Hast Thou Life, or Not?

Monday, February 27, 2012

“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12 KJV).

Look at today’s Scripture, and notice its simplicity. If you have God’s Son Jesus Christ, you have life. If you do not have God’s Son, you do not have life. The Bible could not be more straightforward!

While every breathing human being has physical life, how many have spiritual life? “Few.” The Lord Jesus explained: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait [small] is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:13,14). According to the Lord Himself, many people will go to hell and few will go to heaven. Why?

Many people have gone (and will go) to hell because they have chosen to remain dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1-3). “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a)—the rewards of sin is physical death and spiritual death (hellfire). But, we can be saved from our sins and hell by trusting Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour. Jesus Christ paid our sin debt by dying for us and as us, and He was raised again for our justification (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). By faith, we accept His resurrection life, eternal life.

Whether in Israel’s program, or our Dispensation of Grace, salvation is only found in Jesus Christ. The Apostle John wrote to Israel: “he that hath the Son hath life (today’s Scripture; cf. John 3:36). Our Apostle Paul wrote in our dispensation: “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23b).

Hast thou life, or not? Salvation is not a “hope so.” You have either trusted in Christ Jesus alone (and you are going to heaven), or you have rejected Christ and have chosen to remain dead in your sins (and you are going to hell!). You can have eternal life through Jesus Christ if you trust in Him alone!

God’s Grace on Parade

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

“…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20 KJV).

Today, especially here in southern Louisiana, the Catholic festival of Mardi Gras takes advantage of God’s grace. God’s grace abounds even when drunkenness, lasciviousness, and gluttony are committed overtly on our streets for religion. Because we live in the Dispensation of the Grace of God, they can flaunt their sin without being consumed by fire from heaven!

“Mardi Gras,” French for “Fat Tuesday,” is a day when religious people—professing “Christians”—lose self-control (excess alcohol, food, and partying). The following day, Ash Wednesday, they promise to live “holy” for the next 40 days (Lent). A priest will then place ashes on their foreheads proving that God forgave them for that riotous living. Blasphemy!

Regardless of all its biblical allusions (illusions!), Mardi Gras is still evil and anti-God. It was never Christian, originating from pagan Roman festivals, Saturnalia and Lupercalia (interestingly known for riots, drunkenness, gluttony, and fornication, and subsequent repentance).

The Holy Spirit, speaking through the Apostles Peter and Paul, was clearly against Mardi Gras reveling and drunkenness (Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Peter 4:3). So why do professing Christians engage in the very activities that God the Holy Spirit condemned?! As Christians, we should “deny” the activities of Mardi Gras (Romans 6:11-15; Titus 2:11-15).

If I appear offended, I am. Mardi Gras, despite its godly façade, is offensive to the great God and my Saviour Jesus Christ! God’s grace continues to tolerate such foolishness from mankind. Man parades his sin, and God parades His grace, holding back wrath.

Are you a Mardi Gras reveler? I declare unto you the wonderful Gospel of the Grace of God. God did for you at Calvary what you could never do: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Jesus Christ shed His sinless blood and died to put away all of your sins, Mardi Gras revelry included.

If you rest in Christ Jesus alone as your Saviour, God will save you forever, make a trophy of His grace, and then YOUR life will be God’s grace on parade!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

Peace and Safety… Or Not!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:3 KJV).

For millennia, religious and political leaders have unsuccessfully attempted to achieve world peace, especially in the Middle East (the focus of Arab, Palestinian, and Israeli conflict). One day, two men will establish world peace: first, the antichrist, and then, Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, the world will be deceived into thinking the antichrist’s peace is that which Jesus Christ will establish years later.

Daniel 9:27 explains, “he [the antichrist] will confirm the covenant with many for one week.” The book of Revelation tells us this “one week” is a week of years—that is, seven years (two periods of 1,260 days each; Revelation 11:3; Revelation 12:6). The seven years begin once Satan uses the antichrist to sign a Middle Eastern peace treaty, causing Israel and her enemies to cease hostility.

Israel, wrongly believing that the antichrist is Jesus Christ, will relax, led to conclude that she is living in the peaceful earthly kingdom prophesied in the Old Testament. Jeremiah 23:5,6 says that when Israel’s Messiah-King comes, “Israel shall dwell safely.” Israel will apply this to the antichrist (when it was actually speaking of Jesus!). Remember what Jesus said to Israel? “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive (John 5:43). Jesus was speaking of the antichrist!

Halfway into the seven years, the antichrist’s flattery will vanish. His true motives now exposed by his breaking that covenant and desecrating Israel’s rebuilt temple (Daniel 9:27), and persecuting God’s people (believing Israel) by instituting capital punishment (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; Revelation 13:1-18). Israel will then realize (Isaiah 28:15), “We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement!”

As Paul wrote in today’s Scripture, For when they shall say, Peace and safety; sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” Notice the pronoun “they”—we, the Body of Christ, are not in the Tribulation.

God is Love

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

“…God is love… God is love… We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:8b,16b,19 KJV).

The word “love” is used very flippantly in today’s world. Of the many who speak about “love,” few know what it is. On this Valentine’s Day, we offer sound doctrine from God’s Word to correct the misunderstandings of what love really is. What is love, according to God’s Word?

Today’s Scripture says that “God is love”—God does not simply love, but His very nature is love. What does that mean? In 1 John 3:16, we read: “Hereby we perceive the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:” Our Apostle Paul put it this way: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God’s nature is love—selfless, self-sacrificing!

God’s Word defines love and charity in 2 Corinthians 12:15: “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” Love is seeking the best interest of others, even if it costs you something (time, energy, resources, et cetera). Charity is love in deed (demonstrated, manifested in action). God loved us, so He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. It cost God the Father His Son, and it cost God the Son His life. What a selfless act!

