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Friday, February 12, 2016

The Office of the Word

# 26 Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 1Ti 1:12, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,” (1 Ti 1:12) Once again Paul finds it necessary to remind Timothy, and others, (especially those who are self-called preachers of superfluous doctrines) of his own calling at the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ!. This whole statement written by Paul oozes with humility as he gives all glory to Jesus for his position and role in the kingdom. It was the Lord Jesus Himself who bestowed the power of the Holy Spirit on Paul through the laying on of hands and baptism. Ac 9:17 says, “ And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." We get further details of this event in Ac 22:14-16, "Then he (Ananias) said, 'The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. 15 'For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 'And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.' It was something that Paul never forgot and remained eternally thankful for. Not only the merciful gift of the forgiveness of his sins, but the Just One (Jesus) would appear to him personally and speak words to him, that he should know the will of God and be privileged to be counted faithful in the proclamation of those words to others! In the strictest sense, this word concerns Paul's calling to the office of Apostle, but all ministers of the Word today, who serve as called and ordained servants in the Office of the Word should ever be thankful that the Lord Jesus Christ has forgiven them, gifted them with the Holy Spirit and thereby empowered them to proclaim the will of God in His church! Such a calling carries with it tremendous responsibility. Don't abuse it! Steer clear of superfluous teachings and keep the main thing, the main thing! Ever thankful and ever reliant on the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Glorious Gospel

# 25 Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 1Ti 1:9-11, “ knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust. The “glorious gospel.” The glorious good news! What is this good news committed to the trust of the Apostles and the church? Why was the message of the New Testament church so different from the message of the Old? To be sure the gospel is all over the Old Testament as it spoke of promises to be fulfilled concerning the coming Messiah, and Jesus pointed that out to His disciples as He walked with them on the road to Emmaus. We read in Lu 24:27, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” So the Gospel is everything in the Bible that concerns Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God. He IS the Good News! And all of His teachings are sound doctrine. Yes, He lived and died in accordance with the Old Testament prophecies, and in His life, death, and resurrection, we are offered the gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life. We need not follow the ritualistic sacrifices which foreshadowed His sacrifice, we only need to receive the gift, for it is by grace we are saved through faith and that not of ourselves it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast! It is glorious Good News to know that “ as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: (Jn 1:12) It is glorious Good News to know that, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” But there is so much more involved in the sound doctrine of the Gospel. Teachings on baptism, the Lord's Supper, the Holy Spirit, prayer, and many more things that He passed along through Paul and others. Rejoice in your salvation but don't stop there, revel in the other good news TEACHINGS of Jesus as well!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Warnings About Maintaining Sound Doctrine

# 24 Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 1Ti 1:9-11, “ knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust. In verse 10, we have a “catch all” phrase employed by the Holy Spirit, “if there is any other thing contrary to sound doctrine according to the gospel.” Sound doctrine is healthy doctrine. It is doctrine with the absence of pollution. The word sound is used in two episodes of healing given to us in Scripture. In Mark 3, Jesus heals a man with a withered hand and says, “Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.” It was made sound. And in Acts 4, Peter had healed a lame man and said, “this man stands here before you whole. (made sound) And so once again we see an emphasis on keeping the teaching of the Law and Gospel pure. The teachings handed down to the Apostles by Jesus are not to be added to, or taken away from. This is a common theme in these letters to Timothy and Titus. 1Ti 6:3 says, “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness,” and 2Ti 4:3 says, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; Then in Tit 1:9, we read, “ holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.” and in Tit 2:1 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: A major emphasis of these letters is to maintain sound doctrine” Keep the Law and Gospel unpolluted. We ought to strive for the same thing.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Participating In Character Assassination

# 23 Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 1Ti 1:9,10 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, Next on our list of lawbreakers are liars and perjurers. These lawbreakers violate God's command to “not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” The word “bear” here is interesting. It's primary meaning is “to pay attention to,” but it can also mean “to speak.” God's kind of got us coming and going on this one. This Law of God is designed to put the skids on false talk against our neighbors. Not only are we not to speak it, but we are not to pay attention to it! Some “perjurers” may go as far as to swear untrue statements against others! This matter of bearing false witness is very important to God and He has established a guideline of at least two witnesses when it comes to sorting out truth! De 19:15 "One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established. I've always loved Luther's explanation of this commandment. He says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not deceitfully lie about, betray, backbite, nor slander our neighbor but defend him, speak well of him, and put the most charitable construction on all that he does.” Seek to do this, and you will have responded to this command in the manner that God has designed it! Lord help me to see that this commandment works both ways. Guard my lips and ears from participating in character assassination.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Human Trafficking

