The Price of Heaven

Friday, May 18, 2018

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5 KJV).

Heaven has an entrance fee—and, friend, you CANNOT pay it!

Our flesh loves to perform. You would think that 10 rules would get someone discouraged, but no! If so much as one rule is kept 90 percent of the time, or all are kept 10 percent of the time, there is boasting. “No, I did not keep it perfectly, but ‘I did the best I could!’ I will try even harder next time!” A performance-based acceptance system, unfortunately for sinners, is an “all-or-nothing” procedure. Even though a sentence may be 99 percent true, one wrong word renders the whole statement false. Likewise, one failure nullifies the “performance” to become (something quite easy to guess)—“non-performance!!”

King David, in today’s Scripture, is confessing to God. David has recently become a coveter, an adulterer, a liar, a conspirer, and a murderer: “[1] Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. [2] Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. [3] For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. [4] Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”

Today’s Scripture follows: Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Just yesterday, a woman told me that she believed a man went to Heaven because he had given so much money to his church. Like so many, she fails to see the truths from the pen of King David. David knew his problem was sin: he was born a sinner! No matter his “good” works, his sin nature would remain.

Having received a complete revelation from God, we see what David could not. Jesus Christ died on Calvary to be the “propitiation”—the fully-satisfying payment—for our sins (Romans 3:25). Friend, you place before God something other than faith in Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for your sins, and you will be indubitably disappointed when you realize your “method of payment” is permanently denied!

Bent on Being Content

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

“… Supposing that gain is godliness…. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:5-10 KJV).

Most definitely, there is no wagon behind a hearse, but you will be taking your spiritual purse!

In this life, the Bible says we should be thankful if we have only food and clothing. However, “the love of money”—as history bears record to time and time again—has led to ever so many other evils. This is particularly true of religions (the context of today’s Scripture). Human flesh is a pig—it wants more and more and more. Envy creeps in and you become willing to take the life of anyone who has what you want. Yet, after all the effort of trying to gain, gain, gain, we lose it all anyway.

No matter how tightly people try to hold on to their material possessions, they will lose them in the end. Death is the ultimate thief. It takes away our loved ones, it takes away our material goods, and it takes away our life. People can put wads of cash into our pockets as our body lies in its casket for its last viewing. Still, it will profit us nothing because we are not even there anyway. We will be either in heaven or in hell—and earthly wealth is useless in both.

The only thing that matters in eternity is God’s Word because it will never, ever, ever disappear. Friend, if you do not have God’s Word, you have nothing. “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (today’s Scripture). You read all about godliness in the Bible, particularly Paul’s epistles. Learn of the spiritual wealth God offers you in Christ, and, friend, be content with it. It is “great gain.” 🙂

Their Loss Not Ours!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

“Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked; For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out” (Proverbs 24:19,20 KJV).

What great advice—to Israel or to us!

A Christian sister recently browsing social media grew angry. (We can all relate.) She had drifted onto the webpages of certain people who had greatly wronged her in the past. Her stirred-up emotions, not having a mind of their own, had caused her to (wrongly) believe the past was ongoing. She had kept perusing to see more text and additional pictures of their “success,” “popularity,” and overall “nice” outward appearance. Everyone had “flocked” to them—she was the outcast, even after all those years trying to do right. The anger gradually escalated. My advice to her was simple: “Get off! Move on! Get off!”

Brethren, let today’s Scripture sink into your hearts and minds. This is as close to “heaven” as lost people will get. Let them heap to themselves as many “friends” as possible on Earth—there are no “friends” in hell! Let them heap to themselves as many “pennies” as possible on Earth—there are no “riches” in hell! Let them heap to themselves as much “nice outward show” as possible on Earth—there is no “beauty” in hell! Let them live it up now. Except they die in Jesus Christ, here is as good as it will ever get for them. Once their “candle” is “put out”—their house is darkened because they have died—we certainly do not want to envy them at that point! Most certainly, they gained the whole world temporarily and lost their soul eternally (Matthew 16:26)!

