spiritual warfare

Hated Without a Cause

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

“But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause” (John 15:25 KJV).

No marvel the world hates us Christians—they hated Christ first!

On the night of His arrest, our Lord uttered a long discourse (John chapters 14-16) to His disciples in the upper room. In that light, we read today’s Scripture in context:

“[18] If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. [19] If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. [20] Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. [21] But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. [22] If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. [23] He that hateth me hateth my Father also. [24] If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. [25] But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law [Psalm 69:4], They hated me without a cause.”

While these verses were not spoken to or about us, the world persecuting believing Israelites parallels the world persecuting us believers today. The commonality is the Lord Jesus Christ, who indwells both born-again Jews and the members of the Body of Christ. “For to me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21). “Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20). Lost people do not hate us personally; they do not realize it, but they hate Jesus Christ who lives in us. Let it be for that reason alone that they hate us. May we not be hated for acting obnoxious, contentious, or unrighteous! :)

Zealous for the Word!

Friday, January 22, 2016

“Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay” (Jeremiah 20:9 KJV).

Once God’s Word gets in us, it will burst forth to reach others!

I recently had a phone conversation with a Christian brother who is new to dispensational Bible study. A Christian sister, a coworker of ours in the ministry, had introduced him to proper Bible study months ago, but he is just now really grasping the information. He was ever so excited. We spent over an hour talking, plus his questions. In fact, he is sharing some Bible study DVDs with his wife, and now she is interested in learning God’s Word God’s way.

The dear man will soon reach a crossroads in his Christian life. It is finally beginning to sink in that his denominational church has not been honest with him. After studying the Word of God rightly divided, he sees that the information contained therein is quite different from what his preacher has been teaching him. Now, he is bursting forth with joy that he understands his Bible. He cannot keep quiet much longer at church—he wants to tell others there. I encouraged him to bring to his church some of those truths of God’s Word rightly divided. Before he permanently leaves that assembly, I advised that he should attempt to reach any and everyone there that he can. He agreed.

Today’s Scripture reminds me of this dear brother. He has gotten a grip on God’s Word, and now God’s Word has gripped him! With a paper and pen in hand, he was scribbling down the Bible references I was giving him. He knows the opposition is coming, but he was preparing himself with verses so he can speak up for Jesus Christ’s glory! May we do as that dear man in Christ. May we do as the Prophet Jeremiah of old. May we let God’s Word work in us believers so mightily that it comes through for all to see and hear!

Their Loss Not Ours!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

“Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked; For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out” (Proverbs 24:19,20 KJV).

What great advice—to Israel or to us!

A Christian sister recently browsing social media grew angry. (We can all relate.) She had drifted onto the webpages of certain people who had greatly wronged her in the past. Her stirred-up emotions, not having a mind of their own, had caused her to (wrongly) believe the past was ongoing. She had kept perusing to see more text and additional pictures of their “success,” “popularity,” and overall “nice” outward appearance. Everyone had “flocked” to them—she was the outcast, even after all those years trying to do right. The anger gradually escalated. My advice to her was simple: “Get off! Move on! Get off!”

Brethren, let today’s Scripture sink into your hearts and minds. This is as close to “heaven” as lost people will get. Let them heap to themselves as many “friends” as possible on Earth—there are no “friends” in hell! Let them heap to themselves as many “pennies” as possible on Earth—there are no “riches” in hell! Let them heap to themselves as much “nice outward show” as possible on Earth—there is no “beauty” in hell! Let them live it up now. Except they die in Jesus Christ, here is as good as it will ever get for them. Once their “candle” is “put out”—their house is darkened because they have died—we certainly do not want to envy them at that point! Most certainly, they gained the whole world temporarily and lost their soul eternally (Matthew 16:26)!

Today’s Scripture is actually God the Holy Spirit encouraging believing Israelites (poor, destitute of goods, rejected, despised, imprisoned, bereaved) not to look at their unsaved Jewish brethren who are prospering materially and socially for following the Antichrist, yet future (Revelation 13:15-17; cf. Psalm 37). Why? The unsaved… when death comes, they lose their fortunes, their friends, their lives, and finally their souls. My, how we pray earnestly for their eternal salvation in Jesus Christ before it is too late. Without Him, it is their loss, not ours!

Delivered!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

“[God the Father] Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13 KJV).

Two very special people celebrate their spiritual birthday today!

Mom grew up in an “Evangelical”/Protestant denominational church, but she never recalled hearing a clear Gospel message until age 25. Her paternal grandmother, who mostly raised her, was very influential in her “religious” life for many of those years.

One day, a Christian lady friend, “Ms. S.,” phoned Mom and invited her to a cookout get-together. While there, Mom was curious about the eternal destiny of her father who died three months earlier. So, the lady put Mom on the phone with “Ms. P.,” one of her Christian friends. Ms. P. told Mom, “Honey, it’s too late for your father. Don’t worry about him. Where would you go if you died?” Mom assumed that her water baptism would save her. Long story short, right there over the phone, Ms. P. led Mom to simple faith in Jesus Christ and Him alone. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Dad was rescued from Roman Catholicism by trusting Jesus Christ alone that same evening. Friends, that was 1980—exactly 36 years ago today. But the story continues.

