Spirituality or Futility? #8

Friday, November 10, 2017

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. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

Here, we see two alternatives—spirituality and futility. Our choice?

God sent the Apostle Paul to us Gentiles to give us the Dispensation of the Grace of God, or Jesus Christ’s heavenly ministry (Ephesians 3:1-9). From Heaven, not Earth, Christ is speaking today. In this dispensation, God is forming the Church the Body of Christ, a heavenly people whom He has blessed “with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). We are not the nation Israel; God is not finished with Israel. She will rise again after our dispensation (Romans 11:1-36)!

We are saved by simple faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (Romans 3:23–4:8)—apart from any works of any kind. Upon believing the Gospel of the Grace of God, the Holy Spirit baptizes us into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13,14). We need no water (or any other) ceremony to “enhance” our Christian life. God gave us a new nature in Christ, power that produces good works and gives us victory over sin (Romans 6:1-23). The Law serves no purpose in our life because God’s grace teaches us to “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts,” and “to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11,12,14). Jesus Christ died to put away sin, so we put it away in our life. Our hope is not God’s earthly kingdom (Israel’s hope) but rather His heavenly kingdom (Ephesians 2:6,7; 2 Timothy 4:18).

Romans is the most basic Book for this dispensation. It outlines justification, how to have a right standing before God. Therein we also discover sanctification, how God has set apart believers to do His will. Moreover, we see Israel’s past, present, and future statuses. Finally, there are basic but specific grace principles for everyday living. Three useful Pauline passages are Romans chapter 12, Ephesians chapter 4, and Colossians chapter 3.

We study all the Bible, but anything other than Pauline doctrine and duty is but futility!

Spirituality or Futility? #7

Thursday, November 9, 2017

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. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

Here, we see two alternatives—spirituality and futility. Our choice?

Dear friend, a sure way to engage in futility is to reach back into previous dispensations and/or reach forward into future dispensations, and force those verses on us today. To use Bible verses God once applied before our dispensation, or to follow Scriptures God will apply after our dispensation, is to fall prey to Satan’s “wiles” or deceitful strategies (Ephesians 6:11). If you have trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, such Bible mishandling frustrates or hinders God’s plans for your Christian life! If you have not trusted Christ, such Bible misusage hides from you God’s current Gospel message! Christians remain confused and defeated; lost people stay unsaved and Hell-bound!

Satan would never discourage us from quoting Bible verses because he did it in Matthew 4:6. Yea, he used Scripture… but did not handle it dispensationally. As long as God’s Word is not “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15), it furthers Satan’s agenda most ingeniously (without suspicion!). “We are in God’s will because we are Scriptural. Satan cannot deceive us.” Of course, to not use the Scriptures God’s way is to, by default, achieve Satan’s goal!

God is not currently forming an earthly people—the nation Israel. There is no water baptism and no tithing (mandatory giving) today. God is not telling us to confess our sins, follow the Mosaic Law, keep the Sabbath, offer blood sacrifices for our sins, sell everything we have and give to the poor, drink poison, heal the sick, raise the dead, look for “signs,” build an ark, and so on. God told other people in other dispensations to pursue and do those things, but He did not tell the Apostle Paul to instruct us concerning them. What futility to try to make God do something He is not doing today! If we will know what He is doing today, and will do His will today, we heed the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon.

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….

Spirituality or Futility? #6

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

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. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

Here, we see two alternatives—spirituality and futility. Our choice?

One can be “Scriptural” and still be completely outside of God’s will. We must be Scriptural and dispensational, aware of God’s current program. Yea, we should always respect a Bible verse’s dispensational context before we try to apply it to ourselves.

Notice Romans chapter 11: “[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:….” With national Israel temporarily fallen, the ascended Lord Jesus Christ sent the Apostle Paul to us Gentiles with a special dispensation (or set of instructions for our faith and obedience).

Ephesians chapter 3: “[1] For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, [2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: [3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [4] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) [5] Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;….”

What Paul wrote in Romans through Philemon was not made known in Genesis through Malachi, Jesus’ earthly ministry (Matthew through John), or early Acts. Therefore, to constantly emphasize the non-Pauline Bible Books to the extent of diminishing the Pauline Books is to ignore a secret God was deliberately withholding at that time. Now that He has revealed that secret through Paul, ignoring Paul is to be completely ignorant of God’s current operations….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Philippians 2:14-16?

Prophecy, Peter, Paul, Postponement, and Preservation

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance…. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:9,15,16 KJV).

The prophetic program has been paused for nearly 20 centuries. Why?

