Whose Appeal Do We Seek? #2

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

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).

Do we aim to please God—or men?

In John chapter 9, Christ healed a blind man, whom the unbelieving Pharisees subsequently persecuted: “[19] And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? [20] His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: [21] But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. [22] These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

As opposed to seeking man’s appeal, today’s Scripture exhorts us to be “approved unto God.” If we lack God’s approval, however, He considers us a “castaway:” “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Our service is unacceptable to the Lord who died for us and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:15). Having our fellow man’s applause, we are practically useless to our Saviour’s cause! Brethren, let us be mindful of the following passages.

“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free” (Ephesians 6:5-8). “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:22-24).

Whose Appeal Do We Seek? #1

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

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).

Do we aim to please God—or men?

A famous Christian musician once declared that, although he was not ashamed of his faith, he wished to create music with a “universal appeal.” Whether Christian, atheist, Buddhist, or whatever, he wanted all people to enjoy his songs. Another well-known Christian musician disliked his band being labeled “Christian” because that would discourage non-Christians from listening to their work. A celebrity Christian counselor once explained why his writings contained no Scripture verses. Had he included Bible references and quotes, his literature would have had a much smaller audience and his unsaved peers would have never endorsed him!

These are but a few examples of the pitfalls of Christian “fame.” While we might have started out with good intentions, increasing popularity causes us to run the risk of compromising the truth so as to continue “broadening our appeal.” Once endeavoring to draw people to behold the glory of God, we now seek to lure them to see the glory of self. The stigma of being an “outcast for Christ” is simply too much for us to bear. Hence, at the expense of the Lord’s approval, we strive to continue charming our fellow man! Unfortunately, doctrine means nothing to us at that point, for our goal now is to say and write whatever will grow our church, ministry, business, social life, and so on. We remember those striking words of Christ uttered so long ago, just as applicable today: “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).

Never should we forget the major thrust of John 12:42,43: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him [Christ Jesus]; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.Here is our choice, dear friends. We either love the praise of men, or we love the praise of God. It is impossible to seek both….

Excruciating Thursday

Thursday, April 1, 2021

[Reader discretion advised: Christ’s sufferings are graphically described below.]

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9 KJV).

His three years of earthly ministry have expired, but His greatest work is yet to come!

During the all-night interrogation in the “kangaroo court,” His sentence is passed—execution by crucifixion. They have scourged, beaten, and punched Him. Covered in their spit, they laugh at Him, and strike His head with a rod to force on the crown of thorns. His back shredded, His skull possibly fractured, His beard ripped off. His massive blood loss weakens Him further. Having been stripped of His clothing, He struggles to carry His heavy cross to Mount Calvary: Simon must carry His cross for Him. The crowds watch Him, laughing and jeering. His little flock looks on in total shock.

They lay Him on the wooden cross, yanking His limbs to nail them in place. His bones unbroken, but exposed, and His limbs dislocated. They pierce His hands and feet with long spikes, severing the median nerve in the hands, causing permanent hand paralysis. They raise up that cross, and He hangs, slowly suffocating due to His own weight. Every breath becomes increasingly difficult, His lungs fill with fluid, His heart becomes progressively strained. Eventually, He cannot breathe, and thus dies.

Now imagine His spiritual suffering. Three hours into His crucifixion, His heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost have abandoned Him. For the first time ever, He is totally alone. Physical and spiritual darkness now cover the earth. The weight of all the world’s sin and sins of all time crushes His soul. God’s undiluted wrath falls upon Him, as it does on those suffering in hellfire. He cries out in agony. Hanging on that cruel cross, with His spiritual eyes, He observes Satan himself and all his evil creatures snickering and cheering. He looks out to see His disciples staring at His helpless disfigured body. Oh, if only they knew how His physical and spiritual bodies were being tormented, utterly tortured beyond imagination!

After six hours of excruciating pain, He finally lets Himself die….

Please check out our archived Bible Q&A: “Was Jesus Christ really crucified on Friday?

No Favorites Before God

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works (Revelation 20:11,12 KJV).

Whether “small” or great,” they all stand before the Great White Throne Judgment!

For decades—yea, centuries—people have complained about the human “justice system” being “broken.” The guilty are usually not brought to trial. If they are, their sentence is often light or mild. Contrariwise, in a tragic twist of fate, the innocent are prosecuted in their place—and that punishment severe. Corrupt judges and lawyers perpetuate this unfortunate cycle. Actually, “the elite” do not suffer the penalty for their crimes because they have friends in high places protecting them. A bribe here, a blackmail there, a murder here, a “plea of ignorance/insanity” there—whatever it takes to escape justice they will surely do!

Atheism’s major weakness is simple: absence of a higher power ensures ultimate justice will never be carried out. Unless God exists, there is no chance of fairness. Howbeit, today’s Scripture says “small and great” will come before the Lord Jesus Christ to be judged (cf. John 5:22). Revelation chapter 20 continues: “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Whether poor or rich, peasant or monarch, unschooled or learned, commoner or celebrity, all unbelievers—having hearts of unbelief not faith—will be condemned to the Lake of Fire for all eternity. Despite their disparities, they are alike: all have failed to meet God’s standard of righteousness in Christ. “For the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7; cf. Jeremiah 17:9,10).

Verse Memorization Against Bible Confiscation

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee (Psalm 119:11 KJV).

Social attitudes toward the Bible have changed, but our attitude toward it should not!

