A Naughty Tongue! #7

Wednesday, July 15, 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!

Moving into “the ages to come” (Ephesians 2:7) Bible Books, Hebrews through Revelation, we see Israel’s prophetic program accomplished. Whatever evil work Satan began in the Earth with Adam and man’s Fall 6,000 years ago, he continues that labor until Jesus Christ returns to destroy the lie program and establish a new world system, one of truth and righteousness.

Re-read James 3:1-8. The peak of Satan’s lie program is man repeating the falsehoods his evil world system originates. Just as God communicates His truth, so Satan counterfeits it with erroneous information. When God’s messengers speak, the Devil commissions his preachers to contradict and discredit. Once the Antichrist arrives, man’s “naughty tongue” will literally be “singing his praises.” Jewish believers in Jesus Christ will be disparaged, wrongly accused of teaching error because the Antichrist will be seen as the true Messiah. Here are the “wise,” “righteous,” and “good” of Proverbs. Additionally, the Antichrist’s followers will be believing and spreading his deceit. These are the “fools,” “sinners,” and “wicked” of Proverbs.

Now, read some of James’ parallels. “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing [criticism] for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew [avoid] evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it” (1 Peter 3:9-11). “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;…. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error” (2 Peter 2:12,18). “These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage” (Jude 16).

Even as members of the Body of Christ, we should guard our tongues….

A Lost Generation! #8

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

What this “lost” generation needs is to be found!

As Jesus Christ conducted His earthly ministry, He remarked, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). He commissioned His 12 Apostles: “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:5-7). The nation Israel was “lost,” removed from the path JEHOVAH God had for her. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Christ proceeded to bring Israel back to Him by preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. He was her long-promised Messiah/Christ-King-Saviour-Redeemer. Individual Jews were to “repent,” change their mind about their idolatry, and trust Him as the Son of God and heir to David’s throne. He performed miraculous demonstrations to validate His Gospel message: “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35).

Likewise, when the Apostle Paul began his ministry in Acts chapter 9, the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Jesus Christ commissioned him: “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 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). It is through Paul’s ministry and message that we Gentiles can be saved….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does God suffer from Alzheimer’s disease?

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.

Messiah’s Joy Amidst Calvary’s Grief #1

Friday, April 10, 2020

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2 KJV).

Do you ever wonder what our Lord Jesus Christ was thinking about while He hung there on Calvary’s cross?

Psalm 22:1-21 provides us with a glimpse of Jesus’ thoughts as He endured that awful crucifixion: He is greatly tormented physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Various verses in Psalm 69 provide additional insight, especially as death begins to close in on His soul. Written about 1000 B.C., these and other “Messianic psalms” graphically describe assorted events in our Lord’s earthly life (in this case, His crucifixion)… centuries before they occurred!

What Jesus Christ thought about while suspended on Calvary’s cross was the Holy Scriptures. He had faith in the Old Testament passages that applied to Him. No matter what happened to Him, He knew it was His Father’s will, and His Father would be glorified. As He stated earlier, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup [of Thy wrath; Revelation 14:10] from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt (Mark 14:36). “…The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him (John 8:29bc).

Do you realize what today’s Scripture is saying? Jesus Christ felt immense physiological and spiritual pain, but He thought about the overall view: for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (cf. Psalm 16:8-11). Yes, the Old Testament spoke of His suffering, and those Scriptures must be fulfilled, but it also testified of His glorious kingdom that would follow, and those Scriptures also were to be fulfilled in due time! “…The sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11). While it did not diminish the extent of His distress and suffering, Jesus Christ kept in memory the glory His Father would give Him once He had endured the crucifixion (Philippians 2:8-11). It gave Him such joy. He felt grief unspeakable, but He also had joy unfathomable!

Our archived Bible Q&A: “Where was Jesus during the three days between His death and resurrection?

Without Blemish and Without Spot #3

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:…” (1 Peter 1:19 KJV).

How was Israel to see Jesus Christ was “without blemish and without spot?”

Passover/Calvary is two days away (Matthew 26:1,2). Israel’s chief priests, scribes, and elders connive to deceitfully arrest and murder Jesus. At Simon the leper’s house in nearby Bethany, Mary pours ointment on Jesus’ head (unknowingly preparing Him for burial). Judas Iscariot schemes with the chief priests to betray Christ for 30 silver pieces (verses 14-16). Jesus eats an early Passover with His 12 Apostles (verses 17ff.). On the Mount of Olives, He prays, before being betrayed and apprehended. His unjust, nighttime trial concludes late the next morning. Sentenced to death (!), He is crucified at 9 A.M.; He lets Himself die by 3 P.M. (Mark 15:25-38).

