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! #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?

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.

Death! #8

Monday, May 18, 2020

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19 KJV).

It is a morbid topic, but a reality we know all too well….

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Sin has “wages” (payments): physical death (soul and spirit separated from physical body), spiritual death (soul and spirit separated from God on Earth—can be remedied by faith in Christ!), functional death (believer separated from Christian living), and second death (soul and spirit separated from God in the Lake of Fire—permanent!).

We enter this world “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us [resurrected us, given us life and energy] together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; )…” (verse 4). Thus, God through Christ overcomes spiritual death. The “eternal life” of Romans 6:23 especially emphasizes subsequent Christian living. If we as believers want deliverance from daily sinful conduct, we read and trust chapters 6–8. Thus, God through Christ conquers functional death.

Some of the Church the Body of Christ will physically die, but not all. Those believers alive at the Lord’s return—the Rapture, the resurrection, “the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:18-25)—will never experience physical death. “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…” (1 Corinthians 15:50-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Living or dead, all Christians will receive a new body. Thus, God through Christ overcomes physical death. “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile [sinful, corrupt, subject to death] body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:20,21).

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25,26).

Death! #7

Sunday, May 17, 2020

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19 KJV).

It is a morbid topic, but a reality we know all too well….

Second Timothy 1:9-11 states: “[9] Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, [10] But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: [11] Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” As saints, people who trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we have a hope that, when this earthly life ends with death, it is really not the end!

First Corinthians chapter 15 speaks of resurrection life: “[18] Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. [19] If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. [20] But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. [21] For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. [22] For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. [23] But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. [24] Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. [25] For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. [26] The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

The Bible labels death an “enemy.” It was not in God’s original design in creation. Adam’s sin caused it. Therefore, the Lord has gloriously conquered it before (Christ’s bodily resurrection), and He will magnificently overcome it again (all subsequent bodily resurrections). Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

The Horrors of Distraction!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

“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. 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 4:1-4 KJV).

If we focus on what we do in religion, we will disregard what Christ did for us at Calvary!

Recently, I listened to a former Roman Catholic nun give her testimony. From her early teens until mid-30s, she had been subjected to various strange and horrific tortures in a “cloistered” (closed, isolated) convent. Her food was but bread, water, bland soup, and an occasional glass of skim milk. As part of her “penance,” suffering for her sins, she was hung by her thumbs for several days, her toes just above the floor! She was also whipped with tiny pieces of metal attached to straps. The more blood she shed through those sufferings, the more she was allegedly becoming like Jesus Christ who shed His blood for her. Eventually, after being imprisoned in such a hopeless complex for over two decades, she escaped and found the Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)!

Most tragically, she was just one of billions so thoroughly disoriented because of false religion. Today’s Scripture—written 20 centuries ago—spoke of spiritual leaders who were dishonest, “walking in craftiness,” and using the Bible “deceitfully.” All denominations would fall under this category. While they may be sincere and polite, they are nevertheless promoting a damnable system that Satan himself uses to hide God’s truth from souls. Indeed, Hell abounds with people who were so busy working they had completely overlooked Jesus Christ’s work for them. “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.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How are the days of Matthew 24:22 ‘shortened?’

Neither Hearkening Nor Inclining #8

Thursday, April 30, 2020

And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear (Jeremiah 25:4 KJV).

We will scrutinize today’s Scripture to find out just how stubborn sinners are….

The very nature of this the Dispensation of Grace is not worldwide revival. Rather, it is God, through Christ’s finished crosswork, offering His grace to all the nations. Instead of approaching Him through Israel (as in time past), the Gentiles can have a personal relationship with Him through Calvary. Nonetheless, the world has overwhelmingly responded not in faith but ungratefulness. Even the professing “Church” abounds with unbelief and deception.

First Timothy chapter 4: “[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. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: [5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

Second Timothy chapter 3: “[1] This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [2] For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, [3] Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, [4] Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; [5] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Chapter 4, verses 3 and 4: “[3] 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; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

Friends, may we not be foolish like these souls are, like ancient Israel was. May we incline our spiritual ears to Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, listen to those Divine words, and then believe them!