“Do not be deceived” #819

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10  nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11  And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9–11, NKJV)

The Lord has spoken plainly and sin and its deadly effect. Sin keeps souls out of the kingdom of God. The enemies of the cross obscure this truth, deceiving blinded minds about this simple fact. Immorality prevents one from inheriting heaven. The gospel has power to save sinners of every stripe and sort. Every sinner must be convicted of the reality of his sin and its eternal death in order to come to Christ for salvation. “Do not be deceived” into thinking you can live as you please in the indulgence of the flesh, refuse to be “washed,” “sanctified” and “justified” from your sins, yet still have God’s eternal blessings. “And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized” (Acts 18:8). Will you? Or, will you be deceived?

Self-Imposed Religion #818

21  “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” 22  which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23  These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.” (Colossians 2:21–23, NKJV)

People have long taken pride in the creeds they write and the confessions they profess. The traditions of men often and quickly become “the commandments and doctrines of men” that are elevated above the commands of God (Mark 7:1-13). Binding the religious conventions and innovations of men as if they are the will of the Almighty is an utterly futile and fruitless exercise. Worship must be according to truth, not what pleases us (Jno. 4:24). Lives must be holy, not merely adapt to current social norms (1 Pet. 1:15-16). The church is not our plaything, it is the temple of God and must not house idolatrous worship. The traditions of men will never be an adequate substitute for the commandments of God. All who wish to please God will approach Him with humble obedient faith, careful to offer Him the service that obeys His word (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:5; Matt. 7:21-23).

God-Honored Marriage #817

Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery. (Luke 16:18, NKJV)

With words hard to misunderstand, Jesus upholds the exclusive and lifelong nature of marriage. God’s arrangement for marriage is one man and one woman for life, with only one exception (the cause of fornication, Matt. 19:9; Gen. 2:24). The world and many churches practice something very different concerning marriage, divorce and remarriage from what the Son of God said. They approve same-sex marriages. They approve divorce for many reasons, and remarriages which Jesus said are adultery. In another place, Jesus said, “what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 19:6). If your God-approved marriage is in trouble, the answer is not divorce. The answer includes nurturing your marriage, protecting it and fighting for it against every adversary. The solution to marital trouble is found in God’s word, not at man’s courthouse. Let us honor marriage, respect it and obey God’s truth concerning it. “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4).

Faith is the Victory #816

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4–5, NKJV)

The whole system of evil that opposes God and tries to overwhelm the children of God, is deposed and defeated by our faith. The victory of faith is not merely some future anticipation, it is the victory that “has” overcome the world. The world has already been defeated by Christ, and that defeat continues to be felt to this present hour (1 Jno. 3:8). Our faith in Jesus as the Son of God destroys every effort of the devil (the god of this world) to overthrow those who are “born of God” (1 Jno. 5:1). Christians love God and one another by keeping His commandments (1 Jno. 5:2-3). This is faith that Jesus is the Son of God. The person with this faith “overcomes the world.”

The Boundary of Fellowship #815

Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10  If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” (2 John 9–11, NKJV)

This passage is not difficult to understand. Yet, failing to obey it continues to prevent fellowship with God, while helping false doctrine to thrive. Christians are warned against going beyond the teaching of Christ; to do so forfeits fellowship with the Father and the Son. To encourage or accept the teacher who is not teaching Christ’s truth puts one in fellowship with their sin. To thwart the force of this passage, attempts are made to redefine “the doctrine of Christ” to mean the teaching about Christ instead of the teaching that belongs to Christ. But, Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (Jno. 8:31). We must abide in the word that belongs to Jesus, else, we are not truly His disciples. We do not have fellowship with God (2 Jno. 9). Fellowship is a sharing in common, joint participation. We either participate with God by abiding in His truth, or we share in evil by encouraging and endorsing error and the one who promotes it. There is no third option. Therefore, let us “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Eph. 5:11).

