Lest They Also Come Into This Place of Torment

Monday, July 11, 2011

“Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment” (Luke 16:27,28 KJV).

While fools often quip they anticipate their partying with friends in hell, the rich man of today’s Scripture was certainly not partying. By the way, this is NOT a parable.

The Bible says the rich man’s soul was in torments, greatly tortured by hell’s flames (verses 23-25). His mind was overwhelmed with regretful memories. He remembered he still had five lost brethren alive on earth, so he asked Abraham to send Lazarus to go witness to them and warn them of hell’s torments.

Notice Abraham’s response: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (verse 29). If someone wants to avoid everlasting hellfire, he or she needs to study God’s Word and learn how to escape God’s righteous judgment against our sins.

Christian ambassadors, we have been entrusted with “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). Our ministry is to tell the entire world they can have an opportunity to avoid hell because Jesus Christ suffered for them and as them on Calvary’s cross!

“[Christ] tasted death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). Christ was “made a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). The Bible says that Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again the third day for our justification (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

It has been said that the spirit of evangelism is stronger in hell than it is in the Christian heart. We all have family and friends headed to hell, yet we lapse into attitudes of unconcern, hoping that someone else will witness to them. Be bold in Christ. Tell them of Calvary’s cross. Pray for their salvation, too.

Whenever you fall into a state of complacency (unconcerned) in sharing the salvation found only in the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be motivated to speak up when you remember the rich man’s haunting words: “Lest they also come into this place of torment!”

Our Liberty Which We Have in Christ Jesus

Monday, July 4, 2011

“And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:” (Galatians 2:4 KJV).

Today, 235 years ago, on July 4, 1776, the United States’ Founding Fathers declared independence from Great Britain by adopting the Declaration of Independence. We in the United States are grateful for our liberties, but there is greater news in Christ. See our freedom in Christ:

  1. We are free from Satan’s control! Man fell into sin and Satan’s policy of evil in Genesis 3. But, the Bible says God “hath delivered us [Christians] from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13).
  2. We are free from sin’s dominion. We do not have to serve sin. “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6:6-7).
  3. We are free from the condemnation of the Law. Romans 8:1 explains: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
  4. We are free from the bondage of works-religion! Galatians 5:1 says: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” The Galatian believers were deceived by a false gospel, believing they had to work for their salvation. Hence, they were in bondage to the Mosaic Law (see today’s Scripture).
  5. We are free from self-righteousness. Ephesians 2:8,9 say: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” We are saved by Christ’s righteousness, not ours (Romans 3:21; 2 Corinthians 5:21)!

We are free in Christ! Never let someone rob you of that freedom by forcing you under Israel’s performance-based acceptance system.

A Three-Fold Temptation

Saturday, July 2, 2011

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world” (1 John 2:16 KJV).

Every temptation in the world fits into one of the above categories. Did you know that Eve faced all three temptations at once? Compare 1 John 2:16 to Genesis 3:6:

  • “the lust of the flesh” — the forbidden tree was “good for food” (Was Eve hungry?)
  • “the lust of the eye” — the forbidden tree was “pleasant to the eye” (An awesome sight!)
  • “the pride of life” — the forbidden tree was “desired to make one wise” (Eat from it, and you can be like God, Eve!)

Using this very cunning scheme, Satan triumphed over Eve, and later Adam. Sadly, they both ate the forbidden fruit.

In Matthew 4:1-10 and Luke 4:1-13, Satan tempts Christ using the same format. However, where Adam and Eve failed, the perfect Man, Jesus Christ, triumphed. Remember that Christ has been fasting for forty days.

  • “the lust of the flesh” — Satan tempts Christ to turn stones into bread  (Christ was hungry!)
  • “the lust of the eye” — Satan tempts Christ to cast Himself from the Temple pinnacle, and have angels rescue Him (An awesome sight!)
  • “the pride of life” — Satan tempts Christ to worship him, promising to give Him the kingdoms of the world (You can have God’s power! Little did Satan know that Christ would one day have the kingdoms of the world, without having to worship Satan; Revelation 11:15.)

How did Jesus Christ triumph over Satan? The Bible says Christ properly quoted Scripture! Eve could not triumph over Satan because she did not properly quote Scripture. Find verses in Paul’s epistles that fit your temptations and weaknesses, and memorize them. Then, whenever you are tempted with sin, bring to mind the applicable grace doctrines. Do not just quote random Bible verses, quote from Paul. Properly quoting (and believing) the Bible is your key to triumphing over the three-fold temptation!

God’s Abounding Grace

Friday, July 1, 2011

“Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20,21 KJV).

When God instituted the Mosaic Law in Exodus 24, He intended to manifest Israel’s sins. The Law did not just condemn the Jews as sinners, but all the world, Jew and Gentile, was unable to live up to God’s perfect standards. God proved mankind’s “righteousness” was anything but. Everyone was declared guilty before God: “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in [God’s] sight” (Romans 3:9-20).

