Spiritual Cardiosclerosis #7

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

“And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go” (Exodus 4:21 KJV).

Exactly what is “spiritual cardiosclerosis?” How can we avoid this invisible, destructive malady?

Upon examining the contexts of the verses wherein spiritual cardiosclerosis appears, we conclude the affliction arises once the human soul (heart) refuses God’s words. Whether Pharaoh declining to let God’s people Israel go, or the Egyptians themselves refusing to release the Jews, or other unbelieving Gentiles in the Old Testament economy, or apostate Judaean King Zedekiah, or unbelieving Israelites wandering in the wilderness under Moses, or apostate religious Jews lacking compassion on a disabled man Jesus healed, or unbelieving disciples concerning Jesus feeding the multitudes, or callous people vehemently endeavoring to divorce, or national Israel blinded for not believing Christ during His earthly ministry, or unbelieving Apostles post-resurrection, or unbelievers in the Dispensation of Grace, or Jewish unbelievers during Daniel’s 70th Week, they all deliberately reject the Divine revelation given them. They are now insensitive (hardened) to the truth!

God’s Word tells us what to believe (doctrine), what we are doing wrong (reproof), and how we should think to do right (correction): “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). If we are unwilling to hear and trust its counsel, however, Proverbs 29:1 will be our lot: “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck [stubborn!], shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”

Ephesians 4:18,19 speaks of those “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” First Timothy 4:2 references those who “speak lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;….” We avoid spiritual cardiosclerosis by believing God’s words to us upon immediately hearing them. Let us pay special attention to Romans through Philemon, or face spiritual destruction!

Spiritual Cardiosclerosis #6

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

“And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go” (Exodus 4:21 KJV).

Exactly what is “spiritual cardiosclerosis?” How can we avoid this invisible, destructive malady?

Romans chapter 2 describes the religious soul, one too prideful to come to Christ by faith, in this the Dispensation of Grace: “[1] Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. [2] But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. [3] And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? [4] Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

“[5] But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; [6] Who will render to every man according to his deeds: [7] To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: [8] But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, [9] Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; [10] But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: [11] For there is no respect of persons with God.”

The Holy Bible’s final references to spiritual cardiosclerosis are in the Book of Hebrews—specifically chapter 3 (verses 8 and 15) and chapter 4 (verse 7). During Daniel’s 70th Week (future from us), Israelites are encouraged to believe God’s words to them, and not be spiritually hardened like their forefathers were in the wilderness under Moses (recall Psalm 95).

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Spiritual Cardiosclerosis #5

Monday, April 19, 2021

“And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go” (Exodus 4:21 KJV).

Exactly what is “spiritual cardiosclerosis?” How can we avoid this invisible, destructive malady?

Near the end of Christ’s earthly life and ministry, chapter 12 of John: “[37] But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: [38] That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? [39] Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, [40] He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. [41] These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.” Since Israel refused to believe on Jesus as Messiah (verses 37,38), God fixed it to so they were subsequently unable to believe (verses 39,40). Halfway through Christ’s ministry, He blinded them by employing parables (Matthew 13:10-17; Mark 4:10-13; Luke 8:9,10)!

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Mark chapter 16 reports the Apostles are now stricken with spiritual cardiosclerosis: “[9] Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. [10] And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. [11] And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. [12] After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. [13] And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. [14] Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.”

Now, we get to hardness of heart in our Dispensation of Grace….

The Bible’s Season of New Life

Monday, April 5, 2021

“God that made the world and all things therein… he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;” (Acts 17:24,25 KJV).

May we never forget the true meaning of Eastertime!

Satan is the master counterfeiter: from Genesis to Revelation, the Scriptures reveal how the devil schemes to “be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). Whatever God does, Satan defiles that work by introducing false doctrine, distracts mankind from God’s truth by mimicking His actions, discourages God’s people from His ministry by using incorrect thinking patterns, and so on. Why? Satan wants the worship that God alone deserves (Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8).

Consider Christmastime. Centuries before Christ, Satan had pagans worshipping the birth of the sun god in early winter—near the date that Jesus Christ (God the Son) took upon human flesh in the virgin Mary’s womb! Now, consider Eastertime. Centuries before Christ, Satan had pagans worshipping fertility deities and new life in early spring, near the date that Jesus Christ (God the Son) died for our sins and resurrected victoriously over sin, death, hell, and Satan to give us new life! (To Satan’s delight, today’s average church member is not mindful of relevant sound Bible doctrine during Christmastime and Eastertime—the devil’s distractions have never lost their efficacy!)

