Cunningly Devised Fables

Sunday, January 8, 2012

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16 KJV).

Satan has been working for thousands of years. Spiritual warfare between good and evil begins in the denominational leadership. Ungodly, lost church leaders with religious clout entice the masses to follow them… to hell! Jesus explained, “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matthew 15:14).

Religious authorities concoct nonsensical stories that play on gullible people’s emotions in order to gain followers and their savings. Last May, Harold Camping was the latest “date setter” for the end of the world. For years individuals have been calculating elaborate timelines that document the end of world, only to be mocked when the dates fail to come to pass. How people ridicule God because of these fools, too! But, the “cunningly devised fables” grow more and more far-fetched.

Tales of tumors miraculously falling from infirm bodies, Mary appearing in treetops, stigmata seen on hands and feet, weeping statues, “Holy Ghost” encounters, relics, and grotto shrines are but a few of religion’s “cunningly devised fables” used to deceive sincere souls. These “doctrines of devils” distract people from the truth of God’s Word, and because these stories are so preposterous, they cause people to doubt the Bible’s testimony (1 Timothy 4:1-3; cf. Ephesians 4:14; 2 Peter 2:1-3).

Beloved, the Bible warns us about people “beguiling [tricking] us with enticing [nice-sounding] words” (Colossians 2:4). The story appears to be godly, but do not be fooled. Compare it with the Bible rightly divided.

In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Peter reassures his Jewish readers that he did not fabricate the account of Jesus Christ appearing in all His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36). Unlike the “signs, miracles, and wonders” of religion, it really did happen—visibly, physically, and literally.

As long as we believe the King James Bible rightly divided, we too “have not followed cunningly devised fables.”

Hast Thou Chosen the Way of Truth? #1

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

“I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me” (Psalm 119:30 KJV).

When God created mankind, He sought not to make robots. God granted mankind free will—mankind could believe and obey God’s Word, or he could reject it in unbelief and “do his own thing.”

For instance, in the beginning, God gave mankind only two commandments:

  1. “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28).
  2. “Of every tree of the garden [of Eden] thou mayest freely eat: 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” (Genesis 2:16,17).

Adam and Eve obeyed commandment #1… sort of. They did procreate, but they did not “subdue the earth” because they utterly broke commandment #2. Instead of ruling earth for God’s glory, mankind willfully sided with Satan, and disobeyed God by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Thus, mankind lost its God-given dominion, and Satan—“the god of this world”—still rules earth today (Matthew 4:8,9; Luke 4:5-7; 2 Corinthians 4:4).

God strictly charged Adam, who then relayed those commandments to Eve. The Bible says Eve ate the forbidden fruit because she was “deceived;” Adam, however, was not deceived” (1 Timothy 2:12-15). When Satan confronted Eve in Genesis 3:1-5, Eve could have refused the devil’s enticement. She could have sought Adam’s help, but she preferred Satan’s lies, and ate the forbidden fruit. Adam, who knew better but willfully rejected “the way of truth,” he gave in and ate to please his wife (Genesis 3:6)!

God wants faithful servants, not mindless robots. Hast thou chosen “the way of truth,” as the psalmist in today’s Scripture declares he has done? Have you followed and believed God’s Word “rightly divided?” Or, like Adam and Eve, have you embraced “the way of error,” Satan’s lies?

A Memory and a Reality

Saturday, December 31, 2011

“But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;” (Philippians 1:12 KJV).

What a prosperous ministry year it has been, beloved! How we thank our heavenly Father for the opportunities we had to teach, verbally and through writing, the precious truths of His Word to family, friends, acquaintances, professors, classmates, and complete strangers. We can only wonder how many souls were edified and saved worldwide.

Interestingly, during the past year, our newspaper ministry, this devotional blog’s “predecessor,” saw its final months. We are grateful to have had opportunity to publish Bible studies in a weekly newspaper column. (A few weeks after that avenue was discontinued in May, this devotional blog was launched. So, had the newspaper column not been cancelled, you would have never even read this blog!)