Today’s Scripture is actually God the Holy Spirit encouraging believing Israelites (poor, destitute of goods, rejected, despised, imprisoned, bereaved) not to look at their unsaved Jewish brethren who are prospering materially and socially for following the Antichrist, yet future (Revelation 13:15-17; cf. Psalm 37). Why? The unsaved… when death comes, they lose their fortunes, their friends, their lives, and finally their souls. My, how we pray earnestly for their eternal salvation in Jesus Christ before it is too late. Without Him, it is their loss, not ours!

When Peace Means Distance

Sunday, February 15, 2015

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18 KJV).

What wonderful advice to save ourselves headache and heartache!

Recently, some Christians who were dealing with an unbearable Christian family member, asked me for advice. Today’s Scripture summarizes what they should do. They are to live “peaceably” with the gossiper and liar—sadly, in their case, peace is only possible long-distance! Beloved, we are not doormats. The Holy Spirit’s guidance in dealing with Christians who are fornicators, covetous, idolaters, railers (uttering constant bitter complaints against people or things), drunkards, and extortioners, is “with such an one no not to eat” (1 Corinthians 5:11). Have no social relations with that Christian until he or she improves. But, what if they never reform? Then never have social relations with them.

Through the years of ministry, I have met some very obnoxious people, lost souls and Christians (!). Even today, honestly, it is best to avoid them as much as possible. They are troublemakers who delight in disgracing and destroying sound Bible ministries. They had no desire to hear what the Bible says, and no desire to uphold what the Bible says. While I love them as the Lord Jesus Christ would, and I forgive them in Christ if they have done me wrong, that does not mean that I have to seek them out and be around them and hear or read their nonsense. If they are hungry, or thirsty, and they come to me for help, that is something else entirely (Romans 12:20), but I have no reason whatsoever to go after them and attempt to reform them. They were already given verses that they rejected, and I will not force myself on anyone.

Beloved, the mature Christian should most definitely attempt to correct or reform a wayward brother or sister in Christ in meekness and love (Galatians 6:1), but eventually we must “reject” the “heretick.” After the first and second admonition (warning), we need to leave the person alone and move on to something more worthwhile (Titus 3:10,11). Sometimes peace means distance—it is a shame but long distance may also be necessary!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who will have children in the Millennium?

Glorious Freedom #3

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” (Romans 6:12 KJV).

The third verse of Haldor Lillenas’ classic 1917 hymn “Glorious Freedom” highlights today’s Scripture.

“Freedom from pride and all sinful follies;
Freedom from love and glitter of gold;
Freedom from evil temper and anger;
Glorious freedom, rapture untold!”

Once, when we were lost, under the control of the Adversary, separated from the Creator God, on our merry way to eternal hellfire, we “were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past [we] walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Ephesians 2:1-3). What a description!

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us [given us life and power to function in life] together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (verses 4,5). Now, we are dead with Christ and raised with Christ (Romans 6:3-11). Today’s Scripture says that we do not have to serve sin anymore; sin does not have to reign as a king over us anymore. We can choose to walk by faith in our new identity in Christ.

We are freed from pride (Philippians 2:5-11), for it is not us, but Christ living in us (Galatians 2:20). We are freed from foolishness (Ephesians 5:3,4; Titus 3:3), for we have Christ’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Corinthians 2:9-16). We are freed from materialism, for “the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10; cf. 1 Timothy 6:6). We are freed from unrighteous anger; we are to be “kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven [us]” (Ephesians 4:26,32).

Freedom, not to serve self, but to serve others! Inexpressible delight indeed! 🙂

Riches and the Ages to Come #6

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5 KJV).

If Israel’s believing remnant is to endure the seven-year Tribulation’s economic depression, she must remember that faithful JEHOVAH is with her, and that He will bless her in due time.

