The Worthless Résumé #1

Monday, November 7, 2011

“Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Philippians 3:4-6 KJV).

Saul of Tarsus was extremely religious, a strict adherent of Judaism. Instructed by the Pharisee and rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 5:34 cf. Acts 22:3), Saul was “more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of [his] fathers” (Galatians 1:14). Today’s Scripture verifies Saul’s “outstanding” religious performance: if there was one man who thought his righteousness was sufficient to get him to heaven, it was Saul. But….

Continue reading the context of today’s Scripture to discover that, despite Saul’s religious activities, he was still headed to hell! “But what things were gain to me [those of today’s Scripture], those I counted loss for Christ” (verse 7). In order to be saved, Saul had to realize that his “righteousness” was a “filthy rag” in the eyes of the LORD (Isaiah 64:6). Saul’s religious accomplishments amounted to a worthless résumé.

“Yea, doubtless, and I count all things [those of today’s Scripture] but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” (Philippians 3:8,9).

Saul realized his “righteousness” was “dung” (manure)! The only solution to his sin and sins was God’s righteousness, Christ’s sinless blood. In Acts chapter 9, Saul quit trusting in himself and trusted in Jesus Christ.

Are you like Saul of Tarsus was before he became the Apostle Paul? Are you trusting in your “good” works for salvation? Why not abandon that worthless résumé like Paul did? Why not trust in the finished crosswork of Jesus Christ, the only résumé that impresses God Almighty?

A Fair Shew in the Flesh

Sunday, October 2, 2011

“As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ” (Galatians 6:12 KJV).

The Galatians were pummeled with “another gospel,” a perverted works-religion version of Paul’s Gospel of Grace (Galatians 1:6-9; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:3,4). They had trusted in Jesus Christ and “received [God’s] Spirit” (Galatians 3:2), but Jewish legalists were teaching the Galatians they could not be saved unless they were physically circumcised and kept the Mosaic Law (Acts 15:1-5).

Today, Christendom’s hang-up is not physical circumcision, but rather everything else from Israel’s program—tithing, water baptism, gift of tongues, and Sabbath day keeping. While most church leaders today condemn Galatia for being so deceived, those church leaders are oftentimes equally deceived by denominationalism (church tradition)!

Ever heard of “walking the aisle for Jesus?” Making a “profession of faith” before a church congregation? Being water baptized? “An ‘outpouring’ of the Holy Ghost?” Today’s Scripture exposes these activities for what they really are—“a fair shew in the flesh,” performances that draw attention to and glorify man’s works and boast in what you did (Galatians 6:13). Our performance is NOT the issue.

Christ defined “a fair shew in the flesh” in Matthew 23:5: “But all their works they do for to be seen of men….” Christ is describing the activities of the scribes and Pharisees. They had a nice outward appearance—a nice “shew”—but it was all vain, worthless, faithless religion. Christ continued: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (verse 15).

Like the Pharisees and scribes, many denominational churches just seek membership, not a person’s salvation. As long as the individual walks an aisle, gets water baptized, and gives money, that is good enough. Is it? No. Salvation is not based on what we do for God, but what Jesus Christ did for us.

Beware of the “fair shews in the flesh” and avoid them!

Christ Crucified

Monday, September 26, 2011

“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2 KJV).

Christ’s cross is seldom preached in Christendom’s “praise and worship” meetings. We Bereans know Christ crucified, yet religion emphasizes everything but. Most churches stress Jesus’ teachings and miracles, but our salvation is not found in anything that Jesus preached during His earthly ministry. Christ ministered to Jews under the Law (Matthew 15:24; Romans 15:8; Galatians 4:4,5). We are neither Jews nor under the Law (Romans 6:14,15; Romans 11:11; Galatians 2:16,20; Galatians 3:28).

Many claim to “follow Jesus”—but, which Jesus? The Bible speaks of “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:3,4); the “Jesus” of religion (the Four Gospels) is not the Jesus God wants us following today. We follow Jesus Christ as our Apostle Paul followed Him.

Paul did not follow Christ after His earthly ministry: “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more(2 Corinthians 5:16). Today, in the Dispensation of Grace, we follow Christ according to His heavenly ministry as described only in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

Recently, a clergyman used his weekly column to voice his concern in my local newspaper. Why was he so distressed? That souls were going to hell? No! His column’s theme was that he feared cigarette butts were greatly polluting our streets! There was not one word about how to be saved by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. Not one word about Calvary’s cross or Christ’s shed blood. Sad.

What did our Apostle Paul preach? “Save the planet?” Christ’s earthly ministry? No, today’s Scripture says he preached, “Christ crucified.” Today, the message of Christ’s cross is the foremost issue, not His earthly ministry. Paul’s Gospel—Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). This message, the Gospel of the Grace of God, is the most important message we proclaim, for it alone is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16b).

