Co-op

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward (Matthew 10:41 KJV).

A “co-op” is a cooperative society, business, or enterprise: people work together to achieve a desired, common end. The Lord’s ministry functions likewise….

Today’s Scripture in context: “[40] He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. [41] He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. [42] And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”

Chapter 10 of Matthew is the first installment of the so-called “Great Commission.” The Lord Jesus Christ is sending out 12 disciples or students—the 12 “Apostles” (“sent ones;” cf. verses 5,6)—to preach to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As His Father has sent Him to them, so He sends them to the rest of Israel; they are His representatives, like He is His Heavenly Father’s Spokesman. In closing, He reminds them that whoever receives them into their company also accepts Him and His Father.

Draw your attention now to verses 41 and 42. Those converts or believers who receive the Apostles are also partakers of the Apostles’ ministry. Furthermore, as the Apostles will receive a reward from God, so those who bless the Apostles will partake of the Apostles’ reward. Similarly, the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians chapter 4: “[15] Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. [16] For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. [17] Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.As we labor in ministry with other members of the Church the Body of Christ, so we too will share in their eternal reward!

Curious Arts and Christian Hearts #3

Sunday, September 5, 2021

“And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed” (Acts 19:17-20 KJV).

What wise guidance can we derive from today’s Scripture?

Although national Israel was unbelieving and refusing Jesus Christ throughout the Book of Acts, the Holy Spirit through Luke made it a point to accentuate how idolatrous Gentiles were coming by faith to Christ and forsaking their pagan religion paraphernalia. Here, the Ephesians—steeped in their witchcraft/occult/sorcery/magic—believed Christ died for their sins, was buried, and raised again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Their heart faith resulted in a profound change in lifestyle.

We want to concentrate particularly on what they did with their heathen books. Instead of doing as the thoughtless pastor I knew years ago who distributed his false teaching books to his friends who were still trapped in the theological system he had recently renounced as void of the truth, the saints at Ephesus burned those books for everyone to see. Not only so, the value of those witchcraft volumes was estimated to be 50,000 pieces of silver. These were likely drachmas, each silver coin worth about a day’s wages. In total, the price of these works was as much as 137 years’ salary!!

However (please note, again), instead of selling them and thereby harming others, these saints burned those books. Their hearts were not materialistic but spiritual, quite mature in sound Bible doctrine. Again, as opposed to distributing the literature to people who wanted them—relatives, neighbors, and friends who were still pagan—they destroyed those books so no one else would be polluted with the Satan worship that had deceived them! (Brethren, if we have an eye to see, an ear to hear, and a heart to believe, we can learn something here as well.)

The Holy Spirit closes the narrative by underscoring Satan’s loss:So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed!”

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 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. 🙂

Curious Arts and Christian Hearts #2

Saturday, September 4, 2021

“And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed” (Acts 19:17-20 KJV).

What wise guidance can we derive from today’s Scripture?

Those in Ephesus who had believed Paul’s Gospel—Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)—publicly acknowledged their sin problem and former lifestyle. In fact, Luke records that one of their responses to hearing and believing those precious words of God was their abandonment of “curious arts,” even going so far as to set on fire its related books.

Our Authorized Version translators handled the Greek word “perierga” here, found only one other time in Scripture. “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies [periergoi], speaking things which they ought not” (1 Timothy 5:13). A “busybody” is simply a meddling or prying person, one too involved in the affairs or lives of others. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines the word as: “busy about trifles and neglectful of important matters, especially busy about other folks’ affairs, a busybody.” If we take into consideration what has gone before, it is quite easy to see “curious arts” are an investigation into things unnecessary, useless, profitless.

The pagans in Ephesus believed the Gospel of Grace, and they had such a radical change in lifestyle they subsequently brought their “curious arts” books and burned them in front of everyone. Remembering their heathen region, we should view these books as nothing more than volumes of magical spells or incantations or prayers. In other words, they had intruded into the occult, witchcraft, or sorcery! Such needless and worthless information was the Devil’s realm, so they as Christians rightfully destroyed them. We as members of the Church the Body of Christ should follow their example….

Curious Arts and Christian Hearts #1

Friday, September 3, 2021

“And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed” (Acts 19:17-20 KJV).

What wise guidance can we derive from today’s Scripture?

