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.

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….

He Put No Trust in Man

Thursday, May 21, 2020

“Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth? They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it” (Job 4:18-20 KJV).

Recently, a Christian of many decades was telling me how, considering all the horrific news stories of recent months, God has evidently “lost faith in humanity.” He has had enough of sin and now He is angrily judging the world! The dear brother simply did not know his Bible. God cannot “lose faith in humanity” because God never had faith in humanity anyway!

Let us read today’s Scripture in context: “[17] Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? [18] Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: [19] How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth? [20] They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it. [21] Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom.”

Eliphaz the Temanite, one of Job’s “friends,” is assessing his tragedies. Job is experiencing tremendous distress that originated due to Satan’s direct working, but Eliphaz concludes Job must be suffering because he has sinned. Firstly, Eliphaz reminds Job that angels sinned against God. Secondly, he asks Job a question. If God did not have faith in those spiritual beings greater and mightier than we, would He have faith in little, fragile humans who are merely inhabitants of “houses of clay?” Certainly not!

Never did God have faith in humanity. Like the fallen angels, mankind is just a group of sinners, unreliable and prone to rebellion and failure. Rather than He having faith in us, perhaps it would be wiser for us to have faith in Him? “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Our latest Bible Q&As: “Are Matthew 20:29-34, Mark 10:46-52, and Luke 18:35-43 the same miracle?”, “Are Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-19, and Luke 8:26-39 the same miracle?”, and “Is ‘Gergesenes’ a mistake in Matthew 8:28 in the King James Bible?

All Joy and Peace in Believing

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost (Romans 15:13 KJV).

With coronavirus restrictions gradually being relaxed around the world, society has begun to transition back to “normal.” It remains to be seen, however, exactly how this new world will be different from the old world of just a few months ago. Regardless, in Christ, we can be “filled… with all joy and peace in believing, that [we] may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Some individuals cannot fathom how 2020 could get any worse—and we are not yet halfway through the year! Hundreds of thousands of people have died. Schedules have been severely disrupted or even abolished. Fortunes have been greatly reduced or completely lost. Businesses have closed—some permanently. Loneliness, depression, and other mental stresses have set in due to prolonged confinement and isolation. Face masks, gloves, and “social distancing” are still seen in various and sundry places.

During these last few months, the people of the world have had opportunity to contemplate eternity like never before. Better understanding their own mortality, and how this physical world can change in a moment’s notice, they have become more receptive to spiritual truth. Having additional free time, they have certainly read the Bible more. A portion of them undoubtedly got saved by trusting Jesus Christ alone as sufficient payment for their sins.

While we will not see a global revival until the Lord Jesus returns at His Second Coming, we do expect to see more people around the world continue to come to Him by faith and join the Church the Body of Christ. More and more will realize that if all they are living for is the “here and now,” they will surely be disturbed, disappointed, and hopeless. However, if they are conducting themselves with spiritual eyes, and appreciating and trusting the Word of God rightly divided, the Holy Spirit will cause them to have joy, peace, and hope (today’s Scripture). As verse 4 says, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

Perfect Peace #3

Monday, March 16, 2020

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3,4 KJV).

Despite their grim circumstances, those who trust in the God of Scripture will be kept in “perfect peace!”

Israel will learn she cannot in and of herself be victorious over this evil world system. Her believing remnant must wait for Jesus Christ’s ultimate deliverance at His Second Coming. Psalm 68: “[1] Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. [2] As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. [3] But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice. [4] Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.[34] Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds. [35] O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.”

The Holy Spirit, moving the Prophet Isaiah, is looking down through time—at least 2,700 years—to see Israel’s Little Flock at the end of Daniel’s 70th Week. Preparing to enter the Millennium, they are rejoicing. The LORD God has brought them through their horrendous suffering. By reading and trusting their prophetic promises in Scripture, they have been kept safe! Walking by faith in Isaiah, the Book that spoke of both their tribulation and their kingdom, they knew that, no matter what, they would survive to see His earthly kingdom. God was faithful!

Likewise, brethren, regardless of our struggles, heartaches, and uncertainties in this life, we already know our final destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ remains unchanged! Our eternal future is certain; thus, our temporary trials are certainly bearable (1 Corinthians 10:13). “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18). Enjoy that “perfect peace!” 🙂

Perfect Peace #2

Sunday, March 15, 2020

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3,4 KJV).

Despite their grim circumstances, those who trust in the God of Scripture will be kept in “perfect peace!”

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace….” Here, the LORD will “keep” in the sense of guarding. Satan’s evil world system is endeavoring to harm the saint’s soul. “Perfect” should be taken as “complete, thorough.” The word “peace” carries the meaning of “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.” If we combine all these concepts, our understanding of the phrase is thus: Almighty God is protecting the saint from the destructive spiritual effects of living in this sin-cursed world, this fallen creation.

“…[W]hose mind is stayed on thee….” Almighty God works in the mind—not through the emotional seat—of the saint (more on this later). “Stayed” is synonymous with “depending on, fixed to, leaning on.” Psalm 112:7,8 contains the parallel idea: “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings [news]: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. His heart is established [same Hebrew word as “stayed”], he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.”

“…[B]ecause he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever.” This further amplifies the earlier statement concerning the saint relying on the LORD. Notice how “trust” and “stay” are identical concepts—resting or being wholly confident in Him. The exhortation is as follows: “No matter what, never cease such dependence on the LORD!”

