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!).

Placebo #6

Tuesday, October 12, 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?

Dear friends, if we study the Bible and actually recognize what God is doing today, and what He is not doing today, we can know exactly where to go in the canon of Scripture to find some absolutely breathtaking passages to motivate and deliver us from discouragement and disappointment. Scores upon scores of cheerful verses are in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—so we do not need to steal Israel’s passages (Deuteronomy 8:18; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Jeremiah 29:11; et cetera) and/or lift ideas from philosophy and psychology (“you are and have what you speak!,” “get more self-esteem!,” “it is a sin to be sick and poor!,” et cetera).

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (2 Corinthians 12:9,10). Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost (Romans 15:13). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:…” (Ephesians 1:3).

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal(2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Placebo #5

Monday, October 11, 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?

Read 2 Timothy chapter 3: “[1] This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [2] For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, [3] Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, [4] Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; [5] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away….”

“[12] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. [14] But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; [15] And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. [16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [17] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

Proceed into chapter 4: “[1] I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; [2] Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. [3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. [5] But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

In this the Age of Grace, by seeking “feel-good” sermons, the nations are repeating ancient Israel’s error….

Placebo #4

Sunday, October 10, 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?

In the Book of Daniel, the LORD God foretells the world’s governments while David’s throne is lost to Gentile political powers. During this “time of the heathen” (Ezekiel 30:3) or these “times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24), no son of David governs Israel from Jerusalem; see the curses of Leviticus 26:18-19 and 27-39. When King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon progressively weakened Judah militarily and politically circa 606 B.C., the final three sons of David or kings of Jerusalem served (until Jerusalem’s fall in 586 B.C.). Messiah/Christ Jesus, the ultimate Son of David, sought to reclaim his throne from non-Jews (Ezekiel 21:25-27). Howbeit, Israel refused, for, in their unbelief and sin, they exclaimed, “We have no king but Caesar!” (John 19:15).

With Messiah rejected and heading to Calvary to die, a counterfeit king of Israel will sit on David’s throne (cf. John 5:43; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). “And in his estate [the political office of the king of Syria/Turkey that precedes him] shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries [halaqlaqqot]…. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries [halaqa]: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel 11:21,32).

On the “campaign trail,” the crafty Antichrist shares a “feel-good” message with Israel—particularly promising her peace with her enemies. Yet, most disastrously, once she is disarmed and unsuspecting, he authorizes these ancient Gentile foes to assault her, thus revealing himself to be the traitor he was all along: “He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant. The words of his mouth were smoother [halaq] than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords” (Psalm 55:20,21).

Israel is now in receipt of her desire (!) of today’s Scripture….