Satisfied in Superstition #1

Saturday, August 18, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

The Greek word rendered “too superstitious” here is quite striking—“deisidaimonesterous” (“fearing more devils than others”). As Paul entered Athens, “his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry” (verse 16). He observed idols and shrines everywhere! The Athenians were afraid of this god, that goddess, this deity, that idol. One particular altar caught his attention—the one with the caption, “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.” It was this God, the God of the Bible, whom he had come to preach to the darkened pagans of Athens!

Why did they entertain such absurd ideas? How were they not worshipping Israel’s God with spiritual enlightenment? The Holy Spirit had already declared through Paul elsewhere in chapter 14: “[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 [idols] unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: [16] Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.

Romans chapter 1 describes this party: “[19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. [20] For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: [21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [23] And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”

Now the situation in Athens becomes clearer….

A Right Choice

Saturday, May 26, 2018

“I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me” (Psalm 119:30 KJV).

Friend, have you made the right choice?

True, we did not have a choice in being born—that was our parents’ decision. However, now alive, we have a choice. On one hand, there is the path associated with the truth; on the other, trails rife with error. If we have some comprehension of right and wrong, God has given us the responsibility of making appropriate decisions concerning these routes. Never can we blame-shift—“God made me do it,” “This person caused me to be thus,” “I could not help what I became….” No, dear friend, we must be accountable.

Friend, wherever you are right now in life, you made the choices to get there. Good or bad, you and you alone decided. Are you where you had planned to be? Better off? Worse off? Way off? We all make mistakes, so we should not pretend to be sinless. The quicker we admit our poor decisions, the sooner we can replace them with better ones. Ephesians 2:10 says: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Reading Ephesians chapter 4: “[17] This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, [18] Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: [19] Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. [20] But ye have not so learned Christ; [21] If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: [22] That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; [23] And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; [24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

What are some right choices? Try Ephesians 4:25-32, Romans 12:1-21, Colossians 3:1-25, and Galatians 5:13-26! 🙂

Dear Friends Divided!

Monday, May 14, 2018

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17,18 KJV).

Doctrine divides, dear friends—doctrine divides dear friends!

When the ecumenist laments, “Doctrine divides,” he or she (for once) is telling the truth. Dearest of friends, doctrine divides dearest of friends. It is asserted that false teachers “really are not that bad,” that “they can be reformed or salvaged,” that “they are entitled to their opinions as we ours.” We are urged, “Stop causing trouble by emphasizing doctrine and just preach the ‘love of Jesus!’ We can all be united as ‘Christians’ if nothing more.”

These last several months, I have learned firsthand (and most painfully!!) the closest-knit congregation is not immune to being split so mightily because it falls away from sound Bible doctrine. Intimate, long-time friends in the ministry have turned on me in the blink of an eye, becoming my enemies like I have never even dreamed. Once Christians turn away from the truth, Satan wastes no time to penetrate the group with as much as error as he possibly can. When the assembly reaches that point, your numerous warnings have been ignored, it is apparent that you can do nothing but apply today’s Scripture. With a broken heart (!), you have to give those precious brethren over to what they want.

So emotionally driven, these brethren passionately defend the false teacher and make you appear as the evil one. Be not surprised! When they have no sound Bible doctrine on which to stand, they, being deceived, will speak vicious, offensive words about you for calling attention to doctrinal error. You can and should pray for them (1 Corinthians 1:4-10), you can and should forgive them as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32), but things will never be the same between you and them as long Heaven is far away. The ministry is not for wimps, dear friends, the ministry is not for wimps!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What do you mean—‘the prophetic program’ and ‘the mystery program?’

Perverse to Be Reversed

Thursday, January 25, 2018

“Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Psalm 45:6,7 KJV).

Man has free reign on Earth today—doing pretty much what he desires—but that is only temporary.

Some erroneously believe that mankind is capable of reforming itself. No matter how debauched society gets, we can supposedly rehabilitate it. We just have to keep praying, passing legislation, fining and imprisoning evildoers, having our “peace” discussions, devising solutions, and so on. Some have actually gone so far as to say that if we all get finally along here, having minimized or eliminated society’s dilemmas, Jesus Christ will not be able to resist coming back!! It is assumed that we can reform ourselves and thereby entice Him to return and reign over us. While it sounds quite nice, it is wishful thinking. (Has it ever worked?!)

