Saved or Lost? #25

Sunday, September 25, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

They were really saved people, just thinking and acting like lost people. Such is still true of millions! Had God’s Word rightly divided actually been received and believed in the heart, we the Church the Body of Christ would be walking in God’s power and will: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

While the number of genuine Christians has always been low, the percentage of confused Christians has always been high. It is not that “Satan is so powerful,” but rather they have allowed his evil world system to place them into a mold of silly thoughts and unsightly deeds. The Holy Spirit wishes true believers in Christ heed His advice in Romans 12:1,2: “I beseech you therefore, brethren [Christians!!!], by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world [it can happen!!!]: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

We close with the following true story. Several years ago, I tried to prevent it but nevertheless witnessed it come to pass. It was the fall of my spiritual mentor, someone under whose ministry I trained for over a decade and whom I still love dearly in the Lord. The entire controversy was painful and devastating beyond words, but, lest I fall with that grace Christian leader, I had to separate from him because of his apostasy (willful doctrinal error and unapologetic dishonesty and treachery). Indeed, we will meet in Heaven and only then will we be restored to fellowship, two saved men whose ministries Satan’s evil world system targeted—one destroyed and the other still not immune from ruin!

-FINIS!-

Saved or Lost? #24

Saturday, September 24, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

The Apostle Paul’s last epistle (2 Timothy) communicates in chapter 4: “[1] I charge [instruct, order] thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; [2] Preach the word; be instant [ready, prepared] in season [convenient times], out of season [inconvenient times]; reprove [cause them to see], rebuke [criticize them], exhort [encourage, urge them] with all longsuffering [patience, put up with it, suffer it a long time!] and doctrine [teaching worth trusting].” Why?“[3] For the time will come when they will not endure [bear/tolerate/stomach] sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. [5] But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

By the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Timothy was (we are) to keep on with ministry (sound Bible teaching, Pauline, grace-oriented information), despite the prevalent doctrinal perversion and apostasy (forsaking the truth, whether in or out of churches). Saints, we should be willing to do what we can to reach confused Christians and confused non-Christians alike—and, yes, they are usually nearly impossible to distinguish from each other. I know it is easier to throw up our hands and give in, exclaiming, “This is just not worth it! No one wants to listen! We live in a hopelessly chaotic world! Let them all go to Hell in their ignorance!” Yet, the fact remains we have in sound Bible doctrine all the answers they need—and, if we escaped their errors, they can too… those few who want it. We should make special effort to be a light to them, if at all possible, particularly those who have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to believe.

Let us (finally) conclude this devotionals arc….

Saved or Lost? #23

Friday, September 23, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

Scripture describes church leaders as God’s doorkeepers, watching over and guarding local assemblies from any and all error (re-read Acts 20:28-32!). If pastors, bishops, teachers, and preachers would believe and teach sound Bible doctrine (God’s Word rightly divided), false teaching (even non-rightly-divided verses) could be easily refuted. Neither these leaders nor their vulnerable congregants would be led astray.

Alas, for 20 centuries now, the professing church (especially its leadership) has paid almost no attention to the Lord’s special ministry through the Apostle Paul. Sure, they know of Paul, and a great many actually study and quote his writings, but nearly all people throughout church history have made Paul’s ministry a continuation of the 12 Apostles’ ministry, a mere commentator on “the church Jesus founded in Matthew to John,” an extension of the prophetic program, thereby hiding and destroying the very reason for Paul’s ministry (to operate the mystery program, separate and distinct from prophecy—to form the Church the Body of Christ, separate and distinct from the nation Israel).

For 2,000 years now, to Satan’s delight, we have wasted an unfathomable amount of time and energy teaching “another Jesus,” “another spirit,” and “another gospel” (2 Corinthians 11:3,4)—too willful and proud to change our course even up to this present hour. Behold, the dismal results! So many souls profess “belief in Christ,” but it is extremely difficult to discern who is a confused Christian (bound for Heaven, yet thinking like someone headed to Hell) and who is a confused non-Christian (bound for Hell, and lacking discernment to realize it).

Verily, verily, the Lord reads the hearts of all, and He knows the difference between a true (albeit misinformed) member of the Body of Christ and just some lost member of a counterfeit group. Brethren, we need to make sure we are walking in the spiritual light that we have, for, if we are grateful, we will gain more understanding concerning God’s will for us.

Let us (finally) summarize this devotionals arc….

Psalm 110:1 #7

Sunday, June 26, 2022

“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1 KJV).

How does today’s Scripture, this Psalm of David, explain the Bible timeline for us?

During this Age of Grace, as long as this the Dispensation of the Grace of God runs its course, the Lord Jesus Christ still sits at His Father’s right hand in Heaven. No Divine wrath is currently being meted out—though this world deserves it and will reap the consequences of its sin one day. No Divine war is presently being waged—though this society deserves it and will see the terrible results of its sin eventually. Rest assured, there will come a point when today’s Scripture will be fulfilled in its entirety! But not today!

