Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
May 10, 2000
Last Updated :
May 25, 2012
My Personal Witnessing Endeavors, False Accusations, Why Some People Resist, Why I Share God's Word, Book Of Books, Recognizing Our Limitations, Desiring To Know More, Online Bible Assistant, Computers For His Glory, A Lifetime Study Of God's Word, False Gods Of Self, Ego And Pride, Become As Fools To Learn, Kick Against Pricks, Law Or Spirit?, Paul's Pharisaical Blindness, Paul's Transformation, New Wine In New Bottles, King Solomon's Final Advice, Snare Of Worldly Wisdom, Doctrinal Net Of The Pharisees, Depth Of God's Wisdom And His Unfathomable Ways, Born-Again Experience, Faith Of A Little Child, Blind Faith, Trust In His Word And God's Care, Jesus Christ The True Rock And Stumbling Stone
As some of my regular readers know, I have a tendency to uplift the Lord and share His Word whenever, and wherever, the opportunity arises. Besides passing out Gospel tracts on the street whenever I am out, undoubtedly, my primary means of witnessing is via our online ministry; however, because the Internet is not the perfect medium for expressing one's thoughts and feelings, sometimes my motivations are called into question, and even misinterpreted. It seems that some people erroneously assume that the main reason why I am so forthright in my evangelical endeavors, is because, in my pride, I want to boast of my own spirituality, and impress people with my knowledge of the Bible.
To be quite frank, this assumption is the furthest thing from the truth; and may the Lord forgive me if I have ever yielded to such a temptation, and such vanity; although I honestly don't believe that I have. It seems to me that one of the reasons why some of these people make this silly accusation against me, as well as against other Christians, is because they are looking for any valid excuse, and any justification -- at least valid in their own minds -- in order to legitimize their resistance against the conviction, and against the truth of God's Spirit, which is often conveyed through ministries such as this one. This subtle tactic is nothing new. As we read in the Gospel of John:
"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."
John 3:19-21, KJV
Speaking from my heart, what really motivates me to share God's Word, what really primes the pump of my personal zeal to impart His Word to others, is the simple fact that I have complete trust, and unquestionable faith, in the powerful, liberating, and life-changing truths which it reveals. In my mind, there is nothing like the Bible. No other book even comes close to the magnificence of the Holy Scriptures. For me personally, the Bible is indeed the "Book of books". It contains every solution to the myriad of life's problems; it reveals the deepest secrets of the heart; and most important of all, it offers us the keys to true happiness, spiritual well-being and Eternal Life. There is no other collection of historical documents, or any modern work of man for that matter, which can boast of these attributes. Is it any wonder then that King David was inspired to write in part:
". . . for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name."
Psalms 138:2b, KJV
In truth, God's Word stands above all, without exception. While many people have been blessed, inspired and motivated by this ministry, every now and then, someone will comment to me, either while we are in private Internet chat, or else by way of an email message, that they feel a certain degree of inadequacy when it comes to their personal knowledge of the Word of God. This perception they have of themselves, is sometimes due to the fact that I can so easily share the Word of God with them, with very little apparent effort on my part. I just start talking, or typing, and the verses just begin to flow through my mind.
Such was the case this morning. After a brief Internet chat, a certain hungry, little sheep left a message on my screen, in which he honestly and humbly admitted that his knowledge of the Bible wasn't what he had thought it to be, or what he would like it to be. Such honesty is not only admirable, but it also reveals the heart of a true seeker; and such people will be rewarded by the Lord due to their hunger to know His Word. I will be sharing more on this topic in a moment.
To set the record straight, let me reiterate the fact that I am by no means any kind of a spiritual giant. While it is true that I have memorized a number of Bible verses over the years -- and have probably forgotten just as many as I have learned -- I still require the daily assistance of my "Online Bible" computer program while I am engaged in online chat, while I am responding to email messages, and particularly while I am working on a new article or series. This great little program is my constant companion, and I don't doubt that the person who wrote it will someday be greatly blessed in Heaven for having made such a wonderful tool available to fellow Christians. While Satan's children may use computer technology for destructive, ungodly and evil purposes, the Children of Light wisely use this same technology for God's glory, by reaching out to the spiritually hungry and lost of the world, in order to bring them to the saving knowledge of the Good News of Salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. As the Apostle Paul was inspired to write:
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:31, KJV
Although it should be rather obvious, allow me to also add that all of the information you find written in my articles, is not something which I learned overnight. We all know that learning is a slow continual process which occurs throughout one's lifetime. It should come as no surprise to you then, that it has taken me literally years of seriously studying God's Word, in order to grasp the things which I understand today; and I continue to refine my ideas and beliefs as the Lord reveals more truth to me through His Word, as I am able to receive it. Furthermore, allow me to humbly admit, that what I understand today is still so very little, and does not give me any reason to boast of some personal greatness.
