Days of Usefulness #2

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;… (Ecclesiastes 12:1 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

The title “Ecclesiastes” is the Latin form of the Greek word for “preacher.” It is King Solomon gathering an audience to teach them what he has learned about earthly living. He is elderly, near the close of his sojourn on Earth, his royal administration winding down. Employing a sequence of interesting euphemisms, the Holy Spirit describes the human physical body undergoing the aging process. The key is verse 7, the spirit leaving the body: the culmination of aging is physical death itself.

“[2] While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain [youth turning to senior citizen]: [3] In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble [tremors], and the strong men shall bow themselves [stooping], and the grinders cease because they are few [tooth loss], and those that look out of the windows be darkened [vision loss], [4] And the doors shall be shut in the streets [lips close], when the sound of the grinding is low [hearing loss], and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird [sleeplessness], and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low [no longer enjoying former pleasures];….

“[5] Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high [fear of falling], and fears shall be in the way [worrisome], and the almond tree shall flourish [graying hair], and the grasshopper shall be a burden [easily irritated], and desire shall fail [sex drive wanes]: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets [funeral approaching]: [6] Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern [various organs and body-parts unusable]. [7] Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” There, the wages of sin take their toll on flesh and blood. Earthly living ceases….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should the lack of worldwide revival in our dispensation discourage us from witnessing?

Waste Not Your Time!

Friday, July 5, 2019

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (Ephesians 5:15-18 KJV).

A brother in Christ recently informed me that he had cancelled his cable television subscription. He had grown tired of getting upset with the filthy programming and sensational news shows! Whether 20 centuries ago, or right now, today’s Scripture is sound advice….

With the various technological advancements in recent decades, the Holy Spirit is that much more likely to be ignored. All too often, the Bible is set aside. Radio, television, computer and internet, smartphones, and social media increasingly take away precious time from reading and studying God’s Word. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying electronic devices, Christians are spending far too much time concentrating on trivialities and nonsense. They are more familiar with the world’s affairs than with the Scriptures. Preoccupied about this and that and everything else but the Bible, they are exactly where Satan’s evil world system was designed to bring them. Divorced from God’s Word, they are without His power, and thus no bother to Satan!

Even during Bible days, the saints of God were falling for various distractions. This necessitated the Apostle Paul to issue today’s Scripture. Satan himself and all the actions he endorses have—his evil world system has—stolen the time that would have been used to glorify Jesus Christ. By understanding and following God’s will, we can “redeem” (buy back) that time. Saints, if we are not careful though, if we waste time, then we are just as negligent as the Devil himself. We are cooperating with his lie program.

When we are “filled with the Spirit,” thinking like God Himself thinks, that will empower us to walk according to the verses we read and believed (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Let us heed today’s Scripture, now more than ever, dear brethren. Be quite careful to make wise use of your time. Watching news programming for hours on end, is wasteful. Endlessly playing smart-phone games is not wise. These will profit us nothing in eternity!

Liberated to Serve

Thursday, July 4, 2019

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 KJV).

Today, as we in the United States celebrate the 243rd anniversary of our nation’s independence, we invite our Christian brethren worldwide to rejoice with us concerning our freedom in Jesus Christ.

When we proclaim Romans 6:14—“Ye are not under the law, but under grace”—people tend to assume “loose living.” Does “grace living” really mean we can now live any way we want? Lest anyone be misled in that regard, God the Holy Spirit moved the Apostle Paul to write in the next verse, “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid [May God never let that happen!]” (Romans 6:15). Grace living is not Law-keeping, but it certainly is not Law-breaking either.

God still cares how we live, albeit He is not operating the “weak and beggarly” system of “bondage” (Law) that He once did with Israel (Galatians 4:9). God proved to the entire world that since Israel could not keep His commandments perfectly, no other sons of Adam (the Gentiles) could either: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them [Israel] who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world [Gentiles] may become guilty before God (Romans 3:19).

We sinners cannot keep the Law. However, God in His grace provided us a way to escape that condemnation by sending Jesus Christ to offer Himself on Calvary’s cruel cross to pay for our sins. By simple faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the fully-satisfying payment for our sins, we can now be “made the righteousness of God in [Christ]” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We can be delivered from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire) and the power of sin (flesh-walking).

Why are we Christians free? To selfishly live any way we want? NO! Today’s Scripture says we are liberated to now serve others, especially our Christian brethren, just as Jesus Christ selflessly served His Father and selflessly died on our behalf. That is grace living!!!!

Please see our 2011 Fourth of July Bible study “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land,” which can be watched here or read here.

Do Not Look Back!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed (Genesis 19:17 KJV).

