God is Love

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

“…God is love… God is love… We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:8b,16b,19 KJV).

The word “love” is used very flippantly in today’s world. Of the many who speak about “love,” few know what it is. On this Valentine’s Day, we offer sound doctrine from God’s Word to correct the misunderstandings of what love really is. What is love, according to God’s Word?

Today’s Scripture says that “God is love”—God does not simply love, but His very nature is love. What does that mean? In 1 John 3:16, we read: “Hereby we perceive the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:” Our Apostle Paul put it this way: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God’s nature is love—selfless, self-sacrificing!

God’s Word defines love and charity in 2 Corinthians 12:15: “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” Love is seeking the best interest of others, even if it costs you something (time, energy, resources, et cetera). Charity is love in deed (demonstrated, manifested in action). God loved us, so He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. It cost God the Father His Son, and it cost God the Son His life. What a selfless act!

Our nature in Adam is selfish, but our nature in Christ is not. Paul declares, “the love of Christ constraineth us” (2 Corinthians 5:14). We who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, our Christian lives are driven and motivated by Christ’s love for us, not our love for Him. It is this unselfish love of Christ working in us that causes us to look on the things of others, to seek their edification and their benefit, not ours (Romans 13:8-10; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Philippians 2:1-11). This will result in charity, our selfless actions reflecting that love of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:15).

As the lost world observes our Christian service, they will see, “God is love.”

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

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

God’s Grace on Parade

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

“…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20 KJV).

Today, especially here in southern Louisiana, the Catholic festival of Mardi Gras takes advantage of God’s grace. God’s grace abounds even when drunkenness, lasciviousness, and gluttony are committed overtly on our streets for religion. Because we live in the Dispensation of the Grace of God, they can flaunt their sin without being consumed by fire from heaven!

“Mardi Gras,” French for “Fat Tuesday,” is a day when religious people—professing “Christians”—lose self-control (excess alcohol, food, and partying). The following day, Ash Wednesday, they promise to live “holy” for the next 40 days (Lent). A priest will then place ashes on their foreheads proving that God forgave them for that riotous living. Blasphemy!

Regardless of all its biblical allusions (illusions!), Mardi Gras is still evil and anti-God. It was never Christian, originating from pagan Roman festivals, Saturnalia and Lupercalia (interestingly known for riots, drunkenness, gluttony, and fornication, and subsequent repentance).

The Holy Spirit, speaking through the Apostles Peter and Paul, was clearly against Mardi Gras reveling and drunkenness (Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Peter 4:3). So why do professing Christians engage in the very activities that God the Holy Spirit condemned?! As Christians, we should “deny” the activities of Mardi Gras (Romans 6:11-15; Titus 2:11-15).

If I appear offended, I am. Mardi Gras, despite its godly façade, is offensive to the great God and my Saviour Jesus Christ! God’s grace continues to tolerate such foolishness from mankind. Man parades his sin, and God parades His grace, holding back wrath.

Are you a Mardi Gras reveler? I declare unto you the wonderful Gospel of the Grace of God. God did for you at Calvary what you could never do: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Jesus Christ shed His sinless blood and died to put away all of your sins, Mardi Gras revelry included.

If you rest in Christ Jesus alone as your Saviour, God will save you forever, make a trophy of His grace, and then YOUR life will be God’s grace on parade!

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

You may also see our archived Bible study Q&A, “Should Christians celebrate Mardi Gras?

Just Be Thankful!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened (Romans 1:21 KJV).

Drop the attitude; show some gratitude!

Turn on your television, read a newspaper, scroll through social media sites, talk with others. Everyone is “offended” about something—even the silliest of matters. Unable to keep their mouths shut and their pens down, they bicker, “This is outrageous,” “That is offensive!” We naturally crave such garbage information too. Professionals, parading as “reporters” and “journalists,” are paid enormous sums of money to rile up the public. Attention-seekers eagerly jabber incessantly about something blown way out of proportion. We hear about “my feelings,” “my body,” “my rights”—it is me, me, me, ME, MEEEEE. (How we also love to wallow in self-pity, friends!)

How did society wind up in such a wretched predicament? Today’s Scripture in context: “[18] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; [19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. [20] For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: [21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

They first removed any thoughts about the Creator God. Never forget: when we refuse to think about God, when we reject His thoughts, He gives us over to our preferences (read to verse 32). That is how much the God the Bible loves free will. If you want empty thoughts and a foolish and darkened heart, have them (like most)!

Perhaps, though, just perhaps, you are not interested in being like everyone else. Great!!! Today’s Scripture says that God, not you, is God. Believe that. God is the most important Person in the universe—not you! Moreover, be thankful that He has given you life. Remember, He does not owe you anything! 🙂

What Does God Think?

Saturday, February 10, 2018

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16 KJV).

What does God think?

Friend, have you ever wondered what God’s position would be on any given subject? Some tell us to enter a “prayer closet” and ask. Others encourage us to follow “hunches” and “inner impressions.” Still others say to listen for voices (“just not audible ones”—whatever that means!). How do we go about ascertaining God’s mind?

Fortunately, God wrote a Book, preserved it through history in a multiplicity of copies, and translated it so we could have it today in our language. As English speakers, we have the Authorized Version, or commonly called “the King James Bible.” There is absolutely no need to wonder, beg, or remain uninformed. It requires work to learn God’s information though. The Bible commands us to be “workmen:” we are to “study [it]… rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15). Of course, it is much easier to let the preacher do all the reading and studying, then go sit and listen to him tell us what the Scriptures say. Which shall we choose?

