Expect God’s Deliverance

2 Timothy 3:10-11 KJV
But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

 

Paul, sitting in a prison cell, rehearses to Timothy the places he experienced persecution and afflictions:

  • Antioch
  • Iconium
  • Lystra

 

Timothy was fully aware of all that Paul had endured and how he had endured them. Paul’s interest here was to testify that the Lord had delivered him; not from some or even most of those persecutions. Paul said the Lord had delivered him out of all of them.

 

The obvious message for Timothy and for you and me is that the Lord will do the same for you and for me.

  • We will endure persecutions
  • We will experience afflictions
  • We will experience these things in multiple places
  • We may even experience death as a matter of our faith

 

But we may expect the Lord’s deliverance out of all of them.

  • There may be deliverance from the persecution and affliction
  • There may be deliverance through the persecution and affliction
  • There will always be deliverance as death translates us to eternal heaven.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Persecution, Deliverance

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Stay Free of Corruption

2 Timothy 2:20-21 KJV
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

 

One must remember the simile being employed is the local church. Paul speaks of that church as a great house and reveals, as surprising as we may find it to be, that not every vessel in that house is a clean and honorable one. A toilet basin has a purpose in the house but it would not be satisfactory to use it as a salad bowl.

 

Even so, even those members in the church who are less godly than we would like have a purpose even if it is only to humble us as they revile our walk or to drive us to prayer as they hinder our advance. (As Moses often resorted to prayer when, in the wilderness, he met opposition within his own camp.)

 

That they have purpose, however, does not mean we should allow ourselves to be corrupted by them. Sometimes they are there only to prove us, whether we will be true despite them. Paul said there must be heresies among us that those who are approved or faithful might be manifest. The temptations of the heresies tend to separate those faithful from those who are only leaning on the faithful. Those who stay free from the corruption of the less honorable vessels are themselves, the honorable ones.

 

faithfulness

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

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How to Suffer Without Shame

2 Timothy 1:12 KJV

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

There can be no question that the Apostle Paul suffered for the cause of Christ. He describes that

suffering in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 KJV

Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

He was about to suffer the ultimate when he was executed in Rome. But Paul assured Timothy that he was not ashamed of His suffering. He then gives these two reasons:

He knew whom I have believed

The great difference between true Christianity and mere religious Christianity is this knowledge of Christ. The religious Christian simply cannot comprehend the difference between a faith based walk with the Lord and duty driven religious service.

To know Christ is to be willing to suffer for Him.

He was persuaded that He is able

Persuasion, not in his own abilities and skills, but in those of Jesus Christ. Let the world do as it might, Christ is so much greater than the world! Paul’s persuasion

  • that he was saved,
  • that his salvation was in Christ and
  • that heaven would be his eternal home

so filled him with assurance that he could not be ashamed no matter what the world did to him.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Christian Suffering, Christian Victory

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Why Israel Struggles with Palestine

Deuteronomy 19:8-9 KJV

And if the LORD thy God enlarge thy coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers;

If thou shalt keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day, to love the LORD thy God, and to walk ever in his ways; then shalt thou add three cities more for thee, beside these three:

 

The subject of the chapter is those cities of refuge in Israel. God instructs them to divide the land into three parts and to designate a city of refuge in each part. Then God said that if He chose to give them all the land He had promised.

 

What? If He kept all His promise? Why wouldn’t He keep all His promise? That question is answered in the following verse. If Israel kept all of God’s Word and if Israel loved their God and if they walked in His ways, then He would give them all the land He had promised their fathers.

 

It occurs to me that this is the very reason Israel is in the position she finds herself today. They possess their land and they have their nation but they share it with enemies of their very existence. Their own temple site must be shared with people who wish Israel to not exist. They have their Promised Land but they don’t have all of it.

 

Not coincidentally, Israel today doesn’t love their God and walk ever in his ways. I do not deny that there are orthodox practicing Jews in Israel but I know that they are not the majority. I also know that, for today – right now, walking in God’s ways isn’t in Orthodox Judaism. Today both the Jew and the Gentile are to come to Christ and unite with Christians in a New Testament Baptist church.

  • Israel doesn’t have all God promised them.
  • Neither does Israel love God (in Christ) and ever walk in His ways.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Israel, Palestine

 

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A Portrait of Repentance

Deuteronomy 18:6-8 KJV

And if a Levite come from any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourned, and come with all the desire of his mind unto the place which the LORD shall choose;
Then he shall minister in the name of the LORD his God, as all his brethren the Levites do, which stand there before the LORD.
They shall have like portions to eat, beside that which cometh of the sale of his patrimony.

