Monday, August 31, 2015


What Is a Dispensation?

The Greek word oikonomia is where we get the English word economy. It is a compound word meaning household law, or law of the household. Its main idea is that of house dispensing or house managing. Luke 16 uses the word in a parable. It is translated management or stewardship in Luke 16:1-4. The one that dispenses is called a manager or steward. Notice that the setup involves at least two parties. First, party #1 is the owner of the household. Party number #2 is the manager of the household. Every dispensational relationship involves two elements: First, the owner (Party #1) gives the manager (Party #2) responsibility; in response the manager (Party #2) now must give accountability to the owner (Party #1).[1] As a result the manager is subordinate to the owner. The owner sets the rules or laws that the manager must abide by. Sometimes the word is translated “stewardship” referring to the responsibility of the manager or steward. The manager is a steward (or dispenser) of the owner’s household and his rules or laws. These rules are used in the running of the household. Dispensational theology is a “particular way of God’s administering His rule over the world as He progressively works out His purpose for world history.”[2] A dispensation is not a period of time or an age, although it must of necessity cover a period of time in the outworking of its tenure. However, that tenure may cover a long or short period of time. A dispensation is a particular and identifiable administration of God’s rule over man in a historical tenure.  

A dispensational view has three characteristics: (1) It views the ultimate goal of history as God centered, making the glory of God as the goal of historical purpose. (2) It maintains a literal or customary interpretation of Scripture. This is especially true of its view of prophecy. (3) It holds to a clear distinction between Israel and the church, the body of Christ. The church did not replace the nation of Israel in the plans of God. Israel will have a future renewal and awaking after the church age, in order to complete the prophecy of its glorious future.

Therefore, the study of the Bible dispensationally is to distinguish these household rules, when and how they were applied, and identify the changes of the rules. Clearly the Bible itself shows the changes of the household rule. Romans 5:13-14 denotes that from Adam to Moses, there was no law for 2500 years. Galatians 3:17 declares that the Law was added, thus marking a change in the standards over the household. Again there was a change through Christ where the grace of God abounds to the many (Rom. 5:14). Paul reveals that we now live under the dispensation of the mystery, which in the past had been hidden (Eph. 3:9 cf. Col. 1:25-26).  Each dispensation must involve four things:[3] (1) It must identify the way of God’s administering His rule during the dispensation. (2) It involves specific responsibilities for man. (3) It must be characterized by new revelation to man, and in many cases a new administrator though which the revelation is revealed. Ryrie reminds us however, that “a dispensation does not have to be composed entirely of completely new features.[4] Some things may carry over from dispensation to dispensation. We call these things inter-dispensational principles or rules. (4) A dispensation ends with some type of judgmental action by God. We must distinguish these administrations or dispensations if we are to understand the unfolding drama of the purposes of God. We are instructed to “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).

[1]  S. Graig MacDonald, UNDERSTANDING YOUR BIBLE, (Grace Bible College, Grand Rapids MI, 1995), 15.
[2]  Renald E. Showers, THERE REALLY IS A DIFFERENCE!, (Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Bellmawr NJ, 1990), 30.
[3]  Ibid, 30.
[4]  Charles C. Ryrie, DISPENSATIONALISM, Revised and Expanded, (Moody Publishers, Chicago, 2007), 40.

Friday, August 28, 2015


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Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Strategy of Satan
against Believers

As a believer in Jesus Christ, YOU are the prime target of Satan’s strategy. He is “the accuser of the brethren...which accused them before God day and night” (Revelation 12:9-10). Satan’ strategy is centered around discrediting you before God. He directs God’s attention to our sin, weakness, and failures. Sooner or later each of us is accused by him before God.

The aim of his strategy is to carry out Isaiah 14:13-14. He was to show himself as being more powerful and important than God. He wants to be God. Therefore he is trying to make God’s people conform to his strategy will so that he might accuse them.

Paul warns us against being ignorant of Satan’s strategy and devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). The word “device” is the Greek word noema which denotes a plan, purpose or strategy. We believers need to know the strategy of Satan so he will not gain an advantage over us. In the Word we can identify at a least threefold strategy:


One Element of the strategy centers around the Word of God and our minds. It is clearly seen in the case of Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:1-7). His aim is to get her to disobey the Word of God, and to do so he works on her mind. His tactics are threefold: (1) He questions God’s Word... “Yea, hath God said.” (2) He denies the Word... “Ye shall not surely die.” (3) He adds to the Word of God... “Ye shall be as gods.”

We should not be surprised to learn that Satan wants to control our minds. He knows as a man thinks, so he is (Proverbs 23:7). It is the mind that controls the life. If he can control what we think and how we think, he can control us.

Note well the weapon Satan uses—it’s the Word of God. Satan uses the Word as a tactic, because he “disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). As an angel of light his aim is to use God’s own words against him, as he did in the case of Eve.

