Liberated to Serve

Saturday, July 4, 2020

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 KJV).

Today, as we in the United States celebrate the 244th anniversary of our nation’s independence, we invite our Christian brethren worldwide to rejoice with us concerning our freedom in Jesus Christ.

When we proclaim Romans 6:14—“Ye are not under the law, but under grace”—people tend to assume “loose living.” Does “grace living” really mean we can now live any way we want? Lest anyone be misled in that regard, God the Holy Spirit moved the Apostle Paul to write in the next verse, “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid [May God never let that happen!]” (Romans 6:15). Grace living is not Law-keeping, but it certainly is not Law-breaking either.

God still cares how we live, albeit He is not operating the “weak and beggarly” system of “bondage” (Law) that He once did with Israel (Galatians 4:9). God proved to the entire world that since Israel could not keep His commandments perfectly, no other sons of Adam (the Gentiles) could either: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them [Israel] who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world [Gentiles] may become guilty before God (Romans 3:19).

We sinners cannot keep the Law. However, God in His grace provided us a way to escape that condemnation by sending Jesus Christ to offer Himself on Calvary’s cruel cross to pay for our sins. By simple faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the fully-satisfying payment for our sins, we can now be “made the righteousness of God in [Christ]” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We can be delivered from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire) and the power of sin (flesh-walking).

Why are we Christians free? To selfishly live any way we want? NO! Today’s Scripture says we are liberated to now serve others, especially our Christian brethren, just as Jesus Christ selflessly served His Father and selflessly died on our behalf. That is grace living!!!!

Please see our 2011 Fourth of July Bible study “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land,” which can be watched here or read here.

Where Is the Gospel?

Monday, June 22, 2020

“But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4 KJV).

As Bible believers, we have been “put in trust with the gospel.” Yet, can we properly elucidate that Gospel when given the opportunity?

Once, I read an article dedicated to a late “scholar” responsible for editing many Bible study tools, including popular concordances. The writer of the dedication, also a “scholarly” and “Christian” publisher himself, proceeded to write several paragraphs describing the deceased man’s theological background and efforts. He was a computer-savvy “expert” who studied Greek and Hebrew, created this database, arranged that book, organized this volume, and so on. Now, please understand, these are all noble accomplishments. There is one major problem.

Never once did the word “God” appear in the article. “Jesus” was absent. “Christ” was not found. There was not one statement about the scholar’s testimony, him believing the Gospel of Grace. Nothing was said about him going to Heaven and being with the Lord. There was nothing about the writing “scholar” looking forward to seeing the departed “scholar” again. After reading the article, one would quite easily conclude neither man has a personal relationship with the God of the Bible. It was written from the perspective of “intellectual” workers entrenched in religious busyness—and “Christian” publishing is a huge “bu$iness!”

It is frightening, beloved, but how can the Church the Body of Christ be depending on literature written and compiled by people who do not have a clear testimony of salvation in Jesus Christ? Surprisingly, we can even read statements of faith of local churches and ministries, and never read one word about Calvary, Christ dying for our sins, God’s grace, et cetera. Preachers will speak out against sin, decrying the deterioration of human society, and the teachers will go on and on about Hebrew and Greek, but the Gospel of Grace is barely mentioned—if at all! Where is the Gospel?!?

“Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). It is an offensive message, for it exposes the works of the flesh as non-meritorious before God. Yet, we do not please men, but God. May we have hearts of faith in it!

A Lost Generation! #10

Thursday, June 11, 2020

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

What this “lost” generation needs is to be found!

Although desperately needed, societal reform will not result from mere external changes. Remove all weapons from every hand, and incarcerate all people everywhere, and humanity will still manage to destroy itself. It is a spiritual matter, not simply physical. Man must receive a new nature, a new heart, and that only happens in Christ. Thus, a clear Gospel message must be preached and believed.

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 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…. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15,17).

People do not get along with each other because they are naturally sinners (James 4:1), and sinners are naturally selfish (they “live unto themselves”). If, however, they believe the Gospel of the Grace of God, then they are placed “in Christ,” and become a “new creature,” possessing a new identity. They assume Jesus Christ’s identity, thereby able to think and act like Him—selflessly, seeking another’s benefit (Philippians 2:5-8). “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). He died for us, unselfishly! Now, His love for us can work in us, and we thus love and serve others.

