Lifted and Fallen #4

Saturday, February 11, 2017

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:12,13 KJV).

Does the Bible teach “entire sanctification?” Today’s Scripture screams, NO!

“I would never do what he or she did!” We Christians may deceive ourselves into thinking we no longer sin. Religion (and self-righteousness)—not Scripture—led us to that conclusion. Friends, remember poor Israel as described in the context of today’s Scripture! We too are Adam’s sons and daughters, heirs of the same sin nature that drove the Jews to unbelief and disobedience! The same evil world system that existed 3,000 years ago, when Moses led Israel, is still with us today. Conditions are ripe for us—yes, us in Christ—to sin! We had better beware, and not puff out our chests in overconfidence.

Satan still uses false religion to intoxicate people—even genuine Christians— into believing lies straight from the pits of hell. They ignore the provisions God has offered us in Christ. All they do is complain and argue. His King James Bible is not perfect enough. The crosswork of His Son is good, but they also want to do their own works to gain God’s blessings. They ridicule Paul, His apostle to the Gentiles. They steal all of Israel’s blessings and make them their own—water baptism, tithing, spiritual gifts (particularly tongues and healing), material blessings, divine earthly government, prayer promises, Sabbath day, kosher food laws, end-time prophecies, et cetera.

Rather than staying with the doctrine to and about Church the Body of Christ, Romans through Philemon, they wander all over the Bible, yanking legalistic verses out of context in order to force them onto us today. No wonder they are so confused. Unless they start using the Bible dispensationally, they will remain confused! Committing such sins of the spirit is just as offensive to God as pursuing the sins of the flesh….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why do 1 Corinthians 10:8 and Numbers 25:9 disagree?

Your Right to Eat Meat

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

“For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4,5 KJV).

Before we advocate animal rights, let us understand that we have a God-given right to eat them!

An animal rights activist once appeared on television to complain about the consumption of turkeys on Thanksgiving. He argued that turkeys “feel pain” when they are slaughtered, and thus we should not eat them. His line of reasoning was, “If we would not eat our pet dog, then we should not eat turkey.” Such people, despite their sincerity, are ignorant of today’s Scripture.

Originally, all people and animals were herbivores; they only ate vegetation. “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so” (Genesis 1:29,30).

Then, sin entered, and God incorporated meat into the human diet: “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat” (Genesis 9:3,4).

When we ignore the fact that God gave us animals to eat, and we demand that others must also abstain from meat for religious (nature-worshipping) purposes, that is a “doctrine of devils” in this dispensation (1 Timothy 4:1-5). The creature should not be worshipped; only the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, should be worshipped (Romans 1:25). As long as we thank the Lord for whatever creatures we eat, consuming animal flesh is acceptable and godly. It does not sit well with the pantheists—who exalt nature as God—but it is approved of the living God, and that alone ultimately matters.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should we ‘name and claim’ Jeremiah 29:11?

The Truth of the Gospel

Monday, September 14, 2015

“But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:14-16 KJV).

What is “the truth of the gospel?”

The Gospel of the Grace of God is how God’s grace is manifested to us through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). “Being justified [declared righteous by God] freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (Romans 3:24,25).

The truth of the gospel” (today’s Scripture) is that we are saved today by simple faith in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary alone. Works are not the issue (water baptism, dietary laws, confession, commandment-keeping, and so on). Had our works been enough to give us a right standing before God, Jesus could have stayed in heaven!

Peter’s error in today’s Scripture was that he encouraged Law-keeping among Paul’s Gentile converts. Paul’s converts were under no such legalistic commands. Neither are we. “Ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14b). Paul rightly rebuked Peter. In our Dispensation of Grace, God has abolished Israel’s system of works, and ushered in the system of grace. Paul would sadly rebuke many Christians today, those who incessantly mix law and grace. His words to Peter would echo throughout Christendom, “Ye walk not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel!”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Galatians 2:11-16?

But It is Scriptural!

Friday, February 6, 2015

“But [we] have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully…” (2 Corinthians 4:2 KJV).

If only more religious leaders would join with Paul in today’s Scripture!

Recently, I watched a “Christian” television program in which the preacher cunningly said, “The Holy Ghost is telling me to instruct you to send us a $10 donation. We will mail you a vial of Israeli holy olive oil. Then, anoint the doorways of your house, your sick loved ones, and your business, and believe and receive God’s healing and wealth.” His wife then cleverly interjected to reassure their wary viewers, “It is Scriptural! James 5:13-15 says believers should call the church elders—that’s us!—and use anointing oil.”

Yes, if you want to be thoroughly confused, just watch TV preachers! This pastor and his wife, promising wealth and physical healing, were not practicing what they were preaching. The man was bald and wearing eyeglasses, and his wife had obviously had extensive cosmetic surgery. They were suffering the effects of old age—the “snake oil” they were peddling was not effective for them. They should use the oil themselves, receive God’s wealth, and then they would not have to beg for and extort donations from their television audience!