His strategy in Eve’s case is successful. He gets her to misuse the Word of God. We see that she (1) omitted some of the Word. She omits the word “freely” when she replies, “We make eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden” (cf. Genesis 3:2 with 2:16). (2) She added to the Word of God. The words, “neither shall ye touch it,” are not the original command of God to Adam. (3) She changes the Word by saying “lest ye die” instead of “thou shalt surely die.” In other words, Eve read into the Word what she wanted, rather than letting the Word speak to her. Because of Satan’s strategy of attacking her mind and Eve misusing the Word, she disobeys the will of God.

What then is our defense against this strategy? It is 2 Timothy 2:15. It is the Word of God in our minds and the ability to use the Word correctly. Our strength as believers comes from the Word of God being “rightly divided.” Or handled right, truthfully treated without falsification. Our aim in doing so is “making every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). It is when the Word speaks to us that it transforms us by the renewing of our mind and will of God is known (Romans 12:1-2). It is by the Word we put on the whole armor of God so we can stand against the wiles of Satan (cf. Ephesians 6:10-18).


When Satan cannot make us ignorant of the will of God, he will try to make us impatient with it. This is illustrated in the case of Job. In Job’s case Satan tries to make him impatient through circumstances, sickness and pressure. Job lost his wealth, his health, and gained the anger and the chastisement of his friends and family. Satan wanted him to come to the point that he didn’t care because God did not care. He tried Job’s patience.

In spite of all this, Job remained patient and did not sin or blame God (Job 1:22). The reason is, he knew his redeemer lived (Job 19:25). In other words, his defense against this strategy was his faith and assurance that God was working in spite of all that was going on. Faith is also our defense against this strategy of Satan. The key to obeying God’s will or Satan’s depends on how we as believers react in times of stress; whether or not we fully trust God. Job trusted God fully and completely. If we are to be faithful in spite of circumstances65386+ we need to heed 1 Peter 5:7-9. We need to cast our cares upon Him, and “resist steadfast in the faith.” Isaiah 26:3 declares that, He will keep us “in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed of thee; because [we] trusted in Thee.” Again Isaiah reminds us, “Fear thou not,” and will “uphold thee with the right hand of...righteousness” (41:10). Our faith in Christ is a substantiating one; an anchor; upholding and securing us.

It is vital that we understand that such a faith is produced by the Word of God. For “faith comes from hearing, and hearing is by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). The Word produces faith, not only for salvation, but for upholding us along life’s pathway. Psalm 119:11 reminds us that if we hide the Word in our heart it will help us not to sin against God.

Job endured this strategy of Satan by his faith in God. Faith produces peace which guards our hearts (Philippians 4:7). If we have the peace “of” God in our lives, no matter what the circumstances or the stress, we will not become impatient with God and His will.


When Satan cannot deceive our mind, nor make us impatient with God’s will, he seeks to make us act independently of the will of God. A prime example of going against the will of God is 1 Chronicles 21:1-12. Here Satan tempts David into taking a census of Israel. Now there is nothing wrong with taking a census, except it was not what God wanted. Every indication is that David had his own name and glory in mind when he ordered this done. Here we read the “never-the-less” of pride, which leads to an act of disobedience. God was displeased. This act of David constitutes presumptuous sin and rebellion, stemming from pride. Satan was successful in making David act independently of the will of God. It resulted in 70,000 killed (21:24). When man begins to act independently and ignores the will of God, in reality he is saying that his wisdom is greater than God’s, and that his will is better than God’s will. David was exercising his own will and Satan won.

Isn’t it strange that many of us fear the will of God. We have the idea that God’s will is something dangerous, and Satan encourages this way of thinking. It is his strategy to get us to think selfishly. Only if we realized that it is more dangerous to be out of the will of God than to be in the will of God.

The key to prevent this is submission. James 4:7 says, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” The word “submit” is primarily a military term meaning “to rank under” and denotes obedience to one that is higher in rank. David did not do this, rather he forgot his commander. His pride caused him to go over the head of the next in rank. Submission means to give up ourselves to be governed by God and His will. We are to present our members as instruments of His hand (Romans 6:13). Submitting means not rebelling against the will of God (which is what acting independently is), but letting God guide and we follow His will.

Note well the strategy of Satan so he will not gain advantage over us. Fix your mind upon His word, patiently waiting in His Word, and submitting to the Word of God. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015


by Pastor John LaVier (1906-2005)

It is human to stand with the crowd; it is divine to stand alone. It is man-like to follow the people, to drift with the tide; it is God-like to follow a principle, to stem the tide. It is natural to compromise conscience and follow the social and religious fashion for the sake of gain or pleasure; it is divine to sacrifice both on the altar of truth and duty.“No man stood with me, but all men forsook me,” wrote the battle-scarred apostle in describing his first appearance before Nero to answer for his life for believing and teaching contrary to the Roman world. Truth has been out of fashion since man changed his robe of fadeless light for a garment of faded leaves.

