An Addiction Worth Keeping

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

“I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) that ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth” (1 Corinthians 16:15,16 KJV).

The Bible warns, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient [profitable, beneficial]: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12). “Brought under the power” is another way of saying “addiction.” While we are under grace, not law (Romans 6:14,15), there are some activities that are inconsistent with our identity in Christ because they will negatively dominate our lives. A “thou shalt not…” may not exist, but that does not necessarily mean that activity is acceptable to God.

God’s grace teaches us to “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, [that] we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11,12). Our priority should be the things of God, not the world’s worthless distractions. Addictions are often unhealthy and wasteful. Being controlled and influenced by something other than the indwelling Holy Spirit is very detrimental to your Christian life and even harmful to those around you. Here is one addiction worth keeping….

Notice today’s Scripture. Stephanas’ house was the “firstfruits of Achaia,” meaning they were the first people to be saved in southern Greece under Paul’s ministry. Furthermore, Stephanas’ house had “addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.” Now, this is an addiction worth keeping!

The believers of Stephanas’ house literally “addicted” themselves to playing a role in the Christian ambassadorship. They were so willing to let God’s Word work effectually in them that they could not help but do the work of the ministry. God’s Word had transformed their minds so they now valued what God valued and were determined to spreading God’s Word.

We should desire to be just as addicted to the work of the ministry as Stephanas’ house. May we never break that habit! 😉

The Sin of Presumption?

Monday, September 5, 2011

“Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (for we walk by faith, not by sight:) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8 KJV).

If one has the assurance of going to heaven because he or she is relying exclusively on Christ’s finished cross work—and not on his or her own performance—religion calls this “self-righteous arrogance.” According to church tradition, “the sin of presumption” is committed when an individual has the assurance of eternal salvation in Christ.

Church tradition demands that in order to avoid the sin of presumption, we must never rely on our good works, but we must never rely on God’s power alone either. In other words, religion teaches salvation comes by our “good” works and God’s power. That is a devil’s lie, beloved (Romans 4:1-5; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5)!

Today’s Scripture says that we are “always confident,” fully persuaded that while we live in these physical bodies, we are not in heaven’s glory. As members of the Church the Body of Christ, we are equally confident that our souls will appear in heaven as soon as these physical bodies die. According to today’s Scripture, if we have no confidence in going to heaven, then we have no confidence in presently being here on earth and not in heaven.

The Bible says we need to be made right with God, and in Christ, we are forgiven and eternally saved! According to Paul’s Gospel, the Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), we need to trust exclusively in Christ’s shed blood, His dying for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection if we are to receive eternal life.

The so-called “sin of presumption” is nothing more than a “cunningly devised fable” used to keep people fearful and bound in religious systems (2 Peter 1:16). I have assurance of going to heaven because Christ was “good enough.” I boast in Jesus Christ’s righteousness that has been applied to me, and I am saved in Christ.

Joseph, a Man of Faith

Sunday, September 4, 2011

“By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones” (Hebrews 11:22 KJV).

The book of Genesis closes with: “And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt” (50:24-26).

Prior to Jacob’s death, he told his son Joseph: “God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, and said unto me, Behold I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession” (Genesis 48:3,4).

When Joseph died, Israel was in Egypt (recall that Joseph’s brothers sold him into Egyptian slavery, and Joseph’s family escaped famine in Canaan by joining him in Egypt; Genesis chapters 37-46). Joseph had faith in what God had promised his great-grandfather Abraham, his grandfather Isaac, and his father Jacob. Israel would eventually leave Egypt to forever return to Canaan, the Promised Land.

Some 140 years after Joseph died, Moses led the nation Israel out of Egypt. The Bible says, “And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you” (Exodus 13:19).

Through the eyes of faith, Joseph foresaw the day—over a century into the future—when his remains would lie in Canaan’s soil. God had been faithful to Israel, delivering them from Egypt as He promised. Through the eyes of faith, we see ourselves already in heaven. God will be just as faithful in delivering us.

A Wise Man

Saturday, September 3, 2011

“A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool” (Proverbs 17:10 KJV).

Lawlessness abounds today. The lost world around us is quite foolish in that they hate God and vehemently refuse His Word. God’s Word contains instruction, and yet they blatantly reject it. Not surprisingly, they blame God when their lives are wrecked and destroyed.

Proverbs 1:5-7 says: “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: to understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Today’s Scripture declares that a wise man will hearken unto reproof (instruction, advice). The reproof will be more effectual in the life of the wise man than 100 whippings will be in correcting the fool. A fool can be instructed time and time again, and he can be harshly punished, but he will still be set in his rebellious ways. This is typical human nature: “I refuse to obey any authority, especially God!”

