Curb Appeal

Thursday, May 17, 2018

“And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!” (Mark 13:1 KJV).

“Look, Lord, the beautiful Jerusalem Temple!” “Yes, I see—and what awful doctrine is here too!”

Friend, ask individuals why they attend their particular local church. Curb appeal will likely come up first: “Our building and grounds are so beautiful!” Other reasons are various and sundry. “The rituals and programs are thrilling!” “We have the best ‘praise and worship’ team in town!” “Our preacher is an outstanding motivational speaker!” “Momma and Daddy went there, I was baptized there, and I will die there!” “My friends invited me to go!” “My spouse makes me go there!” Rarely will you ever hear, “I go there because they teach me sound Bible doctrine!”

Once you ask 100 people, you will break yourself of the habit of being startled when you meet church members ignorant of Scripture. They were never going for the Bible study anyway. What mattered was chitchat with friends about the weather and politics, participation in ceremonies, and entertainment at a music concert—all amounting to nothing in eternity.

First Timothy chapter 4: “[6] If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. [7] But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. [8] For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”

“Godliness” is proper worship of God. The Lord Jesus said in John 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” We worship God—not with our flesh but with our spirit (inner man). We also worship Him “in truth”—according to sound Bible doctrine as opposed to everything else. “Bodily exercise” (religion) “profiteth little:” it looks and feels good now, but will bitterly disappoint eventually. However, dispensational Bible study “is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come!”

Bible Q&A #495: “Is the United States’ recent embassy move to Jerusalem a fulfillment of Bible prophecy?

Whose Child and Servant?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44 KJV).

Beware, beloved! According to the Lord Jesus Himself, a religious leader is not necessarily a child (and servant) of God!

Once, I read a biography of a chief religious leader in Christendom. Now a dead man, his denomination referred to him as “a servant of God.” That made me wonder—just whose servant was he before he died? Had they realized what they had done by giving him such a “flattering” title posthumously?!

The Lord Jesus Christ, while a kind and loving Man, was nevertheless quite direct when it came to the souls of men being damned to Hell in the name of vain religion. Israel’s religious system, centered in the Jerusalem Temple, was wholly corrupt. Today’s Scripture is the Lord Jesus speaking directly to Israel’s religious leaders—mainly, the Pharisees (verse 13)—and He holds nothing back. “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do!” Actually, they were so in tune with Satan’s policy of evil that they would soon crucify Him on Calvary’s cross in unbelief! The Devil had so infected God’s people with lies, especially in religion (where it appeared as truth and godliness). Sound familiar?!

In addition to “children,” Satan has “ministers” (servants). We read some sobering words in 2 Corinthians chapter 11: [13] For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. [14] And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. [15] Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” Again, a religious leader is not necessarily doing the work of the God of the Bible! If you want to avoid the charlatans and the chicanery, friend, you had better study and know your King James Bible rightly divided!

Nothing But the Blood #7

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the chorus of Robert Lowry’s 1876 hymn, “Nothing But the Blood.”

“Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

More than 700 years before Calvary, Israel was promised forgiveness: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (today’s Scripture). With the revelation of the mystery given to the Apostle Paul, we see just what the LORD God meant. Christ’s shed blood would purify them!

Romans chapter 3 again: “[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

Father God displayed for all to see Jesus Christ crucified as a “propitiation,” a fully-satisfying payment for sin. He believes the blood of His Son Jesus Christ can cleanse us of all sin (cf. 1 John 1:7). Do we agree with Him by faith? Or, are we so infatuated with self-righteousness that we claim not to have any sin? Or, if we do recognize our sin, will we cling to the defense, “I will do the best I can to make up for it?” Father God does not have faith in our works!! He knows better than that. Either Jesus Christ will pay our sin debt entirely, or it will never be paid and we will go straight to Hell forever!

God will not (!) receive our “good” works to get us into His Heaven. What will He accept? Indeed, nothing but the blood of Jesus! 🙂

Nothing But the Blood #6

Friday, May 11, 2018

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:5,6 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the sixth verse of Robert Lowry’s 1876 hymn, “Nothing But the Blood.”

“Glory! Glory! This I sing—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

The Apostle John, representing Israel’s Little Flock (believing remnant), recognizes how Christ not only loved them but shed His sinless blood to sanctify them as Father God’s kings and priests. A doxology reviews, “To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

Despite Israel’s abundant past failures, they finally become God’s kingdom of priests He originally intended (Exodus 19:3-6). Having experienced 1,500 years (!) of condemnation under the Mosaic Law, they ultimately understand their self-righteousness is short of God’s glory. They will never make themselves God’s nation. It will depend entirely upon His work (Calvary)—not their efforts. Now washed, they enter eternal bliss, enjoying forever God’s earthly kingdom.

Colossians chapter 1 says: “[16] For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. [19] For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; [20] And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

As Jesus’ payment for sin allows Israel’s redemption (forming God’s earthly people), so that same blood, according to Paul’s Gospel, now forms us the Church the Body of Christ (God’s heavenly people).

