Vapour!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away (James 4:14 KJV).

A “vapour”—as in a mist or gas—may change into a solid or liquid. Likewise, our earthly life “vanisheth away!”

Dear friends, we never know when death will come, but we do need to prepare for it. It was never part of God’s original creation: the entrance of sin caused death. Adam’s rebellion originated the curse of sin, including death (see Genesis 3:1-24). Never blame God for what Adam did. Now, someone asks, “How can God punish us for something Adam did? Why do we have to suffer because of Adam?” This is best answered by seeing the other side of the issue.

God provided a way to escape the penalty of sin. In addition to physical death, there are also a spiritual death and the second death. Spiritual death is the soul’s separation from God during earthly living—this, however, can be rectified through faith in the Gospel. The second death is eternal (permanent) separation from God in the Lake of Fire. We sinners deserve this most horrible spiritual prison. However, God became a Man, Jesus Christ, who died for (to pay for) our sins. If we complain God punishes us because of Adam’s actions, then we might as well protest God justifying us because of Christ’s actions. See, it balances. Just as Adam is the federal head of sinners, so Jesus Christ is the federal head of saints. Romans 5:12-21 is interesting reading on the subject—the two federal heads, their activities, and their effects.

First Corinthians 15:3-4: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:….” Acts 16:30-31: “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How are the Beast and the False Prophet ‘cast alive’ into the Lake of Fire?

Benoni and Benjamin #1

Sunday, April 15, 2018

And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin (Genesis 35:18 KJV).

Dear friend, look and see—herein lies prophecy!

Bible deriders never sincerely study what they speak evil of; they merely skim and gripe. Dodging the “trouble” of studying, they dismiss Scripture as “a random collection of Jewish campfire fantasies.” There is very little, if any, personal investigation underlying that claim. Rather, something silly was heard at a “Christian” church, something preposterous was read in a “Christian” book, and the skeptic thus embarks on his lifelong, pompous crusade, “Look here and look there, the Bible is riddled with superstition and mistakes everywhere!” (He has no idea that his controversy is not with Scripture, but rather with religionists who distort and complicate Scripture.)

The Bible is no ordinary Book. Friend, you approach it with an arrogant, faultfinding attitude, and you will never get one hint of truth out of it. It will tightly lock so you will not gain its insight. At that point, God will then let you use it (!) to prove whatever you want. You can therefore quote Scripture and mock, “Error, error, error!,” but you will look completely foolish. God already gave you over to error, and looking at the Bible thereafter, all you are capable of seeing is error. This is exactly where atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers have placed themselves. They did not want to know—so now they do not know! However, all hope is not lost. Friend, as long as you are living and breathing, and not in the Devil’s Hell where you belong, you can obtain forgiveness of sins through simple faith in Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). You also still have opportunity to start understanding and enjoying the Bible.

Today’s Scripture, at first glance, seems like easy reading. Some woman died in childbirth after naming her boy, but her husband called their newborn by another name. Big deal! The critic passes over it as trivial, whereas the Bible student pauses and investigates. We are Bible students (yes?), so we now stop and study. There is something downright marvelous here, but ONLY (!) if we are willing to receive and believe it….

Bible Q&A #485: “Can you explain the ‘spot’ in Deuteronomy 32:5?

The Price of Christ #1

Thursday, April 12, 2018

“And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver” (Matthew 26:15 KJV).

How much is Jesus Christ worth in the eyes of lost man?

Let us read today’s Scripture within its context: “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him” (Matthew 26:14-16).

“Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me” (Matthew 27:3-10).

The 30 pieces of silver was enough to buy a field; it was an enormous sum of money. The King James Bible does not specify what types of coins the priests paid Judas, but the “30 pieces of silver” is estimated to be the equivalent of three or four months’ wages. According to the Mosaic Law, the price of a slave was “thirty shekels of silver” (Exodus 21:32). In the eyes of lost mankind, the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ, was worth nothing more than a slave!

How to Know Jesus Christ

Saturday, April 7, 2018

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3,4 KJV).

Friend, have you ever wondered how to know Jesus Christ?

We all have an innate longing for someone or something beyond us. One philosopher said, “There is a God-shaped hole in every human heart.” If you want, spend your whole life studying various world religions. You can look, and look, and look even more—traveling far and wide, reading all sorts of texts found in numerous and sundry languages. Everyone, you will discover, agrees that at least one “higher power” or “supreme being” exists. Some argue for myriads of gods or goddesses (polytheism); three spiritual systems declare one God (the monotheistic systems—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam).