When I was a boy, my mother would tell me about futuristic Bible confiscation—how it could happen even here in the United States. “One day, they may take our Bibles away.” At the time, she encouraged me to memorize Scripture verses, for we may not be able to hide our Bibles from the authorities but we could hide its verses in our heart. All these years later, unfortunately, verses are still often the last thought in Christian minds. Having adopted political platforms, they are fearful to the point of stockpiling weapons, ammunition, food, water, and other supplies. Yet, how much sound Bible doctrine have they stored up in their inner man? They listened to the multimillionaire fearmongers speculating as they host their radio and television shows, but turned a deaf ear to the Holy Spirit teaching them through the pages of Scripture!

The fact of the matter is, when the Bible reproves or corrects our sinful thoughts and behavior, and we refuse to hear it and reform our ways accordingly, the bitter reality of Proverbs 29:1 is brought to pass: “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” It happens individually, yes, but corporately as well. Whether in a nation, a local church, or a household, the constant failure to listen to sound Bible doctrine will lead to disaster. Spiritual light rejected long enough will finally become so thoroughly detested that, not only will they reach the point of no longer wanting to hear, they will outright retaliate most violently when someone shares it with them!

Consequently, the national culture ungrateful for Bible truth will label it—has labeled it—as “hate speech,” “old-fashioned,” “narrow-mindedness.” Eventually, if enough people gain power, Scripture will indeed be outlawed. Yet, if ever it came to Bible confiscation, very few Christians would even know the difference anyway. After all, some have not opened their Bible and read it in months—or even years! Dear friends, may we engage in a daily search of the Scriptures (Acts 17:10-11), memorizing against the day of confiscation.

Glory Days #7

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

Behold, the glory days—both past and future!

Read today’s Scripture in context: “[1] Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. [2] Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. [3] For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. [4] Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people.”

Here is Israel’s future restoration, Earth’s forthcoming renewal. Souls and bodies will be healed, and the natural world refurbished. Read also chapter 36 of Ezekiel, noting especially these verses: “[28] And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. [29] I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. [30] And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen…. [34] And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. [35] And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. [36] Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Will the Antichrist be a homosexual?

Glory Days #6

Monday, March 15, 2021

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

Behold, the glory days—both past and future!

Genesis chapter 2 relates how the Garden of Eden was a beautiful place: “[5] And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. [6] But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. [7] And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

“[8] And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. [9] And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. [10] And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads…. [16] And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: [17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

As we know, however, Adam disobeyed the LORD by eating the forbidden fruit. Thus, the whole planet—including the Middle East, and especially Iraq between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (the site of the Garden of Eden; Genesis 2:10-14)—is cursed with extreme climatic fluctuations and life-threatening weather. Natural landscapes are not as hospitable as they were before man’s Fall into sin. The abundant thornless, thistle-free vegetation of Eden is long gone (Genesis 3:17-19), but today’s Scripture promises it will reappear when Christ does….

Glory Days #5

Sunday, March 14, 2021

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

Behold, the glory days—both past and future!

Today’s Scripture awaits the day when the LORD consoles Zion (Jerusalem). Not only has she suffered the terrible effects of the curse established in Genesis chapter 3, God has judged her for her people’s idolatry. Gentiles have entered her land, ravaging it with war and destruction. Her people have been taken away captive for their transgressions, their disobedience to the Old Covenant (Mosaic Law) punished. Read Leviticus 26:27-46.

“And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the LORD, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more: And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword” (Amos 7:8,9; Israel’s Assyrian Captivity). “In all your dwellingplaces the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished” (Ezekiel 6:6; Judah’s Babylonian Captivity a century later).

However, there is the hope of Israel’s restoration at Christ’s Second Coming: “Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (Isaiah 52:9,10). “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in” (Isaiah 58:12).

Earth’s former glory days—the Garden of Eden—will return. When the Lord comes back, the planet will revert to pre-Fall conditions….

Glory Days #4

Saturday, March 13, 2021

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

Behold, the glory days—both past and future!

Chapter 35 of Isaiah, describing Israel’s Messiah arriving: “[1] The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. [2] It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. [3] Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. [4] Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.

“[5] Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. [6] Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. [7] And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. [8] And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. [9] No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: [10] And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

Verses 5 and 6 correspond to Jesus’ healing miracles during His earthly ministry (cf. Matthew 11:2-6). Isaiah also foresees His Second Coming in wrath and glory, judgment and reign. Christ’s return brings major spiritual and geographical changes….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What was wrong with Moses’ speech?

Glory Days #3

Friday, March 12, 2021

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3 KJV).

Behold, the glory days—both past and future!

Since Adam surrendered his God-given authority in the Earth to Satan, God initiated a plan to make a new earthly people. It would no longer be merely Adam’s descendants, but Abraham’s descendants. The nation Israel began with the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12:1-3: “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Chapter 3 of Galatians summarizes: “[16] Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. [17] And this I say, that the [Abrahamic] covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. [18] For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. [19] Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”

Fleeing Egypt centuries after Abraham, Israel failed to learn she would glorify her Creator in Earth only by letting His grace accomplish the promises. Instead, like Adam and Abraham, she preferred a law-based (religious, performance) system (Exodus chapter 19). Disobeying that Old Covenant (Law) given her through Moses, she was ultimately cursed of God. While Israel is ruined in today’s Scripture, the LORD will graciously restore Israel to Himself, Israel thereby glorifying her Creator in Earth….