Disciples Three #5

Monday, August 16, 2021

“And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest” (Luke 9:57 KJV).

Does today’s Scripture and its context have any modern counterparts? (Indeed, they do!)

Recall the first disciple: “[57] And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. [58] And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” Today, many people are eager to become “Christians,” but have they really thought about the result? “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). “[W]e must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). If the lost world hates Jesus Christ, will they love us His Body? Our problems compound—not disappear—when we trust Him as our personal Saviour!

Now, the second disciple: “[59] And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. [60] Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” How often do souls today—even so-called “believers”—claim they will follow Christ after they have had a “good time” in the world. Greediness and materialism are not victorious Christian living! “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content (1 Timothy 6:6-8).

The final disciple declared: “[61] And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. [62] And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” If we truly want to follow Christ Jesus, we must remember to not let this world’s affairs sidetrack us: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection [focus] on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:1,2).

Disciples Three #4

Sunday, August 15, 2021

“And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest” (Luke 9:57 KJV).

Does today’s Scripture and its context have any modern counterparts? (Indeed, they do!)

We now consider the last disciple: “[61] And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. [62] And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (There is no parallel in Matthew.) This man is pretty bold with his initial comment, promising to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, he has second thoughts, having not quite made the break from his family. Before he follows Jesus, he voices a desire to return home and say goodbye to his loved ones. On the surface, this behavior seems most thoughtful and rather harmless. Yet, as the Lord Jesus warns, he is on the verge of falling into a spiritual trap!

Doubtless, had this third disciple gone back home to bid his relatives and friends farewell, they would have pressured him immensely to remain with them and not return to “crazy” “Messiah!” Considering those many spiritual distractions, the likelihood of him heeding their “advice” was great too. They are unbelievers, for they are not followers of Christ. Employing agrarian language that is most familiar to the Jews, Jesus reminds him the farmer plowing the field must be looking forward or he will ruin his furrows by digging them circuitous. Similarly, if a Messianic Jew is to be useful in God’s kingdom, he must be willing to severe ties with anything that could hinder him. There can be no doubts or hesitations. Instead of visiting home one final time, and prone to winding up in unbelief himself, the disciple should continue on his spiritual path with Christ Jesus—looking ahead instead of behind!

Although not the Dispensation of the Grace of God in which we find our doctrine, duty, walk, destiny, and hope; we can draw some excellent counsel from today’s Scripture and its context. Let us proceed to see some current parallels….

Surprise!

Friday, July 16, 2021

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:20,21 KJV).

A famous unbeliever once bragged that, if pressured, he would bet against the existence of any anthropomorphic (personal, humanlike) God. However, he claimed that since we could not know absolutely, he preferred agnosticism (not atheism): “I do not know if God exists!” He closed with this flimsy assertion: “I would be real surprised if there turned out to be a conventional God.” Well, that man left this world long ago—and he was “surprised” indeed when he woke up! (He lost his eternal soul in that fool’s bet!)

Deoxyribonucleic acid—more commonly known as “DNA”—is simply the set of blueprints for a given organism (plant, animal, or human). It is the genetic information passed down from parent to offspring. DNA is a language: it governs the creation and maintenance of the creature. It determines the type of organism and the kinds of cells within that particular being. Of course, we all know information never randomly appears. A language does not “just happen” to originate.

The human genome is required to make the physical body of a person. According to our best current estimate, some three billion “base pairs”—chemical or nucleotide bases—must be aligned inside our 23 pairs of chromosomes found in the nuclei of all our body’s cells. Any alteration of this information results in a mutation (causing physical disability or deformity). This concerns only the DNA molecule of a person, with approximately nine million species of plants and animals possessing their own unique and complicated DNA sequence! All these intelligent languages make their respective creatures. Intelligence implies a mind; language insinuates intelligence.

If the Creator put that much effort into forming millions of complex languages to establish the natural world, then we can be absolutely sure He exists—and He spoke one Book to us. Have we opened our Holy Bible today to hear Him tell us why the natural world exists? (Or, are we comfortable being willfully ignorant?)

The Judge—the Son of Man and the Son of God #5

Friday, July 9, 2021

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him” (John 5:22,23 KJV).

Why has God the Father committed all judgment unto God the Son?

