martyr

Sparrows and Saints

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31 KJV).

A noted atheist once openly ridiculed “soft-hearted” God for “weeping” when a sparrow fell. What is our answer to such a fool?

Today’s Scripture says, in New Testament times, two sparrows were worth one “farthing” (also called an assarius). A “penny” (also called a denarius) was a laborer’s daily wages (Matthew 20:2). The assarius was about 1/16th of a penny. Imagine your wages for working 1/16th of a day. That was the price of two sparrows. Halve that to get the price of one sparrow. One would only have to work 1/32nd of a day to buy one sparrow. You could work a full day and buy 32 sparrows. In other words, sparrows were inexpensive in terms of human assessment. But, in the Lord Jesus’ estimation, every little sparrow was valuable. The Father would notice when an “insignificant” sparrow would “fall on the ground” (assuming death). After all, that sparrow was the descendant of the original birds He had directly created via His spoken word. He never intended even one animal to die! Death was man’s doing, not God’s!

Yet, even “many sparrows” (despite God’s value of them) were nothing compared to His believers. “Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Take time today to read Matthew chapter 10 very closely. You can see the Lord Jesus Christ preparing His 12 apostles (and, more generally, believing Israel) to experience very difficult times. They will have to endure the extreme pressures of the coming Antichrist’s rule. Friends, that future persecution of Israel’s Little Flock is beyond our comprehension. For following Jesus Christ, all will lose family members and friends. They will also lose their homes, clothes, employment, and access to food. Some will lose their lives.

What the Lord Jesus skillfully did in today’s Scripture is encourage believing Israel, paraphrased, “Just as My Father notices an inexpensive sparrow dying, He will notice you suffering and dying for His Son’s name! He is watching everything and will punish your persecutors in due time!”

Not a Bother to Satan! #3

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:12-14 KJV).

A wise Christian brother observed long ago: “There are some believers whom Satan seldom bothers because they do not cause him too much worry, they do not threaten his program; but strong Christians are always his targets and he puts countless snares and pitfalls in their way.” How appropriate, even today!

Satan does not like God’s truth reaching the masses. So, his evil world system will entice God’s messenger to change the message. If the Christian refuses to apostatize, but rather faithfully continues sharing God’s pure Word with others, then Satan will move from attacking the message to attacking the messenger. The Christian will be persecuted, discouraged, or even killed!

Today’s Scripture describes how Satan had neutralized Israel. Confused and weakened, she was no bother to him anymore. Spiritual ignorance would continue among the Gentiles! But, individual Jews had accepted Jesus as Messiah-King and had separated themselves from their apostate nation. Satan turned his attention to these believers. The Devil and his allies persecuted those believing Jews into the early Acts period. Refusing to change God’s message, those Jewish kingdom believers were thus attacked literally and physically. Israel’s corrupt religious leaders arrested, imprisoned, and even killed Jesus’ followers! That believing remnant in Israel had certainly caused Satan much grief, and God permitted him to take their lives. Nevertheless, they were true to God’s Word to the end.

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). As the wise Christian brother wrote decades ago, friend, you attempt to let Christ Jesus live His life in you, and you will learn that Satan will not like it! Still, may you be a bother to Satan! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Do Isaiah 2:4 and Joel 3:10 contradict each other?

Satan and Dispensationalism #12

Friday, October 16, 2015

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is one of the six key areas that Satan has found to be advantageous regarding confusing God’s people in this Dispensation of Grace, the Church the Body of Christ!

Satan wants ignorant Christians. After all, he can only rule over people who are unaware of what really matters. As one dear brother often says, “Ignorant brethren are the world’s largest denomination!” To add insult to injury, the exact six instances where Paul says not to be ignorant of some doctrine, they are the very doctrines of which Christendom is totally ignorant today! Awful! Shameful! Awful!

The final exhortation not to be ignorant is in today’s Scripture. Christians in Thessalonica were suffering intense persecution (1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-7). Today’s Scripture indicates some believers were murdered! Paul told the living saints in Thessalonica not to worry or sorrow uncontrollably. They would see their brethren in heaven. While grieving, they were to “comfort one another with these words” (verse 18). Before prophecy resumes, our Dispensation of Grace must close. All Christians who have died during the last 2,000 years—beginning with the Apostle Paul—will be resurrected. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (verse 17). We will all be given glorified bodies like Jesus Christ’s, thereby enabling us to function in the heavenly places forever for Jesus Christ’s glory (2 Corinthians 5:1-5; Philippians 3:20,21).

There is still a satanic agenda today to rob Christians of the blessed hope, our gathering together unto Christ in the air—not on Earth! Friends, let us ever be mindful of it. Many people today in so-called Christian circles scoff at the idea of the Rapture. They deny it, claiming we should be waiting for the seven-year Tribulation and Christ’s Second Coming. They are unaware of the very thing Paul said to pay attention to! Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, are largely ignored… thus, Christendom is largely ignorant!

NOTE: Saints, with 12 studies, we are just “warming up” with “Satan and Dispensationalism!” We will temporarily suspend these studies tomorrow, to make way for a special one-day study. Please stay tuned! 🙂

Quarantined for Christ!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets” (Luke 6:22,23 KJV).

Christ in us is contagious… and they do not want to “catch” Him!

