Who Will Go? #2

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8 KJV).

May we agree with the Prophet Isaiah!

Remember Moses’ call to the ministry in Exodus chapter 3, when God appeared to him in the burning bush: “[10] Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. [11] And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? [12] And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.” After many excuses and much persuasion, Moses finally serves as God’s spokesman to Pharaoh. The LORD gave Moses a job to do… and He fully equipped him to do it!

Apostles Peter, Andrew, James, and John were called to the ministry in Matthew chapter 4: “[18] And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. [19] And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. [20] And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. [21] And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. [22] And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.” The Greek word rendered “apostle” is “apostolos”—“sent one.” Here is their commission in Matthew 10:5-7: “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Let us see how others respond to the ministry call in Scripture….

Bible Q&A #745: “What about the ‘wrath and doubting’ of 1 Timothy 2:8?

A Lost Generation! #9

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

What this “lost” generation needs is to be found!

Concerning the nation Israel after Jesus Christ finished His earthly ministry and His 12 Apostles undertook their ministry under the power of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter chapter 2: “[9] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” No longer was Israel “lost!”

As touching formerly pagan Gentiles, now members of the Church the Body of Christ, the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians chapter 2: “[1] And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. [4] But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, [5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; ) [6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” No longer were these Gentiles “lost!”

Provided each “lost” generation of every moment in human history believes God’s Word to and about it, it can be a found generation. Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

A Lost Generation! #8

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:3,4 KJV).

What this “lost” generation needs is to be found!

As Jesus Christ conducted His earthly ministry, He remarked, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). He commissioned His 12 Apostles: “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:5-7). The nation Israel was “lost,” removed from the path JEHOVAH God had for her. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Christ proceeded to bring Israel back to Him by preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. He was her long-promised Messiah/Christ-King-Saviour-Redeemer. Individual Jews were to “repent,” change their mind about their idolatry, and trust Him as the Son of God and heir to David’s throne. He performed miraculous demonstrations to validate His Gospel message: “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35).

Likewise, when the Apostle Paul began his ministry in Acts chapter 9, the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Jesus Christ commissioned him: “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 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). It is through Paul’s ministry and message that we Gentiles can be saved….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does God suffer from Alzheimer’s disease?

The Inner Three

Saturday, May 2, 2020

And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James (Mark 5:37 KJV).

Behold, the inner three Apostles of Israel—Peter, James, and John!

The Scriptures group Peter, James, and John on three occasions:

  1. As touching Jesus transforming on the Mount of Transfiguration: “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,…” (Matthew 17:1). “And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them” (Mark 9:2). They were the only Apostles to see a preview of Jesus Christ’s glory to be demonstrated at His Second Coming.
  2. In regards to Christ raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead: “And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James (today’s Scripture). “And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden” (Luke 8:51). They were the only Apostles to witness a preview of the nation Israel’s resurrection, to take place at Christ’s Second Coming.
  3. As touching Jesus praying just prior to His arrest in Gethsemane: “And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy;…” (Mark 14:33). They were the only Apostles to see Christ agonizing in prayer leading up to His death.

Interestingly, they were the only three Apostles to whom Jesus gave nicknames. According to John 1:42, Simon was renamed “Cephas” (“stone”) or “Peter” (Mark 3:16). Mark 3:17 says brothers James and John were renamed “Boanerges” (“the sons of thunder”). Peter was the head Apostle, as per Matthew 16:19: “And I will give unto thee [“you” singular] the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou [“you” singular] shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou [“you” singular] shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Thus, he was often the 12 Apostles’ spokesman. James and John were likened unto God’s voice, thunder a picture of His Word going forth (2 Samuel 22:14; Job 37:4,5; Job 40:9; Psalm 29:3; Psalm 104:7).

The Cup of Cold Water

Friday, May 1, 2020

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward (Matthew 10:42 KJV).

In the world’s eyes, a cup of cold water is so insignificant. However, the LORD God sees it as notable. Even the cup of cold water given to the believer in Christ has an eternal reward attached to it….

