Monday, October 30, 2017

Conversation


Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. (James 3:13)

While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. (1 Peter 3:2)

Modern English dictionaries define the word “conversation” along the lines of spoken communication, but as it is used in the King James Bible (20 references) the word refers to our conduct, and not just to our words. Our conversation has to do with our whole manner of life; how we behave ourselves on a consistent basis (not just on Sunday). It is what others see in us, not just what they hear from us. The Bible defines its own terms as we study its words in context and compare scripture with scripture. Therefore, it is a great hindrance in Bible study to rely on the definitions of men in an attempt to understand the words of God. There is no need to update the Bible and change the words. Just study the Bible and believe the words! 

Anybody that faithfully attends a Bible-believing church should be able to talk about the Christian faith. But does our daily walk back up our talk? We should talk about the gospel of Christ, but we must also have a conversation that testifies to it’s power (Phil. 1:27). Real Christianity is much more than a profession, it is a way of life. It is not just about going to heaven when we die. Getting saved should change how we live in this present world (Titus 2:11-15). There should be a difference between the conversation of a lost man and that of a saved man (Eph. 4:17-24). We are not saved by works, but in salvation we are “created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works” (Eph. 2:8-10). 

Under the law God required man to to change his conversation (by faith) in order to see His salvation (Ps. 50:22-23). How different under grace! We do not change our conversation to get saved, but if we are saved our conversation should change (Eph. 2:1-10). By the way, a self-righteous religious conversation is just as worthless as an immoral one (Gal. 1:13; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). 

If we walk in the Spirit, our conversation will be:

I. Heavenly (Phil. 3:17-21) 
The “earthly things” are actually physical religious ordinances according to the context (vs.1-3). How can our conversation be in heaven while we are living on earth? We are seated with Christ in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1-4). We are physically absent from the Lord, which is why we must walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). We ought to be looking everyday for our Savior to catch us home to heaven! Having the blessed hope in your heart will produce a heavenly conversation. If you love this present world, you will not love His appearing (2 Tim. 4:8-10). 

II. Holy (1 Pet. 1:14-16; 2 Pet. 3:11)
I understand that Peter was not writing to the Body of Christ, but what he says in these verses also applies to us. To be holy is to be pure and clean; set apart unto God. The apostle Paul said that we have been called unto holiness (1 Thess. 4:1-8; 5:23-24). We are positionally sanctified in Christ the moment of salvation (1 Cor 6:11), but we also need to live that out in our daily walk (2 Cor. 7:1). 

III. Honest (1 Pet. 2:11-12)
The apostle Paul said that we are to “provide things honest in the sight of all men” (Rom. 12:17), and that we are to “walk honestly toward them that are without” (1 Thess. 4:12). The world can easily spot a hypocrite! That is no excuse for them to reject the Lord, but we should not want to hinder the cause of Christ. Failing is not hypocrisy. We all fail. I don’t think people expect Christians to be sinlessly perfect. Hypocrisy is pretending to be something you are not. It is important that we be sincere in our Christian walk (2 Cor. 1:12). 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Quotes from Bullinger about Bible Study


While I certainly don’t agree with everything that Dr. E.W. Bullinger (1837-1913) taught, I do find the following quotes to be helpful. 

“...man doth not live by bread only, but every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.” (Deut. 8:3b)

As in the natural sphere so in the spiritual, the desire (or appetite) for the food which is the proper support of each respectively, is the sign of natural and spiritual health.

Attention to diet is becoming more and more recognized as essential to nutrition and growth.

A low condition of bodily health is produced by inattention to the laws of nature as to suitable diet. As this leads to the "drug habit," or to the immoderate use of stimulants in the natural sphere, so it is in the spiritual sphere. A low condition of spiritual health is produced by improper feeding or the neglect of necessary food, which is the Word of God; and the end is a resort to all the many modern fashions and novel methods and widely advertised nostrums in the Religious world in the attempt to remedy the inevitable results.

The Root of all the evils which abound in the spiritual sphere at the present day lies in the fact that the Word and the words of God are not fed upon, digested, and assimilated, as they ought to be.

