A Naughty Tongue! #6

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

“A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue” (Proverbs 17:4 KJV).

In today’s world of widespread social media, “wicked doer,” “false lips,” “liar,” and “naughty tongue” are all appropriate nouns!

Recall Matthew 12:24, when the Pharisees wrongly accused Jesus of casting out devils by drawing on Satan’s power. Christ thus told His Apostles in Matthew chapter 10: “[24] The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. [25] It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub [Satan!], how much more shall they call them of his household?” That is, “Whatever hateful language they applied to Me, expect worse for yourselves!”

King David, representing Israel’s believing remnant, wrote 1,000 years earlier: “For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue…. Let this be the reward of mine adversaries from the LORD, and of them that speak evil against my soul (Psalm 109:2,20). The Prophet Jeremiah, over 600 years before Christ, was falsely slandered: Then said they, Come and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words” (Jeremiah 18:18).

The Prophet Stephen was also unjustly criticized. “Then they suborned [bribed, enticed] men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God…. And [they] set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:…” (Acts 6:11,13). Finally, the Apostle Peter wrote to believing Israel in 1 Peter 2:12: “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” Also, chapter 4, verse 4: “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:….”

Back to James chapter 3….

A Naughty Tongue! #4

Sunday, July 12, 2020

“A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue” (Proverbs 17:4 KJV).

In today’s world of widespread social media, “wicked doer,” “false lips,” “liar,” and “naughty tongue” are all appropriate nouns!

Considering the entire Bible, we recognize two factions—creatures on God’s side, and everyone else on Satan’s team. Moreover, all communication originates from one or the other. That is, the tongue or speaking organ will reflect God’s truth or Satan’s lie. Notice that prominent dichotomy in the following classic Bible passage.

Matthew chapter 12: “[31] Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. [32] And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. [33] Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. [34] O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. [35] A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. [36] But I say unto you, That every idle [useless, worthless] word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. [37] For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”

The two kinds of speech—good and evil—are likened unto “fruit” stemming from trees. Of course, that “tree” is the heart (verses 34,35). A corrupt heart produces evil words; a good heart yields good words. Read verse 24. Israel’s apostate religious leaders had just wrongly accused Jesus of cooperating with Satan. Their evil words leveled against Him, or groundless slander, exposes their heart as corrupt or unbelieving. Christ thus labels them “vipers” (verse 34), for they mimic their spiritual father Satan, the serpent (Revelation 12:9). Listen as sinful man’s “naughty tongue” articulates more filthiness….

Christ Liveth in Me

Sunday, April 12, 2020

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

“He is risen” is not a simple blasé cliché!

When Jesus’ disciples came to His tomb on that glorious Sunday morning nearly 2,000 years ago, they were startled to find it empty! Angels inform them that He has resurrected, but they are still in shock (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8). Jesus Christ Himself must later explain the Scriptures to them regarding what happened those last few days (Luke 24:44-46).

However, until Paul’s ministry, Christ’s finished crosswork is not preached as good news for salvation. Peter and Israel’s other apostles simply preach that Jesus Christ is now resurrected to “sit on [David’s] throne” (Acts 2:30)—that is bad news for much of Israel, for they still reject Him, weeks and months after His resurrection and ascension. Throughout early Acts, Israel’s apostles warn her that Jesus Christ is coming back to judge them.

When we come to the Apostle Paul’s ministry, we learn that we Gentiles can benefit from Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. Israel’s rejected Messiah is now our way to heaven! Yes, Israel hated Him, and demanded that He experience the most awful method of execution devised, but God allowed it in order to accomplish His will. Satan attempted to hinder God’s will by having Christ killed, but all that did was provide the method whereby God could save us pagan Gentiles. Calvary’s finished crosswork frees us from Satan’s evil system and gives us a chance to be God’s people (Acts 26:17,18)!

As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins, that crucifixion is our death to self and sin, and that resurrection is our raising to walk in newness of life—His life (today’s Scripture; cf. Romans 6:1-11)!

Indeed, Jesus Christ is alive, and He lives in and through those who walk by faith in God’s Word to them, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon! 🙂

HAPPY EASTER!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study by the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

Signs of Shallowness #1

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV).

Behold the signs of shallowness!

The writer of the Book of Hebrews—not the Apostle Paul!—understood the nation Israel’s dire spiritual state. For 15 centuries, they had possessed the Word of God (Romans 3:1,2). Eventually, they should have spiritually matured in it, able to take those words of God out to the world (Gentiles/nations). Alas, Israel had spent most of those centuries depending on the traditions and opinions of men. She allowed Satan’s evil world system to “convert” her: they held rabbinical traditions in high esteem, they loved their idols of wood and stone, and they were so comfortable in self-righteousness.

The Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures were overwhelmingly shunned; therefore, Israel was unable to identify her Messiah (Jesus) when He ultimately presented Himself to them! When God the Holy Spirit penned the Book of Hebrews, Jesus Christ has already come and gone. He had been born in Bethlehem Judaea, He had lived for 30 years among His Jewish brethren, He had preached and performed miracles for His last three years—and His own nation demanded He die on a cruel cross!