Matthew chapter 10 is the first installment of the so-called “Great Commission.” The Lord Jesus Christ is sending out His 12 Apostles—and other members of the Little Flock. Read today’s Scripture in context: “[40] He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. [41] He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. [42] And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”

Lost Israel should receive Jesus’ messengers, bring them into fellowship, that they may hear and believe that Gospel of the Kingdom: “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68,69). Christ said, “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me” (Luke 10:16). “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me” (John 13:20).

In the hot, arid Middle East, a cup of cold water is a precious commodity. As Christ’s preachers minister to Israel, giving them that life-giving message, so Israel is encouraged to give these preachers that life-giving liquid. God does not overlook even a cup of cold water given in His Son’s name.

Bible Q&As #719 and #720: “Are the Christian life and ministry about bossing people around?” and “Why did God command Abraham to physically circumcise Ishmael?

Without Blemish and Without Spot #3

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:…” (1 Peter 1:19 KJV).

How was Israel to see Jesus Christ was “without blemish and without spot?”

Passover/Calvary is two days away (Matthew 26:1,2). Israel’s chief priests, scribes, and elders connive to deceitfully arrest and murder Jesus. At Simon the leper’s house in nearby Bethany, Mary pours ointment on Jesus’ head (unknowingly preparing Him for burial). Judas Iscariot schemes with the chief priests to betray Christ for 30 silver pieces (verses 14-16). Jesus eats an early Passover with His 12 Apostles (verses 17ff.). On the Mount of Olives, He prays, before being betrayed and apprehended. His unjust, nighttime trial concludes late the next morning. Sentenced to death (!), He is crucified at 9 A.M.; He lets Himself die by 3 P.M. (Mark 15:25-38).

Israel could have verified Jesus as Messiah-Redeemer during those four days between Palm Sunday and Calvary. Rather than wrongdoing, He cleansed the defiled Temple, demonstrated God’s power, preached the truth, upheld the pure Mosaic Law, defended and expounded the Hebrew Bible, and exposed Israel’s perverted religious leaders. Scripture testifies of Christ Jesus during His last days: “the innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4), “just [righteous]” (Matthew 27:19), “I find no fault in this man” (Luke 23:4), “I… have found no fault in this man… No, nor yet Herod…” (Luke 23:14,15), “I have found no cause of death in him” (Luke 23:22), “this man hath done nothing amiss [no wrong]” (Luke 23:41), “I find in him no fault at all” (John 18:38), “I find no fault in him” (John 19:4). (Cf. Matthew 27:23; Mark 15:14; Luke 23:22; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22; cf. today’s Scripture)

Matthew 27:24,25: “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the [Jewish] people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.Israel knew Pilate was correct; however, they could not care less that Jesus was innocent. Like all other sinful (deceived) children of Adam, they refused God’s sinless Son as their King: they demanded He be crucified as an imposter (John 19:15)!

My Father’s Business #16

Monday, January 20, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34). The Lord Jesus Christ knew exactly (!!) what His Father was doing as touching His earthly ministry. He did not wonder or guess: having a clear understanding of His Father’s will for Israel, He worked with His Father to accomplish it. At the end of that ministry, He prayed to His Father: “I have glorified thee on the earth: I (!) have (!) finished (!) the (!) work (!) which (!) thou (!) gavest (!) me (!) to (!) do (!)(John 17:5). What was that “work” exactly? Keep reading.

“I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word” (verse 6). Christ’s earthly ministry was designed to overpower spiritual darkness in Israel, expel Satan’s influence from Palestine: “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is spring up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:16,17,23).

For three years, Christ tirelessly taught, preached, and performed miracles in Israel’s land. While most of Israel preferred to remain in their ignorance, a believing remnant was nonetheless formed. These saints—headed by the 12 Apostles (with Matthias instead of Judas Iscariot)—are the “men” to whom Jesus gave the Father’s words. “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me: and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me” (John 17:8).

Dear friends, if we are to be about “our Father’s business” today, we have to know what “our Father’s business” today even is….

NOTE: Happy 40th spiritual birthday to my Mom, who will be reading this. We joy in our Lord Jesus Christ, He who used you to interest in me “our Father’s business” nearly a quarter-century ago!

