The Leper #2

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them (Matthew 8:1-4 KJV).

Why is this part of the Holy Scriptures?

The Bible’s term “leprosy” refers to various infectious skin diseases caused by bacteria. While modern medicine knows of “Hansen’s disease” (something similar), it should not be confused with the condition in the Scripture. Leprosy was such a significant topic in ancient Israel that the Holy Spirit devoted 116 verses (!) to it in the Law of Moses (Leviticus chapters 13–14). If you study these lengthy, repulsive instructions, you will learn the complicated health laws God had implemented so as to diagnose, isolate, and treat lepers amongst the Jewish people. (We will return to Leviticus later.)

Having just delivered His monumental Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5–7), the principles or constitution of His coming kingdom, the Lord Jesus descends the mountain with large crowds trailing (today’s Scripture). A leper approaches Him, worships Him, and announces to Him: “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” In medical doctor Luke’s account (5:12), the man is “full of leprosy”—completely covered with sores, a truly hopeless case if there ever was one! Observe: it is notIf the Lord can heal” but “If the Lord is willing to heal.” Jesus’ power is unlimited, but has He chosen to exercise that infinite power to cure this leper’s infirm body? Today’s Scripture answers: “And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

The leper’s healing is not just a story for “little old ladies and children” to learn in Sunday School. Neither is it in the Holy Bible to “fill up space.” Nor is it present to authorize us to be silly in our religious fervor to perform “miracles, signs, and wonders.” Let us keep searching the Scriptures for light….

Our latest Bible Q&As: “Who are the ‘Samaritans?’” and “Why did Peter and John need to lay hands on the Samaritans for them to receive the Holy Ghost?

The Leper #1

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them (Matthew 8:1-4 KJV).

Why is this part of the Holy Scriptures?

Mark chapter 1 is the parallel: “[40] And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. [41] And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. [42] And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. [43] And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; [44] And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. [45] But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.”

Luke chapter 5 is analogous: “[12] And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. [13] And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. [14] And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. [15] But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.”

For the answer, we must compare verses….

Saved or Lost? #25

Sunday, September 25, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

They were really saved people, just thinking and acting like lost people. Such is still true of millions! Had God’s Word rightly divided actually been received and believed in the heart, we the Church the Body of Christ would be walking in God’s power and will: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

While the number of genuine Christians has always been low, the percentage of confused Christians has always been high. It is not that “Satan is so powerful,” but rather they have allowed his evil world system to place them into a mold of silly thoughts and unsightly deeds. The Holy Spirit wishes true believers in Christ heed His advice in Romans 12:1,2: “I beseech you therefore, brethren [Christians!!!], by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world [it can happen!!!]: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

We close with the following true story. Several years ago, I tried to prevent it but nevertheless witnessed it come to pass. It was the fall of my spiritual mentor, someone under whose ministry I trained for over a decade and whom I still love dearly in the Lord. The entire controversy was painful and devastating beyond words, but, lest I fall with that grace Christian leader, I had to separate from him because of his apostasy (willful doctrinal error and unapologetic dishonesty and treachery). Indeed, we will meet in Heaven and only then will we be restored to fellowship, two saved men whose ministries Satan’s evil world system targeted—one destroyed and the other still not immune from ruin!

-FINIS!-

Saved or Lost? #24

Saturday, September 24, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

The Apostle Paul’s last epistle (2 Timothy) communicates in chapter 4: “[1] I charge [instruct, order] thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; [2] Preach the word; be instant [ready, prepared] in season [convenient times], out of season [inconvenient times]; reprove [cause them to see], rebuke [criticize them], exhort [encourage, urge them] with all longsuffering [patience, put up with it, suffer it a long time!] and doctrine [teaching worth trusting].” Why?“[3] For the time will come when they will not endure [bear/tolerate/stomach] sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. [5] But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

By the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Timothy was (we are) to keep on with ministry (sound Bible teaching, Pauline, grace-oriented information), despite the prevalent doctrinal perversion and apostasy (forsaking the truth, whether in or out of churches). Saints, we should be willing to do what we can to reach confused Christians and confused non-Christians alike—and, yes, they are usually nearly impossible to distinguish from each other. I know it is easier to throw up our hands and give in, exclaiming, “This is just not worth it! No one wants to listen! We live in a hopelessly chaotic world! Let them all go to Hell in their ignorance!” Yet, the fact remains we have in sound Bible doctrine all the answers they need—and, if we escaped their errors, they can too… those few who want it. We should make special effort to be a light to them, if at all possible, particularly those who have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to believe.

