Whose Appeal Do We Seek? #2

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).

Do we aim to please God—or men?

In John chapter 9, Christ healed a blind man, whom the unbelieving Pharisees subsequently persecuted: “[19] And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? [20] His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: [21] But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. [22] These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

As opposed to seeking man’s appeal, today’s Scripture exhorts us to be “approved unto God.” If we lack God’s approval, however, He considers us a “castaway:” “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Our service is unacceptable to the Lord who died for us and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:15). Having our fellow man’s applause, we are practically useless to our Saviour’s cause! Brethren, let us be mindful of the following passages.

“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free” (Ephesians 6:5-8). “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:22-24).

Whose Appeal Do We Seek? #1

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).

Do we aim to please God—or men?

A famous Christian musician once declared that, although he was not ashamed of his faith, he wished to create music with a “universal appeal.” Whether Christian, atheist, Buddhist, or whatever, he wanted all people to enjoy his songs. Another well-known Christian musician disliked his band being labeled “Christian” because that would discourage non-Christians from listening to their work. A celebrity Christian counselor once explained why his writings contained no Scripture verses. Had he included Bible references and quotes, his literature would have had a much smaller audience and his unsaved peers would have never endorsed him!

These are but a few examples of the pitfalls of Christian “fame.” While we might have started out with good intentions, increasing popularity causes us to run the risk of compromising the truth so as to continue “broadening our appeal.” Once endeavoring to draw people to behold the glory of God, we now seek to lure them to see the glory of self. The stigma of being an “outcast for Christ” is simply too much for us to bear. Hence, at the expense of the Lord’s approval, we strive to continue charming our fellow man! Unfortunately, doctrine means nothing to us at that point, for our goal now is to say and write whatever will grow our church, ministry, business, social life, and so on. We remember those striking words of Christ uttered so long ago, just as applicable today: “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).

Never should we forget the major thrust of John 12:42,43: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him [Christ Jesus]; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.Here is our choice, dear friends. We either love the praise of men, or we love the praise of God. It is impossible to seek both….

Two Sons and Two Fathers

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

“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.

NOTE: Saints, concerning our New Testament Survey Project, we have started the Book of Luke. It will take about 10 months to teach. Click here for the NT videos playlist, and scroll to the bottom.

Something in Which to Glory!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

“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?

God’s Grace on Parade

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

“…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?

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How could there be two ‘evenings’ in Matthew 14:15-23?

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #35

Friday, February 12, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

In the context of intense social difficulties, including religious deception, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul penned in chapter 3 of 2 Timothy: “[14] But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; [15] And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. [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.” (Read the whole chapter for the contrast.)

Proceed into chapter 4: “[1] I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; [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.”

Christians should “continue… in the things” they have “learned,” remembering these “things” are Pauline doctrine, the grace principles of Romans through Philemon. The very reason the professing church is in such shambles today is because it refused to heed this advice 2,000 years ago (cf. 2 Timothy 1:15). Believe and preach the Word rightly divided! If we believers in Christ save ourselves from the erroneous teachings of Satan’s evil world system, then we have a pure message to share with lost people, that they might also believe and pass from death to life, that their sin not find them out in eternity and perpetually fracture them in twain.

-FINIS!-

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #34

Thursday, February 11, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

We recall Galatians 6:7, although with the next two verses now: “[7] Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. [8] For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. [9] And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Firstly, we can sow to the flesh, and the flesh will give us a harvest of corruption (losing our battle with sin). Let us not be misled into thinking the flesh (our sin nature from Adam) will result in something other than failure. Or, we can sow to the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will give us a harvest of life everlasting (winning our battle with sin). Let us not be tricked into thinking the Spirit (our new nature from Christ) will result in something other than victory.

We can have either no Christian living or triumphant Christian living. If we are not living with Galatians 6:7-9 in our thoughts, we are walking “in the vanity [emptiness, worthlessness] of [our] mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in [us], because of the blindness of [our] heart” (Ephesians 4:17,18). As the lost world has sown to the flesh—that is, lived in sin—and its sin has found it out and divided it (negative), so we can sow to the Holy Spirit—that is, live in righteousness—and our righteousness will find us out and unite us (positive). Our maintaining grace doctrine as Bible believers will hinder the lie program from advancing faster. Yet, if we continue in our ways of false teaching, the Body of Christ itself will be divided and hasten the furtherance of evil. It is our choice.