Make no mistake, worldwide societal revival will come when Christ returns: “And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations” (Isaiah 25:7). One day, God’s light will illuminate the whole world currently in Satan’s darkness. Until then, brethren, we preach the Gospel of Grace, brightly shining forth to call sinners out of this present evil world!

A Lost Generation! #9

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

What this “lost” generation needs is to be found!

Concerning the nation Israel after Jesus Christ finished His earthly ministry and His 12 Apostles undertook their ministry under the power of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter chapter 2: “[9] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” No longer was Israel “lost!”

As touching formerly pagan Gentiles, now members of the Church the Body of Christ, the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians chapter 2: “[1] And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. [4] But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, [5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; ) [6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” No longer were these Gentiles “lost!”

Provided each “lost” generation of every moment in human history believes God’s Word to and about it, it can be a found generation. Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

A Lost Generation! #8

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

What this “lost” generation needs is to be found!

As Jesus Christ conducted His earthly ministry, He remarked, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). He commissioned His 12 Apostles: “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:5-7). The nation Israel was “lost,” removed from the path JEHOVAH God had for her. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Christ proceeded to bring Israel back to Him by preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. He was her long-promised Messiah/Christ-King-Saviour-Redeemer. Individual Jews were to “repent,” change their mind about their idolatry, and trust Him as the Son of God and heir to David’s throne. He performed miraculous demonstrations to validate His Gospel message: “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35).

Likewise, when the Apostle Paul began his ministry in Acts chapter 9, the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Jesus Christ commissioned him: “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 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” (Acts 26:17,18). It is through Paul’s ministry and message that we Gentiles can be saved….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does God suffer from Alzheimer’s disease?

A Lost Generation! #7

Monday, June 8, 2020

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

What this “lost” generation needs is to be found!

Jeremiah 17:9 is anything but complimentary: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Several centuries later, Christ supplied details: “That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:20-23).

Returning to Romans chapter 1: “[28] And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; [29] Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers [gossipers], [30] Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, [31] Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable [cannot be pleased, antagonistic], unmerciful: [32] Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

Our human heart is sinful, “desperately wicked”—really evil, extremely malevolent, dreadfully nasty, awfully corrupt. However, if you listen to “feel-good” religious adages, you would think otherwise. The Bible is quite offensive indeed, for it presents God in a positive light and man in a negative light. Furthermore, our heart is “deceitful above all things.” Unless the Scriptures told us of our horrific spiritual sickness, we would see ourselves healthy. It is but human nature to evaluate ourselves as “not perfect but pretty good.” How deceived we are to be comfortable with something less than perfect! How misled we are if we assume God will accept anything less than perfect!

Having been spiritually adrift and ill (yea, dead!) for far too long, this “lost” generation can be found and made whole….

A Lost Generation! #6

Sunday, June 7, 2020

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

What this “lost” generation needs is to be found!

Our King James Bible scholars handled the Greek word rendered “lost” in today’s Scripture—“apollymi”—various other ways. For example, they used it to describe King Herod the Great as he “destroyed” the young children of Bethlehem Judaea (Matthew 2:13). Similarly, the Great Flood “destroyed” the unbelievers (Luke 17:27). Or, the old world overflowed with water “perished” in Noah’s day (2 Peter 3:6). Also, the Pharisees and Herodians plotted to “destroy” the Lord Jesus (Mark 3:6). Thus, “lost” can refer to a person who “loseth” physical life (Matthew 10:39).

The Greek word can also carry a spiritual meaning—namely, eternal damnation in Hell and the Lake of Fire. For instance, Christ said those who have eternal life will never “perish” (John 10:28). Surely, this goes beyond physical death—for Christians do experience physical death. The opposite of someone “lost” is someone “saved,” and this is in the spiritual realm. Notice the two contrasting ideas in the following three verses. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish (2 Corinthians 2:15). “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved(2 Thessalonians 2:10).