Let us (finally) conclude this devotionals arc….

Saved or Lost? #23

Friday, September 23, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Scripture describes church leaders as God’s doorkeepers, watching over and guarding local assemblies from any and all error (re-read Acts 20:28-32!). If pastors, bishops, teachers, and preachers would believe and teach sound Bible doctrine (God’s Word rightly divided), false teaching (even non-rightly-divided verses) could be easily refuted. Neither these leaders nor their vulnerable congregants would be led astray.

Alas, for 20 centuries now, the professing church (especially its leadership) has paid almost no attention to the Lord’s special ministry through the Apostle Paul. Sure, they know of Paul, and a great many actually study and quote his writings, but nearly all people throughout church history have made Paul’s ministry a continuation of the 12 Apostles’ ministry, a mere commentator on “the church Jesus founded in Matthew to John,” an extension of the prophetic program, thereby hiding and destroying the very reason for Paul’s ministry (to operate the mystery program, separate and distinct from prophecy—to form the Church the Body of Christ, separate and distinct from the nation Israel).

For 2,000 years now, to Satan’s delight, we have wasted an unfathomable amount of time and energy teaching “another Jesus,” “another spirit,” and “another gospel” (2 Corinthians 11:3,4)—too willful and proud to change our course even up to this present hour. Behold, the dismal results! So many souls profess “belief in Christ,” but it is extremely difficult to discern who is a confused Christian (bound for Heaven, yet thinking like someone headed to Hell) and who is a confused non-Christian (bound for Hell, and lacking discernment to realize it).

Verily, verily, the Lord reads the hearts of all, and He knows the difference between a true (albeit misinformed) member of the Body of Christ and just some lost member of a counterfeit group. Brethren, we need to make sure we are walking in the spiritual light that we have, for, if we are grateful, we will gain more understanding concerning God’s will for us.

Let us (finally) summarize this devotionals arc….

Saved or Lost? #22

Thursday, September 22, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Re-read Acts 20:28-32, Paul counseling the church elders of Ephesus: Take heed [Watch out!!!! Beware!!!!] therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous [savage, merciless] wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

The Holy Spirit through Paul recognized the hazards were real. People not only outside the church—but inside it too—would seek its ruin. Individuals promoting sundry belief systems would corrupt God’s people, seducing them with foreign doctrines, splintering them into innumerable groups. Paul spent three years cautioning these Ephesian saints. Now bidding them farewell, he “commend[ed] [entrusted for safekeeping] [them] to God, and to the word of his grace,” for grace (Pauline) doctrine would keep them spiritually strong and fit to resist Satan’s lies. Remember, sound Bible doctrine “is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

Roughly six years later, as Paul awaits his martyrdom, he writes to Timothy in Ephesus. That epistle includes a horrible (!!) commentary: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me(2 Timothy 1:15). Christians in “Asia” (modern Turkey; included Galatia, Colosse, Antioch of Pisidia, Lystra, Derbe, Ephesus [!!!]—regions Paul’s ministry had reached for the last 35 [!] years) had predominately forsaken Paul. Yes indeed, the Church the Body of Christ was apostate (fallen from grace/Pauline truth) 20 (!) centuries (!) ago (!)….

Our three latest Bible Q&As: “What are ‘sheaves?,’” “Who or what is ‘Belial?,’” and “What is a ‘concord?’

Saved or Lost? #21

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Whether a Christian’s flesh or a non-Christian’s flesh, it is the same Adamic (sin) nature. Non-Christians cannot help but sin because that is their only nature. Contrariwise, we Christians have two natures, so it is our choice whether or not we will believe sound Bible doctrine in our heart: “[16] This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. [17] For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. [18] But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:16-18).

Saints, unless we walk according to the indwelling Holy Spirit’s present ministry (grace not law, the Lord’s words in the Apostle Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon!), we will be just as much outside of God’s will as non-Christians. Only when we have a renewed mind will we think like Father God has designed us in Christ to think.