Paul, on his third apostolic journey, has just arrived in Ephesus (modern western Turkey): “[11] And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: [12] So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. [13] Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. [14] And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. [15] And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? [16] And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”

Some apostate (unbelieving) Jews unsuccessfully attempted to counterfeit Paul’s miracles. However, the news of the Lord working through Paul spreads far and wide in Asia Minor. Now, we get to today’s Scripture: “[17] And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. [18] And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. [19] Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.” What are these “curious arts,” and how did their practitioners renounce such belief systems? Let us search and see….

Zealous, But Ignorant #3

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

“Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok yet again to Joab, But howsoever, let me, I pray thee, also run after Cushi. And Joab said, Wherefore wilt thou run, my son, seeing that thou hast no tidings ready? But howsoever, said he, let me run. And he said unto him, Run. Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and overran Cushi” (2 Samuel 18:22,23 KJV).

What valuable ministry advice can we derive from here, 30 centuries later?

There are many passionate souls in religion, excited to fulfill the demands of their particular group, sect, cult, or denomination. They are fervent in their belief in “God”… whatever that means. Unbelieving Israel during the Acts period was the same way: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:1-3). Although busy in religion, they had no spiritual light. It was all about their performance (self-righteousness), and they were so distracted they completely missed God’s righteousness. Their activities were the flesh, not the Spirit of God, and thus futile. Let us be careful to avoid this trap!

Furthermore, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26). When appointing people to the ministry, we should be looking for souls able to teach sound Bible doctrinenot simply individuals who have “a burning desire” to do something important. If they do not have information ready, if they have not prepared themselves in the Scriptures via personal dispensational Bible study, their ministries will be as inadequate and embarrassing as that of Ahimaaz. Beloved, may we ourselves carry and deliver messages of spiritual substance, and not simply engage in outward activity!

Liberated to Serve

Sunday, July 4, 2021

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 KJV).

Today, as we in the United States celebrate the 245th anniversary of our nation’s independence, we invite our Christian brethren worldwide to rejoice with us concerning our freedom in Jesus Christ.

When we proclaim Romans 6:14—“Ye are not under the law, but under grace”—people tend to assume “loose living.” Does “grace living” really mean we can now live any way we want? Lest anyone be misled in that regard, God the Holy Spirit moved the Apostle Paul to write in the next verse, “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid [May God never let that happen!]” (Romans 6:15). Grace living is not Law-keeping, but it certainly is not Law-breaking either.

God still cares how we live, albeit He is not operating the “weak and beggarly” system of “bondage” (Law) that He once did with Israel (Galatians 4:9). God proved to the entire world that since Israel could not keep His commandments perfectly, no other sons of Adam (the Gentiles) could either: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them [Israel] who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world [Gentiles] may become guilty before God (Romans 3:19).

We sinners cannot keep the Law. However, God in His grace provided us a way to escape that condemnation by sending Jesus Christ to offer Himself on Calvary’s cruel cross to pay for our sins. By simple faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the fully-satisfying payment for our sins, we can now be “made the righteousness of God in [Christ]” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We can be delivered from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire) and the power of sin (flesh-walking).

Why are we Christians free? To selfishly live any way we want? NO! Today’s Scripture says we are liberated to now serve others, especially our Christian brethren, just as Jesus Christ selflessly served His Father and selflessly died on our behalf. That is grace living!!!!

Please see our 2011 Fourth of July Bible study “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land,” which can be watched here or read here.

Shine

Friday, July 2, 2021

“[The great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14 KJV).

Christian friend, there are at least two reasons people have distasteful feelings about “church.”

Firstly, having a sin problem, the mere thought of any “higher power” reminds them of the Creator whom they will eventually face in judgment! “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:…” (Romans 1:18-20). Avoiding dealing with their sins, they contrive defenses: “There is no God, no afterlife, no Heaven or Hell.” They have conveniently “forgotten” what they know to be true!

Secondly, it does not seem they are angry at Christianity per se. Rather, their ire stems from their misperception of it. They saw something hypocritical in a church setting and assumed that was Christianity. Unfortunately, what they beheld was vain religion and nothing more. Actually, they likely never understood the Scriptures in the first place. Yet, they concluded that jumble of thoughts was a fair and adequate assessment of the Bible. “Look at all these contradictions and mistakes! I do not believe the Bible!” Concerning the scoffers with whom I have dealt through the years, nearly all of them did not even have a working knowledge of the Scriptures. They were just repeating what someone else said—and that “someone else” was just as clueless about the verses as the one reiterating the matter!