Our nature in Adam is selfish, but our nature in Christ is not. Paul declares, “the love of Christ constraineth us” (2 Corinthians 5:14). We who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, our Christian lives are driven and motivated by Christ’s love for us, not our love for Him. It is this unselfish love of Christ working in us that causes us to look on the things of others, to seek their edification and their benefit, not ours (Romans 13:8-10; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Philippians 2:1-11). This will result in charity, our selfless actions reflecting that love of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:15).

As the lost world observes our Christian service, they will see, “God is love.”

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

Our Gospel Hid #3

Sunday, February 12, 2012

“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).

Satan’s modus operandi is to multiply the counterfeits so you never discover God’s will for you. Over 4,200 world religions keep lost people from finding Christ. Religious tradition of 38,000-plus “Christian” denominations hinders Christians from discovering sound doctrine and spiritual growth. Over 200 (perverted) modern English Bibles keep Christians and lost people from even finding God’s pure Word in the first place! People “handling the word of God deceitfully is how Satan “blinds the minds of them which believe not.

Recently, I spoke with a family member about salvation. I asked her, “What is the gospel of your salvation?” Her reply was, “I believe in Jesus and I do the best I can!” This is the false gospel that God condemned in Galatians 1:6-9. It sounds good, deceptively mentioning “Jesus,” but this is another Jesus,” what Satan’s men preach to send lost people to hell, and to confuse believers and ruin their Christian lives (2 Corinthians 11:3,4; Galatians 5:1-5)! This gospel mixes faith in Christ and man’s works, and God will NOT tolerate it—with lost people and with Christians (Romans 4:1-8; Galatians 2:16-21; Galatians 3:1-5; Ephesians 2:8,9; et al.).

Sinful men cooperate with Satan’s policy of evil by fabricating religious systems to mimic God’s work. But, they have also polluted Christianity (resulting in “Christendom,” the paganized version of Christianity). There are some people who have genuinely trusted in Christ alone. They are totally secure in the salvation in Christ Jesus, but they are “taken captive by [the devil] at his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26).  They are told they need to work to make God happy, never being told that God has permanently accepted them in Christ (Ephesians 1:6)!

Paul’s Gospel—Christ crucified for our sins, buried, and raised again (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)—is the only way to heaven. NO WORKS FOR SALVATION! NONE!

Busybodies with Busy Lips and Idle Bodies

Thursday, February 9, 2012

“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread” (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 KJV).

The church at Thessalonica was one of the Apostle Paul’s exemplary assemblies. They exhibited spiritual growth, and their testimony impacted their lost and saved neighbors for God’s glory (1 Thessalonians 1:3-10). Their love for one another was also noteworthy (4:9,10). However, some of the Thessalonian believers were guilty of being busy… only with their lips.

In his first letter, Paul exhorted the Thessalonians: “[We beseech you to] study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you” (4:11). Some of these believers were so busy moving their lips that their bodies never moved (lazy). What little they did, they were interfering in the lives of others (being meddlesome), and then repeating the matter to others. This was obviously problematic, and Paul warned them to do less talking (“be quiet!”) and more work.

Perhaps a year or two later, Paul writes to the Thessalonians again. In today’s Scripture, we read that the previous issue—the busybodies with the busy lips and the idle bodies—is still unresolved. There are still believers who “are walking disorderly, working not at all.” Instead, these “busybodies” must be told again, “work with quietness” and “eat [your] own bread.” Yes, Paul had to tell some believers to quit being lazy, to quit mooching off of others, to work, and to do their tasks quietly (minding their own business and avoiding gossip).

Saints, we need to guard against laziness and busy lips (gossiping). We are just as human as the Thessalonians; we need to take an opportunity to examine our hearts in this regard. Am I guilty of gossiping or being lazy? If yes to either, why not obey today’s Scripture by faith?

Who is This?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

“And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee” (Matthew 21:10,11 KJV).

For several centuries, the Old Testament prophets wrote and spoke of Him. He would be Israel’s Saviour-King, and He would save the Gentiles too! This Man would set up His everlasting kingdom on earth. He would deliver Israel from her sins and enemies. He would be the Son of God, Messiah/Christ. And yet, pitifully, as Jerusalem sees Him coming, they inquire, “Who is this?” Oh, how sad!

In the context of today’s Scripture, we read of Christ’s so-called “triumphal entry” (actually, this was His meek and lowly coming, for His Second Coming, being far glorious, will be His triumphal entry). Here, Jesus is riding through Jerusalem on a colt the foal of an ass (verses 1-9). Zechariah 9:9, written 500 B.C., declared that Israel’s Messiah-King would do just that (cf. Isaiah 62:11). This event should have alerted every Jew, but, sadly, many refuse to see it.

However, there is a remnant of Jewish believers in Jerusalem who recognize this fulfilled prophecy. They shout Psalm 118:26, “Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” (Matthew 21:9). But, as for the remainder of Jerusalem, they are blinded by sin and unbelief, and ask, “Who is this?” (Today, unfortunately, many still ask the same question [Who is Jesus?], and for the same reason too [blinded by sin and unbelief]).

God’s Word says that most Jews did not recognize Jesus as Messiah-King (John 1:11): instead, they demanded His crucifixion (John 19:14,15). They were so blinded by sin, yet they refused to understand anyway (Luke 23:34; Acts 3:13-18).

Nevertheless, when Jesus Christ’s exile period terminates, He will return to earth. The believing remnant of Israel of the Tribulation period will see Him coming in great power and glory. They will see His pierced hands and feet, and finally recognize Him and embrace Him as Messiah-King (Zechariah 12:10).

In that day, no longer will Israel ask, “Who is this?”