The Secret Things #9

Friday, September 24, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

First Timothy chapter 1, Paul’s own testimony: “[12] And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; [13] Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. [14] And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. [15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

According to the prophetic program, there was no justification of Saul of Tarsus. Nothing in prophecy delivered anyone from blaspheming the Holy Ghost: what could not be forgiven was speaking against the third Member of the Godhead working through Israel’s Little Flock during the early Acts period: “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matthew 12:31,32).

Yet, Saul of Tarsus opposed the Holy Spirit working in and through Stephen and other Little Flock believers (Acts 7:51-60; Acts 8:1-4; Acts 9:1-22; Acts 26:9-11). The dispensational change is striking! Jesus Christ’s next scheduled appearance on Earth was to pour out wrath and wage war. Yet, in Acts chapter 9, the Lord returned in grace, mercy, and peace to save Saul of Tarsus unto eternal life and commission him as the Apostle Paul, having thus begun the mystery (un-prophesied) program and the mystery (secret) Church the Body of Christ….

The Secret Things #8

Thursday, September 23, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

Colossians chapter 1: “[23]… I Paul am made a minister; [24] Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: [25] Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; [26] Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: [27] To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery [secret] among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:….”

The companion passage to Ephesians chapter 3 (re-read verses 1-11), it reminds us God gave a special “dispensation” to the Apostle Paul. As defined in Scripture, a “dispensation” is a body of truth God issues to mankind for a specific time (an age) for man’s faith and obedience. In Paul’s case, it is “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2): there is Divine revelation given to “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13) so he could then deposit it with us… Gentiles! Christ’s words to us are Paul’s 13 epistles, Romans through Philemon. Of course, denominationally-minded souls rebel against this, for their entire theological systems are built on the assumption Matthew through John and early Acts are applicable to us. (They are wrong; God is right.)

With the prophetic program being one portion of the Bible (non-Pauline Books), and the mystery program the other part (Pauline Books), the Word of God is thus “fulfilled” or brought to completion (Colossians 1:25).“Wherein he [God] hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:…” (Ephesians 1:8,9). Now, we know all the wisdom of God—even the hidden wisdom….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain, ‘Standing against the blood of thy neighbour?’”

The Secret Things #7

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

Whereas God in “time past” differentiated between Jew and Gentile, today is an entirely different set of circumstances. Ephesians chapter 2 continues: “[13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. [14] For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: [17] And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. [18] For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

The mystery committed to Paul’s trust is the “but now,” God’s current dealings with man. With the temporary suspension of distinguishing between Jew and Gentile, national Israel is fallen and momentarily blinded: “[11] I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: [14] If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them…. [25] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:11-14,25).

Prophetic wrath is delayed, for God is forming a “mystery” body, the Church the Body of Christ….

The Secret Things #6

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

In the prophetic program, God was forming Israel through whom He would then save and bless the Gentiles: “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3).

God distinguishing between Jew and non-Jew is “time past:” “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:…” (Ephesians 2:11,12). Contrast this with Israel’s condition: “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 9:4,5).

Since Israel overwhelmingly refused to trust Jesus Christ (Matthew to early Acts), God temporarily set the nation aside and now sees no difference between Jew and Gentile. Here is the mystery (secret) program, the Body of Christ, made of believing Jews and Gentiles. Ephesians 3:3-5 again: “How that by revelation he [Jesus Christ] made known unto me [Paul] the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed [through Paul’s ministry] unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;….”

The Secret Things #5

Monday, September 20, 2021

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

Let us notice the difference between the “secret things” and the “revealed things!”

Recalling Peter’s own admission that God had given special “wisdom” to Paul (2 Peter 3:15,16), we read Ephesians chapter 3: “[1] For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, [2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: [3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [4] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) [5] Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; [6] That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: [7] Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

“[8] Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; [9] And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: [10] To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, [11] According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:….”