If we ask the question, Why is this the case? the answer is, The Bible is not enjoyed because the Bible is not understood. The methods and rules by which alone such an understanding may be gained are not known or followed; hence the Bible is a neglected book…

The cloud that now rests over its intelligent study arises from the fact that it is with us to-day as with the Jews of old—"The Word of God has been made of none effect by the traditions of men" (Matt 15:1-9)…

The result of all this is too painfully evident. Controversies, bitterness, strifes have been engendered. These have taken the place of simple Bible study. If studied at all it has been too much with the view of finding support for one or other of the two sides of these controversies, instead of with the object of discovering what God has really revealed and written for our learning.

Failing to understand the Scriptures we cease to feed on them; then as a natural consequence, and in inverse proportion, we lean on and submit to "the doctrines of men," and finally reach a theological desert…

And the Lord Jesus after saying (John 17:14): "I have given them Thy WORD." immediately adds, "And the world hath hated them." Those who thus feed upon and rejoice in God's Word will soon realize their isolated position; but, in spite of the "reproach" and "hatred" of the world, there will always be the "joy and rejoicing" of the heart…

And this is our object in writing now. We do not write for casual readers, or for those who read a daily portion of the Word merely as the performance of a duty and as a matter of form, but for those who "search the Scriptures," and who seek, in them, for Him of whom the Scriptures testify (John 5:39)…

But these will be useless unless we are first prepared to unlearn.

If any think they know all, or that they have exhausted the Divine Word; or that what they set out to learn is only to be in addition to what they already know, instead of sometimes in substitution for it, then we shall be of little service to them: and they need not follow us any further.

When we come to ask ourselves, and say, "Where did I learn this?" "How did I get this?" "Who taught me this?" it is astonishing to find how much we have imbibed from man, and from tradition; and not directly and for ourselves, from the Word of God.

All that we have learned from our youth up must be tested and proved by the Word of God. Where we find it is true we must learn it over again, from God. And where it will not stand the test of His Word we must be not only content, but thankful to give it up; and receive Divine revelation in the place of man's imagination.

Monday, October 16, 2017

How to Lead a Soul to Christ

Have you ever personally led a soul to Christ? I would venture to say that the majority of professing Christians will live their entire life without ever leading even a single soul to Christ. Why is that? 

Some of the main reasons are:
They don’t think it is their responsibility (2 Cor. 5:14-21)
They are fearful (2 Tim. 1:7)
They are unsure of how to go about it (2 Tim. 2:15) 

There are numerous passages in the New Testament that provide examples on how to do personal work. Many of them concern the gospel of the kingdom, but we can still learn good principles from those passages on how to deal with people (e.g. Nicodemus in Jn. 3, the woman at the well in Jn. 4, the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8). In the book of Acts we have the record of Paul dealing with different kinds of people (e.g. a woman, a jailer, and government officials).   

Basic guidelines for doing personal work:
Pray about and look for opportunities to give the gospel (be soul conscious) 
Deal with people where they are 
Use your personal testimony (Paul did)
Be real, not mechanical (show compassion) 
Rely on the Spirit of God, He is the real soul-winner (no tactics, gimmicks, tricks)
Use gospel tracts 
Don’t give up on people if they don’t immediately respond 
Experience is the best teacher 

How to lead a soul to Christ:

Turn the conversation toward spiritual things 
How do we bring it up? Do we just bluntly ask out of nowhere, “Are you saved?” The starting point can be difficult, but once we turn the conversation toward spiritual things it gets easier to talk to people about the gospel. I find the best way is to ask the person about their church background. How they respond will immediately give you a basic framework concerning the beliefs of the person you are dealing with. Once we start talking about church, I say something to this effect, “Going to a Bible-believing church is good, but according to the Bible salvation is not found in any church. The most important thing is to know for sure that you are saved. Do you know for sure that you are saved?” If they say no, ask them if you can share with them what the Bible says about how they can KNOW. If they say yes, ask them HOW they know. If they are not interested, there is no need to pressure them. 

Establish that they are a condemned sinner
The first step in leading a soul to Christ is showing them from the scripture that they are lost. Romans is the doctrinal book on salvation for this age of grace. In the first main part of it, Paul proves that all are guilty sinners in need of salvation (Rom. 3:10, 23; 6:23a). Explain that God is righteous and we all come short of His standard of righteousness, and therefore we deserve death and hell (give specific examples of sin). If a person will not accept the bad news, they will not believe the good news (Acts 24:24-25). 

