Paul’s Stocks and Bonds

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks (Acts 16:23,24 KJV).

Financial stocks and bonds are sources of great wealth. The Apostle Paul, although poor (2 Corinthians 11:27; Philippians 4:11-13), had much experience with “stocks” and “bonds.”

As the context of today’s Scripture proves (verse 12 onward), he, Silas, Luke, and others travel to Philippi (northern Greece) to preach the Gospel of Grace. A Gentile religious woman, Lydia, and an unnamed devil-possessed slave girl are two of their converts. The girl’s owners—furious that their “money-making machine” has disappeared—drag Paul and Silas into the marketplace (court). There, they persuade the authorities to arrange for the Apostles to be beaten with rods (“caning”). Paul and Silas receive “many stripes [wounds].”

Paul and Silas are then imprisoned, eventually evangelizing the jailor and his household (today’s Scripture to the chapter’s end). While captive, their feet are “fast [secure] in the stocks.” The “stocks” were an instrument of punishment consisting of an adjustable wooden structure with holes for securing a person’s hands and feet. Confined to such a device, criminals could be subject to public ridicule and abuse of all kinds. What torture Paul and Silas were willing to endure for our Lord Jesus Christ!

Later, in Acts 20:22-24, Paul confessed: “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” These “bonds” are chains, shackles, instruments of imprisonment. The Apostle is in “bonds” in Acts 25:14; Acts 26:29; Ephesians 6:20; Philippians 1:7,13-16; Colossians 4:3,18; 2 Timothy 2:9; and Philemon 10 and 13.

“Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound(2 Timothy 2:9).

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?

The Wise Masterbuilder #13

Wednesday, January 17, 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?

Today’s Scripture with its successive verses: “[10] 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. [11] For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. [12] Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; [13] Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. [14] If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. [15] If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

The Corinthians were not building proper doctrine in their inner man. Such loss of reward will be apparent at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:9,10; Colossians 3:23-25). If there is to be grace edification in our lives, we must follow the “wise masterbuilder”—Paul (today’s Scripture). Notice the admonitions throughout the first Corinthian epistle: “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me (4:15,16). Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (11:1). “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(14:37).

To achieve spiritual maturity in the Dispensation of Grace, we follow the Apostle Paul as he follows the Lord Jesus Christ….

The Wise Masterbuilder #12

Tuesday, January 16, 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?

Earlier, 1 Corinthians chapter 2 said: “[7] But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Had Satan really known Father God would use Jesus Christ’s crucifixion to form the Church the Body of Christ, Satan would have done everything he could to keep Jesus off the cross. (Paul could not teach these immature Corinthian believers such wisdom.)

By letting Satan work through sinful Israel and sinful Rome, God let him bring about his own defeat. Colossians chapter 2: “[14] Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [15] And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

Today, through Christ’s crosswork, God is forming the Body of Christ, an entity He is training to accomplish His will in the heavenly places in the ages to come (Ephesians 1:9-23; Ephesians 2:6,7; et cetera). The doctrine that will spiritually mature that Body is the grace principles outlined in the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon. Saints at Corinth were largely ignoring Paul’s ministry; hence, he told them to “take heed” (beware) in today’s Scripture. They were not building on the proper foundation—“the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25,26). Rather than using gold, silver, and precious stones—sound Bible doctrine, the Scriptures rightly divided—they were using wood, hay, and stubble. Israeli kingdom doctrine would not develop them; Peter and Christ’s earthly ministry were not to the nations.

Therefore, throughout 1 Corinthians, we read, “follow Paul….”

The Wise Masterbuilder #11

Monday, January 15, 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?

First Corinthians 3:9 said: “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” Father God wants to form Jesus Christ in those who place their faith in Him as personal Saviour (Galatians 4:19). Christ expresses His presence and lifestyle through the Church the Body of Christ by the Person of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22 mentions this “building” of God: “[19] Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; [20] And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; [21] In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: [22] In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

God gave Paul—the “wise masterbuilder”—the blueprints to see that above spiritual structure be formed by and in believing Jews and Gentiles (read Ephesians 2:11–3:9). God had some hidden wisdom, a wise plan to outsmart Satan: He waited until after Calvary to reveal it. First Corinthians 2:6-8: “[6] Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: [7] But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

If only the Corinthians had paid attention to Paul’s doctrine. They would have been spiritually mature to comprehend God’s hidden wisdom. Alas, like so many today in Christendom, they could not handle it. They had refused to follow Paul’s ministry….

The Wise Masterbuilder #10

Sunday, January 14, 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?

Earlier, we looked briefly at Paul’s words in Ephesians chapter 3. This time, we will read it more fully: “[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: [7] Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. [8] Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; [9] And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:….”

So, the “grace” given to Paul (today’s Scripture) is identified in Ephesians 3:8 above. There are some “unsearchable riches of Christ;” unlike prophecy (John 5:39), they were secret until Jesus Christ revealed them to and through Paul. Also, there is “the fellowship of the mystery,” a secret body of believers that God is building today in the Dispensation of Grace, a group of believing Jews and Gentiles, which involved Paul being the “wise masterbuilder….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Whose repentance is in Hebrews 12:17?