The Holy Spirit through Paul counseled the elders of the Ephesian church in Acts chapter 20: “[28] Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. [29] For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. [30] Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. [31] Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. [32] And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

Now, let us fast-forward five or six years….

Saved or Lost? #20

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Considering the plethora of verses we have surveyed thus far, dear saints, it should not astound us when we receive news of yet another person abandoning sound Bible doctrine for an alternative “belief system.” It is entirely possible for genuine Christians to be deceived (today’s Scripture), for Satan’s lie program employs various schemes and scams that can fool even the most spiritual believer. If the “mightiest” Christian (extremely learned in Bible verses, such as a pastor or teacher) can fall, the unskilled/ignorant (most church members!) are even more liable to fall. Such a tragedy can easily come to pass.

Remember, even Satan’s ministers use Bible terms such as “Jesus,” “spirit,” and “gospel”—and 2 Corinthians 11:3,4 was warning believers in Corinth. Keep reading that context: “[13] For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. [14] And no marvel [surprise]; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. [15] Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” In fact, the Devil will encourage “righteousness”self-righteousness appearing to God’s righteousness because it is promoted in religious or “Christian” (HA!) church settings (where non-rightly Scripture is used, or church tradition entirely replaces Scripture).

The trickery is so extensive that those souls caught in the trap of 2 Timothy 2:26 will be most combative if we reach them with sound Bible doctrine. To admit Satan has confused them all along (and for so long) in church, is a horrifying thought (yes, I know all about that firsthand!), so they “cope” by remaining where they are (recall the king-turned-beggar happy where he is!) and dismissing you with the label of “narrowminded, fanatical, troublemaking church-splitter!” Mindful of this, Paul inquired rhetorically of the Galatians (4:16): Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”

Let us be on guard….

Saved or Lost? #19

Monday, September 19, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Once more, 2 Corinthians 11:3,4: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” We can talk about “the gospel” and yet not refer to Paul’s Gospel currently in effect.

Galatians 1:6-8: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed [avoided].” Comparing this to Acts 15:1-5, Galatians 4:21, Galatians 5:1-12, and Galatians 6:12-15; we realize a works-religion “gospel” message had misled the Galatians.

Paul preached the Gospel of Grace (“Christ died for your sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day”—1 Corinthians 15:3,4) to evangelize heathen Gentiles. Once Paul left those regions, “Judaizers” (Jewish denominationalists) would enter and confuse his grace converts with a performance-based acceptance system: “You need to be physically circumcised to gain God’s favor” (Biblical [Exodus 12:48] but not dispensational [according to Galatians chapters 4–6 cited above, inapplicable to us in this the Dispensation of Grace or Paul’s ministry]).

They cancelled Christ’s finished work on Calvary’s cross (grace) by “supplementing” it with man’s religious works (legalism). Today, we are not being pressured to embrace physical circumcision. Instead, religious tradition would have us believe water baptism, confession of sins, commandment-keeping, Sabbath Day observance, and tithing will “enhance” or “impart” eternal life and make God “happy” with us. Indeed, friends, the spiritual traps are everywhere….

Saved or Lost? #18

Sunday, September 18, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Second Corinthians 11:3,4 again: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” We can talk about “the spirit” and yet not refer to the Holy Spirit’s current ministry (Pauline doctrine).

Romans chapter 8: “[14] For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. [15] For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Fear is the Law’s motivation: “Obey God to get blessings, and disobey to receive curses” (Deuteronomy 28:1,2,15). However, the “spirit” or mental attitude (Ephesians 4:17-32, noting verse 23) the Holy Spirit imparts today is: “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Grace, not law, teaches us how to live (Titus 2:11,12). Sin will defeat us daily only if we make our performance (law) the issue; Christ’s finished crosswork (grace working in us) makes us righteous before Father God.

Now, Galatians 5:18: “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” The Spirit of God, or Holy Spirit, leads no (!) one (!) to be under a performance-based acceptance system today (“work for God to accept you”). Remember, the Galatians were thoroughly confused here (today’s Scripture), Paul therefore asking in verse 21, “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” That is, “Were you not paying attention when I taught you how Law and Grace are totally incompatible?!” (Read Galatians 4:22–5:26.) Two billion (!) church members, 20 centuries later, are still bumbling and fumbling and stumbling here….