spiritual warfare

To Know Your Apostle Paul

Sunday, November 27, 2016

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office” (Romans 11:13 KJV).

Friend, may you come to know your apostle as God wants you to know him!

Who is your apostle? The average preacher or church member, if not silent, will say, “I follow the 12 apostles….,” “I follow Jesus…,” or “My apostle is my preacher.” Very rarely will they give you the correct answer—today’s Scripture.

Jesus Christ, “the Word” (John 1:1,14), the Godhead Spokesman, speaks on behalf of God the Father and God the Holy Ghost. Not many people know, however, His earthly ministry was to the nation Israel, not us Gentiles. Matthew 15:24 says: “I am not sent [apostello] but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (To wit, Jesus said, “I am not the Apostle of you Gentiles. I am the Apostle of the Jews.”—cf. Hebrews 3:1) The 12 Apostles were sent to Jews, not to Gentiles: “These twelve Jesus sent forth [apostello], and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:5,6).

Years later, in Acts chapter 9, outside Damascus, the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Jesus Christ commissioned Paul to go to us Gentiles. Hence, Paul is “the apostle [apostolos—“sent one”] of the Gentiles” (today’s Scripture). Acts chapter 26 documents Christ’s words to Paul: “[16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; [17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send [apostello] thee, [18] To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

While all of the Bible is for us, Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, are to and about us Gentiles (and members of the Church the Body of Christ)!

For more information about Paul’s apostolic authority, you may see: https://ambassadorsfortherisenchristministries.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/pauls-apostolic-authority-verses/.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why are ‘the heavens not clean in God’s sight?’

To Know Dispensational Bible Study

Saturday, November 26, 2016

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).

Friend, may you come to know the proper system of Bible study as God wants you to know it!

To refute the position of “Bible only” (and bolster “Bible and tradition”), Roman Catholics complain resorting to Scripture alone only leads to confusion and thousands of Protestant denominations. They argue “Sacred Tradition” must be employed to “correctly interpret” Sacred Scripture. (Of course, they ignore the profound ignorance, worse confusion, and innumerable splits within Romanism!) No, there is nothing wrong with “Bible only.” (“Bible and tradition” is faulty because these two competing authorities end up as “tradition only!”) If you use Scripture as it instructs you, recognizing and esteeming the Holy Spirit’s teaching ministry, you will understand it.

Many years ago, two verses helped me grasp the Holy Scriptures. Acts 3:21 first: “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” There is something God has “spoken… since the world began” (since Adam was placed on Earth). The Apostle Peter’s ministry involved this prophetic program. Now, Romans 16:25: “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,….” In stark contrast to Peter, the Apostle Paul declared his ministry involved the mystery program—truth God “kept secret since the world began,” but then revealed to Paul so he could teach us Gentiles (Romans 11:13). This eliminates the majority of Bible confusion!

Paul must never be harmonized with the rest of Scripture. Romans through Philemon, his epistles, are not to be conflated with Israel’s verses (the rest of the Bible). Christendom has experienced much trouble through the centuries because it mixed Israel and the Body of Christ, mixed law and grace, mixed heaven and earth, mixed prophecy and mystery, mixed Peter and Paul. They have not “rightly divided”—or properly separated—the dispensations (sets of instructions) God demands we differentiate. The problem is not with Scripture—it is with those misusing it!

For more information about dispensational Bible study, you may see: https://333wordsofgrace.wordpress.com/whats-dispensational-bible-study/.

To Know the Holy Bible

Friday, November 25, 2016

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17 KJV).

Friend, may you come to know the Holy Bible as God wants you to know it!

Visiting a “Christian” bookstore or website, looking for a Bible, is a most daunting task. There are many translations from which to choose—NLT, Amplified, ESV, the Message, HCSB, the Voice, “God’s Word,” NRSV, NASB, NKJV, NIV, the Living Bible. Which to buy? Oh, but these are the more recent versions. Actually, during the last 135 years, 100 to 200 modern English translations have been published and marketed! Sadly, “scholars”—employing heathen, non-Christian viewpoints—have used their perversions of the Holy Bible to harass and divide the Christian public.