 

This passage is a portrait of the repentant believer and of his reception by those of faith:

He returns with all his desire

Repentance isn’t forced upon a person by others, nor is it half hearted. Repentance is of the volition and is fully embraced or else it is not genuine.

 

He returns to the place of God’s choice

There is no self-determination involved. He doesn’t Go back to God on his own terms, but upon God’s.

 

He returns to minister in the name of the Lord

He doesn’t come to take but to give. He assumes responsibility in the work of Christ.

 

He returns empty handed

He unloads himself of those attachments to the world. His cares are only for the cares of the Lord.

 

Repentance

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

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1 Timothy 4:1 The Spirit Speaking

1 Timothy 4:1 KJV

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

 

Paul wrote these words years previous to the completion of the New Testament. God’s Spirit spoke to those who were the instruments of transmission of the Bible (such as Paul) uniquely. But God hasn’t stopped speaking. Paul said that the Spirit spoke (his word choice tells us he continues to speak) expressly:

  • in plain language
  • in terms not easily misunderstood

 

The believer may rest assured that God’s same Spirit speaks expressly to us through the Word of God. We have no new revelation as we need none. But we do have illumination; the leading and the witness of the Holy Spirit with our spirit as we study the Word of God. I have no doubt or questions concerning the message of the Bible. It is plain enough. My only failure rests in my own ability to retain what it is God has provided.

 

Paul said that the Spirit spoke expressly concerning the last days. He did not say when those days should come to an end but he did detail the character of them. This gloomy forecast in no way discouraged Paul and it was not intended to discourage Timothy. It was an honest report on the future that God’s people might be steeled and prepared, but it did not slow their efforts to:

  • win souls
  • reach out for holiness and
  • urge Christians to sanctification

Neither should it ours.

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

1 Timothy 4:1, Last Days, Soul Winning

 

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Is a Divorced Man Qualified for Church Office?

1 Timothy 3:2 KJV
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

 

1 Timothy 3:12 KJV
Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

 

While I am certain I am unable to settle the issue once and for all, I chose today to settle it in my own mind. “Is a man who is divorced breaking the command of the Bible to pastor a church?” I therefore read every commentary I had at my disposal (eighteen in all). Virtually every one of them that had any commentary at all on this subject agreed that the subject was not polygamy (more than one wife at a time – an argument used frequently to admit men who are disqualified by divorce into the pastorate). Several of them do not employ the word “divorce” so I left them out of this compilation. Below are the words of Bible students of a century or more ago. I do not, of course, endorse all that they say on every subject but only reference them to make the point that the most common agreement is that this command of Paul was given for the purpose of reversing the common practice of the day of divorce and remarriage.[1]

 

Some of the most wonderful Christians I know have been divorced and remarried. I believe these fine people are to be treated with dignity, respect and, in many cases, honor. They are not second class Christians in any respect of the word. But we have to obey the Bible no matter what our mistakes have been. The Bible very clearly commands that those men who have been divorced and remarried not serve in the capacity of either of the church offices: pastor or deacon.

 

John Gill (1690-1771)
“…to be understood…in a literal sense of his conjugal estate; though this rule does not make it necessary that he should have a wife; or that he should not marry, or not have married a second wife, after the death of the first; only if he marries or is married, that he should have but one wife at a time; so that this rule excludes all such persons from being elders, or pastors, or overseers of churches, that were “polygamists”; who had more wives than one at a time, or had divorced their wives, and not for adultery, and had married others. Now polygamy and divorces had very much obtained among the Jews; nor could the believing Jews be easily and at once brought off of them. And though they were not lawful nor to be allowed of in any; yet they were especially unbecoming and scandalous in officers of churches.”

 

Philip Schaff, Popular Commentary of the New Testament, (1879-1890)
“A third explanation is, perhaps, more satisfactory. The most prominent fact in the social life both of Jews and Greeks at this period was the frequency of divorce. This, as we know, Jewish teachers, for the most part, sanctioned on even trifling grounds (Matthew 5:31-32; Matthew 19:3-9). The apostle, taking up the law which Christ had laid down, infers that any breach of that law (even in the one case which made marriage after divorce just permissible) would at least so far diminish a man’s claim to respect as to disqualify him for office. This case would, of course, be included in the more general rule of the second interpretation, but the phrase ‘the husband of one wife’ has a more special emphasis thus applied. St. Paul would not recognise the repudiated wife as having forfeited her claim to that title, and some, at least, of its rights.”

Adam Clarke (1715-1832)
“The apostle’s meaning appears to be this: that he should not be a man who has divorced his wife and married another “

 

Vincent’s Word Studies (1886)
“Is the injunction aimed (a) at immoralities respecting marriage – concubinage, etc., or (b) at polygamy, or (c) at remarriage after death or divorce? The last is probably meant.”

