The Saints of Caesar’s Household

Saturday, October 29, 2011

“All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household” (Philippians 4:22 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is excerpted from Philippians, one of the half-dozen epistles Paul wrote from his Roman prison. “Caesar” refers to the tyrannical Roman emperor who ruled from A.D. 54 to 68 and greatly persecuted Christians. In fact, prior to committing suicide, he is thought to have executed Apostles Peter and Paul.

When Paul wrote to the Philippian church, he concluded his epistle with today’s Scripture: there are saints within Nero’s household!

About five or six years after the Philippian letter, Paul writes his final epistle, his second letter to Timothy. Notice 2 Timothy 2:8,9: “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.” Paul is still in prison, treated as a criminal. Why? Satan and his evil men hate him because he is God’s apostle of the Gentiles (Acts 9:15,16; Romans 11:13; et al.).

Paul was imprisoned because he was preaching the Gospel of Grace, the same Gospel we preach today. Physically, Paul was shackled to Roman soldiers. Satan had prevented God’s chief apostle in our dispensation from traveling and preaching the wonderful salvation in Christ Jesus. However, God would not be stopped. Paul wrote “but the word of God is not bound.” No matter how hard the devil tried to keep God’s Word from reaching lost souls, God’s Word could not be confined.

In Philippians 1:12,13 Paul wrote from prison: “But I would [wish] ye understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;”

Paul preached his heart out in that Roman prison. Today’s Scripture confirms that God’s Word worked so mightily that some of Nero’s own household had trusted in Christ! Certainly, Paul was imprisoned, yet the Gospel of Grace was still published and prosperous… in the very prison where Paul was held!

Educated Minds That Know Nothing

Sunday, October 23, 2011

“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself” (1 Timothy 6:3-5 KJV).

Today’s Scripture uses some interesting phraseology:

  • “proud”
  • “knowing nothing”
  • “doting about questions and strifes of words”
  • “envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds”
  • “destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness”

These words perfectly describe most church leaders today! How did the Body of Christ ever reach such a sad, spiritually impotent state? For the past 20 centuries, much of its leadership has been teaching contrary to “the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ” (see today’s Scripture). “The words of our Lord Jesus Christ” does not refer to the “red print” (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 14:37: “…the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord(cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:1,2,15; 1 Thessalonians 5:27.

While many church leaders today boast of their seminary degrees, let us remember that “distinguished” Hebrew, Greek, and Latin scholars, are not equivalent to Bible scholars. After all, even Satan knows Hebrew, Greek, and Latin and he even knows the Bible better than Christians! Satan quoted Scripture (Matthew 4:6; Luke 4:10-11); he just quoted Scripture incorrectly, like most “Christian” leaders today. While they all quote the Bible, how many know what the Bible actually says? How many believe what the Bible says? FEW!

In today’s Scripture, God’s Word says that if any religious leader (pastor, priest, pope, theologian, et cetera) does not instruct you according to the Apostle Paul’s epistles (the “rightly divided” Word of God), you are to flee from that person. Regardless of how many degrees those men have, the Bible says that “they are proud, knowing nothing.” So much for education!

The LORD Thy God is a Jealous God

Thursday, October 20, 2011

“They [Israel] provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee” (Deuteronomy 32:16-18 KJV).

Scripture uses the title “jealous God” six times for JEHOVAH (Exodus 20:5; Exodus 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24; Deuteronomy 5:9; Deuteronomy 6:15; Joshua 24:19). Jealousy (envy) is a sin when we commit it (Romans 1:29; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 3:3; Galatians 5:21; et al.). But, just as there is a godly anger (Matthew 5:22; Mark 3:5; Ephesians 4:26), there is a godly jealousy, God’s righteous jealousy.

In the Old Testament, God continually reminded Israel that He was “jealous” over her. Today’s Scripture, a portion of the “Song of Moses,” is one example. Prior to going into the Promised Land under Joshua, Moses warned Israel of her previous idolatrous ways. Once Israel went into that land, they were to destroy the pagan heathens and their idols (Exodus 34:11-17). Yet, even in God’s Promised Land, the Jews established pagan shrines to worthless idols (1 Kings 14:22-24; Psalm 78:58)! The LORD wanted Israel to Himself, and yet they ignored Him and adored vain, inanimate idols.

The Apostle Paul, filled with the Holy Ghost, warned members of the Body of Christ in Corinth about provoking the Lord to “jealousy” by fellowshipping with devils (1 Corinthians 10:20-22). Paul was “jealous” over the Body of Christ, instructing us to avoid satanic deception by holding to the doctrine in his epistles (2 Corinthians 11:1-4).

Throughout the Holy Scriptures, over a dozen references describe God as “jealous.” God wants His people all to Himself—He does not want us mingling with the world’s idols (crucifixes, statues, religious paintings, selfishness, materialism, et cetera). In His omnipotence and omniscience, God is justified in being jealous over us because He alone deserves our praise, worship, dedication, and honor. After all, He is our Creator and our Saviour (if we have trusted in Him for salvation!).

Adios to Being Atheos

Monday, October 17, 2011

“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 2:12 KJV).

The Greek word translated “without God” is “atheos,” from which we get “atheism.” God exists, so how can today’s Scripture teach that some individuals (the Gentiles of verse 11) were “without God?”

After the Great Flood of Noah’s day, Noah’s descendants did not scatter as God commanded (Genesis 9:1,7). In fact, they gathered for pagan worship at the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-7)! God in righteous judgment scattered them, resulting in the world’s nations and languages (verses 8,9). In Genesis chapter 12, God selected one Syrian, Abram (Abraham), to create the nation Israel. Anyone not a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be a Gentile (non-Jew).

