Serving!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

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).

Without further delay, we need to be by love serving one another.

There is a prevailing myth about the Gospel of Grace. When we quote Colossians 2:13 about total forgiveness of all trespasses,” someone immediately opposes with, “Grace is a license to sin! If I had complete forgiveness of all sins, I would live any way I wanted to live!” Oh, dear friend, you were doing that quite well before you came to Christ, yes? You were living “any way” you wanted to live long before you heard the Gospel of Grace. Be not silly in suggesting then that you need grace to sin!

Father God set us free from sin, not for us to then place ourselves back under its bondage. Immediately after writing, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20), the Holy Spirit anticipated an objection. We hear that protest even today. The Spirit’s answer 2,000 years ago is valid now as it was then.

Romans chapter 6: “[1] What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? [2] God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? [3] Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. [5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. [7] For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Brethren, we are dead, crucified with Christ, risen with Christ, free from sin’s control. We do not have to serve sin! Now, we have been enabled to “serve God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9) and “by love serve one another” (today’s Scripture).

Selfless!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:3-5 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to live for the benefit of others, not ourselves.

“Sin” perfectly summarizes human nature: the middle letter of “sin” is “i” (also, “Lucifer” and “pride”). A sinner is, by nature, self-centered and self-willed. That is what makes human nature so drastically different from God’s nature. God’s whole controversy with man is that man does not live like He does: God designed man to reflect His life but man (namely, Adam) willfully chose to rebel and make a new lifestyle for himself and his ancestors, namely us (sinful living).

In stark contrast, as today’s Scripture indicates, Christian living is all about Christ living. How did He live on Earth? In total submission to His Heavenly Father’s will! Verses 6-8 capture His mentality: “[6] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: [7] But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: [8] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Romans chapter 15 amplifies: “[1] We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. [2] Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. [3] For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written [Psalm 69:9], The reproaches of them that reproached thee [Father God] fell on me [Jesus Christ].” Christ set aside His own desires and obeyed Father God’s will, all the way to the cross of Calvary (see Hebrews 10:4-13; cf. Matthew 26:39-44)!

When God Himself lived in human flesh, He was anything but selfish. Likewise, dear brethren, we follow Jesus Christ’s pattern—seeking the best interests of others, and not ourselves. “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth” (1 Corinthians 10:24).

Just Be Thankful!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

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 (Romans 1:21 KJV).

Drop the attitude; show some gratitude!

Turn on your television, read a newspaper, scroll through social media sites, talk with others. Everyone is “offended” about something—even the silliest of matters. Unable to keep their mouths shut and their pens down, they bicker, “This is outrageous,” “That is offensive!” We naturally crave such garbage information too. Professionals, parading as “reporters” and “journalists,” are paid enormous sums of money to rile up the public. Attention-seekers eagerly jabber incessantly about something blown way out of proportion. We hear about “my feelings,” “my body,” “my rights”—it is me, me, me, ME, MEEEEE. (How we also love to wallow in self-pity, friends!)

How did society wind up in such a wretched predicament? Today’s Scripture in context: “[18] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; [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.”

They first removed any thoughts about the Creator God. Never forget: when we refuse to think about God, when we reject His thoughts, He gives us over to our preferences (read to verse 32). That is how much the God the Bible loves free will. If you want empty thoughts and a foolish and darkened heart, have them (like most)!

Perhaps, though, just perhaps, you are not interested in being like everyone else. Great!!! Today’s Scripture says that God, not you, is God. Believe that. God is the most important Person in the universe—not you! Moreover, be thankful that He has given you life. Remember, He does not owe you anything! 🙂

Of God’s Own, We Give

Monday, October 23, 2017

Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee” (1 Chronicles 29:13,14 KJV).

What can King David teach us here?

In chapter 28, dying David assembled all the rulers of Israel for to deliver a speech; among them is Solomon his son and successor (verse 9). David purposed to build the LORD God a temple, but He forbad him because he was a “man of war” (verse 3). God has determined that Solomon will build the Temple, so David encourages Solomon and gives him the pattern God revealed to him (verses 5-13). Moreover, David has stockpiled building materials—the very best (verses 14-21)!

Chapter 29 is a continuation of David’s charges to Solomon. David has prepared silver, gold, brass, iron, wood, onyx stones, precious stones, and marble stones in abundance (verses 1-5). Moreover, “the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy” (verse 9).

Beginning in verse 10 and on into verse 19 (including today’s Scripture), David offers a humble prayer. Have they really done anything special for God in giving these supplies? No. As the Creator, He spoke those natural resources into existence… they were already His anyway! Yea, when He gave Israel victory over their enemies, the Jews gained such spoils/riches. Verse 16 says: “O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own.”

