A Pattern of Longsuffering

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting (1 Timothy 1:15,16 KJV).

God could be righteously angered and vengeful today. Thankfully, He is not!

A friend saw a television preacher claiming to “heal” someone. The disabled person showed no improvement, so the minister obviously faked it. My friend wondered why God did not strike that preacher dead for using the name “Jesus Christ” to deceive millions. I explained to my friend that, as opposed to the strict Dispensation of Law, where God was so severe in meting out judgment on such charlatans, we live in the Dispensation of Grace.

God’s “longsuffering” is typified in the Apostle Paul (see today’s Scripture). His salvation is a “pattern” of how people are saved into Christ today. Saul was an unbelieving, rebellious, indoctrinated, self-righteous, zealous Jew. In early Acts, he traveled and arrested, tortured, and executed any Jew—including women!—who followed Jesus of Nazareth. The Lord Jesus Christ observed it all from Heaven. He could have easily struck down Saul and whisked him off to Hell! Contrariwise, the Lord chose to extend mercy and love toward that wretched sinner. He personally appeared to Saul in Acts chapter 9. Saul, amazed and humbled, trusted the Lord Jesus Christ whom he had passionately hated.

Indeed, God chose that leader of sinners, the head of Israel’s rebellion against Jesus Christ, to become the Apostle Paul. He commissioned that man to go to all nations and preach the same grace God had shown him. Hence, God’s spokesman to the world opens each of his 13 epistles with, “Grace and peace.” Rather than wrath and war, God is (temporarily) patiently tolerating sinful man. The Lord Jesus Christ has paid our sin debt; hence, we enjoy grace and peace today. However, to benefit from it forever, like Paul, we must receive and trust it. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did the Great Flood’s water save the eight souls in 1 Peter 3:20?

Graduated!

Monday, August 21, 2017

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 KJV).

Death is never easy, but the death of a Christian is easier. It is somewhat easier when an aged person dies, but a young person’s decease is quite difficult. Yet, if that young person was “in Christ,” that death is easier to bear.

Recently, an online friend passed on to Heaven after a long battle with cancer. She was only 18 years old. Even though she suffered much, she was a strong testimony for God’s grace. As her friends struggled with trying to reconcile how God could let His saint grow so horrifically ill, she reminded them that, while Father God has redeemed our souls, He has yet to redeem our bodies from sin’s curse. A firm foundation in the Bible rightly divided caused her to rejoice even in the midst of great trouble. While we are secure in Christ, there is no guarantee we will meet our Lord without first experiencing unspeakable bodily infirmities. An aged ministry coworker just told me his aching body was “falling apart.”

I just read the obituary of a dear saint whose Bible studies benefited me. The article was certainly written from the grace perspective. It began by saying that the brother “‘graduated’ on… to be with his Lord whom he loved and served so faithfully.” He was an evangelist for 40 years: “He loved preaching in Rescue Missions, proclaiming the Gospel of the Grace of God to the lost. His passion in life was leading people to Christ and encouraging the body of Christ.” After preaching the Gospel for so long, he at last experienced its hope. Doubtless, he is still enjoying the Lord’s presence all these years later!

Yes, we sorrow, but we sorrow not as those which have no hope. We have a sure expectation that our loved ones in Christ are not lost forever. Father God has them in His loving care, and we will see them (and Him) in His own time. There will be an endless eternity to fellowship with them around the Word of God. For now, dear brethren, we must remember that they want us to continue being ambassadors for Christ down here! 🙂

The Best Day Ever!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

“And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay” (Matthew 28:5,6 KJV).

While we all have our good days, nothing will ever even come close to the best day of the Lord Jesus’ life!

Some days are so enjoyable, are they not, that you wish they would last forever? Things are going well at work, at home, and at church. There is money in the bank, romance in the air, promotion on the job, and good health in the body. While these are wonderful blessings in life, and we dare not take them for granted, they will never, ever compare to the best day of the Lord Jesus’ life.

It was on that resurrection day, today’s Scripture, that He conquered Satan, sin, death, and Hell! While the good things in our life, being subject to change, are not guaranteed, the victory that Jesus Christ secured on that resurrection morning is eternal. Death still cannot hold His soul. His physical body still has not experienced decay. He has paid man’s sin debt in full by shedding His blood on that awful cross. Now, He is raised again as a confirmation of that payment being fully satisfying to Father God. He will never die again and will never again suffer physical torture. His Father has never left Him again. He has secured the nation Israel’s salvation from sin, and He has secured the Body of Christ’s salvation from sin. Now, He is the glorified Son of God, heir of all the governments of Heaven and Earth. His reign will never end.

Dear friends, such victory is beyond our comprehension. We can read about it in the pages of Scripture but these events really do not sink in. Just how shocked were Satan and all his evil cohorts (angels and humans) when they learned that that tomb of Christ was empty? Think of the joy of Jesus’ disciples! Like them, we are speechless. What we can do, the feeble souls that we are, is tell Him, “Thank You, Lord, for the best day in human history!”

Sins Forgiven!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;….” (Ephesians 1:6,7 KJV).

Dear friend in a world religion, what will you do with your sins?