Not only that, but I am fully aware of the fact, that if I were so foolish as to set myself up on a pedestal, or to allow others to do this to me, and didn't try to discourage it, God would quickly humble me, and perhaps even bring an abrupt end to this ministry. Our God is a very jealous God, and He will not have any other gods before Him; particularly not the false gods of self, pride and ego, which in a sense, can be even worse, and perhaps even more destructive than the pagan gods which were worshipped by the ancients:
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me . . . Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;"
Exodus 20:3, 5, KJV
"For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:"
Exodus 34:14, KJV
The Apostle Paul offers some very sound advice for those people who, because they have filled their minds and hearts with Earthly wisdom, foolishly become lifted up in their own pride and vanity. He tells them that if they truly desire to become wise, then they must forsake their worldly wisdom, as well as their pride, and basically become fools. In other words, Paul is stating that they must be willing to accept the fact that, like a fool, they really don't know anything of true eternal value. Therefore, they must start all over, in order to learn the true wisdom which only comes through a dedicated study of, and adherence to, God's Word:
"Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?"
1 Corinthians 1:20, KJV
"Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;"
1 Corinthians 3:18-21, KJV
"Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."
2 Timothy 3:7, KJV
". . . we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know."
1 Corinthians 8:1b-2, KJV
In fact, as Paul also tells us, this is precisely what he personally had to do, after his life-changing encounter with the Lord that fateful day on the road to Damascus. If Paul's understanding had been correct, and had his heart really been right with God, he would never have begun his persecution of the early Christian church. That is why when the Lord smote Paul on his horse that day, He told him that it was hard for him to kick against the pricks; which was a reference to the Spirit of God jabbing at Paul's own heart, just as a rider would poke his animal with an iron goad in order to get it to move. In other words, similar to a beast of burden which stubbornly resists its rider, Paul was also resisting the Will of his one true Master, because his pride, his Jewish background, and the knowledge he had gained over the years as a Pharisee, was more important to him that the truth of God's Word. As Paul would later write to the brethren at Rome, he had the Law, such as circumcision, but he didn't have the Spirit:
"And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."
Acts 9:5, KJV
"For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."
Romans 2:28-29, KJV
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
Romans 8:14, KJV
Following his conversion, not only did Paul have to renounce his prestigious position as a Pharisee of the Pharisees, and whatever affluent lifestyle may have been associated with it, but he also had to admit to himself that much of what he had been taught as a dedicated Pharisee, and disciple of his teacher, Gamaliel, was now worthless to him, because his understanding was based upon his self-righteous zeal and blind pride, which had resulted in his faulty interpretation of the Scriptures. Paul realized that he was dead wrong. He knew that he had to begin anew from scratch. In the verses which follow, Paul describes his background for us, and then reveals his new perspective following his conversion:
"But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question."
Acts 23:6, KJV
"I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day."
Acts 22:3, KJV
"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,"
Philippians 3:8, KJV
In agreement with his own words, Saul had indeed become a new creature, with a new understanding of the Scriptures, and a new outlook on life, following his spiritual transformation into the new man, Paul:
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:2, KJV
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV
Just as Jesus Himself had taught, new wine, or new doctrine, cannot be poured into old bottles; thus, the Apostle Paul had to be willing to forsake the old wine of his former teachers, and become a new, more flexible bottle, in order that he might be able to accept, with childlike faith, the new wine of the Spirit which would soon be revealed to him by the Lord Himself, through personal revelation:
"Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved."
Matthew 9:17, KJV
"For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Galatians 1:12, KJV
King Solomon, who according to the Bible was one of the wisest men to have ever lived upon the face of the Earth, summed up his thoughts regarding the obtaining of worldly wisdom and knowledge, when he wrote the following lines:
"And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."
Ecclesiastes 12:12-14, KJV
Imagine that. One of the wisest and richest men the entire world has ever known, who was greatly admired by his peers because of his excellent counsel, encapsulated the sum of his lifelong learning process in that one magnificent phrase: "Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." Unlike vain men of our modern day who strive to exalt human intelligence and knowledge with their unique phrases, axioms, and many books filled with great swelling words of man's wisdom and accomplishments; this noble king was willing to humble himself and basically say "If you really want to be smart, then obey God, keep His Rules, and you will do well." Can you imagine a college professor, or the president of a country saying such a thing today? Well, in essence, Solomon was both; because he was the leader of his country, and a great scholar as well.
In their Epistles, Peter, Paul and Jude warn us to beware of those corrupt men, who speak great swelling words of man's wisdom and philosophy -- which included both scientific and religious reasoning -- in order that they might lead God's children astray from the truth of His Word, and the path of righteousness, and into the subtle net of deception and sin:
"For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error."
2 Peter 2:18, KJV
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
Colossians 2:8, KJV
"These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage."
Jude 1:16, KJV
Jesus also accused the self-righteous Scribes and Pharisees of these very same sins. In fact, the Lord stated that once they lure their victims into their doctrinal net with their impressive speeches, their eloquent teaching and their long prayers, they then convert them into children of hell even worse than themselves. So much man worship, and so little of the true Spirit of God! Consider the following verses:
"Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees . . . How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."
Matthew 16:6, 11-12, KJV
"And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation."
Mark 12:38-40, KJV
"Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."
John 12:42-43, KJV
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves."