Unless You Repent #814

There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1–3, NKJV)

The brutality experienced by these Galileans did not signal greater sin on their part than others. Jesus nullified any attempt to directly correlate physical suffering as a measure of evil in one’s life. Indeed, the Son of God would Himself suffer greatly, although He “committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth” (1 Pet. 2:22). Without ambiguity, Jesus warned that we will experience punishment unless we repent of our sins. In another place, He explained this perishing will be agonizing and unending in its breath and scope (Mk. 9:43-48). Today is the time to change your mind (repent) toward sinning against God. Thank God for the time He gives you to repent. Sin does not bring God’s reward. Sin brings eternal punishment. Use your time wisely – you do not know whether you will have tomorrow.

“Arise and be Baptized” #813

And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord. (Acts 22:16, NKJV)

There is a danger in allowing the Bible to explain itself. The danger is not against the truth or those who believe it and obey it. No, the danger is to false teaching and to those who cling to error instead of surrendering it for the sake of truth. That is dangerous to the soul. This verse well illustrates our point. The preacher Ananias plainly explained to Saul what he had to do in order to be saved. He had to “arise and be baptized, and wash away (his) sins.” The blood of Christ was applied to his sins when he was “baptized into His death” (Rom. 6:3). This is “the washing of regeneration” by which God saves us (Titus 3:5). Calling on the name of the Lord, according to this Scripture, involves being baptized in order to “wash away your sins.” That is dangerous to the false doctrine of salvation before and without water baptism. No amount of appeals to Greek grammar or rationalizations will change the clear force of this verse. Baptism that washes away your sins is commanded by the Lord. The danger comes when one refuses to believe and obey this verse, and instead cling to a doctrine that disregards the word of God. Why are you waiting to believe and obey this divine directive?

“I am the Resurrection and the Life” #812

23  Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24  Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”  25  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27  She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:23–27, NKJV)

There will be no bodily resurrection and no eternal life without Jesus. While Martha believed in the resurrection at the last day, Jesus turned her attention to a personal belief that only in Jesus would that great event occur. He is the source, the power, the essence of resurrection and of eternal life. Jesus said He is the means of bodily resurrection from the dead (v. 25). He is the One who gives eternal life to “whoever lives and believes in (Him)” (v. 26). Jesus has power over physical death and over spiritual death (caused by sin). Confessing faith in Christ is not only about who He is, it is also about what He does. When we profess that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of God,” we acknowledge our trust in Him to raise our bodies from the dead. We proclaim our faith that He gives us eternal life (because we hear His voice and follow Him, Jno. 10:27-28). One cannot have faith in Jesus Christ and deny eternal life, and the bodily resurrection at the last day.

“Upon this Rock” #811

16  Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17  Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18  And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:16–18, NKJV)

The church belongs to Christ, not to me, or you, or any other person. Jesus built the church, purchasing it with His own blood (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25). The Father revelation (confessed by Peter) that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” forms the foundation upon which His church is built. Yet, 1.2 billion Roman Catholics believe this heavenly assembly of the saved (the “called out” ones, the church) is built upon the fleshly foundation of Peter. They have misunderstood the “rock” upon the church is built (v. 18). The name Peter (petros) is defined as “a (piece of) rock” (Strong) or a “stone” (Liddell-Scott), while the word “rock” (petra) upon which the church is built is used “of ledges…a mass of rock” (Liddell-Scott). Jesus did not build His church upon the man, Peter (a stone). He built His church upon the bedrock truth that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God. “For no other foundation can anyone lay that that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11).

Fear God Instead of Men #810

And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! (Luke 12:4–5, NKJV)

Fear is a powerful emotion. It stirs adrenaline, often evoking a fight or flight reaction. But, fear can be misplaced. We can fear the wrong things for the wrong reasons. Jesus calls our attention to this fact. He commands us to rule over our fear of men, their threats and their retaliations because of our faith. We fail to function with eternity in view when we fear men instead of God. The power of men is limited to this physical world, but, God dwells in eternity. Therefore, we ought to fear displeasing Him, since He has power over both temporal and eternal life. The punishment of hell is real, and reserved for those who fear men more than fearing God and obeying Him. Believe the words of Jesus. With all reverence, fear God more than men. Follow God instead of men (Acts 5:29).