Today, how sad it is that sin causes many professing “Christians” to not give so much as one penny to the Lord’s work and ministry! This should not be, friends. If the Jews of old “with perfect heart… offered willingly”—with such joy—how much more we should gladly give today! “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Deflate Yourself and Edify Others #5

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth (1 Corinthians 8:1 KJV).

Ignorance can be very dangerous—knowledge can be equally detrimental!

First Corinthians chapter 8 closes with: “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” The Apostle Paul knew more rightly divided Scripture than any of us Christians alive today. He could have been “puffed up.” Nevertheless, he was meek, exercising “charity” to “edify” other believers.

Paul the Apostle, God’s “pattern” for us in the Dispensation of Grace, practiced what he preached. He was very careful not (NOT!, NOT!) to selfishly use his liberty under grace as an excuse to do anything and everything he wanted. If the action could potentially discourage another Christian and destroy his edification process, Paul said he would never (NEVER!, NEVER!) engage in the behavior. In the case of today’s Scripture, it was food offered to idols. Still, the principle of charity should guide every aspect of our Christian life.

Galatians 5:13 again: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Rather than being “puffed up” in knowledge, we should remember “charity edifieth” (today’s Scripture). Romans 14:19 says: “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” To “edify” means “to build up” or “strengthen” (as opposed to tearing down, “destroying”—Romans 14:15). The weaker brother needs strengthening rather than further weakening (1 Corinthians 8:9-12), and strengthening will result if the stronger brother sets the example of charity.

Pride is “the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6): it caused Lucifer to fall and become Satan. Satanic behavior does not belong in the Christian’s life. Galatians 5:22,23 tell us: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” The Spirit of God works in the believer to produce “meekness,” deflating the prideful soul. He also produces “love,” which leads to “charity,” which causes the “edification” of others! 🙂

Deflate Yourself and Edify Others #4

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth (1 Corinthians 8:1 KJV).

Ignorance can be very dangerous—knowledge can be equally detrimental!

Romans chapter 14 continues: “[15] But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. [16] Let not then your good be evil spoken of: [17] For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. [18] For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. [19] Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. [20] For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. [21] It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.”

The verse following today’s Scripture says: “And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.” A Christian who boasts in his knowledge of Scripture rightly divided actually does not “know it all.” While he may know some doctrine, he is ignorant of Christian charity (other Bible doctrine, that which epitomizes grace living—today’s Scripture). Verses 8,9: “But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.”

Love in action is the mature Christian (wisely) curtailing his liberties if those behaviors can be stumblingblocks to believers without knowledge. Through a Christian’s spiritual knowledge exercised without wisdom, however, a weaker believer’s Christian life will be negatively impacted. This is the “walkest thou not charitably” of Romans 14:15. First Corinthians 8:11,12: “And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.”

We conclude with Paul’s personal example….

Deflate Yourself and Edify Others #3

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth (1 Corinthians 8:1 KJV).

Ignorance can be very dangerous—knowledge can be equally detrimental!

Friends, there is yet one more reference in 1 Corinthians to “puffed up.” It was purposely withheld until now. Chapter 13, verse 4: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,….” Through the Apostle Paul, the Holy Spirit wrote an entire chapter dedicated to charity (love in action). All of chapter 13 dealt with this most critical part of Christian living, something so desperately lacking in the Corinthian assembly. Charity and pride are totally incompatible. Comparing this to today’s Scripture, we see two contrasts—fixated on ourselves, or looking out for others.

In the context of today’s Scripture, the question is if Christians should eat foods offered to idols. A knowledgeable saint—skilled in God’s Word rightly divided—would see the idol as nothing, powerless to contaminate the food. The food could be eaten. Unlike the Dispensation of Law (Exodus 34:12-17), the Dispensation of Grace lacks dietary restrictions (1 Timothy 4:1-5). But, there was something else to consider…. the weaker Christian! A believer ignorant of dispensational distinctions would be uncomfortable with the food. Without that internal edification of doctrine, the immature Christian would stare aghast at the stronger Christian consuming the food! The stronger Christian, though knowledgeable, would be unwise. Verbally and/or visually, he would castigate the weaker Christian—“I know more Scripture than you! I can eat this without harm!” (Oh really? He too was ignorant… and harm was inflicted….)

Romans chapter 14 had already said: “[13] Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. [14] I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. [15] But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.”

Behold, dear brethren, we have finally arrived at the “charity” of today’s Scripture….

Our two latest Bible Q&A articles: Can you explain Matthew 11:11?” and Can you explain Matthew 11:12?