That I Might Save Some of Them #4

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them” (Romans 11:13,14 KJV).

The operative term here is “some!”

Dear brethren in Christ, the Apostle Paul never realized his ministry would last 2,000 (!) years, that God would extend His grace, mercy, and peace to all people without distinction for 20 centuries. Despite the persecution, his ministry was not a waste of time after all, was it? Has it not eternally touched and benefited even us?

We are not omniscient (all-knowing), so we can never really gauge with certainty whom we are impacting with the Holy Bible and our testimony. For example, as we share sound doctrine electronically (online written studies and videos, especially through social media) and/or physically (Bible and Gospel tract distribution, Christian literature circulation), there is no practical way to estimate just whom that information will reach or may already be reaching. Imagine those tremendous implications.

Leave a Gospel tract in a public place. Potentially, not only will one soul read it and believe its verses, he or she might share it with 100 others (and you will know nothing about it!). Maybe a pastor of thousands will be reached, and he will broadcast those Bible verses to his congregation. You might post an online Bible study video, receive just a few “likes,” and assume you made little to no difference. However, what you do not know is the countless people who saw and accepted that information in secret (if they were to publicly admit it by “liking” it would jeopardize their social status!). What you will never learn until you get to Heaven is the hundreds, thousands, or millions of souls the Lord used you to reach—“strangers” from around the world, to whom you ministered via videos and books, people you influenced decades (or even centuries) after your death!

Overall, though, we do not endeavor to save “most” or even “many” people from their spiritual error (blindness, darkness, impotence, immaturity). We conduct our grace ministries as the Holy Spirit enables, “if by any means… [we] might save some of them.”

That I Might Save Some of Them #3

Monday, November 21, 2022

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them” (Romans 11:13,14 KJV).

The operative term here is “some!”

Writing during the Acts period, Paul lamented in Romans chapter 10, verses 1-3: “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.” Before coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul himself had been a fanatical works-religion man (even a leader) for many years in Judaism, so, as Saul of Tarsus, he was most familiar with self-righteous people who assumed they did not need the Saviour (see Acts 22:1-3, Acts 26:1-11, and Philippians 3:1-11).

Re-read Acts 9:20; Acts 13:5,14; Acts 14:1; Acts 17:1-4,10,11,17; and Acts 18:4,5. These are some of the passages that feature Paul’s “provoking” ministry to apostate Israel (it actually covered Acts chapters 9–28). When lost Jews saw and heard Paul exercising their (Israel’s) spiritual gifts amongst the Gentiles (speaking in tongues, physical healing, and so on—see 2 Corinthians 12:12), that indicated to lost Israel that God had moved from them (lost Israel) and gone to Gentiles through Paul’s ministry! If these lost Jews were receptive to Paul’s miracles and message, they too would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as Paul himself had: they would have to become like Paul’s Gentile converts (believe the Gospel of Grace of 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, thereby joining the Church the Body of Christ). However, as the Book of Acts bears out, Jewish opposition against Paul intensified, until his horrendous final pronouncement of Acts 28:25-28 (read verses 17-29 for the context).

Yet, always remember, Paul’s Acts ministry was not a waste, for it had numerous Jewish converts (see Acts 13:43; Acts 17:1-4,10-12; Acts 18:7-11; Acts 19:15-18; Acts 28:23,24). Likewise, though our ministry endeavors seem fruitless, hopeless, and pointless, we never know whom the Lord is reaching….

That I Might Save Some of Them #2

Sunday, November 20, 2022

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them” (Romans 11:13,14 KJV).

The operative term here is “some!”

Indeed, the believer’s ministry usually appears to be a waste of time. For example, the Lord Jesus taught a transdispensational (across the dispensations) truth that there is always a believing remnant, never 100% of audiences trusting God’s words. “Enter ye in at the strait [narrow] gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13,14). There was just a believing remnant in Israel, a little flock” of saints (Luke 12:32), a small body of Jews who had recognized Jesus as their Messiah/Christ!

