Preach Not Jesus Christ?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

“Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ” (Matthew 16:20 KJV).

Did Jesus discourage us from witnessing to lost people?

Years ago, a pastor friend was out preaching the Gospel on his city’s street corners. A man approached him and foolishly said, “Preacher, the Bible says you should not be doing that! Jesus told His disciples that they should tell no man that He was Christ!”

It is a real shame that so many have so misconstrued God’s precious Word. Whenever convenient to quote and prove a denominational point, Scripture is used. Whenever Bible rejecters do not want to hear Christians quote Scripture to challenge them, they hastily quote it and use it against Christians (“Jesus said not to judge!”). When the Bible does not prove a denomination, it is ignored. When the scoffers run out of “Bible contradictions” to throw at the Christians, the scoffers just throw out the Bible altogether. Thank God for His grace, that He tolerates such disrespect. He is not mocked, friends. There is coming a day in which such fools will give account to the Lord Jesus Christ, the righteous Judge, for treating His words so carelessly and irreverently. What a dreadful day that will be!

When we rip today’s Scripture out of its context and use it to discourage evangelism, it is a most dastardly act. What sloppiness! If Jesus did not want His disciples to declare His “Christhood”/“Messiahship,” then why did the Holy Spirit empower them to preach that very message in Acts 2:38, Acts 3:6, Acts 3:18, Acts 4:10, et cetera? The Lord Jesus was not against His followers preaching His name to lost people. But, there came a point in His earthly ministry when that message was not to be preached to all of Israel. By the time of today’s Scripture, Jesus had already been demonstrating who He was to Israel for two years or more. They had so rejected Him that He did not waste His time anymore. He did not want His disciples to waste their time either. In the early Acts, Israel was given one final chance to trust Him. Of course, they still rejected Him. But, they heard plenty of “Jesus is Christ!”

*For more information, see our study, “Why did Jesus forbid others from preaching that He was Christ?

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How many daughters did Lot have?

Paul and Dispensationalism #6

Thursday, August 13, 2015

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

A preacher recently described his former days in Bible College. Students were to pick sides in the infamous “Paul-James debate,” better known as the “faith-without-works-versus-faith-plus-works clash.” There were those who would quote verses from Romans chapters 3 and 4 and then there were those who would cite verses from James chapter 2. The loser of the debate would be the one who ran out of verses to quote!

All religious absurdities aside, James chapter 2 is quite a simple passage. However, cults mindlessly quote James chapter 2 out of context. Before James wrote chapter 2, he wrote chapter 1, the key to grasping chapter 2! For example, James wrote, “to the twelve tribes scattered abroad, greeting…. The trying of your faith worketh patience” (1:1,3). Firstly, James is writing to the nation Israel, not us Gentiles! James would know more about his own epistle than today’s theologians and ecclesiastical leaders, yes? Secondly, James is encouraging believing Israel in their “trial of their faith.” They are being tested. Satan’s evil world system (the Antichrist) is tempting believing Israel to follow him. In chapter 2, James tells Israel to follow believing Father Abraham, to have works that demonstrate their salvation (verses 14-26).

Paul, however, writes to us Gentiles (Romans 11:13). We are under grace, not law (today’s Scripture). Fellowship with God today is not dependent on our performance—it is Jesus Christ’s performance at Calvary. Romans through Philemon never tell us we must work to be saved or to prove our salvation. Israel must demonstrate her faith with works, but we are under no such requirements in our Dispensation of Grace. It is important that we get this, for if we place ourselves under law, sin will dominate our lives. However, if we understand how the grace life begins (Romans chapters 3-5), how it operates (Romans chapters 6-8), and what it looks like (Romans chapters 12-16), we will not fall prey to legalism. We will not mix law and grace as the Galatians did. Pauline dispensationalism spares us from misery, frustration, and defeat!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did God ‘testify’ of Abel’s gifts?

