Be a Grace Lifer!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

“…God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3,4 KJV).

Here is God’s twofold will for all people!

Today’s Scripture sits in a context often overlooked: “[3]… God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” Millions upon millions upon millions constantly ask, “What is God’s will for me?” How sad—how truly sad it is (!)—that they ignore this passage!

Through the Apostle Paul’s ministry and message, we learn that the Lord Jesus Christ died not only to save Israel from her sins (Isaiah 53:8; Matthew 20:28; Matthew 26:28), but He died to save us from our sins too. However, it was not until Paul that Almighty God revealed to the whole world the fact that Christ “gave himself a ransom for all.” “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Here is God’s grace, what He has done for us through Calvary’s finished crosswork!

Firstly, Father God wants each and every one of us to be “saved,” spiritually healed from sin’s effects, delivered from Hell and the Lake of Fire (sin’s eternal penalty!). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). We thus become a Christian. Secondly, God desires us to “come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Why did He save us from sin and Hell? He gave us His written Word—the Holy Bible—to tell us. If we “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), then we will “come unto the knowledge of the truth.” As we read Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, we will learn how God’s grace can transform us unto people “zealous of good works” (Titus 2:11-14; Ephesians 2:8-10). Christ’s very life becomes our very life—the grace life! 🙂

Brethren, these past 7 studies are our “Original 7 Devotionals” expanded for the sixth time. We are now ready for our seventh 500-devotional unit, a much higher plane of doctrine!

Meet the Lord Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1 KJV).

Here is where we meet the Lord Jesus Christ!

Today’s Scripture is the first time the name “Jesus Christ” appears in the Bible record. In Greek, it literally means, “Anointed Saviour.” We saw this Person throughout the Books of Genesis through Malachi, but we did not know Him by this designation until He took upon Himself human flesh. Prior to that, He was solely a Spirit, the second Person of the Godhead, often called “the LORD God.” Once the Creator God assumed a man’s body, He thus became the intermediary between man and the first Member of the Godhead (Father God, who is “the Lord GOD”).

Let us read three key Bible passages in this regard. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:10-12).

The one true God is not some “faraway,” apathetic Deity who cannot identify with our humanity. On the contrary, we read in John chapter 1: “[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] The same was in the beginning with God. [3] All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. [4] In him was life; and the life was the light of men. [14] And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,….” Here is the Lord Jesus Christ. Do we desire to know Him? Are we interested in knowing more about Him?

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did Satan ‘take’ the Lord Jesus during His temptations?

My Name’s Sake

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake (Acts 9:16 KJV).

For whose sake?

People dedicate their whole lives to various and sundry causes—environmental protection, rehabilitating drug abusers and alcoholics, sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry, gun rights, minorities’ rights, women’s rights, veterans’ rights, patients’ rights, workers’ rights, students’ rights, and so on. While noble endeavors, ultimately, in the grand scheme of things, only one cause is of eternal worth. We find it in today’s Scripture.

There is tremendous suffering due to assorted factors—oppressive governments, poverty, famine, disease, stupid decisions, and so on. However, in light of eternity, only one type of suffering will count forever. We find it in today’s Scripture. Down through the centuries, God’s people have suffered for that very reason: they are strangers in a foreign land, subject to hostile forces (Satan and his policy of evil).

In Isaiah’s day, 700 B.C., “Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed” (66:5). Christ in His earthly ministry warned His Little Flock of Jewish believers of the time even future from us, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake(Matthew 24:9; cf. Mark 13:13; Luke 21:17). “But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake(Luke 21:12). “But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me” (John 15:21).

Revelation 2:3 speaks of faithful Israel, “for my name’s sake [thou] hast laboured, and hast not fainted.” “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul was no exception. He would work for and with Jesus Christ, and the world would hate him for it. Nevertheless, it was the cause worth dying for… and, eventually, he literally gave his life for it. Brethren, may we be equally faithful to Christ’s name’s sake!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘nitre?’

An Ambassador Turns 31!

🎂 Wednesday, August 7, 2019 🎂 

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 KJV).

Someone is celebrating a birthday! (Can you guess who?)

Dear brethren and friends, I am now one year into my 30s. These past 12 months have been quite a learning experience. We (hopefully) have all grown a tad wiser since we were on this date exactly one year ago. Here is a greater realization to which I have come thus far.

Recently, I read a statistic about my generation, the Millennials (born 1980–2000). A staggering 70 percent claim they suffer from depression and anxiety. We need not wonder why. As I converse with my peers, they have no idea what is really going on in the world. While there are precious exceptions, most have grown up without grounding in the Holy Bible. How they lack spiritual stability! Spoiled and egocentric, everything “offends” them. Scheming politicians and professors exploit their ignorance and emotions. Deceived and disappointed, it is obvious why miseries and worries abound in their souls!

Today’s Scripture shows us the key to having a stable, healthy life. Fretting about the here and now is profitless because what we see with our physical eyes will not last. Emphasizing the natural and ignoring the spiritual is most foolish. Living for self is silly. Through the eyes of faith, we see the purpose of God as though it has already been fully brought to pass. “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8). In the Scriptures, we find information of eternal worth. Therein, not we but Jesus Christ is glorified as the center of the universe. Whatever time we are given here, dear friends, may we always remember to live with eternity and the Lord Jesus Christ in mind! 🙂

P.S.: You may read the devotional I wrote for my 30th birthday here.

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?’

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.

Art Thou He That Should Come? #3

Wednesday, July 24, 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?

Today’s Scripture is key to understanding John the Baptist’s changed mind. John is “in the prison,” having never expected to wind up there! Not only was he stunned at what Jesus was doing, he was also shocked by what Jesus was not doing. John has been incarcerated for at least a year—possibly two. Why had the Lord Jesus not overthrown that corrupt king, Herod, who had imprisoned John? While free, John had warned unbelieving Israel of “the wrath to come.” Yet, the Lord was not pouring out wrath, was not liberating imprisoned John (His forerunner or heralder), and was not taking away the sin of the world (John 1:29). John was puzzled, so he sent messengers to Jesus.

Jesus had a message for John, reassuring him that He was Christ/Messiah. He was already beginning to fulfill Old Testament passages and—in due time—He would accomplish the others (namely, the wrath verses). Read today’s Scripture in context: “[2] Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, [3] And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? [4] Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: [5] The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. [6] And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”

Luke 7:22, the companion verse: “Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.” (Jesus was indeed Messiah, for when Messiah would come, healing miracles would abound—see Isaiah 35:4-6 and Isaiah 53:4 cf. Matthew 8:16-17.) John should not lose faith….