Despite the great stress, extreme heartache, persecution, and months of severe depression, we rejoice that the Gospel of the Grace of God still went forth for His glory. We agree with our Apostle Paul, who wrote in today’s Scripture that God’s Word will be published, especially during difficult times. In Paul’s case, God allowed Paul to be imprisoned so he could preach the Gospel there (Philippians 1:7,13,14)! Indeed, our suffering was well worth it. 🙂

Saints, how we thank God for “your fellowship in the gospel” (Philippians 1:3-5). We are bound to thank you, whose fervent prayers encouraged us during those painful months. By God’s grace, which has borne us thus far, we will continue to endure and we cannot wait to see what the Lord will do next year! We ask for your continued prayer, for we will face even more satanic opposition in the upcoming year.

As 2011 fades into the recesses of memory, and 2012 becomes a reality, we should keep this sound doctrine in mind: Like the difficulties of this past year, the things which [will happen unto us will fall out] rather unto the furtherance of the gospel!” Lord willing, in 2012, we hope to “continue fighting the good fight of faith…” no matter what else it may cost us (1 Timothy 6:12).

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM arC MINISTRIES!

No Thanks, God! #3

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 KJV).

The Lord has been extremely generous toward mankind, especially during the last 2,000 years (the Dispensation of Grace). Through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, God offers complete forgiveness and everlasting salvation to anyone who trusts exclusively in the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour. For 2,000 years, God has offered everyone that “free gift” of salvation in Christ (Romans 3:21-28; Romans 5:15-17; Ephesians 2:8,9; et al.). Mankind was unworthy of that gift before it was offered; how much more are we undeserving now that that gift has been rejected for 20 centuries?

Today, individuals doubt the existence of a loving Creator, in spite of the Bible’s testimony that He exists. After everything that God did to commend His love toward us, sending His Son Jesus Christ to suffer and die for us, many still wonder if God loves them. Sad! What is more disturbing is that even after they discover God’s goodness and grace, many reject Him anyway (today’s Scripture).

Once the Apostle Paul spoke to Judaean governor Felix of “righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come,” “Felix trembled” (Acts 24:24,25). Lost Felix feared, especially that “judgment to come.” Nevertheless, Felix hardened his heart, and replied, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” “Go away, Paul; come back later!” Lost mankind is still equally arrogant.

“God is not mocked” (Galatians 6:7): whether in this life, or in the next, God will exact retribution to Christ-rejecters. Imagine the horror lost people experience after physical death. Conscience of their arrival in the flames of hell, they recall their refusal of the Gospel of the Grace of God. Salvation was so simple, but now, God has retracted that offer of salvation. Now only “the judgment” remains (Hebrews 9:27). The words, “No thanks, God!,” haunting them for eternity….

Do not toss away the gift of God’s grace and salvation through Jesus Christ. Accept that gift by faith and escape that wrath to come!

No Thanks, God! #1

Monday, December 26, 2011

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 KJV).

As the Christmas Season wanes, unwanted gifts that cannot be refunded are being discarded. Imagine all the time, money, and energy spent purchasing those gifts for their ungrateful recipients. There is a worse tragedy! We, sinful humanity, deserve coal, the riches of God’s wrath (Romans 2:5,6,8,9); thankfully, we have been given the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7). Predictably, there are unappreciative individuals who have already eagerly tossed out something worth far more than material possessions—God’s grace.

A noted outspoken atheist, who recently “met his Maker,” described prayer as “meaningless.” During his last year alive, even while cancer-stricken, he had a hardened heart toward God. As far as I know, he died without Jesus Christ. That man, like billions of others before, beheld God’s grace, and haughtily declared, “No thanks! I do not need You, God!” Today’s Scripture describes the attitude of most people: “[They] despise [hate!] the riches of [God’s] goodness and forbearance and longsuffering.” Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for them and God’s love and grace are worthless to them.

