spiritual blessings

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 #17

Monday, August 24, 2015

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

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

Baptism has been called “religious TNT.” It has generated many explosive fights across denominational lines! Sprinkling? Pouring? Immersion? Only adults, or babies, too? Where? Who should administer it? What words should be said? What type of water is needed? For salvation or testimony? On, and on, and on… contentious people from all sides fuss and fight, spewing forth contemptuous words! “For ye are yet carnal [fleshly, worldly]: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1 Corinthians 3:3).

Paul could not be clearer. There is one baptism” valid for us in the Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 4:5). It is not, NOT, NOT, NOT water baptism! The only time Paul mentioned water baptism in his epistles, he wrote, “Christ sent me not to baptize” (1 Corinthians 1:17)! Our one—ONE—baptism is not performed by preacher or priest, but by the Holy Spirit Himself (today’s Scripture; cf. Colossians 2:11,12). The Spirit baptizes us into—NOT water but—the Church the Body of Christ and seals us (Ephesians 1:12-14). Immediately after we rely exclusively on Christ’s death for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection for our justification (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), we are made one with Jesus Christ, “members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones” (Ephesians 5:30). The Holy Spirit comes to indwell us Christians (1 Corinthians 6:19)—He equips us, that the doctrine we read and believe comes to life in our lives (Ephesians 3:16)!

We do not need Israel’s water baptism. We will not experience her fire baptism (seven-year Tribulation and Christ’s Second Coming in wrath). We do not need her “Holy Ghost” baptism in Acts chapter 2, when Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11; Acts 1:5). No, today, the Holy Spirit does the baptizing, and we are thus “complete in Christ” (Colossians 2:10). The Apostle Paul teaches us that water ceremonies will profit us nothing, NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING spiritually!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is there a simple way to present the Grace Message to children and teens?

Thee and Two Gardens #3

Monday, January 26, 2015

“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8 KJV).

Wilt thou choose to “live” in the Garden of Eden, or in the Garden of Calvary?

Today’s Scripture shows us what living in the Garden of Eden is like. After sin entered into the world by Adam’s disobedience (Romans 5:12), the Garden was a place of misery, fear, and hiding. What God had designed to be paradise was now in shambles. Many of us today find the Christian life to be equally frustrating and glum—what God intended to be a blessing is such a heartache!

How could something God have made, be so unpleasant? It is miserable because we make it! As Adam ruined the Garden of Eden with his performance, so we wreck the Christian life when we try in our strength to live righteously. We add church rules, denominational burdens, to try to make God happy with us when He has already accepted us in Jesus Christ forever (Ephesians 1:6). What a shame that most Christians live like spiritual paupers when they are spiritually rich in Christ (2 Corinthians 8:9)! They beg God for forgiveness when they already have it in Christ (Colossians 1:14)! They beg God for blessings when they already have them all in Christ (Ephesians 1:3)! They beg God for strength and victory when they already have it in Christ (Philippians 4:13)! Religion is indeed “weak and beggarly” (Galatians 4:9)!

Dear readers, mentally, we need to leave the Garden of Eden. Our identity does not go back to Adam. We are no longer in Adam, but are forever “in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our identity goes back to Jesus Christ’s garden tomb at Calvary. In that garden, not Eden, do we find the fruits of our (Christ’s) resurrection life! Our life should abound with good works, not to make God happy with us, but because He is working inside of us, because we are simply living in accordance with our identity in Jesus Christ. That mindset will surely change our lifestyle….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Was God unfair in striking Uzzah dead?

Riches and the Four Gospels #6

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

“And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:24,25 KJV).

Understandably, “health-and-wealth” preachers and teachers never quote Jesus’ words in today’s Scripture!

While some teach that Jesus did not literally mean “sell that ye have, and give alms” (Luke 12:33), that His language was figurative (“sell out for Me”), His audience took Him literally. They actually sold their possessions and had all things common in Acts 2:44-47 and Acts 4:32-37. Peter declared to the lame beggar, “Silver and gold have I none!” (Acts 3:6; cf. Matthew 10:9). The Jerusalem saints pooled all their wealth together and lived for each other’s benefit, just as Jesus instructed, while those Jews who did not have their heart in heaven simply ignored Jesus. Ananias and his wife Sapphira lied to the Holy Ghost and did not relinquish all of their wealth—it was so serious that God actually struck them dead (Acts 5:1-11)!

Later, when a great famine troubled the whole then-known world (Acts 11:28), and because there was no interest associated with the common account, the Jerusalem Messianic Jews grew poorer. Moreover, their kingdom program and their kingdom prosperity were delayed (since God had just instated our Dispensation of Grace). Thus, Paul’s Gentile converts repeatedly sent financial relief to these poor Jerusalem saints (Acts 11:28-30; Romans 15:25-28; 1 Corinthians 16:1-3; Galatians 2:10).