Here are God’s instructions to Lot and his family. Will they be snubbed?

Recently, I passed by one of our old church buildings at which we attended denominational services over 20 years ago. The people we knew there are now long gone (in Heaven, or elsewhere); the current pastor is apostate (I talked with him years ago). Looking at the structure (it sure looked much larger when I was a little boy!!), I recalled good memories and friends, but the bad doctrine and spiritual confusion I did not miss. I still have no regrets leaving legalism, for grace teaches me how to live (Titus 2:11,12). Thank You, Lord, for bringing me out of that spiritual nonsense and into Your marvelous grace! I now have the privilege of helping others do likewise!

Concerning today’s Scripture, God will soon destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuality. He commands Lot and his family to escape; after much urging, they get moving. Lot “sat in the gate of Sodom” (verse 1): he was a politician or other governmental official. He and his wife were reluctant to abandon their lavish home, social standing, and other comforts. As they fled, God commanded them not to look back.

“[24] Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; [25] And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. [26] But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” Lot’s wife was so materialistic, worldly-minded, she had to take one last look, lamenting, “Oh, look at all that we are leaving—the wealth, friends, celebrations, delicacies!” (Glance at Luke 17:28-33.)

Friends, when we come to faith in Christ, let us not yearn to return to the old life. As alluring as they are, the exquisite stained glass windows, the “feel-good” ceremonies and songs, and the “humbling” edifices are nothing compared to the eternal truths of God’s Word rightly divided!

Jesus, Please Leave! #10

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

“And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Matthew 8:34 KJV).

Friend, what would you do if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself happened to knock on your front door or ring your doorbell?

Read Christ’s words in Matthew chapter 12: “[43] When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. [44] Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. [45] Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”

Here is Israel’s sad condition. Messiah Jesus could cleanse her of her devil possession, but since she refused His influence, her spiritual state would further deteriorate. Once Israel rejected Christ’s offer to liberate her from satanic bondage, she opened herself to more spiritual corruption. The Antichrist will thus arise one day (see 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12; cf. John 5:43).

Satan works wherever God’s Word is absent. If we are “too busy” to renew our minds with the Scriptures rightly divided (Israel’s problem!), we automatically fall for Satan’s lie. Lost people stay unsaved, and Christians remain confused. The answer is to preach and believe sound Bible doctrine! Second Timothy chapter 2: “[24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

Friends and brethren, may we hold to Pauline doctrine, Romans through Philemon. As the Holy Spirit through Paul penned, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord [Jesus!]. But if any man be ignorant [refusing Jesus], let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:37,38)!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does ‘not’ belong in Isaiah 9:3?

 

Jesus, Please Leave! #9

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

“And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Matthew 8:34 KJV).

Friend, what would you do if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself happened to knock on your front door or ring your doorbell?

The Bible instructs, “Quench not the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). To “quench” means “to stifle,” “to restrain the influence of.” When we refuse to follow the Spirit of God, we are saying, “Jesus, please depart!” Watch unsaved people “quench the Spirit” when the Apostle Paul preaches to them in Acts chapter 17: “[31] Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. [32] And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. [33] So Paul departed from among them.

Paul urged us members of the Body of Christ not to quench the Spirit. Notice 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.”

Saints, if we are not walking with a renewed mind—thinking as Christ would—then we are basically asking Him to leave us too. We have rebuffed His guidance and life. May we not be like the foolish people of today’s Scripture….

Jesus, Please Leave! #8

Monday, June 24, 2019

“And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Matthew 8:34 KJV).

Friend, what would you do if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself happened to knock on your front door or ring your doorbell?

As far as the record of Scripture is concerned, the Lord Jesus never again set foot on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. They requested His departure—and He obliged. Someone may ask, “What about those there who wanted to believe on Jesus but had not yet heard of Him and never got to meet Him?” Well, the message of Messiah was still proclaimed there, even after His parting.

Now healed, the formerly devil-possessed man wanted to accompany Jesus (Mark chapter 5): “[19] Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. [20] And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.” God’s testimony was still there east of the Jordan River, but the Saviour Himself had withdrawn. See also Luke chapter 8: “[38] Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, [39] Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.

Today, there are various ways to say, “Jesus, please leave!” It can be a lost person mocking God’s preacher and grace doctrine. They prefer their works-religion. Or, it can be individuals who have already believed on Christ as personal Saviour, who hang on to the Law system as means for Christian living. They may even live like the world, quenching or putting out the influence of the Holy Spirit. As the old preacher said, “I went in the world and found the church, I went in the church and found the world!” Sadly, the Lord is often rejected even now….