Actually, after three full years of the Lord’s earthly ministry, there were simply 120 believers in Jerusalem (Acts 1:15). Where were the several thousands He fed in Matthew 14:21 and Matthew 15:38? Apparently, they just wanted a free meal! “From that time many [not a few but many!] of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66). Joshua and Caleb, only two of 12 spies, believed God’s word as touching the Promised Land (Numbers 13:1-3,26-33; Numbers 14:6-10,30-39; Numbers 26:65; Numbers 32:9-13). Remember, Noah had seven converts after 120 years of preaching (1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5). Consider the 7,000 believers in the Israeli kingdom of millions who had not worshipped the idol Baal (1 Kings 19:18). Think of the 3,000 converts in Acts 2:41 and the 5,000 believers in Acts 4:4—but what are these in a nation of millions? See the sad realities of 2 Timothy 1:15, Isaiah 1:9, and Genesis 18:23-33 (cf. Genesis 19:24,25)!

Paul, in today’s Scripture, knew his Bible well. Therefore, he understood he would not win all or even most of his Jewish brethren to Christ. Only some of them” would believe, and he continued his ministry to reach whomever he could….

That I Might Save Some of Them #1

Saturday, November 19, 2022

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them” (Romans 11:13,14 KJV).

The operative term here is “some!”

According to a contemporary researcher, just 6% of Americans have a biblical worldview: to wit, only this small remnant of the purported “Christian” United States actually believes we should think and live according to a literal, historical interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. A mere 37% of professing “Christian” pastors have a biblical worldview (mainline Protestant leaders are 32%, but Roman Catholic leaders are 6%). In decreasing order, here are the percentages of church members who agree with the biblical worldview: 78% of Southern Baptists, 51% of Evangelicals, 48% of Baptists, and 37% of Pentecostals. Overall, a meager 2% of Millennials—those born between the years 1980 and 2000—have a biblical worldview.

Friends, these are truly some alarming and dismal values, but, frankly, they are likely overestimates. Whoever believes “we are bringing in God’s kingdom by preaching the Gospel” is surely mistaken! Postmillennialism—“Jesus will come back to reign once we reform Earth”—is ignorance. Yet, if these figures are accurate, and unbelief runs rampant amongst those who attend and even lead church services, why should we bother to try to share the Bible with anyone at all? Why preach the Gospel of Grace when so few will receive and believe it? Today’s Scripture serves as a reminder that soul-winning has been the Christian’s challenge for 20 centuries.

The Apostle Paul wrote Romans during the Acts period, when he himself was travelling to and preaching Jesus Christ in synagogues (Jewish places of worship) throughout the Mediterranean world (for a few examples, see Acts 9:20, Acts 13:5,14, Acts 14:1, Acts 17:1-4,10,11,17, Acts 18:4,5). Read those contexts. Lost Jews would persecute him and his converts, for they so hated the Lord Jesus Christ whom he proclaimed and served (the same Christ their nation had murdered on Calvary’s cross years earlier!). Yet, Paul endured those struggles and sufferings in ministry to try and save even “some of them….”

True Wisdom

Saturday, November 5, 2022

“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4,5 KJV).

Dear brethren, may our faith stand in the power of God!

A few days back, I had a delightful phone conversation with a dear brother in Christ who “just so happened” to find our ministry websites roughly a year ago. He had been seeking someone who used the Bible alone, so how grateful he is to Father God to have landed on our webpages. In the 12 months since he came across our online studies (devotionals, Bible Q&A articles, and videos), he claims he “has not put his Bible down!” How we thank God for him, just as he gives thanks for us.

We counter Bible ignorance by Bible education. Naturally, this goes far beyond mere talking about the Scriptures, reading books about the Scriptures, quoting “authorities” who comment on the Scriptures. Usually, false teaching in Christianity is a verse misunderstood because it has been removed from its dispensational context. The aforementioned brother had struggled with certain difficult Bible passages for years, but, being a “right division” Bible student with us these past 12 months has greatly enhanced his outlook. He now understands and enjoys the Scriptures, skilled enough to identify spiritual error when he sees or hears it. Moreover, he has reached a point where he can teach others (and, like us, he has had his share of “opposition” from denominationally-minded church members!).