My Father’s Business #12

Thursday, January 16, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

In “time past,” the nation Israel was spiritually advantaged. Given God’s Word (Romans 3:1,2), they were to then believe it, accept their King (Jesus), and ultimately teach the Gentiles in His kingdom. Alas, Israel refused Jesus, demanding His crucifixion on Calvary’s cross. Her religious leaders shouted, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15)! Christ died the death of the worst criminal—but then resurrected victoriously! He returned to His Father in the third heaven as a rejected exile. The Holy Spirit descended and empowered the 12 Apostles (Matthias being Judas Iscariot’s replacement) to preach and call Israel to repentance. Israel ardently declined to change her mind: even now, she would not have Jesus.

Unfortunately, Israel’s unbelief culminated with her stoning the Prophet Stephen in Acts chapter 7. Stephen’s sermon was her final chance to turn to JEHOVAH God in faith so she could do her “Father’s business.” Alas, she fell, losing her spiritual position before God. Leading Israel’s rebellion against Jesus Christ was a religious leader named Saul of Tarsus. As unbelieving Saul was en route to arrest fellow Jews for believing on Jesus as Messiah; the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ intercepted him in grace, mercy, and peace (Acts chapter 9). Saul, having now believed on Christ, is commissioned as the Apostle Paul. The Lord orders Paul to go to the Gentiles with a new Gospel message.

The Holy Spirit moved Paul to pen in Romans chapter 11: “[11] I say then, Have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: [14] If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.” Here is our “Father’s business….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “When Paul says ‘there is no difference,’ is he referring to people outside the Body of Christ, or in it?

The Misunderstood Messiah #5

Monday, December 30, 2019

“Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God” (John 8:41 KJV).

Did you ever notice the magnitude of the insult put forth toward Jesus Christ in today’s Scripture?

Once Christ replied with sound doctrine (verses 42-47), Israel’s religious leaders simply resorted to name-calling again (verse 48): “Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” A Samaritan was half-Jew/half-Gentile, and “the Jews [had] no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9). Notice Jesus was insulted twice more—they called Him a “Samaritan” and “devil possessed.” Throughout the rest of John chapter 8, Israel’s religious leaders continue arguing with Jesus and nearly stone Him to death (verse 59)!

Why did Jesus not simply “zap” these religionists and instantly throw them into hellfire? They belittled and blasphemed Him several times in this one account, and then attempted to murder Him, but rather than Jesus killing them with His spoken word (which would have been justified), He only conversed with them. Why?

Remember, when the Apostles James and John saw how the Samaritans refused to accommodate Jesus, they asked Him if He wanted them to call down fire from heaven and consume those sinners, He replied, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:55,56). This First Coming of Christ was His “meek and lowly” coming: He did not come to judge man’s sins, but to die for them!

Even today, God is still not pouring out His wrath on wicked mankind (2 Corinthians 5:19), creatures who still snicker at Jesus Christ, deceive others in His name, persecute His saints, ignore His Word, and “rub His nose” in their sins. Lost mankind is wasting God’s grace and mercy that He is offering so freely. When His grace is finally exhausted, the undiluted wrath that has accumulated will finally be poured out (His Second Coming). May we trust Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour now so we have our sins forgiven now, lest we face that angry, righteous God in judgment (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)!

For more information, you may also see our archived Bible Q&A: “Did God ‘rape’ Mary?

A Better Baptism #8

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

“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” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

Today’s Scripture speaks of a “baptism” that almost no one mentions or understands. All we hear about is water baptism in “Christian” circles—the erroneous idea that the word “baptism” in Scripture always refers to water. Unfortunately, another problem is that most individuals assume water baptism must always be immersion. A lot of the confusion stems from a failure to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Unless we approach the Bible dispensationally, friends, we will not have hope in understanding baptism or any other Scriptural theme. Two simple passages that outline the dispensational layout of Scripture are Acts 3:19-21 and Romans 16:25,26.

The Apostle Peter preached in Acts chapter 3: “[19] Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. [20] And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: [21] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

Compare that to what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans chapter 16: “[25] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:….”

Paul’s ministry discloses material that God had kept secret while He was revealing information to Peter. When Paul wrote today’s Scripture, he was focusing on something other than Israel’s prophetic program and kingdom water baptism. We do not try to harmonize Peter and Paul, making all their teachings the same. There is a “baptism” unique to Paul’s ministry, and it is not (!) water baptism….