What happened to Gentiles after Genesis chapter 12? “God gave them up” (Romans 1:21-32). “[God] who in time past suffered [allowed] all nations to walk in their own ways” (Acts 14:16). “At the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent;” (Acts 17:30). The Gentiles were “without God” indeed.

God dealt almost exclusively with Israel in the Old Testament (Nineveh, Rahab, and Ruth were some Gentile exceptions). The covenants belonged to Israel’s patriarchs, not the Gentiles. “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” (Romans 15:8). Whenever a Gentile woman approached Jesus in His earthly ministry, He said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24). He also said, “Salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22).

Thankfully, when we come to Paul’s ministry, God ministers to Gentiles apart from Israel. Today, Israel has temporarily lost her privileged position of Romans 9:4,5 (Romans 11:11,12). We Gentiles enjoy God’s salvation through the Gospel of Grace, which can save both Jews and Gentiles (Romans 1:16). God commissioned Paul as “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), so Ephesians 2:13 says we Gentiles can bid “adios” (farewell) to being “atheos!” 😉

The Ever-Luminous Beacon

Saturday, October 15, 2011

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105 KJV).

Life is sometimes a lonely, dark, confusing maze. During these disappointing and chaotic periods, where should we turn for advice? Today’s Scripture enlightens us. The Bible is a beacon shining brightly in the midst of life’s troubles.

Proverbs 2:6 says, “For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” The Bible is “given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16): it came from His mouth (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4). Scripture gives us God’s wisdom regarding marriage, the workplace, parenting, friendships, enduring difficult times, but most importantly, how to be saved from our sins and obtain eternal life through Jesus Christ.

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130). God never intended His Word to answer every possible question. Contrariwise, God gave us His Word to teach us what we need to know—information that is of eternal value. We need sound doctrine that will carry us through this earthly life and right into eternity. The Bible does not give us all the answers, but it does educate us about God’s purpose and plan for the heaven and earth. Furthermore, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon teach us what God is doing today.

God has “magnified [his] word above all [his] name” (Psalm 138:2). “The word of the Lord endureth for ever” (Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:25). The Bible is “truth” (John 17:17). God’s Word is unlike any other book. The King James Bible is God’s preserved Word in English, so it should serve as your final authority in life. As we study God’s Word rightly divided as 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs—understanding what Scripture is written to and about us versus what is written to Israel—and place our faith in what we read, God the Holy Spirit will then take His Word and use it to work within us for His glory.

With the King James Bible in hand, we always have the (free!) counsel of God, the ever-luminous beacon, literally at our fingertips….

As We Stand Before God Our Saviour

Friday, October 14, 2011

“To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:13 KJV).

Every chapter of 1 Thessalonians concludes with a reference to the rapture, Christ gathering the Church that is His Body (1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:17; 5:23). Actually, today’s Scripture describes an event that will occur after the rapture.

Saints, one day (the rapture), the trump of God shall sound and we shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)! After the rapture, we will stand before “the Judgment Seat of Christ.”

The Judgment Seat of Christ is not where we answer for sin, but rather when Jesus Christ evaluates our Christian lives and spiritual maturity. Each of us will give an individual account to the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:9-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9,10). Jesus Christ will compare our spiritual maturity (the doctrine we believed) to Paul’s epistles. On this basis, the Lord will give us a role (a position in the government of the heavenly places) (Ephesians 2:6,7).

But, notice Christ’s coming in today’s Scripture is not His coming “for all His saints” (the rapture), but rather with all His saints.” After the spiritual capacities of the members of the Body of Christ have been judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ, Jesus Christ will take us with Him to meet God the Father. Today’s Scripture describes when Jesus Christ will present us to our Father God. Wow!

God the Father will then appoint us to those positions of the heavenly government that Jesus Christ determined at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Remember that our individual roles (offices) are determined by how much sound doctrine we built up in our inner man. This is why dispensational Bible study, “rightly dividing the word of truth,” is so important. We do not want to stand before God “ashamed,” which will SADLY be the case for many Christians because they never studied the Bible God’s way (2 Timothy 2:15).

Seeing the World With a New Perspective

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6 KJV).

Yesterday, after 10 days of being unable to use one of my eyes, I was exuberant to hear and “see” the world from a new perspective. As it is in the physical world, so it is in the spiritual world. Just as infection rendered one my physical eyes useless, and thus my being unable to see with it, so sin renders man’s spiritual eyes useless.

Several passages in the Bible use the word “darkness” to describe lost mankind in his natural spiritual blindness (for instance, Psalm 69:23; Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 60:2; Matthew 4:16; Acts 26:18; Romans 1:21; Romans 2:19; Romans 11:10; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Ephesians 4:17-19; Ephesians 5:8; 1 Peter 2:9-10). In this the Dispensation of Grace, Israel’s spiritual eyes are temporarily blinded (Acts 13:6-11; Romans 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:14-16).

The heart of a lost (unsaved) person is totally dark, spiritually blinded. A lost man’s spirit is dead, unable to function and commune with God (1 Corinthians 2:9-16). He knows nothing about God and avoids God.

Suddenly, the glorious light of God’s Word shines brightly, penetrating that callous, dim soul. As that lost soul hears and believes the Gospel of Grace—how that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)—it is regenerated and “quickened” (made alive; Ephesians 2:1,5). God’s Holy Spirit illuminates that soul so that it realizes what it never knew before: it was destined for hell, but by God’s grace, it is now “alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:11).

Before we trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, our souls (minds) were dark. Now that we are in Christ, the indwelling Holy Ghost teaches us through His written Word that which we knew not in our natural (lost) state (1 Corinthians 2:9-13; Ephesians 1:17,18). We “see” the world from a new perspective—God’s perspective.