spiritual warfare

Two Gates, Two Ways, One Soul, and One Choice

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: [14] Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:13,14 KJV).

Which do you choose?

In a previous study, exactly two weeks ago today, it was mentioned we had a Christian sister trying to reach out to her unsaved friend dying of cancer. The sister was very burdened to share the Gospel of the Grace of God. However, the dying lady refused to hear that her “good” works would not get her into heaven. She cut off all contact with us.

Yesterday, less than three weeks after her diagnosis, we received news that she died. She had at least two weeks to think about God’s grace and trust Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour. What she did with Him in her final moments, only He knows. Wherever her soul is right now, heaven or hell, she certainly remembers the Gospel of Grace. If in heaven, she is so thankful she trusted it. If in hell, she will always remember that she did not have to go there had she just believed God’s Word to her.

A pastor once wisely observed, “People reject the Gospel because they do not realize they are lost.” This lady’s attitude was a case in point. She concentrated on how many “good” things she did for so many people. This is exactly why God hates religion, friends. Religion is nothing but an occasion to brag about what you have done. There is absolutely no boasting before God. Every person who gets to heaven will get there on the same basis—Jesus Christ’s shed blood. There will be no “I did more good works than you” attitude. All glory will go to the Lord Jesus Christ if someone makes it to heaven. All blame will go to the individual if the individual makes it to hell.

My brethren, let us make every effort to reach loved ones with God’s grace now. Death may come quicker for them than you think!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Could you describe Jesus’ resurrected body?

Entertainment Versus Edification

Monday, April 18, 2016

“I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil” (Psalm 119:162 KJV).

If a saint should rejoice at God’s Word, what does that say about someone who finds it “boring?”

When commenting on the services of a local grace church—especially the actual study of the Bible—a lady said, “Boring!” Why, of course, what do we expect from somebody who goes to church to be entertained with a concert of arm swaying and toe tapping? The professing church has plenty of entertainment and yet it is still so weak and disoriented. What does that demonstrate? Entertainment is not the answer; it is the problem. As a Christian author wrote decades ago, “I went in the world and found the church. I went in the church and found the world!” My, how much more now that actual Bible study has largely given way to “contemporary” “worship?”

Notice what the Holy Spirit instructed young church leader Timothy: “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:6-8).

Rather than indulging in the flesh with religion (whether formalism with its ceremonies, or fanaticism with its “concerts”), which is utterly useless, we are to be “nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine.” Sound Bible doctrine is spiritual nutrition; you have to actually read and study the Bible to grow. Friend, jumping, singing, dancing, rolling on the floor, et cetera, will profit nothing in eternity. In the closing chapter of 1 Timothy, Paul mentioned “wholesome [healthy; nutritional] words, even the words our Lord Jesus Christ, and… the doctrine which is according to godliness” (chapter 6, verse 3). Words! Words! WORDS! You have to get in God’s Word for yourself, friend, to find God’s words. If your local church does not encourage you to do it, find an assembly that does. Your spiritual health depends on it!

The Old Rugged Cross #2

Saturday, April 9, 2016

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV).

The second verse of George Bennard’s classic 1913 hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross,” highlights today’s Scripture.

“Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above,
To bear it to dark Calvary.”

Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary means nothing to most. The religious crowd believes they can “be nice” and “do good” and score points to “make God happy with them” as much as He was happy with Christ on Calvary. Salvation by grace through faith without works, us relying on Someone else to get us to Heaven, Someone who lived 2,000 years ago, and us not making an effort to “do right,” my, they think it absurdity to the extreme. (If they think their “good deeds” will make up for all their sins, that is absurdity to the extreme!)

Intellectuals—willfully ignorant, of course—may (notice I said “may!”) acknowledge the historicity of Jesus but most would never dare discuss the merits of Calvary. It would make them appear “bigoted” and “intolerant” of the world’s religions that place no emphasis (or outright deny) Calvary’s efficaciousness. Rather than becoming the laughingstock of “scholarship,” they ask, “How can a dead Jew help me?” Indeed, we agree that a “dead Jew” can help no one. But, our “dead Jew” did not remain dead!

The message of Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary, the hell-bound lost world considers it “foolishness” (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14). But, the flipside, we who are saved, we recognize that Gospel of the Grace of God is “the power of God.” The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the price of redemption, our rescuing from sin and Satan. Jesus Christ left the glories of Heaven, His worship and praise in Heaven, to come to this wretched world of worthless sinners, to be mistreated by them, mocked by them, and finally, murdered by them. Christ left Heaven, came to Earth, that we may one day leave Earth, and go to Heaven. Yes, Calvary “has a wondrous attraction for me!”:)

They Believed Not the Truth

Thursday, April 7, 2016

“That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:12 KJV).

Refuse the Word of God—enjoy the wages of sin!

Someone in Christ recently attempted to share the Gospel of the Grace of God with a friend dying of cancer. Having been in a works-religion for so many years, her friend objected, “But, I have been ‘so good’ to so many people.” The dying lady, assuming that her “good” deeds would merit her heaven, refused to hear anything about those works being “filthy rags” before God (Isaiah 64:6). She wanted nothing to do with Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. Days later, she still refuses to answer the Christian’s phone calls. I encouraged that Christian lady that she did everything she could except pray. The only thing left to do is to “believe for her friend,” and that she cannot do. At this point, unfortunately for her, the works-religion woman has made that very clear the door is closed.