Even now, as the Holy Spirit writes during the Acts period, Israel is nationally floundering in spiritual ignorance and impotence. They are still refusing to listen to the preaching of the Apostle Peter and the other 11 Apostles serving with him; in fact, they are persecuting and killing Christ’s messengers. Not only so, they are opposing the Apostle Paul. Israel is spiritually crippled, childish in the Scriptures. Let us not look down upon them, for that describes many professing Christians today….

What Pleases God #8

Saturday, November 9, 2019

For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (2 Peter 1:17 KJV).

Using the Scriptures, we will define exactly what God thinks well of….

“He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me” (2 Samuel 22:20; cf. Psalm 18:19). King David celebrates after JEHOVAH God “delighted” (was pleased with) him and delivered him from all his enemies. This previews believing Israel’s future deliverance at Christ’s Second Coming, liberated from Satan and all other Jew-haters. “For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation” (Psalm 149:4).

When compared to His Son’s perfect sacrifice of Himself on Calvary’s cross, God has “no pleasure” in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin (Hebrews 10:6-8). As concerning us Christians in the Body of Christ, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21). God has “no pleasure” in hearts of unbelief (Hebrews 10:38). He was “not well pleased” with a large number of Jews who came out of Egypt (1 Corinthians 10:5); hence, they died in unbelief in the wilderness in the Book of Numbers. As Israel killed Messiah Jesus, and then persecuted and slew His Apostles and their converts during the Acts period, the Holy Spirit commented on how the Jews “please not God” (1 Thessalonians 2:15).

“But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased (Psalm 115:3; cf. Psalm 135:6). “By him [Christ] therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased (Hebrews 13:15,16). “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs” (Psalm 69:30,31). Saints, we know what pleases God! Now, how will we respond? 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the ‘appearing’ of the Lord in 2 Timothy 4:8?

Children of Light #5

Thursday, August 29, 2019

“While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them” (John 12:36 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is one of three instances of the expression “children of light” in the Bible. What is the significance of this title?

Most Jews rejected the Lord Jesus: they were uninterested in being “the children of light.” Since they refused to believe on Him, God intervened and made them unable to believe on Him. The light of Christ’s earthly ministry was gradually withdrawn, and Israel was plunged into greater spiritual darkness (see verses 37-41, what follows today’s Scripture). Just a few days later, they demanded He be crucified as a common criminal, and He died on Calvary’s cross (see Acts 3:13-18). He resurrected victoriously and ascended back to Heaven still spurned!

Leaving Christ’s earthly ministry and entering early Acts, God lifts the blindness from Israel. Christ commissions the 12 Apostles to preach and convert Israel to Him. Even during this renewed opportunity of repentance—God wanting them to change their mind concerning His Son, moving them from unbelief to faith—Israel persisted in doubt and disobedience. By Acts chapter 7, Israel falls before God, and He sets them aside (exactly how He treated the nations back at the Tower of Babel over 20 centuries earlier in Genesis chapter 11).

In chapter 9 of Acts, Christ reached down in grace and peace to save His chief enemy, Saul of Tarsus. Many years later, Saul recounts in chapter 26: “[16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; [17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send 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.”

God will reach the whole (darkened) world—even fallen Israel—through a new Gospel message. He still purposes to create “children of light….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How is the Holy Spirit ‘the Comforter?’

Minimum Wage Hike? #8

Saturday, August 10, 2019

“He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor” (Proverbs 14:31 KJV).

Is this a good verse to support minimum wage increases?

Once the Antichrist rises to power and institutes his corrupt economic policies, the believing Jews in Israel’s prophetic program will have indescribable economic hardships (Revelation 13:1-18, especially verses 15-18). This is actually the context of James 2:14-26, the “faith without works is dead” passage that hardly anyone understands because of universal religious confusion.

Read what the Holy Spirit penned through King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 5:8: “If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.” Remember, this is to be understood in light of Psalms and Proverbs (cf. today’s Scripture). Believing Jews in Israel’s program should not be terrorized when they see the poor—themselves—oppressed. The Antichrist will cut them off from his economic system, and financial difficulties will mount and multiply for them. Justice is not being carried out. Politicians are crooked and cruel.

To comfort the suffering Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant, Solomon enjoins them to bear the following in mind: “for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.” The Judge of all the Earth is watching the unfairness. He is omnipotent, infinitesimally far more power than any and all human governmental leaders. While injustice prevails at the moment, He is en route to Earth to right all wrongs. He sees the mercilessness of the Antichrist! He hears the cries of His saints! He is coming to take vengeance on their enemies!

