A Life That Will Please

Saturday, January 4, 2020

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us who alone can live a life pleasing in God’s sight!

Everyone does “good” deeds. Yet, doing “good” is not necessarily good. For instance, people often do “good” just to receive praise/reward, make up for their wrongs, feel good, et cetera. Furthermore, despite our “good” deeds, we have plenty more bad ones! Pride, lying, evil thoughts, being a false witness, and being contentious are some of the things the LORD hates (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Mankind cannot even keep 10 simple rules from God. However, religion continues to urge us to keep seven sacraments, utter various prayers, give assorted offerings and “tithes,” attend numerous feasts and festivals, and perform sundry other tasks to “hopefully” please God and avoid hellfire. Whether we attempt to keep a church’s laws, our laws, or God’s laws, our flesh is far too weak to ever measure up. Just look at what God’s religion did to Israel—how much worse some man-made religion does to us!

As Saul of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul was a Pharisee, a religious leader of Israel. He was a nitpicker concerning Law-keeping, and yet, after his soul salvation, he admitted that all of his religion was “but dung” compared to Jesus Christ’s righteousness (Philippians 3:3-11). Even for the Christian, to live a perfect life is impossible (read of Paul’s miserable existence in Romans chapter 7). Paul had to forsake his vain religion and learn today’s Scripture: the Christian life is NOT the performance of the Christian, but the Lord Jesus Christ living and working in the Christian, as the Christian walks in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to him or her!

If we trust a Saviour who will save—the Lord Jesus Christ—and trust a Book that will teach—the King James Bible—we can redeem the year for the great God and our Saviour, “who loved [us], and gave himself for [us]!” 🙂

Saints, throughout the year, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Emmanuel’s Tabernacle

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23 KJV).

Using the Scriptures, we can date the birth of Emmanuel, Jesus Christ.

John the Baptist’s father, Zacharias, was a priest, “of the course [order] of Abia [Abijah]” (Luke 1:5). Under King David, Israel’s priests were organized into 24 courses (1 Chronicles 24:7-19). A priest from each course served a week in the Temple ministration (and thus served one week twice a year). Israel’s calendar began with Abib/Nisan, equivalent to March 16-April 15 (Exodus 12:1,2; Exodus 13:4). Passover was observed on April 14, starting Israel’s religious calendar.

Passover week (The Feast of Unleavened Bread) lasted from April 15-21. The first course of priests served in the Temple around this time. Zacharias’ course, Abijah, was the eighth course after Passover (1 Chronicles 24:10), thus placing Zacharias’ service roughly eight weeks after Passover (or June 17-23). This was the time when the angel appeared to Zacharias to announce John’s conception (Luke 1:8-22). Once Zacharias and his wife Elisabeth leave the Temple and go home, Elisabeth conceives John (late June; Luke 1:23-25).

Six months after Elisabeth conceived John in late June (Luke 1:26), Mary conceived Jesus—in late December. Contrary to religious tradition, the birthday of Christ is not December 25. Late December is the time of Christ’s conception. The conception of Christ in Mary’s womb, not Mary’s conception in her mother’s womb, is the biblical immaculate conception: it was Christ’s conception, not Mary’s, that was sinless (Luke 1:35).

If a perfect human gestation lasts 280 days (9 months), late September/early October is the time of Christ’s birth. During this time of year, recall that God had Israel observing the Feast of Tabernacles, when Jews would dwell in “booths” (tents, tabernacles) for seven days (Leviticus 23:39-44).

While Israel was observing Tabernacles in September/October, God was born as a man (Jesus Christ) of the virgin Mary, and dwelt (“tabernacled”) with them! Sadly, very few Jews paid any attention to Jesus, “Emmanuel,” “God with us” (today’s Scripture). The rest of Israel ignored “God dwelling among them” (John 1:14).

For more information, see our archived Bible Q&A: “Was Jesus born on the 25th of December?

You may also see our other archived study: “Why do people use ‘Xmas’ instead of ‘Christmas?’

The Wise Wise Men

Saturday, December 21, 2019

“…There came wise men from the east… And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:1,11 KJV).

When we see the Nativity Scene, we observe three wise men assembled around Baby Jesus’ manger. Actually, the Bible never indicates how many wise men there were, and the Bible never says they visited Christ as a baby.

According to the Bible, an indeterminate number of wise men from the east (Gentiles) saw the star of Christ in the east, so they travel to Jerusalem, inquiring where to find Christ, the King of Jews (verses 1,2). King Herod and Jerusalem are troubled, and Herod summons Israel’s religious leaders to tell him where the Messiah will be born. They tell him, according to Micah 5:2, “Bethlehem of Judaea” (verses 3-6). Herod then sends the wise men to seek Jesus, hoping to find and destroy Him (lest He become king and end Herod’s reign).

The star leads the wise men to Nazareth, where Joseph and Mary live in a “house”notice this is not the manger scene. Also, note that Jesus is not a baby here, but a “young child” (verses 9,11). In fact, he is as much as two years old (verse 16). By the way, according to Numbers 24:17, that star—an angel (cf. Job 38:7)—that the wise men saw signified the Messiah-King of Israel… they were wise in that they recognized and followed it!