The Apostle Paul, though a learned man in both the Hebrew Bible (see Acts 22:3) and heathen literature (Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12), was careful not to use worldly education to persuade the Corinthians to the point of faith. He visited and ministered in Corinth in Acts chapter 18 as God the Holy Spirit enlightened him—that their faith would stand in God’s words, not the speculations or hunches of a religious leader. Brethren, may we endeavor to follow 2 Timothy 2:15 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17 as we reach the masses with the pure, rightly divided Bible… while we still have time.

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. 🙂

A Personal Matter

Monday, October 17, 2022

“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5 KJV).

Passing from spiritual death to eternal life is truly a personal matter….

Recently, I listened to an old recording of a preacher describing how he was ministering to an elderly neighbor woman. For the last few years, she had been attending his home Bible studies—yet she had also maintained her membership at her local denominational (works-religion) church. He lamented how she had to be over 70 years of age, and, with each passing day, she was that much closer to dying in her trespasses and sins. Even after hearing Gospel truth and reading Bible verses with him for a couple of years, she was still of her “I have to work for God to accept me” persuasion. Whatever ultimately happened to her is unknown. Last I heard, the preacher himself is alive (almost 100).

Several years ago, another brother in Christ shared a similar story with me. His “works-religion” sister-in-law, age 60, attended his home Bible studies for two years. She heard and read Scripture verses all during that time. In fact, he thought that maybe she was close to trusting the Lord as her personal Saviour. Eventually, however, he was discouraged to learn that she continued her membership in her cult. Today, both of them are close to 90 years old. He is a saved man, but his Christian life has disintegrated due to apostasy. She, to our knowledge, is still a lost or unsaved soul.

We all have relatives, friends, and acquaintances who are content without the Lord Jesus Christ. They have heard us witness to them, repeatedly share Bible truths with them, but they are not interested in forsaking the “family religion.” If we could believe for them, doubtless we would. Yet, this is not how God has designed justification (Him declaring us righteous) to operate. There is no “faith by proxy.” According to today’s Scripture, we must individually believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour; we cannot believe this for others to be saved. They have to believe it for themselves, and we cannot force it.

The Little Gift and the Gift of Eternal Life

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

“For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (2 Corinthians 13:8 KJV).

Dear friends in Christ, it is no secret our world abounds with evil. At every turn, in every institution, in every realm, Satan’s policy of evil is alive and well. Even in so-called “Christian” circles, the Scriptures are largely ignored (unless they can be quoted to support a favorite theological position!). Oftentimes, the average believer cannot help but suppose maintaining and teaching sound Bible doctrine is a lost cause. “What can I possibly do to advance the truths of God’s Word? I am no preacher or teacher! I am just one person! Bible-believers are outnumbered by the billions so what difference could I possibly make for the Lord’s glory?!”

Long ago, a lady was preparing a package to send to missionaries far away overseas. A child gave her a penny, so the woman used it to buy a Gospel tract to place into the box. That Gospel tract reached the chief of a people in that foreign land. He came to trust Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour, and he shared his testimony with his friends (most of whom also believed unto eternal life). Also, a local church was eventually founded there, and over 1,500 other natives believed on Jesus Christ to pass from death to life. It all began with one child giving a single penny!

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Saints, share this devotional throughout social media platforms (only the Lord knows how far it will travel—or whom it will influence for His glory!).

The Evangelistic Window

Friday, April 1, 2022

“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:7 KJV).

An evangelist conducted a survey at one of his meetings. About 4,500 people were in attendance. The polling data revealed 400 had become Christians before age 10, some 600 had become Christians between the ages of 16 and 20, but only 25 had become Christians after age 30. A staggering 1,875 were still unsaved!

