denominationalism

Persuading and Pleasing God #3

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture reveal about the Apostle Paul’s past?

As Saul of Tarsus, Paul was a Pharisee (Acts 26:5; Philippians 3:5,6), diligently serving men in “the Jews’ religion” (Galatians 1:13,14). The Mosaic Law (rabbinical) scholar that he was (Acts 22:3), no one was more dedicated to striving in works-religion than he. However, on the road to Damascus, Acts chapter 9, he met the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven. Pious Saul suddenly realized he was headed for Hell! He came to believe the new gospel message that the Lord revealed to him—Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again the third day. Thereafter, Saul would no longer please men. In fact, at his conversion, he asked, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).

In contrast to his earlier life, Paul was now a servant of God. Galatians 1:11-12, the verses immediately following today’s Scripture, affirms: “[11] But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. [12] For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Rather than being faithful to a God-originated religious system that man had watered down over the centuries, Paul was now faithful to the commission God had given directly to him. He was truly now a God-pleaser instead of a man-pleaser (today’s Scripture).

The Lord Jesus Christ had revealed Himself to Saul outside of Damascus. In doing so, He revealed to Paul the Gospel of Grace—the first installment of the Dispensation of Grace. The Holy Spirit moved Paul to write to the churches at Galatia, that they learn his distinctive apostleship and message, to the end that they would learn not to be men-pleasers either. Brethren, let us learn the lesson: the answer to successful Christian living is grace, not law—Christ, not religion! It is not what we do; it is all that Jesus Christ did for us at Calvary’s cross! This persuades and pleases Father God! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should a woman lead a group in prayer?

Persuading and Pleasing God #2

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture reveal about the Apostle Paul’s past?

Colossians 3:22-25 describes the employee-employer relationship: “[22] Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; [23] And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; [24] Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. [25] But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.”

Christian employees should submit to their bosses’ authority. Furthermore, they are not to be diligent only in the bosses’ presence (remember the “fair shew” in religion—Galatians 6:12). Notice today’s Scripture: “not with eyeservice, as menpleasers….” Work should be done “in singleness of heart, fearing God.” Whatever we do, we “do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” God is not looking for religious slaves, doing what they have to do because someone is watching them and will punish them for carelessness. Father God wants hearts of faith, sincerity, people purposing to follow His Word and will. Notice how verse 24 says we “serve the Lord Christ;” we are “the servant[s] of Christ” (today’s Scripture).

Returning to Colossians, we see a “reward.” At the Judgment Seat of Christ, Jesus Christ will personally review, evaluate, our Christian service. Second Corinthians 5:9-10 says, in part: “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.” First Corinthians 4:5 says of that day: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. The Lord will be interested in exposing the doctrine underlying our earthly actions—whether sound Bible doctrine (good) or something else (bad). Christians who strove to please men will lose reward because underlying sound Bible doctrine was absent from their inner man.

Persuading and Pleasing God #1

Monday, April 24, 2017

“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture reveal about the Apostle Paul’s past?

Notice the “now” persuade men and the “yet” (as in, “still”) please men. These are really glimpses into Paul’s past. As Saul of Tarsus, he was a men-pleaser, a religious fanatic, consumed by self-righteousness. Scripture continues: “[13] For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: [14] And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.” Notice “the Jews’ religion” appears twice—Saul had been quite busy in a God-given religion that men watered down!

Galatians chapter 6 talks about men-pleasers in works-religion: “[12] 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. [13] For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.” Even today, denominational preachers brag about how many people they water baptized last year. Church members boast how faithful they were in maintaining church programs. Top donors to churches and missionaries are praised with flattery. Preachers please congregants because they are giving the church members what they want to hear—works-religion. The people, in turn, are pleasing the preachers by obeying the denomination’s demands—religious works. Thus, religion is one gigantic cycle of pleasing others. Almighty God is displeased because people want to satisfy everyone but Him!

Dear friends, today’s Scripture is very clear. If we want to serve men, if we purpose to impress men, we should not be servants of Jesus Christ. We should have stayed dead in our trespasses and sins, and not come to Him by faith. Now that we have come to Him, though, our goal is to persuade and please Him alone. We should not be pacifying other humans with mindless, rote, religious busyness.

Believe the Translation!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

…And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying, (Acts 21:40b KJV).

What does the Bible say about manuscript translations?

One charge frequently leveled against the King James Bible is that it is a “mere translation.” We all know the complaint—“Language limitations prevent perfect translations from one tongue to another.” Friend, you talk about being a King James Bible believer long enough, and you will find yourself in a strange predicament. You will discover that Christians—even preachers and teachers—will denounce you for being a “translation fanatic.” Yes, as dumb as it sounds, professing Christians will criticize you for believing the Bible you can read in your own language and understand! Why?

They contend that you must appeal to the original Bible languages—Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek—to get the Bible’s “full” meaning. (This is carried over from Roman Catholicism: you must come to the priest and his “Latin” if you want to hear from God. The “Latin” is also a translation, by the way!) Ironically, the same “scholarly” people who fault you for using a Bible translation actually advertise their own pet translation. The “LXX” (“70”), commonly called the Septuagint, is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. Scholars often quote, not the Hebrew Old Testament, but rather the Greek Old Testament. They resort to the receptor language (Greek), when they, according to their rule, should be using the source language (Hebrew)! (After all, they tell us not to use the English Bible but rather the original Greek New Testament and the original Hebrew-Aramaic Old Testament!)

