Spirituality or Futility? #6

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

Here, we see two alternatives—spirituality and futility. Our choice?

One can be “Scriptural” and still be completely outside of God’s will. We must be Scriptural and dispensational, aware of God’s current program. Yea, we should always respect a Bible verse’s dispensational context before we try to apply it to ourselves.

Notice Romans chapter 11: “[11] I say then, Have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:….” With national Israel temporarily fallen, the ascended Lord Jesus Christ sent the Apostle Paul to us Gentiles with a special dispensation (or set of instructions for our faith and obedience).

Ephesians chapter 3: “[1] For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, [2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: [3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [4] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) [5] Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;….”

What Paul wrote in Romans through Philemon was not made known in Genesis through Malachi, Jesus’ earthly ministry (Matthew through John), or early Acts. Therefore, to constantly emphasize the non-Pauline Bible Books to the extent of diminishing the Pauline Books is to ignore a secret God was deliberately withholding at that time. Now that He has revealed that secret through Paul, ignoring Paul is to be completely ignorant of God’s current operations….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Philippians 2:14-16?

Spirituality or Futility? #5

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

Here, we see two alternatives—spirituality and futility. Our choice?

Dear friend, is it Scriptural to slay and offer our children to the LORD God? Why, yes, read the instructions in Genesis chapter 22. Would we be following the Bible if we built an ark to escape an approaching world flood? Of course, God commanded that in Genesis chapter 6! Is it Biblical for us to bring animal blood sacrifices for our sins? Indeed, the Book of Leviticus says so. Would we be following God’s Word for executing people who collected firewood on the Saturday Sabbath? The Book of Numbers contains those guidelines, you know! Should we sell all our possessions and give to the poor? The Lord Jesus said to in Luke 12:33. He also declared one could drink poison and not die in Mark 16:18!

When church members today say, “Every promise in the Book is mine; I follow all the Bible,” they do not mean that. Not one slaughters their children in sacrifice, not one builds an ark to prepare for a global flood, not one executes those who work on the Saturday Sabbath, not one offers animal sacrifices, not one sells all possessions to give to the poor, and not one drinks the poison. Why do they not follow these verses if they are claiming “all” the Bible? Those verses do not support their denomination! Why do they not “follow Jesus” in Luke 12:33 and Mark 16:18? It is too awkward and revealing!

The truth is, dear friend, we can grab (“name and claim”) all the verses we want, but if it is not what God is doing today, we are wasting our time. Whatever is not according to God’s will shall eventually come to nothing. According to the Bible, the Dispensation of the Grace of God was given to the Apostle Paul for him to give it to us Gentiles. We thus need to listen to what the Holy Spirit has to say to us through Paul….

Spirituality or Futility? #4

Monday, November 6, 2017

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

Here, we see two alternatives—spirituality and futility. Our choice?

Despite instructing the Corinthians to heed the Lord Jesus Christ’s words spoken through the Apostle Paul, the Holy Spirit anticipated disrespect and rebellion. Some Christians would still prefer religion (what they wanted to do, they would indeed do!). Read the latter part of today’s Scripture very carefully. To pursue their own desires, they would ignore God’s words through Paul. Skirting Pauline doctrine, they would then cleverly “justify” their activities using other Scriptures. (Sound familiar?)

In the 2,000 years since the carnal Corinthian church was urged to follow God’s spokesman to Gentiles, Paul (Romans 11:13), and warned not to be “ignorant” of his apostolic authority over them, a most unfortunate result is before us. Even at such a late date, the professing church has overwhelmingly and most pathetically failed to be spiritual. Instead of following the Apostle Paul as he follows Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), church members follow everyone else.

Roman Catholics elevate “Pope” Peter and his “apostolic successors.” The Kingdom Hall of “Jehovah’s Witnesses” stresses the teachings of Charles Taze Russell. “Christian Scientists” follow Mary Eddy Baker. The Church of Christ parrots Alexander Campbell. Joseph Smith still guides the Mormons. Seventh-Day Adventists look to Ellen G. White for instruction. The Lutherans to Martin Luther, the Methodists to John and Charles Wesley, the Presbyterians to John Calvin, et cetera.

Now, friends, we will never, ever, ever, ever, EVER say these people ignore the Bible. Their doctrinal statements and creeds quote Bible verses to some extent. In addition to mishandling Scripture by quoting only the “preferred” phrases, they corrupt God’s Word by forcing on us verses that God never directed to us Gentiles in the Dispensation of Grace. They do not give preeminence to Christ’s heavenly ministry through Paul. Instead, their ignorant leaders—guiding them in confusion—place emphasis on Christ’s earthly ministry. (Christ’s earthly ministry was to the nation Israel exclusively, as Matthew 15:24 and Romans 15:8 expressly declare!)

Ignorance thus turns into futility….

Spirituality or Futility? #3

Sunday, November 5, 2017

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

Here, we see two alternatives—spirituality and futility. Our choice?

What is true spirituality? To wit, what is the evidence that the Holy Spirit is working in the believer’s life in this the Dispensation of the Grace of God? Some claim it is “praying in tongues” and miracle-working; others argue law-keeping and diligent church attendance.

Today’s Scripture is quite clear that spirituality depends on one’s authority. Recognizing this truth, a wise Christian leader stated long ago: “The test of true spirituality today, the test of a man’s theology today, is whether or not he submits to the Apostle Paul’s authority and instructions.”