Satan is the master deceiver. Literally, the best counterfeiter there has ever been and ever will ever be! The Devil’s first words ever uttered in Scripture are found in Genesis 3:1: “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Satan attacked God’s Word by questioning it. Even today, he uses the flesh of men who say, “A better translation is…. This passage is not found in the ‘oldest and best’ manuscripts… That word is wrong…. This verse is not inspired…. We need to publish another version with better readings….” Yet, these are often the “educated” people leading our seminaries, Bible colleges, and churches! They echo Satan’s damnable question, “Yea, hath God said…?”

Concerning the New Testament, there are over 5,500 Greek manuscripts (excluding other languages). About 90 to 95 percent agree with our King James Bible. Only a handful of manuscripts disagree with this majority, and that handful (which even disagree amongst themselves!) has been used in “scholarly” circles to cast doubt on God’s preserved Word in English. If the King James Bible has been used by Anglophone Christians for over 400 years, we should hold fast to it today… especially in this day of rampant false teaching!

You may click here for more information about Bible versions: https://333wordsofgrace.wordpress.com/bible-timeline-other-study-aids/.

In Every Thing Give Thanks

Thursday, November 24, 2016

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV).

Dear saints, take a moment this Thanksgiving to learn a valuable lesson from the Holy Scriptures!

God wants “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4). To be “saved” here means you have been rescued from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire), and that you have a home in heaven, because you have trusted the death, shed blood, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for your sins. To “come unto the knowledge of the truth” is when a person who has trusted Christ, begins to understand why God saved him or her, and how God will use him or her for His glory. Although soul salvation is instantaneous, spiritual maturity is a life-long process (that is especially true regarding handling difficulties, the grace way!).

It is human nature to avoid difficulties and stress, to flee them, rather than confront them. This self-preservation is advantageous, particularly in “life or death” situations. However, running from troubling circumstances is not the way God has designed our life in Christ to function. Today’s Scripture says, In every thing give thanks,” notFor every thing give thanks.” We do not thank God for our troubles; we thank God while we are enduring those troubles. This is tough, I know, but it takes time for us to learn it. Even the Apostle Paul had to learn this.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

Be thankful in every thing. God’s grace is sufficient for you, dear saint, in all of life’s circumstances. When you learn this, you are “[coming] unto the knowledge of the truth.”

*Excerpted from our Thanksgiving 2012 Bible study with the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

You may also see, “What are our spiritual blessings in Christ?

Understanding Versus Every False Way

Thursday, November 17, 2016

“Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:104 KJV).

If we let God’s “precepts” (principles) teach us, we will see all the false ways and hate them!

Earlier this week, I spoke on the phone with a brother in Christ whom I and other grace leaders have been teaching via telephone calls, conference DVDs, and television programs. In the last year, he and his wife have really grown in the Holy Scriptures concerning dispensational truths. A Christian for some years, he is now seeing “Christianity” like never before. He told me the denominational settings and teachings that never used to bother him now do. This is a sign of spiritual growth! Every time he sees or hears something wrong, the Holy Spirit brings to his mind and heart a verse that corrects his thinking.

He is now familiar with what the Bible says concerning numerous topics, especially the Apostle Paul’s unique ministry and how we (the Church the Body of Christ) are separate and distinct from the nation Israel and her prophetic program. In accordance with today’s Scripture, careful study of verses has caused him to see how his pastor is not always honest with God’s Word. While the brother has chosen to stay at that denominational church for now—he is still “in transition” (it happened to me years ago, when I too moved from denominationalism to grace)—I reminded him once more they will eventually “evict” him from the assembly. Once they get enough of his “troublemaking,” they will ask him to leave! (He is well aware of that, so he will not be shocked when that day comes.)

