No Feel-Good Message

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

“From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66 KJV).

Our Lord Jesus Christ was loving and kindhearted, the meekest man who ever lived. However, He boldly spoke God’s truth, even if it meant offending most of His audience. If you defend the rightly divided King James Bible, expect some of your audience to be irritated and offended. Do not compromise, for God’s preferences are always unpopular with mankind.

Unfortunately, modern-day Christendom disagrees with the Lord Jesus’ approach. Visit today’s “inspirational” bookshelves. Notice visages and names of “Christian” celebrities, authors of heretical books that teach health and wealth (the multi-volume “Spiritual Larceny Series”).

Today, most people seek a “loving Jesus,” a non-offensive “Sunday school teacher” who offers brief counsel sessions, instant healing and deliverance, and great material riches. They deliberately overlook the true Jesus, the righteous Judge who will not overlook man’s sin. Listen to the garbage on “Christian” television networks, radio stations, and websites. Even those with the most perverted theological persuasions see and hear something they like! This is reminiscent of what the Jews told God’s prophets (Isaiah 30:10): “Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth [“feel-good”] things, prophesy deceits [lies!]:”

Man in his natural state hates God; he is God’s enemy. “The carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7a). Our Lord Jesus Christ never spoke to entertain His audience. He taught them doctrine that would save their soul! Before it is saved, a soul will become uncomfortable. It realizes that it is headed for hell, in desperate need of salvation—salvation that it cannot provide itself.

Offended individuals in today’s Scripture permanently left Jesus Christ. His righteous statements insulted them. They saw their need for Him, the Bread of Life, and their wicked hearts despised Him.

The Gospel of Grace—Christ dying for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)—is no feel-good message. Christ’s finished work on Calvary is always offensive to religious people (Galatians 5:11): it testifies to their inability to save themselves. We politely, relentlessly, and unapologetically preach this “offensive” message.

Impressionable Minds and Effectual Doctrine

Monday, October 31, 2011

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23 KJV).

Today is Halloween. We mull the idea of sincere children arrayed in costumes going door-to-door and exclaiming, “Trick-or-treat!” They have never been taught that this “innocent looking” holiday is rooted in the spiritually toxic soils of Celtic paganism, devil worship, and superstition.

Considering the “Harry Potter” franchise and Halloween, the gravity of devil worship has been downplayed. Future generations are receiving mixed messages from the Church the Body of Christ. Christians, rather than speaking against these atrocities, have become permissive regarding the activities that God hates. They remain silent, greatly reducing their impact on the world, and allowing the world to impact them! Ephesians 5:14-17 exclaims, “Wake up, O sleeping Christians, Wake up!”

God clearly forbade witchcraft in Israel (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:9-14; Micah 5:12). Witchcraft is sin, according to Galatians 5:20. God wanted Israel, His earthly people, to not participate in Satan’s policy of evil. They were not to mingle with the works of darkness. God wants the same thing for us, the Church the Body of Christ. Note how the Ephesians burned their spell books in Acts 19:19.

There is no law “Thou shalt not celebrate Halloween,” yet notice today’s Scripture. Although they are not explicitly forbidden, some activities harm others and ourselves, and are inconsistent with our identity in Christ Jesus. Thus, we avoid those activities. If an activity does not bring glory, praise, and honor to God Almighty (the Lord Jesus Christ), it is devil worship. Satan wants you to worship something other than the one true God.

We desperately need our young people to realize the weightiness of sound doctrine, especially regarding the occult, witchcraft, et cetera (and its most subtle forms like Halloween and Harry Potter). God Almighty instructs us to educate them with sound Bible teaching. We know that God’s Word will “effectually work also in [them] that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). God’s Word will reach their minds, we just need to plant and water, sowing it into their minds, and let God take care of the rest.

*This is excerpted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or the study video can be viewed here.

Are You a Nominal Christian?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9 KJV).

The title “Christian” was such a hateful, derogatory term in the first century A.D. It was used to describe a small number of people who lived such “Christ-like” lives, conversations that communicated God’s grace instead of the world’s vile standards. Today, over two billion people identify themselves as “Christian.” Nevertheless, we have not lost sight of what the Bible says about nominal believers.

Unbelieving Jews and saved Jews look alike on the outside. In Jesus’ day, millions of Jews practiced Judaism. While they had the outward physical circumcision of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, very few had the inward spiritual circumcision of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Physically, they were all Jews. Spiritually, most of them were not Jews—they were not God’s spiritual children, but Satan’s children (John 8:44). These lost Jews had never been born-again (they had not received the spiritual circumcision of Romans 2:28,29).

In today’s Scripture, the Lord Jesus Christ describes these “nominal believers” (cf. Mark 7:6). Scribes and Pharisees (Israel’s religious leaders) loved to keep the Mosaic Law and feel “religious,” but the Lord Jesus claimed it was vain worship. They appeared to do everything that God told Israel. However, they disobeyed the commandments they hated and embraced the tradition of men (Matthew 15:3-6; Mark 7:8-13)!

Jesus quoted Isaiah 29:13 to describe these “hypocrites.” Despite their godly façade of Matthew 23:27-36, they were not God’s children (“their heart is far from [God]”).

God is not fooled. He knows the hearts of those who are saved and those who are lost. Are you a nominal Christian, in name only? Have you truly trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, thereby being rightfully called a “Christian?” Or are you just a church member who merely professes to be a Christian? Friend, it makes an eternal difference!

The Saints of Caesar’s Household

Saturday, October 29, 2011

“All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household” (Philippians 4:22 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is excerpted from Philippians, one of the half-dozen epistles Paul wrote from his Roman prison. “Caesar” refers to the tyrannical Roman emperor who ruled from A.D. 54 to 68 and greatly persecuted Christians. In fact, prior to committing suicide, he is thought to have executed Apostles Peter and Paul.

