Damnable, Despicable Dishonesty

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

“And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King (Luke 23:1,2 KJV).

Dishonesty! Despicable! Damnable!

As Jesus’ trial got underway, His complainants hurled toward Him all sorts of wild and false charges. In fact, they accused Him of “perverting” the nation Israel, corrupting it. At first, this seems to be a rather vague allegation, but the context makes it clear that they are attempting to get Him into trouble with the Roman government. After all, Judaean Governor Pontius Pilate is a Roman official, someone quite interested in learning anything about possible political rivals. As for their accusation that Jesus discouraged the Jews from paying taxes to Rome, this is an outright lie.

Matthew chapter 22 speaks of Jesus’ final week before His crucifixion: “[15] Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. [16] And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. [17] Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? [18] But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? [19] Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. [20] And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? [21] They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. [22] When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.”

Unsuccessful in “trapping” Jesus, they did not mind lying about this account days later at His trial. Christ, although King, certainly understood Daniel chapter 2, how sinful Israel would be under Gentile dominion and oppression until He sat on David’s throne (still future). He thus answered in the affirmative, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s!”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How can I most effectually deal with cultists who knock on my front door?

Loathsome, Ludicrous Lies

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days (Matthew 26:59-61 KJV).

Lies! Ludicrous! Loathsome!

Perjurers were recruited to testify against Jesus to bring incriminating evidence against Him so He would be worthy of the death penalty. While many wanted to fib, none could agree on a specific lie. Finally, two false witnesses came and settled on one falsehood that would be serious enough. They twisted Jesus’ words from three years earlier (when His ministry began).

Here is what Christ originally said, John chapter 2: “[13] And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. [14] And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: [15] And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; [16] And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. [17] And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. [18] Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? [19] Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. [20] Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? [21] But he spake of the temple of his body.”

The Lord argued that His authority would be proven when He would rise again after they executed Him. His physical body was a “temple,” filled with the very life of Father God (as the Jerusalem Temple was to be, but the Jews corrupted it with apostasy, materialism, and greed). Brethren, let us not be surprised when the lost world distorts our words and lies about us, too!

Unreasonable, Unwarranted Unbelief

Monday, March 9, 2020

“We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is” (John 9:29 KJV).

Unbelief! Unwarranted! Unreasonable!

The Lord Jesus, exiting the Jerusalem Temple, sees a man who has been blind from birth (verse 1): “[3] Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. [4] I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. [5] As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. [6] When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, [7] And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”

According to verse 14, it is the Sabbath Day, Saturday. The Pharisees are outraged! Jewish law—rabbinical tradition—forbids rendering medical aid on the Sabbath unless it is a life-threatening case! Keep reading: “[15] Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. [16] Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.”

Read verses 17-23. Even after firmly establishing a miracle had occurred—that the man had been blind since birth, and that Jesus had given him sight—these Israeli religious leaders are unconvinced concerning Jesus as Christ. Verse 24: “Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.” They remain in unbelief—right to the very end of the chapter. In today’s Scripture, they even allege that Moses was from God, but they cannot discern whether or not Jesus is. They never personally knew Moses—he lived 15 centuries earlier—but they were more willing to hear him than Jesus whom they saw and heard face-to-face! What absurdity!

Flimsy, Foolish Faultfinding

Sunday, March 8, 2020

But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils (Matthew 12:24 KJV).

Faultfinding! Foolish! Flimsy!

Sinful man never ceases to devise some excuse—no matter how ridiculous or weak—so as not to believe the Bible. Today’s Scripture is an easy-to-understand illustration, as the context shows: “[22] Then was brought unto him [Jesus] one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. [23] And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? [24] But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.”

The Lord responds, “[25] And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: [26] And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? [27] And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. [28] But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. [29] Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. [30] He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”

How did these Israeli religious leaders respond to Christ’s earthly ministry of preaching and validating miracles? Did they believe? No! Why not? They publicized their position in the form of a discrediting rumor: “This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.” Stated another way, “Jesus is working with Satan to expel Satan from Israel!” (Then, who, as Jesus pointed out, were their “exorcists” cooperating with?! Upon closer examination, their whole argument is foolish and flimsy, certainly not adequate grounds for their unbelief. Brethren, therefore, let us not be surprised when the lost world fabricates flimsy, foolish faultfinding concerning our ministry work!

Something in Which to Glory!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

“As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:12-14 KJV).

In what shall we glory? About what shall we boast? In what shall we find value?

Religion produces people who enjoy bragging all about their “dedication to God.” “Look what I did—the ceremonies in which I have participated, the many prayers I faithfully recited daily, how much I put in the collection plate, see how many pleasures I gave up to please God! Come, see how much I love Him!” Dear friends, the Apostle Paul found great value in something—but that something was not what he did. All that human flesh can accomplish pales in comparison to the work in today’s Scripture.

As Lent begins, the time when religionists temporarily (a mere 40 days) relinquish some pleasant food or activity, let us remember that our performance is often non-performance. Once we place ourselves on that treadmill of “do, do, do,” we are guaranteed to fail at some point. Human flesh is simply too weak to maintain 100 percent—that is sin! Even concerning one rule, we cannot keep it perfectly. We mess up eventually.

If ever we believe that our puny works are worth bragging about, let us remember the words of the Apostle Paul in today’s Scripture. While some boast in their religiosity (in the passage, the Judaizers applauding their rite of physical circumcision), and such denominationalists today urge us to obey their church’s instructions so they too may boast in our ability, let us eschew such foolishness. Being imperfect, all their works do not measure up to Christ’s finished crosswork. At Calvary, we find the only sacrifice that will ever please the God of the Bible. If we must boast, let us brag that He did what we could never, ever do!

See our archived Bible Q&A: “Should Christians observe Lent?

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why is Jesus called ‘the Son of Man?’

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?

Something Not Worth Losing

Sunday, February 2, 2020

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 KJV).

Super Bowl Sunday comes annually in the United States. Teams fuel the intense passions in the athletic world by vying for a corruptible trophy. Howbeit, the competition in today’s Scripture is spiritual, is worldwide, never has a halftime, and involves the eternal souls of men!

The human soul is most zealous about religion, politics, and sports. These areas are most personal, so they generate many heated debates and conflicts. However, believe it or not, there are worse outcomes than losing a church member, losing an election, and losing a game. Losing your eternal soul is the greatest of all losses!

In the context of today’s Scripture, Jesus Christ told His Jewish disciples to “take up [their] cross, and follow [him]” (verse 24). “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (verse 25). They should not fear losing their earthly lives for His sake. What is most important is that they not lose their souls!

Jesus Christ declared there is more to life than this physical world and its temporal possessions. There is a spiritual world—an afterlife—to consider. In today’s Scripture, He asks them, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Does it make sense to emphasize this temporary world and its corruptible goods, to the point of ignoring your eternal soul, and wind up losing it in hellfire forever and ever?

Dear reader, there is more to you than just your physical body. Your inner man—your soul, your spiritual body—is everlasting. To ignore Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for your sins, is to remain dead in those sins, resulting in you spending eternity suffering God’s wrath in the lake of fire literally as a nameless, hopeless, disfigured creature.

Your soul is not worth losing! Trust Christ as your personal Saviour today!