Whose Appeal Do We Seek? #2

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).

Do we aim to please God—or men?

In John chapter 9, Christ healed a blind man, whom the unbelieving Pharisees subsequently persecuted: “[19] And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? [20] His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: [21] But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. [22] These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

As opposed to seeking man’s appeal, today’s Scripture exhorts us to be “approved unto God.” If we lack God’s approval, however, He considers us a “castaway:” “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Our service is unacceptable to the Lord who died for us and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:15). Having our fellow man’s applause, we are practically useless to our Saviour’s cause! Brethren, let us be mindful of the following passages.

“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free” (Ephesians 6:5-8). “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:22-24).

Whose Appeal Do We Seek? #1

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).

Do we aim to please God—or men?

A famous Christian musician once declared that, although he was not ashamed of his faith, he wished to create music with a “universal appeal.” Whether Christian, atheist, Buddhist, or whatever, he wanted all people to enjoy his songs. Another well-known Christian musician disliked his band being labeled “Christian” because that would discourage non-Christians from listening to their work. A celebrity Christian counselor once explained why his writings contained no Scripture verses. Had he included Bible references and quotes, his literature would have had a much smaller audience and his unsaved peers would have never endorsed him!

These are but a few examples of the pitfalls of Christian “fame.” While we might have started out with good intentions, increasing popularity causes us to run the risk of compromising the truth so as to continue “broadening our appeal.” Once endeavoring to draw people to behold the glory of God, we now seek to lure them to see the glory of self. The stigma of being an “outcast for Christ” is simply too much for us to bear. Hence, at the expense of the Lord’s approval, we strive to continue charming our fellow man! Unfortunately, doctrine means nothing to us at that point, for our goal now is to say and write whatever will grow our church, ministry, business, social life, and so on. We remember those striking words of Christ uttered so long ago, just as applicable today: “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).

Never should we forget the major thrust of John 12:42,43: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him [Christ Jesus]; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.Here is our choice, dear friends. We either love the praise of men, or we love the praise of God. It is impossible to seek both….

A Mobile Temple!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:19,20 KJV).

The temple of the Holy Ghost is mobile—legs enable it to relocate!

Recently, a dear Christian brother conveyed to me his distaste for a family gathering. Originally intended to be a birthday party, the get-together finally turned into a celebration of drunkenness. Deeply disturbed, he ultimately decided to leave; yet, some of his Christian relatives stayed behind.

Unfortunately, dear brethren, getting as far away as possible from these situations is really the only wise choice. Whether it is family members or friends (even professing believers!), we do not have to remain there and watch them “act the fool.” Neither is there a need for us to “cause a scene,” publicly condemning their activity and drawing attention to it. We can (and should) feel righteous anger—knowing the destructiveness of such behavior—but we are under no obligation to stay. We simply bid them “farewell” and quietly go our way.

Today’s Scripture is written to carnal, fleshly or worldly, saints. With great incredulity, the Apostle Paul commented on the Corinthians’ actions. “What?,” he opened the verse. In other words, “Huh? I do not believe it! Have you no spiritual understanding? Were you not paying attention when I taught you about grace living for several months? Did you not learn about Christian maturity and civility from me?”

According to the Bible, the Holy Ghost, the third Member of the Godhead, indwells us as members of the Church the Body of Christ. If He would not be comfortable in the situation, would it be appropriate for us to take Him, the indwelling Spirit of God, into it? No, it would not. Christian living is not selfish living. We should be walking in the will of God—and if we tread into a “sinful place,” we need to walk out quicker than we came in! Brethren, let us have the spiritual sense, the discernment, to leave behind any setting which is not compliant with the principles of grace!

Liberated to Serve

Saturday, July 4, 2020

“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 244th 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.

One Another

Wednesday, October 23, 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).

Grace living is living for othersnot for self.

A dear sister in Christ shared her distresses with me regarding appalling posts she had seen on social media from fellow “Christians” (?). The wife of a “grace” pastor wrote something highly inappropriate. On another website, the sister saw a video where members of another assembly acted like fools with their “contemporary Christian music.” Here, their pastor had joined them in the entertainment! Most disastrous!!!

It is lamentable, but Christians often have no one to blame but themselves when lost people refuse to hear them talk about the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures. Unsaved souls see right through hypocrisy—especially in places where “righteousness” is proclaimed loudly and proudly. We have far too many individuals in denominational churches—and that number, sadly, is growing among “grace” circles—engaging in flagrant (open!) misconduct. Have they no shame? The church members? Not even the preachers and teachers? No wonder the complaint is lodged (and certainly with merit): “You Christians use grace as a license to sin!”

In contrast to Judaism, Christianity is certainly not a list of “dos” and “don’ts.” Yet, 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 declares: “[1] Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. [2] For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. [3] For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: [4] That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; [5] Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: [6] That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. [7] For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.”

We are free in Christ—to serve others (not self!).

Days of Usefulness #5

Wednesday, July 10, 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?

Current average global human lifespan is between 70 and 80 years (women being the elder). Seventy years translate to 25,550 days or 613,200 hours; eighty years are 29,200 days or 700,800 hours. Here is the maximum amount of time most people have to serve the Lord on Earth. Unfortunately, much—usually all—of that is squandered. Decades spent seeking knowledge in philosophy, but the Bible is ignored. Lavish parties, exotic vacations, and pricey entertainment bought, and no lasting peace. Several marriages later, but they still look for happiness.

No, dear friends, we cannot revisit the past, we cannot undo mistakes, and we cannot reverse aging. We know it as well as Solomon. Yet, we have more Divine revelation than Israel’s wisest—and most foolish—king. If we have trusted Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins, then we are forgiven of all our sins: “God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32), “having forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians 2:13).

