Moderation as Preparation #3

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:5 KJV).

Friend, are you ready for the Lord’s return? Today’s Scripture says you should be!

Christ’s coming is associated with our “moderation,” our avoidance of excess or extremes. That is, we are in control of our behavior; we are not acting wildly. Instead, we allow the Holy Spirit to govern us so we conform to sound Bible doctrine. “Moderation” in Greek is “epieikes.” Our King James translators rendered it elsewhere in the following ways.

The bishop must be “not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient [epieikes], not a brawler, not covetous” (1 Timothy 3:3). Christians are urged, “…speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle [epieikes], shewing all meekness unto all men” (Titus 3:2). “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle [epieikes], and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17). “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle [epieikes], but also to the froward” (1 Peter 2:18).

How often we believers cry out for His return, but are we prepared to meet Him? If He were to come back this very moment, would we be ashamed of our activities? Are we about the work of His ministry, or our ministry? Have we been walking/running in wisdom, or swaggering/staggering in foolishness (Ephesians 4:17–6:20)? Would He find us living in moderation,” or, like the Philippians, engaging in immoderation? Either way, lost people are watching us. Today’s Scripture therefore encourages us, Let your moderation be known unto all men.” In addition to the testimony of His truth that we display before the unsaved world, we remember the Lord Jesus at the Rapture could be just seconds from arrival! “The Lord is at hand.”

Christ said of believing Israel awaiting His Second Coming: “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” (Matthew 24:44-46). Likewise, let us be faithful and wise! 🙂

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “Who was more responsible for Jesus’ death, the Jews or the Romans?” and “If they were fulfilling Bible prophecy, how are Christ’s murderers culpable of wrongdoing?

Moderation as Preparation #2

Monday, March 8, 2021

“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:5 KJV).

Friend, are you ready for the Lord’s return? Today’s Scripture says you should be!

We want to look at two specific passages from the Book of Philippians. Firstly, we go to chapter 1: “[27] Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; [28] And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.”

Secondly, read from chapter 4, with today’s Scripture in context: “[1] Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. [2] I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. [3] And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. [4] Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. [5] Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.”

The primary weakness of the church at Philippi was its trivial infighting or petty quarreling. Two particular sisters in Christ, Euodias and Syntyche, just did not get along with each other. The nature of their disagreement is never disclosed in Scripture. Whatever the case, the Lord’s ministry suffered greatly. Moreover, even with bishops and deacons (1:1), the Philippians had not addressed and corrected the matter. Christians at Philippi being distracted with this fleshly nonsense could not focus on sound Bible doctrine. Such improper thinking was so unfortunate and destructive that the Holy Spirit through Paul issued today’s Scripture: “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” We want to draw our attention to that term “moderation,” and how it will prepare us for the Lord’s return when He does in fact come for us….

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #24

Monday, February 1, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

Talk with Americans who have lived several decades. Those over age 60 have a greater context with which to compare social changes of recent years. For instance, I once spoke with a family member nearly 100 years old. She just could not fathom the news she was hearing in her final months here. The world she left at death was far worse than the world in which she arrived at birth. However, it does not bother those ages 40 to 60 to that extent, because the transition to this “new” culture began early in their generation. Those between ages 20 and 40 are even more deadened to society’s downward spiral because the transition encompassed their whole generation; some older members such as me (30-40 years) saw the fleeting moments of the old culture. The transition now complete, anyone under 20 years old has known nothing but the “new” culture, so they are most anesthetized. They did not even witness a glimpse of the world their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents knew.

Read 2 Timothy chapter 3: “[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 [insatiable, cannot be pleased], false accusers, incontinent [no self-control], fierce [violent, aggressive], despisers of those that are good, [4] Traitors, heady [rash, impulsive], highminded [conceited, arrogant], lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; [5] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Is this not today’s news?!

What people find most disturbing is how the “religious” and “Christian” United States could go down this dreadful path. How could we become so anti-God, and be proud of it? So anti-Bible, and flaunt it? So anti-Christian, and revel in it? The answer to these “riddles” has already been provided in Scripture. We just read it, but let us re-read it with analysis….

Our latest Bible Q&As: “Who were the ‘chief priests?’,” “What was the Sanhedrin?,” and “Who were the “elders?’

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #6

Thursday, January 14, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

As sin found out and fractured in twain Adam and Eve, so it did their sons Cain and Abel. Chapter 4 of Genesis: “[1] And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. [2] And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. [3] And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. [4] And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: [5] But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

“[6] And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? [7] If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. [8] And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. [9] And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? [10] And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.”