Dearly beloved, one of Christendom’s greatest blunders is to assume “Scriptural” equals “God’s will for me.” Suppose a Jew in Moses’ day claimed, “Moses, I hate following these kosher food laws that God had you write in Leviticus chapter 11. You wrote in Genesis 9:1-4 that I can eat anything I can catch. It is Scriptural to eat all animals! I will follow those instructions instead!” This Jew, although “Scriptural,” would be outside of God’s will for him. He would be ignorant of the dispensational change: Genesis chapter 9 was for Noah to follow, not Israel!

Let us not handle God’s Word deceitfully. Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, are God’s Word to us as Gentiles (Romans 11:13): our dispensation, set of divine instructions, is Paul’s epistles (Ephesians 3:2). We must be both Scriptural AND dispensational. Beloved, if you bear those simple verses in mind, you will spare yourself much confusion, extortion, headache, and heartbreak!

Heart Service #11

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” (Romans 6:17 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is the key to being delivered from and guarded against today’s apostate Christendom.

Christendom’s greatest blunder has been to willfully disregard Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, and prefer other Bible books and/or extra-Biblical church tradition. Beloved, once we abandon Paul’s epistles, we have nothing but the Bible’s legalistic (Law-keeping) passages—almsgiving, food restrictions, water baptism, fasting, tithing, prosperity prayer promises, confession of sins, Sabbath-day and feast-day observances, et cetera—the very practices and ceremonies Christendom loves. No wonder Christendom avoids Paul—the doctrine God revealed through him does not profit their denominations (yea, that doctrine would literally bankrupt their systems instead)!

In the books of Romans through Philemon, Paul, “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), tells us what the risen, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ has to say to us on this side of Calvary’s cross (not in the Old Testament); in this, the Dispensation of Grace (not the Dispensation of Law); as members of this, the Church the Body of Christ (not the nation Israel); in this, the mystery program (not the prophetic program); and in this, God’s heavenly plan (not His earthly plan). Dispensational Bible study—“rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15)—allows us to recognize the passages that describe how the Christian life operates today.

Just as we trusted Paul’s Gospel—Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the fully-satisfying payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)—to be saved from everlasting hellfire, so we trust in it to be saved from daily sins. When Jesus Christ resurrected, He was raised to give us new life, eternal life (Romans 6:1-23, the context of today’s Scripture), life “filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11). We are righteous before God in Christ; by Jesus Christ’s resurrection life, God will produce fruit in our lives to reflect that identity. The indwelling Holy Spirit is the Person who (literally!) “brings to life” the life of Jesus Christ in our lives….

A Holy Nation #5

Friday, January 24, 2014

“For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45 KJV).

Today’s Scripture summarizes a book most burdensome to many.

Indeed, Israel had a motivation to keep the Mosaic Law. Essentially, Moses told them, “Obey God’s laws or experience His wrath!” Nevertheless, history testifies that Israel spent more time experiencing JEHOVAH’S judgments—outside of her Promised Land, scattered amongst the Gentiles, et cetera—than she did enjoying His blessings.

Today’s Scripture is an excerpt from that strict system of Law-keeping (here, kosher food laws are being dispensed). Israel was to obey JEHOVAH, to act differently from her Gentiles neighbors (in the context of today’s Scripture, to maintain a unique diet). “I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people. Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean” (Leviticus 20:24b,25).

Read Leviticus 20:26: “And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.” And Leviticus 22:31-33: “Therefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them: I am the LORD. Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow [sanctify] you, That brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD.” Israel was JEHOVAH’S people, and all the Gentiles should have seen that difference in their lifestyles.

Absolutely, the Mosaic Law was an extremely strict system (many Jews died for breaking it!). Yes, God foreknew that Israel could never keep it, that they would never measure up to His righteousness. So, if He knew they could not keep it, then why did He give Israel the Mosaic Law in the first place? The Bible explains….

A Holy Nation #1

Monday, January 20, 2014

“For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45 KJV).

Today’s Scripture summarizes a book most burdensome to many.

An individual with whom I recently spoke had difficulty fathoming the necessity of the “strange” Old Testament kosher food laws (Leviticus chapter 11). In fact, the entire book of Leviticus (27 chapters) contains what many call “nit-picky” rules and regulations.

Leviticus—whose name is derived from Levi, the tribe of Israel’s priests, the main people of the book—abounds with JEHOVAH’S highly detailed instructions to Israel regarding blood sacrifices and food offerings, sexuality, clothing, health laws for lepers (those who contracted various skin diseases), a complex calendar of yearly feasts, farming practices, servitude and real estate, tithing, clean and unclean foods, an elaborate system of divine judgment in response to their disobedience, et cetera. The average Bible reader stumbles over this book. Why was God so strict and demanding? Did He just enjoy bullying Israel and controlling her every move?

Moses advised Israel in Deuteronomy 4:6-8: “Keep therefore and do [God’s statutes and judgments]; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statues, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?”

As today’s Scripture indicates, JEHOVAH is “holy,” and He wanted Israel to be “holy.” “Holy” in this sense means, “set apart [sanctified],” not sinless. Just as JEHOVAH was separate from the false idols of the heathen (Psalm 96:4,5, for example), so He wanted Israel to be separate from the nations of the world. He had redeemed them from Egypt (a type of the world), and now they were to live like His people!

Now, we begin to see why God was so “demanding” in the Mosaic Law….