See the King in His Beauty

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off (Isaiah 33:17 KJV).

Jesus Christ quoted today’s Scripture in Matthew 5:8 when He said “the pure in heart… shall see God.” In the Millennium, they will come to see Him, the King of Israel—Immanuel, “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; cf. Zechariah 8:23).

The public goes to great lengths to meet a celebrity (actor, politician, writer, filmmaker, musician, religious leader, et cetera)—expensive trips and long wait times mean nothing. They want to snap “selfies” with that person, get his or her autograph, and/or shake hands. Screaming with delight, they blow kisses, joyfully leap, sometimes falling to the ground. Acts 10:26 paraphrased: “Stand up! They are just people!”

However, when Israel’s Messiah-King was born in little Bethlehem of Judah, no massive crowds came. The masses were “too busy” with their lives to “bother” seeing God in the flesh. Visitors were lowly shepherds whom angels had notified out in the countryside (Luke 2:7-20). Israel had “no room” for Baby Jesus in the inn, so they offered Him a stable. He was an outcast even in the virgin Mary’s womb! His own people (Israel) wanted nothing to do with Him. Nonetheless, within two years of His birth, Gentiles from the east (wise men) came to see and worship Him (Matthew 2:1,2). Verse 3: “When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” The nations want God’s fellowship but Israel is not willing to be the channel of blessing. Horrible!!

Today is no different. Rather than the masses flocking to grace churches to commune with God’s people and learn the truths of His Word rightly divided, they gravitate to “places of worship” where they hear feel-good catchphrases, motivational speeches, and entertaining music concerts. Whether they know it or not, they have no time for the one true God. Satan, the god of this world, has distracted them. God is not mocked. Their spurning of Him is not going unnoticed! How urgent it is that they come to Him by faith in Jesus Christ alone, and embrace His pure Word to them, lest they see the King in His wrath!

Convert a Soul, Not the World!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come (2 Timothy 3:1 KJV).

Are we called to convert the world? Nay! We are called to convert souls out of the world!

Recently, a Christian friend and fellow American told me he thinks “we have lost our nation.” My reply to that depressed brother was simple: “We [Christians] have never been called to turn our culture around. It must come to an end at some point anyway. Jesus Christ will straighten it all out at His Second Coming!” He thereby recalled today’s Scripture.

Indeed, brethren, we have never been called to turn around or destroy this evil world system. God’s purpose in the Gospel is to “deliver us from this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4) rather than we fixing it. So many believers are discouraged because they see conditions worsening. Had they known their Bibles, they would not be surprised. God said it would happen!!

Today’s Scripture foretells “perilous” (dangerous) times. God the Holy Spirit continues: “[12] Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [13] But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse [not better and better!!], deceiving, and being deceived. [14] But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;….” Yes, the world is out of control, but that is to be expected. In the midst of such evil, we should continue in God’s Word rightly divided!

Chapter 4 supplements: “[2] Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. [3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. [5] But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

Again, rather than growing angry at lost people, or becoming overwhelmed by fear and despair, we are to “preach the Word!” We are to convert a soul, not the world! 🙂

The Work of the Ministry #7

Sunday, July 1, 2018

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

Ministry—what “work” it is!

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [purpose or intent] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16,17). God the Holy Spirit gave us His inspired, preserved Word (in English, the King James Bible) so we would believe it. Once we trust it (1 Thessalonians 2:13), it produces in and through us “all good works.” The greatest Christian good work is “the work of the ministry,” but spiritual development comes first. After all, today’s Scripture says only “perfected saints”—spiritually mature Christians—do “the work of the ministry.”

“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:12,13). These church leaders do “the work of the ministry” (cf. today’s Scripture; 1 Timothy 5:17,18), and they need to be especially appreciated.

Ministry is not to be taken lightly or flippantly. It is not “fun and games:” it is “work!” Eternal souls are at stake and they need to hear from us a clear Gospel message they can believe (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)! Otherwise, they will face an angry God and wind up experiencing His eternal fury. Eternal souls are at stake and they need to hear from us a study they can understand (2 Timothy 2:15)! Otherwise, they will experience tremendous loss of reward for their lack of Christian understanding and service.

Dear brethren, how exhausting ministry can be and is, but there is no greater way to spend our time and resources! It seems like we are wasting our time, but God forbid! “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58)! 🙂

Bible Q&A #510: “Can you explain John 1:17?

The Work of the Ministry #2

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

Ministry—what “work” it is!

Ancient religious tradition has caused terrible confusion concerning someone doing good works to become a Christian versus someone doing good works because he or she is a Christian. Unquestionably, dear friends, there is a major difference! Since God invites believers in Him to do good works, unbelievers have snatched such verses in (futile) attempts to become God’s children. What deception straight from the pits of Hell!! Good works will never, ever play any role in getting anyone into Heaven (Ephesians 2:8,9).

Now, as Christians, we who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, we have a ministry of “good works” (Ephesians 2:10). True, we are not all pastors, deacons, elders, evangelists, missionaries, seminary professors, or Bible teachers. Howbeit, God Himself says we all have a ministry. The first and foremost “good work” to which He has ordained us in Christ is that we preach the Gospel of Grace to a lost and dying world!