Abel, a man of faith, offered a blood sacrifice as God commanded (cf. Hebrews 11:4). His brother Cain, however, was evil and unbelieving, offering the fruit of his hands. Their religious argument resulted in Cain hating and murdering Abel (1 John 3:11-13)! Sin (fratricide) has found out and fractured in twain the home….

The Prince of Peace, Born in the Middle East

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 KJV).

Ironically, God’s wisdom ordained the birthplace of the Prince of Peace to be the contentious Middle East….

Almost from the very beginning of time, the Middle East has been a battleground, the chief war zone of good and evil. Originally the peaceful home of Adam and Eve, today it is the most contentious region on the globe. Because of Adam’s sin, what was a paradise is now known as the area where man joined Satan in his rebellion against God. Adam and Eve utterly failed to reign over the earth for God’s glory (Genesis 1:26-28). Instead they united with the opposition, and were banished from God’s presence and the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:23,24).

“Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin” (Romans 5:12). Verse 14 says that Adam “is the figure of him that was to come.” God would send another Man, Jesus Christ, and He would accomplish what Adam failed to do: glorify God on the earth by dispossessing it from Satan, and reigning in righteousness. This is the “government” spoken of in today’s Scripture.

“For if by one man’s [Adam’s] offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ” (verse 17). Adam plunged the human race into sin and made it God’s enemy; Jesus Christ offers mankind eternal life, forgiveness of sins and a reconciled relationship with God! This was God’s goal in sending Jesus Christ.

As our world desperately continues to seek peace, let us remember there will be no peace on earth until the Prince of Peace returns to His nation, Israel, and rids our planet of Satan and his policy of evil (the root of the Middle Eastern turmoil). At Christ’s Second Coming, there will be peace on earth (Luke 2:14), and especially in the Middle East.

Upside Down #2

Saturday, November 28, 2020

“But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus” (Acts 17:5-7 KJV).

Is society right side up, or upside down? It all depends on our perspective!

Carefully consider these two scenarios. If we are upside down, then what appears “upside down” to us is actually right side up, and what seems “right side up” to us is really upside down. Once we see things for what they really are though—and not what we assume them to be—then we can proceed to addressing our world’s problems. While our hearts deceive us into thinking we can fare without God, the truth is we cannot.

Read Romans 1:18-32, Ephesians 4:17-19, and 2 Timothy 3:1-5. The Bible—especially that Romans passage—describes terrible conditions that resulted because man departed from God’s revelation to him. The Lord gave the nations over to Satan because that was their preference. “[T]urn from these vanities [idols] unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways” (Acts 14:15,16). Read Acts 17:22-31 as well.

Yet, through the Apostle Paul’s ministry and message, the Lord Jesus Christ reaches out to the heathen (nations), to rescue them from their upside-down world (a world that looks right-side up to them). Sinful hearts view the transformation as detrimental—and it most certainly is to those who desire to retain their darkness and ignorance. Applying renewed minds, we Christians share the Gospel of God’s Grace (1 Corinthians 15:3,4) with this lost and dying world, that they may come to see they are really upside down and only the Lord can turn them right side up!

NOTE: Brethren, this is our final original devotional for 2020. Now we begin our classic Christmas studies—and they will run until after New Year’s.

Upside Down #1

Friday, November 27, 2020

“But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus” (Acts 17:5-7 KJV).

Is society right side up, or upside down? It all depends on our perspective!

A Christian brother and longtime coworker in ministry recently told me, “We live in a mixed-up world!” Satan and sinful man have made a real mess of God’s once-perfect creation. What was originally order is now chaos; complicated situations and circumstances have replaced simple ones. An easy life of pleasure has given way to difficulties and pain. Darkness has taken the place of light.

The really absurd part is that man’s heart has deceived him to such a degree he actually believes he can make the world a better place (cf. Jeremiah 17:9). In fact, one group suggests our reformation of the planet will entice Jesus Christ to return and live down here with us. The fact of the matter is, however, things are not improving, are they? Confusion and corruption are becoming more widespread. Churches are split. Families are divided. Nations are fragmented.