Sinful man devises various and sundry “clever” excuses to free himself from all responsibility—or partly minimize his guilt. One such defense is, “How can Almighty God actually know what it is like to be a human? He has never experienced the pressures or situations in which I have found myself! How could that distant Deity fairly judge me? We are totally unalike!” Of course, the creature could never outsmart the Creator. Anticipating those excuses, the LORD God has already replied: “But [!] I [!] have [!] experienced the pressures or situations in which you found yourself! I can be touched with the feeling of your infirmities; but in all tempted like as you are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

At the Incarnation, when God the Son took on human flesh, He entered creation: once separate from it, He forever became part of it. In that instant, He became subject to the temptations of this evil world system currently besetting us (Galatians 1:4). As recorded in Matthew chapter 4, Mark chapter 1, and Luke chapter 4, He was tempted of the Devil. Although victorious (sinless) throughout, Christ Jesus nevertheless underwent the test that Adam and Eve, and rebellious Israel in the wilderness, failed. Hebrews looks forward to the test under the Antichrist.

John chapter 5 makes it clear Jesus Christ is both the Son of God (Deity) and the Son of Man (humanity). As God, He exercises supreme authority as to determining who is right and who is wrong, what His Father deems right and what His Father considers wrong; as man, He can fairly assess mankind concerning his failures. “You are without excuse! It was possible for you to overcome this evil world system! After all, I did it when I was on Earth! You could have relied on Me to have victory over sin too—but you did not!”

The Judge—the Son of Man and the Son of God #2

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him” (John 5:22,23 KJV).

Why has God the Father committed all judgment unto God the Son?

The title “son of man,” of course, underscores one’s humanity. For example, Numbers 23:19: “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Or, Psalm 8:4-6, first descriptive of Adam and later of Jesus Christ: “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:…” (cf. Hebrews 2:5-10).

Also, since man (Adam) was God’s original king in the Earth (Psalm 8 above, for example; cf. Genesis 1:26-28), but Adam sinned and lost that dominion in chapter 3 of Genesis, the expression “son of man” carries the implication Christ will reign over Earth in Adam’s place. Daniel 7:13,14: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

Near the end of the Bible canon, we find this reference in Revelation 14:14: “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” Christ is wearing a golden crown, indicative of governmental authority. Indeed, He is the Son of Man….

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The Judge—the Son of Man and the Son of God #1

Monday, July 5, 2021

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him” (John 5:22,23 KJV).

Why has God the Father committed all judgment unto God the Son?

Long into the future, Revelation 20:11-15 will come to pass: “[11] 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. [12] 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. [13] 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. [14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. [15] And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Based on verse 11, the above occasion has been rightly titled, “The Great White Throne Judgment.” To say the least, it will be a somber, terrifying event. Revelation 21:8 provides an additional note: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” These sins were judged—evaluated and categorized—and a penalty was exacted upon each individual offender. Since such sinners did not want to submit to God’s words and will, now they spend the endless ages to come separated from Him! Immediately, human sentiment comes to the forefront: “How can a ‘loving’ God send people here?! What could they have possibly done to merit such harsh punishment?”

Let us see if today’s Scripture sheds any light on the subject….

Shine

Friday, July 2, 2021

“[The great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14 KJV).

Christian friend, there are at least two reasons people have distasteful feelings about “church.”

Firstly, having a sin problem, the mere thought of any “higher power” reminds them of the Creator whom they will eventually face in judgment! “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:…” (Romans 1:18-20). Avoiding dealing with their sins, they contrive defenses: “There is no God, no afterlife, no Heaven or Hell.” They have conveniently “forgotten” what they know to be true!

Secondly, it does not seem they are angry at Christianity per se. Rather, their ire stems from their misperception of it. They saw something hypocritical in a church setting and assumed that was Christianity. Unfortunately, what they beheld was vain religion and nothing more. Actually, they likely never understood the Scriptures in the first place. Yet, they concluded that jumble of thoughts was a fair and adequate assessment of the Bible. “Look at all these contradictions and mistakes! I do not believe the Bible!” Concerning the scoffers with whom I have dealt through the years, nearly all of them did not even have a working knowledge of the Scriptures. They were just repeating what someone else said—and that “someone else” was just as clueless about the verses as the one reiterating the matter!

In sharing the Gospel of Grace with others, we cannot avoid the “offensive message” that Jesus Christ is the only answer to their sin problem. However, let us endeavor to be Christians skilled in the Scriptures and full of good works—that they know the immense value of what they are rejecting. Remember, unless we prove we have something of worth, we cannot expect someone else to want it!

“Christianettes” #10

Saturday, June 12, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

The Holy Spirit’s deliberate arrangement of Paul’s epistles in the canon of Scripture—Romans first and Philemon last—brings successive waves of doctrine, reproof, and correction. All is “instruction in righteousness,” Christian living. To move from childish/simplistic thinking to adult/critical thinking, one must be taught increasingly deeper concepts. However, since any teaching, especially sound Bible teaching, can be found in so few Christian institutions and assemblies, spiritual babies abound instead of grownups. If they are reading Scripture, it is usually not the Dispensation of Grace but rather a non-Pauline/tradition assortment or Pauline/non-Pauline/tradition hybrid.