Therefore, dispensational Bible study is important. God’s Word to us—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—never instructs us to sell all our possessions and share one bank account. We are expected to work in order to eat (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; cf. Ephesians 4:28). Still, Paul also warned about loving and worshipping material goods, for “the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:3-19). While it is not a sin to be materially rich or poor in this the Dispensation of Grace, let us remember that we in Christ are—and always will be—spiritually rich in Christ (Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Ephesians 1:3; Philippians 4:19). 🙂

Heart Service #12

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” (Romans 6:17 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is the key to being delivered from and guarded against today’s apostate Christendom.

Carefully consider Galatians 3:1-3, Paul’s rebuke of the churches in Galatia who had trusted Christ, and then abandoned God’s grace for performance-based acceptance (false teachers misled them with works-religion): “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”

The moment we each trusted Jesus as our personal Saviour, the Holy Spirit placed us into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). Instantly, we were “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Everything that God could ever give us, He gave us in Christ, and we have it all now in Christ! What can we weaklings possibly do in religion to “enhance” our Christian life, that will improve upon what the Almighty Holy Spirit did?! “O foolish Christendom, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth?!”

Colossians 2:6,7 amplifies today’s Scripture and Galatians 3:1-3: As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” How did we become Christians? Our efforts? Nay, “[our] faith in Christ” (Colossians 2:5)—our faith, not our works (Romans 4:5). Christ’s works, not ours. The Bible says the Christian life will operate likewise. The same Holy Spirit who made us righteous in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21) will take the sound (rightly divided) Bible doctrine we study, are “taught,” and most importantly believe (trust), and He will work in us (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

But, the Holy Spirit will not work in us until we learn the Bible doctrine He wants to apply to our lives…

‘Twas the Sunday Night Before Christmas

Sunday, December 22, 2013

“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).

Let us not be so sidetracked by religion and commercialization that we miss the reason for the Christmas Season….

During the Christmas Season, we wonder how many people are visiting church for the second time this year (the other being Easter Sunday). How many will be going to church today—the Sunday before Christmas—just to feel “religious” or “holy?” How many really know Jesus Christ? For many, visiting a church building is just an obligation; they do not have faith in God’s Word and have no interest in God’s Word.

We do not go to church to “feel closer to God,” for if we have trusted in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we cannot be any closer to God than we already are in Christ! “[Before salvation, we were] without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh [close to God] by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12,13).

Furthermore, we do not go to church in order to get God’s blessings, for God has already given us “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). We go to church, not because we are keeping Israel’s Sabbath day, since we are not obligated to observe Israel’s religious days (Colossians 2:16). We go to church to fellowship with like-minded believers and hear sound doctrine… more than twice a year, by the way.

In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy that whenever he would assemble with fellow Christians, certain behavior was acceptable and other types of behavior were not (described throughout the epistle of 1 Timothy). Recall that when the Bible refers to “the church,” it refers to the body of believers, not the physical building in which they meet.

As we get opportunities, let us make an effort to reach these dear souls misled by all the vain religious tradition and Christmas commercialization, and may we tell them of the wonderful Christ Jesus whose name is found in Christmas!

*Based on the poem “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

Where Was God? #5

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

“Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1 KJV).

One of the most common questions ever asked….

The psalmist, like many today, wonders and inquires of God’s whereabouts in times of trouble. Actually, Psalm 10 is a prayer of imprecation: it is the prayer of a believing Jew living during the (future) seven-year Tribulation, a prayer in which that believer is beseeching the Lord Jesus Christ to appear and judge the wicked who are severely oppressing and mercilessly executing His people, to avenge the deaths of His believing remnant in Israel.

Actually, the Apostle John, centuries later, elaborated: “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (Revelation 6:9-11).

Notice, in the future, the souls of the slain Tribulation saints will be in heaven, begging the Lord to no longer delay in avenging their deaths. Now we understand why the psalmist, still alive on earth, says what he does in today’s Scripture. Jesus Christ cannot come back and judge the earth in His righteous indignation until Satan’s evil world system has fully run its course.

Concerning us in this the Dispensation of Grace, Christ’s delay is advantageous to lost people. Jesus Christ Himself is truly the only hope planet earth has. Before He pours out His wrath and rids the world of Satan’s influence, He will continue to be “longsuffering” so people can escape that impending wrath by faith in Him (2 Peter 3:3-9,15,16). Jesus Christ is purposefully tarrying.

Until Jesus Christ returns to make every wrong right, God offers us a wealth of resources in Christ to cope….