love

Forgiven for Christ’s Sake #3

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 KJV).

Verses 31 and 32 contain nine items worth discussing: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

  • Bitterness—“intense antagonism or hostility.” The Bible says this characterizes lost mankind (Romans 3:14).
  • Wrath—“strong, stern, or fierce anger; deeply resentful indignation; ire.” Idolaters in Ephesus were very angry—“full of wrath”—when their religion was threatened (Acts 19:28).
  • Anger—“a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire.”
  • Clamour—“raise an outcry.” This was the “great cry” when Israel’s religious leaders argued (Acts 23:9); Jesus’ “strong crying” when He prayed to Father God in Gethsemane (Hebrews 5:7); the “loud cry” of an angel concerning judgment (Revelation 14:18). In the context of Ephesians, it means shouting over others—a crowd whose conversation is indistinct chatter.
  • Evil speaking—“harmful or immoral words.” Transliterated, the Greek word is blasphemia. This means “to speak evil,” and the context of Ephesians 4:31 implies “gossip” and/or “slander.”
  • Malice—“desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness.” Paul discouraged the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 5:8; 1 Corinthians 14:20) and the Colossians (Colossians 3:8) from behaving this way. Maliciousness also characterizes lost people (Titus 3:3). Peter instructed the kingdom saints of Israel’s program to avoid malice too (1 Peter 2:1).
  • Kind one to another—“gentle; sympathetic.” In stark contrast to how the world hates us (1 John 3:12,13).
  • Tenderhearted—“pitiful; well-compassionate” (cf. 1 Peter 3:8). The idea is opposite a hard heart, one that feels no sympathy and is unaffected when others suffer.
  • Forgiveness—“send away.” This definition is the answer to all the confusion as to what forgiveness is and what forgiveness is not. It is such an intricate topic that we must withhold it until our next study!

Remember, the Summer Family Bible Conference continues today and into tomorrow!

Hope, Joy, and Peace

Thursday, November 12, 2015

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13 KJV).

Life in this world of sin is always unpredictable; Jesus Christ’s faithfulness is always certain!

Dad woke up very early yesterday morning, about 3 a.m., complaining of intense abdominal pain. I drove him and Mom to the hospital emergency room. We discovered his gallbladder was severely inflamed and infected and had to be removed as soon as possible. The laparoscopic cholecystectomy was performed yesterday afternoon, and he is now resting comfortably at the hospital. He has a reputation for being very tenacious, so this should not keep him confined to a sickbed for long. 🙂

Mom and I were concerned throughout those dozen-plus hours waiting at the hospital, but we were not worried about the spiritual aspect. Dad has a testimony of having trusted Jesus Christ alone as his personal Saviour. Father God decided to keep him on Earth for a longer time. Whenever this earthly sojourn concludes, he, like all who have believed and trusted the Gospel of the Grace of God, has the assurance of going to heaven upon physical death. Eternity is already settled for we who have trusted in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins. “To be absent from the body [is] to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). If eternity is already settled, taken care of, we need not be worried about the “light afflictions” of this temporary world.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18: “[16] For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. [17] For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; [18] While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

If God can (and did) take care of our biggest problem (eternal damnation in hell), surely, everything else is infinitesimally smaller, and not impossible for Him (or us through Him) to handle! 🙂

Where True Love is Found

Saturday, September 12, 2015

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10 KJV).

Behold where true love is found!

Many people today seek “love” in all the wrong places—“pimping,” prostitution, homosexual unions, pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, and all sorts of other illicit acts. Even concerning “straight” couples (involving two humans), there is usually a very shallow understanding of what true love is. There is a lot of “take, take, take” from one or both sides, and a lot of “me, me, me” on one or both sides. There is very little, if any, altruism (“give, give, give”). Both people really seeking the other person’s best interest—the rarest of all!

Beloved, let us never, ever, ever place another human on a level he or she will never attain. We are all sinners. Mistakes will happen. Other people will disappoint us, as individuals have done before. Break-ups happen, divorces happen, infidelity happens, betrayal happens. Even though both sides try their very hardest, there is still heartache and heartbreak. (Then, there is one or both parties doing nothing to make the situation better, leading to the same dismal end.)

All the unlovely people we have met in our life, the horrible individuals who treated us as though we were utter scum, we need not be bitter against them. We need to pray for them. They have not got a clue what real love is, and were thus unable to show it to us. We should take a moment to remember today’s Scripture. If no one else loves us, if everyone else betrays us, if everyone else disappoints us, if everyone else abandons us, there is still Father God and His free gift offered to us. His only begotten Son shed His rich, royal blood, that He may pay our sin debt. He had nothing left to give! Jesus Christ was Father God’s most precious relationship, and He (yea, They) gave it up, that we sinners might enjoy that perfect relationship forever!

In no other Person but Jesus Christ will we find true love. Let us not search for it elsewhere. Such a search is a waste of time… and of true love.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What about unmarried, divorced, and remarried men in the ministry?

What We Really Need

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 KJV).

Do not be a spiritual hoarder. Be content with what you find in Jesus Christ!

Some people live in absolutely deplorable, filthy, unsafe, rotten environments. I am referring to hoarders, individuals who seek identity, meaning, purpose, and security in filling their homes—literally from floor to ceiling—with items. What begins as an innocent hobby of collecting “neat” or “rare” items becomes madness… to the point where nothing is discarded. Every newspaper clipping, every last empty plastic bottle, every single knick-knack, and so on, is stored. Someone’s home is transformed into a death trap, fire hazard, a literal breeding ground for anything and everything harmful and foul-smelling.