Mom led me to Jesus Christ back in the mid-1990s. My eldest brother trusted Christ about a year or two later. For years, however, my parents and I were in and out of denominational churches and we struggled to understand the Bible. We learned certain “hints” of dispensationalism, but very little. Then, in January 2007, we began to discover pure dispensational Bible study. So, Mom and Dad were saved from their sins in January. And, another January, 27 years later, they (and I) were delivered from denominational bondage.

Where are these people today? The current whereabouts of Ms. S. are unknown. Mom is one of our faithful blog readers. (Dad rarely uses computers.) Ms. P. is still living. She, another reader, will no doubt read this. Mom’s paternal grandmother never lived to see Mom saved—she died just three weeks before Mom’s salvation. We will see my great-grandmother in heaven one day. She will be glad to hear what happened! :)

Understand and Enjoy the Bible! #15

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15,16 KJV).

Yes indeed, we can understand and enjoy the Holy Bible!

In his final epistle to the Church the Body of Christ, the Apostle Paul wrote: “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things” (2 Timothy 2:7). Years earlier, he wrote: “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).

The Holy Spirit Himself believes you will have “understanding in all things” if you “consider” what Paul wrote in his books, Romans through Philemon. He also believes that, once you understand His Word, then you will believe His Word, and finally you will enjoy His Word. Too many today do not understand the Bible, ever so discouraged by Satan’s schemes. Religious tradition has hidden dispensational Bible study from them. We MUST “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15)—separate “that which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25) from “that which was spoken since the world began” (Acts 3:21). Mystery MUST be separated from prophecy, Paul MUST be separated from Peter, the Body of Christ MUST be separated from the nation Israel, the Grace of God MUST be separated from the Law of Moses, et cetera.

Friends and brethren, now we know how to understand and enjoy the Bible; may we be faithful in telling others. Second Timothy 2:24-26: “[24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

-FINIS!-

Understand and Enjoy the Bible! #14

Monday, January 18, 2016

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15,16 KJV).

May we hearken to these truths, lest we misunderstand and dislike the Holy Bible!

The God of Scripture is “longsuffering.” He is not currently pouring out His wrath on Christ-rejecting mankind. Had Israel’s prophetic program operated unbroken, that judgment would have surely come just after Calvary (Psalm 2:1-5; Acts 2:34-36; Acts 7:55,56; et cetera). However, God interrupted prophecy, delayed that judgment, and revealed the mystery program to and through the Apostle Paul (Saul of Tarsus). An unprophesied (secret) period of “grace and peace” extended to all mankind (Gentiles), as illustrated by the salvation of wicked Saul in Acts chapter 9 (1 Timothy 1:12-16). The heart of that mystery program is “the Dispensation of Grace,” doctrines and other truths currently applicable, only until “the fulness of the Gentiles” comes in (Romans 11:25).

Peter had preached salvation and blessing to Gentiles through Israel and her kingdom (Acts 3:19-26; cf. Isaiah 60:1-3; Genesis 12:1-3). Through Paul’s ministry and Gospel, “the Gospel of the Grace of God,” Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary, salvation and blessing is currently going to Gentiles without Israel and her kingdom (Romans 11:11-13; Ephesians 3:1-11).

God has offered grace to all; He has been longsuffering, tolerating man’s sins for 20 centuries! Why? “The longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.” That more lost sinners (like Saul) be saved into the Body of Christ by simple faith in Christ alone, thus spared God’s wrath when prophecy resumes! Once our Dispensation of Grace closes, then and only then, God’s wrath and war will replace His grace and peace (1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, 2:1-13). When the scoffers Peter referenced asked about Jesus’ coming in vengeance, they were pitifully ignorant! The message of grace that Paul preached was the very reason why that wrath had not yet come!

Let us conclude this devotionals arc.

Special-edition Bible Q&A #225: “What about the ‘Jewish Roots’ Movement?
(This 22-page article systematically discusses the dangers of mixing Law and Grace concerning Christian living.)

Understand and Enjoy the Bible! #13

Sunday, January, 17, 2016

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15,16 KJV).

Although there is so much confusion about it, can we really understand and enjoy the Bible?

Let us consider the seventh point from today’s Scripture: “unto their own destruction.” Returning to 2 Timothy 2:15-18: “[15] Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [16] But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. [17] And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; [18] Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.”

The “overthrow [of] the faith of some” is the “[spiritual] destruction” of today’s Scripture. By confusing God’s will for a believer in this the Dispensation of Grace, with God’s will for a believer in Israel’s program of Law, believers’ lives are hindered and damaged in their respective program. You soften the Law for Israel; you water down Grace for us Gentiles. You force on us their water baptism, their miraculous demonstrations, and their prayer promises. In doing so, you ignore God’s baptism for us, God’s invisible intervention on our behalf, and God’s model prayers for us.

Friend, you cannot force God to do something He is not doing. If you are not doing what God is doing, then you are outside of God’s will, and your spiritual life is sure to be in ruins. Grabbing Israel’s verses and making them fit us, or taking our verses and making them fit Israel, is to fail to “rightly divide the word of truth.” It is to go the way of “profane and vain babblings,” “ungodliness,” worthless teaching. It is to follow Christendom—“the blind leaders of the blind” (Matthew 15:14)!

Now, dearly beloved, we summarize!