# 22 Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 1Ti 1:9,10 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, Next on our list of lawbreakers are kidnappers. The King James says “menstealers.” As we have said from the onset regarding this list, these “lawbreakers” all fall under the Ten Commandments. Wait a minute. I don't recall any commandment that says “Thou shalt not kidnap!” What is this all about? It is about the commandments, “Thou shalt not steal, and “Thou shalt not covet.” Even more specifically we read about it in Ex 21:16 "He who kidnaps a man and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, shall surely be put to death.” And in De 24:7 "If a man is found kidnapping any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and mistreats him or sells him, then that kidnapper shall die; and you shall put away the evil from among you.” This is by no means an endorsement of slavery where human beings are treated ONLY as property, in fact it is just the opposite! It's one thing to be an indentured slave, voluntarily agreeing to labor for someone in exchange for money or favor and quite another to be forced into servitude. To force a person to slave for you is “man-stealing!” You have among other things, stolen that person's God-given dignity and freedom! It is breaking the Law of God! “Well, that kind of stuff happened years ago and we no longer have that problem in society.” If you believe that, then you need to get your head out of the sand in the area of human trafficking. It is an epidemic in this sin sick, sex-crazed world including the United States of America and the state of Wisconsin! It is happening right here! Right now! And it's time for the authorities, as ministers of God, to start meting out serious punishment for the offenders. But even if they don't, there awaits them a Judge on the Last Day who will give them and all the unrepentant what they have coming.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Being Set Free From the Cultural Sexual Prison

# 21 Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 1Ti 1:9,10 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, The Law of God, the “do's and don'ts” of Scripture are made for a long list of offenders. This is by no means the complete list! Last time we talked about the sexual sin of fornication and today we'll look at the sexual sin of sodomy. Sodomy gets its name from the city of Sodom. This infamous city of the Bible was destroyed by heaven-sent fire and brimstone in the days of Lot, and has become synonymous with the sin of homosexuality. On the night before the city was destroyed we get a glimpse of the Sodomites attitude toward sexuality in Ge 19:4,5, “Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. 5 And they called to Lot and said to him, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally." This attitude about sexual behavior in Sodom was further brought to mind in Jude Jude 1:7, “as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” So the Law of God is meant to remind us of the necessity of sexual purity before and during the marriage of a MAN and a WOMAN anything less regarding sexual activity is wrong and not in accordance with the Words of God. From the beginning of time, fallen man has put too much emphasis on the sex act which is pretty amazing since there won't be any pro-creative activity in heaven. (See Mt 22:30) It would do us all well to read and seek to understand the words of Jesus in Mt 19:12 "For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it." The understanding and acceptance of this truth will set you free from the cultural sexual prison that has enslaved the human race since the fall of Adam and Eve.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Unhitch the Trailer

# 20 Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 1Ti 1:9,10 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, Through the years as I have written verse by verse devotions, I have made it a habit to stop and examine these passages that list specific sins. The reason I like to do that is often times we bury the Law of God, (the do's and don'ts that have been written on our heart,) through sheer ignorance. The average person who hears the word “fornication,” for instance, has no clue as to what the word means, and so they are not checked in their spirit when it comes to committing this grievous sin. I assure you that those who sat through my sermons at the former church where I served as pastor, were well familiar with the term. It was almost a standing joke to listen to the sermon and see how often the word “fornication” was spoken. The word is used 44 times in Scripture and never in a good light. It is most often used in the context of illicit sexual activity, and is generally applied to sexual activity outside the bounds of marriage. In today's world, fornicators are those who have “live in” girlfriends or boyfriends. How serious is this sin? Well, look what it's lumped in with here in 1 Timothy! And hear this admonition found in 1Co 6:18, “Flee fornication!” Which is another way of saying, “Unhitch the trailer! Leave it behind!” Do you not know that fornicators will not inherit the kingdom of God? In 1Co 6:9, we read, “ 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. But you don't have to be identified by this sin, the very next verse in Corinthians says, “such were some of you!” Past tense. You can unhitch the trailer and leave it behind, there is forgiveness for you just as there was for the woman caught in adultery. Jesus released her from her sin and guilt by saying, “ I do not condemn you, go and sin no more!” He will do the same for you!