Dost Thou Keep This Commandment?

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1 KJV).

Legalistic Christendom constantly stresses “keeping” the “commandments” of God. Despite this alleged “commandment observance” in so many churches, precious few keep the commandment of acknowledging Paul as God’s apostle of us Gentiles. Friend, what about you?

Paul begins nearly every epistle by referring to himself as an “apostle” (Romans 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:1). He claims to be “an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God” (1 Corinthians 1:1) or “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God” (2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1). Today’s Scripture amplifies it—Paul was not chosen to be apostle merely “by” or “through the will of God.” He was ordained as apostle of Jesus Christ “by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ” (today’s Scripture; cf. Romans 16:25,26).

Galatians opens with a special expression: “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)” (1:1). No man invented Paul’s apostleship, and no man appointed him as an apostle. Jesus Christ and Father God personally and directly selected Saul of Tarsus as “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13). Acts 9:15-16: “But the Lord said unto him [Ananias], Go thy way: for he [Saul/Paul] is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

John 13:20: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” Acts chapter 26, Jesus Christ to Paul: “[17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, [18] To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” What say you?

Edifying #6

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

What does “edifying” mean here?

The Holy Spirit said through the Apostle Paul: “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). “Godly edifying” (1 Timothy 1:4) is brought about by “the word of [God’s] grace”—the principles of grace the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ revealed directly to Paul.

“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward” (Ephesians 3:1,2). “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). If the information is not God’s Word rightly divided—the grace message, Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—then it is contrary to God’s will for us Gentiles. Such faulty teaching will not lead to “edifying” (spiritual building up) but rather extensive spiritual weakening and/or utter destruction.

When we ponder the rank Biblical illiteracyabsolute confusion—in the worldwide “Christian” community, it is obvious that precious few use the Bible dispensationally. Most preachers have failed miserably (!!) in “the work of the ministry.” Most churches and seminaries have not (!!) produced “perfected saints.” The Pauline design for the edification of the believer has not (!!) been followed; therefore, we see very few strong, skilled Christians.

Romans chapter 16: “[25] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:….” Paul’s Gospel is important, Paul’s epistles are significant, and all other Scripture in light of Pauline revelation is critical.

We summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

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.

How to Know Your Apostle Paul

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

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

Friend, have you ever wondered how to know your Apostle Paul?

Initially boasting, “I do not follow ‘some man,’ I go by what ‘Jesus’ says;” professing Christians subsequently assemble at their denominations where manmade traditions masquerade as pure Bible. There, they have been trained to snatch “charming verses” out of context. Since each Bible dispensation differs, and religionists “pick and choose” verses from multiple dispensations, countless combinations and divergent denominations result. Some follow Moses, but most stress Christ’s earthly ministry and the (transitional) Acts period. Yea, denominations arise when Bible readers fail to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). They do not understand which dispensation applies to them—namely, God’s spokesman to them.

The Book of Acts records God’s dealings with man in “time past” giving way to the “but now” (Ephesians 2:11-13). With Saul of Tarsus’ conversion and commission in Acts chapter 9, God temporarily suspended His dealings with the nation Israel and began forming the Church the Body of Christ with any believers (Jew or Gentile) in Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary.

Christ Jesus told Saul/Paul (Acts chapter 26): “[16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; [17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send [apostello—cf. today’s Scripture] thee, [18] To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

Therefore, we read: “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:…” (Ephesians 3:1,2). Since the ascended Lord Jesus Christ sent Paul to us, we find God’s instructions for us today in the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon. Avoid the abounding confusion; take heed to Christ’s heavenly ministry!

For more information about Paul’s apostolic authority, you may see: https://ambassadorsfortherisenchristministries.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/pauls-apostolic-authority-verses/.

Christ Liveth in Me

Sunday, April 1, 2018

“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.

The Wise Masterbuilder #15

Friday, January 19, 2018

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

The solution to Christendom’s schisms—sectarianism/denominationalism—is “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Paul is our Apostle, God’s spokesman to us Gentiles in the Dispensation of Grace (Romans 11:13; Ephesians 3:1,2): we do not exalt Paul but we “magnify” his God-given “office”/apostleship (Romans 11:13). He is the “wise masterbuilder” who laid the foundation—Jesus Christ “according to the revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25,26; cf. today’s Scripture).

We study all the Bible: we do not discard the non-Pauline Bible Books. Nevertheless, we understand that, in Paul’s epistles alone, we find our doctrine, duty, walk, destiny, and hope as members of the Church Body of Christ. Paul is not “just another world religious leader.” He has been God’s messenger to the nations these last 2,000 years—the entire Dispensation of the Grace of God. If we ignore Paul, we discount Jesus Christ who sent him to us. When we emphasize Christ’s earthly ministry (Matthew through John), we overlook His subsequent heavenly ministry (Romans through Philemon).

Whenever someone says that doctrine does not matter, remember today’s Scripture. God the Holy Spirit believed that the Corinthians should follow the Apostle Paul as he followed Jesus Christ. In the Dispensation of Grace, Paul is the “pattern”—for salvation unto eternal life and salvation from false teaching (cf. 1 Timothy 1:12-17). Do we agree with Him?

Colossians chapter 1: “[25] Whereof I [Paul] am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; [26] Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: [27] To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory!”

-FINIS!-

The Wise Masterbuilder #14

Thursday, January 18, 2018

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10,11 KJV).

Who is the “wise masterbuilder?” In what way is he “wise?” What is he building? Where do we fit in?

We study all of the Bible—Genesis to Revelation—as God inspired it all. However, we are not the only saints in God’s Word. The nation Israel needs Scripture written to and about her: these are the non-Pauline Books. When we “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), we are simply recognizing distinctions that God has already made in His Book.

Nonetheless, most rebel and voice their excuses and objections. “I follow Jesus; I do not follow some man such as Paul!” “You throw away everything before Paul!” “You Paul-worshipper!” The Holy Spirit anticipated these protestations and mischaracterizations, as 1 Corinthians chapter 14 shows: “[37] If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. [38] But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” Pay close attention to verse 38!!

Do you remember our comments when we started? God values free will. If we want to stay biblically-confused (so as to support our denomination), if we prefer spiritual darkness (so as to keep our preconceived ideas), God will give us our way! To wit, “If you want to be without knowledge of Paul’s special ministry and message, be without knowledge!” (Unfortunately, many church members—and even most genuine Christians—have actually chosen this route. Notice, God gave them their desire!!)

However, for us who are interested in “godly edifying” (1 Timothy 1:4), we remember Paul’s words in 2 Timothy chapter 1: “[13] Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. [14] That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.”

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How was Jesus Christ crucified among the Galatians?