Indecisive Israel #12

Monday, September 18, 2017

“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14,15 KJV).

Whom shall Israel follow? (It depends on their circumstances!)

Israel forsook the Law of Moses, God’s primary instructions to them. Therefore, awful religious, moral, and social conditions overwhelmed the nation. In keeping with the Law Covenant, beginning in the Book of Judges, God punished Israel with the first course of judgment or chastisement promised in Leviticus chapter 26. Foreigners would oppress them, exactly as verse 17 predicted: “And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.” This repeatedly occurred throughout Judges.

Similarly, the Church the Body of Christ has abandoned God’s apostle to us Gentiles, Paul (Romans 11:13). The last 2,000 years of the Body of Christ mimics Israel’s vacillation throughout the Book of Judges. There have been recurrent apostasies and isolated revivals, but an overall doctrinal deterioration. Ultimately, there is utter spiritual ruin—God’s people compromised and neutralized. Brethren, remember, the same evil world system—especially Satan’s religious system—that existed in Judges remains today over 3,000 years later. It will culminate in the Antichrist beyond our day.

Some “Christians” believe there is “no harm” in mixing with world religions, or intermarrying with non-Christians. Scripture disagrees. (Remember Israel’s pagan neighbors and spouses in Judges!) Some “grace believers” see “nothing wrong” with attending services at denominational churches. The Holy Spirit disagrees. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Brethren, let us not be indecisive like Israel. We should “be separate,” unapologetically and totally removed from the (pagan) religious system! 🙂

Indecisive Israel #11

Sunday, September 17, 2017

“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14,15 KJV).

Whom shall Israel follow? (It depends on their circumstances!)

Recall the Jews’ two chief sins that led to their idolatry during the Book of Judges. Firstly, they did not cleanse the land of all its idolatrous, heathen inhabitants, disobeying what JEHOVAH God had commanded them through Moses (Exodus 22:20; Exodus 23:23-25; Deuteronomy 13:12-15; Deuteronomy 20:16-18; et cetera). Satan used these Gentiles to corrupt the land, and they contaminated Israel once left there. Secondly, the Israelites married those pagans, something God also clearly prohibited in the Mosaic Law (Exodus 34:10-17; Deuteronomy 7:1-6; et al.). Such intimate relationships further perverted Israel. She compromised and was ultimately neutralized.

Centuries after Judges ended, the Prophet Elijah stands on Mount Carmel. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel have influenced Israel (Northern Kingdom) to adopt Baal worship as its official religion. In the famous account of Elijah exposing Baal as a dead idol and JEHOVAH as the one true God, 1 Kings 18:21 says: “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” Imagine! Over 200 years after Judges closed, Israel is still waffling between Baal and JEHOVAH!

Beyond our day, Israel will reach “rock bottom” spiritually. Accepting the Antichrist and his false religious system (revived Baal worship!), unbelieving Israel is thus destroyed in God’s wrath during the Tribulation. Finally, the Lord Jesus Christ returns at His Second Coming to forgive national Israel, make atonement for her sins, restore her unto Himself, and make believing Israel His kingdom of priests. Eternally joined to JEHOVAH God, Israel will never again be indecisive!

Now, we conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does John 6:29 support Calvinism?

God’s Offer to the Nations

Monday, September 11, 2017

“…[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 16 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.

Just As I Am #2

Thursday, July 20, 2017

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the second verse of Charlotte Elliott’s 1835 hymn, “Just As I Am.”

“Just as I am, and waiting not,
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

A preacher of the Gospel of the Grace of God must convey to unsaved people their total inability to do good works. Seeking boasting, the flesh loves to work—even appealing to the Bible for “validation.” “James chapter 2 says ‘faith without works is dead!’ There, preacher, the Scriptures tell me to work my way to Heaven!” Friends, James 1:1 says the whole Book is written to Israel’s 12 tribes scattered abroad. If we do not know what tribe we are from, then we have no business whatsoever claiming what belongs to the 12 tribes!

