Fill Up That Which is Behind? #2

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

“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” (Colossians 1:24 KJV).

Did Jesus Christ suffer enough to pay for our sins? Then how can Paul “fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ?”

While Jesus Himself is not physically here to suffer, we suffer when we let Him live His life in and through us. The evil world system hated Him living during His earthly ministry, so it treats us with equal contempt. He told Israel’s believing remnant in John chapter 15: “[18] If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. [19] If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. [20] Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. [21] But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.”

Matthew chapter 25, Christ addressing the unbelieving nations who mistreated that same Little Flock during Daniel’s 70th Week: “[42] For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: [43] I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. [44] Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? [45] Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these [tormented Messianic Jews], ye did it not to me. The Lord identifies so closely with His persecuted people.

As believing Israel is oppressed for the Lord Jesus’ sake, so we His Body partake of the world’s rejection of Him….

Fill Up That Which is Behind? #1

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

“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” (Colossians 1:24 KJV).

Did Jesus Christ suffer enough to pay for our sins? Then how can Paul “fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ?”

Never, ever are we to reason Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary was in any way deficient, defective, or needing a “supplement.” Isaiah the Prophet described Father God’s assessment of Christ’s finished crosswork: “He shall see the travail [suffering] of his soul, and shall be satisfied…” (Isaiah 53:11). Hence, we read of Jesus being offered as a “propitiation” (Romans 3:25), a fully-satisfying payment or sacrifice for our sins. “For he [Father God] hath made him [Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in [Christ]” (2 Corinthians 5:21). “[Christ] Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). “And ye know that he [Jesus Christ] was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin(1 John 3:5). If Jesus had a sin debt, then He certainly could not pay ours. Furthermore, if He—the sinless Son of God—could not pay for our sins, what hope do we sinners have in settling the debt?

While on Earth, the Lord Jesus was mistreated beyond belief, including being verbally attacked (insulted, gossiped about, mocked, challenged, blasphemed, taunted, lied about) and physically assaulted (spat upon, beaten, scourged/whipped, robbed of His clothes). All that suffering culminated in His crucifixion, when the torment escalated to extreme levels. Once He dismissed His spirit at physical death, sinful men could harm Him no further. When He rose the third day, He was victorious over the grave, never to die again.

The Lord Jesus Christ is not physically here on Earth, for He has been at His Father’s right hand in the third heaven for 20 centuries now. Yet, if they could, the people of the world would re-crucify Him in the blink of an eye, in the snap of a finger, in a heartbeat. Instead, they must settle for mistreating us believers….

Gnashing of Teeth

Monday, February 6, 2023

“But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12 KJV).

What is this, “gnashing of teeth?”

“But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12). “And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth…. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth(Matthew 13:42,50). “Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 22:13). “And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 24:51). “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30). “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out” (Luke 13:28).

These verses describe souls suffering in Hell’s flames. Here, there is darkness, “weeping” (crying), “wailing” (screaming), and “gnashing of teeth.” To understand the “gnashing of teeth,” think of what we do when we undergo pain here on Earth. We grimace or frown, cry out, and shed tears. Also, we may even clench our fists or tightly close our jaws (recall the biting down on a stick in the days before the anesthesia of modern medicine!). Gnashing/grinding/grating the teeth also occurs in the spiritual realm, souls experiencing eternal judgment and feeling anger, despair, misery, anguish.

Indeed, Hell is a horrific place, but God has done everything possible to keep us out of it—and we will go there only if we choose to remain dead in our trespasses and sins. If we have not already done so, may we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that He died to pay for our sins and suffer God’s wrath as our substitute, being buried and raised again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)!

The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved (John 13:23 KJV).

Why do the Scriptures make so much of this “disciple whom Jesus loved?”

On five occasions, our King James Bible refers to “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved (John 13:23). “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!” (John 19:26). “Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him” (John 20:2). “Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea” (John 21:7). “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?” (John 21:20).

From John 21:24, we gather this “disciple whom Jesus loved” was also the man the Holy Spirit superintended to write this Fourth Gospel Record: “This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.” It is often asked why the Lord Jesus singled out one disciple to love. Did He not love anyone else? Dear friends, we need to grow up in the Scriptures. Of course, Jesus loved other saints! For example, “Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister [Mary], and Lazarus” (John 11:5). When the “disciple whom Jesus loved” is mentioned, think of it as that man being aware of Jesus’ love for him! This is his identity: “I know my Saviour loves me!”

It was not “the disciple who loved Jesus,” for it is not our feeble, fickle love for the Lord that ultimately matters. The love of Christ [not ‘for’ but ‘of’—Christ originates the love!] constraineth [compels, motivates, drives] us…” (2 Corinthians 5:14). His love is matchless, unfailing, and eternal.