Israel could have verified Jesus as Messiah-Redeemer during those four days between Palm Sunday and Calvary. Rather than wrongdoing, He cleansed the defiled Temple, demonstrated God’s power, preached the truth, upheld the pure Mosaic Law, defended and expounded the Hebrew Bible, and exposed Israel’s perverted religious leaders. Scripture testifies of Christ Jesus during His last days: “the innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4), “just [righteous]” (Matthew 27:19), “I find no fault in this man” (Luke 23:4), “I… have found no fault in this man… No, nor yet Herod…” (Luke 23:14,15), “I have found no cause of death in him” (Luke 23:22), “this man hath done nothing amiss [no wrong]” (Luke 23:41), “I find in him no fault at all” (John 18:38), “I find no fault in him” (John 19:4). (Cf. Matthew 27:23; Mark 15:14; Luke 23:22; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22; cf. today’s Scripture)

Matthew 27:24,25: “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the [Jewish] people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.Israel knew Pilate was correct; however, they could not care less that Jesus was innocent. Like all other sinful (deceived) children of Adam, they refused God’s sinless Son as their King: they demanded He be crucified as an imposter (John 19:15)!

Without Blemish and Without Spot #2

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:…” (1 Peter 1:19 KJV).

How was Israel to see Jesus Christ was “without blemish and without spot?”

Christ rides the donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:1-11). (Passover, His death, is about four days away [cf. John 12:1,12-16].) Entering the Temple, He cleanses it of the thieves who had been utilizing “God’s religion” to deceive and rob His people; there, He heals the blind and lame (Matthew 21:12-14). Israel’s religious leaders grow envious when children praise Him (verses 15,16).

Sleeping in nearby Bethany for the night, Jesus returns to Jerusalem in the morning to curse the barren fig tree (verses 17-22). God will never reinstitute the Mosaic Law, for it has produced no spiritual fruit in Israel. In the Temple, Israel’s religious leaders demand of Christ where He received His authority, and slyly dodge His subsequent question about John the Baptist (verses 23-27). He then issues three stinging parables: they do not follow God as they claim (verses 28-32), they willfully reject and scheme to murder His Christ—yes, He knows!! (verses 33-46), and they further refuse to believe on Him (22:1-14).

The Pharisees collaborate to get Jesus to say something incriminating before the Temple crowds (verse 15): they send delegates to ask Him about paying taxes (verses 16-22). The Sadducees then attempt to trick Him with a resurrection riddle (verses 23-33). A lawyer of the Pharisees finally asks Him about the great Law commandment (verses 34-40). Christ answers all three issues wisely! He asks them a question now, which they cannot answer; they are silenced (verses 41-46). Matthew chapter 23 follows—His severest censure of these false religious leaders (cf. John chapter 8)! He finally curses unbelieving Jerusalem, declaring that God’s house has become her house. Exiting the Temple, He walks to the Mount of Olives; in Matthew chapters 24 and 25, He delivers His magnificent end-time “Olivet Discourse.” Calvary is soon!

Indeed, when Israel was appraising the Passover lamb for slaughtering, sinless Jesus entered Jerusalem. He was the true Passover lamb, “a lamb without blemish and without spot” (today’s Scripture), to be sacrificed for us sinners (1 Corinthians 5:7). Would Israel sacrifice Him in faith? Or, in unbelief? Let us see….

Without Blemish and Without Spot #1

Monday, April 6, 2020

“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:…” (1 Peter 1:19 KJV).

How was Israel to see Jesus Christ was “without blemish and without spot?”

In Exodus chapter 12, JEHOVAH God through Moses commanded the Jews to observe Passover, the perpetual memorial to Him delivering them from Egyptian bondage: “[3] Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: [4] And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.

“[5] Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: [6] And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. [7] And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. [8] And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.”

On Abib 10th (roughly April), each Israeli house selected a young male lamb, sheep or goat, “without blemish.” After confining it to scrutinize it for any disability or illness, they killed it in the evening of the 14th. At the time, no one realized that Father God had laid this out as a template for Jesus Christ’s final days. With the so-called “triumphal entry” of early Matthew chapter 21, Christ enters Jerusalem. He will remain in (or near) Jerusalem until His arrest and crucifixion. In these three or four days leading up to Calvary’s cross, He can be examined, tested to see if He fits the type laid out in the Passover-lamb prophecy. We now contemplate His activities during His last week alive….

The “Triumphal” Entry

Sunday, April 5, 2020

“All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass” (Matthew 21:4,5 KJV).