A Sabbath Day to Remember

Sunday, September 18, 2011

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8 KJV).

For 2,500 years (Adam to Moses), no one kept the Sabbath day in Scripture. But, according to today’s Scripture, in the Mosaic Law, God commands Israel to keep the Sabbath holy (Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15). Why Sabbath day keeping?

On the Saturday Sabbath, God commanded Israel to remember His purpose in creation, and His purpose in creating them. Every Sabbath, Jews memorized Scripture and meditated on God’s Word, recalling that God would use them to accomplish His will in the earth (Exodus 31:13-18). God would make Israel a “kingdom of priests” so the Jews could evangelize the world (Exodus 19:3-6; cf. Isaiah 61:6).

According to Matthew 25:34, God originally had that kingdom in mind during the creation week. The Sabbath is first mentioned immediately after the six days of creation (Genesis 2:1-3). God would have set up His kingdom in the earth back in Genesis, but Adam rebelled, sin entered, and God’s whole plan was interrupted. That kingdom (the millennial reign of Christ) is still postponed, 6,000 years later!

That Sabbath day was a day of rest: Jews were not to do any work on Saturday. In the Bible, Psalm 132:8,13,14, the LORD says He wants Zion (Jerusalem) for His rest,” His “habitation” (dwelling-place, house!). God wanted to dwell on earth. Remember “Emmanuel” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)—“God with us?” Jesus Christ “became flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Christ came to Israel to be her King, to fulfill what the Sabbath day typified (shadowed, predicted). God demanded Israel keep the Sabbath holy to remind them weekly of that coming earthly kingdom.

By the way, as members of the Church the Body of Christ, we have no relation to Israel’s kingdom. Consequently, we have no Sabbath day to keep in this the Dispensation of Grace. Our Apostle Paul says that we are not bound to keep the Sabbath day (Colossians 2:16). Actually, Paul was “afraid of” the Galatian believers, who had abandoned God’s grace, preferring Mosaic Law-keeping and Sabbath day-keeping (Galatians 4:9-11).

Thou That Judgest Doest the Same Things

Friday, August 26, 2011

“Therefore thou are inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things” (Romans 2:1 KJV).

For over 1500 years, the nation Israel was under the Mosaic Law. Israel knew exactly what God demanded: “Behold, thou are called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;…” (Romans 2:17,18).

During that period of time, Israel was arrogant toward the Gentiles (non-Jews). In the Jews’ minds, Gentiles were godless sinners, foolish pagans who ate disgusting foods and worshipped wooden and stone idols. Yet, in reality, the Jews were hypocrites, just as sinful because they were guilty of worshipping those same silly idols throughout the Bible (Exodus 32:1-10; Jeremiah 44:15-19; Hosea 4:1-19; Acts 7:39-43; et al.)!

“For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you [Israel], as it is written” (Romans 2:24). The Gentiles would speak evil of God when they saw Israel’s wickedness, so Jews could never claim to be less sinful than Gentiles. “What then? are we [Jews] better than they [Gentiles]? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;” (Romans 3:9).

The Pharisees and Sadducees of Christ’s day referred to “publicans and sinners” (Matthew 9:11 et al.), yet Jesus called these religious leaders “hypocrites” (Matthew 15:7 et al.). Whether priests, presidents, potentates, professors, pastors, peasants, princes, paupers, or popes, all are under sin. Jews and Gentiles are all under sin. We are all inexcusable because the Law condemns us all (Romans 3:19,20).

May we never get the self-righteous, pharisaical attitude. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). We all have the potential to commit every sin of the flesh, so never say, “I would not do what they did….”

Jesus Christ did not die to save the worst of us; He died to save all of us.

Using the Law Lawfully

Saturday, July 30, 2011

“But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;” (1 Timothy 1:8 KJV).

In this the Dispensation of Grace, how does a man use the Mosaic Law “lawfully?” Paul continues in verses 9 and 10: “…the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;”

The function of the Mosaic Law is to show us we cannot measure up to God’s standard of righteousness (rightness). Galatians 2:16 says, “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 law shall no flesh be justified.”

God’s Word says in Romans 3:19,20: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

Galatians 3:24,25 says, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

Using the Law lawfully in this the Dispensation of Grace means to recognize our sinfulness and Jesus Christ’s sinlessness. The Mosaic Law shows us that we cannot be justified (made right before God) through our works. It points us to the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Law points us to salvation in Jesus Christ and His fulfilling the Law perfectly.

Do you use the Law lawfully?