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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Smoke and Mirrors

161 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 1Ti 6:3,4 “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, 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,” (1 Tim 6:3,4) Anyone who teaches things contrary to the Word of God and denies the creed of 1 Tim 3:16 is a false teacher. His or her teachings will result in envy, strife, reviling, and evil suspicions. This is not the kind of church Jesus was looking to build on this earth. Such teachers are “proud.” Interesting word, it literally means smoke, and is associated with pride. Think in terms of false teachers being nothing but smoke and mirrors, using words and twisting contexts to make things appear different than they really are. False teachers are in one respect illusionists! An illusionist relies on distraction to dupe his audience into believing something untrue. The very first illusionist was Satan who provided a distraction to Eve as he disguised himself as a snake and then drew Eve's attention away from the word of God as he caused her to concentrate on the beauty of the fruit, and then was able to suggest to her, “Did God really say?” And the rest is history and with smoke and mirrors, the devil caused Adam and Eve to believe that they shall be as God knowing good and evil.! Instead of knowing good and evil, Paul says these false teachers know nothing! They are obsessed with finding loopholes in the Word of God as it concerns sin. In so doing they turn the healthy words of God into unhealthy modes of living. You will recognize them by their constant plea, “But what about this circumstance and what about that circumstance?” and they will create extreme scenarios in order to distract you and lead you into a disregard for the wholesome words of God and into a life of sin. Don't fall for it! It's a trap! Seek to learn to live by the words “Thus saith the Lord,” or as Jesus masterfully handled the smoke and mirror temptations of the devil in the wilderness, “It is written!”

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Here It Is Again, That Doctrine of Godliness.

160 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 1Ti 6:3,4 “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, 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,” (1 Tim 6:3,4) There it is again! The reference to the “doctrine which accords with godliness.” We have seen this reference often in this letter to Timothy. It first showed up in the credal statement of 1 Tim 3:16 and bears repeating because the Holy Spirit keeps repeating it! The mistake we make when thinking about the “doctrine of godliness, “ is we associate godliness with our own lifestyle. We think in terms of what we must do to be considered “godly.” But the doctrine of godliness is not about us , it's all about Jesus! It is about what we must believe about Jesus, and that's why it's been included in the creeds of the Christian church from the very beginning! Here it is again as stated in 1 Tim 3:16, “And without controversy (no room for argument here) great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.” To paraphrase this creed: Jesus is God in the flesh, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified and died, and was buried, and then justified by the Holy Spirit by His resurrection from the dead which was witness by angels (His Apostles, and over 500 others, by the way) He then instructed His Apostles to go and preach this Good news to the Gentiles, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Many would believe their message and come to faith. He then ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty from where He will one day return and judge the living and the dead. This is the doctrine of godliness! It's what we believe about Jesus. If you want to live a godly life, then believe this about Jesus, receiving Him, as your Lord and Savior. Then you will pay close attention to the first part of this verse and seek to live according to the wholesome (health giving) words of Jesus as found in Gen 1:1 through Rev 22:21!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Mess With the Word and You Mess With Jesus

159 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 1Ti 6:3, “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, ( 1 Tim 6:3) Paul has dealt with the how to's of dealing with the elders (the pastors) who rule well and those who don't rule well in the preceding chapter. Now he spends some time on dealing with “ANYONE” who would teach things in the congregation that are contrary to the words of Jesus and the doctrine that accords with (is in agreement with) godliness. This dealing with false teaching in the church has been a major theme of this first letter to Timothy. A teacher in the church of Jesus Christ must be given to the wholesome words of the Bible, the words of Jesus Christ. These words are wholesome, they are healthy for the soul. Pr 4:20-22 says, “My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; 22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.” Peter put it this way in Joh 6:68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” It is so tempting for teachers to put their own spin on things as they wrangle over words and craft doctrines that tickle their ears and the ears of others. But the Bible has a strict warning against this tactic: Re 22:18, 19 “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”And in De 4:2 "You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. The OT points forward to Jesus and the cross, the NT points back to Jesus and the cross, and both speak to the Final Day of Judgment. Don't mess with the Word of God. You mess with the Word of God....you mess with Jesus! He IS the Word! Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Friday, September 23, 2016

A Little Something Extra In Your Spiritual Paycheck!

