

*Based on the poem “‘Twas the Sunday Night Before Christmas.”