Nothing but the blood indeed….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does Scripture mean, ‘[God] sitteth upon… the earth?’

A Prayer According to God’s Will

Friday, May 4, 2018

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (1 Timothy 2:1-3 KJV).

Yesterday was the United States’ National Day of Prayer. Today, we pray you pray according to the Lord Jesus Christ’s will for today!

Religious people—the general public, clergy, and government officials—recently assembled nationwide, like they do every year, and prayed for spiritual and moral revival of the “Christian” (?) United States of America. We commend their noble efforts, but God’s Word says there will be no godly revival of any of the world’s Gentile nations until Jesus Christ returns to earth at His Second Coming (Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 59:20–60:3; Zechariah 8:20-23; Revelation 11:15; et cetera).

The LORD’s words to King Solomon are often quoted on this day: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Friends, this is certainly God’s Word, but has nothing to do with Gentiles in the United States in the Dispensation of Grace. This verse has a context often overlooked—the nation Israel under the Mosaic Law, praying in relation to God’s Temple in Jerusalem (verses 15,16). Actually, that Temple was destroyed over 19 centuries ago! Unlike Israel, the United States was never a divinely-founded nation. The American people as a whole are not God’s people like Israel was.

Rather than praying 2 Chronicles 7:14, remember today’s Scripture (God’s Word to us Gentiles). The verse following today’s Scripture says, “[God] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Pray for those in authority, that they would trust Jesus Christ alone as their personal Saviour, and then grow in His Word to them so they can make wise decisions on behalf of the people they govern.

Family!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-28 KJV).

When grace saints gather in one place from various parts around the world, these “complete strangers” soon feel like they have known each other for years. This is the bond the Holy Spirit initiates because of sound doctrine.

You could stay with these brethren, studying and conversing with them, for hours upon hours. They feel like family—yea, they are family! It is like a pleasurable reunion of old friends. Today’s Scripture says all who have trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour are “children of God:” regardless of nationality, social status, or sex, they have all been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Church the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; cf. today’s Scripture).

If sound Bible doctrine is given supremacy—that is, Jesus Christ’s teaching is preeminent—unity will be manifested. Harmony does not mean we agree on every last doctrinal point. It means we agree that the King James Bible rightly divided is our final authority. We have believed on Jesus Christ dying for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). We know that Paul is our apostle (Romans 11:13). We believe that we are the Church the Body of Christ rather than the nation Israel (Romans 11:25). We understand that we live in the mystery program, not the prophetic program (Acts 3:21; Romans 16:25). We appreciate that we are under grace rather than law (Romans 6:14,15).

Sadly, like all families, the Body of Christ suffers from sibling rivalry and infighting. Numerous foreign ideas creep in, are accepted, and likeminded believers thus become increasingly incompatible. Jesus Christ is pushed aside so self can be emphasized. Doctrine is abandoned for the sake of unity. Charity disappears. The Body of Christ becomes an impotent entity, a fragmented group that loses sight of its identity and purpose. However, in due time, Father God, will make it right. After all, they are His family too!

Benjamin Sustains in Famine

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

“And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God: If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so” (Genesis 42:18-20 KJV).

Can we find a New Testament parallel to this account?

A severe famine has struck the land of Canaan (see Genesis 41:53–42:20). In desperation, Jacob sends 10 of his sons to buy food in Egypt (the River Nile was a near constant water source here). When they arrive, a man in Egypt (Joseph—their estranged brother in disguise) decides to test them. They are to return to Canaan and retrieve their other brother, young Benjamin, if they are to be fed with Egypt’s grain. Without Benjamin, Israel will physically starve! Ultimately, they eat because of Benjamin (Genesis 43:15-17).

Israel’s spiritual fall—a spiritual famine—occurred in Acts chapter 7 with the stoning of Stephen. Paul the Apostle is converted and commissioned in chapter 9, with his ministry gradually strengthening. From chapter 15 onward, the 12 Apostles have a restricted ministry. According to Galatians chapter 2, they give all the “heathen” over to Paul’s jurisdiction. The “heathen” here would be all unsaved—both Gentiles and Jews (all without Jesus Christ). Paul is to preach his Gospel of Grace to convert them into the Body of Christ, and save them from spiritual damnation.

Once God had temporarily set aside national Israel, and her 12 Apostles released themselves from their obligation of going to her any further with the Gospel of the Kingdom, Paul began evangelizing those unsaved Jews. Israel’s only hope now is in Paul’s Gospel—his grace ministry and message. How does this relate to today’s Scripture? Well, Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1; Philippians 3:5). From mid-Acts onward, Israel is getting spiritual bread, the Word of God, from Benjamin. Since her program was paused, momentarily suspended, her only hope at spiritual sustenance and life was in the message of a man from the tribe of Benjamin! Fascinating!