Impetuous Peter! #13

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid (Mark 9:5,6 KJV).

When in doubt, close your mouth!

A tremendous dispensational change occurred once apostate Israel stoned (murdered) her Prophet Stephen in Acts chapter 7. Saul of Tarsus is subsequently converted to Jesus Christ and commissioned as the Apostle Paul in chapter 9. The Apostle Peter needs to be notified of God’s transitioning from prophecy to mystery, Israel to Gentiles. Remember, Peter is still operating as per 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.”

Peter started preaching in Jerusalem in chapter 2 of Acts: the order of his ministry is Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and the uttermost part of the earth. He knows he is not to preach to Gentiles until Christ returns, for Israel must be converted first: “But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come” (Matthew 10:23).

As Acts chapter 10 opens, an angel directs Roman centurion Cornelius to send for Peter. To prepare Peter to preach to this Gentile (without Israel’s national conversion), the Lord gives Peter a vision of various animals. The ascended Christ speaks in Acts 10:13: “And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.” Instead of obeying, “But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean” (verse 14). Peter’s strict adherence to the Mosaic Law is commendable, but his refusal of the Lord’s updated instructions was his twelfth and final rash statement recorded in Scripture. “And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common” (verse 15). Suffice it to say, many years later, Peter’s encounter with Gentile Cornelius enabled him to defend Paul’s Gentile ministry (Acts 15:7-21).

Let us summarize this devotionals arc….

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #33

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

Not only are non-Christians living contrary to God’s will for them, many of us “Christians” are equally disobedient. As they refuse to hear the truth, so we have ignored the rightly divided Scriptures to keep our church traditions. Just as they have their “holy books,” so we have used 100 modern English (different!) Bible translations to confuse and divide us for 120 years. As they bow to their pagan idols, so we have worshipped our “wafer gods,” relics, scholarship, statues, and “experiences.”

The sins of the flesh are easy to spot, but the sins of the spirit are more insidious. Relying on the sins of the spirit to fight the sins of the flesh, have we finally learned we cannot conquer sin with sin? Substitutes tricked us. We were religious, but not Christian: we were “playing” church. If we read the Bible, it was a quick verse here and there, passages our denominations approved. Whatever Bible we read, we really did not believe it. Our “feel-good” inspirational/motivational speeches distracted us from sound Bible doctrine. If this is how we got into this mess, then we do the opposite to escape it.

We must get back to the King James Bible: we need one final authority, not a hundred competing books. Also, we must return to the principles of grace, the Apostle Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—Jesus Christ’s ministry today. Paul is our apostle (Romans 11:13), God’s spokesman to us. Supporting lies appears to bring harmony and progress, but there is no true, lasting unity and victory without sound Bible doctrine. The lost world must learn that, but we as believers in Christ must realize it first. We expect lost people to think and act like Christians when we do not think and act like Christians ourselves! Ridiculous! Until we believers are thankful for testimony of the Scriptures—grateful for our Bible heritage (albeit meager)—we have no testimony ourselves.

Let us summarize this devotionals arc….

Knowledge of Your Apostle

Thursday, January 7, 2021

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 have knowledge of your apostle?

John 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Verse 14 adds, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us….” The triune Godhead is composed of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. It is the Son, however, who functions as the Spokesman, the “Word,” the Communicator. He is Jesus Christ, the God-Man.

In Acts 26:16-18, Jesus Christ told Saul of Tarsus: “[16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; [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.”

The word “apostle,” from the Greek, means “sent one” (cf. verse 17 above). Consequently, Paul wrote of his special ministry in Romans 11:13: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:….” Christ commissioned Paul as His spokesman to us non-Jews. Ephesians chapter 3 amplifies: “[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:….” God’s instructions to us are “the Dispensation of Grace,” Paul’s writings of Romans through Philemon.

We study the entire Bible, since all the Bible is for us, for our learning (Romans 15:4). However, not all the Bible is to us or about us. All 66 Books of the Bible are inspired of God (2 Timothy 3:16), but, if we are to understand His present dealings with man, we must especially heed the inspired words the Lord Jesus Christ revealed to the Apostle Paul.

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks #3

Thursday, December 10, 2020

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:13,14 KJV).

The fifth verse and the final verse of the classic Christmas carol paraphrase today’s Scripture.

“Thus spake the angel and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels, praising God, and thus
Addressed their joyful song:
‘All glory be to God on high,
And to the earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from Heaven to men
Begin and never cease
Begin and never cease.’”