Moreover, we do not have to struggle to understand, re-translate, or nitpick at hard Hebrew, gobbledygook Greek, arid Aramaic, lifeless Latin, and so on. The 1611 translators already did that work for us. Are we going to submit to and study the standard English Bible text—or are we rather interested in fabricating our own private interpretation? Will we accept the spiritual light offered us in the King James Bible—or are we rather willing to remain confused? It is up to us!

“[12] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [13] 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…. [16] For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” In the form of the King James Bible, we indeed “have the mind of Christ.” Have we wasted it?

Keep Your Soul

Friday, February 9, 2018

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 KJV).

Whether rich or poor, the soul is not worth losing!

A biographical video featured a famous actor of a bygone era. Having appeared in dozens of films, he made his millions and received worldwide fame, married several times, lived in luxurious houses, and so on. An often-repeated phrase in the documentary was, “[This person] died.” This relative of his succumbed to death; that close associate died too. Lastly, he himself expired. Genesis chapter 5 came to mind: “and he died… and he died… and he died….” Since Adam begat all “in his own likeness, and after his image” (verse 3), he passed down his sin nature and its associated death penalty.

Friend, whether rich or poor, famous or unknown, we all live under sin’s effects. The aforementioned celebrity, despite a nice outward appearance, suffered problems like all of us. When we hear of people who never seem to have a “bad day”—everything is always going so well for them—they are withholding something. Somewhere, there is a bout of depression, a divorce or child-custody battle, an addiction, a financial struggle, a fear, an infirmity or weakness, et cetera.

Sin’s final consequence, of course, is physical death, immediately followed by the flames of Hell (and ultimately, the Lake of Fire). We can be “happy-go-lucky” millionaires or homeless peasants, and death will certainly find us. Death has been called the “great equalizer.” Indeed, it levels out all bank accounts, all acquaintances, and all possessions to “0.” Death also removes all uniqueness. Hell is a place where souls—identities—are lost forever (cf. today’s Scripture). The nameless (!), penniless (!) rich man in Luke 16:19-31 was “just another” tormented soul! “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7).

However, thankfully, the God of the Bible provided a solution to our sin problem. We need rest entirely by faith in it: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Friend, avoid Hellfire while you still have time!

The Mischievous Minister of Music #13

Thursday, February 8, 2018

“Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created (Ezekiel 28:13 KJV).

Who is this musician, and how did he destroy his ministry?

Dear friends, Satan knows music far more than we ever will. Yea, his superior intellect and expertise in musicology for thousands of years, afford him skill in operating in that unseen (!) realm to advance his cause. Satan’s policy of evil is summarized in Romans 1:25: “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” What better way to worship and serve Satan than to fall into his trap of music designed to satisfy the lust of our flesh?

How do we guard against using music to glorify Satan instead of the God of the Bible? Primarily, we must, must, must know sound Bible doctrine. My, what rank spiritual ignorance there is in the tens of thousands of “Christian” churches worldwide! No wonder deception and immaturity abound. Religious tradition is deficient; the Word of God not rightly divided is dangerous. We must, must, must understand the Bible dispensationally delivered. No prayer in the world can save us from false teaching if we refuse to use the Bible God’s way.

Moreover, we must look beyond the type of music that is nothing more than a way to “feel good.” Contemporary “Christian” songs are often so shallow in doctrine; their rhythms induce physical movement, do they not? In the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon, however, we are encouraged to seek spiritual edification. Entertainment will profit us absolutely nothing in eternity. Let the Word of Christ rightly divided dwell in you richly, and then you will sing songs to the Lord to express gratitude (Colossians 3:16; cf. Ephesians 5:15-20). Jesus Christ will indeed be honored.

Dear friends, one final thought. If we let that mischievous minister of music into our assembly, he will surely destroy our ministry too!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who will be Israel’s King in the Millennium—Jesus Christ or David?

The Mischievous Minister of Music #12

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

“Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created (Ezekiel 28:13 KJV).

Who is this musician, and how did he destroy his ministry?

Satan, the narcissistic creature that he is, will not eagerly surrender his mischievous ministry of music. What Lucifer was designed to utilize to glorify his Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, he perverted to praise himself and all those other angelic beings that rebelled against God. Once he transformed into Satan, he brought that evil music ministry down to man. Whether man in the centuries preceding the Flood, or the nation Israel after her deliverance from Egypt, or the Jews after David’s demise, or Israel in Babylonian captivity, Satan tirelessly peddled his vain musical “arrangements.” Under no circumstances would he let music praise the Creator God. Even today, he subtly uses music to draw attention from the Creator to himself. The future will be no different.

The Bible’s final reference to music is Revelation 18:22: “And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee;….” After our dispensation, New Babylon, the Antichrist’s political-religious system, will play music for the Devil. Thankfully, it will be utterly destroyed at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Satan will never again be allowed to undertake his mischievous music ministry on the Earth! God’s praises thereafter will be heard and His Son will be glorified like this universe has never seen. The “New Song” Psalms are sung by all of God’s elect (people and angels) as their Heavenly Father inaugurates Jesus Christ as King over all the Earth (see Psalms 93–100). What a day that will be!

Until then, dear brethren, we had better (!!) not be ignorant of Satan’s devices (schemes). Those plans are very ingenious, hiding under the guise of “religious music.” We must guard our Christian lives from music that fails to express and reinforce God’s Word rightly divided. Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….