Matthew 23:15, KJV
In contrast to the vain, worldly and deceptive wisdom and doctrines of men, while discussing the profundity and wonder of God's Wisdom and Divine Purposes, which far surpass our limited human wisdom and understanding, the Apostle Paul was inspired to write the following to the brethren in Rome:
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"
Romans 11:33, KJV
In writing the previous words, perhaps Paul was reminded of the following verses from the Old Testament, where we also find the Prophet Isaiah writing under the inspiration of God's Spirit:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9, KJV
Returning to King Solomon, it is undoubtedly because of this very same reason, that is, because he obviously recognized the supremacy of the Lord's Wisdom and Divine Purposes, that in his book of Proverbs, he instructs us to not trust in our own wisdom or human rationale, but to place our faith, our trust, our very confidence, solely in the Lord. If we do, Solomon tells us, He will indeed direct our every step, and ultimately, the course of our lives. In fact, Isaiah takes it a step further by telling us that if we do trust in the Lord, it will bring peace to our lives, such as we have never known before:
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6, KJV
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."
Isaiah 26:3, KJV
"And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left."
Isaiah 30:21, KJV
So as can be clearly seen, when it comes to God's Wisdom, and understanding His Ways, we are all like little children. The best thing that we can each do, is to forsake our silly pride, our stubbornness, and our preconceived ideas of what we think is right, and humbly take the Hand of our Heavenly Father, and allow Him to lead the way. That is why in the Gospels, Jesus tells us that we must have the faith of a little child in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The Lord said:
". . . Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 18:3b, KJV
". . . Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God."
Mark 10:14b, KJV
From the Scriptures, we know that not everyone understood what Jesus meant when He uttered these cryptic words. One such man was the Pharisee, and secret follower, Nicodemus. As I explain in other articles, such as "The Born-Again Experience: Now Or Later?", Nicodemus came to the Lord by night -- possibly because he feared the opinions of his contemporaries, as was common at that time -- and asked of Jesus, exactly what He had meant by the above statements. In John chapter three we read the following:
"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."
John 3:3-8, KJV
Thus we see that to "be converted, and become as little children", requires that we be born again in a spiritual sense. But there is more to this that what meets the eye; and I don't doubt that Jesus knew this full well. Exactly what is the faith of a little child like? Well, for one thing, he obeys his parents, even though in his young mind, he may not fully understand why they are telling him to do something. That little child has full faith in his parents. He has an inner confidence which tells him that they will not ask him to do something which will bring harm to his being. Faith in their word, is basically synonymous with faith in their love for him. If he cannot trust in their love for him, which guarantees his protection, then neither will he be able to trust in their word. Can you see that?
In the case of very young children, they accept the words of their parents as absolute truth in their lives. If mommy or daddy says that something is true, then it must be true; after all, they ought to know, right? Sadly, in our modern day, due to serious compromise by some parents, even by some Christian parents, this kind of childlike "blind faith" has had a detrimental effect on the lives of many children. It has resulted in the widespread belief in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and a host of other pagan beliefs, traditions and practices which are contrary to the Word of God; and someday, the Lord will hold those parents accountable for their irresponsible actions and weak faith.
Just like these young children who place their faith in their parents, we must do likewise when it comes to our Heavenly Father and His holy Word. While we may not always be able to understand everything with our carnal minds and human understanding, and while we may sometimes not know or see where He is leading us along life's rugged road, we must still accept His Word as absolute, immutable truth, and take His Hand by faith. We must believe that He loves us so much, that He will not allow anything to happen to us, unless He knows that it is for our own good, and that it will result in good fruit in our lives in the end. A few verses which I quote in some of my other articles include the following:
"The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them."
Psalms 34:7, KJV
"Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."
Psalms 55:22, KJV
"A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee."
Psalms 91:7, KJV
"Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows."
Luke 12:6-7, KJV
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:28, KJV
"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."
1 Peter 5:7, KJV
". . . for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5b, KJV
To expand a little further upon this idea of accepting God's Plan and Purpose for our lives by faith, allow me to ask you a question: What is the most important truth of the entire Bible which our Heavenly Father calls upon us all to accept? It is that Jesus Christ is the only-begotten Son of God, who died for the sins of the world, in order that we might be reconciled to God, and thus inherit Eternal Life. Sadly, as it was prophesied some 2,750 years ago by Isaiah, it was this very truth which the Jewish religious Elders of old rejected; and thus they were offended by, or stumbled upon Christ, the True Rock from Heaven. Jesus Himself, as well as Peter and Paul, all referred back to Isaiah's prophecy in their teachings, as we see by the following verses. Please note that Paul even clarifies for us that during the time that the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, it was Christ the Living Rock who followed them; the very same Rock who they, and their descendants, would eventually reject:
"And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."
1 Corinthians 10:4, KJV
"And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken."
Isaiah 8:14-15, KJV
"And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me."
Matthew 11:6, KJV
"Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them."
Matthew 21:42-45, KJV
"But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."
Romans 9:31-33, KJV
"If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed."
1 Peter 2:3-8, KJV
Please go to part two for the conclusion of this article.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .