The Case for Right Division #9

Sunday, May 28, 2023

“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 KJV).

Can today’s Scripture deliver someone from absolute stupidity before he or she literally perishes in it? (Yes!)

Ephesians 3:1,2 relays the following: “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:…” The “dispensation” (Greek, “oikonomia,” “house rules”) the Lord has in effect today was given to the Apostle Paul (cf. Colossians 1:25-28). This is the body of truth applicable to us, and it is located in the 13 Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon. Through Paul’s ministry, the mystery program, God is manifesting His grace—His unmerited favor—to mankind in a new way. By faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins, we as Gentiles outside of Israel and her prophetic program can be made righteous in God’s sight. God the Holy Spirit is taking us believers in Christ and forming the Church the Body of Christ, separate and distinct from the nation Israel (see Ephesians 2:13–3:12).

Alas, denominationally-minded people are either unintentionally or deliberately blind to dispensational truth. To exclusively follow the Lord’s heavenly ministry through Paul means they must forsake their denominational system (built on Christ’s earthly ministry!). They would have to admit their preacher or teacher lied to them. In fact, those who wish to keep their church traditions have resorted to disparaging dispensational Bible study as a “cult,” “heresy,” and so on. That is their choice. If they are determined to stay in their chaos, we respect their free will and let them remain in that ignorance. They can continue claiming their physical healing, dying because they refuse to visit doctors and receive medication. They can keep their starvation by fasting, holding out and holding on for “answers” from God as to why this or that never came to pass.

Dear friends, in the wake of non-dispensational Bible study, billions are left perplexed, hopeless, and even spiritually, doctrinally, and physically dead. Here is the heavy price that must be paid for failing to apply today’s Scripture. Above all, here is the case for right division!

The Case for Right Division #6

Thursday, May 25, 2023

“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 KJV).

Can today’s Scripture deliver someone from absolute stupidity before he or she literally perishes in it? (Yes!)

Re-read Ephesians 2:11,12. In “time past,” God dealt with mankind on the basis of physical circumcision (Jews, Israel) and physical uncircumcision (Gentiles, nations). While this “middle wall of partition” was in place (see verse 14), God’s blessings and salvation were on the circumcision side (cf. Romans 9:4,5). Christ’s earthly ministry belongs in “time past” (see Matthew 10:5-7; Matthew 15:24; John 4:22; Romans 15:8).

Beginning with the Apostle Paul—the “but now,” Christ’s heavenly ministry—the Lord eliminated “the middle wall of partition” (see Ephesians 2:13-18). Now, the nations of the world approach God, but not through the nation Israel, for Israel is now fallen. Read Romans 11:11-14. We come to God via Paul’s ministry (Bible Books of Romans through Philemon), faith in Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins (see 1 Corinthians 15:3,4). In “the ages to come” (Ephesians 2:7), God will use us the Church the Body of Christ to glorify Jesus in the heavenly places as He will utilize the nation Israel to exalt Jesus in the earth (Ephesians 1:8-12,19-23; Ephesians 2:6,7; Colossians 1:16-20). “Time past,” “but now,” and “the ages to come” is how to “rightly divide the word of truth.” Remember, note it well (!): principles in effect during time past may not be true today, so be careful, lest you misapply to yourself non-Pauline (outside of Paul’s epistles) Bible truths that are no longer true!

Also, we can view Jesus Christ from two perspectives. Firstly, Peter preached Him according to prophecy: “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began(Acts 3:21). Secondly, Paul preached Him according to mystery: “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, But now is made manifest,…” (Romans 16:25,26). “Prophecy” versus “mystery” is another way God “rightly divides the word of truth.” Let us elaborate….

Two Hungry Men! #4

Friday, March 24, 2023

And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry (Mark 11:12 KJV).

Who is this hungry man? Who else is a hungry man in the Bible? What exactly has caused their hunger?

The Lord Jesus during the Books of Matthew through John hungers for spiritual fruit in Israel, wanting Israel to become His kingdom of priests in the Earth. Nevertheless, the majority of Israel refuses Him during His earthly ministry, thus rejecting their opportunity to be God’s channel of salvation and blessing to the Gentiles (see Isaiah 60:1-3; Zechariah 8:20-23; Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 3:25,26; et al.). With Israel in unbelief, lacking a relationship with the one true God through Jesus Christ, that Jewish nation is unable to share God’s words with the nations (Gentiles).

