The Leper #6

Sunday, October 2, 2022

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them (Matthew 8:1-4 KJV).

Why is this part of the Holy Scriptures?

Leprosy is an excellent type (picture, portrait, illustration, representation, symbol) of sin for at least five reasons. Both leprosy and sin are: (1) inherent, in the blood, passed down to descendants; (2) destructive and decomposing; (3) unsightly or ugly, invisible yet manifested outwardly via horrific symptoms; (4) man cannot cure; and (5) contagious and worsening. Also, note how both are associated with “the flesh.” When Miriam, Moses’ sister, was stricken with leprosy, the LORD showed how He alone, not man, could heal it (Numbers 12:10-16). Recall Moses’ God-given ability to cure leprosy in Exodus 4:6,7 was the LORD’S word to Israel as to how He would treat her leprosy.

Yet, the most famous leper in Scripture is Naaman, a Gentile or Syrian military leader, as described in 2 Kings 5:1-15. His heathen idols cannot help him. Nevertheless, his wife has a little Jewish servant girl, and this Jewess (a woman of faith) recommends he go down to see the LORD’S prophet Elisha (verses 1-4). Naaman’s king sends him to unbelieving King Jehoram of Israel who reacts most foolishly to the request (verses 5-7). The Prophet Elisha, hearing of Jehoram’s tantrum and Naaman’s infirmity, is willing to meet the leper as God’s representative (verse 8). Naaman is given some strange instructions—wash in the Jordan River seven times—which he reluctantly but eventually obeys and is recovered from leprosy (verses 9-14). He professes his faith in verse 15: “Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel.” Israel’s God (notice verse 7) will cleanse even the Gentiles of their spiritual leprosy!

Let us now consider “the gift that Moses commanded….”

Superfluous #5

Monday, June 13, 2022

“For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many” (2 Corinthians 9:1,2 KJV).

What does “superfluous” mean?

Read today’s Scripture with its context: “[1] For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: [2] For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many. [3] Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready: [4] Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting. [5] Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.”

Paul knew how “froward” or zealous the Corinthians were in their giving (verse 2, today’s Scripture). This Greek word is also translated “willingness” or “readiness” (Acts 17:11; 2 Corinthians 8:11,12,19). He had even alerted the Macedonian believers (northern Greece) how these Achaian believers (southern Greece, including Corinth)—as much as year prior—had been enthusiastic in giving of their resources to support God’s people (Israel’s believing remnant). That news encouraged other saints to make donations too.

It was thus “superfluous” or redundant for Paul to write to the Corinthians about giving (they were already well informed about the situation). Yet, just in case any Macedonians would visit Corinth, and Corinth be not ready, Paul sent the Corinthians this second epistle (and brethren, including Titus; 2 Corinthians 8:16-18) with guidelines for giving. Unless the Holy Spirit led Paul to pen 2 Corinthians, with chapters 8–10 in place, we would be without principles for giving under grace. Saints, let us be thankful for those “superfluous” words.

Superfluous #4

Sunday, June 12, 2022

“For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many” (2 Corinthians 9:1,2 KJV).

What does “superfluous” mean?

Since the Lord’s introduction of the mystery program (the Apostle Paul’s ministry and message) delayed the conclusion of the prophetic program, it was only natural for Paul’s Gentile converts to then contribute financially to the welfare of Israel’s believing remnant already formed during the prophetic program. If Israel’s God was now the God of non-Jewish heathen—the fruit of Paul’s ministry—then these Gentile saints (the Church the Body of Christ) should support believing Israel (the Little Flock).

Romans 15:27 again: “It hath pleased them [Paul’s saints] verily; and their [Israel’s] debtors they [Paul’s saints] are. For if the Gentiles [Paul’s saints] have been made partakers of their [Israel’s] spiritual things, their [Paul’s saints] duty is also to minister unto them [Israel] in carnal [material, physical] things.” Hence, the Apostles James and Cephas (Peter) and John, leaders of the Jerusalem Church, prompted Paul and Barnabas to “remember the poor” (Galatians 2:10; the Acts chapter 15 conference). Contrary to popular belief, the “poor” here are not underprivileged people in general: they are the poverty-stricken Little Flock of the Acts period!

In today’s Scripture, the issue is members of the Church the Body of Christ (Paul’s ministry) giving financial aid to Israel’s “saints” or believing remnant (under the leadership of Peter and the 11 Apostles). As Paul established and visited local grace churches, he took up collections of money and goods to bring to “the poor saints which are at Jerusalem” (Romans 15:26; also, remember 1 Corinthians 16:1-3). By the time of today’s Scripture (2 Corinthians), the Corinthian saints (in 1 Corinthians) had already been made aware of the plight of the Jewish believers in Christ in Jerusalem and Judaea; the Corinthians needed no instructions about giving, so it was “superfluous” for Paul to write to them on the subject.