Back in the A.D. first century, the Apostles’ time, the Roman Empire was the world government. Christianity, while deemed an “illegal religion,” was mightily used of God to bring spiritual enlightenment to abject pagans. Still, like today, many were comfortable in their ignorance. Thus, they bitterly fought against the truth. In today’s Scripture, unbelieving Jews accused the Apostle Paul and his ministry co-laborer Silas of “turn[ing] the world upside down” with their “nonsensical” Gospel message. Heathens were trusting Jesus Christ, breaking free from all the “societal norms,” and enjoying new (sanctified) lifestyles. What lost people had labeled “turning the world upside down” was really the Lord “turning the world right side up….”

A Lost Generation! #10

Thursday, June 11, 2020

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).

What this “lost” generation needs is to be found!

Although desperately needed, societal reform will not result from mere external changes. Remove all weapons from every hand, and incarcerate all people everywhere, and humanity will still manage to destroy itself. It is a spiritual matter, not simply physical. Man must receive a new nature, a new heart, and that only happens in Christ. Thus, a clear Gospel message must be preached and believed.

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again…. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15,17).

People do not get along with each other because they are naturally sinners (James 4:1), and sinners are naturally selfish (they “live unto themselves”). If, however, they believe the Gospel of the Grace of God, then they are placed “in Christ,” and become a “new creature,” possessing a new identity. They assume Jesus Christ’s identity, thereby able to think and act like Him—selflessly, seeking another’s benefit (Philippians 2:5-8). “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). He died for us, unselfishly! Now, His love for us can work in us, and we thus love and serve others.

Make no mistake, worldwide societal revival will come when Christ returns: “And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations” (Isaiah 25:7). One day, God’s light will illuminate the whole world currently in Satan’s darkness. Until then, brethren, we preach the Gospel of Grace, brightly shining forth to call sinners out of this present evil world!

The Greatest War Hero

Monday, May 25, 2020

“For God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).

In the United States, today is Memorial Day, when we remember those who sacrificed their time and lives to provide our physical freedom. Likewise, as Christians, we have spiritual freedom, which was more costly. Someone had to die to give us the eternal life we now enjoy….

Scripture describes a spiritual warfare between good and evil, God’s truth program versus Satan’s lie program: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:11,12; see also verses 13-20).

Satan distracts mankind from God’s pure Word, the Bible, keeping unbelievers lost (dead in their sins), and preventing unbelievers and Christians from knowing God’s will. The devil draws them away (seduces them) from God’s Word by using religious tradition and human “wisdom” (1 Timothy 4:1-3; cf. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Galatians 3:1-3).

God loves us, so at Calvary’s cross, Christ fought for us sinners, died in battle (today’s Scripture), shed His divine sinless blood, and eternally rescued us from Satan and sin: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15).

Hebrews 9:12 says Jesus Christ has “obtained eternal redemption for us.”

If we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). Now, God can use us for His glory for all eternity.

Beloved, let us rejoice in our victory over sin, death, and hell that Jesus Christ secured for us by going to Calvary’s rugged cross! Jesus Christ is now alive forevermore—He is our Hero, the Greatest Hero!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study “The Greatest Hero,” which can be read here or watched here.

Sin Divides #13

Thursday, February 13, 2020

“Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house” (Micah 7:5,6 KJV).

In religious circles, it is frequently bemoaned, “Doctrine divides! Doctrine divides! We should throw away ‘doctrine’ and just assemble around ‘love!’” Today’s Scripture and its context expose that dictum for the utter foolhardiness that it really is….

Doctrine does not divide; doctrine is not the problem. Sin divides; sin is the problem. False doctrine resulting from sin is to blame. True, if we gather around mere sentiments—so-called “love” instead of sound Bible doctrine—we have a semblance of harmony. Alas, such human efforts will not successfully substitute true unity (God’s life). That shallowness will eventually fail because true love—God’s life—is absent. Unless we maintain sound Bible doctrine, we can never have meaningful, permanent concord!

We do not create harmony using “love.” Genuine love—seeking another person’s highest good—is accomplished via sound Bible doctrine. Once we trust the doctrine that defines Almighty God’s life, then we experience in and among ourselves the selflessness that exists among the Members of the Godhead. Looking at Calvary, we see God’s love for us: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Do you appreciate the unselfishness here? The sinless Son of God dying a cruel death to pay for ournot His!—sins? Nowhere else will we find such self-sacrifice! “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

When we trust the Gospel of the Grace of God, then God the Holy Spirit will create in us His nature and attitude. Here is how man gets along with fellow man—and woman! “Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me” (Micah 7:7—the verse following today’s Scripture). While sin has caused divisions in Israel, Micah understood that the LORD would take care of it! 🙂