In early Acts, the Apostle Peter is experiencing the same difficulty, so he too is hungry (chapter 10). Despite a believing remnant, Israel as a whole stubbornly remains in unbelief, so the Gentiles cannot be reached. In fact, the Little Flock has undergone much persecution since Christ’s Ascension in chapter 1, and this militant rejection of Christ makes the situation look hopeless. Without Israel’s national conversion, the Jewish people still cannot be God’s channel of salvation and blessing to the Gentiles. The covenants and promises of God are left unfulfilled. It is at this point in chapter 10 that Almighty God intervenes to communicate to Peter how he, in Joppa, will now visit and preach to some Gentiles in Caesarea (about a day away). This departure from the prophetic order of “Israel first” signals to Peter and the rest of the Little Flock that God is doing something different. It is not until many years later that Peter finally realizes his meeting with Gentile Cornelius was to prepare him to defend Paul’s Gentile apostleship in chapter 15 at the Jerusalem Conference.

As a final addendum, we can remind ourselves of the Apostle Paul’s yearning for unbelieving Israel to be saved during the latter Acts period (Romans 10:1-3). Like the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Apostles Peter and Paul, we should long for Father God’s will to be accomplished in our ministry. Also being “hungry for souls,” we “hold forth the word of life” (Philippians 2:12-16).

I Have Finished the Work! #3

Sunday, March 12, 2023

“I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4 KJV).

Could we say this at the end of our life, at the conclusion of our ministry?

In his farewell epistle, the Apostle Peter wrote to Israel’s believing remnant: “[12] Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. [13] Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle [physical body], to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; [14] Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. [15] Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance” (2 Peter chapter 1). Peter knew he was soon to leave this life, but the Holy Spirit would not let him depart until he penned this second and final Bible Book that bears his name. He still had something to teach these saints (and he did it throughout these three chapters)!

The Apostle Paul, penning his farewell epistle to the Church the Body of Christ, remarked: “[6] For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. [7] I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: [8] Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy chapter 4). Paul was aware that his parting was near, yet the Holy Spirit would continue to use him to complete the Bible with this last Book, and then he could move on.

Both Peter and Paul left this world only when they had written their last words and preached their final sermons. They had brought saints to a place of doctrinal maturity, as the Lord Jesus Christ had taught them (these Apostles), so they trained others. We can learn much from this….

333’s 4300th – We Want More Light!

Thursday, March 9, 2023

“Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him” (Acts 8:29-31 KJV).

Dear friends and saints, we have reached devotional #4300 today!

Indeed, we do not have all the answers. If we did, we would be God. However, the Bible has all the answers we need—not all we want, but all we need. The Holy Spirit could have given us a record of everything in minute detail—all that God thinks and does and all that man thinks and does—but the Bible would not be mobile. We would never reach the end, and would never be able to read everything in it. In this world of darkness, what God has revealed to us is usually ignored anyway.

Long ago, I often came across the television program of a certain preacher. His theology was greatly perverted—he actually seemed to be an unsaved man—but even liars tell an occasional truth. He said how it always pleased God when we opened our Bible and read it. I disagreed with 99.9% of his statements, but he was right about that. Furthermore, if we are receptive to the spiritual light that we have, the Holy Spirit will provide more light.

The Ethiopian eunuch of today’s Scripture was reading his copy of Isaiah, but could not make sense of it. Nevertheless, since he was a sincere seeker of the truth, the Holy Spirit sent the Evangelist Philip to teach him about Jesus Christ (read verses 26-39). In chapter 10, Cornelius was another lost man, but he was walking in the light that he had, so the Holy Spirit sent the Apostle Peter to teach him about Jesus Christ (verses 1-48). The God of the Bible sent the Apostle Paul to teach us Gentiles about Jesus Christ (Acts 26:16-18; Romans 11:13; Ephesians 3:1-11). We with open hearts (hopefully!) are still learning to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). By God’s grace, we have done this now for 4,300 days—so let us keep on keeping on!

Onward to devotional #4400! 🙂

Firmer in Their Murmur #4

Sunday, February 19, 2023

The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven…. Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves…. When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? (John 6:41,43,61 KJV).

Behold, they have become firmer in their murmur!

“I do not follow Paul. Paul is just a man. I follow Jesus.” Whenever someone says this, they are advertising Bible ignorance: they need to do more biblical studying and less spiritual murmuring. For example, is it not interesting that Jesus Himself ordered the healed leper to “offer the gift that Moses commanded” (Matthew 8:4; Mark 1:44; Luke 5:14)? Adopting the pattern described earlier, can you just imagine the idiotic reply? “But, Lord, I follow God. Moses was just a man. I obey God’s command.”

Of course, the Lord Jesus knew Moses was only a human, but Moses was God’s spokesman to Israel. To reject Moses meant refusing Almighty God’s messenger. Advising His Apostles, Christ stated in 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.” To receive Christ’s messenger or apostle to us is to accept Jesus Christ Himself, and to receive Jesus Christ is to accept Father God who sent Jesus Christ as the Spokesman for the Godhead. Christ commissioned the Apostle Paul to reach us, “Delivering thee from the people [Israel], and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee [‘apostello’],….” (Acts 26:17). The Holy Spirit thus moved Paul to pen Romans 11:13: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my office….”