Second Corinthians chapter 5 continues: “[18] And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

It is “work” to study Scripture and prepare evangelistic sermons. It is “work” to travel to foreign lands and preach the Gospel of Grace. It is “work” to visit sick and shut-in Christians. It is “work” to counsel with burdened and hopeless souls. It is “work” to distribute Gospel tracts. It is “work” to teach the Bible to a congregation. Indeed, it is the work of the ministry….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did my Christian loved one not share the Gospel with me when I was unsaved?

Perfecting #7

Sunday, June 24, 2018

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

What does “perfecting” mean here?

Dear friends, it is utterly impossible to become sinless in this life. Still, we can indeed be “perfected.” Whatever doctrine is lacking in our inner man, we can gain it by reading and believing God’s Word to us (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16,17). Are we going to daily read, daily study, and daily trust that Word—or just continue to claim ignorance?

If we do not have the assurance of salvation and a home in Heaven, we should without delay believe the Gospel of the Grace of God: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Faith in this Gospel is how God can forgive us of all our sins and make us right before Him. If we are saved unto eternal life, members of the Church the Body of Christ, then we need to study and believe the Scriptures rightly divided on a daily basis. Otherwise, we will not think and behave like God would intend Christians to reason and walk!

The Holy Bible, the completed canon, is meant to bring all Christians to spiritual maturity, an increasingly fuller understanding of all that Father God aims to do right now and on into the endless ages to come. Such believers can then oppose Satan’s lie program. It is therefore no surprise that Satan employs various schemes to tamper with and hinder that pure Word from spreading—counterfeit Bible manuscripts, false teachings (including non-dispensational Bible study, philosophy, and religious tradition), assorted “experiences” and emotional highs, and numerous other diversions.

If any of us in Christ today find ourselves unskilled and confused regarding the Scripture, it is not God’s fault but our own! Perhaps our preacher is culpable, maybe our denomination is also guilty of misleading, but God the Holy Spirit has done everything to spiritually enlighten us. Alas, 1 Corinthians 14:38 is spoken to many of us in Christ: “If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” Brethren, may that not be true of us! 🙂

The Greater Condemnation #4

Friday, June 15, 2018

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body (James 3:1,2 KJV).

While many want to lead in local assemblies, today’s Scripture issues a stern warning. They had better reconsider!

God will hold church leaders—“masters” (today’s Scripture) or teachers (John 3:10)—to a much higher standard than He will church members. Do they believe the right doctrine? Are they practicing what they preach and teach? Christ said to Israel’s religious leaders in Matthew 23:14: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.” Unsaved false teachers will have a hotter place in Hell than those whom they misled!

In time past, Israel had God’s Word and the Gentiles did not (Romans 3:1,2). Compared to Gentiles, Jews were the teachers. Yet, the Israelites were hypocrites—they committed the same sins they had condemned the “wicked” Gentiles for doing! In Romans chapter 2, God holds the Jews as the more responsible party. Gentiles were without God’s revelation; Israel knew God’s Word and still committed those atrocious deeds (see verses 1-3,12,17-27). They would all endure God’s wrath!

While we members of the Church the Body of Christ never have to fear seeing God’s angry face or winding up in Hell, we should know that God Himself will review our Christian service. Jesus Christ will examine our soul, to determine the quality of doctrine we built into it (see 1 Corinthians 3:9-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9,10). Was it “gold, silver, precious stones”—valuable, spiritual information, His Word rightly divided? Or “wood, hay, stubble”—useless doctrine, human wisdom, religious tradition? Paul warned the Corinthian saints that they were allowing false religious leaders to contaminate them with doctrinal error, which would cause them loss of reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ (see 1 Corinthians chapters 1-3).

Dear friends, we had better be cautious of whom we allow to become our Bible teacher. Furthermore, we had better not rush into becoming Bible teachers ourselves. Bible teaching is a most serious job….

Two Rocks #8

Sunday, June 10, 2018

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges (Deuteronomy 32:31 KJV).

There are two rocks in Scripture—one good and one bad. Friend, which is your foundation?

Hebrews chapter 3 reveals that God sees Israel as two houses overall: “[1] Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; [2] Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. [3] For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. [4] For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. [5] And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; [6] But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”

One house is historical: Israel under the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Law, a “weak and beggarly” system (Galatians 4:9) because Israel was a nation of sinners always falling short of God’s righteous standards (Hebrews 8:7-13). She repeatedly engaged in idolatry (“rocks”). The other house is prophetic: Israel under the New Covenant, God making her His people by Christ’s finished crosswork (1 Peter 2:3-10; cf. 1 Peter 1:2-5,13-25). She will never again be idolatrous.

Isaiah 51:5 anticipates new Israel, what Hebrews 3:6 calls “the house of Christ:” “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD [the Rock!]: look unto the rock [!] whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.” God generated Israel’s bloodline with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons. He delivered them from Egypt to become the nation Israel. They are to see Him as He really is (the Rock that their ancient ancestors refused to build on because their counterfeit “rocks,” or idols, had distracted them). Jesus Christ said Israel had better build on the right foundation (Him, the Rock, and His words), or experience spiritual destruction (Matthew 7:24-27)!