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.

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).

Not Mixed With Faith

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Hebrews 4:2 KJV).

We can read and memorize all the verses we want, but, if we are not approaching Bible verses in faith, we will not gain the profit God put in them.

I had a recent phone conversation with a brother in Christ who is in the ministry. He is dealing with an individual who jumps from religious group to religious group (five or six current affiliations). This man, whether saved or not I am unsure, constantly asks the brother various Bible questions. How sad it is that people can ask so many questions and still be so ill equipped, unable to distinguish truth from error. Yea, treating the Bible like some “intellectual gym class” will severely harm rather than greatly help!

Take, for example, the nation Israel in the wilderness (Hebrews chapter 3— previous to today’s Scripture). They heard the voice of God thundering from Mount Sinai. They saw the two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments inscribed on them. Unlike the pagan nations around them, Israel had access to the one true God (Deuteronomy chapter 4 in its entirety). Alas, Israel did not believe a word God said (today’s Scripture)! They heard, heard, heard… but they did not believe, believe, believe! Hearing the Word of God does not benefit you if you do not believe it! Paul said this of unbelieving Jews in Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Israel had heard the Word of God for centuries, and yet was still in rank unbelief during his Acts ministry!

The writer of the Book of Hebrews, speaking to Israel during the future time after our Dispensation of Grace, urges the Jews to believe the kingdom doctrines Jesus Christ taught during His earthly ministry. They are to believe on Him as their Messiah, the Son of God, their Redeemer; they must wait for Him to return at His Second Coming to establish that earthly kingdom of God. That wonderful news cannot profit them if “not mixed with faith!”

What a Treasure!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

“I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil” (Psalm 119:162 KJV).

The Holy Bible—what a treasure!

Recently, I sat with a dear Christian lady who has been saved for just under two years. She came out of a false religion, and she is still taking “baby steps” in Bible understanding. It is an extremely slow process, as her background and age hinder her, but she is making progress and we thus rejoice in Christ. I was delighted to talk with her for a couple of hours, answering her Bible questions. How thankful she was to see how simple and enjoyable the Scriptures were!

Brethren, whether we have been in Christ for two years or two decades, we should be growing steadily in the Word. Sadly, some of us have stopped in our understanding. They never reached maturity, and they have ceased maturing. Once fervent in the Word, their zeal has diminished. They gradually drifted from the Word, and now they are ever so far away from where their Heavenly Father would have them. The cares of this world have distracted them, and, what little Bible knowledge they had is now suppressed. Sadly—and, oh, what a shame!—they have given up!

The moment a lost soul comes by faith to the knowledge of sin, and the knowledge of soul salvation found only in Jesus Christ, the Bible is seen as a great treasure. After all the years of misery, confusion, disappointment, and deception in various places, that soul has finally found the greatest answer of all. God’s Holy Word shows itself to be a fortune in the midst of poverty! Instead of meager crumbs, there is a spiritual feast! However, as the years pass, the Christian soul loses that grand perspective. If there is no steady (daily) intake of that same Word, the distractions will overwhelm them, and they will go back to thinking like the lost people they used to be.

Christian friend, if you find yourself in this dilemma, there is a solution. You need to adopt the view of the Bible you held when you first came to Christ. It is a great treasure! Get back in it and rejoice in it! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Satan want to ‘sift’ the circumcision saints?

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!
🙂

333’s 2200th – God’s Word Spoken Faithfully

Thursday, June 8, 2017

“The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:28,29 KJV).

Here it is, beloved, devotional #2200!

Outside of churches, you will find myriads of Bible doubters. If you have not learned it yet, friend, you will make a shocking discovery. There are scores of Bible doubters in many such churches! Nay, we take it a step further—those doubters were trained by thousands of doubters who graduated from “Bible colleges” and seminaries!

“Scholarly” people often disagree with our studies. They so fervently cling to theology and denominations. One of their chief complaints is that we have a final authority—the King James Bible. Another grumble is that we share Bible verses that expose the traditions of men. “Christian” religion has deceived so many billions of precious souls. We are honored to do our little part in exalting the truths of God’s Word rightly divided. Although we are a small ministry, we are growing daily. I enjoy hearing from people who are so thankful for our studies and eagerly share them with others. Obscure passages have been made plain. Christians are understanding and enjoying their Bible—some for the first time ever! Lost people are coming to Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour!

Friends, we have God’s Word, and we have “spoken [it] faithfully” for 2200 days now. I often tell our ministry audience, “We never know who we will meet in Heaven!” It would do us well to remember that especially today. For just over six years, a written dispensational Bible study has been posted here. It is impossible to know just how far those studies traveled and to what homes reaching what families. We have prayed for our audience from Day 1; we do it even now. This has not been done in vain, and it is still bearing much fruit throughout various countries. Heaven will be a wonderful time to meet, but, for now, we go onward in Jesus Christ… to #2300! 🙂