For the last 20 centuries, dear friends, the prophetic program has been in abeyance, temporarily suspended while God forms a mystery or secret entity (the Church the Body of Christ). Paul’s Gospel—Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)—is the only thing that keeps God’s judgment from falling on Earth (2 Peter 3:1-9,15,16). For those who have not yet come to Jesus Christ by faith in this Gospel of Grace, there is still time to do so… but that opportunity is now 2,000 years old, and, with each passing day, it is winding down, so they had better not delay any longer!

Saints, we who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, the God-Man is still seated for this reason: “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us (Romans 8:31-34). “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1).

Psalm 110:1 #6

Saturday, June 25, 2022

“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1 KJV).

How does today’s Scripture, this Psalm of David, explain the Bible timeline for us?

One key incident in the prophetic program concerns God the Father directing God the Son to sit at His right hand in Heaven. The Son would remain seated there until it was time for His enemies to be made His footstool. A “footstool,” as the name implies, is furniture on which someone’s feet rests. Therefore, to be made a “footstool” meant utterly defeated, the victor placing his foot on the loser’s neck. Such imagery is violent and indicative of war.

As we now know, Psalm 110:1 was partially fulfilled when the Lord Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry ended and He returned to His Heavenly Father in Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, and Acts 1:9-12. “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19). The next event on the prophetic calendar, according to today’s Scripture, was for Jesus Christ to rise from His seated position. Peter proclaimed that in Acts 2:34-36, and Stephen witnessed it unfolding in Acts 7:55,56. Yet, the Lord paused prophecy so it was not completely fulfilled. He initiated that drastic dispensational change with Saul of Tarsus.

Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee” (Numbers 10:35). Psalms repeats the vocative, Arise, O LORD” (Psalm 3:7; Psalm 7:6; Psalm 9:19; Psalm 10:12; Psalm 17:13; Psalm 44:23; Psalm 132:8); here is believing Israel in the ages to come, pleading for JEHOVAH God to return and save them from the Antichrist. Isaiah 2:19-21 depicts the LORD arising to “shake terribly the earth.” Also, Isaiah 3:13: “The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.” Finally, Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence [return, Second Coming!!!] of God” (Psalm 68:1,2).

Today, Christ is once again sitting… for now….

Psalm 110:1 #5

Friday, June 24, 2022

“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1 KJV).

How does today’s Scripture, this Psalm of David, explain the Bible timeline for us?

The most infamous Bible character present at Stephen’s murder was Saul of Tarsus: “And they cast [Stephen] out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul (Acts 7:58). Saul eventually got saved and become the Apostle Paul (see Acts 13:9). Years later, Paul (no longer lost) gave his testimony to lost Israel: “And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting [agreeing, approving] unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him(Acts 22:19,20). As an unbelieving religious leader, (Pharisee) Saul had led Israel’s rebellion against the Holy Spirit’s ministry during early Acts (Acts 8:1-4; Acts 9:1-14; Acts 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13,14,23; Philippians 3:5,6; et al.)!

Decades pass. In 1 Timothy 1:12-16, and late in his ministry, Paul reflected on his former life: “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief [leader]. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

Indeed, Jesus Christ did return in early Acts—but not in the wrath and war of prophecy. Rather, with the introduction of the un-prophesied, unexpected mystery program commencing in Acts chapter 9, the Lord came back in grace, mercy, and peace to meet and save first and foremost Saul of Tarsus. Grace and peace have been offered to all the world ever since….

Bible Q&A articles #964 and #965: “Did Nebuchadnezzar appoint his own uncle or brother as King of Judah?” and “Why are the genealogies of Matthew 1 and Luke 3 different?

Psalm 110:1 #4

Thursday, June 23, 2022

“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1 KJV).

How does today’s Scripture, this Psalm of David, explain the Bible timeline for us?

When Stephen announced how the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, was standing at God’s right hand in Acts 7:55-56, it was a major point on Israel’s prophetic timeline. Jesus did not rise to receive and greet Stephen who would soon perish (that is a common, albeit shallow and false, interpretation). Stephen’s audience was quite aware of a most disturbing truth.

After all, just one year prior to chapter 7, in Acts chapter 2, the Apostle Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost how Psalm 110:1 had been fulfilled when Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven in chapter 1: “For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:34-36). Peter, speaking as the Holy Spirit gave him utterance, altered it from “enemies” (today’s Scripture) to “foes” because Israel had actively opposed Christ (crucifying Him on Calvary) and was still refusing God’s will even into early Acts (weeks and months after Calvary).

Luke 13:6-9 explains that, after Jesus’ three-year-long earthly ministry (to which Israel responded overwhelmingly in unbelief), God would grant Israel a one-year extension to repent (change the mind) and believe the Gospel of the Kingdom. Therefore, in Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19, and Acts 5:31, Peter “filled with the Holy Ghost” preached to Israel repentance and faith in Jesus as Christ. By the time of chapter 7, Stephen (also “filled with the Holy Ghost”) confronts and denunciates unbelieving Israel. The opportunity to repent has passed; the one-year extension is expired. The Son of Man has risen from His seated position to make His enemies or foes (unbelieving Israel!) His footstool. He is returning to subjugate or conquer them in flaming fire and vengeance!