When the Lord Jesus Christ returns—and yes, despite what most may say, He is coming back (!)—it will not be because everything has been set right. No, dear friends, He is returning to set things right. Hebrews 1:8-9 says that today’s Scripture is actually a prophecy of Jesus Christ’s Millennial Reign. That means that Psalm 45 is really a Kingdom Psalm, what will happen on Earth at the Second Coming onward. Jesus Christ has an inheritance: He will come and do on Earth what man should have done back in the Garden of Eden but failed (Genesis chapter 3). Adam and Eve were to be God’s king and queen on Earth, ruling and reigning for His glory (Genesis 1:26-28); alas, they sided with Satan, the opposition. Jesus Christ will return to reclaim that crown as His own!

In that day, all of man’s wayward institutions will be abolished: his perverted standards will be replaced with the original (righteous) standards God implemented at creation. Father God Himself will inaugurate His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as King over all creation. The universe has never seen anything like it… since man is far too weak to accomplish it by himself. Hasten the day, Lord, hasten the day when the perverse is reversed! 🙂

Christ Loved Me—He Died for Me

Sunday, September 24, 2017

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

The Gospel is not personal until it is coupled with personal faith!

Years ago, a Bible teacher gave a presentation to college students. After the lecture, a skeptical pupil approached him to complain. The student objected to the teacher reading Romans 5:8—“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” He grumbled that the Bible’s promise was “not personal enough.” Actually, he wanted it to say, “God commendeth his love toward you… Christ died for you” (as in, directed to him personally rather than a group).

Sin causes such people not to appreciate the truths of God’s Word. They have no insight into Scripture, even when a Christian explains it to them. Why? Willful ignorance. The Lord Jesus Christ said in John 7:17: “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” The key to “knowing of the doctrine” is “will[ing to] do [Father God’s] will.” Some lost people want to know God’s will; hence, they listen to and believe the Gospel preached to them. Others are content where they are, and will use any excuse—even the pettiest—to dismiss Scripture.

Today’s Scripture is a Christian (the Apostle Paul) reckoning—considering true—the application of Calvary’s merits to his personal account. It is only when someone willing to have faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork does one see the individual aspect of Calvary’s merits. An unbeliever who wants to stay dead in sins, does not see the full impact of Christ’s finished crosswork. There is mental assent, an intellectual exercise, but no heart faith that leads to righteousness (Romans 10:10a). The believer sees God’s love as personal, Christ’s death as personal. However, as long as lost people view verses through unbelieving lenses, they will see the verses printed on the page, hear the words proclaimed, but not trust the truth in the heart!

Our latest Bible Q&A article: “Can you explain 2 Timothy 4:13?

Answers in Scripture

Friday, August 25, 2017

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5 KJV).

Are you lacking wisdom, friend? Why not “ask of God?”

Not long ago, Mom and I visited a nearly 96-year-old relative. For a few years now, my parents and I have tried to keep Scriptural dialog open with her. While she is still content in being bound in her works-religion, Mom told me the woman seemed more receptive to truth than usual. She heard the Gospel of the Grace of God many times again during our most recent visit. We tried to emphasize to her that all the “crazy” things happening in the world are the result of sin and that Jesus Christ died to save us from such depravity. She learned once again that the Holy Bible is a beacon of light in this world of darkness, and a solid foundation in this world of uncertainty. Her religion is powerless to help her, educate her, or comfort her in such troubling times.

Another point I stressed with this dear lady is the fact that people are groping around, looking for answers, but apart from God. Notice how the Holy Spirit through James in today’s Scripture encouraged people to consult God when they wanted wisdom. True, the Bible was not yet complete at that time (James was perhaps the earliest “New Testament” Book written); hence, that partially-revealed Word of God left people with various unanswered spiritual questions. Even so, God did not discourage anyone from seeking His truth. He was willing to provide more information if they wanted it!

Many years after James, Paul wrote in the final Bible Book: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). With the Pauline revelations exposed and written down, everything that God wants man to know and do, we find it in the completed Bible. Thus, the way we “ask” God for wisdom today is to submit to His written words, Holy Scripture. If we are in spiritual darkness, God is not to blame!

As Ye Have Spoken, So Will I Do

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

“Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you” (Numbers 14:28 KJV).

Dear friend, be careful what you wish for—God will give it you!

The 12 Jewish spies have returned from scouting the Promised Land (chapter 13). However, 10 spies offer an evil report, thereby disputing God’s Word: “[27] And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. [28] Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great….” Israel disheartened, doubting God will give them success, says, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we(verse 31).

Chapter 14 opens with Israel’s further complaints: “[1] And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. [2] And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!” They would rather die in the wilderness than enter God’s land! Not long after, they tempt the LORD the tenth time.

Today’s Scripture with its context: “[26] And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, [27] How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. [28] Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: [29] Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward which have murmured against me, [30] Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.” Indeed, dear friends, God gave them their wish!