Friends, if we could believe Christ on their behalf, literally billions of loved ones would be spared the eternal wrath of God in hellfire. Yet, salvation unto eternal life is a personal choice. “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5). This one verse would put 99 percent of so-called “Christianity” out of business. All their “goody-goody works,” “goody-goody ceremonies,” “goody-goody rites,” “goody-goody rituals,” and “goody-goody prayers,” would pass away. Nothing but dung (Philippians 3:8)!

Beloved, God is looking first and foremost for faith, trust in His Word. For us to go around striving and working to get into heaven, that is the very opposite of faith, for God’s Word says He is looking for faith and not for works! If you think your righteousness will get you into heaven, you have nullified Jesus Christ, for the Bible says Jesus Christ is enough to get you into heaven! But, dear friend, if you really are determined to stand before God with “all your goodness,” go right on ahead. We will warn you but no one will stop you. Free will! Free will! Free will!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is John 20:29 applicable to us today?

When Right Division Brings Clarity

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

“Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things” (2 Timothy 2:7 KJV).

People may dislike dispensational Bible study, but they are forced to admit it brings tremendous “understanding in all things!”

For a few years now, I have dealt with a Christian lady who has been “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). She came to a few of our home Bible studies. Once, she even accompanied our group to a grace Bible conference. Completely offended by the verses she heard there, she refused to attend another one and laughed when invited again.

This woman declined to let dispensational Bible study in, for letting it in would mean tossing her denominational biases out! An ardent reader of “modern ‘Christian’ literature,” and a frequent “church-hopper,” this sweet lady’s mind has been scrambled through and through. She loves her “miraculous demonstrations,” especially her so-called “gift of healing” (although she and her friends suffer from failing health). In accordance with 1 Corinthians 14:38, I left her “ignorant” because that is what she preferred. Maybe, just maybe, she would come to her senses.

Recently, while I was visiting at a mutual friend’s house, this Christian lady unexpectedly showed up with some Bible questions. So, for an hour, we sat over open Bibles and talked about those particular matters. This time, she was very receptive to the truth. She let me teach her the Bible dispensationally for the umpteenth time. Later, she commented that she really enjoyed it. Using right division greatly helped her grasp the topics that she could not understand and caused her to respect the verses and passages when they said different things. Yea, we leave them in their proper dispensations, being especially mindful of what the Holy Spirit said through the Apostle Paul, and the Lord will give us understanding in “all things” (today’s Scripture).

In closing, I told the lady to come some other time with more questions. I would love to talk however long she wants and about whatever she wants. She still has a long way to go, but we have resumed ministries with her and we hope and pray she is willing to learn God’s Word, God’s way! :)

Biblophobia and Christophobia

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved (John 3:19,20 KJV).

Behold, the phobias from which all lost sinners suffer!

In recent years, “homophobia” (fear of homosexuals), “Islamophobia” (fear of Muslims, or Islamic theology), and “xenophobia” (fear of anything foreign) have entered common English vernacular. These terms have been fashioned into clubs to beat Christians over the head. Actually, this sort of name-calling can be summarized as: “childish playground antics with a multi-syllable twist.” The Christian is chastised when speaking out against sin and false religion. Those who cry “foul” and “bigotry” then spew their hatred with, “Homophobe!,” “Islamophobe!,” “Xenophobe!”

Fellow Bible-believing Christians, when we are called names with the suffix –phobia, may we kindly point out that our critics suffer from conditions “Biblophobia” and “Christophobia.” They fear and hate the Holy Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ whose will it exalts. Whatever they believe and say is their business, and whatever we believe and say is ours. If they want to embrace vain lifestyles and pursuits, God will gladly let them (Romans 1:18-32). May they “enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Hebrews 11:25)!

Today’s Scripture with its context: “[18] He that believeth on him [the Son, Jesus Christ] is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [19] And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. [20] For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. [21] But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

So, really, when people talk about “homophobia” and “Islamophobia,” they are really saying, “Do not shine the light of God’s Word! Keep it dark! What is done in the dark no one sees!” They have a phobia… a fear of the spiritual light God’s Word casts on their sin!

Teach, Not Take

Friday, April 1, 2016

“And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him” (Acts 8:30,31 KJV).

Teach the Scriptures to others; do not take them!

Recently, a dear sister in Christ received a phone call from a man she had not heard from in many years. Of course, she was quite eager to talk when “religion” was brought up. The man has been in a certain “Christian” cult all of his life—still a faithful churchgoer. At this point, someone would say, “Oh, well, it may be a cult, but at least he hears the Bible there!” Really? What was most appalling was when he said he had recently approached his minister about reading the Bible. The minister told the man, “Do not read the Bible! Here, read this!” And, the minister handed him some “religious” book! (The dear lady in Christ, upon hearing this, reassured him it was okay to read the Bible.)

For some so-called “minister of Jesus Christ” to outright forbid someone from reading the Bible is a most dastardly thing. To yank the precious words of God from a man’s hand, and replace it with a worthless book of men’s traditions, is the epitome of Satan’s policy of evil. When the angel of the Lord saw that the Ethiopian eunuch was reading the Isaiah scroll with much difficulty, He instructed Philip to meet him (verses 26-28). “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot” (verse 29). Philip was so excited to share God’s Word with a lost person that he literally “ran” to the prospective convert (today’s Scripture)!

If you continue reading in Acts chapter 8, specifically verses 32-35, you will learn that Philip did not rip the Isaiah scroll out of the eunuch’s hand saying, “No, oh no, do not read that!” In fact, Philip read the Bible passage with the eunuch, and Philip taught him all about “Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (verse 37). May we do the same!

Nearly a year in the making, we release special-edition Bible Q&A #250: “Can you explain Peter and the 11’s ministry from Acts 7-15?