Explain that they cannot be saved by works
As long as a person is trusting in any works that they can do, they cannot truly trust the finished work of Christ (Rom. 8:8; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5). Salvation is not Christ plus something, but Christ ALONE. 

Present the gospel of Christ clearly 
Once a person knows that they are a condemned sinner, and there is nothing they can do to fix it, they are ready to hear the good news of the salvation Christ accomplished for them through His death, burial, and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:21). The key words are “Christ died FOR our sins.” He died for ALL of our sins and paid our sin debt in FULL. His resurrection on the third day is the proof that the Father accepted the payment. Emphasize that the purpose of salvation is being reconciled to God, not just going to heaven when we die. Everybody wants to go to heaven, but not everybody wants to be right with God. 

Invite them to TRUST Christ as their Personal Savior 
How do people get saved (Eph. 1:12-14)? They key word is “TRUSTED.” There is no example in the Bible of leading someone in a sinner’s prayer. People are religious by nature and can be easily misled  to say a prayer without trusting Christ. We must trust the Holy Spirit to do His work. 

Start with witnessing to your lost family, friends, and acquaintances. Look for opportunities daily. When a soul gets saved it is not the end of our responsibility. We need to help them grow spiritually (Gal. 4:19). What a great privilege and joy it is to lead others to Christ (1 Thess. 2:19-20)! 


Monday, October 9, 2017

Who Were the Sons of God in Gen. 6?

Genesis 6:1-4
1) And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2) That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3) And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4) There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children unto them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
 
The note on Gen. 6:4 in the Old Scofield Reference Bible says:

Some hold that these "sons of God" were the "angels which kept not their first estate" (Jude 1:6). It is asserted that the title is in the Old Testament exclusively used of angels. But this is an error (Isa. 43:6). Angels are spoken of in a sexless way. No female angels are mentioned in Scripture, and we are expressly told that marriage is unknown among angels. (Matt. 22:30). The uniform Hebrew and Christian interpretation has been that verse (Gen. 6:2) marks the breaking down of the separation between the godly line of Seth and the godless line of Cain, and so the failure of the testimony to Jehovah committed to the line of Seth (Gen. 4:26).

As much as I respect and appreciate the work of Dr. Scofield, I disagree with this note on several points. 

1. He misuses Isa. 43:6 to prove that “sons of God” in the OT may refer to individual believers in the OT. The reference is a prophecy about the future salvation of Israel in the last days.

The term “sons of God” is only used 5 times in the OT. There is only 3 ways to be a son of God:
1) Christ, the only begotten Son of God
2) Direct creation of God (Adam, Lk. 3:38 – angels, Job 38:7)
3) Regeneration (NT doctrine, in the OT Israel as a nation was called God’s “firstborn,” Ex. 4:22) 

2. Nowhere in the Bible are angels spoken of in a sexless way. In Matt. 22:30 Christ was referring to the angels “in heaven,” and He simply said they do not marry, not that they are sexless. Angels are often referred to as men (Gen. 18:1-2). God said that Satan had a seed (Gen. 3:15). 

3. Scofield claims that his interpretation is the “uniform Hebrew and Christian interpretation,” making it sound like a majority position is automatically authoritative. There have been plenty of Bible teachers that have taken a different view, including Arno Gaebelein (who was a consulting editor for the Scofield Bible). He wrote, "Angels good and fallen are termed sons of God in the Old Testament. Satan himself is reckoned among the sons of God in Job 1:6 and 2:1. The term sons of God must mean here supernatural evil beings. These evil beings came down out of the air and began to take possession of such of the daughters of men as they chose." 

William Kelly (1821-1906), a Plymouth Brethren writer whom Scofield respected, wrote, “The sons of God, in my judgment, mean the same beings in Genesis as they do in Job. This point will suffice to indicate their chief guilt in thus traversing the boundaries which God appointed for His creatures. No wander the total ruin speedily ensues. It is really the basis of fact for not a few tales of mythology which men have made up.”

4. Nowhere does the Bible speak of a “godly line of Seth.” Yes, the Messiah would come through the line of Seth, but there were ungodly men in that line. If the “sons of God” were the descendants of Seth, and the “daughters of men” the descendants of Cain, that would mean only men were godly. That would also mean that many godly men died in the flood, but Peter said it was the “ungodly” that perished (2 Pet. 2:5). God had not yet given commandment to not be “unequally yoked,” so why would he destroy the whole world for a sin that He had not yet spoken against? Also, godly people marry ungodly people today and the result is not “giants” that are “mighty men” and “men of renown”. The “daughters of men” in Gen. 6:2 are spoken of in the general sense of the human race (v.1), and not the limited sense of the descendants of Cain.