In conclusion, we will briefly survey the “wealth” of Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures regarding Israel’s kingdom riches:

  • Israel is God’s earthly people, so He will bless them with earthly possessions—this includes sizeable real estate. In due time, Israel will possess all the Middle-Eastern territory between Egypt and the Euphrates River (Genesis 15:18-21).
  • Solomon’s prosperous kingdom was nothing compared to what awaits Israel. Just as the Gentile Queen of Sheba brought Solomon untold riches, Gentiles will lavish redeemed Israel and her King Jesus Christ with unfathomable wealth (Isaiah 60:1-22; Isaiah 61:6).
  • Jesus promised His little flock that, everything they lost for Him, they would receive 100-fold from Him (Matthew 19:29,30; Mark 10:28-31). Israel’s believing remnant will gain 100 times more wealth than what they had before they even came to Christ!
  • During the seven-year Tribulation, the book of Job will comfort Israel’s believing remnant, who like Job, suffer the loss of their material possessions because of Satan’s policy of evil (James 5:10,11; Job 1:1–2:13). As Job was doubly blessed of God after his temptation ended (Job 42:10-13), so Israel will receive compensation many times over for her losses, when Jesus Christ returns to establish His earthly kingdom.
  • In the kingdom age, when Jesus Christ reigns over Earth, the curse of sin will be lifted (Isaiah 11:1-16; Isaiah 51:3). Every harvest of crops will be overwhelmingly abundant, and immediately after reaping, planting for the next harvest can begin (Deuteronomy 33:28; Joel 2:19; Joel 3:18,20; Amos 9:11-15)!
  • Most importantly, for all of eternity, Israel will enjoy JEHOVAH’S spiritual riches—His forgiveness, His fellowship, His grace, His salvation, and His life (Hosea 2:14-23; Hebrews 8:8-13; 1 Peter 2:9,10; Revelation 21:1ff.).

Never forget, beloved, Israel still has her worst experience ahead, but after that, her greatest experience ever is bound to happen as well! JEHOVAH will see her through it all! 🙂

Riches and the Ages to Come #5

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5 KJV).

If Israel’s believing remnant is to endure the seven-year Tribulation’s economic depression, she must remember that faithful JEHOVAH is with her, and that He will bless her in due time.

Today’s Scripture applies to both Messianic Jews in the first century A.D. (specifically the Acts period) and to Messianic Jews who will live after our Dispensation of Grace. Our program is a parenthetical dividing the first part of Israel’s program from the second. To wit, had our Dispensation of Grace not been implemented, Israel’s program (the seven-year Tribulation, the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ, and the New Heaven New Earth) would have been fulfilled right after Calvary, 2,000 years ago (notice how God kept our dispensation secret from Psalm 2:1-9 which outlined Israel’s program). Israel’s prophetic program is still delayed, and will not operate again until our mystery program is finished (Romans 11:25-29).

When the believing Jews of the seven-year Tribulation see the material prosperity of the Antichrist’s followers, and then consider their own poverty, they will be tempted to covet (just as the poor Jews were attempted to envy the wealthy Christ-rejecters during Acts when their common account depleted). So, we see how today’s Scripture has a dual application—first-century Messianic Jews and Tribulation Messianic Jews. As today’s Scripture says, the very lifestyle (“conversation”) of a believing Jew in Israel’s program is not to be one of covetousness: he or she is to be satisfied with having JEHOVAH (whom the [wealthy] Antichrist’s followers do not have!).

While Israel’s little flock hiding out in the wilderness will not enjoy unfathomable riches until Jesus Christ returns (His Second Coming), the writer of the book of Hebrews encourages them to be thankful for the basic necessities that JEHOVAH will meet out in the wilderness (Matthew 6:24-34; Luke 12:22-34; Revelation 12:6,14). Just as Moses told Israel (Deuteronomy 4:31; Deuteronomy 31:6,8), just as God told Joshua (Joshua 1:5,9), and just as David told Solomon (1 Chronicles 28:20), JEHOVAH, even in disappointing circumstances, will never disappoint because He will never leave or forsake His people….