In Israel’s program under the Mosaic Law, God utterly destroyed such people. But, for nearly 2,000 years, God’s wrath has been in abeyance. Today, in our Dispensation of Grace, God is “not imputing the world’s trespasses unto it” (2 Corinthians 5:18,19). That will change…

Once our dispensation (time period) expires, during Daniel’s 70th week, the seven-year Tribulation, God will righteously judge this rebellious world in His wrath (Psalm 2:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4; et al.). God will finally retaliate and take vengeance (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). The antichrist will deceive those who received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).

Do not toss away the gift of God’s grace and salvation through Jesus Christ. Accept that gift by faith and escape that wrath to come!

A Righteous Politician

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn (Proverbs 29:2 KJV).

God established a governmental structure in both heaven and earth: “For by him [Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” (Colossians 1:16). These governments were originally designed to bring God glory. Unfortunately, Satan has usurped both governments, causing rebellion against God (sin) in heaven and on earth (2 Corinthians 4:3,4; Ephesians 6:12).

As today’s Scripture states, people mourn the inauguration and tenure of corrupt politicians. The news, historically and presently, abounds with stories of scandals (and cover-ups), resignations, and impeachments of governmental officials. We can expect nothing more in this sinful, fallen world that is ruled by Satan (Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8; 2 Corinthians 4:3,4; Ephesians 2:2).

Today’s Scripture also declares, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice.” Despite the few reliable, honest politicians who serve and benefit the people they represent, Satan’s evil governmental powers still seemingly triumph today. The wicked majority has inflicted great damage that the honest minority cannot reverse.

However, the Bible speaks of a glorious day when the governments of Satan (this evil world system of politics, economics, religion, and education) will be demolished forever. A benevolent, worldwide monarchy awaits planet earth. “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it will break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44).

The “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS,” Jesus Christ, at His Second Coming, will restore earth’s governments to God (Revelation 19:16; cf. Colossians 1:20). Zechariah 14:9 says: “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” Indeed, when this Righteous King will rule, the people will rejoice!

Fables and Endless Genealogies

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

“As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do” (1 Timothy 1:3,4 KJV).

Ephesus was in trouble. Instead of sound Bible doctrine, certain individuals were teaching “fables and endless genealogies.” Questions were arising in the Christian assemblies. Doubt, confusion, and discouragement proliferated. Incidentally, some years earlier, Paul had warned the Ephesian church leaders that “grievous wolves” of their own selves would infiltrate the flock and mislead the brethren (Acts 20:17,28-31). It happened!

So, in today’s Scripture, Paul informs us that he has left Timothy in Ephesus so Timothy can correct the doctrinal error. A sobering thought is, How could Paul decide where to send Timothy today? Millions of Timothys would be needed because, since then, doctrinal error has spread worldwide and waxed worse and worse (2 Timothy 4:3,4).

God designed His Word to edify (build up/strengthen and enlighten). But Satan and sinful man cooperate to silence its message or greatly dilute it with “fables and endless genealogies.” “Genealogies” refers to pagan and/or Jewish stories passed down through families, information that would profit no one spiritually, and only generate contention (arguing) and doubt (cf. Titus 1:14; Titus 3:9). Their modern-day equivalent is the empty church tradition passed down from “church fathers.”

The Apostle Peter mentioned “cunningly devised fables” (2 Peter 1:16) and the Apostle Paul referred to “refusing profane and old wives’ fables” (1 Timothy 4:7). These exaggerated, fabricated stories (legends) sought to replace sound Bible doctrine, and Timothy was sent to command the Ephesians not to teach such nonsense. “Godly edifying which is in faith: so do is explained in Acts 20:32 (Paul had already told the Ephesians this!): “Brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up….”

As Paul told Timothy and Ephesus, sound Bible teaching (dispensational Bible study) is the key to the confusion and heresy that still plague Christendom today.