Saints, please remember this work of the ministry requires monthly financial support to operate (Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:16-17; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Those who prefer electronic giving can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux. Anyone who wishes to donate by regular mail can visit https://333wordsofgrace.org/contact-us-mailing-address-for-donations/ for details. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! Unfortunately, since our ministry audience is so large and our ministry staff is so small, I can no longer personally respond to everyone. Thanks so much for understanding in this regard. 🙂

Void of the Power of God

Saturday, February 4, 2023

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13 KJV).

Unless we hear the Word of God and believe it in our heart, it cannot “effectually work” in us.

While researching a local church, I read its online reviews. One person attended a concert at the building—“so-so” acoustics and viewing, “comfortable” seating, and “beautiful” space. Another person had been going to services there for over five years, and enjoyed the “community, love, acceptance, support, and programs for the kids on Sunday.” A third reviewer added, “Beautiful venue, the roof leaks though.” The fourth comment was, “Nothing special, but the staff was really nice.” A fifth statement: “Good people and very varied and interesting programs.” The sixth person remarked how he loved the sermon and thought the congregation was friendly. Finally, it was repeated, “beautiful architecture.”

Dear friends, the above observations are worth re-reading. Where is the yearning for sound Bible doctrine? We would search in vain to find even one person who wrote, “I learn so much about the Scriptures there! The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is clearly proclaimed there! I have never been more interested in the Bible!” Regrettably, this is just another impotent “fundamental, evangelical, Protestant” assembly in the “Christian” United States that seeks to entertain the world through gradual compromise.

The only reason a church could be spiritually dead is if it divorced itself from life in the Lord Jesus Christ. Without a firm understanding of the Word of God rightly divided, we have neither the power of God nor the life of God to accomplish anything meaningful. As believers in Christ, we should have a reputation for being able to provide spiritual answers to this lost, dying, helpless, hopeless, confused world. Unless we study and believe our King James Bible every day, we are no different from them, and we should never expect them to appeal to us for spiritual instruction.

Only What is Done By Christ

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11 KJV).

“One day this life will soon be passed, only what is done by Christ will last.”

A Christian preacher’s obituary publicized how he had attended three seminaries and earned a doctorate in theology. In his lifetime, he taught at several seminaries and colleges, and pastored numerous local churches. He enjoyed training men and women for the ministry, with his hundreds of students becoming missionaries, preachers, and seminary teachers. Moreover, he led 30 tours to “the Holy Land.” His four sons were pastors, and his daughter married a pastor. Certainly, much was achieved—but was it Christ in him?

Our human viewpoint has its limitations. Indeed, we can evaluate their performance by comparing it to a denomination’s checklist. They were water baptized, confessed their sins, founded or joined local churches, studied theology books, traveled to foreign lands as “missionaries,” memorized prayers, taught religion classes, visited homes to distribute “inspirational literature,” and so on. According to the denomination, they are in a right standing before God. However, the Lord looks beyond outward performance; He stares right down into the person’s very heart. What He wants to see is faith in His words, Holy Scripture, and, unless it is trust in an intelligent understanding of His Word to us, it is but sinful flesh striving to copy the life of Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, while the aforementioned preacher had a testimony of forgiveness of sins and eternal security in Christ, he was nevertheless a vehement Bible corrector. As always, we will let the Lord judge his malicious comments concerning Scripture. However, we do know that being indoctrinated with naturalistic textual criticism and manmade traditions is no substitute for the renewed mind and its resultant victorious Christian living. One can be saved and on his or her way to Heaven, but still think and behave ridiculously—even outright teaching false doctrine.

Never forget, dear friends, “One day this life will soon be passed, only what is done by Christ will last.” Our “hustle and bustle” in religion will amount to nothing. Only (!) what (!) Jesus (!) Christ (!) does (!) in (!) us (!) has (!) eternal (!) value (!).

Joseph and Jesus #12

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

“These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report” (Genesis 37:2 KJV).

Let us search the Scriptures to see how Joseph is a type of the antitype Jesus….

We Berean Bible students have seen how Joseph and Jesus are alike in excess of 20 specific traits and circumstances. This is certainly not coincidental. To those who want to see, hear, and believe, it is as clear as can be. Joseph served as a template, foreshadow, preview, pattern, or outline: by nature, that is a type in the Bible. Centuries later, the antitype (Jesus Christ) shared those same qualities and underwent those very situations. By studying the one, we better appreciate the other, rejoicing how the LORD God was omniscient, knowing well in advance what would occur all along. Joseph’s whole life—even seemingly insignificant attributes and situations—prophesied what another beloved Son would be like and what He would experience.

“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:10,11). Like the other Old Testament prophets, Moses (who wrote about Joseph in Genesis) possessed limited knowledge. He had no idea the Holy Spirit was using him to present Messiah’s two comings with such vivid details—one arrival to suffer and die, and a return to conquer and reign. Stephen, speaking in Acts 7:9-16, had more light than Moses, for by that time the Lord Jesus Christ had already come once and the saints in early Acts were anticipating His reappearance. With a completed Bible canon, we have even greater insight than Moses and Stephen combined. May we be thankful!