People who know nothing about the Bible carelessly complain that the God of the Old Testament was a “bigot.” They dislike that He dealt almost exclusively with Israel, having almost no dealings with Gentiles. Additionally, they whine that Jesus was a “racist” because He said that His earthly ministry was limited to Israel (Matthew 10:5-7; Matthew 15:24). What fools and blasphemers!

When JEHOVAH promised Abraham that He would make of him a great nation, that nation was to be the channel of God’s salvation and blessing to reach all the world’s (Gentile) nations. “…[I]n thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). Rebuking ignorant Nicodemus, Jesus said of Israel’s earthly kingdom: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Jesus also said, “…[R]epentance and remission of sins should be preached in [my] name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). He told His apostles to baptize and teach all nations(Matthew 28:19). God was dealing with and converting Israel, that redeemed Israel go to all nations on His behalf when Jesus became their King!!! Read Zechariah 8:20-23 and Isaiah 60:1-3 (yet future).

Hence, the angels sang at Jesus’ birth, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” God wanted everyone“good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (verse 10)—to have a relationship with Him in Israel’s kingdom. Of course, Israel’s kingdom is still future. Romans 11:11-13 says salvation is coming to us Gentiles without Israel, through Paul’s ministry and Paul’s Gospel (Christ’s finished crosswork).

NOTE: I want to say a special “Happy Birthday” to my Mom, who will no doubt read this. Thank you for being faithful to Father God in leading me to Jesus Christ and teaching me the Scriptures all those years ago! 🙂

To Look Beyond the Makeup #13

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

Prior to our Dispensation of Grace, Satan’s evil world system contaminated ancient Israel with pagan idolatry (especially through King Ahab and Queen Jezebel). After our Dispensation, this will be repeated via “King” Antichrist and “Queen” Whore of Babylon. Remember, once Satan learns something works to his advantage, he will use it repeatedly. For thousands of years now, false religion has deceived mankind. If it was beneficial to the Devil’s plan then, and it will be helpful to him later, then he is indeed (!) operating it right now… and practically no one detects it!

Scripture explains how the harlot seduces a young man “void of understanding” (Proverbs 7:7). He is among the “simple [uneducated, unskilled] ones.” Carefully read the whole chapter. Exercising great subtilty, she lures him with the promise of physical delight (cf. 1 Timothy 4:1-3). Naïve and uninformed, he absolutely cannot resist. He merrily jumps in bed with her… and then she kills him! That man represents unsuspecting Israel—or even gullible “Christians” today—falling for Satan’s lie program of evil religion. The LORD God gave them His Word, but they ignore that Divine wisdom. Focusing on mere outward appearance (a “painted” face), they lack any sense to realize they have joined themselves to a “woman of the street!”

Finally, consider “eye-opening” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15: “[13] For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. [14] And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. [15] Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” False religion is attractive yet sneaky, Satan’s precise method in Genesis 3:1-6. It shoves aside God’s grace, and stresses our (self-) “righteousness.” With our eyes on the creature, they are off the Creator (Romans 1:25). Ignoring God’s Grace Message through the Apostle Paul, the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon, we have failed to look beyond the makeup… yea… fakeup!

Israel Blinded Thrice! #3

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

“And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9,10 KJV).

Friend, did you know this passage is applicable to three particular times in Israel’s history?

The Holy Spirit was poured out on Israel’s believing remnant in Acts chapter 2, bearing witness of Christ’s resurrection by performing miracles through the Little Flock. Yet, national Israel remained in unbelief, persecuting the Apostles and Prophets—Peter, John, Stephen, et cetera. Christ raises up a new Apostle, Paul, to begin the Dispensation of Grace and the Church the Body of Christ. Israel continues opposing God’s work through the rest of Acts.

With Acts closing, Paul quotes today’s Scripture in chapter 28: “[25] And when they [the Jews] agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, [26] Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: [27] For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

Read Romans 11:6-10,25-27 (cf. Isaiah 29:10). God again removes whatever spiritual light Israel had and willfully refused. Israel’s blindness will not be lifted until God gives her a sign, another miraculous demonstration intended to teach doctrine. Following the blinding of Israel in our dispensation, God will send Israel a sign, Christ’s Second Coming, as in Matthew 24:30: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” At Christ’s return, as per Romans 11:25-27, Israel is nationally enlightened and converted, and enters the Millennium!

Seducers—Deceivers—Howlers!

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:12,13 KJV).

Beware the seducers, beware the deceivers, beware the howlers!