Whatever religion you choose to follow, you will notice that works are demanded: your performance is vital to being “set right” with that higher power or supreme being. Here, you encounter more difficulties than you imagined. The harder you attempt to do right, the more you fail and more miserable you become. Right? Find religious rules and regulations, and throw all away except one. Forget juggling numerous commandments—try keeping one. When you fail with that one, you need not bother to keep the rest. You are already condemned to Hell!

Religion, a performance-based acceptance system, points out human frailty and failure. The Holy Bible titles this imperfection “SIN.” It may come as a shock to you, dear friend, but you are not perfect! You are a sinner. The God of Judaism and Christianity already knew that—long before you were born and failed so miserably. In His unfathomable love, tender mercy, and abounding grace; He became a Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die to pay for those sins (today’s Scripture). Yea, Christ died for every last one of your sins. Once His rich, royal, sinless blood was shed, He was buried. Then, He resurrected in great power, victorious over sin and death! Do you believe that in your heart? Do you trust His finished crosswork at Calvary as sufficient payment for your sins?

Two Sons and Two Fathers

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

“And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:” (Luke 23:18 KJV).

One son will be liberated to live, and the other Son will be sentenced to die!

At the time of Christ’s trial, Barabbas is a prisoner (Matthew 27:16). Barabbas is a murderer, a robber, and guilty of “insurrection,” or rebelling against the government (Mark 15:7; Luke 23:18,19; John 18:40).

It is Passover. Roman governor Pontius Pilate has a custom that, at the feast, he releases a prisoner, whomever the people desire (Matthew 27:15; Mark 15:6). “But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified” (Matthew 27:20-22).

Israel’s chief priests, rulers, and common people all demand Christ’s crucifixion and Barabbas’ release, so Pilate gives the sentence (Luke 23:23-25). Guilty Barabbas is set free to live, and innocent Jesus Christ is condemned to be crucified. While Barabbas’ involvement in the matter seems insignificant upon first glance, God included it in His written Word because to provide us with an amazing illustration!

“Barabbas” means “son of the father.” Barabbas is a criminal, and he represents sinful, rebellious mankind who is worthy of death. He is bound by sin, and faces eternal death. Spiritually, sinful mankind is the son of Satan—man is of his father the devil (John 8:44). Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, God, “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21), but took upon Himself our sins and was punished in our place.

Innocent Jesus Christ took the place of guilty Barabbas, which actually represented Christ taking the place of the whole world, suffering God’s wrath on our behalf! “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust…” (1 Peter 3:18). Thus, through Christ’s finished crosswork, we sinful sons of Adam (and Satan) can be freed from sin, and we can become the righteous sons of God.

Shunned!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake (Luke 6:22 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be joyful when people shun us for our Christian testimony.

A dear brother in Christ once shared some very insightful comments about us separating from the world. If we have a Christian testimony—a life “filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11)—the world will actually separate from us! That is, our sound Bible doctrine will drive them away from us. At that point, they will not care to hear or see us (they will have already discovered our affection and forcefully announced to us, “No thanks!!”).

“Stop talking about God so much! Only weirdoes study Scripture to that extent! Close that Bible and go away! You have a social/mental/developmental disorder!” We are outcasts: they want nothing to do with us. They see us as “fanatics,” “kooks,” “crazies” who need to be locked away forever in some institution. This is to be expected; marvel not, dear brethren. They said of our Lord Jesus Christ in John 10:20: “And many… said, He hath a devil, and is mad [crazy!!]; why hear ye him?” Festus said: “Paul, thou art beside thyself [a raving maniac!!]; much learning doth make thee mad [insane!!]” (Acts 26:24).

Since we who have trusted Christ Jesus have the indwelling Holy Spirit, He gives us desires natural (lost) people lack. They thus consider our behavior unconventional and farcical. First Peter 4:3-4 speaks of the Little Flock that will experience a similar “sticking out” in the evil world system: “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:….”

If this is what we must endure, saints, then let us endure it with joy unspeakable. The world avoids us, but (most importantly) we have eternal fellowship with God.

Bible Q&A #475: “What did Jesus mean, ‘Take up your cross?’

God’s Grace on Parade

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

“…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?