Christendom often appeals to Matthew through John, Christ’s earthly ministry, attempting to force those passages onto us. Yet, Christ ministered to Israel only (Matthew 15:24) on the basis of Jewish covenants (Romans 15:8), including the Mosaic Law (Galatians 4:4). However, Christ through Paul says to us: “Ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14,15). We know Jesus today, not through His earthly ministry to Israel, but rather through His heavenly ministry to us Gentiles via Paul’s apostleship: “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more” (2 Corinthians 5:16).

Alas, as early as the A.D. first century, the Body of Christ had forsaken Pauline doctrine (grace): “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1:15). Evidently, they preferred legalism (Mosaic Law)—precisely the sentiments of nearly all churches today! Satan’s evil world system is responsible for such ignorance, but the pastors and teachers who should have guarded their local assemblies are not without blame. Brethren, unless we expel the spiritual babies from our seminaries and pulpits, and return to the Apostle Paul’s pattern for edification, the professing church has absolutely no hope of being victorious over its constant sins, false teaching, and impotence.

Only saints mature in grace can do the work of the grace ministry… and only Paul’s epistles will bring us from the status of carnal “Christianettes” (babes) to spiritual Christians (adults) (1 Corinthians 14:37,38)! 🙂

“Christianettes” #9

Friday, June 11, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

“God wants the very best for you!” “It is a sin to be sick and poor!” “Jesus wants you to fulfill your dreams!” As ear-tickling and motivational as they sound, the shallow, puerile dictums of modern Christendom are void of God’s wisdom for the Dispensation of Grace. They do not provide us with any victory over sin or insight into the Lord’s current dealings with man.

Contrariwise, 2 Timothy chapter 3 informs: “[16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [17] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” “Doctrine” is teaching we are to believe: Romans (basic), Ephesians (advanced), and 1 and 2 Thessalonians (super-advanced) fit here. “Reproof” identifies what we are doing wrong: these are 1 and 2 Corinthians (basic) and Philippians (advanced). “Correction” tells us how to adjust erroneous thinking: Galatians (basic) and Colossians (advanced) go here. Again, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon are guides to administering a local grace assembly. Even the layout of Paul’s 13 epistles, from Romans all the way through Philemon, brings the saint from spiritual infancy to full adulthood.

The Corinthians and Galatians knew Pauline truth, but they did not appropriate it by faith. Read 1 Corinthians and Galatians. These are some sinful saints, especially in Corinth! A believer without edification is actually a child of God who thinks and behaves like a child of Satan. Such souls are no threat to the Devil; they may not be going to Hell any longer, but they are still his vessels to send many millions there in their place. Their lack of spiritual growth inhibits them from sharing a clear Gospel message and other Bible teaching: too confused to clearly articulate what they believe, any lost people they could have potentially reached stay lost, and any fellow Christians they could have possibly taught remain ignorant. Whoever is watching them responds, “Whatever that ‘Christian’ believes, I want no part in it! Let me stay in my world religion, philosophy, non-Christian worldview, et cetera.” If we follow Pauline edification, that will not be said of us!

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Acts 19:13-16?

“Christianettes” #8

Thursday, June 10, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

Christ Jesus asserted: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me” (John 13:20). As He sent the 12 Apostles to be His spokesmen in the prophetic program, so He sent Paul to be His spokesman in the mystery program. Under the Holy Spirit’s leadership, Paul thus declared: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office” (Romans 11:13).

First and foremost, the Apostle Paul reveals “my gospel,” the initial step to being “stablished” or stabilized (Romans 16:25,26). “The Gospel of the Grace of God” (Acts 20:24) is clearly defined in 1 Corinthians chapter 15: “[1] Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you,…. [3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:….”

Romans, Paul’s first epistle in the canon of Scripture, describes the Gospel of Grace by which we receive forgiveness, justification, sanctification, redemption, eternal life, et cetera. His next three epistles—1 and 2 Corinthians plus Galatians—expand on Romans and correct any misconceptions or confusions. Most church members, if they ever (!) grasp Romans through Galatians, never get beyond here. Remember, the Corinthians and Galatians failed to learn and apply Romans truth!! Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians are a higher plane of understanding.Very few gain this maturity, “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery” being the second step to establishment as per Romans 16:25,26. Finally, 1 and 2 Thessalonians are “the scriptures of the prophets:” all of the Bible in light of Pauline revelation. Practically no one gets to this final phase of maturity (Romans 16:25,26). Paul’s last four epistles—1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon—are handbooks for running the local church efficiently, also rarely mastered.

Following the Lord’s pattern through Paul, as shown here, we avoid becoming “Christianettes….”