We are saved forever, justified eternally, bound for Heaven, but we will not be spared the earthly consequences of sins. Saints, never do we as members of the Body of Christ have to worry about going to Hell, the eternal penalty for sin. Yet, reckless earthly living will indeed pay off in this life: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:7,8). It is important to learn this fact now, especially as young people, before we age and find ourselves forced to deal with the outcomes of horrible decisions.

Dear readers, grow familiar with Romans through Philemon, the principles of grace, as soon as possible in life. Apply them to life by faith as much as possible. Reach as many young people with those truths as you can. You therefore maximize your days of usefulness… and their days of usefulness, too!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did Eli honor his sons more than he honor God?

Days of Usefulness #4

Tuesday, July 9, 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?

In one succinct rephrasing, aged Solomon thus recommends: “Before you waste your life like I did, let me tell you something important. While you are still young—before you grow old like I am now—do not forget your Creator. Before you engage in those ‘evil days,’ that prolonged period of ungodliness, I know firsthand it just simply is not worth it. It will be fun and thrilling, but it will also be transitory. At death, the appealing façade crumbles, and Satan’s evil world system is realized to be perpetually displeasing. There is nothing of eternal worth; it all amounts to zero.” Let us bring it up to our modern world.

How tragic it is to find an unsaved person, having lived for self for many decades, now old and debilitated. Drug and alcohol abuse have irreversibly damaged their bodies. Their energy is drained. Vision diminished, hearing nearly gone, crippled and bedridden, they finally trust Christ as their personal Saviour. Having a burning desire to serve the Lord, the physical strength just is not there as it was when they were serving sin. They find themselves quoting Solomon in today’s Scripture, repeating to defiant youth what they too learned “the hard way.” It is comparable to the phrase, “Yes, Mom and Dad knew better. They are gone, I am old, and now the younger generation ignores me as I disregarded my elders.”

Romans 1:25 is the core of Satan’s policy of evil: “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Here are Lucifer before he became Satan, Adam when he led man’s fall into sin, the nations at the Tower of Babel, Solomon in his final decades, the Antichrist, the unsaved billions today, and most Christians today (sadly). They live for self—the creature—at the expense of the Creator. Jesus Christ the Lord—the Creator—is snubbed. The days of evil present, the days of usefulness wasted….

Days of Usefulness #3

Monday, July 8, 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?

Long ago, he was a wise, young king (1 Kings chapter 3). However, he was not immune from sin. Making literally hundreds of terrible choices, Solomon fully aligned himself with Satan’s lie program—false religion (chapter 11). Now, in his final days, the Holy Spirit moves him to write Ecclesiastes. A parent desperately tries to reason with a rebellious child: “I have been there, I have done that, take my advice. Please do not do what I did!” Solomon warns those who are living for self (sIn!). These instructions carry significant weight in the prophetic program. Israel should resist the seduction of Antichrist and his “natural-man philosophy.” That evil world system exists now, tempting us to engage in ungodliness too.

Ecclesiastes documents man’s futile attempts to conduct his earthly life without following the Creator God. While this is atheism, agnosticism, and skepticism, it is also works-religion. As long as it is not God’s Word rightly divided, it is Satan’s lie program. With Antichrist, it will be pagan idolatry—not the absence of God but the replacement of God (Daniel 11:36-39; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12). Antichrist and his followers will be their own rulers, doing their pleasure while appearing religious. In the end, it will be dying Solomon—sorely disappointed because, after all those years of work, nothing of eternal value was produced!

Departing Solomon confessed (my paraphrase), “I learned philosophy but did not find meaning. I amassed great material wealth but did not find happiness. I toiled acquiring entertainment and other pleasures but found no lasting peace. I found religion but no hope.” See Ecclesiastes 12:8 (the context of today’s Scripture): “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.” “Worthlessness! Emptiness! I lived apart from the Creator God’s guidance for years. Here, this earthly sojourn is over. Now, I lose everything I have gained in this natural world. All my selfish efforts have profited me nothing. My physical body is falling apart, and I wasted so much precious time. Alas, I cannot return to my youth and redo life….”

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.

The Sins of the Times! #4

Sunday, March 10, 2019

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come (2 Timothy 3:1 KJV).

Friend, you have surely heard of “the signs of the times,” but do you know anything about “the sins of the times?”

Reading today’s Scripture in context once more: “[1] This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [2] For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, [3] Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, [4] Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; [5] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

Human society, not simply one nation but the whole world, will run rampant with the following 18 sins—self-centeredness, wanting others’ possessions, bragging, haughtiness, slandering other people and/or God, rebelling against parents, never being satisfied, not set apart for God’s purposes, void of expected love, refusing to get along with others, lying to harm others, lacking self-control, savagery, looking down on and hating Christians, betraying each other, making rash decisions and engaging in careless behavior, inflated with self-conceitedness, fonder more of entertainment than of God. What more can we say here? That is our morning newspaper. This is our nightly news report. Here is the homepage of our favorite news website!

As if such conditions are not awful enough, there is an eye-opening qualification in verse 5: “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Society will engage in those 18 sinful activities under the guise of “godliness.” They will have a religious or god-like appearance. While claiming to be doing right, championing their work as noble and “fair for all,” (false) religion provides the perfect cover for their duplicity. They call it “progress” and “breaking free from societal norms and old-fashioned thinking:” we can improve ourselves, they say, without God’s involvement. We can be our own god, and do our own thing in life. Let us make our own rules—decide what is right and what is wrong—since we have tossed out sound Bible doctrine….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “If God is everywhere, is He suffering in Hell?