An Ambassador Turns 30!

🎂 Tuesday, August 7, 2018 🎂 

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word (Psalm 119:9 KJV).

Age 30 is highly significant in Scripture—and also quite striking today!!

Joseph was 30 years old when he began to serve Pharaoh King of Egypt (Genesis 41:46). JEHOVAH God selected David to become King of Israel at age 30 (2 Samuel 5:4). A Levitical priest, a son of Aaron (Moses’s brother), was to be ordained into the ministry at 30 years old and serve until 50 years old (Numbers 4:3,23,30,35,39,43,47). Evidently, the LORD God commissioned the Prophet Ezekiel at age 30 (Ezekiel 1:1). Lastly, the Lord Jesus Christ began His earthly ministry at approximately 30 years old (Luke 3:23).

What have I learned in my 30 “short” years alive? I have learned to focus more on the eternal and less on the temporal—there is more (much, MUCH more!) to life than what we see with physical eyes! I have learned not to trust sinners such as myself—I trust Christ in people, not people! I have learned more about my Saviour Jesus Christ and His Word than I ever dreamed, and all because I have learned to approach the Holy Bible dispensationally. There is so much I still do not know, so I am constantly studying to continue learning.

I have now entered my fourth decade of earthly living—the most important. Hopefully, our Grace Study Bible Project will be completed within this decade. My 30s will bring many new life changes and experiences, but God’s grace teaches me how to keep walking. A “young man”“man” is generic for male or female—purifies his “way,” his course of thinking and living, by listening carefully to God’s Word (today’s Scripture). Whatever life situations he faces, any decisions he must make therein, the Holy Bible affords him light and understanding. Whether we are young, or old(er), “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130). Then, we, as “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20), share that information with all who want to hear and believe as well! 🙂

P.S.: The age of 50 years is also an important Bible concept—and if I am around here in 20 years, we will have an appropriate study!! 🙂

The Work of the Ministry #6

Saturday, June 30, 2018

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

Ministry—what “work” it is!

Only one Man in ministry never had any trouble in dealing with the flesh. The God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, faithfully and tirelessly served Father God without fail. He said, “My meat [food] is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work(John 4:34). The Lord Jesus knew His purpose. Unlike so many Christians today, He did not aimlessly wander and wonder what Father God would have Him do in His life and ministry. He took the Old Testament Scriptures, found God’s words to and about His earthly ministry, and worked in accordance with them (Luke 4:16-21 cf. Isaiah 61:1-2; Matthew 8:16-17 cf. Isaiah 53:6; Matthew 12:15-21 cf. Isaiah 42:1-4; Mark 12:10-11 cf. Psalm 118:22-23; et al.).

“But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work (John 5:17). “But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me” (verse 36). I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).

The night before His crucifixion, Christ prayed to the Holy Father: “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me” (John 17:4,6,8). What work did Father God give His Son Jesus Christ? Heavenly Father wanted His Son to give (teach) His Word to His people. Jesus Christ did exactly that, “the work of the ministry!”

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘shamefacedness?’

Perfecting #2

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

What does “perfecting” mean here?

The Lord Jesus has just begun His public ministry. Walking by the Sea of Galilee, He sees some familiar entrepreneurs. Out of His 12 disciples—later called “apostles” (Matthew 10:1-8)—four were fishermen. They were Simon Peter and his brother Andrew (Matthew 4:18-20), and James and John the sons of Zebedee (verses 21,22). Notice what James and John were doing when Jesus called them in Matthew 4:21, “And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them” (cf. Mark 1:19).

Fishing nets, obviously handmade in those days, were crude. They also endured a lot of abuse. Constantly wet or underwater, the heavy fish violently thrashing against and stressing the knots, and rocks cutting and fraying the ropes, the nets were deficient and thus needed “mending.” Fishermen could not perform their task without intact webbings. Something was lacking in those nets, so James and John were patching them. What could this have to do with today’s Scripture?

The Greek word rendered “perfecting” in today’s Scripture appears that sole time in the King James Bible’s underlying text. It is “katartismos,” derived from “katartidzo.” “Katartidzo” is the word our 1611 scholars translated “mending” in Matthew 4:21 and Mark 1:19. This is what God intends the local church to accomplish.

At the time Paul the Apostle wrote Ephesians 4:11, the giving of spiritual gifts had passed (very few notice this most important detail but it will be brought to your attention here). Jesus Christ “gave”not “is giving,” “will give,” “may give,” “has been giving,” et cetera—those spiritual gifts. The action is past tense. Those spiritual gifts were to “perfect” the saints. Something was missing in these people, and God would supply the tools and materials needed to complete the task. In light of the verses we have just discussed, we see that Ephesians 4:12 is really describing a repairing process….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did the Lord Jesus tell parables?

Two Rocks #8

Sunday, June 10, 2018

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges (Deuteronomy 32:31 KJV).

There are two rocks in Scripture—one good and one bad. Friend, which is your foundation?

