Delight and Forget Not!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

“I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word” (Psalm 119:16 KJV).

Dear friends, let us follow the example of the Psalmist!

Read the verse previous to today’s Scripture: “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways” (verse 15). For many people—yea, most—Bible study is “boring” because amusement is preferred. No thinking is required with entertainment. However, “meditate” implies someone is engaging in deep thought. There are simply too many individuals who possess the Bible but are not thinking critically about it. If they do read it, they really make no mental effort therein. For most, Bible reading is just a “necessary task” because it is “Christian” to do it. Do they not burn inside to understand the words of the eternal God, genuinely seeking His wisdom? Or, have they set out in the Scriptures merely to prove some pet theological belief or denominational tenet?

The Psalmist determined to “delight” in the LORD’S statutes (words, instructions). To him, learning Scripture was not done grudgingly or of necessity. In fact, he purposed to remember the Divine revelation to which he had been exposed. Moreover, the Psalmist decided to “have respect unto [God’s] ways.” It was not mindless memorization or dry repetition, but reverential appreciation. We too would do well, saints, to open the Bible every day and better acquaint ourselves with it. Considering the bombardment of lies we experience daily—from internet sites, television programs, printed material, and so on—we should renew our minds with the Word of God rightly divided.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1,2). “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine…. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Timothy 4:13,15,16).

Signs of Shallowness #10

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV).

Behold the signs of shallowness!

Dear friends and brethren, we grow spiritually by understanding and appreciating the completed Bible canon—particularly the Pauline epistles (Romans through Philemon) that closed it. Unless we notice God’s most recent revelation, we cannot know what He is doing today.

The Holy Spirit instructed and encouraged the baby saints at Corinth (who enjoyed being entertained with spiritual nonsense): “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Corinthians 13:8-13).

In New Testament Greek culture (the Corinthians’ background), childhood ended for girls and boys at age 13. They would gather their toys and leave them at a pagan temple, signaling they were now adults. Dear friends, if we let the Bible rightly divided impact our minds and hearts, believing it (!), we too will “put away childish things.” Moving from shallow waters, we thus plumb the depths of God’s mystery wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:6-8)! 🙂

Signs of Shallowness #9

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV).

Behold the signs of shallowness!

Ephesians chapter 4: “[11] And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; [12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: [13] Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: [14] That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; [15] But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: [16] From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

Here is one enormous sentence in Greek! In short, the Lord Jesus Christ gave church leaders for the purpose of bringing the Church the Body of Christ to a place of “edifying” (building up) and “perfection” (spiritual maturity). At one time, there was no completed Bible—now there is. We thus have no reason to be “children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.” Indeed, if we are shallow in the Scripture, we are vulnerable to such spiritual lies. Just look at church history and modern Christendom!

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Signs of Shallowness #8

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV).

Behold the signs of shallowness!

The writer of the Book of Hebrews could have written more about Jesus Christ, but national Israel was unable to handle it. So, it was necessary to start with the basics (higher doctrine would be presented later). Hebrews itself is the most fundamental treatise—a “beginner’s guide”—to the work of Christ with respect to Israel. Like Romans does for us the Church the Body of Christ, Hebrews underscores Calvary’s crosswork for Israel. As we do not stop in our edification in Romans, so Israel does not stay in Hebrews-level doctrine. They are to further mature, grasping the Books of James through Revelation.

Building on today’s Scripture (the close of chapter 5), the Holy Spirit began chapter 6: “[1] Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, [2] Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. [3] And this will we do, if God permit.” The “perfection” here is not sinlessness but spiritual maturity. God gave the Bible to Israel to grow her spiritually, and to mature us the Body of Christ spiritually.

Indeed, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That [purpose/intent] the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). We know exactly what God is doing, and we need not be shallow in our understanding….

But He Has a Doctorate!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13 KJV).

He may have a doctorate… but does he listen to the Holy Spirit?

Recently, I counseled with a highly confused Christian. Almost 40 years after trusting Christ, she still has not been stabilized in sound Bible doctrine! Her mind was greatly scrambled by various wild ideas. When I asked her to turn to a specific verse and read it, she replied, “Oh, I know that verse,” and then she proceeded to quote another verse! This dear soul is just one of two billion church members so thoroughly deceived in Christendom. They read books about the Bible, but do not read the Bible. If they have read Scripture, it is little snippets here and there—read while wearing denominational eyeglasses. Refusing to let the Holy Spirit teach them, they approach God’s Word with countless assumptions and misconceptions.

