Not a Man, But a God-Man!

Monday, July 3, 2017

And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? (Mark 8:4 KJV).

We tend to elevate Bible characters as though they were super-humans. Sometimes, we assume they never had a bad day, always did what they had to do, and never fell into doubt (unbelief). Today’s Scripture, however, contains a very incredulous inquiry.

Let us read the verse in context: “[1] In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, [2] I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: [3] And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. [4] And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?”

The disciples asked Jesus, “From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?” Can they be so blinded by their sinful hearts that they cannot believe they are talking to the Son of God, He who has healed the sick, raised the dead, and cast out devils? Can they be so forgetful that He supplied their ancestors with food—manna (bread)—for 40 years in the wilderness (Exodus 16:35; John 6:31-33)? Here, in today’s Scripture, they have no idea where they can get food for all these people in the wilderness.

Of course, there is no “man” who can feed this multitude in the wilderness. It will take the God-Man to meet their needs. Just as He miraculously fed Israel in the wilderness 1500 years prior, so He will yet again demonstrate Himself to be Israel’s Sustainer (feeding the 4,000 present). Jesus Christ distributes the Word of God, that through it they might have eternal life. The bread that He is passing out actually represents Him, the Creator imparting spiritual life to undeserved, lost, and dead sinners. Once they came by faith to Him, they were satisfied forever, never to hunger again! 🙂

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Who is Our Apostle? #5

Thursday, June 29, 2017

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” (Romans 11:13 KJV).

Behold, the verse that most have never noticed in the Bible!

The Lord Jesus told the Apostle Paul at his salvation in Acts chapter 9: “[17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send [apostello] thee, [18] To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:17,18).

First Timothy 2:5-7 adds: “[5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” (Notice how Christ dying for “all” was the special message first declared in Scripture by Paul.)

The Bible is called “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). A sword is a powerful weapon that you can use to defend yourself—provided, of course, you have been trained to use it properly. Likewise, God’s Word can guard you from Satan’s attacks—provided that you know to “study… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). You can do great damage to yourself and others if you do not use God’s Word, God’s way.

When we fail to realize that the Apostle Paul is God’s spokesman to us, and we start trying to claim everything in Scripture as to and about us, we will not understand what God is doing today and what He wants us to do today. We cannot go into time past and force its elements on to us (Christ’s earthly ministry, the Law of Moses, Sabbath day, physical circumcision, tithing, material blessings, water baptism, healing miracles, confession of sins, and so on). Whatever came by special revelation from Jesus Christ through the Apostle Paul to us Gentiles, we find in the Books of Romans through Philemon. Let us search them to find God’s words to and about us! 🙂

Who is Our Apostle? #3

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” (Romans 11:13 KJV).

Behold, the verse that most have never noticed in the Bible!

The objection can be heard. How can Paul claim to be “the apostle of the Gentiles?” Were not the 12 sent to all nations (Gentiles)? What about what Jesus told the 12 Apostles in Matthew 28:19-20? “[19] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Indeed, but this is to be understood in light of Jesus’ words in Luke 24:46-48 and Acts 1:8.

Luke 24:46-48: “[46] And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: [47] And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. [48] And ye are witnesses of these things.” And, the companion verse, Acts 1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” The 12 Apostles were not to preach to “all nations” until they preached to all of Israel first! National, converted Israel would then evangelize “all nations.”

Scripture is clear that the 12 Apostles conducted a ministry with Israel at the forefront of God’s dealings with man. However, as we will see, Paul’s apostleship involved the fall of Israel, she no longer being at the head of God’s program for mankind. That is, rather than the 12 Apostles converting all of Israel and then all of Israel reaching the Gentiles, Paul was reaching the Gentiles without nationally-converted Israel. Hence, Paul’s apostleship should in no way be confused with the 12 Apostles’ ministry, and neither should it be seen an extension of it….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did King Saul die?

Not Mixed With Faith

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Hebrews 4:2 KJV).

We can read and memorize all the verses we want, but, if we are not approaching Bible verses in faith, we will not gain the profit God put in them.

I had a recent phone conversation with a brother in Christ who is in the ministry. He is dealing with an individual who jumps from religious group to religious group (five or six current affiliations). This man, whether saved or not I am unsure, constantly asks the brother various Bible questions. How sad it is that people can ask so many questions and still be so ill equipped, unable to distinguish truth from error. Yea, treating the Bible like some “intellectual gym class” will severely harm rather than greatly help!

Take, for example, the nation Israel in the wilderness (Hebrews chapter 3— previous to today’s Scripture). They heard the voice of God thundering from Mount Sinai. They saw the two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments inscribed on them. Unlike the pagan nations around them, Israel had access to the one true God (Deuteronomy chapter 4 in its entirety). Alas, Israel did not believe a word God said (today’s Scripture)! They heard, heard, heard… but they did not believe, believe, believe! Hearing the Word of God does not benefit you if you do not believe it! Paul said this of unbelieving Jews in Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Israel had heard the Word of God for centuries, and yet was still in rank unbelief during his Acts ministry!