Noah built and voyaged alone. His neighbors laughed at his strangeness and perished in style. Abraham wandered and worshiped alone. Sodomites smiled at the simple shepherd, followed the fashion, and fed the flames. Daniel dined and prayed alone. Elijah sacrificed and witnessed alone. Jeremiah prophesied and wept alone. Jesus loved and died alone. And of the lonely way His disciples should walk, He said, “Strait is the Gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Of their treatment by the many who walk in the broad way, He said, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world … therefore the world hateth you.”

The Church in the wilderness praised Abraham and persecuted Moses. The Church of the Kings praised Moses and persecuted the prophets. The Church of Caiaphas praised the prophets and persecuted Jesus. The Church of the Popes praised the Savior and persecuted the saints. And multitudes now, both in the Church and in the world, applaud the courage and fortitude of the patriarchs and prophets, the apostles and martyrs, but condemn as stubbornness or foolishness like faithfulness to truth today.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Studies on Colossians [3]


Colossians 1:3-8

Though Paul has no usual pattern to his thanksgiving and prayers, it was customary for him to assure his readers of both. The only exception is in Galatians. Verses 3 to 8 are one sentence in the Greek. It is one continual flow of thanksgiving.

1. Expression of Thanksgiving (1:3).

We give thanks.” Thanksgiving is a recurrent theme in this epistle (cf. 1:12; 2:7; 3:15; 4:2). Here we find the plural (we), not the singular. That is because Paul is writing on behalf of Timothy and himself. It is in the present tense, indicating a continual expression of thankfulness. “Give thanks” is one compound word in the Greek, (charistoumen) meaning well and grace. It is the common word for the expression of gratitude.  It speaks of action. Gratitude is an expression of worship and praise for what God has done at the Cross, as well as what He is doing in the lives of others. Thanksgiving frames this section (1:3, 12). It is an expression of gratitude to someone for something and therefore an expression of praise and appreciation.

To God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” These words denote the object to which thanksgiving is expressed or directed. The definite article is not in the text. The phrase could read, “to God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The omission matters little for the clear object of the thanksgiving is directed toward God the Father. It is the Father to whom our prayers are to be directed (Rom 1:8; 1 Cor. 1:4; Phil. 1:3). The term “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” is unique to the New Testament. In the Old Testament, God was the God of the fathers—Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. However, when the Son came He emphasized His relationship with God as “Father” (John 5:17; 17:1, 11). Paul uses the phrase a number of times (Rom. 15:6; 2 Cor. 1:13; 11:31; Eph. 1:3, 17; 1 Pet. 1:3).

T. Croskery gives us the four reasons why our thanksgiving is addressed to God the Father:[1]
·         We are commanded to be thankful to Him and bless His Name (Psa. 100:4)
·         It is from Him that we have all good gifts (James 1:17)
·         It is by Him we are preserved from sin (Psalm 121:7)
·         Because He only is within Himself good (Luke 18:19)

Praying always for you.” Paul expresses his gratitude by praying for them. Paul wants the readers to understand that he gives thanks to the Father on their behalf. They are the subject of his prayer and gratitude. Paul was a man of prayer. Notice the word “always” (pantote). The Greek word means at all times. It can modify either the main verb (give thanks) or the participle (praying), because of how the text reads (lit. “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ always for you praying”),[2] thus it is somewhat ambiguous grammatically. Many seem to take it with the participle. Thus, they put a comma after the “Lord Jesus Christ, always praying for you.” However, not all agree, for others takes it with giving thanks always.[3] Thus, they put the comma after the word always—“giving thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ always, for you praying.” This latter view may be favorable in light of Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:3, 3:13, It is more consistent with Paul in the other epistles. It is consistent with the majority of verses in that God is the object of thanksgiving, and the fact that thanksgiving is always directed to God. Both ways are possible grammatically. Thus the idea is “always giving thanks to God.” God is the object of our thanksgiving. It is always to Him that our thanksgiving is directed. It should be noted that both thanksgiving and prayer go together. We are to pray with thanksgiving (Phil 4:6). The heart that is filled with gratitude is impelled always to give thanks to God.

The phrase “for you” is interesting. The preposition (for) is peri which conveys the concept of “around.” Thus, we could freely translate the phase “surrounding you with prayer.” The gist of the verse is that Paul gives thanks always to God the Father when surrounding them in prayer.

to be continued...

[1] T. Croskery, “Colossians 1: Homiletics by T. Croskey,” PULPIT COMMENTARY, Electronic media.
[2]  There is no punctuation in the Greek text.
[3]  Moo, COLOSSIANS, 83.