God’s Offer to the Nations

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

“…[T]hat God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is God’s offer to all the nations of the world today.

September 11, 2001 was a day that changed our nation forever. It was the worst terrorist attack in our two-century national history. Afterward, many Americans began to talk about “God Bless America” and “God Save the United States.” These phrases are not as commonplace as they used to be.

In the 18 years that have passed since that awful day, it is a sad commentary that “God” is now the least of our nation’s concerns. With the redefining of marriage, controversial political arena, moral decay, skyrocketing national debt, and the uncertainty as to what constitutes a human life and what does not, obviously, the God of the Bible has been largely pushed out… until we need His help, and then we cry out to Him. Unless we need Him, we rather not think about anything He has to say.

While many argue that God is judging America today for its sins, the Bible does not support such an idea. Certainly, God dealt with Israel in that manner—“Do good and I will bless, but disobey and I will curse” (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28)—but we have no relation to that Old Covenant of Law.

For the last 20 centuries, God has offered His grace to all the world’s nations, to have a right standing before Him by trusting Jesus Christ. People still die and go to hell, but today’s Scripture says that God is not judging nations for their sins. Through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, God offers reconciliation to sinners, whether here or around the world. However, that grace is exhaustible, and one day, it will be replaced with His wrath (Romans 2:1-16). Still, we believers are not appointed to God’s wrath; we are saved from all wrath through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).

The only hope for America—yea, for any nation—is faith in Jesus Christ alone!

*You can also see our 2011 Bible study commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It can be watched here or read here.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How do I know I am praying to the living God and not false gods?

Children of Light #4

Wednesday, August 28, 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?

Romans chapter 2 remarks: “[17] Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, [18] And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; [19] And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, [20] An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.” Israel had been given spiritual light in the form of God’s Word (chiefly, the Mosaic Law), but, like the nations earlier, they chose to walk in Satan’s darkness instead.

Christ conducted His earthly ministry to recover them from that darkness. Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, spoke of Israel’s coming Messiah: “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78,79). Once Israel would, by faith, participate in God’s “light” program, He would shine in and through them and reach the pagan Gentiles worldwide.

Christ spoke to this end in Matthew chapter 5: “[14] Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid…. [16] Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Yet, they declined. They preferred to be like the unenlightened Gentiles….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain, ‘They be blind leaders of the blind?’

Minimum Wage Hike? #5

Tuesday, August 6, 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?

Very few people realize Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon form one unit and thus interpret each other. This “heart” or “wisdom” literature is both rooted in literal history and typical of future events. For example, the Holy Spirit through King Solomon wrote today’s Scripture with both history and prophecy in mind. As we move on the Bible timeline toward the end times, the last days of Israel’s prophetic program, it becomes more evident that the Bible Books before and after Paul’s writings are mirror images. History loops to the future, and the future loops to history. What preceded our Dispensation of Grace predicts what will happen once it closes.

With prophecy in view, the “poor” being “oppressed” in today’s Scripture goes far beyond the issue of little to no wages. For instance, read Psalm 10: “[1] Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble? [2] The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined. [8] He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor. [9] He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net. [10] He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones…. [14] Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless.”

Psalm 12:5: For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.” Psalm 72:4: “He [The Lord Jesus Christ] shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor [same Hebrew word as “oppresseth” in today’s Scripture].” The LORD is returning in wrath, and paltry paychecks are hardly the controversy….

(In order to bring you a special devotional tomorrow, we will temporarily suspend this devotionals arc.)

Minimum Wage Hike? #4

Monday, August 5, 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?

Doubtless, the Law of Moses shows us JEHOVAH God was quite merciful toward individuals living in poverty. Jews were to lend money to their disadvantaged brethren without charging “usury” or interest (Exodus 22:25; Leviticus 25:35-37). They were commanded to do whatever they could to alleviate the financial struggles of their relatives—and even neighboring Gentiles (Leviticus 25:25,35,39-43; Deuteronomy 15:7-15). Fields were never to be completely stripped during harvest, lest the poor passersby starve (Leviticus 19:9,10; Leviticus 23:22). In the seventh or sabbatical year, the land was not to be sown or harvested; it was to be left to grow wild to feed needy people and animals (Exodus 23:11). Under no circumstances whatsoever were poor hired servants—Jews or Gentiles—to be mistreated.