However, the Holy Spirit through Paul taught them again about giving under grace anyway….

Understanding Your Apostle Paul

Friday, May 20, 2022

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

Friend, would you like to understand your Apostle Paul?

“Who is your Apostle?” Had the professing church correctly answered that question through these last 2,000 years, Christianity’s testimony would be far more potent because we would actually know God’s will better than the world knows Satan’s policy of evil. Alas, the average church member is totally unable to discern and combat bad doctrine—and it is not God’s fault!

Regarding what the Bible titles “time past,” God was forming the nation Israel, distinguishing the world between “circumcision” (Jew) and “uncircumcision” (non-Jew, Gentile). “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:…” (Ephesians 2:11,12). Yet, in “but now,” God has erected a new arrangement: “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (verse 13). Today, there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—all can come to God by faith in Christ’s finished crosswork alone and join the Church the Body of Christ.

In the context of today’s Scripture, we learn: “[11] I say then, Have they [Israel] 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:….” Here is Paul’s ministry, the Lord sending this man to notify us of the dispensational change from “time past” to “but now” (Acts 26:16-18). We therefore see God’s current operations are confined to Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. Appealing to other Scriptures to find God’s will for today is how Christendom has failed miserably in using God’s Word God’s way—and look at the disastrous results!

A Prayer According to God’s Will

Thursday, May 5, 2022

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).

On this United States’ National Day of Prayer, we pray you pray according to the Lord Jesus Christ’s will for today!

Today, religious people—the general public, clergy, and government officials—will assemble nationwide, like they do every year, and pray 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.

Christ Liveth in Me

Sunday, April 17, 2022

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

“He is risen” is not a simple blasé cliché!

When Jesus’ disciples came to His tomb on that glorious Sunday morning nearly 2,000 years ago, they were startled to find it empty! Angels inform them that He has resurrected, but they are still in shock (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8). Jesus Christ Himself must later explain the Scriptures to them regarding what happened those last few days (Luke 24:44-46).

However, until Paul’s ministry, Christ’s finished crosswork is not preached as good news for salvation. Peter and Israel’s other apostles simply preach that Jesus Christ is now resurrected to “sit on [David’s] throne” (Acts 2:30)—that is bad news for much of Israel, for they still reject Him, weeks and months after His resurrection and ascension. Throughout early Acts, Israel’s apostles warn her that Jesus Christ is coming back to judge them.

When we come to the Apostle Paul’s ministry, we learn that we Gentiles can benefit from Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. Israel’s rejected Messiah is now our way to heaven! Yes, Israel hated Him, and demanded that He experience the most awful method of execution devised, but God allowed it in order to accomplish His will. Satan attempted to hinder God’s will by having Christ killed, but all that did was provide the method whereby God could save us pagan Gentiles. Calvary’s finished crosswork frees us from Satan’s evil system and gives us a chance to be God’s people (Acts 26:17,18)!

As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins, that crucifixion is our death to self and sin, and that resurrection is our raising to walk in newness of life—His life (today’s Scripture; cf. Romans 6:1-11)!

Indeed, Jesus Christ is alive, and He lives in and through those who walk by faith in God’s Word to them, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon! 🙂

HAPPY EASTER!

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

Purity or Compromise? #5

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones” (Proverbs 3:5-8 KJV).

Will we be pure and thus purified? Or, will we compromise and thus be compromised?

The last Book of the Bible written, the Holy Spirit’s final instructions to the Church the Body of Christ, is 2 Timothy. Paul’s farewell epistle, chapter 2, educates: “[14] Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. [15] Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [16] But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. [17] And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; [18] Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

“[19] Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. [20] But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. [21] If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” Never, ever, ever, ever, ever are we to use grace as a license to sin! We are to avoid not only false teachers—who cause us to sin doctrinally by not “rightly dividing the word of truth!”—but also anyone else whose behavior is a stumblingblock to our own. They are leaning unto their own understanding, are wise in their own eyes, and have not acknowledged the LORD in their ways. He is not directing their paths; they have not departed from evil. Beloved, may we beware of them….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What are God’s ‘testimonies?’

Purity or Compromise? #4

Monday, October 18, 2021

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones” (Proverbs 3:5-8 KJV).

Will we be pure and thus purified? Or, will we compromise and thus be compromised?

“Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb [speechless, mute] idols, even as ye were led” (1 Corinthians 12:2). Before coming to Christ by faith in Paul’s Gospel, the Corinthians had worshipped and served pagan deities. Sadly, even after joining the Church the Body of Christ, they still worshipped and served idols! “Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them [ancient Jews under Moses]…. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry…. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils” (1 Corinthians 10:7,14,21).

In chapter 6 of 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul later writes to Corinth: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial [Satan]? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel [unbeliever]? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (verses 14-18).

The saints at Corinth had not fully abandoned their heathen religion, for they had not completely accepted Paul’s apostleship and doctrines. If they were to be doctrinally and functionally pure, able to be the Lord’s people in belief and practice (as they already were His people positionally), they would have to wholly separate from Satan’s religious system. Likewise, so must we….

Purity or Compromise? #2

Saturday, October 16, 2021

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones” (Proverbs 3:5-8 KJV).

Will we be pure and thus purified? Or, will we compromise and thus be compromised?

In Genesis 11:1-9, the Gentiles gathered in pagan idol (Devil!) worship at the Tower of Babel, concluding 18 centuries of all nations having equal access to the one true God (unappreciated). With the LORD giving these nations over to the Satan worship they preferred (see Romans 1:17-32), He set apart one man from them and began a new nation (Genesis 12:1-3). This man was Abram—later changed to “Abraham” in chapter 17—and this nation was Israel.

Learn the condition of the Gentiles in this segment of human history (known as “time past” in Ephesians 2:11,12). “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Ephesians 4:17-19). God, having introduced the “but now” (Ephesians 2:13), expected these Gentiles who have come to Him through Paul’s Gentile ministry, to not repeat their old ways.

While the nations in “time past” were “suffered [allowed, permitted] to walk in their own ways” (Acts 14:16); conducting themselves among pagan idols in accordance with their darkened souls and dead spirits (Acts 17:24-31; Romans 1:21-26,28); God intended the nation Israel to be an “island of truth” in the midst of a “global sea of error.” The Jews had His wisdom, the Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament (Deuteronomy 4:1-10; Psalm 147:18-20; Romans 3:1,2). Unlike the Gentiles or non-Jews living around them, the Israelites, as per today’s Scripture, were not to trust or rely on their sinful hearts for spiritual light, or their sinful understanding for spiritual truth. To do otherwise was “evil,” a compromise that would lead to them being compromised….

Placebo #7

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

“That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:” (Isaiah 30:9,10 KJV).

What is a “placebo?” Can we find it in the spiritual realm?

Does not Almighty God want us to have positive thoughts? Certainly, but we should function according to His viewpoint—not man’s trite religious clichés that gratify the creature to the point of a temporary emotional high void of any lasting spiritual truth (see today’s Scripture). Human nature never changes. Whether in Israel’s prophetic program thousands of years ago, or our mystery program today, sinful man always seeks to hear a message that will cause him to think higher of himself. Prosperity theology underscores the material world, ignoring spiritual truths and spiritual riches, to the extent of seeking God to remove our physical sicknesses, reverse our financial ruin, et cetera. Instead of resorting to spiritual sugar pills, junk food, and mere crumbs—the superficial, skimpy messages of Christendom that profit us nothing—we can feast on the riches of God’s wisdom as found in this the Dispensation of Grace.

Friends, would you like some uplifting verses, what the Lord spoke to you through your Apostle Paul? Try reading Romans 5:1-11, 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, 1 Corinthians 2:9-16, Titus 2:11-14, Colossians 4:2-6, Ephesians 1:3-23, Galatians 5:16-26, Philemon 6, 2 Timothy 4:8, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Colossians 1:9-14, 2 Timothy 2:1-3, Ephesians 2:1-10, Romans 8:1-39, Romans 6:1-23, Romans 5:12-21, 2 Timothy 1:7-14, 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, 1 Thessalonians 2:10-13, Colossians 2:6-7, Galatians 2:20, 1 Timothy 6:6-12, 2 Corinthians 2:14-16, Romans 1:16, 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, Ephesians 3:11-21, Romans 3:21-28, 1 Timothy 4:12-13, Philippians 2:12-16, 2 Thessalonians 3:13, Philippians 1:9-11, Romans 4:1-25, 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, Colossians 3:1-17, 1 Thessalonians 5:11-26, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Philippians 3:7-21, Ephesians 6:10-20, Galatians 6:9-10, Ephesians 4:20-32, 2 Corinthians 5:1-10, Titus 3:4-7, 1 Corinthians 15:58, 1 Corinthians 6:9-20, Romans 12:1-21.

Surely, we can find something positive in at least one of these verses, right?! Here are God’s words concerning Christian living today, not idle speculations of men seeking to stroke egos and fill their bank accounts with the money of gullible consumers of Christendom (Christendumb!).