Paul has already written Timothy concerning “seducers.” Turn to chapter 4 of 1 Timothy: “[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” To “seduce” means “use a form of delight to lure or draw someone away from the path of righteousness.” These “seducing spirits” are the voices of preachers teaching “doctrines of devils.” Not all doctrine is created equal! False doctrine causes people to turn away from good doctrine.

Ponder today’s Scripture. In contrast to those who will live godly in Christ Jesus suffering persecution, “evil men and seducers” become increasingly wicked. What is the outcome? “Deceiving, and being deceived.” It does not say “being deceived, and deceiving.” No, the order is: (1) deceive others and then, (2) they themselves are deceived. Indeed, they were originally deceived. However, now they are misleading others—and they themselves are becoming further entrenched in their error. Having repeated those lies long enough, they have no real sense of what the truth even is anymore.

The Greek word for “seducer” in today’s Scripture is “goes” (sounds like /go ayze/). It is related to the term meaning, “to wail.” Secular Greek writers used it to refer to enchanters, deceivers, or imposters. In fact, the word was applied to wizards who would howl incantations or spells! Similarly, when Almighty God hears false doctrine—His non-rightly divided Word—it is just as offensive to Him as a spell being cast. False teachers are “charming” the gullible masses… and the “magical effect” sweeps the crowds away into error. Beware, friend! Stick to the Apostle Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, and you will not be seduced!

Who Will Go? #6

Monday, July 27, 2020

Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8 KJV).

May we agree with the Prophet Isaiah!

The evil world system, having mercilessly beaten them down, has caused so many precious Christians to become diverted and discouraged through the centuries. How they need to renew their mind and stop sitting around idly! As a famous evangelist wrote in his Bible by today’s Scripture: “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do, and what I ought to do, by the grace of God I will do!

Whenever Almighty God commissions anyone in any age of any age, He never fails to provide them with exactly what they need to accomplish His work. Never has He told them and never will He tell them, “I want you to go do this, and that, and this, and that. Oh, and, good (!) luck (!) figuring (!) out (!) your (!) way (!) and (!) finding (!) the (!) necessary (!) equipment (!) to (!) use (!) therein!” No, if ever there is a “crippled” saint, a soul confused in life and ministry, it is not God’s fault. Instead of appreciating what Father God has already given them in Christ, they endeavor in a struggle with their flesh and that of others. Exerting great effort, they still make no progress.

In this the Dispensation of the Grace of God, the Holy Spirit has given us a completed Bible—the mystery program fully revealed (Paul’s ministry) and the prophetic program fully revealed (the rest of Scripture). If we do not know God’s will, it is our own fault. The only way we know His will is if we know His Word, so if we do not know His Word, it is because we have not read His Word. We have paid attention to church tradition, speculations, and assumptions—and our ignorance could not be more pronounced. He has told us to “go” in ministry, and by our faith in His grace, we go in ministry….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What distance is ‘a stone’s cast?’

Who Will Go? #5

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8 KJV).

May we agree with the Prophet Isaiah!

As members of the Church the Body of Christ, our grace commission is 2 Corinthians chapter 5: “[14] For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: [15] And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. [16] Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

“[17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. [18] And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

We are “ambassadors for Christ” (verse 20)—in Greek, “presbeuomen,” messengers or missionaries. Here on Earth, we are “outposts of the third heaven” (as a Christian brother once put it so eloquently), representing Jesus Christ in this foreign land. Scripture says we have been given “the ministry of reconciliation” (verse 19). Through Christ’s finished crosswork, Father God has made it possible for all nations to come to Him by faith. The Apostle Paul was entrusted with that message, and we are too. We have all been called to the ministry—whether or not we are pastors or teachers. The Holy Spirit will use any and every believer to share the Word of His Grace with this lost and dying world. Let us respond like Isaiah….

Who Will Go? #4

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8 KJV).

May we agree with the Prophet Isaiah!

Saul of Tarsus, now the Apostle Paul, recounts his salvation and subsequent call to the ministry in Acts chapter 26 (historically, it happened in chapter 9, many years earlier): “[14] And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

“[15] And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. [16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; [17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee [apostello], [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.

“[19] Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: [20] But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” Paul’s own words concerning his Divine commission were identical to Isaiah’s reply: “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.” After opposing Jesus Christ for decades as a lost man, Paul finally trusted Him as his personal Saviour and then went by faith to conduct His grace ministry for over 30 years. He thusly penned: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office” (Romans 11:13).

Having regarded at Paul’s commission, let us look at our (related) grace commission….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “At what age did Jesus Christ die?