A Brief Ministry

Thursday, December 29, 2011

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15,16 KJV).

In my nearly six years of ministry, one thing I have learned is not to waste time with contentious fools. We have better things to do than argue with those comfortable in ignorance (1 Corinthians 14:37,38). Saints, God has given us “the ministry of reconciliation” to proclaim to the world “the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). What a grand ministry that is, albeit brief!

The seconds of life are fleeting, beloved. Ask yourself, have you been wasting those seconds? The outward man is growing older, weaker, and closer to going home to be with the Lord. “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14). Even the life of a centenarian is brief… a milestone most never reach.

Today’s Scripture exhorts the saint whose mind has strayed from God and whose Christian service is unacceptable. That child of God piddles about, wasting precious time that could be spent for God’s glory. How many more precious souls could be saved and edified if Christians spent less time in front of the television, and more time studying God’s Word? While there is nothing wrong with watching television, our priority is souls, both saved and lost!

As we study God’s Word, God’s way, using dispensational Bible study, understanding that God’s Word to us is Paul’s 13 epistles of Romans through Philemon, the sound doctrine contained therein will transform our lives for God’s glory. This is “walking circumspectly [cautiously].” The lost world is watching: what do they see in your life? Carelessness, or wisdom?

“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without [lost, unsaved], redeeming the time” (Colossians 4:5). “The days are evil,” so “redeem the time:” buy back the time for God’s glory by letting His doctrine transform you for His glory. Remember, your ministry is brief, for once this life ends, your “Christian ambassadorship” here is over, and your heavenly ministry begins. Will you be ready?

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.

Fables and Endless Genealogies

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

“As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do” (1 Timothy 1:3,4 KJV).

Ephesus was in trouble. Instead of sound Bible doctrine, certain individuals were teaching “fables and endless genealogies.” Questions were arising in the Christian assemblies. Doubt, confusion, and discouragement proliferated. Incidentally, some years earlier, Paul had warned the Ephesian church leaders that “grievous wolves” of their own selves would infiltrate the flock and mislead the brethren (Acts 20:17,28-31). It happened!

So, in today’s Scripture, Paul informs us that he has left Timothy in Ephesus so Timothy can correct the doctrinal error. A sobering thought is, How could Paul decide where to send Timothy today? Millions of Timothys would be needed because, since then, doctrinal error has spread worldwide and waxed worse and worse (2 Timothy 4:3,4).

God designed His Word to edify (build up/strengthen and enlighten). But Satan and sinful man cooperate to silence its message or greatly dilute it with “fables and endless genealogies.” “Genealogies” refers to pagan and/or Jewish stories passed down through families, information that would profit no one spiritually, and only generate contention (arguing) and doubt (cf. Titus 1:14; Titus 3:9). Their modern-day equivalent is the empty church tradition passed down from “church fathers.”

The Apostle Peter mentioned “cunningly devised fables” (2 Peter 1:16) and the Apostle Paul referred to “refusing profane and old wives’ fables” (1 Timothy 4:7). These exaggerated, fabricated stories (legends) sought to replace sound Bible doctrine, and Timothy was sent to command the Ephesians not to teach such nonsense. “Godly edifying which is in faith: so do is explained in Acts 20:32 (Paul had already told the Ephesians this!): “Brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up….”

As Paul told Timothy and Ephesus, sound Bible teaching (dispensational Bible study) is the key to the confusion and heresy that still plague Christendom today.

Two Secret Comings of Christ

Saturday, November 5, 2011

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,” (1 Corinthians 15:51 KJV).

The Old Testament prophets foretold Israel’s coming Messiah. Psalm 22 and Isaiah chapter 53 described a suffering and dying Messiah. Isaiah 9:6,7 and Zechariah 14:1-4 prophesied a Messiah who would win battles for Israel and ultimately be her King. The prophets could not understand how one Messiah could fulfill both roles (1 Peter 1:10,11), so they wondered if there were two Messiahs.

In hindsight, on this side of Calvary, we understand that there is one Jesus Christ, but His coming described in the Old Testament is actually two comings. Christ came to Israel 2,000 years ago to die and resurrect (His First Coming), but He will one day return to Israel as King (His Second Coming).

But, we Berean Bible students understand that God kept our Dispensation of Grace a secret from those Old Testament prophets (Romans 16:25,26; Ephesians 3:5,9; Colossians 1:25-27). Until the ascended Lord Jesus Christ revealed it to Paul, God never told anyone of a secret time period between those two comings of Christ. So, in addition to two prophesied comings of Christ (His earthly ministry and His millennial reign as King), there are two secret comings of Christ in Scripture.

Our Dispensation of Grace opened in Acts chapter 9, when the ascended Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Saul (later the Apostle Paul) on the road to Damascus (Acts 26:13-18). Instead of pouring out His wrath, which should have occurred after the Jews stoned their prophet Stephen in Acts chapter 7 (Acts 7:55,56 cf. Psalm 110:1), God poured out His grace on Saul and saved him! This coming of Christ to open our dispensation, save Saul, and make him Paul the Apostle, was unknown to the Old Testament prophets.

Likewise, there is a secret coming of Christ to conclude our dispensation and take us (the Body of Christ) to heaven. The rapture, a “mystery” (secret) unknown to the Old Testament, is only revealed in Paul’s epistles (today’s Scripture).

You only see these marvelous truths when you study the Bible dispensationally.

Be a Berean Bible Student

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

“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 17:11 KJV).

The believing Jews of Berea (verse 10) were certainly not like most professing Christians today. According to today’s Scripture there are two defining characteristics of a Berean:

  1. “they received the word with all readiness of mind” — A Berean will have a balance between an open mind and a mind that cannot be “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). Lost people, and even some saved people, are so set in their ways they do not want to believe the Bible, especially if it contradicts what they have always heard in religion/church. We should be open-minded about what someone says, but we do not want to be swayed by every whim of religious leaders and hierarchies. What is most important is that we receive God’s Word—not “preacher talk”—“with all readiness of mind.”

  2. “they searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” — Here is man’s number one failure: he believes anything and everything except what God’s Word says. Even the average Christian is guilty of ignoring the testimony of God’s Word! Never depend on what the preacher says, and never depend on what I say. Rather than “going by what the preacher said,” these saints actually studied the Bible to determine if what the preacher said was really what God’s Word said. The Bereans compared what Paul said to the Old Testament Scriptures. God’s Word “rightly divided” is the standard whereby we judge the veracity or the dishonesty of anyone’s statements. Study the Bible “rightly divided” as 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs, believe the Bible “rightly divided” as 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs, and you will be a Berean Bible student… never mind you do not live in Berea! 🙂

“Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things” (2 Timothy 2:7).