Paul and Dispensationalism #3

Monday, August 10, 2015

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (Romans 11:25-27 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

Romans chapters 9-11 are a special section of Paul’s epistles—they examine Israel’s past (9), present (10), and future (11) from a dispensational perspective.

Chapter 9 outlines Israel’s rebellion against JEHOVAH God from the very beginning, culminating at Christ’s crucifixion on Calvary, but God preserved a believing remnant, the Little Flock, within the nation. Israel’s program (the wrath and kingdom) is still delayed so our mystery program can operate. Chapter 10 describes how Israel is rebelling against God during the Acts period, how they are persecuting Paul and contradicting his preaching. A small remnant of Jews is listening to Paul and believing his Gospel of Grace, thereby escaping apostate Israel and joining the Body of Christ. Chapter 11 predicts after God closes our Dispensation of Grace and cuts off Gentile access to Him apart from Israel, Israel’s program will recommence and Israel’s Little Flock will be restarted. We come to today’s Scripture.

Paul does not want us to be wise in our own conceits. He does not want us to think we are someone we are not. Contrary to church tradition, we are not Israel, we have not replaced Israel, and we are not an extension of Israel’s program! Israel is currently blinded. “The fulness of the Gentiles”—the completion of the Church the Body of Christ—must occur, and until it does, national Israel will not be saved. That Second Coming of Jesus Christ, as well as that New Covenant to cleanse Israel, will continue to be delayed. Israel will be saved one day, just not today. Prophecy will restart, just not today. Wrath will come, just not today. Today is the Dispensation of the Grace of God!

Manipulating Moses to Murder Messiah #4

Sunday, May 31, 2015

“And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers” (Acts 3:17 KJV).

How could Israel have been so blind in rejecting Jesus as Messiah, One who fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies?

Israel knew they were killing the Lord Jesus. It was great spiritual insanity. When God opened our Dispensation of Grace in Acts chapter 9, a twofold benefit arose. Firstly, the Gentiles whom God had consigned to Satan could now be saved by Jesus’ finished crosswork. Secondly, the Jews who were still in unbelief—the very ones who deliberately killed Jesus Christ—could also be saved by simple faith in Calvary’s crosswork. Saul of Tarsus was in the latter group.

Upon meeting the ascended Lord outside Damascus, Saul realized and trusted Jesus Christ’s righteousness and he forgot all about his foolishness in works-religion. God certainly came back in Acts chapter 9, not to pour out His wrath, but to pour out His grace and start the Church the Body of Christ! The leader of the world’s rebellion against Jesus Christ, Saul, the one who mercilessly imprisoned and slaughtered God’s Messianic Jews, Saul, was now saved unto eternal life.

Decades later, Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15,16: “[15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

If God saved such a rebel as Saul of Tarsus, a wicked and bloodthirsty theologian, there is no person “too far gone” in unbelief and sin, whom God cannot save in a literal heartbeat today. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound(Romans 5:20). For nearly 2,000 years, God has offered salvation freely to all, Jew and Gentile alike, by His grace through simple faith in Jesus Christ’s shed blood for our sins, death, burial, and resurrection. The Gospel of the Grace of God, the heart of the Dispensation of the Grace of God, is the only way we can approach Almighty God today!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did Satan ‘hinder’ Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:18?

Kooks for Christ

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake (Matthew 5:11 KJV).

Are you a “kook for Christ?” Happy are ye!

Satan is a very shrewd enemy, having perfected his strategy for 6,000 years. Equipped with above-human intelligence and practice with mankind during all those millennia, he knows us better than we know ourselves. If he is unsuccessful in attacking the message (if he cannot entice us to corrupt/change God’s Word), then he will focus on us—attack us and discourage us, to discredit us, to force us to quit.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians that, like he and the other apostles suffered for Jesus Christ, they too should be willing to do so: “[9] For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. [10] We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised” (1 Corinthians 4:9,10).

