Deflate Yourself and Edify Others #5

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth (1 Corinthians 8:1 KJV).

Ignorance can be very dangerous—knowledge can be equally detrimental!

First Corinthians chapter 8 closes with: “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” The Apostle Paul knew more rightly divided Scripture than any of us Christians alive today. He could have been “puffed up.” Nevertheless, he was meek, exercising “charity” to “edify” other believers.

Paul the Apostle, God’s “pattern” for us in the Dispensation of Grace, practiced what he preached. He was very careful not (NOT!, NOT!) to selfishly use his liberty under grace as an excuse to do anything and everything he wanted. If the action could potentially discourage another Christian and destroy his edification process, Paul said he would never (NEVER!, NEVER!) engage in the behavior. In the case of today’s Scripture, it was food offered to idols. Still, the principle of charity should guide every aspect of our Christian life.

Galatians 5:13 again: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Rather than being “puffed up” in knowledge, we should remember “charity edifieth” (today’s Scripture). Romans 14:19 says: “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” To “edify” means “to build up” or “strengthen” (as opposed to tearing down, “destroying”—Romans 14:15). The weaker brother needs strengthening rather than further weakening (1 Corinthians 8:9-12), and strengthening will result if the stronger brother sets the example of charity.

Pride is “the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6): it caused Lucifer to fall and become Satan. Satanic behavior does not belong in the Christian’s life. Galatians 5:22,23 tell us: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” The Spirit of God works in the believer to produce “meekness,” deflating the prideful soul. He also produces “love,” which leads to “charity,” which causes the “edification” of others! 🙂

Singing and Shouting

Sunday, November 13, 2016

“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7 KJV).

Friend, have you ever heard such wonderful music or singing that you thought it was the most beautiful in the whole world? You were so emotionally moved that it was exhilarating beyond description, right? Perhaps you rated it as the greatest in the history of music. In light of today’s Scripture, you must reconsider!

Today’s Scripture is part of the opening of the final section of the Book of Job. Satan has wrought such heartache and havoc in Job’s life, but God is about to deliver him. God must first teach Job a lesson, however. Job has rattled on and on for many chapters, and now it is time for him to hush so the LORD can talk some sense into him. God begins by reminding Job of the Creation Week. Job was not present to see it, but God tells him all about it.

If we re-read today’s Scripture, we see a contractor laying out materials from foundation to completion. Measurements are taken, underpinnings are laid, the main structure is built, and the finishing touch is added. The Lord Jesus Christ purposefully created the heaven and the earth in a very organized manner, neither accidentally nor sloppily. Today’s Scripture says that, throughout this time, the angels watched their Creator at work. When it became increasingly apparent to them what He was erecting, these creatures responded by singing together and shouting for joy! We are left to wonder just how awesome that sounded. Lucifer, God’s chief song-leader and music director, had not yet fallen and become Satan. Recall, Lucifer’s body has built-in musical instruments (Ezekiel 28:13).

Whatever vocal and musical capacities these millions upon millions of angels fulfilled during and after the Creation Week, we can be sure they would put the world’s most beautiful singers and songs to shame! One day, when we get to heaven, brethren, we can join in with them! 🙂

Created for God’s Glory

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

“Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee” (Ezekiel 28:15 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

Scanning “Christian” television, I saw one preacher answering viewer-submitted questions. One inquiry concerned the origin of Satan’s great power. The warped preacher responded, “Satan worked his way up to the powerful role he has. God never gives anything free!” Of course, he never actually took his Bible and/or gave verse references—there are no such Bible verses! He was merely speculating and had no business talking about such matters.

Dear friends, Lucifer was created “perfect” from the moment of his creation (today’s Scripture). As the anointed cherub that covered, decorated, and protected God’s throne, he was “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (verses 11-19). Lucifer did not have to “work his way up.” Rather than lead all of creation in worship of the Lord Jesus Christ, he wanted praise and worship all to himself. Lucifer loved himself: pride was his downfall (1 Timothy 3:6). Actually, Lucifer worked his way down and became Satan (meaning Adversary)! Lucifer was not content in functioning in the capacity God had given him, so he fell “as lightning fall from heaven” (Luke 10:18). Adam too was given a job, to rule Earth for God’s glory (Genesis 1:26,27). Yet, Adam abandoned that position and followed Satan’s policy of evil. Thus, mankind has no relationship with God today.

The preacher who said God gives nothing free, what a liar. He knows nothing about the riches of God’s grace to us in Christ, nothing of “being justified freely [without cost to us] by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). Just as Lucifer did not work his way into functioning for God’s glory, we cannot work our way into heaven. God offers us soul salvation unto eternal life (justification) apart from any works of any kind (water baptism, confession of sins, commandment keeping, church membership, et cetera). We need to come to Jesus Christ by simple faith in Him alone, relying entirely upon Him exclusively (and not upon Him and our religious works). We will be thus created for God’s glory! 🙂

He Must Increase, But I Must Decrease #1

Saturday, May 14, 2016

“He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30 KJV).

Beloved, may today’s Scripture be the cry of each and every Christian!

The triune Godhead’s original intention in creation was to glorify the Son, whom we understand as Jesus Christ. We read in the Scriptures: “For by him [God’s dear Son of verse 13] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him (Colossians 1:16).

Of course, as the prophets tell us, Lucifer, God’s chief angelic-like creature, wanted the preeminence in heaven and earth. Lucifer, “full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty… was lifted up because of [his] beauty” (Ezekiel 28:12,17). That is, Lucifer became prideful. Isaiah says that he had a five-fold plan to rob Jesus Christ of the praise that He alone deserved: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (14:13,14). In short, Lucifer became Satan, starting his lie program (sin) with the following words: “He must decrease, but I must increase!”