Joseph is just one of several types of Jesus Christ: other examples include Joseph’s brother Benjamin, plus Adam, Abel, Noah, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samson, David, and Solomon. While beyond the scope of this study, they too are equally fascinating.

Joseph and Jesus #11

Monday, January 30, 2023

“These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report” (Genesis 37:2 KJV).

Let us search the Scriptures to see how Joseph is a type of the antitype Jesus….

Read Acts 7:9-16. “But God was with him” (verse 9). Though Joseph’s brethren did not know him and refused him the first time, “at the second time” they recognized and accepted him. Likewise, though Israel did not identify and receive Christ in faith at His First Coming (John 1:10-12), the opposite will be true at His Second Coming (Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 23:39).

When Joseph reunited with his brethren 20 years later, he told them: “For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance (Genesis 45:7,8). “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive (Genesis 50:20). While Joseph’s brethren were free moral agents, having willingly chosen to harm him, the LORD turned that sad situation into a benefit after all: without Joseph in Egypt, they would have all starved (Jacob’s family in Canaan, and the Egyptians with Joseph down south)!

Similarly, Father God used the Lord Jesus’ rejection—in which sinful Jews and Gentiles participated (see Acts 2:22-24; Acts 3:13-15; Acts 4:10-12,25-28; Acts 5:29-31; Acts 7:52)—to bring about His finished crosswork on Calvary. Christ’s shed blood, death, burial, and resurrection would ultimately take care of our sin problem and Israel’s sin problem! Father God can now form a people for Himself in the Earth (redeemed Israel) and another people for Himself in the Heaven (us, the Church the Body of Christ): “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:20).

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….

Able to Teach Others

Thursday, January 19, 2023

“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2 KJV).

Whenever anyone expresses thanks for our insightful Bible studies, I always answer, “As faithful brethren taught me, pointing me in the right direction, so I am glad to ground others in rightly divided Scripture!”

Many people want to be the center of attention in a local church or ministry. “I gave so much in the collection plate, this building will be named after me!” “Watch me lift my hands, dance, clap, and speak in an ‘angelic tongue’—I am so spiritual, and you had better join me or you will feel left out!” After all, with the preachers flashing their exquisite jewelry and modeling their costly attire, the commoners see no wrong in seeking the praise of men too. Yet, what really matters forever is overlooked—sound Bible teaching!

Several years ago, I asked our pastor why his wife taught the church during Sunday School (which I never attended for that very reason). He replied, “There is no man here who can teach!” Not realizing it, he spoke to his shame. Why could no men in his congregation teach the Word of God? He was negligent in teaching them, for he was a babe in Christ too! Furthermore, when I shared sound Bible doctrine with him, he fought it fervently and retained his church traditions!

It is a sad commentary, but millions of Christian women are totally ignorant of Scripture because their husbands have not taught them anything meaningful either. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church…” (Ephesians 5:23). In fact, you can even find these women leading marriages because their men are spiritual absentees. This tragedy severely crippled the Corinthian church, with the “flamboyant women” abusing spiritual gifts because the men failed to teach them proper conduct in the local assembly (see 1 Corinthians 11:1-16; 1 Corinthians 14:34,35)!

As you have been taught the Bible here, dear saints, so teach the same information to others, and you will dispel the ignorance that has gripped so many for so long.

Spiritual Supercentenarians

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3 KJV).

“Eternal life” is more than living forever; it is sharing in God’s life forever through Jesus Christ the Mediator.

Recently, a distant cousin of mine died… just a few days shy of her 112th birthday! To put that age into perspective, she had already celebrated her first birthday when the Titanic sank! She was a supercentenarian, someone significantly older than 100 (technically, one who is 110-plus). Roughly one person in 1,000 who reach age 100 will see 110 because several beneficial factors must converge—genetics, lifestyle, environment, will to live, to name a few.

I met the dear lady for the first and only time some months before her 104th birthday, and was thoroughly shocked to see her astonishing condition. Though residing in an assisted-living home, she strolled independently (no cane, walker, or wheelchair), answering her front door to greet my parents and me. Her mind was still quite sharp, for she recounted ancient family history for us. Curious, I asked her about her health. Her only medication was half a blood-pressure pill and an occasional baby aspirin to prevent heart attack and/or stroke. And, to think, people half her age are in worse physical and mental shape! When I inquired about her “key to longevity”—what did she do to live so long?!—she really had no idea.

When she turned 108, she was featured on a local news broadcast. Since we had visited her, her health had declined. Now, she was wheelchair-bound and living in her daughter’s home, but she had excellent memory and could still play her triangle (a Cajun-French musical instrument). Over the course of the next four years, her physical wellbeing became even more fragile, so she began celebrating half-birthdays (never knowing if she would reach the next full birthday). She did not reach 112, but she came extremely close!

Saints, though 112 years of earthly life is a long time, they cannot and do not compare to the endless eons we in Christ will have communing with Father God, whether this sojourn here on Earth now or the glories of eternity future in Heaven!