Art Thou Too Superstitious?

Friday, August 12, 2011

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious” (Acts 17:22 KJV).

Religion causes people to behave very strangely—they claim to see apparitions in common objects, they speak incoherently, they allegedly (and “magically”) transform ordinary bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood, and they proclaim physical healing (while still taking medication and owning health insurance!).

The Greek word translated “superstitious” in today’s Scripture is “deisidaimonesteros,” meaning, “fearing more devils than anyone else.” Are you like the Athenians? Are you like most “Christians” today? Art thou “too superstitious?”

Pagan idolatry had permeated Athens: “the city [was] wholly given to idolatry” (verse 16). Paul told the Athenians (verse 23): “For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.”

For fear of ignoring a deity, and angering it, Athens wanted to cover every base, so they appealed to every god and goddess. Today, many cross their hearts and purchase medals/idols for protection. They pray to anyone and everyone. Others join as many churches and religions as possible, hoping to appease whoever is the “right” God. How sad.

In the context of today’s Scripture, Paul informed the Athenians that he was preaching to them the “unknown God” (verse 23). The Athenians knew there was a God other than their silly pagan gods, but they were worshiping that one true God “ignorantly.” This describes most church members in Christendom. They know about Jesus Christ, but how many really know who He is? How many have truly trusted in Christ for their soul salvation? Precious, precious few.

Religion is vain—it will never, ever save anyone. No religion or church saves. Only Jesus Christ saves. As Paul preached to Athens, we too proclaim: Trust in Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour (that He died for your sins, He was buried, and He was raised again), and you will be saved… that is no superstition!

Every Word of God

Thursday, August 11, 2011

And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4 KJV).

The prevailing argument in seminaries and Bible colleges is that God’s thoughts, not His very words, are important. Accordingly, many modern Bibles translate using dynamic equivalence: the translator is bound to convey the overall thought of the verse/passage, but he or she may add words to or remove words from the Bible text!! In the Bible we learn that God is interested in preserving His actual words, not just His thoughts.

The Bible says (Deuteronomy 8:3): “…man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”  Our Lord Jesus Christ quoted this verse in Matthew 4:4 (and also today’s Scripture): “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Jesus Christ said: “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). He also said (Matthew 24:35): “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (cf. Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33).

Moses declared to Israel: “These are the words which the LORD hath commanded, that ye should do them” (Exodus 35:1). Joshua 24:26 says, “And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God….” The LORD commanded Israel to memorize and teach their children Hiswords(Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

Proverbs 30:5 says: Every word of God is pure….” We read in Psalm 12:6,7: “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” God promised to preserve His pure words forever.

Man lives by “every word of God.” We have “every word of God” preserved in the King James Bible, not in the inferior, depraved modern Bibles.

Whom the Lord Commendeth

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

“But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth” (2 Corinthians 10:17,18 KJV).

While we enjoy praise from others, today’s Scripture reminds us that only “whom the Lord commendeth [praiseth]” is “approved [of God].” Mega-church leaders and bestselling “Christian” authors are not necessarily approved of God. Our work matters only if God Almighty approves of it!

When we do the Lord’s work wholeheartedly, someone will criticize us. People praise us when we sin and encourage us to do it again. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” We should never puff ourselves up with pride when we do something, because we even deceive ourselves at times. Human evaluation of deeds cannot be trusted: we need an unbiased Judge, whose judgment is unimpaired by sin. We need the Lord Jesus Christ, for He alone can fairly and truthfully evaluate our work.

Some Corinthians criticized Paul’s “weak” physical appearance and despised his speech (2 Corinthians 10:10). Notice Paul’s response: “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (verse 12).

Let people criticize us for doing good. God is the Judge. We let God praise us. We do not praise ourselves. Today’s Scripture says we glory in the Lord, not in ourselves. We boast in the Lord’s capacity, in His ability, in His work, in His wisdom….

In 1 Corinthians 3:9-15 we read of the day when we Christians will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, where the Lord will evaluate our deeds and the sound doctrine we believed. Here, the Lord Himself will give us, individually, a “job well done.” “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ…” (2 Corinthians 5:9,10).

“Only whom the Lord commendeth is approved!”

The Prospering Word of God

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is my favorite Bible verse. In verse 10, God speaks of rain and snow falling from heaven and watering the earth so that vegetation sprouts forth. Just as God designed precipitation to regulate plant growth, God intended His Word to produce spiritual growth. We are sure that no matter how defensive or resistant someone is to hearing God’s Word, the King James Bible has the power to overcome Satan’s opposition and that most hardened heart.

Notice these references to God’s Word prospering during the first half of the first century A.D.:

  • Acts 6:7: “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.”
  • Acts 8:14: “Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:”
  • Acts 11:1: “And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.”
  • Acts 12:24: “But the word of God grew and multiplied.”
  • Acts 13:44: “And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.”
  • Acts 19:20: “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”

Paul wrote: “…The word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth much fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:” (Colossians 1:5,6). Let us never be discouraged when people reject us sharing the Bible with them. God’s Word will take care of itself… it always has, and always will… prosper!

