A Wise Man

Saturday, September 3, 2011

“A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool” (Proverbs 17:10 KJV).

Lawlessness abounds today. The lost world around us is quite foolish in that they hate God and vehemently refuse His Word. God’s Word contains instruction, and yet they blatantly reject it. Not surprisingly, they blame God when their lives are wrecked and destroyed.

Proverbs 1:5-7 says: “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: to understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Today’s Scripture declares that a wise man will hearken unto reproof (instruction, advice). The reproof will be more effectual in the life of the wise man than 100 whippings will be in correcting the fool. A fool can be instructed time and time again, and he can be harshly punished, but he will still be set in his rebellious ways. This is typical human nature: “I refuse to obey any authority, especially God!”

We can all be so stubborn at times that even God Almighty giving us a kick in the seat of the pants would probably not help. Throughout the Old Testament God would chastise wicked Israel by cursing her and her daily activities. Her crops would not grow, and sickness and death would vex her people. In the book of Judges, Israel would suddenly behave, enjoy a brief respite and God’s blessings, and then she would quickly return to her rebellious ways and suffer more punishment.

Do you want to be a wise man (or woman)? Take a King James Bible and study it God’s way, “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), using dispensational Bible study. Believe what that Bible says where it says it and to whom it says it, let that Word work effectually in you, and then you will be a wise man (or woman) indeed!

We Will Not Hearken Unto Thee!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

“As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done…” (Jeremiah 44:16,17 KJV).

Israel’s women are “burning incense unto other gods” while their husbands say nothing (verse 15). Shame! So, in Jeremiah chapter 44, the word of the LORD comes to the prophet. God instructs Jeremiah to command Israel to quit worshipping those pagan gods because worse judgment will come (verses 3-5, 11-14). We read the Jews’ response to Jeremiah in today’s Scripture: “No thanks, Jeremiah! We will not listen to the LORD. We will do whatever we want!!”

Noah warned of an impending global flood, preaching for all the world’s peoples to come into the ark for salvation. Millions replied, “No thanks, Noah!” Consequently, only Noah and his seven relatives were saved in the ark (2 Peter 2:5).

Early in Christ’s earthly ministry, many of Israel’s religious leaders refused John the Baptist’s water baptism, a Jew’s only means of salvation (Luke 7:29,30). “No thanks, John!” And with that, they allowed Herod to behead John.

When God the Son Jesus Christ came, many Jews said, “No thanks, Jesus!” Ultimately, they demanded Rome crucify Him (John 19:15).

As the prophet Stephen witnessed to Israel just a year after Calvary, Israel was still “stiffnecked” (stubborn) and “uncircumcised in heart and ears” (wicked, lost) (Acts 7:51). Israel refused to admit that they murdered their Messiah Jesus. “No thanks, Stephen!” And with that, they stoned Stephen.

God’s messengers have always been ignored, hated, and ridiculed, so we should expect nothing less when we share the message of God’s grace to us in Christ. When confronted with the world’s snide remarks, we Christians reply: “We will not hearken unto thee!” We ignore their silly comments and continue preaching, rejoicing that we can endure the rejection just like the saints of old did.

A Wee Crook with a Large Sin Debt

Monday, August 29, 2011

“And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner” (Luke 19:5-7 KJV).

As Luke chapter 19 opens, the Lord Jesus is passing through Jericho, just north of the Dead Sea. The chief tax collector, Zacchaeus, a short man who cannot see over the crowds, has climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus (verses 3 and 4). Once Jesus calls Zacchaeus to make room for Him in his home, the crowds complain, “Jesus seeks to be a guest in that crook’s house!”

Jesus, being God in the flesh, knows Zacchaeus is the chief publican, the most dishonest tax collector. Of all places, why has Christ chosen to visit a thief’s home? He knows Zacchaeus is genuinely repentant. Zacchaeus confesses, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold” (verse 8). Lord, whatever money I stole, I will restore it four times over!

The Lord Jesus explains why He went to Zacchaeus’ home: “This day is salvation come to this [Zacchaeus’] house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (verses 9 and 10). “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17). Jesus went because wicked Zacchaeus, like every other Jew, needs salvation!

Christ came to “save His people [Israel] from their sins,” and that included Zacchaeus (Matthew 1:21; cf. Matthew 10:6; Matthew 18:11). Zacchaeus had been a crooked son of Abraham, but now that he trusted in Jesus as His Messiah, he was a righteous son of God (John 1:12)!

So, God can save anyone, even wee crooks with large sin debts….

Something More Evil Than Science

Sunday, August 28, 2011

“And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:9 KJV).

Many Christians complain that science accomplishes Satan’s work because it brainwashes kids into believing lies such as an old universe and the ridiculous “molecules-to-man” theory (that all living creatures descended from a common ancestor). Indeed, Satan has used science to mislead the masses, but these fervent church members seldom realize that religion, not science, is Satan’s “favorite hiding place.”

Science is the study of the natural world. The Bible is not anti-science—repeatable, testable, falsifiable science. God’s Word is opposed to “science falsely so called” (1 Timothy 6:20), man’s idle speculations that contradict Scripture. Apart from its numerous silly, unbiblical conjectures, science is not evil. But there is something more evil than science.