As per the prophetic program, the outpouring of Divine wrath should have followed Calvary and Pentecost (Acts 2:16-21,32-36; Acts 3:23; Acts 7:54-56). Yet, recall Peter’s words about Paul: “the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation” (2 Peter 3:15). When the Lord initiated and revealed the mystery program, Paul’s ministry and message, “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” opened and thus delayed the wrath of God….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you define ‘paramours?’

God’s Offer to the Nations

Saturday, September 11, 2021

“…[T]hat God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is God’s offer to all the nations of the world today.

September 11, 2001 was a day that changed our nation forever. It was the worst terrorist attack in our two-century national history. Afterward, many Americans began to talk about “God Bless America” and “God Save the United States.” These phrases are not as commonplace as they used to be.

In the 20 years that have passed since that awful day, it is a sad commentary that “God” is now the least of our nation’s concerns. With the redefining of marriage, controversial political arena, moral decay, skyrocketing national debt, and the uncertainty as to what constitutes a human life and what does not, obviously, the God of the Bible has been largely pushed out… until we need His help, and then we cry out to Him. Unless we need Him, we rather not think about anything He has to say.

While many argue that God is judging America today for its sins, the Bible does not support such an idea. Certainly, God dealt with Israel in that manner—“Do good and I will bless, but disobey and I will curse” (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28)—but we have no relation to that Old Covenant of Law.

For the last 20 centuries, God has offered His grace to all the world’s nations, to have a right standing before Him by trusting Jesus Christ. People still die and go to hell, but today’s Scripture says that God is not judging nations for their sins. Through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, God offers reconciliation to sinners, whether here or around the world. However, that grace is exhaustible, and one day, it will be replaced with His wrath (Romans 2:1-16). Still, we believers are not appointed to God’s wrath; we are saved from all wrath through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).

The only hope for America—yea, for any nation—is faith in Jesus Christ alone!

*You can also see our 2011 Bible study commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It can be watched here or read here.

Accepted in the Beloved

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:5,6 KJV).

Friend, are you looking for acceptance today? Find it in the Lord Jesus Christ!

In this confused world, desperate souls always seek acceptance. They are willing to do practically anything to get it too. Since their parents ignore them, young people will turn to gangs where they feel wanted. A neglected husband or wife might pursue an extramarital affair for the sake of finding “true love.” Lowly workers may strive to fill management positions in hopes of gaining more respect. Academics might enroll in additional education to appeal to their colleagues. The reality is, no matter what we do, we may never be accepted anyway. Due to sin, we will never gain some people’s affection, respect, or approval.

Yes, it is only human nature to want to be valued. In the grand scheme of things, however, what matters is not our earthly associations but rather our heavenly ones! While we may obtain numerous advanced educational degrees, earn huge salaries, drive luxurious vehicles, dwell in castles, have attractive spouses and decent children, enjoy good physical health, and own various forms of entertainment; these are all temporary. As the mind ages, specialized training diminishes. Fortunes are lost in financial crises. Automobiles break down. Mansions crumble. “Beautiful” mates grow slower, grayer, and wrinklier. Children become uncontrollable. Health fails. Entertainment develops into monotony.

To find true acceptance, we must look to God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17). “…[M]y beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased…” (Matthew 12:18). “…[T]he Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him(John 8:29). When we trust Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary as sufficient payment for our sins, we acquire His identify before the Father—gaining His unconditional love forever. We are “accepted in the beloved” (today’s Scripture). By the way, the Greek word translated “accepted” here (“kecharitomene”) was rendered “highly favoured” concerning Mary the virgin when God chose her as the mother of His Son’s human body (Luke 1:28)!

The Good Samaritan #7

Monday, August 23, 2021

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:33,34 KJV).

How can this classic passage, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, enlighten us concerning God’s purpose and plan for the nation Israel?

