Unity in Diversity

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal (1 Corinthians 12:4-7 KJV).

Despite the diversity in the Church the Body of Christ, behold the unity in the Church the Body of Christ!

The Corinthians were carnal, fleshly, selfish saints who were guilty of infighting (1 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Corinthians 3:1-3). They had to be taught a lengthy lesson on charity, love in action (1 Corinthians chapter 13). At that time when God the Holy Spirit was still giving out spiritual gifts, the Corinthians used their “gifts” to help themselves and draw attention to themselves. However the Holy Spirit was being revealed to them was not a time for them individually to profit. Ministry at the local assembly was not for them to seek their own good but rather the advancement of those around them.

We should never view ministry as a competition between ourselves and other believers in Christ. If sound Bible doctrine, or grace, is working in us, and sound Bible doctrine is working in them, then we are working to the same end. There should be no envy, as it is the same Holy Spirit. The only reason we would feel covetous is if we were under the impression that it was all about us. We still have so much to learn about grace if we think that the Bible is all about us. We still have so much to learn about the Bible if we think that ministry is all about us. It is (should be) all about the Lord Jesus Christ!

Yes, we all play our own little part, our own unique role, in Father God’s grand scheme of things. He does not need us to participate but He does want us. He does not force us but He does invite us. If we do not have the right attitude, then it is best for us not to get involved in ministry at all. It will do far more damage than good. Saints, despite our diversity, we have unity in Jesus Christ!

To Help a Brother

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother (Deuteronomy 22:1 KJV).

Behold, the standard of selflessness!

While we are certainly under Grace and not the Mosaic Law (Romans 6:14,15), we do not throw away the non-Pauline Scriptures. We study all 66 Bible Books, Genesis through Revelation, for “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). On whatever topics God the Spirit is silent in Paul’s writings, Romans through Philemon, we can and should seek advice elsewhere in the Bible. As an illustration, take today’s Scripture. It does not contradict Pauline doctrine but rather complements it (cf. Galatians 6:10; Romans 12:9,10).

Read today’s Scripture in context: “[1] Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother. [2] And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again. [3] In like manner shalt thou do with his ass [donkey]; and so shalt thou do with his raiment [clothing]; and with all lost thing of thy brother’s, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself. [4] Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.”

Interestingly, the Lord Jesus took verse 4 and made an application in Matthew 12:11 to expose “Sabbath-worshippers” (not Jehovah God-worshippers) as the heartless, rigid, self-centered religionists that they were. Whether God through Moses, or God through Paul, we learn, “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth” (1 Corinthians 10:24). If we follow the God of the Bible, self-regard will not be true of us! 🙂

An Enjoyable Marriage

Friday, August 10, 2018

“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones” (Ephesians 5:28-30 KJV).

What is God’s idea of a perfect marriage?

Some Christian friends—a husband and wife—are currently miserable. The woman is far away visiting family, but her husband could not travel and thus stayed home. Now, she is concerned because he is “going crazy” without her. Even though they speak via phone, he is still so sad. Having been married for 16 years, and rarely apart, such separation (even for a few days) is nerve-racking. How he loves her, and she, of course, loves him. This is quite appropriate (cf. today’s Scripture).

It is quite unfortunate, but it is no secret. Some people literally leap and shout for joy when their spouses go away on trips. Retirement can be a nightmare for the other partner! Such a “sweet, lovey-dovey couple” on the wedding day may wind up a “bitter, cruel couple” at divorce court the very next! Think of a poor lady who hated the idea of going to Heaven if her husband would be there!

Saints, you can have “a marriage made in Heaven”—one that glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. There can be love, joy, peace, and pleasure. Someone once rightly stated, “Marriage is the highest halls of human happiness.” Yet, such relationships are few and far between… remarkably few (!!) and extremely far between!! How awful it is, but it must be repeated. There can be “a marriage from Hell” too, and habitual selfishness is the speediest route to get there!

Marriage is not a competition between both parties but rather an alliance Satan is constantly attempting to abolish. The husband, as the spiritual head, guards by taking the lead. If the Holy Spirit controls the husband, the wife (also led by the Holy Spirit) will follow him. The husband initiates the faith, love, stability, and so on. Conversely, if he is not leading, the marriage will eventually collapse. “Holy matrimony” will become “hellish matrimony.” Friends, you have been warned!!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is there a geographical error in 2 Kings 2:2?

Liberated to Serve

Wednesday, July 4, 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).

Today, as we in the United States celebrate the 242nd 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.

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! 🙂