The God of the Bible instituted in Israel a festival, Passover (the killing of a spotless lamb and its bloodshed in early spring), while they were still in Egypt (Exodus chapter 12)—Passover’s annual observance reminded them of JEHOVAH delivering them from Egyptian slavery unto new life. Israel did not understand its meaning until 1,500 years later. The true Passover lamb, Jesus Christ, died and shed His sinless blood during that annual Passover feast (early spring), and He resurrected in new life to give them spiritual life and liberty.

Yes, the pagans may have “hijacked” this time of year for the devil’s glory, but we can disregard their ignorance: spring is God’s season for new life. We can still use this season to bring the God of the Bible glory by remembering that He has given us physical life (today’s Scripture), and He offers us new life (that is, spiritual life) through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection! 🙂

Saints, 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 s 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. 🙂

Christ Liveth in Me

Sunday, April 4, 2021

“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).

“He is risen” is not a simple blasé cliché!

When Jesus’ disciples came to His tomb on that glorious Sunday morning nearly 2,000 years ago, they were startled to find it empty! Angels inform them that He has resurrected, but they are still in shock (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8). Jesus Christ Himself must later explain the Scriptures to them regarding what happened those last few days (Luke 24:44-46).

However, until Paul’s ministry, Christ’s finished crosswork is not preached as good news for salvation. Peter and Israel’s other apostles simply preach that Jesus Christ is now resurrected to “sit on [David’s] throne” (Acts 2:30)—that is bad news for much of Israel, for they still reject Him, weeks and months after His resurrection and ascension. Throughout early Acts, Israel’s apostles warn her that Jesus Christ is coming back to judge them.

When we come to the Apostle Paul’s ministry, we learn that we Gentiles can benefit from Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. Israel’s rejected Messiah is now our way to heaven! Yes, Israel hated Him, and demanded that He experience the most awful method of execution devised, but God allowed it in order to accomplish His will. Satan attempted to hinder God’s will by having Christ killed, but all that did was provide the method whereby God could save us pagan Gentiles. Calvary’s finished crosswork frees us from Satan’s evil system and gives us a chance to be God’s people (Acts 26:17,18)!

As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins, that crucifixion is our death to self and sin, and that resurrection is our raising to walk in newness of life—His life (today’s Scripture; cf. Romans 6:1-11)!

Indeed, Jesus Christ is alive, and He lives in and through those who walk by faith in God’s Word to them, Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon! 🙂

HAPPY EASTER!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study by the same name. That study can be read here or watched here.

Messiah’s Joy Amidst Calvary’s Grief #2

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2 KJV).

Do you ever wonder what our Lord Jesus Christ was thinking about while He hung there on Calvary’s cross?

Jesus knew Bible prophecy had to be fulfilled: He had to suffer in accordance with the Old Testament prophets. Even when He spoke seven times from the cross, He quoted various Old Testament verses. The Old Testament prophets also gave Him comfort: for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (today’s Scripture).

For instance, He remembered that Jonah’s prophecy had to be fulfilled: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). On the third day, He would live again, and be reunited with His heavenly Father!

He knew that His Father would resurrect Him. His spiritual torment and physical death were only temporarily, as David quoted Jesus 1000 B.C., “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10; cf. Acts 2:24-31).

Our Lord thought of reigning over that glorious kingdom that His Heavenly Father would give Him after His resurrection. As the psalmist wrote centuries before Calvary’s crosswork, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm 2:6-8). “Begotten” refers to Jesus’ resurrection, not His nativity in Bethlehem (Acts 13:33,34).

Jesus Christ, during His torturous crucifixion, thought about and rejoiced in the promises in the Scriptures that applied to Him. Likewise, we, during difficult circumstances, can remember and joy in God’s promises to us—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

We too can share Messiah’s joy amidst grief! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did the disciples go to the wrong tomb on Resurrection Sunday?

Impetuous Peter! #14

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid (Mark 9:5,6 KJV).

When in doubt, close your mouth!

Like most of us, the Apostle Peter carelessly used his tongue. In his first ludicrous comment, he expressed doubt in Jesus’ words that he would catch fish (Luke 5:8). As for his second silly statement, he declared he would walk on water to meet Christ (Matthew 14:28). Yet, when given the opportunity, he let his circumstances distract him and he began to sink! Peter’s third foolish response was an outright denial of Divine revelation, arguing against Jesus’ prediction of Calvary (Matthew 16:21-23; Mark 8:32,33).

On the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter uttered his fourth silly statement. Instead of listening to Jesus, making Him the object of his complete attention, Peter exalted other “holy figures” (Matthew 17:4; today’s Scripture; Luke 9:33). As touching his fifth thoughtless remark, Peter assumed his forgiveness of others should be limited, demonstrating his ignorance of God’s forgiveness of Israel (Matthew 18:21).