Why do I believe the sons of God in Gen. 6 were fallen angels? 

1. The “sons of God” in the OT refer to supernatural beings, both good and bad (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7).

2. See Jude 5-7 – These angels in leaving their first estate and own habitation committed a sin that was “Even as” Sodom and Gomorrah in that they went after “strange flesh” (unnatural). These fallen angels are chained up in hell awaiting their judgment (1 Pet. 3:19-20). The angels that rebelled with Satan are loose as they work for him (Eph. 6:12).  

3. See 2 Peter 2:4-5 – This refers to the same angels as Jude 6, and links their sin with the time of the flood.  

4. The union of angels with women would certainly produce a unique offspring. This was part of Satan’s plan to corrupt the seed line (Gen. 3:15). One of the main reasons Noah was spared was because he was “perfect in his generations” (Gen. 6:9). Noah and his family alone had preserved their pedigree and kept it pure, in spite of the prevailing corruption brought about by the fallen angels. 

5. This happened again after the flood (Gen. 6:4) on a smaller and localized scale as Satan sought to prevent Israel from taking the land God promised Abraham (explains God’s command to utterly destroy the Canaanites).  

6. Christ said, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the son of man be” (Matt. 24:37). There will be another mingling of the seed in the tribulation period (Dan. 2:43-44). Satan and his angels will be on earth in the the last half of the 70th week of Daniel (Rev. 12:7-9).

 

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Dispensational Significance of Acts 13


I believe this present age of grace began with Saul’s conversion (which was totally off the prophetic script) in Acts 9 (1 Tim. 1:12-16). Acts 13 also has great dispensational significance. The number thirteen in the Bible is the number for separation (unto good or bad, see chapter 13 in Genesis through Deuteronomy). Paul has a ministry that is separate from the twelve apostles. We could call him the thirteenth apostle. His ministry to the Gentiles was not based on the rise of Israel, but on their fall (Rom. 11:11-15). He wrote thirteen epistles by inspiration of God to the Body of Christ. God did not send Paul out of the Jewish church in Jerusalem, but out of the Gentile church in Antioch. God waited until he and Barnabas returned from Jerusalem before He sent them out on their first missionary journey (Acts 12:25). The apostle James was killed in Acts 12, but he was not replaced like Judas was in Acts 1 (in preparation to offer the kingdom to Israel, Matt. 19:28). The apostle Peter went off the scene, for the most part, in Acts 12. 

In Acts 13: 
1. Paul was separated unto his special ministry among the Gentiles, and was sent out of a Gentile church.
2. Paul pronounced temporary blindness on an apostate Jew that tried to keep a Gentile from hearing the word of God, and as a result of that blindness the Gentile believed. This was the first recorded miracle of Paul and provides a dispensational picture of this present age (Rom. 11:25).
3. Saul will be known by the Gentile name of Paul from v.9 on. 
4. Note v.13 - It had been "Barnabas and Saul." Saul was mentioned last among the prophets and teachers in Antioch (v.1). From this point on, it will be "Paul and his company." I think this had something to do with the departure of John Mark in 13:13. Mark, who was related to Barnabas (Col. 4:10), was from the church in Jerusalem and had a hard time with the Gentile ministry of Paul. He later recognized Paul's authority and became profitable to him for the ministry (2 Tim. 4:11). 
5. The first recorded message of justification by faith without works was preached by Paul (v.39) to the Jews and any that feared God from among the Gentiles (v.26).
6. Paul gave an important warning to the Jews, and made an important declaration concerning his ministry (vs.40-47).
7. Paul made his first of three pronouncements that he was turning from the Jews to preach to Gentiles (v.46).
8. Many Gentiles were saved in the city, outside of the synagogue and apart from the Jews (vs.48-49).
9. The disciples were filled with the Holy Ghost (v.52) for the first time without any reference to water baptism or the laying on of hands. 
10. The key verses in Acts 13 are multiples of 13 (v.13, 26, 39, 52). 


Dispensational Salvation

One of the most important things about right division is that it enables us to understand and clearly present the only gospel by which sinn...