I was honest with that poor lady: “Your preacher is not telling you the truth, and you know it. He has hidden truths from you, concepts I just shared with you by having you read Bible verses.” Earlier, she defended her pastor by rebutting, “He has a doctorate! He has been to seminary!” After our discussion, she began to see that “seminary” is often nothing but a Bible cemetery! Here is another common fallacy worth correcting. The first qualification for a preacher is not a seminary diploma—or even a high school diploma for that matter! Any human Bible teacher must first have the real Bible Teacher: the indwelling Holy Spirit is the only ultimate Instructor in the Holy Scripture.

A man led by his flesh, a man not submitting to the Holy Spirit, has no business whatsoever teaching the Bible. It does not matter if he can speak and read Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and Aramaic. It does not matter if he has been a missionary to 80 countries. It does not matter if he has water baptized 50,000 people. It does not matter if 35,000 individuals attend his church services every week. Brethren, we must stop thinking about ministry like lost people. Let us heed the warnings of 1 Corinthians chapter 2—and fast!!

Bible Q&A #660: “Who or what are the 10 ‘toes’ or ‘horns’ or ‘crowns’ associated with the Antichrist?

Daily

Thursday, October 3, 2019

“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).

They “searched the scriptures” every day!

Someone would say, “I read my Bible yesterday, so I have no need to read it today.” Another person might remark, “I read the Bible once a week—at church.” This is most reckless, fraught with spiritual hazards. Preachers and priests are being used as crutches. Congregants of all denominations are so heavily reliant upon their ministers they are at the mercy of the clergy. Hopefully they are being told the truth (highly unlikely).

Unlike the vast majority of modern church members, the Bereans of today’s Scripture were certainly not gullible sheep. Except for this one passage, the Bible says nothing about them. What is stated here is worth remembering. They were exceptional—“more noble” than the nearby Thessalonians, or possessing a higher moral and intellectual uprightness—in “that (1) they received the word with all readiness of mind, and (2) searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Firstly, the Bereans were eager to hear the Word of God, not empty traditions and idle speculations of men. Secondly, they compared what they heard from Paul and Silas with the Bible in their possession (at the very minimum, the Old Testament Scriptures). Every day, they read and studied the Bible.

Listen to former cult members’ testimonies. Now that they have come to faith in Christ, they have the indwelling Holy Spirit to enlighten them. Exasperated, they cry out, “Look at all these verses my denomination hid from me for decades! I now understand truths I had no idea were even in the Bible!” To say they are amazed is truly an understatement. What made the difference is actual Bible study, not just light or occasional Bible reading. Friends, let us daily and personally read and study the Bible. Otherwise, Satan’s evil world system will deceive us. “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day(2 Corinthians 4:16).

Meet Your Apostle Paul!

Friday, August 23, 2019

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

Here is God’s spokesman to you and me today—Paul!

Today’s Scripture is a little-known verse of prime importance. Where in the Bible do we discover God’s will for us today? After all, the Scriptures are a collection of 66 Books written over a period of nearly 1,600 years. Surely, it is all God’s Word, but are we to follow every single verse? Since the Holy Spirit used the Apostle Paul to tell us to “study… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), He also employed Paul to instruct us how to do it.

A “dispensation” is simply a specific set of instructions God gives to man for a particular time for man’s faith and obedience. The resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ directly committed to the Apostle Paul one such group of Divine revelations—“the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:1,2).

Read today’s Scripture in context: “[11] I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: [14] If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.”

In light of Israel’s (temporary) national and spiritual fall, the Lord saved and commissioned the Apostle Paul in Acts chapter 9. The Book of Acts records Israel’s fall and diminishing, the culmination of her unbelief toward Messiah Jesus. For now, God’s Word is going to the Gentiles without Israel and her prophetic program. In the 13 Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon, God the Holy Spirit describes what He is doing today. The words of Paul are actually “the commandments of the Lord,” His words to and will for us; nevertheless, if we prefer ignorance, we may have that instead (1 Corinthians 14:37,38).

Bible Q&A #640: “Why were the disciples discouraged from looking up in Acts chapter 1?