Several years ago, while a college classmate and I were eating together in our university’s cafeteria, the topic of religion came up. He already knew that I was a Christian, but it was here that I finally learned about him. He had joined an Eastern religion. Upon learning that, I asked him a very simple question, “What are you going to do with your sins?” After a short pause, he responded, still somewhat startled, “I do not know. Let me find out.” I was under the impression that he would research it for me, but he never did get back with me about it. We became close friends before ultimately losing contact a few years ago. Thankfully, though, I was able to cause him to think about eternal matters, even it was for a brief moment.

Whenever meeting with a person of a world religion, I always try to bring up the issue of sin first. As with the case of my friend, they probably have not actually thought about it. They are doing the best they can, but they are so busy working that they have not really thought it through just how their efforts will take care of their sin problem. Maybe they are too afraid to come to terms with the fact that they know deep down inside they still fail and those unpaid sins are still on their account.

As a small boy over 22 years ago, I came to realize that Jesus Christ paid for my sins by dying for them, and that I simply had to trust Him and Him alone for my forgiveness of all sins. Thankfully, I came to that simple truth of the immeasurable grace of God before works-religion could confuse and pollute me. Friend, if your religion cannot take care of your sin problem in full, I would strongly urge you to consider today’s Scripture and the Lord Jesus Christ whom it exalts as Saviour.

Think!

Friday, August 4, 2017

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2 KJV).

Christian friend, it is only “reasonable” that ye “be… transformed by the renewing of your mind!”

Someone recently asked me why so many people blindly follow a certain individual who is so exceptionally corrupt. To say that she was amazed is an understatement. She just could not figure out why they could not see past the mirage and notice what was really there. My answer to her was one word: “emotions.” People are using their hearts rather than their heads.

Emotions in and of themselves are not sinful, but sin has tainted them. They want to control us in a negative way. Emotions have no brain: they are dumb and constantly changing. Do we really want something so unstable and unreliable running our life? Yet, we yield to emotions and do all sorts of foolish things and embrace all kinds of nonsense. We Christians conducting our lives according to our emotions is ever so dangerous. Our changed minds should be guiding us! God does not want “know-nothing” children, people dependent on ignorant emotions. Saints must be taught sound Bible doctrine so they can think properly. How tragic it is that the Body of Christ has had the completed Bible for 2,000 years, and how pitifully ignorant Christian believers still are concerning it! No wonder we have so much difficulty concerning what to believe or do.

Today’s Scripture says in context: “[1] I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. [2] And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” After delivering 11 chapters of doctrine, the Holy Spirit says, “Now that you know what Jesus Christ has done for you and what He wants to do with you, think on it, believe it, and then walk in accordance with it!” Regardless of our emotions, friends, we walk in these truths.

God Is Not Fooled!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings (Jeremiah 17:9,10 KJV).

Be not fooled, friend. You cannot fool God!

Long ago, a farmer said, “God, if You give me a good harvest, I will go to church.” Suffice it to say he reaped a great harvest. He then bragged with laughter, “I fooled God! I had no intention of going to church!” This cycle continued for years. The man never purposed to go to church, but he supposedly “talked God into” doing what he wanted, allegedly “making God believe” that he would attend church. This all occurred many decades ago, so he is likely already dead… physically.

When the aforementioned man died, he surely realized he had not fooled God after all. Furthermore, he saw that he was the fool! He wasted God’s grace, God being longsuffering and tolerating his nonsensical rhetoric for so long. Instead of being thankful for God’s goodness, he became increasingly hardened. He continually deceived himself, believing he could actually hide his true and innermost feelings from his Creator (see today’s Scripture).

Many attempt to “make deals with God.” If He will just help them out of their difficulty, they will turn to Him. Some legitimately come to personal faith in Christ. Others, however, have a religious high, mere temporary self-reformation. Still others had no intention of ever doing right—they just wanted to treat God like Santa Claus (“gimme, gimme, gimme”). In the end, however, they manifest themselves as fools. God sees who has a heart of faith in His Word to them, and who is simply speaking empty words out of an ungrateful (wicked and unbelieving) heart.

Hebrews 4:12-13: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Two Questions, One Response

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him (Matthew 2:2 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is the first question in the “New Testament” Scriptures. The first question in the “Old Testament” is Genesis 3:9: “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” What comparisons and contrasts do these two questions allow us to make?

Notice Matthew 2:1-3: “[1] Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, [2] Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. [3] When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”

Going back to Genesis chapter 3: “[8] And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. [9] And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? [10] And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

Genesis records Adam, the king of earth, losing his crown through willful disobedience: in Genesis, we see Satan’s rise to assume man’s God-given power over the earth. Matthew has God’s Son coming to restore His authority over the earth: in Matthew, the last Adam purposes to undo the damage that the first Adam incurred. In Genesis, the question highlights God seeking man. Adam and Eve have fallen into sin, are hiding amongst the trees, and need to be brought to accountability there in the Garden of Eden. In Matthew, it is some Gentile wise men from the east coming to Jerusalem, looking for Israel’s King-Messiah. Adam and Eve were troubled when facing a meeting with the one true God. Likewise, sinful Jerusalem was disturbed upon realizing the one true God was in their midst!