In conclusion, I have never told him to leave his church, or to stop listening to denominational preachers and teachers on television and radio. My purpose in this is to let him reach the point of maturity on his own, and let him come to his own conclusion. He says he understands their lack of dispensational teaching, and how to be careful, so we let him stand. As he continues studying his Bible on his own, he will gain a greater awareness, and we trust he will act accordingly.

Our latest Bible study: “Can you summarize the Bible in three verses?

Crossroads

Saturday, November 12, 2016

“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

People can acknowledge the Apostle Paul’s special ministry—or they can remain ignorant of it!

I just received an email from someone who had read one of our online Bible studies. While he admitted that there was much truth in that article, while he read those Bible verses and knew exactly what they were teaching, and while he admitted everything was logical, he refused to give up his emotional experiences in religion. He actually encouraged me to ask God for such an experience before I reject it. In other words, he wanted me to ignore Bible verses, toss out all reason, and experience some emotional high to confirm God’s presence to me. Unfortunately, there are many millions of people just like this in Christendom. No wonder non-Christians think so poorly of Jesus Christ—look at what so-called “Christians” say and do. They promote ignorance and superstition and then criticize the world for being deceived by Satan!

Now, contrast this with another online correspondence I received around the same time. This particular man, who has a testimony of salvation in Christ, is so grateful to have found right division. Dispensational Bible study has answered so many confusing questions for him. Now, he has such peace, understanding, and joy. Spending over 20 years in one cult, and then spending the next 40 years in another denomination, he has now had quite enough of religious tradition and Biblical ignorance! Even to this day, he is always eager to learn more about the Message of God’s Grace. If only there were more people like him than there are like the individual in the previous paragraph.

Today’s Scripture shows us the Holy Spirit expected people to be unaware and uninformed of Paul’s special ministry. We should teach them. Nevertheless, if Christians persist in staying confused, we are instructed to “let [them] be ignorant.” Brethren, we need to use our time wisely. Find people who want to learn the truth and teach them! Leave the willfully ignorant alone!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is Revelation 22:15 referring to sinners just outside of the New Jerusalem?

The Greatest Veteran

Friday, November 11, 2016

“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15 KJV).

Today is Veterans’ Day in the United States, so let us especially thank the “Greatest Veteran of All Time.”

We thank veterans, living and departed, the often-forgotten men and women who risked their lives to secure our freedom. Just as we remember flesh-and-blood veterans who fought for our physical liberty, we reserve our worship and utmost respect for the least esteemed Veteran, He who secured our spiritual liberty.

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). Through Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary, we have eternal victory over sin, death, hell, and Satan. Everything that God has planned for us is dependent upon Christ’s victory at Calvary.

Jesus Christ nailed the Mosaic Law to His cross (today’s Scripture). His sinless blood covered our failure to obey God’s laws; Jesus’ righteousness annulled our unrighteousness (sin). Christ not only liberated us from sin and its penalty (the everlasting lake of fire), but today’s Scripture affirms He also triumphed over Satan himself!

Christ has “spoiled [destroyed] principalities and powers [Satan’s power], he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it [His cross].” Jesus Christ destroyed Satan’s plans. Through Christ’s cross, God has “delivered us from the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13), Satan’s evil system of Ephesians 2:1-3.

During a recent cemetery visit, I noticed American flags flying above deceased veterans’ headstones. These individuals can no longer hear or regard our thanks, but Jesus Christ’s body is not decaying in some tomb. If there ever was a Veteran most worthy of our gratitude, it is our Lord Jesus Christ. Though He died in battle, allowing Himself to be executed on a Roman cross of shame and scorn, He resurrected. He is alive and well today, alive forevermore!

Saints, eternity will ring with our thanks to the Veteran worth thanking, the Lord Jesus Christ.

*Adapted from our 2010 Bible study, “The Greatest Hero.” The Bible study video can be viewed here.