Whether they know it or not, those souls without salvation in Christ—spiritual healing through Calvary’s finished crosswork—are headed to their spiritual doom, spiritual ruin, or spiritual destruction. They are not on the path of eternal life because they are in unbelief, separated from God’s life and righteousness. Until they recognize their sin problem—their lack of righteousness—and fully trust Jesus Christ as the sole Remedy, they will remain a “lost” generation….

A Lost Generation! #5

Saturday, June 6, 2020

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

What this “lost” generation needs is to be found!

Today’s Scripture says the “gospel,” or good news, the Apostle Paul preached was “hid” to “lost” people. It is concealed because “the god of this world”—the ruler of this evil world system, Satan—has hidden it. Read verses 1 and 2 to see how he obscures it: “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

Satan is a master deceiver, so he is usually underestimated. The most effectual way he works is through perverted Bible verses (an appearance of truth). Paul thus referred to the fact “[we] have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty.” As an apostate Jewish religious leader long ago, Saul of Tarsus was a Bible corrupter. He was entangled with works-religion, a watered-down version of the Mosaic Law, and steeped in self-righteousness. Now, as an apostle of Jesus Christ, he had abandoned that nonsense. He was “handling the word of God deceitfully” no more!

However, 2 Corinthians chapter 11 says: “[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.” As long as the Devil can keep souls focused on their works in religion—their “goodness” (self-righteousness)—then they cannot appreciate just how sinful they really are and how they need God’s righteousness (Romans 10:1-3). Having no idea they are “lost,” they see no need to be saved through faith in Christ!

Once we deal with our sin at Calvary—where God dealt with it—then we become a “found” generation….

Jehoshaphat’s Bible Teachers #6

Thursday, May 28, 2020

And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people (2 Chronicles 17:9 KJV).

Jehoshaphat was King David’s great-great-great grandson, ruling over the Kingdom of Judah more than a century after him. Early in his reign, Jehoshaphat wisely chose to commission Bible teachers to disseminate God’s truth throughout his kingdom.

If we have some good news, it is only natural to want to tell others about it. (Of course, similarly, it is human nature to want to share bad news—gossip—too!) In the form of sound Bible doctrine, the Word of God rightly divided, we have a message worth proclaiming to the world. It is a Gospel that will span the endless eons of eternity future: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). “God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4).

We turn now the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 2:2: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” As Jehoshaphat’s Bible teachers listened to the LORD through Moses, and then communicated that sound Bible doctrine with others in the Kingdom of Judah, so we hearken to the LORD through Paul, and then spread that message of God’s grace to Jew and Gentile alike.

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:1-4).

Being mindful of sound Bible doctrine will prevent us from going the way of ancient Israel, drifting further and further from the one true God and becoming increasingly misled! 🙂

The Greatest War Hero

Monday, May 25, 2020

“For God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).

In the United States, today is Memorial Day, when we remember those who sacrificed their time and lives to provide our physical freedom. Likewise, as Christians, we have spiritual freedom, which was more costly. Someone had to die to give us the eternal life we now enjoy….

Scripture describes a spiritual warfare between good and evil, God’s truth program versus Satan’s lie program: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:11,12; see also verses 13-20).

Satan distracts mankind from God’s pure Word, the Bible, keeping unbelievers lost (dead in their sins), and preventing unbelievers and Christians from knowing God’s will. The devil draws them away (seduces them) from God’s Word by using religious tradition and human “wisdom” (1 Timothy 4:1-3; cf. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Galatians 3:1-3).

God loves us, so at Calvary’s cross, Christ fought for us sinners, died in battle (today’s Scripture), shed His divine sinless blood, and eternally rescued us from Satan and sin: “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; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15).

Hebrews 9:12 says Jesus Christ has “obtained eternal redemption for us.”

If we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). Now, God can use us for His glory for all eternity.

Beloved, let us rejoice in our victory over sin, death, and hell that Jesus Christ secured for us by going to Calvary’s rugged cross! Jesus Christ is now alive forevermore—He is our Hero, the Greatest Hero!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study “The Greatest Hero,” which can be read here or watched here.