Something far more dangerous and misleading than “science falsely so called” is the infamous “Christianity falsely so called.” Religious tradition is more deceptive than false science because the Bible is used to teach some of it (the Bible cannot be used to teach false science). Religion is dangerous because, unlike false science, it has a godly appearance.

In today’s Scripture, Jesus Christ rebuked Israel’s religious leaders (notice He condemned the religious community, not the scientific community): “well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” Church tradition and false science are equally guilty of contradicting the Scriptures.

Scientists without God know they need God, whereas religious people are deceived into thinking they have God (all they really have is empty tradition). Scientists know they are not good enough for heaven, but religious people have been taught they are good enough. It has been appositely stated that, “Religion will send more people to hell than anything else.” Religion will do more harm to your soul than false science ever will because religion encourages you to pit your “righteousness” against God’s.

Many genuine Christians condemn science as “evil,” yet they have no idea that Satan is working just as heavily in their denominational church as he is in the science classrooms. Frightening!

Be not deceived… by false science or religion!

Go Against the Grain!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

“Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them” (Proverbs 24:1 KJV).

Satan, “the god of this world,” is controlling the world today (2 Corinthians 4:4). Because we Christians do not live wild lives, our lost friends and family members shun us. As King James Bible-believing Pauline dispensationalists, we are contrary to much of Christendom. We are continually pressured to “go with the flow,” urged to follow religious tradition. As we struggle with the sins of the flesh, we are up against fellow “Christians?!” Considering the great opposition we face, our battle seems futile, right? Should we just give up and join our opposition? Not at all!

Today’s Scripture comforts us. As we observe the world’s evil people driving their exotic cars, abiding in their multi-million dollar mansions, and wearing their expensive apparel, the Bible instructs us not to envy them. When we see corrupt people prospering, while we, God’s children, live common, sometimes poverty-stricken lives, let us be mindful that we do not belong here. “Our conversation [lifestyle reflecting citizenship] is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).

There is nothing wrong with us, beloved in the Lord: the problem lies with the world! They, not us, are headed in the wrong direction. God’s Word describes lost people as “walking according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). We Christians seem “odd” because the rest of the world is following Satan’s “course!”

Paul instructed Timothy: “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). We are to be examples to the lost world by letting them see the life of Christ living in us. If we live like the rest of the world, the world will see nothing different about us, thus making us hypocrites.

May we follow the Apostle Paul as he follows Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). Let us forge forward, forever going against the grain!

If Only I Saw, Then I Would Believe

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

“The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25 KJV).

“Doubting Thomas” not only describes a confused apostle of Israel, but also much of the world’s population. Bible skeptics whine, “When you show me some proof that God exists, then I will trust Him!”

From its earliest days, the nation Israel was accustomed to seeing and hearing God perform miraculous works (the LORD sent Moses to Israel with the power to handle snakes and heal; Exodus 4:1-9). “The Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22). Christ even said to Israel, “Unless ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” (John 4:48).

For three years, the Lord Jesus performed an inestimable number of miracles. He walked on water, raised the dead, cast out devils, healed the sick, and yet most of those Jewish witnesses never trusted in Christ. Christ said, “some of you believe not” (John 6:64). Some Jews refused to believe, even after they saw His miracles!

Some Jews were so fascinated with Christ’s miracles that they totally missed the reason why He performed those miracles—to teach them that He was their Messiah-King. John 2:23-25 says: “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.” Jesus knew these people just wanted to be awed, not saved.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Seeing the Lord Jesus Christ through the eyes of faith, not the physical eyes, is enough “proof” for me.  Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Mixed-Up Jonah

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

“Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: and should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than six-score thousand [120,000] persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:10,11 KJV).

Nearly everyone is familiar with the story of Jonah. Circa 800-750 B.C., the LORD instructs the prophet to go to Nineveh, the wicked capital of Assyria, and to speak on His behalf against their evil deeds (1:1,2). Naturally, Jewish Jonah is extremely resistant to minister to pagan Gentiles, so Jonah heads in the opposite direction—a ship bound for Spain (1:3)!

God causes a storm that makes the mariners afraid and inquisitive (1:4-8). Jonah confesses that he has run away from the LORD. Lest the ship sink, the mariners eagerly agree to throw Jonah overboard (1:9-16). For three days and three nights, Jonah is dead in the belly of a fish (1:17-2:9).

Then, God speaks to the fish, and it vomits Jonah onto dry land (2:10). Jonah is revived. As before, God commands Jonah to go to Nineveh, so Jonah obedient preaches, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (3:1-4). Nineveh responds to Jonah in repentance (3:5-9). Nineveh listens to God, so God decides not to destroy Nineveh (3:10).

Now, Jonah is “very angry” with Nineveh’s response (4:1-5). The LORD causes a gourd to grow over Jonah and shade him, pacifying him (4:6). Then, God causes a worm to destroy the gourd, and Jonah is saddened and angered because the gourd died (4:7-9). Today’s Scripture is God’s response: “Jonah, you pity a silly gourd plant that died, but you have no pity for lost, hell-bound Gentiles!”

Many times, we pity animals and plants suffering and dying more than we pity our family, friends, and neighbors dying and going to hell. May we never be like mixed-up Jonah. People, unlike plants and animals, have souls that last for eternity. Your priority should be people’s souls. Are they?