Psalm 72: “[12] For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. [13] He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.” The Second Coming of Christ is God’s response to the prayers of the anguishing Jewish saints. Refer back to Psalm 10 and read it again in its entirety. Go to Psalm 37 and read it in its entirety. Indeed, the Lord Jesus Christ will deliver the poor from the wicked…

Minimum Wage Hike? #7

Friday, August 9, 2019

“He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor” (Proverbs 14:31 KJV).

Is this a good verse to support minimum wage increases?

James 2:5 says: “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” Chapter 1, verse 1: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” These are Jews “poor of this world.” Why are they “poor?” Remember, they have followed the Lord’s commandment in Luke 12:33—“Sell that ye have, and give alms….” James is writing to these people, who (now in Acts) are financially struggling (cf. Acts 2:44-45; Acts 4:32-37; Romans 15:26).

After our Dispensation of Grace, the Abrahamic Covenant applies as before. Those who bless Israel will be blessed of God; those who curse Israel will be cursed of God (Genesis 12:1-3). Matthew chapter 25: “[31] When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: [32] And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: [33] And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” When Jesus Christ returns at His Second Coming (yet future), we see here “the Judgment of the Nations.” He evaluates how Gentiles treated believing Israel.

Read carefully Matthew 25:31-46. Make special note that this is not to or about us the Church the Body of Christ. These Gentiles in Israel’s program are being rewarded or punished based on how they treated believing Jews. How did they bless Israel? They helped Israel financially. Jews believing in Jesus as Messiah were hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, and imprisoned. Unable to neither buy nor sell (Revelation 13:15-18), they had suffered terribly under the Antichrist (cf. today’s Scripture).

Psalm 10:17,18: “LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear: To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.” Here is the Antichrist’s destruction….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why do Amos 4:4 and Amos 5:5 give opposite commands?

Minimum Wage Hike? #6

Thursday, August 8, 2019

“He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor” (Proverbs 14:31 KJV).

Is this a good verse to support minimum wage increases?

During His earthly ministry, Christ uttered some controversial words: “If thou wilt be perfect [not sinless perfection but complete/mature], go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me” (Matthew 19:21; cf. Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22). Were the Messianic saints to literally sell their physical possessions and give the money to the poor? Indeed, for they actually did that later in Acts 2:44,45 and Acts 4:32-37. (Read chapter 5 to see what happened to Ananias and Sapphira for disobeying the Lord!) Why did Christ instruct them thus?

In Revelation chapter 13, we read of the coming Antichrist, whose reign will involve major economic changes: “[16] And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: [17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” That Israel’s believing remnant avoid having to choose between following Antichrist or retaining their wealth, they were to give up those material goods before Antichrist’s appearance. The Jewish saints in early Acts acted in accordance with this reality.

With the Apostle Paul’s ministry and the Dispensation of Grace entering in mid-Acts, our mystery program interrupted—and is still delaying—the prophetic program. Since the Antichrist has yet to arrive, God’s earthly kingdom is still absent: that prosperous kingdom the poor Jewish saints would have enjoyed following Antichrist, never came in Acts. Hence, Paul speaks of “the poor saints which are at Jerusalem” (Romans 15:26). Their common fund has now depleted. They have become poor—not because of slothfulness, disability, or meager earnings—but because they followed God’s will. (According to Romans 15:25-27 and 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, Paul took up contributions from his Gentile converts to help them.)

The poor people suffering in Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Acts, typify (preview) the experience of Messianic Jews once our Dispensation of Grace closes….

Sound Doctrine Versus Fables #5

Sunday, April 28, 2019

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (2 Timothy 4:3,4 KJV).

First comes the intolerance toward sound doctrine. Then, and only then, arrives the tolerance toward fables.

Watch the order in 1 Timothy chapter 4: “[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;….” These are not lost or unsaved people. They are Christians (!). Having been in the faith, they have now deserted it! They originally embraced sound Bible doctrine. Since then, they have gradually drifted, having been “seduced” or drawn away with various ideas. Verse 3 says these tenets involve religion’s forced celibacy and dietary restrictions. God’s Word calls them “doctrines of devils.” Such individuals speak lies in hypocrisy—they appear and sound good, but they are as false as false can be.

In his last epistle, the Apostle Paul wrote somber words: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1:15). Awaiting execution, at the close of his 35-year ministry, he confessed that the vast majority of Christians in Turkey had abandoned his message. God’s grace had been deliberately tossed aside; Christ’s finished work at Calvary’s cross had been relegated to an inferior status. Man’s efforts—legalism, commandment-keeping—were now at the forefront. Works-religion corrupted the Church the Body of Christ 20 centuries ago. Yes, the professing “church” intentionally (!) apostatized 2,000 years ago!

Even after our dispensation ends, the nation Israel will follow her ancient pattern and the attitude of most today. A radical departure from sound Bible doctrine—a “falling away”—will give rise to the satanic Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:3). In this and all cases, it is a willful renouncement of the truth. They knew correct information at first, but having rejected the light and understanding God provided them, they are plunged into spiritual darkness and madness. Friends, may we not be as they….