Instead of spending all our time reading Christ’s earthly ministry (to Israel! Matthew 15:24), we should consider His heavenly ministry to us through Paul. The Corinthians were negligent here (1 Corinthians chapter 10), as is much of the professing church now. Let us not be firmer in our murmur—or even murmur at all—concerning “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery [Paul’s ministry]” (Romans 16:25,26). Let us be appreciative of the Lord speaking through our Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 14:37)! “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (verse 38).

Fill Up That Which is Behind? #7

Monday, February 13, 2023

“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church” (Colossians 1:24 KJV).

Did Jesus Christ suffer enough to pay for our sins? Then how can Paul “fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ?”

“When you become a Christian, all your troubles disappear” is a prime example of prosperity theology, false teaching, and Bible ignorance. Satan cannot torture Jesus Christ anymore, and he cannot imprison Paul anymore, but we continue the Lord’s ministry through Paul, and thus we have trials and tribulations. “So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure” (2 Thessalonians 1:4).

As grace believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we (should) think about problems differently than the people of the world do. Today’s Scripture is the Apostle Paul under house-arrest for the Lord’s sake, yet, he writes, “[I] rejoice in my sufferings for you.” As Christ’s spokesman for this the Dispensation of Grace, Paul knew he had been given an opportunity to prove just what God’s grace would be like during the days of hardship. He was not depressed, feeling sorry for himself, or giving up, for he could still hear those Divine words from long ago, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17,18). “For I reckon [think, judge] that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Saints, now, in this fallen world, is our chance to show the lost souls around us, just what God’s grace can do in and through us as we rejoice in the midst of trouble. Let us too “fill up that which is behind.” 🙂

Fill Up That Which is Behind? #6

Sunday, February 12, 2023

“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church” (Colossians 1:24 KJV).

Did Jesus Christ suffer enough to pay for our sins? Then how can Paul “fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ?”

Once Satan realized a dispensational change arose with the Apostle Paul’s salvation and commissioning, he quit persecuting Israel’s believing remnant and started targeting God’s apostle of the Gentiles (see Romans 11:13). Concerning this the Dispensation of the Grace of God, the Church the Body of Christ is the Lord’s current agency of believers. So as to hinder, obstruct, and interfere with God’s purpose and plan for the Body of Christ, Satan worked in and through sinful men to do whatever he could to harass and harm Paul (today’s Scripture).

After the first two sons of men were born, a spiritual conflict existed between them. The narrative is recorded briefly in Genesis 4:1-8, but the underlying satanic motivation for the combat is made manifest centuries later in 1 John 3:11-13: “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one [Satan], and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.”

Unbelieving Cain followed Satan’s evil world system’s religion to the point of murdering his believing brother Abel—and it was that same religion of the evil world system that resulted in the execution of many of God’s people through the ages, all the way up to Jesus’ own murder at Calvary and beyond (see Matthew 23:29-37, Luke 11:45-51, and Acts 7:51-53). That evil world system was in Paul’s day during Acts, it is here with us at this present moment, and it will be in effect until Christ’s Second Coming in justice and righteousness.

Abel himself is no longer here, Christ Himself is no longer here, Paul himself is no longer here, so sinful men do to us what they cannot do to injure them….

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks #3

Saturday, December 10, 2022

“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! 🙂

That I Might Save Some of Them #4

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them” (Romans 11:13,14 KJV).

The operative term here is “some!”

Dear brethren in Christ, the Apostle Paul never realized his ministry would last 2,000 (!) years, that God would extend His grace, mercy, and peace to all people without distinction for 20 centuries. Despite the persecution, his ministry was not a waste of time after all, was it? Has it not eternally touched and benefited even us?

We are not omniscient (all-knowing), so we can never really gauge with certainty whom we are impacting with the Holy Bible and our testimony. For example, as we share sound doctrine electronically (online written studies and videos, especially through social media) and/or physically (Bible and Gospel tract distribution, Christian literature circulation), there is no practical way to estimate just whom that information will reach or may already be reaching. Imagine those tremendous implications.

Leave a Gospel tract in a public place. Potentially, not only will one soul read it and believe its verses, he or she might share it with 100 others (and you will know nothing about it!). Maybe a pastor of thousands will be reached, and he will broadcast those Bible verses to his congregation. You might post an online Bible study video, receive just a few “likes,” and assume you made little to no difference. However, what you do not know is the countless people who saw and accepted that information in secret (if they were to publicly admit it by “liking” it would jeopardize their social status!). What you will never learn until you get to Heaven is the hundreds, thousands, or millions of souls the Lord used you to reach—“strangers” from around the world, to whom you ministered via videos and books, people you influenced decades (or even centuries) after your death!

Overall, though, we do not endeavor to save “most” or even “many” people from their spiritual error (blindness, darkness, impotence, immaturity). We conduct our grace ministries as the Holy Spirit enables, “if by any means… [we] might save some of them.”