Do you ever wonder why Jesus Christ rode on a donkey the Sunday before His crucifixion?

In today’s Scripture (cf. Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-19), Jesus’s crucifixion on Calvary’s cross is just five days away. Leaving Bethany, He travels to Jerusalem (a mile to the northwest). Israel’s believing remnant in Jerusalem is excited to hear that Messiah is returning to “the city of the great King” (Psalm 48:2; Matthew 5:35); in anticipation, the great multitude throws their garments and palm branches on the ground. As Jesus enters the city, they cry out, “Hosanna [“O save!”]: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:9,10; Luke 19:38; John 12:13; cf. Psalm 118:26).

While often called the “Triumphal Entry,” there really was no victory being celebrated in today’s Scripture—the victory was to come later! What we need to realize is that Jesus Christ was humble (“meek”) here: as a King riding on a donkey into Israel’s capital city, He demonstrated He desired peace with Israel (a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9). He had not come to destroy her, though He would have been just in doing so; He had come to save her from her sins, her enemies, and her satanic bondage (Matthew 1:21; Mark 2:17; Mark 3:22-30; Luke 1:68-75; Luke 9:55,56; Luke 19:9,10; Acts 3:24-26; et cetera).

Just a few days later, Jesus Christ appeared weak and defeated. He never fought back as the Roman soldiers mercilessly abused Him; He allowed Himself to be crucified on Calvary. It was His meek and lowly coming; now was not the time to pour out His wrath. He resurrected and ascended into heaven as a royal exile. Revelation 19:11 says Jesus Christ will return to Jerusalem on a white horse, a sign of war and wrath (Zechariah 14:1-4)—that will be His true triumphal entry, for He will conquer Satan’s world system forever!

NOTE: As you may have noticed, for the Easter Season, we have temporarily interrupted our “Careful—But Not Careful!” devotionals arc. We will return to it on Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Until then, enjoy these special (classic) studies! 🙂

My Father’s Business #23

Monday, January 27, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

Near the beginning of His earthly ministry, Christ entered the Jerusalem Temple and literally “cleaned house.” John chapter 2 reports: “[13] And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. [14] And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: [15] And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; [16] And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. [17] And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.”

Jesus understood not only His Father’s “business” in Israel, but also recognized and counteracted a competing “business.” Apostate religious leaders had established their own “business” in the Temple. Yea, in the very place where they should have been proclaiming truth and upholding justice, they were defrauding people by charging exorbitant prices for sacrificial animals. Jesus entered—and actually forced them to exit! Father God’s words had burned in His heart so passionately that He purged that Jerusalem Temple of its spiritual corruption. Indeed, as the Psalmist, King David, saw concerning his descendant (the future Messiah), “For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up…” (Psalm 69:9).

Even now, Father God’s “business” has a rival “business.” Satan’s evil world system still uses a false religious system to distract us. Ignoring dispensational Bible distinctions, we thereby focus on something God did in the past (“time past”) or what He will do in the future (“ages to come”). Thus, we totally miss His “but now” operations. Friends and brethren, unless we give attendance to reading and believing the Apostle Paul’s writings, Romans through Philemon, we will actually be enthusiastically opposing God’s Word to the extent Jesus Christ was avidly advancing it. We now summarize this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did the Lord forbid public prayer?

My Father’s Business #18

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

Going all the way back to Abraham, God in His grace had offered to bless and make Israel His people in Earth. However, Israel rejected God’s grace and insisted on making herself God’s people. She preferred the Law, performing to get the blessing. Exodus chapter 19: “[5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” That expression “if…then” is serious, for Israel must perform absolutely perfectly in religion or she will never be God’s people. Here is the Old Covenant.

Jeremiah 31:32 says, “…the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:….” While Israel promised to obey God’s every command (“All that the LORD hath spoken we will do”—Exodus 19:8), she did not. Like Adam, Israel sinned! “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4).

Israel refused God’s purpose and plan for her, ultimately opposing Him when He sent His Son (Jesus Christ) to minister to them. Her people overwhelmingly had no interest in doing Jesus’ “Father’s business.” She did not want to glorify Him in the Earth, and did not desire to reach the idolatrous Gentiles with God’s Word. It was Israel who conspired with the Roman government to crucify her Messiah. Moving into the Acts period, unbelief and resistance remain among the majority of the Jews. Here, God, rather than pouring out wrath, inaugurates a plan that He has kept hidden in Himself. He begins to form a heavenly people, according to a heavenly purpose He devised long ago….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is that sinless perfection in Matthew 5:48?