Peter’s sixth mindless pronouncement was his rejection of Jesus humbly washing his feet (John 13:6). As for his seventh foolish retort, Peter boasted he would die for Christ (John 13:37). His eighth dumb comment was two quick, similar statements. Upon hearing Jesus’ warning that all His disciples would forsake Him, Peter again bragged that though all would abandon Jesus, he would never leave—yea, would even die for—the Lord (Matthew 26:33,35; Mark 14:29,31). Peter ended up denying Jesus thrice.

Even after seeing the resurrected Christ Jesus, Peter left his ministry and announced he was returning to his former life as a fisherman (John 21:3). This was his ninth foolish declaration. As for his tenth absurd comment, he grew irritated when Jesus thrice asked him if he loved Him (John 21:17). Instead of complaining, he should have been thankful this threefold inquiry reversed his threefold denial. His eleventh puerile response was focusing on another believer’s responsibility (John 21:20,21). Finally, Peter’s twelfth childish observation featured outright disobedience to the Lord’s instruction to consider all animals clean and suitable for consumption (Acts 10:14).

We now conclude this devotionals arc….

Impetuous Peter! #13

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid (Mark 9:5,6 KJV).

When in doubt, close your mouth!

A tremendous dispensational change occurred once apostate Israel stoned (murdered) her Prophet Stephen in Acts chapter 7. Saul of Tarsus is subsequently converted to Jesus Christ and commissioned as the Apostle Paul in chapter 9. The Apostle Peter needs to be notified of God’s transitioning from prophecy to mystery, Israel to Gentiles. Remember, Peter is still operating as per Acts 1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Peter started preaching in Jerusalem in chapter 2 of Acts: the order of his ministry is Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and the uttermost part of the earth. He knows he is not to preach to Gentiles until Christ returns, for Israel must be converted first: “But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come” (Matthew 10:23).

As Acts chapter 10 opens, an angel directs Roman centurion Cornelius to send for Peter. To prepare Peter to preach to this Gentile (without Israel’s national conversion), the Lord gives Peter a vision of various animals. The ascended Christ speaks in Acts 10:13: “And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.” Instead of obeying, “But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean” (verse 14). Peter’s strict adherence to the Mosaic Law is commendable, but his refusal of the Lord’s updated instructions was his twelfth and final rash statement recorded in Scripture. “And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common” (verse 15). Suffice it to say, many years later, Peter’s encounter with Gentile Cornelius enabled him to defend Paul’s Gentile ministry (Acts 15:7-21).

Let us summarize this devotionals arc….

Impetuous Peter! #12

Monday, March 1, 2021

And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid (Mark 9:5,6 KJV).

When in doubt, close your mouth!

In verses 15-17 of John chapter 21, the Lord used a threefold questioning to restore Peter after his thrice denial. Continue reading: “[18] [Jesus said to Peter] Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. [19] This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

“[20] Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? [21] Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? [22] Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. [23] Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?”

Peter’s eleventh crass remark is captured in verse 21: “Lord, and what shall this man do?” As Christ was giving him orders, “Follow me” (verse 19), Peter became distracted and shifted the focus onto someone else. He was extremely silly in resorting to a “what-about” excuse: “Lord, if I am supposed to follow Thee, what does John [?] need to do?” Christ replied in verse 22, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.” That is, “Peter, do not worry about John. Thou shouldest mind thine own business and obey what I have instructed thee to do!” In the canon of Scripture, impetuous Peter has one final absurd opinion to express….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who is ‘the wicked one’ in Scripture?

Impetuous Peter! #11

Sunday, February 28, 2021

And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid (Mark 9:5,6 KJV).

When in doubt, close your mouth!

After wasting their time “fishing in the flesh” and catching nothing, the Apostles meet the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. John chapter 21 informs us they do not recognize Him as He stands on the shore. However, once He directs them to throw their net on the right side, and they catch a multitude of fishes, they suddenly realize who He is! Dragging their heavy net to land, they meet and eat with Him.

“[14] This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. [15] So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. [16] He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. [17] He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”

The Lord asked Peter once (verse 15), “Lovest thou me more than these [fish]?” Peter replied in the affirmative; Jesus responded, “Feed my lambs.” Christ asked a second time (verse 16); Peter answered with a “yes.” Jesus again ordered Him, “Feed my sheep.” Christ questioned Peter a third time (verse 17), “Lovest thou me?” Peter—“grieved,” saddened or distressed—blurts out his tenth silly comment: “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” Instead of expressing annoyance, Peter should have shown gratitude for the Lord’s threefold questioning that nullified his thrice denial during His trial….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How could Jesus eat the Passover meal if He were already dead?