When Paul wrote to the Philippian church, he concluded his epistle with today’s Scripture: there are saints within Nero’s household!

About five or six years after the Philippian letter, Paul writes his final epistle, his second letter to Timothy. Notice 2 Timothy 2:8,9: “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.” Paul is still in prison, treated as a criminal. Why? Satan and his evil men hate him because he is God’s apostle of the Gentiles (Acts 9:15,16; Romans 11:13; et al.).

Paul was imprisoned because he was preaching the Gospel of Grace, the same Gospel we preach today. Physically, Paul was shackled to Roman soldiers. Satan had prevented God’s chief apostle in our dispensation from traveling and preaching the wonderful salvation in Christ Jesus. However, God would not be stopped. Paul wrote “but the word of God is not bound.” No matter how hard the devil tried to keep God’s Word from reaching lost souls, God’s Word could not be confined.

In Philippians 1:12,13 Paul wrote from prison: “But I would [wish] ye understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;”

Paul preached his heart out in that Roman prison. Today’s Scripture confirms that God’s Word worked so mightily that some of Nero’s own household had trusted in Christ! Certainly, Paul was imprisoned, yet the Gospel of Grace was still published and prosperous… in the very prison where Paul was held!

Educated Minds That Know Nothing

Sunday, October 23, 2011

“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself” (1 Timothy 6:3-5 KJV).

Today’s Scripture uses some interesting phraseology:

  • “proud”
  • “knowing nothing”
  • “doting about questions and strifes of words”
  • “envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds”
  • “destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness”

These words perfectly describe most church leaders today! How did the Body of Christ ever reach such a sad, spiritually impotent state? For the past 20 centuries, much of its leadership has been teaching contrary to “the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ” (see today’s Scripture). “The words of our Lord Jesus Christ” does not refer to the “red print” (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 14:37: “…the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord(cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:1,2,15; 1 Thessalonians 5:27.

While many church leaders today boast of their seminary degrees, let us remember that “distinguished” Hebrew, Greek, and Latin scholars, are not equivalent to Bible scholars. After all, even Satan knows Hebrew, Greek, and Latin and he even knows the Bible better than Christians! Satan quoted Scripture (Matthew 4:6; Luke 4:10-11); he just quoted Scripture incorrectly, like most “Christian” leaders today. While they all quote the Bible, how many know what the Bible actually says? How many believe what the Bible says? FEW!

In today’s Scripture, God’s Word says that if any religious leader (pastor, priest, pope, theologian, et cetera) does not instruct you according to the Apostle Paul’s epistles (the “rightly divided” Word of God), you are to flee from that person. Regardless of how many degrees those men have, the Bible says that “they are proud, knowing nothing.” So much for education!

Redeem the Time to Do a Great Work

Saturday, October 22, 2011

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15,16 KJV).

From 606 B.C. to 536 B.C. Israel was exiled from Palestine, taken captive by the Babylonians (the 70-year judgment God warned Israel about in Jeremiah 25:11,12). Exiled Nehemiah desires to rebuild Jerusalem and its city walls, which had been destroyed 150 years before. Circa 445 B.C., Artaxerxes king of Persia grants Nehemiah permission to return to Jerusalem with a party of exiled Jews (Nehemiah 2:1-9).

Not surprisingly, Arabs dwelling near Jerusalem are opposed to the Jews’ construction, so they begin to distract the Jews from their task of rebuilding (Nehemiah 2:10; Nehemiah chapter 4). One of these wicked Arabs requests Nehemiah to stop his work and come meet with him. Nehemiah’s response was simple (6:3): “And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?”

Nehemiah understood that God’s work was important. He was not going to waste his energy and time on an asinine matter like arguing with a fool! Likewise, as today’s Scripture declares, we should not waste our time, money, and energy. We have been given a limited amount of resources and a limited amount of time on earth. There is no time for frivolous living or arguing with individuals who care not to hear God’s Word.

God is doing a great work. We participate in that work by faith. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6). We submit ourselves to God and allow Him to use us to reach everyone we can with the good news of Jesus Christ. When we allow God’s Holy Spirit to work within us as we believe His Word, we will focus more on publishing His Word, and less on silly distractions like watching TV all day or wasting our lives with drugs and alcohol.

Is Our Preaching a Waste of Time?

Friday, October 21, 2011

“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48 KJV).

If most will never trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, then why preach to them at all? Are we wasting our time by preaching salvation through Christ alone, since most of our audience will ultimately go to the everlasting lake of fire anyway (Matthew 7:13,14)?

Frankly, we know not who will ultimately trust in Christ and who will not. We simply preach the Gospel of the Grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) to everyone, and then let them choose to have faith in Christ or reject Christ. If they reject Christ, and most will, our preaching is still not a waste. As Jesus taught in today’s Scripture, the salvation message that lost people reject will be that which condemns them to hell at the Great White Throne Judgment!

God knew only eight people would be saved from the Great Flood, yet He still directed Noah to preach (Genesis 7:7; 2 Peter 2:5). Why? So the people who rejected God’s Word would be without excuse and justly condemned.

“Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him” (John 6:64). Jesus knew “from the beginning” that many Jews would completely ignore His preaching, so why did He preach? Firstly, to save anyone who would trust in Him. Secondly, so that He would fair in condemning those who rejected Him. Those who rejected Christ will be condemned by the very words that He preached… the very words they rejected! No one will argue with God, “I did not know” or “I never had a chance.”

The Apostle Paul admitted he would never convert many or most, just “some” (Romans 11:14; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:22). Even though God knew just a few people would believe His written Word, He still preserved it for the benefit of those who would believe it. Furthermore, God’s preserved Word and our preaching it will be used against the lost when they are ultimately judged.