 

Peoples New Testament Commentary (1891)
“A married man, and having only one wife. In those loose times of divorce, men might be converted who had successively several wives. Divorce for unscriptural reasons would not free a man from his first, lawful wife. Hence the limitation to those who had only one living wife.”

 

Matthew Henry (1662-1714)
“He must be the husband of one wife; not having given a bill of divorce to one, and then taken another, or not having many wives at once, as at that time was too common both among Jews and Gentiles, especially among the Gentiles.”

 

Expositors Bible Commentary (1887-1896)
“Far more worthy of consideration is the view that what is aimed at in both cases is not polygamy, but divorce. Divorce, as we know from abundant evidence, was very frequent both among the Jews and the Romans in the first century of the Christian era. Among the former it provoked the special condemnation of Christ; and one of the many influences which Christianity had upon Roman law was to diminish the facilities for divorce. According to Jewish practice the husband could obtain a divorce for very trivial reasons; and in the time of St. Paul Jewish women sometimes took the initiative. According to Roman practice either husband or wife could obtain a divorce very easily. Abundant instances are on record, and that in the case of people of high character, such as Cicero. After the divorce either of the parties could marry again; and often enough both of them did so; therefore in the Roman Empire in St. Paul’s day there must have been plenty of persons of both sexes who had been divorced once or twice and had married again. There is nothing improbable in the supposition that quite a sufficient number of such persons had been converted to Christianity to make it worth while to legislate respecting them. They might be admitted to baptism; but they must not be admitted to an official position in the Church.

[1] The emphasis in bold and italics in each of the quotes is my own.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

1 Timothy 3:2 divorced pastors

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Building Biblical Ministries

1 Timothy 2:7 KJV

Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

 

There are two ways a person can view the last phrase of this verse:

The apostle was a teacher of the Gentiles “in faith and verity.”

 

Meaning he accepted his calling by faith and was in truth a teacher of the Gentiles

Paul’s ministry was challenged by the Jews, the Gentiles and by a significant number of believers. Still Paul insisted that he was in fact an apostle. He was in fact personally called and set apart for this work by the Lord. He was in fact the twelfth of the twelve.

 

Meaning that his teaching ministry to the Gentiles focused on two subjects:

Faith; the faith that saves, the practice of that faith in daily living.

 

Truth; verity is another form of the word. Another word would be doctrine; the truths upon which faith is built. Genuine faith cannot stand on anything short of truth. While faith is not sight, neither is it without substance. Faith thrives on the truths of the Bible. Give a person faith but neglect to give him doctrine and he will soon wither in the heat of testing.

 

Biblical ministries are built upon faith and verity.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Biblical ministry

 

 

The More Perfect of the Testaments

1 Timothy 1:9-11 KJV

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

 

Albert Barnes writes, “The gospel … makes known the will of God. It states what is duty, and accords in its great principles with the law, or is in harmony with it. The law, in principle, forbids all which the gospel forbids, and in publishing the requirements of the gospel, therefore, Paul says that the law really forbade all which was prohibited in the gospel, and was designed to restrain all who would act contrary to that gospel. There is no contradiction between the law and the gospel. They forbid the same things, and in regard to morals and true piety, the clearer revelations of the gospel are but carrying out the principles stated in the law.”

 

We may verify the appropriate use of an interpretation of the law by the gospel. They are not in conflict but in harmony. The gospel however is to be the judge as it is

  • the newer
  • the higher and
  • the more perfect

testament from God.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Gospel

The Duty to Break Fellowship

2 Thessalonians 3:6 KJV

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

 

Sometimes Paul exhorted and urged believers to do a thing. Sometimes he besought them. In this case Paul used the strongest term; he commanded them to withdraw from other Christians who would not follow after and live according to the traditions Paul had given them.

 

Paul later says that in doing so we are not to think of them as enemies, for they are not, yet we still mark them and have no fellowship with them.

 

Christianity in our day is becoming so feeble minded that the very idea of being commanded to do a thing is offensive to us. To be commanded to withdraw from someone and not to fellowship with them would be considered unspeakably harsh. What I see is the importance Paul places on this practice. It’s not a suggestion or even a request. This is so important to the advancement of the Gospel that he issues a command. It is important because it is necessary to prevent the decline of Christian faith and practice into anything a person might want to call Christianity. We have no right, no authority to create our own traditions and culture around our faith. We are duty bound, obligated yes, even commanded to carry on our faith exactly as we have received it.

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Separation