Our Lord Jesus said to His Jewish disciples in today’s Scripture: “[11] Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. [12] Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:11,12). Jesus reminded them that, like all the saints of old, they too would suffer because of Him. Yet, God would not overlook their suffering; He Himself would reward them in due time.

When people give us bizarre looks for preaching the pure Word of God, call us evil names, think of us as crazy, physically attack us, we should be thrilled to suffer for Jesus Christ. What an honor! Even when professing Christians side against us by allying with lost people, we need not be bothered or discouraged. As a dear Christian friend and brother in the ministry says, “I would rather be a ‘fool’ for Christ, than an idiot for the Devil!” 🙂

Faith During Life’s Storms #5

Sunday, September 7, 2014

“And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm” (Matthew 8:25,26 KJV).

Like Israel learned in today’s Scripture, we too must realize to trust the Lord Jesus Christ when “the storms of life” batter us.

Jesus was sleeping in the ship when the storm struck. He had a pillow and was very comfortable when His panicking disciples awoke Him seeking salvation from their impending deaths. He asked where was their faith, why they were so fearful—their actions were irrational. Remember, there was no way on earth that He would allow a ship to sink if He Himself was on that ship! Some 2,000 years earlier He had been on Noah’s ark: our King James Bible testifies that the Lord told Noah and his family to “come” into ark (Genesis 7:1 means JEHOVAH was in Noah’s ark). Thus, neither the ship of today’s Scripture nor Noah’s ark was wrecked.

While the first part of the seven-year Tribulation will not be peaceful, it is compared to the latter! Believing Israel will come under intense persecution, even facing the death penalty for following Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:17-42). “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

Once the Antichrist betrays Israel’s trust halfway through those seven years, his attitude will change. As the calm waters of the Sea of Galilee instantly transformed into a raging storm, so the trouble for the Messianic Jews will begin. No problem, for JEHOVAH Jesus has promised to bring them through those awful times, to bring them to the other side, their Millennial Kingdom (Jeremiah 30:7; Zechariah 13:8,9; cf. Isaiah 28:14-22; Isaiah 65:17-25; Ezekiel 36:16-38)! Believing Israel just needs to trust God’s Word to them.

Let us now dedicate a few studies to learning how today’s Scripture can be beneficial to us in this the Dispensation of Grace….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘the fellowship of the mystery?’”

Final Arrangements #2

Saturday, December 14, 2013

“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12 KJV).

When all of life is over, all of life has just begun, so when all of life is over, be sure you have the Son!

In verse 11, we read, “And this is the record [testimony], that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” Unbroken fellowship with the God of heaven is in His Son, Jesus Christ, who defined “life eternal” as knowing God the Father and the Son (Himself), whom the Father sent (John 17:3). The “life” of today’s Scripture is not living in general (even non-Christians are alive!), but eternal life.” Furthermore, “eternal life” is not simply living forever, but living forever fellowshipping with God and His Son Jesus Christ! Fascinatingly, the Apostle John wrote that he and all the other Jewish believers who saw Jesus living in His physical body (His earthly ministry) literally saw God’s life, and they also partook of that eternal life (1 John 1:1-3)!

When one places faith in and relies exclusively on the death, shed blood, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for his or her sins, one receives eternal life now (rather than dying and getting it in heaven). One enjoys this eternal life by studying God’s Word rightly divided, discovering Him and what He is doing.

James likened the human life to “a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (4:14). Our physical bodies exist for “a little time,” and then they “perish” (2 Corinthians 4:16). However, our inner man (soul and spirit) will live forever—believers dwelling in God’s presence (Psalm 23:6; Ephesians 2:6,7 cf. Ephesians 3:21) and lost people dwelling in torments in God’s absence (Isaiah 66:24; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 14:9-11).

This life will end one day, but the next life will begin: we will continue to exist as a soul and a spirit. May we trust Jesus Christ alone as Saviour now, that we may have eternal life now, and not experience life in eternity apart from God’s life, for that godless life is no “life” at all!