Deuteronomy chapter 24: “[14] Thou shalt not oppress [same Hebrew word as “oppressed” in today’s Scripture] an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers [Gentiles/foreigners] that are in thy land within thy gates: [15] At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee.” Also, Leviticus 19:13: “Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.” Payment was to be proportional to the work. It was a fair transaction for both employer and employee: it was not some exorbitant amount exchanged for meager labor. Furthermore, the paycheck was given on the very day of the job.

In the context of today’s Scripture, the Jew is not following the Law of Moses concerning these matters. Dishonesty and inequality are present. JEHOVAH God, who has given this Law, has been disrespected. Had they honored the God of Abraham, they would have valued the servants He had instructed them not to defraud! Now, we add a prophetic layer to what we have learned thus far….

Liberated to Serve

Thursday, July 4, 2019

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 KJV).

Today, as we in the United States celebrate the 243rd anniversary of our nation’s independence, we invite our Christian brethren worldwide to rejoice with us concerning our freedom in Jesus Christ.

When we proclaim Romans 6:14—“Ye are not under the law, but under grace”—people tend to assume “loose living.” Does “grace living” really mean we can now live any way we want? Lest anyone be misled in that regard, God the Holy Spirit moved the Apostle Paul to write in the next verse, “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid [May God never let that happen!]” (Romans 6:15). Grace living is not Law-keeping, but it certainly is not Law-breaking either.

God still cares how we live, albeit He is not operating the “weak and beggarly” system of “bondage” (Law) that He once did with Israel (Galatians 4:9). God proved to the entire world that since Israel could not keep His commandments perfectly, no other sons of Adam (the Gentiles) could either: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them [Israel] who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world [Gentiles] may become guilty before God (Romans 3:19).

We sinners cannot keep the Law. However, God in His grace provided us a way to escape that condemnation by sending Jesus Christ to offer Himself on Calvary’s cruel cross to pay for our sins. By simple faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the fully-satisfying payment for our sins, we can now be “made the righteousness of God in [Christ]” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We can be delivered from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire) and the power of sin (flesh-walking).

Why are we Christians free? To selfishly live any way we want? NO! Today’s Scripture says we are liberated to now serve others, especially our Christian brethren, just as Jesus Christ selflessly served His Father and selflessly died on our behalf. That is grace living!!!!

Please see our 2011 Fourth of July Bible study “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land,” which can be watched here or read here.

Jesus, Please Leave! #10

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

“And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Matthew 8:34 KJV).

Friend, what would you do if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself happened to knock on your front door or ring your doorbell?

Read Christ’s words in Matthew chapter 12: “[43] When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. [44] Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. [45] Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”

Here is Israel’s sad condition. Messiah Jesus could cleanse her of her devil possession, but since she refused His influence, her spiritual state would further deteriorate. Once Israel rejected Christ’s offer to liberate her from satanic bondage, she opened herself to more spiritual corruption. The Antichrist will thus arise one day (see 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12; cf. John 5:43).

Satan works wherever God’s Word is absent. If we are “too busy” to renew our minds with the Scriptures rightly divided (Israel’s problem!), we automatically fall for Satan’s lie. Lost people stay unsaved, and Christians remain confused. The answer is to preach and believe sound Bible doctrine! Second Timothy chapter 2: “[24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

Friends and brethren, may we hold to Pauline doctrine, Romans through Philemon. As the Holy Spirit through Paul penned, “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 [Jesus!]. But if any man be ignorant [refusing Jesus], let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:37,38)!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does ‘not’ belong in Isaiah 9:3?

 

Jesus, Please Leave! #9

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

“And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Matthew 8:34 KJV).

Friend, what would you do if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself happened to knock on your front door or ring your doorbell?

The Bible instructs, “Quench not the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). To “quench” means “to stifle,” “to restrain the influence of.” When we refuse to follow the Spirit of God, we are saying, “Jesus, please depart!” Watch unsaved people “quench the Spirit” when the Apostle Paul preaches to them in Acts chapter 17: “[31] Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. [32] And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. [33] So Paul departed from among them.

Paul urged us members of the Body of Christ not to quench the Spirit. Notice Ephesians chapter 4: “[17] This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, [18] Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: [19] Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. [20] But ye have not so learned Christ; [21] If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: [22] That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; [23] And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; [24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Saints, if we are not walking with a renewed mind—thinking as Christ would—then we are basically asking Him to leave us too. We have rebuffed His guidance and life. May we not be like the foolish people of today’s Scripture….