…[F]or in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” Why should we trust in the LORD? In Him we find “everlasting strength.” Whereas Satan’s evil world system attempts to weaken and destroy us, we have endless might in “the LORD JEHOVAH.” This Hebrew title—“JAH JEHOVAH”—is unique. It appears only one other time in the King James Bible (more on this later). “JAH” is an abbreviated form of the frequent “JEHOVAH” (often rendered “LORD” in English). According to Psalm 68:4, “JAH” is the title that Jesus Christ will hold as He returns victoriously at His Second Coming in great power and glory….

Perfect Peace #1

Saturday, March 14, 2020

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3,4 KJV).

Despite their grim circumstances, those who trust in the God of Scripture will be kept in “perfect peace!”

Friend, life under the curse of sin is filled with innumerable surprises. (You did already know that, right?!) In a literal heartbeat, one’s life can change forever. Tragedy strikes in a variety of forms, and all are emotionally traumatic. Sin complicates life. It makes our existence difficult and risky. Yet, the people in today’s Scripture have learned how to make it through this rollercoaster we call “life!”

Let us read more from Isaiah chapter 26: “[1] In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks [fortifications, defenses]. [2] Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepth the truth may enter in. [3] Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. [4] Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.”

Scanning the surrounding verses (especially the earlier chapter), we realize that this is Israel’s restoration at Christ’s Second Coming. The “righteous nation” is the Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant, joyfully singing a tune. (Can you hear them?) They have been delivered from that dreadful time of Daniel’s 70th Week—commonly called the seven-year Tribulation. Yes, they have survived the darkest and worst period of human history. Now, they are jubilant! Entering the Jerusalem of the Millennium, they are ready to enjoy the kingdom that the LORD God promised their forefathers all those centuries ago! With the city gates opened, these believing Jews literally walk into Jerusalem, and thus begins their eternal, face-to-face communion with their King Jesus Christ!

How did they make it through that time of tremendous distress and heartache? What was their secret? If we look closely at today’s Scripture, it becomes abundantly clear how we too—despite our distresses—can enjoy the peace of the God of the Bible….

God’s Grace on Parade

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

“…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20 KJV).

Today, especially here in southern Louisiana, the Catholic festival of Mardi Gras takes advantage of God’s grace. God’s grace abounds even when drunkenness, lasciviousness, and gluttony are committed overtly on our streets for religion. Because we live in the Dispensation of the Grace of God, they can flaunt their sin without being consumed by fire from heaven!

“Mardi Gras,” French for “Fat Tuesday,” is a day when religious people—professing “Christians”—lose self-control (excess alcohol, food, and partying). The following day, Ash Wednesday, they promise to live “holy” for the next 40 days (Lent). A priest will then place ashes on their foreheads proving that God forgave them for that riotous living. Blasphemy!

Regardless of all its biblical allusions (illusions!), Mardi Gras is still evil and anti-God. It was never Christian, originating from pagan Roman festivals, Saturnalia and Lupercalia (interestingly known for riots, drunkenness, gluttony, and fornication, and subsequent repentance).

The Holy Spirit, speaking through the Apostles Peter and Paul, was clearly against Mardi Gras reveling and drunkenness (Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Peter 4:3). So why do professing Christians engage in the very activities that God the Holy Spirit condemned?! As Christians, we should “deny” the activities of Mardi Gras (Romans 6:11-15; Titus 2:11-15).

If I appear offended, I am. Mardi Gras, despite its godly façade, is offensive to the great God and my Saviour Jesus Christ! God’s grace continues to tolerate such foolishness from mankind. Man parades his sin, and God parades His grace, holding back wrath.

Are you a Mardi Gras reveler? I declare unto you the wonderful Gospel of the Grace of God. God did for you at Calvary what you could never do: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Jesus Christ shed His sinless blood and died to put away all of your sins, Mardi Gras revelry included.

If you rest in Christ Jesus alone as your Saviour, God will save you forever, make a trophy of His grace, and then YOUR life will be God’s grace on parade!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

You may also see our archived Bible study Q&A, “Should Christians celebrate Mardi Gras?

Sin Divides #13

Thursday, February 13, 2020

“Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:5,6 KJV).

In religious circles, it is frequently bemoaned, “Doctrine divides! Doctrine divides! We should throw away ‘doctrine’ and just assemble around ‘love!’” Today’s Scripture and its context expose that dictum for the utter foolhardiness that it really is….

Doctrine does not divide; doctrine is not the problem. Sin divides; sin is the problem. False doctrine resulting from sin is to blame. True, if we gather around mere sentiments—so-called “love” instead of sound Bible doctrine—we have a semblance of harmony. Alas, such human efforts will not successfully substitute true unity (God’s life). That shallowness will eventually fail because true love—God’s life—is absent. Unless we maintain sound Bible doctrine, we can never have meaningful, permanent concord!

We do not create harmony using “love.” Genuine love—seeking another person’s highest good—is accomplished via sound Bible doctrine. Once we trust the doctrine that defines Almighty God’s life, then we experience in and among ourselves the selflessness that exists among the Members of the Godhead. Looking at Calvary, we see God’s love for us: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Do you appreciate the unselfishness here? The sinless Son of God dying a cruel death to pay for ournot His!—sins? Nowhere else will we find such self-sacrifice! “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

When we trust the Gospel of the Grace of God, then God the Holy Spirit will create in us His nature and attitude. Here is how man gets along with fellow man—and woman! “Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me” (Micah 7:7—the verse following today’s Scripture). While sin has caused divisions in Israel, Micah understood that the LORD would take care of it! 🙂