The result of sin is death, eternal death (Romans 6:23a). “Sin reigned unto death,” today’s Scripture says. It also says that although sin produced death, God’s grace produces life, eternal life. “…Even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Believers in Corinth had been fornicators, homosexuals, idolaters, thieves, drunkards, extortionists, and perverts (1 Corinthians 6:9,10). Now that the saving power of God’s grace entered their lives, their lifestyles changed. Paul told them, “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (verse 11).

Even though mankind was sinful, God’s grace could overcome and cover even the vilest offender of the Law. Do you feel you are too sinful for God’s saving grace? The Bible says that God can save anyone and everyone, regardless of what sins they have committed.

The Bible says that none of us are worthy of God’s grace, but God gives it to us freely, apart from our efforts. Jesus Christ lived the sinless life we cannot. He died and shed His sinless blood to forgive us our sins, and He buried our sins. Christ died for your sins, He was buried, and He was raised against for your justification. Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour.

I am saved forever because of God’s abounding grace. Are you?

Fight the Good Fight of Faith

Sunday, June 26, 2011

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12 KJV).

In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul exhorts Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith.” We, as members of the Church the Body of Christ, are soldiers. In Philippians 2:25, Paul calls Epaphroditus his “fellowsoldier.” Paul also mentions Archippus, he and Timothy’s “fellow-soldier” (Philemon 1:2). The Apostle encouraged Timothy, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3,4).

Ephesians 6:10-18 describes the battle between God’s purpose and program and Satan’s purpose and program. The Bible says we must put on “the whole armour of God” if we are to endure that spiritual war. Verse 12 reads, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

How does Satan triumph over the Christian? It starts within the mind! We read in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

We must renew our minds by studying the King James Bible “rightly divided” on a daily basis (Romans 12:1,2; Ephesians 4:22-24; Ephesians 5:26). The Word of God is “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). Let God’s Word that you have believed defend you as Satan attacks your mind.

Some of the Apostle Paul’s final words read (2 Timothy 4:6,7): “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”

Let us too keep the faith! Let us too fight the good fight of faith!

A Heavenly Way to Hell

Friday, June 24, 2011

“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; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3,4 KJV).

Today’s Scripture warns that as we draw nigh to the closing day of the Dispensation of Grace, there will be an increase in false teaching.

The fiery preachers of generations past are just that—generations past. Thankfully, some preachers unapologetically teach and proclaim God’s Word rightly divided. However, most “Christian” leaders have abandoned the truths of God’s Word to embrace fables (religious tradition, human viewpoint, et cetera).

Rather than fearing souls going to hell, many churches are merely interested in having lengthy membership rolls and sufficient funds in the collection plates! This is especially true in the mega-churches, notorious for their damnable social gospels that deify man’s “good” deeds and “feel-good” sermons that entertain. Christ’s words echoing, “Hypocrites, hypocrites, hypocrites!”

There is nothing evil about someone who speaks properly. However, God warns us on numerous occasions to beware of smooth-talking individuals, especially in religion. God cautions us to not be tricked by “enticing words” (Colossians 2:4). Romans 16:18 speaks of divisive people who “by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

In the Old Testament, Israel forbade God’s prophets from speaking against their sin. Israel wanted a feel-good message. “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: which say unto the seers [prophets], See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us” (Isaiah 30:9-11).

“Give us a feel-good message, preacher! Nothing about sin, judgment, and hellfire—just tell us about love, blessings, and prosperity!” Sadly, those same words are shouted today in nearly every church.

Beloved, flee from the smooth-talking preachers and their “heavenly way to hell!”

Beware of the Money-Hungry Preachers!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife…Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;…” (1 Timothy 3:2,3 KJV).

Today’s Scripture lists a few qualifications of the bishop, the overseer of the local church. One of the qualities of a bishop (sometimes called “pastor”) was that he be “not greedy of filthy lucre” (cf. Titus 1:7). The deacons were to also be “not greedy of filthy lucre” (1 Timothy 3:8). What is “filthy lucre?” Extorted money. Considering those qualifications, many preachers and deacons would be out of a job!

The Apostle Peter instructed leaders of the Jews, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof… not for filthy lucre” (1 Peter 5:2). Titus 1:11 speaks of many Jewish religious leaders who were “unruly and vain talkers and deceivers… who subvert [overthrow] whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.”

Religion is the world’s most profitable business, and for good reason. As long as someone occasionally reads from the Bible and mentions the name of Christ, no one would ever suspect the person would be guilty of extortion. Unfortunately, this very thing took place during Christ’s earthly ministry. Israel’s religious leaders “devoured” whole houses—all for the sake of money! Jesus called Israel’s Temple a “den of thieves” (Matthew 21:12,13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45,46; John 2:14-17).

Notice Jesus’ rebuke: “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” (Matthew 23:14; cf. Mark 12:40 and Luke 20:47). The Pharisees and scribes had a good outward appearance, but they ministered under false pretenses—all for money. Just like today, if you pay enough, churches will pray for you.

Grace is not against giving, but it is against covetous preachers who extort money. Never let someone force you to give, such as binding you with Israel’s tithe. Beloved, beware of the money-hungry preachers!