Growing in Grace #5

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18 KJV).

What does it mean to “grow in grace?”

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” (verse 9). What is this “longsuffering?” Who are these “all” whom God wants to come to repentance? Keep reading!

“[15] 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; [16] 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.” God’s “longsuffering” concerning the repentance of “all” is the Apostle Paul’s ministry. (Titus 2:11: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men….” First Timothy 2:6-7: “[Christ Jesus] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, … a teacher of the Gentiles….”)

First Timothy chapter 1: “[15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” Saul of Tarsus being converted in Acts chapter 9 was the “pattern” of God’s longsuffering in this the Dispensation of Grace!!

Father God placed all unbelieving Jews (including Saul) on the spiritual level of the Gentiles, thus affording them all equal access to Calvary’s cross. Paul’s Gospel—Jesus Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)—explains the delay of prophetic wrath. Father God wants to give all Jews and all Gentiles opportunity to escape the wrath to come!

Israel’s Little Flock is expected to grow in this knowledge….

Growing in Grace #2

Sunday, August 12, 2018

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18 KJV).

What does it mean to “grow in grace?”

Titus 2:11-13 says, “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;….” God’s grace was never a secret (cf. Genesis 6:8), but it was not a dispensation until the Apostle Paul’s salvation. “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).

Paul said in Acts 20:24, “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.” Beginning with Paul’s salvation and ministry, God began to manifest His grace (favor toward undeserving man) in a very special manner. Grace once limited to the nation Israel (Matthew 20:28) had now been extended to “all men” (Titus 2:11 above).

First Timothy chapter 2: “[3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [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.” Be careful to notice verse 7! Paul was the first to proclaim that Christ Jesus gave His life “a ransom for all.

We will now look at today’s Scripture in context to see what the Holy Spirit says through the Apostle Peter….

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….

Benjamin Sustains in Famine

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

“And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God: If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so” (Genesis 42:18-20 KJV).

Can we find a New Testament parallel to this account?

A severe famine has struck the land of Canaan (see Genesis 41:53–42:20). In desperation, Jacob sends 10 of his sons to buy food in Egypt (the River Nile was a near constant water source here). When they arrive, a man in Egypt (Joseph—their estranged brother in disguise) decides to test them. They are to return to Canaan and retrieve their other brother, young Benjamin, if they are to be fed with Egypt’s grain. Without Benjamin, Israel will physically starve! Ultimately, they eat because of Benjamin (Genesis 43:15-17).

Israel’s spiritual fall—a spiritual famine—occurred in Acts chapter 7 with the stoning of Stephen. Paul the Apostle is converted and commissioned in chapter 9, with his ministry gradually strengthening. From chapter 15 onward, the 12 Apostles have a restricted ministry. According to Galatians chapter 2, they give all the “heathen” over to Paul’s jurisdiction. The “heathen” here would be all unsaved—both Gentiles and Jews (all without Jesus Christ). Paul is to preach his Gospel of Grace to convert them into the Body of Christ, and save them from spiritual damnation.

Once God had temporarily set aside national Israel, and her 12 Apostles released themselves from their obligation of going to her any further with the Gospel of the Kingdom, Paul began evangelizing those unsaved Jews. Israel’s only hope now is in Paul’s Gospel—his grace ministry and message. How does this relate to today’s Scripture? Well, Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1; Philippians 3:5). From mid-Acts onward, Israel is getting spiritual bread, the Word of God, from Benjamin. Since her program was paused, momentarily suspended, her only hope at spiritual sustenance and life was in the message of a man from the tribe of Benjamin! Fascinating!

A Conference Worth Attending

Friday, April 27, 2018

“Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13 KJV).

A great Bible conference is coming up very soon!

It will be nice to see old friends in the ministry as well as new ones. We are all going to fellowship with each other around our Saviour (Jesus Christ), our final authority (King James Bible), and our apostle (Paul). There will be delicious food for the (temporary) outward man to enjoy, but more importantly, there will be strong spiritual meat on which the (eternal) inner man can feast forever!

We saints are not assembling to feel religious, but rather to be reminded of God’s life in us. We saints are not assembling to be entertained, but rather to be edified by God’s Word rightly divided. We saints are not assembling to fill our minds with complex denominational doctrines, but rather to fill our hearts with the simple doctrine that is in the King James Bible. We saints are not assembling to exalt preachers, but rather to encourage one another to continue in sound Bible doctrine. We saints are not assembling to tell God the Holy Spirit what He should be doing in the present-day, but rather to let God the Holy Spirit tell us what He is doing so we can by faith do that as well.

It is because of today’s Scripture that, at our Bible conference, we will “give attendance” (or, pay attention to) “reading,” “exhortation [encouragement/advice],” and “doctrine [teaching].” Very rarely is the Bible actually read in “Christian” churches today. They read novels, commentaries, and Greek grammars, but not much Bible (unless it fits the system the denomination promotes). Oftentimes, the “encouragement” in “Christian” churches today is some feel-good message instead of a sound (“healthy”) message. Very rarely is “doctrine” mentioned in most “Christian” churches today. “Boring” Bible study and “divisive” doctrine have been replaced by moving, jumping, and singing. No need to wonder why the professing church is so impotent and functionally dead!

Above all, we are meeting to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ, right now, and forever! 🙂

NOTE: The Grace School of the Bible “Soldiers Training for Service” Bible Conference begins tonight, Friday, at 7 P.M. Central U.S. Standard Time. Meetings on Saturday and Sunday are roughly between 9 A.M. and noon, and at 7 P.M. Saturday, and 6 P.M. Sunday. The live video feed will be here: http://understandgrace.com/watch-live/.

Benoni and Benjamin #7

Saturday, April 21, 2018

And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin (Genesis 35:18 KJV).

Dear friend, look and see—herein lies prophecy!

At the close of Peter’s life and ministry, the Holy Spirit wrote in 2 Peter chapter 3: “[9] The Lord is not slack concerning his promise [of Christ’s Second Coming], as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance…. [15] 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; [16] 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.”

Romans chapters 9-11 and 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 are the Apostle Paul’s divine explanations why the Second Coming and Millennium (“Benjamin”) have not yet followed Christ’s earthly ministry (“Benoni”). Of course, as Peter himself knew, some were failing to rightly divide the word of truth. So thoroughly confused in Scripture, they had created unspeakable spiritual destruction in themselves and their foolish audiences! (Sound familiar?)

In closing, perhaps you are saying, “How wonderful and insightful this was, Brother Shawn!” (I agree.) “I wish more people would see it!” (Indeed.) “So, why do they not see it? Has God not revealed it to them?” Friend, they can read as well as we, can they not? It is a heart problem—sin. The flesh, the natural man, sees this all as foolishness. It is easier to mock instead of study. When we look beyond Christendom’s superficial teachings, and refuse to be the lazy church members who do not (nor care to) understand the Bible, we actually have something fascinating to see in, and say about, it. Rather than wasting time with church tradition, superstition, and philosophy, we spend our time wisely by reading and studying (!!) Scripture.

Yea, we find amazing treasures in God’s Word when we look with the eyes of faith! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is Hebrews 13:3 a reference to the Body of Christ?