Right here, just moments away from God’s wrath falling on this whole planet, the Lord paused prophecy and began mystery, pouring out grace, mercy, and peace on the chief sinner….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘chide’ mean?

Superfluous #5

Monday, June 13, 2022

“For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many” (2 Corinthians 9:1,2 KJV).

What does “superfluous” mean?

Read today’s Scripture with its context: “[1] For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: [2] For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many. [3] Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready: [4] Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting. [5] Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.”

Paul knew how “froward” or zealous the Corinthians were in their giving (verse 2, today’s Scripture). This Greek word is also translated “willingness” or “readiness” (Acts 17:11; 2 Corinthians 8:11,12,19). He had even alerted the Macedonian believers (northern Greece) how these Achaian believers (southern Greece, including Corinth)—as much as year prior—had been enthusiastic in giving of their resources to support God’s people (Israel’s believing remnant). That news encouraged other saints to make donations too.

It was thus “superfluous” or redundant for Paul to write to the Corinthians about giving (they were already well informed about the situation). Yet, just in case any Macedonians would visit Corinth, and Corinth be not ready, Paul sent the Corinthians this second epistle (and brethren, including Titus; 2 Corinthians 8:16-18) with guidelines for giving. Unless the Holy Spirit led Paul to pen 2 Corinthians, with chapters 8–10 in place, we would be without principles for giving under grace. Saints, let us be thankful for those “superfluous” words.

Superfluous #4

Sunday, June 12, 2022

“For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many” (2 Corinthians 9:1,2 KJV).

What does “superfluous” mean?

Since the Lord’s introduction of the mystery program (the Apostle Paul’s ministry and message) delayed the conclusion of the prophetic program, it was only natural for Paul’s Gentile converts to then contribute financially to the welfare of Israel’s believing remnant already formed during the prophetic program. If Israel’s God was now the God of non-Jewish heathen—the fruit of Paul’s ministry—then these Gentile saints (the Church the Body of Christ) should support believing Israel (the Little Flock).

Romans 15:27 again: “It hath pleased them [Paul’s saints] verily; and their [Israel’s] debtors they [Paul’s saints] are. For if the Gentiles [Paul’s saints] have been made partakers of their [Israel’s] spiritual things, their [Paul’s saints] duty is also to minister unto them [Israel] in carnal [material, physical] things.” Hence, the Apostles James and Cephas (Peter) and John, leaders of the Jerusalem Church, prompted Paul and Barnabas to “remember the poor” (Galatians 2:10; the Acts chapter 15 conference). Contrary to popular belief, the “poor” here are not underprivileged people in general: they are the poverty-stricken Little Flock of the Acts period!

In today’s Scripture, the issue is members of the Church the Body of Christ (Paul’s ministry) giving financial aid to Israel’s “saints” or believing remnant (under the leadership of Peter and the 11 Apostles). As Paul established and visited local grace churches, he took up collections of money and goods to bring to “the poor saints which are at Jerusalem” (Romans 15:26; also, remember 1 Corinthians 16:1-3). By the time of today’s Scripture (2 Corinthians), the Corinthian saints (in 1 Corinthians) had already been made aware of the plight of the Jewish believers in Christ in Jerusalem and Judaea; the Corinthians needed no instructions about giving, so it was “superfluous” for Paul to write to them on the subject.

However, the Holy Spirit through Paul taught them again about giving under grace anyway….

Samaria and The Holy Ghost #4

Sunday, June 5, 2022

“Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost” (Acts 8:14-17 KJV).

What is going on in today’s Scripture? Is it something we should practice?

The Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant (see Luke 12:32), was not to preach to Samaritans until after converting Jerusalem and Judah (recall Luke 24:47 and Acts 1:8). Yet, with Jerusalem and Judah still in unbelief, the Book of Acts records Philip moving to Samaria and evangelizing the Samaritans (the context of today’s Scripture). Philip’s actions signal God is no longer operating the prophetic program, for Philip, filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 6:3,5), has departed from the commission given to the Little Flock.

Israel had fallen back in chapter 7, when Stephen, another one of the seven Spirit-filled men selected in chapter 6, was stoned to death (see Acts 7:51-60). Stephen’s murder was Israel’s unforgiveable blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31,32). From chapter 7 of Acts to the end of the Book (chapter 28) is the 30-year-long transition period from Israel’s prophetic program to our mystery program.

When the Holy Ghost had been poured out on the Day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2), that was a foretaste or preview of the New Covenant blessings: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:26,27). Though the prophetic program had been paused in Acts chapter 7, and our mystery program was beginning with Paul (see Acts chapter 9), the Lord through Luke writing Acts chapter 8 shows us how the New Covenant (yet future) will reunite the Samaritans and Jews under one government….