Let us (finally!) conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is a ‘propitiation?’

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #33

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

Not only are non-Christians living contrary to God’s will for them, many of us “Christians” are equally disobedient. As they refuse to hear the truth, so we have ignored the rightly divided Scriptures to keep our church traditions. Just as they have their “holy books,” so we have used 100 modern English (different!) Bible translations to confuse and divide us for 120 years. As they bow to their pagan idols, so we have worshipped our “wafer gods,” relics, scholarship, statues, and “experiences.”

The sins of the flesh are easy to spot, but the sins of the spirit are more insidious. Relying on the sins of the spirit to fight the sins of the flesh, have we finally learned we cannot conquer sin with sin? Substitutes tricked us. We were religious, but not Christian: we were “playing” church. If we read the Bible, it was a quick verse here and there, passages our denominations approved. Whatever Bible we read, we really did not believe it. Our “feel-good” inspirational/motivational speeches distracted us from sound Bible doctrine. If this is how we got into this mess, then we do the opposite to escape it.

We must get back to the King James Bible: we need one final authority, not a hundred competing books. Also, we must return to the principles of grace, the Apostle Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—Jesus Christ’s ministry today. Paul is our apostle (Romans 11:13), God’s spokesman to us. Supporting lies appears to bring harmony and progress, but there is no true, lasting unity and victory without sound Bible doctrine. The lost world must learn that, but we as believers in Christ must realize it first. We expect lost people to think and act like Christians when we do not think and act like Christians ourselves! Ridiculous! Until we believers are thankful for testimony of the Scriptures—grateful for our Bible heritage (albeit meager)—we have no testimony ourselves.

Let us summarize this devotionals arc….

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #32

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

As members of the Body of Christ, we have two choices. Firstly, we can throw our hands up and cry out, “We surrender! Why keep believing the truth when error abounds everywhere?!” Or, we can remind ourselves of the following facts. Although America has overwhelmingly languished in unbelief for centuries, there was a remnant of believers. Therefore, the truth passed down to us. Faithful saints, teachers, delivered to us the pure Word they were taught, being traced all the way back to the Apostle Paul.

Like they, we can continue the Christian ministry of 2 Timothy 2:2: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” If we choose to follow our culture as it increasingly disintegrates, we will definitely be wasting our time. Remember, “the word of God is not bound” (2 Timothy 2:9). Also, “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (2 Corinthians 13:8). With or without our cooperation, the Word of God rightly divided will continue and triumph—as always. It will never lose or be lost.

Christian friends, we will not reverse our culture’s inevitable collapse. Yet, we can slow it down with sound Bible doctrine. However, it is easier said than done because it has gained momentum—and, we have let it, since we have squandered our own time on foolishness instead of believing sound Bible doctrine and then teaching it to those lost souls who needed to believe on Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. If success is where we find the Word of God dispensationally considered and believed, why not join ourselves to it? Only what God does will last forever. If we find out what He is doing today, we can do that by faith, thereby ensuring what we do will last forever….

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #31

Monday, February 8, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

As to what the future holds, or how to proceed in handling it, even at this late hour the professing church still seeks answers, searching for any scintilla of understanding or glimmer of hope. Many Christians have no idea what to think or do. Paralyzed with fear, they wonder what is God’s will. Again, this underscores Christendom’s spiritual ignorance and feebleness. Have they not read their Bible that He gave them to teach them His will?! “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17).

Other believers are praying for revival, that God intervene and somehow perform a miracle to save our errant culture and nation from self-destruction. Honestly, dear friends, if I could be so bold in telling you, this is wishful thinking. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:12,13).

For far too long, the Church the Body of Christ has fought evil using the wrong weapons. We have relied on the energy of our flesh instead of the power of the Holy Spirit via sound Bible doctrine. Our thoughts were not God’s thoughts. Underestimating Satan, we presumed we could beat him apart from the Word of God rightly divided. Hence, the church has failed. We have assumed we can “bring in the Kingdom”—that is, make Earth so heavenly and sweet that Jesus must come down to join us. The fact is, this evil world is headed for the Tribulation, God’s undiluted wrath, and nothing we can do will stop it. There will be no national or global revival until Christ’s Second Coming.

In the meantime, here is what we can (and should) do….