The lawyer in the context of today’s Scripture was incorrect (verse 29). Using Jesus’ definition, a “neighbour” is anyone we encounter in life whom we can and should help—not necessarily someone whose house is next to ours, but even complete strangers. Here was the original teaching of Leviticus 19:18, as JEHOVAH God Himself described for us here during His earthly ministry (verses 30-35). To show the impossibility of a sinner keeping the Law, the Lord ordered the lawyer to love everyone (!) he met to the degree (!) the Samaritan loved the wounded traveler (verses 36,37). Yet, have carefully examined that well-known story, we can look at it with mature spiritual eyes to see more than the common, simple Sunday school children’s lesson of “Jesus wants us to do good to others.” The Parable of the Good Samaritan illustrates what the Lord Jesus Himself did and will do for Israel.

Whereas the Law of Moses (the priest and the Levite) could do nothing but condemn Israel as a nation of sinners worthy of death (spiritual and functional), Christ (the Samaritan) offered them grace, forgiveness, and restoration through the New Covenant. He delivered her from deception in Satan’s evil world system by imparting spiritual light to her (preaching during His earthly ministry). When they rejected Him to the point of crucifixion and exile to Heaven, He temporarily left her in the care of His 12 Apostles, kingdom doctrine being their “goods” to trade until His Second Coming (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 12:35-48; Luke 19:11-27). When He returns from His Heavenly Father’s right hand, He will bless Israel with the New Covenant, forgiving their sins and making them His kingdom of priests (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:25-28; Acts 3:19-21; Romans 11:25-32; 1 Peter 2:9,10). No more will they be helpless and hopeless, for the Samaritan was “neighbour unto them!” 🙂

Seven Men Named Before Birth #5

Friday, August 6, 2021

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1 KJV).

Who are the seven noteworthy men in Scripture named before their births?

As we have seen now, in each of these situations, man’s sinful flesh is at work but God’s faithfulness overcomes it. Abraham (and especially) Sarah schemed to have a child their way (through Hagar) instead of God’s way (through Sarah). Then, Hagar was punished because of the ensuing domestic conflict; regardless, God blessed Abraham’s child through Hagar, Ishmael, for the LORD “heard” (took notice) of her dire predicament.

When joyous Abraham and skeptical Sarah finally did have a son, Isaac was appropriately named because of the “laughter.” The Abrahamic Covenant now had an heir. Although King David had illicit relations with Bathsheba, and that resulting child died, the LORD was faithful in giving them another son, Solomon, whose alternate name Jedidiah meant “beloved of JEHOVAH.” It was through this boy that God would achieve the Davidic Covenant: a son of David would reign over Israel forever. King Jeroboam of the Northern Kingdom was a pagan idolater; he caused the 10 northern tribes to stumble in heathenism. A son of David, King Josiah, destroyed Jeroboam’s religious system and instituted spirituality “founded of JEHOVAH.”

Though idolatrous Israel deserved her Babylonian Captivity, the LORD used Cyrus King of Persia to “possess the furnace” (overthrow Babylon), thereby freeing the Jews and letting them return to the Promised Land. Father God sent John the Baptist to announce the entrance of His Son: He had not forgotten His covenants with Israel, but would “favor” them according to His grace and fulfill those promises despite the nation’s rank unbelief. Finally, Jesus Christ Himself took upon human flesh, to shed His blood and become “JEHOVAH-Saviour”—first and foremost of Israel, but ultimately for the whole world!

One final note worthy of our consideration. Looking at the list another way, we can read the following message: “Being heard of God results in laughter, JEHOVAH has beloved and founded, the furnace/oppressor is possessed/conquered, for JEHOVAH is gracious and Saviour.” These are certainly descriptive of Jesus Christ’s ministry—what He will do especially for Israel.

arC Ministries Is 14!

Saturday, July 31, 2021

“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 14th anniversary today!!!

Fourteen years ago, as a 19-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 14 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 10 years now. For the last nine years, we have focused on developing and drafting a grace study Bible (now in its tenth 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. Five years ago, we launched our new main ministry website and now have a line of printed Bible study booklets available for sale there. Two years ago, we recorded and distributed our Old Testament Survey video series. Later that year, we launched 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. Thirteen 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 15! 🙂

Bible Q&As #864 and #865: “Should ministers study Scripture to prepare for teaching?” and “Does ‘touch not mine anointed’ forbid us from correcting erring church leaders?