Romans chapter 11 says: “[25] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery [secret], lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. [26] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:….”

After our Dispensation of Grace ends with the Rapture—the Church the Body of Christ completed and caught up into Heaven—Israel’s prophetic program will resume where it stopped in early Acts. Israel’s spiritual blindness will finally be lifted and she will return to her preeminent national status in the Earth. Her Little Flock of believers will read today’s Scripture and the Pauline epistles. Where has their kingdom program been for the last 2,000 years?

Today’s Scripture demonstrates the preservation of the Holy Bible. Not only will Peter’s inspired writings exist beyond our dispensation, but even Paul’s epistles will be read in the end-times. Israel’s believing remnant will look back on us—God’s work amongst the Gentiles apart from the kingdom program—and know just why their believing ancestors in Acts never saw Christ returning to judge His enemies and bring that literal, physical, visible, earthly, Davidic kingdom!

Exercising prudence, the Holy Spirit penned today’s Scripture not merely to answer scoffers (whether A.D. first century, or beyond our dispensation). He also purposed to enlighten curious believers in the Jewish program (whether A.D. first century, or beyond our dispensation).

Who is Our Apostle? #5

Thursday, June 29, 2017

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

Behold, the verse that most have never noticed in the Bible!

The Lord Jesus told the Apostle Paul at his salvation in Acts chapter 9: “[17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send [apostello] 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” (Acts 26:17,18).

First Timothy 2:5-7 adds: “[5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” (Notice how Christ dying for “all” was the special message first declared in Scripture by Paul.)

The Bible is called “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). A sword is a powerful weapon that you can use to defend yourself—provided, of course, you have been trained to use it properly. Likewise, God’s Word can guard you from Satan’s attacks—provided that you know to “study… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). You can do great damage to yourself and others if you do not use God’s Word, God’s way.

When we fail to realize that the Apostle Paul is God’s spokesman to us, and we start trying to claim everything in Scripture as to and about us, we will not understand what God is doing today and what He wants us to do today. We cannot go into time past and force its elements on to us (Christ’s earthly ministry, the Law of Moses, Sabbath day, physical circumcision, tithing, material blessings, water baptism, healing miracles, confession of sins, and so on). Whatever came by special revelation from Jesus Christ through the Apostle Paul to us Gentiles, we find in the Books of Romans through Philemon. Let us search them to find God’s words to and about us! 🙂

Who is Our Apostle? #4

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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

Behold, the verse that most have never noticed in the Bible!

Notice today’s Scripture in context: “[11] I say then, Have they 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: [14] If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.”

Scripture is clear that Paul’s Gentile apostleship is exalted while the nation Israel is fallen. There is no “kingdom of priests”—converted Israel—preaching salvation among the Gentiles in this the Dispensation of the Grace of God. Rather, the Holy Spirit is using the Apostle Paul to reach the Gentiles. Clearly, the prophetic program that operated prior to Paul (pre-Acts chapter 9) has been temporarily interrupted. To see Israel functioning as a kingdom of priests after our dispensation, we can look at Zechariah 8:20-23, Isaiah 60:1-3, and Isaiah 61:6. In the meantime, we know that the mystery program is operating—the Church the Body of Christ is being formed using believing Jews and believing Gentiles.

Notice Ephesians chapter 3: “[1] For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, [2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: [3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [4] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) [5] Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; [6] That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:”

Certainly, Paul’s ministry and message are unique….

Who is Our Apostle? #3

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

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

Behold, the verse that most have never noticed in the Bible!

The objection can be heard. How can Paul claim to be “the apostle of the Gentiles?” Were not the 12 sent to all nations (Gentiles)? What about what Jesus told the 12 Apostles in Matthew 28:19-20? “[19] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Indeed, but this is to be understood in light of Jesus’ words in Luke 24:46-48 and Acts 1:8.

Luke 24:46-48: “[46] And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: [47] And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. [48] And ye are witnesses of these things.” And, the companion verse, Acts 1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” The 12 Apostles were not to preach to “all nations” until they preached to all of Israel first! National, converted Israel would then evangelize “all nations.”

Scripture is clear that the 12 Apostles conducted a ministry with Israel at the forefront of God’s dealings with man. However, as we will see, Paul’s apostleship involved the fall of Israel, she no longer being at the head of God’s program for mankind. That is, rather than the 12 Apostles converting all of Israel and then all of Israel reaching the Gentiles, Paul was reaching the Gentiles without nationally-converted Israel. Hence, Paul’s apostleship should in no way be confused with the 12 Apostles’ ministry, and neither should it be seen an extension of it….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did King Saul die?