Sin, at its heart, is the decrease of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sin is disregarding the Creator’s will for our lives. It is we putting ourselves on His throne, us wanting to be our own authority and doing whatever we want. “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:25). Whether in Satan’s life, the lives of other spirit creatures like him, or the lives of us humans, sin is the deification of the creature and the lessening of the Creator.

Today’s Scripture contains invaluable insight to avoiding the error of Romans 1:25. Dear friends, in our several upcoming devotionals, we will look at John 3:30 in context, lest we be ignorant of Satan’s devices.

The Converted Nation and The Translated Word #3

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

“He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 147:19,20 KJV).

Herein do we see God’s head of the nations—Israel!

One of the most famous Bible verses is the first, Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” It is not until we come to Paul’s ministry and Colossians 1:16 that we see how God structured the Heaven and the Earth to function: “For by him [the Lord Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”

In the original creation, there was perfect governmental organization. God created beings to serve Him in Heaven (angels) and other beings (humans—Adam and Eve) to serve Him on Earth. In Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:11-19, we read about Lucifer/Satan leading a rebellion in the spirit world among the angelic hosts. This chief evil spirit then caused Earth to be polluted by recruiting mankind to follow him in Genesis chapter 3. Satan had the governments of both Heaven and Earth; he tainted them and most of their creatures with his sinful agenda.

God formed the nation Israel to do with Adam had failed to do—assume Earth’s governments for His glory (earthly kingdom). Israel was to reclaim Earth for Jesus Christ’s glory. Israel was to magnify God’s Word in the Earth, thereby undoing what Satan had done on Earth! (However, nothing was said about God’s purpose and plan for restoring Heaven unto Himself. We do not learn this secret plan of God until we come to Paul’s ministry, the books of Romans through Philemon. God kept that information secret until He was ready to reveal it.)

To restore Earth to Himself, God desired Israel to know Him first. They were to learn His Word, enjoy His goodness, and, as per the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12:1-3, they were to then take that knowledge and salvation to all the nations of the world! Let us see what Israel did….

Satan and Dispensationalism #22

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:” (Colossians 1:25,26 KJV).

Dispensational Bible Study enables us to see and appreciate the final revelation from God. Satan is thus utterly embarrassed!

By nature, Satan is a genius. From his creation, he has operated on a mental level far, far, far beyond every other creature of God. Lucifer was “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (Ezekiel 28:12). As creation’s song-leader, Satan was to devise ways to glorify his Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. Lucifer became prideful (verses 15-18): his wisdom and beauty made him fall in love with himself. Lucifer concluded that he belonged on God’s throne, that he was wiser, more fit to govern creation. Thus, began the spiritual battle that is waged even today.

Beginning in Genesis chapter 3, Satan involved mankind in usurping God’s authority. Genesis chapters 4-6 were intensifications of that battle. Unbelieving Cain killed his believing brother Abel—the first murder. Man’s wickedness was so great that God finally destroyed that ancient world with a global flood. Next, the disastrous one-world government and one-world religion at the Tower of Babel (Genesis chapter 11). Satan thought he would somehow always outsmart God.

When God created His special nation Israel (Genesis chapter 12), Satan began to focus on corrupting Israel. The rest of the Old Testament documents Satan corrupting Israel. During Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, that spiritual battle reached its highest level of intensity. The bloodlust was so great in Satan that the greatest murder would occur now.

Satan could have sent an evil spirit to work in killing Jesus Christ. But, he did not. The Bible says Satan himself entered Judas (Luke 22:3). Satan was certain the job would be done right, once for all. Israel’s King would die! With Him dead, Israel’s kingdom would never come to pass. Israel was already dead in sin and Satan’s grip. The lost Gentiles could not be saved through Israel, for Israel could not rise to kingdom glory. With God’s Son dead, Satan had won. Or, had he?

The Christ of God

Sunday, July 19, 2015

“He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God” (Luke 9:20 KJV).

The King James Bible’s “New Testament” contains expressions such as, “The Christ of God,” “The Lord’s Christ,” and His Christ.” Why is qualification needed? Why not simply read “Christ?”

Peter the Apostle declared in today’s Scripture, “[Thou art] The Christ of God.” The Holy Ghost told elderly Simeon that he would not physically die until “he had seen [Baby Jesus] the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:26). Israel and Rome conspired against the LORD (Father God) and His Christ” (Acts 4:26)—that described Jesus’ crucifixion on Calvary. One day, this world’s kingdoms will become “the kingdoms of our Lord [Heavenly Father], and of his Christ [Jesus]” (Revelation 11:15). A voice in heaven will one day utter, “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ” (Revelation 12:10).

To better understand the language of “God’s Christ” and “the Lord’s Christ,” we need Ezekiel chapter 28, the passage that describes Lucifer (Satan) before his fall into sin/pride. Lucifer was the “anointed cherub that covereth” (verse 14). “Anointed” in Hebrew is Mishiach (Messiah) and in Greek it is Christos (Christ). Now, please note the following. Psalm 2, verse 2, foretold in Hebrew: “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed [Jesus], saying….” Acts 4:26, written in Greek, quotes it as, “The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.”

Every Berean Bible student knows Satan is the master counterfeiter. The Devil uses false prophets, false apostles, false teachers, and false brethren to counter God’s prophets, God’s apostles, God’s teachers, and God’s brethren. Satan causes us to concentrate on him (the false Messiah) and his policy of evil so we ignore Jesus Christ (the true Messiah) and God’s plan of glory! When our program concludes and Israel’s program resumes, Satan will come in the person of Antichrist, the epitome of prideful imitation (to be destroyed, thankfully). In the end, what Satan failed to do (lead creation in worship of the one true God), Jesus Christ, the Christ of God, will do!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Jesus forbid others from preaching that He was Christ?