Interestingly, the wise men worship Jesus, not Mary and/or the angel, and they bring Him gifts of “gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (today’s Scripture)—frankincense and myrrh are aromatic gum resins burned as incense. Gold is for a King, frankincense is for a Priest, and myrrh is for a Prophet—Jesus is all three (Isaiah 9:6,7; Zechariah 6:13; Deuteronomy 18:15,18). Amazingly, Isaiah 60:6, written some 700 years beforehand, even prophesied Gentiles would bring God gifts of gold and frankincense. The Bible is an amazing Book!

Sadly, these Gentiles had more respect for Israel’s King than Israel. These wise men recognized fulfilled prophecy… they were wise men indeed!

For more information, see our archived Bible Q&A: “Were there really three wise men?

Signs of Shallowness #7

Monday, November 18, 2019

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV).

Behold the signs of shallowness!

Obviously, babies cannot recognize their limited condition. They are unable to understand they should eventually mature to become adults who can take care of themselves. Unfortunately, here are most professing Christians. They do not realize it, but vain religious tradition has caused their Christian lives to be dead! Only when someone shows them sound Bible doctrine do they really get a chance to see where they are. It is further tragic—and it happens more often than not—that they obstinately refuse to escape that nursery. Surely, it is easier to depend on others (preachers) than stand and fight the good fight of faith yourself (1 Timothy 6:12)!

Grow up, Christian friend, grow up! Dispensational Bible study will free you from perpetual spiritual childishness. You can be founded and stabilized in God’s Word if you so desire (Romans 16:25,26). Paul’s Gospel—Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day—is the first step in edification. We see those details in Romans through Galatians. The second step to spiritual growth is “the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery”—laid out in Ephesians through Colossians. Finally, God will use “the scriptures of the prophets” (all the Bible in light of Pauline doctrine) to mature us (Thessalonians).

If we ignore the Apostle Paul’s special ministry and message—like most of the Body of Christ has done for 20 centuries—we do not have a hope or prayer in the world of ever avoiding Satan’s lies. It is that serious….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did God place a curse on creation?

Signs of Shallowness #6

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV).

Behold the signs of shallowness!

It was no accident the Holy Spirit moved the writer of the Book of Hebrews to employ the expression “dull of hearing” in today’s Scripture. This condition applies to Israel not only during the early to mid-Acts period, but also in Christ’s earthly ministry (Matthew 13:15) and the late Acts period (Acts 28:27). They are lazy (Greek translated “slothful” in Hebrews 6:12) when it comes to hearing the Word of God. This infirmity goes all the way back to Isaiah 6:9-10, some 700 years earlier, when Israel was not responding positively to God’s message to them. Again, the Jews had prolonged exposure to God’s words but refused to believe them, thus resulting in persistent spiritual immaturity.

Here we are, friends, almost 20 centuries since God gave mankind a completed Bible. We have yet to master it because the Church the Body of Christ has spent 99.9 percent of that time dillydallying with denominations, speculations, and hallucinations. It is a tragic commentary, but the average local church building is nothing but a nursery where spiritual children play with spiritual toys (rituals, ceremonies, singing, dancing, hand raising). Therein is an offensive, pervasive odor—people unable to control themselves (like babies with soiled diapers). They cannot function independently, requiring constant service from the preachers (who themselves likewise need tending to). Unable to make Christian decisions, they languish in worldly thoughts and deeds. Like Israel of bygone days, they too are “dull” of hearing the things of God. Spiritual truth has fallen on willfully deaf ears!

Brethren, it is high time for us to leave the spiritual nursery and grow up….

Signs of Shallowness #5

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV).

Behold the signs of shallowness!

First Corinthians chapter 3: “[1] And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. [2] I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. [3] For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” For nearly two years, the Corinthians heard the sound Bible doctrine they needed to grow (Acts chapter 18). Yet, they had not accessed it by faith. As Israel’s history demonstrates, possessing God’s Word will profit us nothing unless we trust it (Hebrews 4:2).

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). Like the Corinthians, these new believers in Christ drink from the spiritual baby bottle. Again, as in the physical world, this is normal. The problem is when people stay with the baby bottle (see today’s Scripture). Just as the nation Israel wasted 16 centuries with spiritual nonsense when they could have learned the pure Word of God, so the Church the Body of Christ has squandered 20 centuries with spiritual nonsense when we could have learned the pure Word of God.

Today, we have a completed Bible, and are still overwhelmingly ignorant of it. It is as if God never revealed anything at all! We have the principles of grace, how the grace edification process works, but we have yet to grow. Let us see how to grow in grace….

Signs of Shallowness #4

Friday, November 15, 2019

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV).

Behold the signs of shallowness!

We can understand why atheists, agnostics, and other skeptics are spiritually immature. Unless they seek to “disprove” it, they actually do not read the Bible. They often do not attend church, and are less likely to be exposed to “Christian” teaching. We do not expect them to be skilled in the Scriptures. Yet, here is a real dilemma, something even they find unbelievable. Actually, for this reason, people despise the Bible and have no time for Christians. What is this problem?

How is it that individuals who attend church regularly still wind up clueless about the Scriptures? How can preachers who have been in ministry for 30 or 40 years, look like fools when Bible critics tear them apart for their ignorance? How is it that people who claim to “believe the Bible” often live worse than those who never frequent church or believe in any “god?” They are not using God’s Word, God’s way.

God has designed His Word to spiritually mature His people: there is a “Divine design for the edification of the believer” in Israel’s program as well as for our current program. Romans chapter 16: “[25] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:….” Here is how we grow from “babes” to people of “full age….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What happens after death?