158 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 1Ti 6:2 And those who have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren, but rather serve them because those who are benefited are believers and beloved. Teach and exhort these things. In verse 1, Paul speaks to slaves and reminds them to give their pagan masters not some, but ALL honor. Slaves, (workers in today's economy) are not to give reason to others to speak evil of God! (No sarcastic remarks such as , “Oh so that's what it's like to work as Christian.”) Here in verse 2, he reminds slaves who have believing masters to do the same. Believing masters are not to be taken advantage of with lesser effort of work simply because they are brethren in the kingdom of God. They too are worthy of ALL honor! The worker dare not say, “Oh I can skate and do the bare minimum because my boss is a believer and he wouldn't dare fire his brother in the Lord.” Really? Where's the mutual benefit in that attitude? Remember who's in charge! Ro 13:1 says, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” Authority starts and stops with God and that's why respecting it and giving honor to it is so important. The world will never understand this concept, but we MUST understand it!Honoring the authorities on earth is to honor the ultimate Authority in heaven! Do you have a job? Do you have fringe benefits included in your wage package? Well read this verse again and notice that God promises a benefit to those who honor their believing master. What is that benefit? I don't know but if God is handing it out, I want to be on the receiving end, how about you? Therefore, let us all remember to work as unto the Lord, knowing full well that somewhere down the line, there will be “a little extra” in your spiritual check.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Advice for Employees

157 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 1Ti 6:1 Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed. Slavery was a way of life in the Roman empire. Some slaves had good masters and some had bad masters. These masters had full control over their slaves, they were their legally obtained property. They could treat them pretty much any way they pleased. Thankfully, we no longer have this system in place in our nation. To treat another person as a mere piece of property is just wrong. Jesus didn't die for property, He died for souls! So how can we apply this Scripture to our culture today? The best way is to use it is in the employer/employee relationship of the workplace. There are labor laws in effect designed to keep today's slave (the employer) from being maltreated. Nonetheless, things aren't always a bowl of cherries in the workplace. This Scripture reminds all of us employees, that there are people who hold positions of authority over us and we are to give them their due honor. How we respond to authority is a witness to others, that says we acknowledge and serve a higher authority. We are slaves to God, and He commands us to honor those in authority over us. Look, the bottom line here is this. As followers of Jesus Christ,we never want to hear our employer sarcastically say, “Oh, that's what it's like to work as a Christian!” And so we honor our immediate supervisors and our employer by humbly serving and respecting them and their position. It is as stated in Col 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. Do this and your employer, (believer or not) will be given no occasion on your account to speak evil of God.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

It All Comes Out In the Wash

156 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 1Ti 5:24 Some men's sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. 25 Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden. This almost sounds like a proverb, but in reality it is a word of consolation for Timothy as he goes about the business of ordaining elders for his ministry of planting churches. He has already been told not to lay hands on novices, (1 Tim 3:6) and to weigh charges against an elder very carefully (1 Tim 5:22) So, Paul is stating two facts here. First of all sin will find you out, and secondly good works will also find you out. Armed with this knowledge, Timothy and the church of today may ordain pastors confident that bad apples and good apples are sorted out by the evidence of fruit in their lives. Some are sorted out early by the evidence of sin, while others can be dealt with through church discipline if their sins show up later. Others have good works that are evident, making the decision to ordain easy, still others may appear to have good works only to find out later, that they weren't what they were cracked up to be. Take heart from this church, knowing in the matter of sin and good works, it all come out in the wash. Nu 32:23 says, "But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out. Judah found this out in the matter of his sin with Tamar (Gen 38) David was found out with his sin with Bathsheba. (2 Sam 11,12) You just can't escape the evidence of fruit! Mt 7:16 "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. Even if our best efforts fool men, it's only because God is allowing it. He can expose your secret sins in an instant if He chooses, and quite frankly it would be better for the sinner to expose them now, and put them under the blood of Jesus rather than waiting until it's too late!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Timmy's Tummy

155 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 1Ti 5:23 No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities. At this juncture of the letter, Paul gets very personal with Timothy. Timmy's tummy was evidently acting up and Paul was concerned by the frequency of the incidents, and so he passes on some good medical advice. “Drink a little wine Timothy for medicinal purposes.” The first thing I find interesting about this passage is Paul doesn't say anything about the laying on of hands in order to pray for a miraculous healing. (Not to say that they didn't do that) but this advice from Paul should tell us that it's okay to seek relief of our maladies through medicine. Next, we ought to notice that this wine was to be used in moderation, “use a LITTLE wine for your stomach's sake. A little wine in the stomach might settle things down a bit, especially since the water of Timothy's day was not always potable. Let's talk a little bit about the biblical use of wine. Wine was a major part of the Passover meal, it was typically used 4 or 5 times during the ceremony, but it was watered down wine. It was typically diluted with three parts water to one part wine. Anything less by biblical standards was considered “strong drink,” With this diluted mixture of water and wine, and the 4 or 5 cups that were part of the ceremony, there was no chance of getting tipsy. By the way, this explains Jesus turning the water into wine at the wedding of Cana. He was not putting His stamp of approval on getting blasted. You can be sure he did not make “strong drink” but He made a good drink, one that was exceptionally tasty even with the watered down mixture. We could all learn from this in our alcohol crazy society. Stay away from strong drink. Everything in moderation, “a little” as Paul advised Timothy. Prov 20:1 says: “Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”