A man owning 12 large barns—each packed with miscellaneous items he bought in bulk! A lady amassing over 3,000 purses! Someone living with 120 cats in her home! A man collecting approximately 10,000 sheets of music and an estimated 5,000 books! A lady storing dozens upon dozens of deceased pets and assorted wildlife specimens… in her home’s freezers!

If you listen to these people talk about their situation, you can understand that they suffer mental disorders. They are not thinking rationally. There is a lot of confusion as to what is truly garbage and what is actually useful. There are also underlying emotional problems. Two or three failed marriages, an abusive childhood, a near-death experience such as armed robbery, and the like… these events triggered hoarders to “go over the edge.” They know they are missing peace, security, love, joy, acceptance, and so on. Inside they are hollow. They have tried their very best to fill the void with material items, having only driven a wedge between themselves and family and friends.

Think about today’s Scripture. What we really need, what we truly need, we already have it in Christ. We do not need to go around in religion, “collecting” a water ceremony, a “tithe” receipt, a “miracle healing,” an “epiphany” or some other experience, and so on. Worthless clutter! God has “riches in glory.” If by Christ Jesus we have richestrue riches, eternal riches—why should we collect “valueless papers and empty bottles” in religion?

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does John 3:16 really mean?

Paul and Dispensationalism #11

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

“As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (1 Timothy 1:3-5 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

The goal of dispensational Bible study, particularly Pauline dispensationalism, is not simply to fill one’s head with Bible knowledge. There is no spirituality in drawing the Bible timeline. No spirituality is in merely talking about God’s grace and Paul’s special ministry. Spirituality is when you know where to go in the Bible to find your information and then using that information to benefit others (“charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned”). Grace doctrine is not meant to be kept secret, spoken only when you want to argue. Grace living is to be… lived!

Our goal in sharing dispensational truths should never be to pick fights, debate, et cetera. Religion has deceived many, many precious people. We should seek their highest good (“charity”). They need to learn God’s truth, and we who know God’s truth should share that truth in love and gentleness. We have the doctrine that can save them from their sins, renew their minds, mature them spiritually, et cetera. How marvelous! How exciting!

Unlike modern-day Ecumenists who minimize doctrine, bulldoze denominational barriers, and simply “fellowship with all ‘Christians’ around the love of ‘Jesus,’” today’s Scripture says Paul approved sound doctrine and exposed false doctrine. Paul commanded young Timothy to rebuke false teachers in Ephesus. They were not to teach any other doctrine than what the Lord Jesus Christ had taught them through the Apostle Paul. Actually, the Bible says their error was legalism (1 Timothy 1:6-11), forcing the Mosaic Law into Christian living. Paul had predicted this apostasy years earlier in Acts 20:28-35. Paul had encouraged them, verse 32, to embrace “the word of [God’s] grace.” This was the Bible rightly divided—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, the grace doctrines!

Esteem Them Highly in Love

Friday, July 17, 2015

“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace with among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:12,13 KJV).

Having attended a “virtual” (online) grace Bible conference for the last five days, let me share some wonderful divine insight!

When 26 Christian brothers value God’s Word rightly divided, they are thrilled to teach and preach it. When faithful men teach and preach God’s Word rightly divided, God’s people are edified, encouraged, and enlightened. No, we do not praise men, but we do praise the Lord Jesus Christ who worked in and through them to provide us refreshing insight into the world’s most marvelous Book! Today’s Scripture is the Holy Spirit’s insight. Those who labor among us and are over us—they are members of the Body of Christ like us but they are also leaders within that Body. We should “know” (recognize) them and “esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.”

A Holy Spirit-led man will recognize that the ascended Lord Jesus Christ gave the Apostle Paul a special ministry. He will preach a clear Gospel of Grace—Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins—instead of “social,” “hazy,” “feel good” messages. He will teach from the pure Bible text, the King James Bible—not arguing with its readings, not “re-translating” Greek and Hebrew, not parroting denominational teachings and lauding scholarship.

No, he will not be like most church leaders today. He will not correct the Bible and then say, “I am a ‘Bible believer.’” He will not deny Jesus Christ as recorded in mystery and then tell us, “I am a ‘Bible believer.’” He will not say he is a “Bible believer” and then claim Israel’s passages for himself. He will not say he is a “Bible believer” and then force us under the Mosaic Law. He will not say he is a “Bible believer” and then mix prophecy and mystery. He will simply believe the Bible and encourage us to do the same. We thank God for such faithful men and we love them in Christ! 🙂

He Gave Himself

Thursday, April 16, 2015

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 KJV).

Greed says gain; grace says give!

On five occasions, the King James Bible says Jesus Christ “gave Himself:”

  • Galatians 1:4: “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:”
  • Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
  • Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”
  • 1 Timothy 2:6: “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
  • Titus 2:14: “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

It is human nature to be selfish; it is godly nature to be altruistic. Man has the spiritual makeup of his spiritual father, Satan—he wants to do what he wants to do. What can I get out of life? How can I gratify my desires? Me, me, me!!! Take, take, take!!!

Jesus Christ has the spiritual makeup of His Heavenly Father—He wants to do what His Father wants Him to do. How can I best glorify My Father? What can He get out of My life? “Not my will, but Thine be done!”

In stark contrast to us sons and daughters of Adam, the Lord Jesus was not selfish. His Heavenly Father was not selfish either. Oh, how they both gave!!! Father God gave up His Son and His Son gave up His life! This is true love, seeking another’s highest good at your expense. When we walk by faith in God’s love to us, God’s love will cause us to give to others (2 Corinthians 12:15).