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….

Jesus, Please Leave! #8

Monday, June 24, 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?

As far as the record of Scripture is concerned, the Lord Jesus never again set foot on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. They requested His departure—and He obliged. Someone may ask, “What about those there who wanted to believe on Jesus but had not yet heard of Him and never got to meet Him?” Well, the message of Messiah was still proclaimed there, even after His parting.

Now healed, the formerly devil-possessed man wanted to accompany Jesus (Mark chapter 5): “[19] Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. [20] And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.” God’s testimony was still there east of the Jordan River, but the Saviour Himself had withdrawn. See also Luke chapter 8: “[38] Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, [39] Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.

Today, there are various ways to say, “Jesus, please leave!” It can be a lost person mocking God’s preacher and grace doctrine. They prefer their works-religion. Or, it can be individuals who have already believed on Christ as personal Saviour, who hang on to the Law system as means for Christian living. They may even live like the world, quenching or putting out the influence of the Holy Spirit. As the old preacher said, “I went in the world and found the church, I went in the church and found the world!” Sadly, the Lord is often rejected even now….

Jesus, Please Leave! #7

Sunday, June 23, 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?

Mark chapter 5 says, “[17] And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. [18] And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him…. [21] And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.”

Luke chapter 8 records it like this: “[37] Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again. [38] Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, [39] Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him. [40] And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him.”

Once Christ was asked to leave, He left! Having crossed the Sea of Galilee going eastward and been rejected there, He returned westward by ship. On the western shore, though, “the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him” (Luke 8:40). Dear friends, if there ever were a lesson to learn here, it is this: never, ever are we to waste time with people who do not want to hear the truth. We tell them God’s Word rightly divided, but if they refuse, we need to move on to those who do have a sincere desire to hear and believe. Time is ever so precious, and must be mindful as to how to handle those who reject the Scriptures even now….

Jesus, Please Leave! #6

Saturday, June 22, 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?

Luke chapter 8 records the miracle of the context of today’s Scripture as follows: “[33] Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. [34] When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.

“[35] Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. [36] They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. [37] Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again. [38] Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, [39] Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.”

The local townspeople hear about the transformation of that wild man who lived among the tombs. In fact, they are so curious they come to see if the news is really true. Yes indeed, there, at the feet of Jesus, sits that man—completely healed! Messiah has arrived, and He is able and ready to deliver them from satanic bondage! Unfortunately, they have no spiritual discernment to recognize the good news. The Bible says “great fear” came on them (verse 37). Unable to appreciate the Lord Jesus, they prefer that He leave them. Like many today, they do not want Him….

Jesus, Please Leave! #5

Friday, June 21, 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?

In Isaiah chapter 49, after the LORD God issues astonishing promises concerning Israel’s glorious future, a valid objection is raised. Verse 24: “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?” Satan boasts before God that Israel is now his people. Having broken the Mosaic Covenant with their idolatry, they are disqualified from being God’s people (see Exodus 19:5,6). They are Satan’s slaves, and he will not release them. Recall the rampant devil possession during Christ’s earthly ministry! The nation Israel is so thoroughly corrupted with pagan idolatry and false teaching. Indeed, legally, God cannot use them. They have entered into a binding contract, and have utterly failed to stay loyal to the God of their fathers. “Lawfully captive” to Satan, how can they be “delivered?”

Almighty God answers Satan: “[25] But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. [26] And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.” 

God will save the children of Israel… somehow. The specifics are not clear to Satan, Isaiah, or anyone else at that time. Looking back, with a complete Bible in hand, we can see Jesus’ crosswork in veiled language in Isaiah 50:1-8. In death by crucifixion, Christ fights to redeem Israel from sin and Satan’s relentless grip. By shedding His sinless blood, He satisfies Father God’s justice, and pays Israel’s sin debt in full. Before this, He performs healing and exorcism miracles (as in today’s Scripture). Prior to Calvary, He demonstrates He can free Israel from the Devil’s clutches….

The War with Amalek! #14

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8 KJV).

What is this war with Amalek all about? Can we make application?

In Scripture, water symbolizes the Holy Spirit (and the impartation of life). For example, John chapter 7: “[37] In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. [39] (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”

See also 1 Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” The verb “drink” carries the connotation of a liquid—water. Once we believed on Christ as our personal Saviour, the Holy Spirit identified us with Him, and we received His life. Here is Israel drinking from the rock (cf. today’s Scripture). They had God’s life, His blessings because of His grace, and victory over sin—until they embraced works-religion. The poor Apostle Paul wound up in a similar trap. His Christian life started right (Romans chapter 6), then he abandoned Grace to follow Law and become conquered and miserable (chapter 7). Hope and victory come in chapter 8!

“[1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

If we have a clear understanding of Grace (“mind the things of the Spirit”), brethren, there will be no room for Law—or losing to Amalek! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does the Bible say about fatherhood?

The War with Amalek! #13

Friday, June 14, 2019

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8 KJV).

What is this war with Amalek all about? Can we make application?

Here is grace living (as opposed to legalism, Law-keeping): “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:11-14).

When we quote Romans 6:14 (“We are not under the law, but under grace”), that does not mean we believe God encourages us Christians to sin. If ever someone objects with, “Grace is a license to sin,” they either do not know what grace really teaches, or (sadly) they have seen a “grace” person regularly behave carnally. The verse says in full, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” All the Law can do is show us our sin; it cannot (!) make us righteous and it cannot (!) cause us to act righteously. The Law functions as a mirror: it reveals our shortcoming, our need for the Saviour Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:21-25).

Scripture says the Law “is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient…” (1 Timothy 1:7-11). If we have recognized our lost estate, deadness in trespasses and sins, and have come to Christ by faith alone, then we are righteous in Him (1 Corinthians 1:30,31). The Law has no purpose in the Christian’s life, for the Law has already accomplished God’s intention: it has directed the lost person to trust Christ and become a Christian. For the Christian to then place himself under the Law is to cause sin to dominate him (Romans 6:14). We overcome sin—the flesh—not by striving to make ourselves holy, but realizing we are holy (sanctified, set apart) in Christ and instruments of His works (Titus 2:14)! The victory over sin is in Grace, not Law!

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….