Lost (And Unknowingly So)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

They do not know they are lost!

Recently, I sat with a woman who I had met some eight years earlier. Long ago, I had attempted to strike up a Bible conversation with her, but she really was not interested. When we met recently, she refused to discuss Scripture. Could it be any clearer that religious works have so blinded her? There are millions of people like this poor soul—religious error has been so forcefully drilled into them that it rarely goes away. From the cradle to the grave, Satan blinds them using unbelievable power. How does he do it? Utilizing religious leaders who pervert the Word of God!

Before we read 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, friends, we should notice the two heading verses: “[1] Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; [2] But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” Did you notice the references to “the hidden things of dishonesty,” “walking in craftiness,” and “handling the word of God deceitfully?” Paul says he has “renounced” them, given them up; that is, as Saul of Tarsus, an Israeli religious leader, he sent many people to Hell using works-religion (the Mosaic Law—Scripture!!)!

Still, on the road to Damascus, in Acts chapter 9, Saul of Tarsus realized that, despite all his religiosity, he was headed for Hell! Before one can be saved into Heaven, friend, one must realize he or she is lost. No matter how “good” you are in religion, sin will damn your soul forever. However, the Gospel of the Grace of God declares: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Believe it, and be saved unto eternal life. Know you are lost and then know you are saved!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is wrong with ‘praise and worship?’

Daniel’s Culpability

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret. Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king (Daniel 2:46-49 KJV).

Scripture always tells the truth about its characters, even faults. What was Daniel’s sin?

When a heathen worshipped the Apostle Peter, Acts chapter 10 says: “[25] And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. [26] But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.The Apostle John worshipped an angel in Revelation chapter 22: “[8] And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. [9] Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.”

When pagans worshipped Apostles Barnabas and Paul, they objected in Acts chapter 14: “[13] Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. [14] Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, [15] And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God….”

After pagan Nebuchadnezzar had his mysterious dream, Daniel, by the power of the one true God, recovered and interpreted it. Nebuchadnezzar worshipped Daniel. Scripture never says Daniel protested!

Not Entangled

Friday, June 16, 2017

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier (2 Timothy 2:4 KJV).

Before you get too worked up about this world’s conditions, remember not to get distracted from what really matters!

Recently, I was talking with a brother in Christ who was very disturbed by what is going on in the world. In his own words, his “blood was boiling.” He was angry, raging, quite frustrated over corrupt politicians, violence, and evildoers going unpunished. Moreover, he ranted and raved against his national government. While I understand his frustrations, I did politely remind him to be civil when he would discuss it with others (he said he was going to tell others what he had told me). The man has been saved for years, many decades, but God’s grace has yet to transform the way he thinks about this world.

As “outposts from the third heaven,” beloved, we simply cannot get too attached to the people and things of this temporary world. We can get all worked up about scandals and conundrums in politics, religion, economics, sports, educational institutions, social issues, and so on. It is only human to get so enmeshed, trapped, involved, entwined with human affairs. However, as members of the Church the Body of Christ, we are God’s people. We are to be concentrating on God’s thoughts instead of common human thoughts. Father God is not worrying or fretting in Heaven today, and if anyone should concerned, it should be the Person who can control it.

Dear friends, we must never let Satan’s evil world system distract us from what really matters. Those “doctrines of devils” can come in the subtlest forms, and we must be vigilant that they do not get a stronghold in our thoughts. As soldiers of Jesus Christ, we must concentrate on our “marching orders,” and those instructions are: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection [focus] on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3).

Bible Q&A #390: “Does Acts 26:22 disprove the Apostle Paul’s special doctrine?

Merciful to a Sorry World

Thursday, June 15, 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).

You can trust that!

The United States—yea, the world—has been rocked by so many tragedies in recent days. Current trends on social media read, “Sending our thoughts and prayers.” Scoffers ask, “How is that working out?” To wit, despite all the “thoughts and prayers,” well wishes, and hopes of religious people, violence and bloodshed remain “front page” news. Where is God? When will He get enough? Will He ever show Himself? Does He even care? When will enough be enough? Is “He” even there?

Christians, who have the Holy Bible, the true Word of the true God, should be leading the world in understanding prayer. They should know what prayer is, and what it is not. Alas, how ignorant they are—how unbelievably and pathetically uniformed! They have the Scriptures but have no idea what they say about prayer. Now we see why skeptics say what they do—they mock people who really do not know the truth either! Beloved, religious people talk about “God” so flippantly we need not criticize the scoffers for doing likewise!