God that giveth the increase (1 Corinthians 3:7).

He Clothed Them

Monday, August 8, 2011

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21 KJV).

The Bible says Adam and Eve “were both naked…and were not ashamed” (Genesis 1:25). How could they be naked, and yet unashamed?

In 1 Timothy 6:16 we read of Jesus Christ “dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto….” God’s righteousness and holiness emanate from His body in the form of a bright light. Originally, before the fall, Adam and Eve did not wear physical clothes, but they were clothed with something… they were clothed with the righteousness of God Himself because sin had not entered into creation yet.

God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26,27); man was originally sinless, as perfect as God. When Adam and Eve disobeyed by eating the forbidden fruit, God’s righteousness left their bodies. They were sinners now, so God’s light no longer covered them (spiritually and physically). Adam and Eve were physically and spiritually naked, so they frantically gathered itchy fig leaves and covered themselves (Genesis 3:7).

The LORD God, in His great love and grace, sought these lost souls. Adam and Eve hid, too afraid to approach our holy and righteous God. But, God in His brilliance devised a plan to restore them. Today’s Scripture says that God killed innocent animals. He used the blood to provide Adam and Eve’s spiritual clothes (forgiveness), and the skins served as their physical clothes.

Isaiah 61:10 summarizes (saved Israel speaking): “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” God did that for Adam, Eve, Israel, and us too!

If we have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have been clothed with God’s righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). In Christ, we are just as Adam and Eve were before the fall, in perfect standing before God.

The Inward Man

Sunday, August 7, 2011

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16 KJV).

As the saint progresses in earthly years, he or she gets discouraged. Hair becomes white as snow. The skin loses its elasticity, wrinkling and sagging. Vision dims, memory fails, and hearing diminishes. That once lively body grows progressively weaker and unable to perform the tasks it once did with ease. But, be not discouraged!

God gives this interesting description of dying Moses: “his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated” (Deuteronomy 34:7). Moses, age 120, had excellent vision. His body was as agile as a young man’s. Wow!

In today’s Scripture Paul alludes to the “outward man” (physical body) and its decay and ultimate death (“perishing”). Because of sin, these physical bodies have nowhere to go but to the grave. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). Even though death may kill the physical body, Christians are confident that (the second) death cannot harm the spiritual body (the “inward man”).

Furthermore, Paul explains that we need to focus on renewing the “inward man” with sound Bible study, not focusing on the perishing state of the “outward man.” We will get new physical bodies, but the souls we have are ours forever.

Short of the Lord’s coming in our lifetimes, our physical bodies will go into the ground. While it is morbid, that is reality. But, this too is reality: “Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you” (2 Corinthians 4:14).

These physical bodies will be redeemed at the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:53; Ephesians 4:30; Philippians 3:20,21). Romans 8:23 says: “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our bodies.” Praise the Lord that we are not eternally confined to these weak, limited physical bodies!

* My outward man turns 23 today, saints.

Genesis is the Firm Foundation for the Righteous

Saturday, August 6, 2011

“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3 KJV).

The Genesis creation account is diametrically opposed to evolutionary theory. Lest they are forced to abandon their theory, Genesis-haters simply dismiss the first two chapters of the Bible as Hebrew poetry. In order to get around the anti-evolution statements in Scripture, Bible skeptics encourage us to allegorize Genesis chapters 1 and 2, claiming “the Bible does not mean what it says, so do not believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis.”

There is nothing to indicate that Genesis chapters 1 and 2 are allegorical. In fact, there is evidence in Scripture to indicate the first two chapters of Genesis are literal.

  • Genesis 2:7 says: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground….” This is a scientific fact: the human body contains elements—potassium, oxygen, magnesium, et cetera—that are also found in earth’s crust! Why would the rest of chapter 2 not be literal?
  • The Lord Jesus said: “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female” (Mark 10:6-8). Jesus Christ believed in a literal interpretation of Genesis 1:26,27 and Genesis 2:20-25.
  • The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Timothy 2:13,14: “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:3). Paul supports a literal interpretation of Genesis 1:26,27, Genesis 2:20-25, and Genesis 3:1-13.
  • Exodus 20:8-11 is a literal commandment given to Jews. Obviously this literal commandment is based on a literal event: God really created the heaven, the earth, and all creatures in six, consecutive 24-hour periods, and that He rested on the seventh (Sabbath) day. Exodus 20:8-11 supports a literal interpretation of Genesis chapters 1 and 2.

Hebrew scholars tell us that Genesis chapters 1 and 2 do not exhibit the structure of Jewish poetry, but rather a literal account-narrative. Genesis teaches a literal account of creation, and should be believed literally. If you begin the Bible allegorically (Genesis), then we are left to wonder what is literal in Scripture, if anything at all…?