Saints, if these figures are accurate, this is what we face in ministry. While there is always that extremely slim possibility a person will trust Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour in the final moments of this life (recall Luke 23:39-43), with advancing years comes increasing hardness toward spiritual truths. The old cliché “set in his or her ways” is definitely more applicable as one progresses in age. Whatever worldview was formed in the soul during its first 20 years will almost certainly remain for the rest of that earthly life. God, as Creator, knew this all too well. Therefore, He specifically wrote Bible verses with that fact in mind. For instance, see today’s Scripture, the LORD’S directions to Israelite parents who were to emphatically teach His words to their children. Or, that classic command, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

There is absolutely no guarantee all whom we reach with the Gospel will believe it. In fact, most will not believe it—ever. Whatever they do with God’s Word after we give it to them is their responsibility, not ours. If the children with whom we share the Gospel now eventually grow up to be the worst criminals in history, or if they or those adults we reach ultimately die and go to Hell being as lost as lost could be, at least we can say we did what we could to prevent it. Our conscience is clear. No blood is on our hands. We took advantage of the “evangelistic window”—it was they who did not.

Bible Q&As #939 and #940: “What does ‘bray’ mean in Job?” and “What does ‘descry’ mean?

Believing Unbelievers #4

Saturday, March 26, 2022

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25 KJV).

Is it possible to be a believing unbeliever? According to today’s Scripture, YES!

Imagine being in today’s Scripture. To watch the Lord heal the sick, cast out devils, and do other mighty miracles would have truly been a sight to behold! It is beyond our comprehension. Yet, He was not seeking to entertain anyone—and He knew who was present just for amusement, to experience a spiritual high or adrenaline rush.

Consider modern Christendom. We notice many people walking aisles, making professions of faith, kneeling and bawling uncontrollably at “altars,” dancing and lifting hands to “praise and worship” music, packing stadium “sanctuaries,” sitting in confessional booths, being water baptized, reciting the “sinner’s prayer,” teaching Sunday School classes, preaching fervent sermons, knocking on doors, passing out tracts and Bibles, joining faculties of prestigious seminaries, sitting on Bible translation committees, talking about “Jesus” and “the Holy Ghost,” writing “Christian” study “aids,” memorizing creeds and confessions, organizing missions trips, travelling and setting up “healing tents,” and a host of other activities. The average person cannot help but remark, “Look at all these ‘Christians!’”

One brother in Christ observed: “God did not give the Scriptures for the purpose of scholarly intellectual exercise.” Yet, as he pointed out, innumerable people have used them—are using them—for just that. Textual critics study Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and Aramaic. They pore over ancient manuscripts, teach theology and church history classes, and debate “Christian” philosophy, but is there any personal heart faith in the Bible itself? How many of them are actually Bible-believing Christians? Who are members of the Church the Body of Christ, and who are simply members of manmade denominations? Do they know what the Gospel of Grace even is? Could they show us verses for victorious Christian living?

Intellectual assent is no substitute for heart faith….

Bible Q&A #935: “What are ‘victuals?’

Only One Left? #7

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away (1 Kings 19:14 KJV).

Was the Prophet Elijah really “the only one left?”

Indeed, the Christian’s life is difficult, for it concerns surviving the pitfalls of the pervasive evil world system. Everyone, everywhere is actually walking through a spiritual minefield. As grace-oriented Christians, dispensational Bible students, we are even more mindful of the perils. Religious apostasy is universal!

Spending his last moments on Earth imprisoned in Rome, the Apostle Paul lamented: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1:15). The precious believers in Christ in Turkey—that is, Galatia, Ephesus, Colosse, Laodicea, and so on—had forsaken grace doctrine. Paul himself had led them to faith in Christ, and taught them several years. Awaiting his execution, he recalled the heartbreaking news of their departure from the truth.

Demas, once an immensely helpful ministry friend (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 24), deserted Paul too: “[Timothy] Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus” (2 Timothy 4:9-12). Despite all that heartache, Paul was not the only one left: faithful Timothy, faithful Crescens, faithful Titus, faithful Luke, faithful John Mark (having recovered from his own disappearance from ministry a decade-plus prior; Acts 13:13), and faithful Tychicus remained. Paul himself would soon pass off the scene—but the Holy Spirit would use his epistles, Romans through Philemon, to continue his ministry right up to our current moment.

If ever our associates in even grace ministry leave us, or even if we must take a stand against them for their error, we will feel like the “only one left.” Yet, we are not alone, for if we are on the Lord’s side, He is with us, and He (that) is sufficient! 🙂