The writer of the Book of Hebrews, speaking to Israel during the future time after our Dispensation of Grace, urges the Jews to believe the kingdom doctrines Jesus Christ taught during His earthly ministry. They are to believe on Him as their Messiah, the Son of God, their Redeemer; they must wait for Him to return at His Second Coming to establish that earthly kingdom of God. That wonderful news cannot profit them if “not mixed with faith!”

A Prayer Life Fallen Apart

Monday, June 12, 2017

“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV).

Beloved, when your prayer life ceases, fret not!

An online Christian sister admitted on social media that she had just realized how her prayer life is “pretty close to useless.” Having learned more about how to study God’s Word dispensationally—how everything in Scripture is for us to read but not everything therein is to or about us—she recognizes how she has been praying inappropriately. I told her we have all been there at one time. It was good that she reached this point because most believers never do. Moreover, now that she has identified the problem, she can proceed to fixing it. The solution is there in God’s Word rightly divided, she just needs to study more and discover it!

As a Christian delves deeper into the Bible rightly divided, his or her prayer life increasingly disintegrates. Why? He or she has been praying primarily one of two ways. Firstly, praying like Israel. The primary model prayer of Christendom, of course, is the so-called “Lord’s Prayer,” Matthew 6:9-13—“Our Father which art in heaven….” Secondly, praying like heathen. Jesus Christ discussed that as well. Verse 7 says, “use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”

Friends, we should see how our Apostle Paul prayed. Since his salvation is our “pattern” (1 Timothy 1:15,16), then his ministry and life are also our patterns. If Paul knew what God was doing today, and he did according to Ephesians 3:2, then it is safe to assume that Paul prayed in-line with what God was doing today. As other members of the Body of Christ, we would do well to follow the four model Pauline prayers—Ephesians 1:16-23, Ephesians 3:14-21, Philippians 1:9-11, and Colossians 1:9-13.

Indeed, friends, we pray with whatever Bible understanding we have. We do it with understanding nonetheless—neither mindlessly repeating nor haphazardly snatching verses! As it becomes clear where and how we pray wrongly, we let the rightly-divided verses fix our thoughts and hearts. Once we are re-oriented by God’s grace (I speak from experience), we will not miss that old so-called “prayer life!” Onward to maturity! 🙂

The Comforter and Teacher

Sunday, May 28, 2017

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26 KJV).

The Holy Bible is a progressive revelation: God gradually made known His Word to mankind throughout history. He knew the end from the beginning, but He chose not to tell the end at the beginning. As the end came closer, it became clearer. Here, we see the “New Testament” Scriptures predicted—God the Holy Spirit’s method of comforting, coming alongside to aid and strengthen, God’s people.

When God the Father sent the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter 2, the Spirit caused Israel’s believing remnant—especially the 12 Apostles—to remember everything that Jesus taught them during the previous three years (His earthly ministry). See today’s Scripture. They did not have to rely on fallible human memory; they had the omniscient, omnipotent Holy Ghost guiding their minds and hearts, giving them the final pieces of information needed to understand their prophetic program.

The early Acts period (chapters 1-7) and the Bible Books of Hebrews through Revelation provide details not found in Genesis through Malachi and Matthew through John. The Lord Jesus predicted in today’s Scripture that Israel’s Little Flock would receive the capstone of knowledge as touching the prophetic program. They would see how everything fit together so beautifully, and they would be able to appreciate what God had planned in eternity past. Despite everything that Satan and evil men would do to sabotage God’s plan for the Earth, they would be unable to overcome Him.

Compare today’s Scripture to what Jesus spoke later, John 16:12-14: “[12] I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. [13] Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. [14] He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” In our Bible, inspired and preserved by the Holy Spirit, we see the result of the prophetic program too!

Shine as Lights #5

Saturday, May 20, 2017

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Philippians 2:14-16 KJV).

Shine as lights, brethren, shine as lights!

No matter our country, it is a “crooked and perverse nation.” Governed by Satan, “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), it is thus turned away from God and wholly corrupt. (That evil world system will remain until the Lord Jesus Christ’s Second Coming.) God has left us on this planet as “outposts of the third heaven.” Since we are from another world (“the kingdom of [God’s] dear Son”), we are to behave differently from this world controlled by “the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13).

“…Among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” In the midst of the unbelieving masses, we Christians live—nay, rather, we shine. As luminous celestial bodies contrast the deep, dark recesses of outer space, so we “stick out” in this lost and dying world. We are lighthouses, guiding souls away from danger and destruction. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, describing Israel’s believing remnant, excerpted: “[14] Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. [15] Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. [16] Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

Ephesians chapter 5 adds: “[7] Be not ye therefore partakers with them [children of disobedience, verse 6]. [8] For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: [9] (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; ) [10] Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. [11] And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” We return to Philippians….