Hebrews chapter 3 reveals that God sees Israel as two houses overall: “[1] Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; [2] Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. [3] For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. [4] For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. [5] And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; [6] But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”

One house is historical: Israel under the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Law, a “weak and beggarly” system (Galatians 4:9) because Israel was a nation of sinners always falling short of God’s righteous standards (Hebrews 8:7-13). She repeatedly engaged in idolatry (“rocks”). The other house is prophetic: Israel under the New Covenant, God making her His people by Christ’s finished crosswork (1 Peter 2:3-10; cf. 1 Peter 1:2-5,13-25). She will never again be idolatrous.

Isaiah 51:5 anticipates new Israel, what Hebrews 3:6 calls “the house of Christ:” “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD [the Rock!]: look unto the rock [!] whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.” God generated Israel’s bloodline with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons. He delivered them from Egypt to become the nation Israel. They are to see Him as He really is (the Rock that their ancient ancestors refused to build on because their counterfeit “rocks,” or idols, had distracted them). Jesus Christ said Israel had better build on the right foundation (Him, the Rock, and His words), or experience spiritual destruction (Matthew 7:24-27)!

Two Rocks #7

Saturday, June 9, 2018

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges (Deuteronomy 32:31 KJV).

There are two rocks in Scripture—one good and one bad. Friend, which is your foundation?

Decades after Calvary, the Holy Spirit wrote to the Jewish kingdom believers in 1 Peter 2:3-10: “[3] If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. [4] To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, [5] Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. [6] Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

“[7] Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, [8] And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. [9] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

God will take Israel’s believing remnant and form a house in which He will manifest His life forever. Jesus Christ, the Rock, will serve as the house’s foundation (cf. Matthew 16:16-18). This “Little Flock” will be the new Israel, the heirs of God’s earthly kingdom (Luke 12:31,32; cf. Matthew 21:42-46). All unbelieving Jews—those depending on the counterfeit “rock” (idols)—will be judged and destroyed during the seven-year Tribulation and at Christ’s subsequent fiery Second Coming (Matthew 7:24-29; Matthew 13:37-43). Israel’s Little Flock will enter the Millennium as God’s kingdom of priests, fully capable of carrying His Word to the Gentiles, that the Gentiles give up their rocks (idols) and believe on the Rock as well….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Do we live in the ‘Church Age?’

Two Rocks #6

Friday, June 8, 2018

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges (Deuteronomy 32:31 KJV).

There are two rocks in Scripture—one good and one bad. Friend, which is your foundation?

When considering the two rocks in the Bible, one should certainly be quite careful in interpreting one particular verse. That passage has been deliberately withheld until this point in our discussion. Remember, the consistent testimony of the Scriptures is: (1) JEHOVAH God (Jesus Christ) is the Rock, and (2) Satan promotes a counterfeit rock to distract. Not surprisingly, false religion stresses an imitation rock even now.

Jesus Christ declared in Matthew 16:18: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Here is the classic “proof text” for the Roman Catholic papacy. According to such traditionalists, the pope derives his authority from this verse. Tradition dictates Peter was the “first pope,” so every pontiff thereafter is allegedly “Peter’s successor.” (Ironically, Galatians 2:9 says Peter was a Jewish apostle, whereas the pope leads Gentiles. If anything, Romans 11:13 says the pope should be Paul’s successor. Of course, as one priest told this author, they do not care what the Bible says. They prefer following tradition… and quote Scripture only when it supports their theology!)

Peter is supposedly the “rock” of Matthew 16:18. In Greek, “Peter” (petros) means “small rock;” “rock” (petra) is a larger mass. Such distinction is lost in Aramaic, which explains why a Roman Catholic would favor Jesus speaking Aramaic. Furthermore, the “church” of Matthew 16:18 is supposedly the Roman Catholic Church (erroneous). It is assumed to be built upon Peter (also incorrect). Matthew 16:18 is not about Peter’s Church but Messiah’s Church. Verse 16 restricts it: “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.Again, Jesus Christ is the Rock of Scripture. But, if we lift Matthew 16:18 out of its context, then we make the Bible say whatever we want.

Jesus Christ says that, no matter what Satan does to hinder Him, upon “this rock” (who He is—Messiah/Christ) He will build the new (stronger) nation Israel….

Two Rocks #5

Thursday, June 7, 2018

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges (Deuteronomy 32:31 KJV).

There are two rocks in Scripture—one good and one bad. Friend, which is your foundation?

During His earthly ministry, Matthew through John, God the Son was on a mission to rescue Israel from Satan. The nation’s leadership had deceived her with false (pagan, heathen) religion. She was far from God’s path. Therefore, Jeremiah 50:6 says: “My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.”

This is exactly where Christ found Israel. He told His 12 Apostles to go not to Gentiles or Samaritans: “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:6). Jesus said to a Gentile woman in Matthew 15:24: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” His ministry, and by extension the 12’s ministry, was to bring Israel back to JEHOVAH God the Father. Israel had been undermined and destroyed; her foundation was not the Rock but rather everything else. Since Jesus Christ is the Rock, His words are also a firm groundwork.

Matthew chapter 7: “[24] Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: [25] And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. [26] And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: [27] And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. [28] And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: [29] For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (cf. Luke 6:47-49).

If Israel is to withstand the coming Tribulation, she is to be built on the Rock, JEHOVAH God and His Word to her….