Recently, a Christian was telling me how another Christian had “Christian” family members who emotionally and spiritually abused him. She claimed that this individual was treated as though he had leprosy. They had no time for him unless they could benefit from him in some way. It undoubtedly was a spiritual battle. It was a great division, a battle between good and evil, a situation wherein one party stood for sound Bible doctrine and the other party was entrenched in religious tradition. Today’s Scripture came to mind.

We can be “quarantined” for various and sundry reasons. Perhaps we live a “gutter life,” one filled with violence and crime, and (understandably) no one wants to be associated with us. Or, maybe we just like to gossip and backstab and people thus avoid us. These are negative. But, to be “separated… for the Son of man’s sake(today’s Scripture), that is the noblest type of quarantine. It is not easy to handle, and it does hurt, but Jesus Christ forewarned His disciples that it would come. They should not be shocked or “frozen,” unable to react when it happened. But, how can one in that predicament be “blessed,” happy, “rejoicing,” “leaping for joy?” It takes the mind of God to understand!

If ever people associate you with the God of the Bible, you have given a clear testimony of the God of the Bible in your behavior and lifestyle. There was no phoniness or cravenness in you. You were candid about your Saviour, they saw the light, and they refused to see that light any further. They knew you were “infected” with Jesus Christ, and they sealed you away, lest you “communicate” Him to them! Indeed, rejoice, beloved, jump for joy, when the world places you in “quarantine!” 🙂

The Common Prison and The Extraordinary Message

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

“Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison” (Acts 5:17,18 KJV).

Oh, man’s shameful treatment of God’s faithful apostles!

For several months now, Peter and the 11 other apostles of Israel have been preaching to their Jewish brethren, pleading with them to trust Jesus as their Messiah, that they not be consumed in His wrath when He returns. The Holy Spirit has been working mightily in and through these 12 men: they have performed various healing miracles, confirming the kingdom message that they are preaching (Mark 16:17-20; Hebrews 2:3-5; et al.).

Israel’s religious leaders know the apostles’ activities threaten their organization. In the chapter previous to today’s Scripture, Israel’s religious leaders “commanded [the apostles] not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus” (verse 18). Peter wisely answered, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (verses 19,20). The apostles were further threatened but not imprisoned.

Today’s Scripture is some time later, after many other healing miracles occurred, after many other sermons about Jesus Christ have been preached. Israel’s religious leaders arrest the apostles and throw them into prison. Not the prison for political or elite wrongdoers, but the common prison.” The apostles are thrown into a dangerous environment. The worst criminals—the murderers, rapists, et cetera—are in the “common prison” with them! God certainly had His eyes on these dear Israeli apostles. In fact, they miraculously survived that “common prison” until the angel of the Lord came by night to release them (verse 19)!

Israel’s apostles went on from the common prison to preach again to the common people. Praise God that they were not bitter or slack. Despite their persecution, they preached their hearts out. Nothing could keep them from talking about the Messiahship of Jesus. They eventually gave up their lives for Him! Beloved, surely, in light of what these men faced for Jesus Christ, we can endure name-calling and ostracism! 🙂

Keep Yourselves in the Love of God #3

Saturday, October 18, 2014

“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 21 KJV).

How will today’s Scripture benefit the nation Israel in “the ages to come?”

Near the completion of His ministry, in what is called His “Second Olivet Discourse,” the Lord Jesus replied to a question about the “sign of [his] coming, and of the end of the world” (Matthew 24:3). The Bible quotes Him as saying (in part): “[9] Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. [10] And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. [11] And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. [12] And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

Luke 21:16,17 is a companion passage: “[16] And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. [17] And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.” (Also see Mark 13:9-13.)

The night before He died, He again prepared His disciples for the time of their coming persecution, “[2] They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. [3] And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me” (John 16:2,3).

Considering all what Israel’s little flock will experience during the time of Jacob’s trouble, the final seven years of God dealing with her national sins, these precious Messianic Jews need to hear, understand, and believe the words of the Holy Spirit spoken through Jude. Today’s Scripture and its context are actually a four-fold method that God will strengthen the Jewish believers as they suffer at the hands of their enemies—yea, their hateful family members—for Jesus Christ’s sake. Let us now briefly analyze this four-fold edification, with today’s Scripture particularly in mind….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Israel have to keep so many ‘strange’ laws?

Kooks for Christ

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake (Matthew 5:11 KJV).

Are you a “kook for Christ?” Happy are ye!

Satan is a very shrewd enemy, having perfected his strategy for 6,000 years. Equipped with above-human intelligence and practice with mankind during all those millennia, he knows us better than we know ourselves. If he is unsuccessful in attacking the message (if he cannot entice us to corrupt/change God’s Word), then he will focus on us—attack us and discourage us, to discredit us, to force us to quit.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians that, like he and the other apostles suffered for Jesus Christ, they too should be willing to do so: “[9] For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. [10] We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised” (1 Corinthians 4:9,10).

Our Lord Jesus said to His Jewish disciples in today’s Scripture: “[11] Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. [12] Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:11,12). Jesus reminded them that, like all the saints of old, they too would suffer because of Him. Yet, God would not overlook their suffering; He Himself would reward them in due time.

When people give us bizarre looks for preaching the pure Word of God, call us evil names, think of us as crazy, physically attack us, we should be thrilled to suffer for Jesus Christ. What an honor! Even when professing Christians side against us by allying with lost people, we need not be bothered or discouraged. As a dear Christian friend and brother in the ministry says, “I would rather be a ‘fool’ for Christ, than an idiot for the Devil!” 🙂