Once the Gospel of Grace is clearly presented, there is always that incessant, “But don’t I have to be good?” The sinner coming to faith in Christ, however, knows that no “good deeds” can please God because those “good deeds” are done in the flesh, apart from the Holy Spirit. God is not interested in a lost person performing because the only works he or she can produce is out of an evil heart. God must change the soul. No religious works will ever destroy our sin nature. However, Christ’s shed blood can pay for those sins, cleanse us inside, and give us a new identity. The Adamic identity gives way to the Christian identity: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17)!

God told ancient Israel: “it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Those animal sacrifices previewed Christ’s shed blood, which addresses and cleanses the sinful soul. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). Whether concerning Israel or us, Christ’s blood—not our work—unites souls to God!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Do Hosea 11:12 and Hosea 12:2 contradict?

Go Not Aside from Any Words

Friday, July 14, 2017

And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them (Deuteronomy 28:14 KJV).

Plain and simple!

Those outside the Christian community tell us there is no right or wrong, that everything is relative (“you have your truth, I have mine, so let us agree to disagree,” et cetera). We expect this from people without a Bible: having no absolute standard of rightness, they cannot gauge other systems with it. What is strange is when “Christian” (?) people suggest, “Why cannot we all just get along? Why nitpick about doctrine? As long as we believe in Jesus, is that not enough?”

JEHOVAH God expressly warned the nation Israel in today’s Scripture. In verses 1-14, He told Israel that He would bless her if she obeyed all of His laws. Verses 15-68 are a very thorough listing of the horrible curses to befall Israel if she drifts from His “words.” Today’s Scripture is very strict. There is no loose, “Do the best you can,” “As long as you obey most of My commandments,” or “Just believe in Me and I will bless you.” All the words of the LORD are important. They were not to deviate at all from anything that He specified—particular doctrines mattered because specific words mattered. Any departure from those very words constituted idolatry (worshipping something other than the one true God).

Study Israel’s history from that time forward. She forgot the divine words but kept the religious rituals, rites, and ceremonies. For instance, 15 centuries after today’s Scripture, Jesus constantly corrected Israel’s religious leaders for being ignorant of the Bible. “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures…” (Matthew 22:29). “Have ye not read so much as this…?” (Luke 6:3). If the leaders did not know anything, what about the commoners? “[The religious leaders] be blind leaders of the blind(Matthew 15:14). Equally “blind!”

The professing “Church” finds itself in such a pitiful dilemma today. There is a nice outward form—beautiful music, elaborate prayers, costly vessels, state-of-the-art auditoriums, and so on—but how we do not know the words of God. Like Israel of old, we have wafted right and left!

Liberated to Serve

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

“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 241st 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.

Who is Our Apostle? #5

Thursday, June 29, 2017

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” (Romans 11:13 KJV).

Behold, the verse that most have never noticed in the Bible!

The Lord Jesus told the Apostle Paul at his salvation in Acts chapter 9: “[17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send [apostello] 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” (Acts 26:17,18).

First Timothy 2:5-7 adds: “[5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” (Notice how Christ dying for “all” was the special message first declared in Scripture by Paul.)

The Bible is called “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). A sword is a powerful weapon that you can use to defend yourself—provided, of course, you have been trained to use it properly. Likewise, God’s Word can guard you from Satan’s attacks—provided that you know to “study… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). You can do great damage to yourself and others if you do not use God’s Word, God’s way.

When we fail to realize that the Apostle Paul is God’s spokesman to us, and we start trying to claim everything in Scripture as to and about us, we will not understand what God is doing today and what He wants us to do today. We cannot go into time past and force its elements on to us (Christ’s earthly ministry, the Law of Moses, Sabbath day, physical circumcision, tithing, material blessings, water baptism, healing miracles, confession of sins, and so on). Whatever came by special revelation from Jesus Christ through the Apostle Paul to us Gentiles, we find in the Books of Romans through Philemon. Let us search them to find God’s words to and about us! 🙂