Friend, let me tell you something that you will almost never hear in any church or other Bible institution. Never, ever forget it! The Holy Bible, even in the original languages and original manuscripts, had translations within it. (Horrors!) Just look at today’s Scripture. The Bible says Paul spoke the next 21 verses in Hebrew; scholars know that Luke wrote Acts in Greek. There is no manuscript of Paul speaking in Hebrew. Evidently, God the Holy Spirit thought that that Greek translation of Paul’s sermon in Hebrew was sufficient for us to believe! Do we?

Our latest Bible Q&A: “‘If God peradventure will give them repentance…?’

Jesus Accused of Blasphemy

Friday, March 31, 2017

But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy (Matthew 26:63-65 KJV).

Did Jesus ever claim to be “God?” (Why, yes, He did!)

While various denominationalists vehemently reject the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, they still have today’s Scripture in their Bible versions (and they cannot deny it!). During Jesus’ trial, the high priest commanded Him to declare once and for all if He was “the Christ, the Son of God” (verse 63). Jesus replied, “Thou hast said” (verse 64)—paraphrased, “You have said it!” Still, Jesus added: “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (verse 64). The high priest was immediately outraged: he tore his garments and twice pronounced a charge, “Blasphemy!”

Evidently, what flustered the high priest was not so much Jesus’ reply “Thou hast said.” No, what deeply rattled him was that Jesus took it a step further: “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” The Lord did not have to say, “I am the Son of God,” to be accused of blasphemy. No, He merely had to declare, “You will see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

“Sitting on the right hand of power” was surely Messianic, as Psalm 110:1 predicted many centuries earlier that Christ would sit at the LORD’s right hand. Moreover, the “coming in the clouds of heaven” was especially inflammatory, as the high priest recalled Psalm 68:4: “Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH [JEHOVAH], and rejoice before him.”

Bible Q&A #365: “Is Matthew 26:59-61 contradictory?

Resolute to Speak in Christ!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:17 KJV).

Despite all the corrupters, we will keep God’s Word pure!

I periodically receive emails from discouraged grace believers, people “beaten up” by denominationalists. Whether in-person or on social media, they have encountered much opposition. (I know!) Individuals constantly attack the King James Bible as “faulty” and “a mere translation.” Jesus Christ’s crosswork means nothing to them because their religious works mean everything to them. There is much anti-grace rhetoric (legalism). Individuals viciously ridicule the Apostle Paul. Dispensational Bible study is questioned and denigrated as “nutty” and “cultic.”

This should neither surprise nor discourage us. Whether today, or throughout Bible history, very few follow Father God. Never forget, my dear brethren, Noah preached for 120 years, and all he converted was seven precious souls (2 Peter 2:5)! Untold millions mocked and refused to hear him, thus perishing in the Great Deluge. Pride kept them from entering that Ark, eternally damning them. Even today, pride keeps billions of lost people from being saved by trusting Christ as personal Saviour (1 Timothy 2:4). Moreover, pride prevents millions of Christians from “coming to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

Some 2,000 years ago, people were “wresting” (perverting) the Scriptures—especially Paul’s epistles—to their spiritual destruction (2 Peter 3:15,16). When we learn of so many people today vilifying Jesus Christ, the King James Bible, Paul, and dispensational Bible study, we recall today’s Scripture: “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”

A disheartened grace believer recently wrote to me concerning the hostility: “After it’s done beating me up a bit I tend to try to redouble my resolve to know the word of grace.” In other words, the opposition motivates him to endeavor to learn about God’s grace even more! (It took me years to gain that same attitude, but I agree 1000 percent!!) The more they question God’s truth; the more we reinforce it in our minds, over and over and over again. Daily, constantly, eternally! 🙂

Sifted Saints #5

Monday, March 13, 2017

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31,32 KJV).

What is Satan’s goal here?

In his final meeting with the Ephesian church elders, Paul through the Holy Spirit issued a grave warning in Acts chapter 20: “[28] Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. [29] For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. [30] Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. [31] Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. [32] And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

Notice how Satan “sifts” members of the Body of Christ by having them overlook “the word of [God’s] grace” (verse 32). Thus they follow the Law, available in many forms—that is, 38,000 denominations! Splinter group after splinter group develops, until the distinction is no longer “Christian versus non-Christian,” but increasingly “this denomination versus that denomination.” So many precious Christian souls are entangled in such confusion and division!

As Satan attempted to “divide and conquer” the Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant, so he uses a similar strategy with us the Church the Body of Christ today. Remember, he attacked the Little Flock by focusing on its chief Apostle (that is, Peter). With Peter discredited, the Little Flock would collapse. Likewise, we see Satan attacking the Church the Body of Christ by concentrating on its leading Apostle (namely, Paul). There are “doctrines of devils” today aimed at questioning Paul’s grace doctrines, Romans through Philemon (1 Timothy 4:1-16)—people using the Bible but not “rightly dividing” it (2 Timothy 2:15). With the Bible not rightly divided, the Christians are divided and conquered!