arC Ministries Is 12!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20 KJV).

To our Lord Jesus Christ’s glory, arC Ministries celebrates its 12th anniversary today!!!

Twelve years ago, as an 18-year-old college student, I endeavored to use Facebook to create a Bible study group for teens and college students. Thus, “ambassadors for the risen Christ ministries” was born. As I grew more in God’s Word rightly divided, I grew increasingly aware of the need for additional ministry projects. The more I had been learning drove me to share those precious truths with others. That eventually led me to look for supplementary avenues of ministry.

During these past 12 years, God’s grace has enabled us to continue the original group on Facebook. In addition, we have branched out quite a bit in other areas. This devotionals blog has been operating for over eight years now. For the last seven years, we have focused on developing and drafting a grace study Bible (now in its eighth year). Other ministry projects include a 22-week newspaper ministry column (this devotionals blog’s predecessor), a YouTube channel with home Bible study videos, a Twitter feed, a full-length Bible studies blog, a college campus ministry, a nursing-home ministry, and our Bible-question-and-answer blog. Three years ago, we launched our new main ministry website and now have a line of printed Bible study booklets available for sale there (new ones are forthcoming this year, hopefully). Earlier this year, we recorded and distributed our Old Testament Survey video series. Soon, we will launch our New Testament Survey video series (which will last a few years). We hear from people all over the world!

Our name says it all: we serve the risen Lord Jesus Christ, not some “dead Jew” and not ourselves. The original motto of our ministry was, “To equip ambassadors, and to encourage others to become ambassadors.” Our primary goal is to teach Christians, and our secondary goal is to evangelize the lost world. Twelve years later, we still endeavor to uphold God’s Word (King James Bible) rightly divided, whether it be in edifying the Christian brethren or preaching the clear Gospel of the Grace of God to this lost and dying world. For those of you who have been with us from day 1, thank you for your prayer and encouragement. We pray for you upon every remembrance! There is still plenty more for the Lord Jesus Christ to do in and through us, so let us give Him all the praise and glory as we enter Year 13! 🙂

Bible Q&A articles #634 and #635: “Why did the Lord Jesus never tell jokes?” and “What exactly is ‘hypocrisy?’

No Way Out! #4

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

“Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” (John 13:22 KJV).

Look, the disciples have no way out!

The disciples did not know how to react. They were simply unable to imagine one of their own would be Jesus’ traitor. “Who in the world can it be? How could this be so?” When the legalistic tenets of the denominationalists fooled the Galatian saints, the Apostle Paul was likewise at a loss for words. “How could you be so soon removed from grace? Brethren, what am I to do with you?” In both instances, perplexity or astonishment abounds. “Aporeo” appears two other times in the King James Greek New Testament. We will look at them to further amplify our understanding.

Acts chapter 25: “[19] But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. [20] And because I doubted [aporeo] of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters.” Being a Roman, Judaean Governor Porcius Festus was unfamiliar with Jewish religion. Incompetent in judging these theological matters, he preferred not to get involved with the Jews accusing Paul concerning their “superstition.”

When recalling ministry challenges thus far, Paul confessed: “[8] We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed [aporeo], but not in despair; [9] Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; [10] Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10). It was not always clear to Paul what route to take. However, dear friends, there is a play on words in verse 8: “we are perplexed [aporeo], but not in despair [exaporeo—an intensive form of “aporeo”].” Paraphrased, it is, “We may not have a way out, but we are not entirely without an exit.” Completely, utterly, absolutely clueless we are not!

Brethren, as long as we stick close to the words of God’s Word rightly divided, we will always have a way out concerning life’s dilemmas and difficulties. We are not without hope, not without guidance, and not without peace! 🙂

No Way Out! #3

Monday, July 29, 2019

“Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” (John 13:22 KJV).

Look, the disciples have no way out!

As the disciples in the Upper Room were “at a loss” regarding whom among them was Jesus’ traitor, so the Apostle Paul did not know which way to turn mentally concerning the Galatians. Read from his epistle to them, chapter 4:

“[15] Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. [16] Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? [17] They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. [18] But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. [19] My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, [20] I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you [“aporeo”—same as “doubting” in today’s Scripture]. [21] Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?”

Prior to writing the Galatians, Paul had visited these pagan idolaters and preached the Gospel of Grace to them. From him, they heard about the one true God and His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork—He had died for their sins, been buried, and been raised again (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). They came to faith in Christ alone as sufficient payment for their sins. How joyful they were to no longer be slaves to works-religion, sin, and Satan!

Alas, after Paul departed from their midst in order to visit and evangelize other pagans, false teachers slipped in and conquered the Galatians with works-religion. These legalists emphasized Law and thereby excluded Grace. Understandably, Paul was amazed, confessing to the Galatians, “I stand in doubt of you.” It is not that he doubted their salvation. Rather, he could not wrap his mind around the fact that they had been led astray so quickly and so easily (cf. Galatians 1:6-10). Yea, he too had “no way out….”

No Way Out! #2

Sunday, July 28, 2019

“Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” (John 13:22 KJV).

Look, the disciples have no way out!