Friends, here is the simple truth. God is not working according to the way most people are praying. Hence, people pray for a certain outcome that actually does not come. They pray for violence to end, for peace, for God to come and judge the evildoers. Actually, here is a shocker…. God is not working today as He did in time past. What He is interested in today is having people come to His Son, Jesus Christ, by faith, that they receive forgiveness of sins and a home in Heaven. Rather than God pouring out wrath today, ushering in world peace today, He is pouring out peace and grace on undeserving sinners!

He will come back in due time and judge this wicked world. Today, He silently offers grace, extending an opportunity for all to be made right with Him! 🙂

The Heavenly Places #5

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

“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” (Ephesians 6:12 KJV).

Why does Ephesians conclude with this description of the war between good and evil?

It is not until we come to Paul’s ministry do we learn how God will cleanse the heavenly places. Ephesians highlights our eternal destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ. Just as Father God will use Israel to accomplish His will in the Earth, so He will use us to achieve His will in the Heavens. He will exalt His Son, Jesus Christ, in both realms. Ephesians chapter 1: “[9] [Father God] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: [11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance….”

One day, brethren, we will be displayed for all of the universe to see. All creatures will witness God’s wisdom fully manifested in outer space. We will participate in Jesus Christ’s exaltation in the heavenly places throughout eternity future. Ephesians chapter 2 declares: “[6] And [God] hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

As good as this all is, however, we are not there yet. The heavenly places are still so far away! Howbeit, one day, Jesus Christ will return to Earth—at the Rapture—to take His Body (us) beyond the sky. Until we get there, though, we are vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. Knowing full well that we will replace him and his minions in the heavenly places, he fights us every chance he gets. We had better don all the armor of God, beloved, that “we stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-20)! 🙂

 

The Heavenly Places #4

Monday, June 5, 2017

“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” (Ephesians 6:12 KJV).

Why does Ephesians conclude with this description of the war between good and evil?

Parroting the misguided claims of so-called “Bible authorities,” critics complain about the King James’ italicized words. The phrase “heavenly places” is heavily derided because the original Greek does not have “places.” Thus, people refuse to quote the Authorized Version verbatim here—they prefer “heavenlies.” “Places” is needed to construct a complete English thought; therefore, our 1611 translators rightly inserted it. Upon removing “places,” we rob ourselves of an important link.

Revelation 12:7-9: “[7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, [8] And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. [9] And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Friend, did you notice “place” in verse 8? It means a “room, position, dwelling.” Satan and his fallen angels functioning in heaven today (today’s Scripture) will be tossed out onto the Earth halfway through the future seven-year Tribulation. (Recall the “Old Testament” references about God and Satan both working in the heavenly places, with God cleansing those regions of evil. The Revelation is the capstone.)

With the heavenly places vacated of evil beings, Father God installs us the Church the Body of Christ into those positions of power (refer to the “heavenly” references in Ephesians—1:3-12, 1:20-23, 2:6-7, 3:10-11). Colossians chapter 1: “[16] For by him [Christ Jesus] 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:… [20] And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth [using Israel], or things in heaven [using us the Body of Christ].”

Now, we wrap it up….

The Greatest War Hero

Monday, May 29, 2017

“For God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).

In the United States, today is Memorial Day, when we remember those who sacrificed their time and lives to provide our physical freedom. Likewise, as Christians, we have spiritual freedom, which was more costly. Someone had to die to give us the eternal life we now enjoy….

Scripture describes a spiritual warfare between good and evil, God’s truth program versus Satan’s lie program: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil. 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” (Ephesians 6:11,12; see also verses 13-20).

Satan distracts mankind from God’s pure Word, the Bible, keeping unbelievers lost (dead in their sins), and preventing unbelievers and Christians from knowing God’s will. The devil draws them away (seduces them) from God’s Word by using religious tradition and human “wisdom” (1 Timothy 4:1-3; cf. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Galatians 3:1-3).

God loves us, so at Calvary’s cross, Christ fought for us sinners, died in battle (today’s Scripture), shed His divine sinless blood, and eternally rescued us from Satan and sin: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15).

Hebrews 9:12 says Jesus Christ has “obtained eternal redemption for us.”

If we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). Now, God can use us for His glory for all eternity.

Beloved, let us rejoice in our victory over sin, death, and hell that Jesus Christ secured for us by going to Calvary’s rugged cross! Jesus Christ is now alive forevermore—He is our Hero, the Greatest Hero!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study “The Greatest Hero,” which can be read here or watched here.