Perhaps you are raising the frequent objection: “Paul was just a man; I follow Jesus!” My precious friend, did you really pay attention to the verse? “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” According to the Holy Spirit, the Author of the Bible, Paul speaks to us Gentiles on the Lord Jesus Christ’s behalf. Paul is not issuing his own subjective opinions or fallible suggestions. He is writing the commandments Jesus Christ gave him to give to us. Therefore, to reject Paul is to snub Christ’s present-day heavenly ministry!

The Lord Jesus Himself said in John 13:20: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” Acts 9:15 reports: “But the Lord said unto him [Ananias], Go thy way: for he [Saul/Paul] is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:….” If the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ sent Paul to us—and He did—then we had better heed those Pauline directions, Romans through Philemon. Failure to do so is to fight against what God is doing today. This explains the source of the professing church’s modern dilemma….

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Arrayed in Hypocrisy

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:27,28 KJV).

“Looks can be deceiving” is not only true during Halloweentime, but confirmed year-round within Christendom.

Today is Halloween, when children dress up and feign themselves to be creatures they are not. Likewise, many church leaders today wear “Christian” garbs, but their ministries do not bring the Lord Jesus Christ glory and honor. They promote their denomination, and seek to perpetuate it, rather than serve and exalt the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. The Bible manifests these who appear to be good, as “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

In today’s Scripture, Jesus Christ exposed Israel’s corrupt religious leaders who misled the nation in His day. In His Parable of the Tares, Matthew 13:24-30,37-43, Christ explained how just as He had sown good seed (wheat, believing Jews) in Israel, Satan had also sown tares/weeds (unbelieving Jews). Tares resemble wheat; unbelieving Jews resemble believing Jews. The unbelieving Pharisees and scribes, for instance, looked like God’s people (believing Israel). Judas Iscariot was another example of Satan’s tares—the apostles never realized who Judas really was until it was too late!

But Satan’s counterfeit believers are not confined to Israel’s program. Today, within local assemblies of the Body of Christ, there are people feigning themselves to be Christians: For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 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” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

Beloved, beware of the church leaders who are arrayed in hypocrisy, “and avoid them” (Romans 16:17b). If their teaching does not agree with the rightly divided King James Bible, you have no business as a child of God to be listening to them.

*This is excerpted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

You may also see our special study, “Should Christians celebrate Halloween?

Bible Q&A #435: “Can you explain the ‘Corban’ tradition?

Treasures in Heaven

Thursday, October 26, 2017

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 KJV).

In Heaven, not upon the Earth!

One of the most tragic, devastating life events is the loss of one’s property (especially a house) to some misfortune—natural disaster, health hazard, robbery, arson, bombing, and so on. Irreplaceable family heirlooms… gone forever. Vehicles… a total loss. Photo albums… permanently ruined. Important documents… marred. Memories remain… the structure severely damaged or destroyed. How distressing!

Dear friends and brethren, we never, ever want to grow too attached to this world. Certainly, we hold jobs, marry, purchase houses, settle down, and raise families. Nevertheless, we can be misled to believe this life is all there is or will ever be. Satan’s evil world system is very tempting… but it is also very temporary (1 John 2:15-17)! We can start seeking and idolizing wealth, material possessions, physical beauty, fame, and so on. Summarized, “Quickly get as much as you can, and quickly can as much as you can quickly get!”

The Lord Jesus knew all about the enticements of Satan’s evil world system. He thus warned His disciples not to grow too fond of this world. It was headed for the Tribulation (and still is!), and once those final seven years conclude, Satan’s reign will be terminated forever. This world and its elements are temporary. “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). Why are material riches “uncertain?” Jesus told us in today’s Scripture—moth, rust, and thief could always take them anytime!

For those of us who have trusted Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins, and are continuing in the principles of grace, we are treasuring up some wonderful things in Heaven. We do not see them today, but thankfully, they can never be lost so we are guaranteed to see them one day! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How could Paul write that he ‘heard’ of the Ephesians’ faith?

Fury Turned Away? #7

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away; Until thy brother’s anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day? (Genesis 27:44,45 KJV).

How does this “fury” compare to Almighty God’s anger?

The Holy Spirit, in Acts chapter 7, pled with Israel’s unbelieving leaders one final time. After one year of post-Calvary ministry, they still refuse conversion: “[55] But he [Stephen], being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, [56] And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. [57] Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, [58] And cast him out of the city, and stoned him….”

Why did they kill Stephen? How did he upset them? They knew their “Old Testament” Scriptures, the prophecies about Messiah standing at God’s right hand. Isaiah 3:13: “The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.” Psalm 68: “[1] Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. [2] As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. Finally, Psalm 110:1: “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

Messiah would sit at the LORD’S right hand only until it would be time to rise/stand and return in wrath and judgment. (In an earlier study, we saw Peter quoted Psalm 110:1 in Acts 2:34-36, approximately a year prior to Acts chapter 7.) Convicted by the message of God’s wrath coming on them, Stephen’s audience mercilessly kills him. At the end of Peter’s life, 2 Peter chapter 3, scoffers are asking about that “looming” wrath of God that should have come some 30-plus years earlier. So, where did God’s wrath in Acts chapter 7 go? Peter provides an interesting explanation….