Friends, some news in life is unbelievable. Denial is one way we try to cope with such upsetting information. We really cannot imagine a certain loved one has died. Is it really true that that Christian brother has now embraced as true the very doctrinal error he once vehemently opposed? Has a trusted friend actually turned against us? Such is the “mental trap” in which the disciples now find themselves. Who here could possibly ever be the traitor of Christ? Not only was that backstabber among those least expected, he was the least suspected of even them!

Few realize that Judas Iscariot was the most trusted Apostle. After all, he was the treasurer, the man who held the Apostles’ moneybag. “For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor” (John 13:29). “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein(John 12:6). Ironically, the most trusted was the least honest.

In the context of today’s Scripture, the Lord said, “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me” (John 13:18). That Old Testament verse is Psalm 41:9: “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” Judas Iscariot was Jesus’ most intimate friend, his familiar friend” (like a family member).

Even after Jesus used the dipped sop (bit of food) to identify the traitor, the Apostles were in such shock they simply could not bring themselves to see Judas Iscariot for what he was. “How could he of all people be the one?” To better grasp what is going on, lest we have “no way out,” let us see how this Greek word (“aporeo”) and concept appear elsewhere in Scripture….

No Way Out! #1

Saturday, July 27, 2019

“Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” (John 13:22 KJV).

Look, the disciples have no way out!

We will read today’s Scripture in context: “[21] When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. [22] Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.” The Greek word for “doubting” here is “aporeo,” from a word meaning, “to depart;” the Greek prefix “a–” negates the idea of the root. Literally, it translates to, “no way out.”

Jesus has uttered some difficult words. He Himself is bothered. The disciples’ minds are wandering as they glance at one another. Who in the world among them could possibly want to stab Him in the back? After all, they have become good friends—like family members—over the last three years. They have traveled together, eaten together, and rested together. In a million years, they never expected a traitor was in their midst. Who is it?! Who is it?!

“[23] Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples [John?], whom Jesus loved. [24] Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. [25] He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? [26] Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. [27] And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. [28] Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. [29] For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. [30] He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.”

Even now, after Jesus has revealed more information, the disciples do not grasp what is going on concerning Judas Iscariot….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who or what is ‘the desire of all nations?’

Not Many Likes

Friday, July 26, 2019

“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:5 KJV).

If social media were around in Noah’s time, how many “likes,” “shares,” “views,” and “re-tweets” would he have had?

Brethren, let us never (ever!) forget that we are not (NOT!) in the grace ministry to see how many “likes” we can get on Facebook, “views” on YouTube, “re-tweets” on Twitter, or “shares” and “subscribers” on any other internet platform. We are not (NOT!) in the grace ministry to see how many names and addresses we can add to our mailing list, or how many subscribers to our television shows, radio programs, and podcasts. “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12).

Honestly, if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself had social media accounts, He would have few friends. Actually, He would soon be banned for being “homophobic,” “xenophobic,” “misogynistic,” “Islamophobic,” and so on. When His orating got tough, the offended got going! “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66).

Have you realized Bible truth is unpopular? We do not find many who have trusted—let alone, know—the Gospel of the Grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). We find few English-speaking Christians faithfully using the King James Bible. We do not find many Christians who are Pauline dispensationalists. Thus, when we share those doctrines, we should never expect widespread endorsements. So what! We are not in a popularity contest. Remember, our endeavor is to please God rather than men (Galatians 1:10); we seek God’s praise (cf. John 12:43). We are servants of Jesus Christ not mortal man (Romans 6:22).

In today’s Scripture, what ordinal number do we see? “One millionth?” (No!) “Ten-thousandth?” (No!) “One-hundredth?” (No!) “Tenth?” (No!) Noah was “the eighth person!” That meant, after 120 years of preaching, he converted seven people: his wife, their three sons, and their three wives entered the Ark with him (Genesis 6:3,18; Genesis 7:7; Genesis 8:16). The rest of the human souls on Earth—perhaps a few billion—drowned. Wow!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How could God forbid Jeremiah to pray for His people?

Art Thou He That Should Come? #4

Thursday, July 25, 2019

“Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:2,3 KJV).

How can John the Baptist question if Jesus really is Christ/Messiah?

Father God had sent John the Baptist to announce the arrival of His Son, Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:1-8; Matthew 3:1-17; Isaiah 40:3). Yet, John, just a man, did not have unlimited insight concerning God’s Son. John had not been given Divine revelation as to the timing of the events of Christ’s life. It was not that John had grown apostate; he just did not understand that Christ’s healing miracles would continue beyond his imprisonment and execution. John had no idea that we would be here right now—20 centuries later—still waiting for God’s enemies to be judged and Earth’s governments to be cleansed of wicked rulers.

Jesus’ answer to John was, “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended [skandalidzo] in me” (Matthew 11:6; Luke 7:23). In other words, “John, happy is the man who will not find scandal or an occasion of stumbling in Me. You have no need to be embarrassed that you endorsed Me. I am who you announced Me to be. Do not lose faith.” Christ had not come to judge sin—as in, overthrow evil kings—at His First Coming. No, He had come to die for sin.

“[52] And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. [53] And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. [54] And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? [55] But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. [56] For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village” (Luke chapter 9).

“He that should come” will return at His Second Coming, to finish fulfilling the rest of the Messianic prophecies.