In sharing the Gospel of Grace with others, we cannot avoid the “offensive message” that Jesus Christ is the only answer to their sin problem. However, let us endeavor to be Christians skilled in the Scriptures and full of good works—that they know the immense value of what they are rejecting. Remember, unless we prove we have something of worth, we cannot expect someone else to want it!

A Radical Change

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:9,10 KJV).

Genuine faith in Christ should produce good works!

Not long ago, a new Christian—just a few years old in the Lord—told me how people who knew him as a lost man can certainly see a difference in his lifestyle now. He did not elaborate on his former sins, and it was none of my business anyway, but even he sees the simple truth of Ephesians 2:10: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

The Thessalonians of today’s Scripture were once pagan idolaters; however, Paul visited them in Acts chapter 17, preached the Gospel of Grace to them, and they passed from death to life. Such new life in Christ was to produce fruit. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 1:3: “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;….” Interpreting this verse in light of today’s Scripture, we can recognize “work of faith” corresponds to “ye turned to God from idols,” “labour of love” is “serve the living and true God,” and “patience of hope” matches “wait for his Son from heaven.” Here are saints walking in their identity in Christ (Romans chapters 6-8), a rare occurrence in both the Bible and today.

Alas, then we encounter the Corinthians in the Bible record. Even a casual reading of Paul’s two epistles to Corinth leaves us with the impression these “Christians” are still unsaved and dead in trespasses and sins! No, as difficult as it seems, they are alive in Christ, possessors of eternal life: unfortunately, they have largely continued to live just like they were before they came to faith in Christ. Such an awful state of affairs besets the professing Body of Christ even now. We would do well to follow the “ensample” of the Thessalonians!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “If meat-eating occurred only after the Flood, who was eating the animal sacrifices prior?

Father: A Godly Man

Sunday, June 20, 2021

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4 KJV).

Since today is Father’s Day, we dedicate today’s devotional to the godly (Christian) fathers.

What is a godly father? Oftentimes, fathers are either too authoritative (very strict) or too carefree (little to no concern for their children). According to the Bible (today’s Scripture in particular), fathers must have a balance between setting boundaries and enforcing them, and refraining from being a heartless tyrant.

  • On one hand, the Christian father is to “bring [his children] up in the nurture of the Lord.” “Nurture” is simply defined as “caring for and encouraging their growth or development.” All too often, fathers (sadly) ignore this, usually being too rough, or even, apathetic (unconcerned).
  • On the other hand, the Christian father is to “bring [his children] up in the admonition of the Lord.” “Admonition” is simply defined as “authoritative counsel or warning.” He is to lovingly guide them in life, instructing them from God’s Word rightly divided.

A father is not simply one who procreates. God’s Word makes it very clear that they should serve a lifelong, active role in their children’s lives. A Christian man, especially a father, should be a godly man in beliefs as well as in deed. He needs to set an example for his children (especially his sons): it is his duty as an older Christian man to set an example for younger men.

He should be a hard worker, he should meditate on the things of God (the Bible), his speech should conform to sound Bible doctrine, he should be hospitable and caring, kind and loving, he should respect and love his wife, he should love his children, and he should be reserved and cautious in his actions.

Are you a Christian man or Christian father who desires to be the man God intends you to be in Christ Jesus? Place your faith in this sound Bible doctrine, and God will take care of the rest! Then, you will become the godly man described on the pages of Scripture.

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

ARCHIVED: “What does the Bible say about fatherhood?

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

Diminish Not a Word! #5

Monday, May 31, 2021

Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: (Jeremiah 26:2 KJV).

No matter how offensive they are, we never water down God’s words for anyone!

Today, the Dispensation of the Grace of God committed to the Apostle Paul’s trust has been delivered to us through the Books of Romans through Philemon (Ephesians 3:1,2). Consequently, Paul counseled young Pastor Timothy in his final epistle to him (and us the Church the Body of Christ).

“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us” (2 Timothy 1:13,14). That is, by the indwelling Holy Spirit, guard the doctrines of grace from all corruption! “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 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 2:1,2). To wit, teach the doctrines of grace without any revision! Why? The doctrines of grace will be shoved aside or perverted so man living in his sins of the flesh (lasciviousness, loose living) and sins of the spirit (asceticism, strict religion) can proceed unopposed.

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Timothy 4:1-5). Brethren, we do not compromise, back down, or apologize for preaching Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery as found in the King James Bible!

**Saints, we now close 10 full years of
333 Words of Grace!**

Our latest Bible Q&As: “What is a ‘lunatick?’” and “What is the ‘madness’ of Luke 6:11?