We can all be so stubborn at times that even God Almighty giving us a kick in the seat of the pants would probably not help. Throughout the Old Testament God would chastise wicked Israel by cursing her and her daily activities. Her crops would not grow, and sickness and death would vex her people. In the book of Judges, Israel would suddenly behave, enjoy a brief respite and God’s blessings, and then she would quickly return to her rebellious ways and suffer more punishment.

Do you want to be a wise man (or woman)? Take a King James Bible and study it God’s way, “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), using dispensational Bible study. Believe what that Bible says where it says it and to whom it says it, let that Word work effectually in you, and then you will be a wise man (or woman) indeed!

Same Old, Same Old (Ignorance and Unbelief)

Friday, September 2, 2011

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:3,4 KJV).

Continue reading the context of today’s Scripture (verses 5,6): “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:”

Geologist James Hutton proposed the principle of uniformitarianism, the belief that the same natural processes operating on earth today are generally those that sculpted earth in the past. Basically, “the present is the key to the past.”

A college geology textbook reads: “Two fathers of modern geology, James Hutton and Charles Lyell, led us to understand that the planet was not shaped by a series of catastrophic events over a mere few thousand years, as many people had believed. Rather, what we see today is the product of ordinary geologic processes operating over much longer time intervals” (Understanding Earth, Grotzinger et al., 2007, 184).

Notice how this textbook rejects the Great Flood of Noah’s day (“catastrophic events”) by claiming that “ordinary geologic processes” have always operated on earth. In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Peter mentioned Bible scoffers who are willingly ignorant of the Great Flood. This describes Hutton, Lyell, and the other scientists who accept the theory of uniformitarianism and reject the “catastrophic” Great Flood.

  • UNIFORMITARIANISM = slow processes operating during long periods of time, suggesting an old earth (~4.6 billion years old).
  • CATASTROPHISM = accelerated erosion, transportation, and deposition of sediments during the Great Flood, suggesting a young earth (thousands of years old).

Because the extreme conditions and accelerated rates of processes demanded by the global Flood disprove almost uniform, ordinary, and slow rates of geologic change, most scientists reject “catastrophism” (the Bible’s Flood) in favor of “uniformitarianism” (to keep their “old earth view!”).

As the uniformitarianists shout, “Same old, same old!,” we catastrophists exclaim, “Same old, same old ignorance and unbelief!

The Future Generations

Thursday, September 1, 2011

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 KJV).

The greatest gift a parent could ever give his or her child is a firm foundation in God’s Word, the rightly divided King James Bible. God, knowing this, put today’s Scripture in His Word.

In Deuteronomy chapter 5, Moses taught God’s Law (the Old Covenant) to Israel. The LORD commanded the Jews to daily meditate on His Word, memorize it, and write it everywhere in their homes (Deuteronomy 6:8,9). In addition, they were to educate their children in God’s Word (verses 6,7): “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

Parents, not preachers and teachers, should be the primary instructors of their children. God has given the father-husband the role of teaching the children (his wife helping him, of course). In Ephesians 6:4, Paul writes: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Bishops and deacons were to have godly children instructed in God’s Word (1 Timothy 3:4,5,12).

Comparing 2 Timothy 1:5,6 with 2 Timothy 3:15, we learn that Timothy’s mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois taught him the Old Testament Scriptures… and just where was his father?!

The local church should then build on the foundation that the parents stored in their children. Older men in the church served as role models for the younger men in the church, and older women served as role models for the younger women in the church (Titus 2:1-8).

One day, if the Lord tarries, our generations will pass, and new ones will take over. As adults, we owe it to the future generations to teach and preach God’s Word now, while we still can. Those future generations need a firm foundation in God’s Word so they can pass it on to their future generations.

Gather With the Saints

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15 KJV).

“The house of God” of today’s Scripture does not refer to a church building, but the group of saints that meets in that building. “Church” in the Bible always refers to a group of God’s people, never to a stone or wooden structure. God designed the local church so we could have an assembly to fellowship with like-minded believers in Christ. Today’s Scripture encourages Timothy (and us) to gather with the saints.

While in Troas (northwestern Turkey), the Apostle Paul fellowshipped with the saints, “Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus” (Acts 20:4). Verse 7 says, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”

Notice that first-century saints fellowshipped by eating a meal together and listening to Bible preaching. Interestingly, Paul’s preaching “until midnight” caused Eutychus to literally fall asleep, falling from the third loft to his death (Paul raised this “church sleeper” in verses 10-12)!

Since we are under grace and not law (Romans 6:14,15), we are not obligated to go to church (going to church is not Sabbath day keeping). We go to church willingly. Why? God designed the local church to “perfect” (mature) the saints and “edify” (build up) the Body of Christ with sound Bible teaching so they can then share what they learned with the lost (Ephesians 4:12).

If you get an opportunity to meet with the grace brethren, make every attempt to attend. You will be greatly edified and encouraged by hearing some sound preaching from the rightly divided Word and seeing God’s grace and Word working in the lives of others!