Straightened Out—At Last!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13 KJV).

Having departed this present world, they are free from all the effects of sin—including doctrinal confusion!

Recently, I learned of the Homegoing of a brother in Christ whose writings I have read for several years. I was initially saddened, but then realized and rejoiced he was with his Lord and Saviour! What thrilled me the most was—at last—he was straightened out doctrinally. Although saved, denominationalism and seminary (Bible cemetery!) had severely corrupted and confused him. Hence, his articles frequently abounded with “scholarly” ramblings and sectarian slants. What he intended to be a Bible study was mostly Greek or Hebrew study: he would employ complicated terms here and there. As opposed to a lesson in Scripture, it was a lecture on theology. He did not “rightly divide the word of truth” either. All these unfortunate facts hindered the Holy Spirit from working through him more fully. Now, however, things have changed for him! Never again will he be spiritually puzzled!

Praise the Lord! The next time we see the saints who have graduated to Heaven, no doctrinal error will be present to divide or confuse us. Here is one more reason to “sorrow not, even as other which have no hope.” Continuing after today’s Scripture: “[14] For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. [15] For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. [16] For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: [17] Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. [18] Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

Whose Appeal Do We Seek? #2

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).

Do we aim to please God—or men?

In John chapter 9, Christ healed a blind man, whom the unbelieving Pharisees subsequently persecuted: “[19] And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? [20] His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: [21] But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. [22] These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

As opposed to seeking man’s appeal, today’s Scripture exhorts us to be “approved unto God.” If we lack God’s approval, however, He considers us a “castaway:” “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Our service is unacceptable to the Lord who died for us and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:15). Having our fellow man’s applause, we are practically useless to our Saviour’s cause! Brethren, let us be mindful of the following passages.

“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free” (Ephesians 6:5-8). “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:22-24).

Whose Appeal Do We Seek? #1

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).

Do we aim to please God—or men?

A famous Christian musician once declared that, although he was not ashamed of his faith, he wished to create music with a “universal appeal.” Whether Christian, atheist, Buddhist, or whatever, he wanted all people to enjoy his songs. Another well-known Christian musician disliked his band being labeled “Christian” because that would discourage non-Christians from listening to their work. A celebrity Christian counselor once explained why his writings contained no Scripture verses. Had he included Bible references and quotes, his literature would have had a much smaller audience and his unsaved peers would have never endorsed him!

These are but a few examples of the pitfalls of Christian “fame.” While we might have started out with good intentions, increasing popularity causes us to run the risk of compromising the truth so as to continue “broadening our appeal.” Once endeavoring to draw people to behold the glory of God, we now seek to lure them to see the glory of self. The stigma of being an “outcast for Christ” is simply too much for us to bear. Hence, at the expense of the Lord’s approval, we strive to continue charming our fellow man! Unfortunately, doctrine means nothing to us at that point, for our goal now is to say and write whatever will grow our church, ministry, business, social life, and so on. We remember those striking words of Christ uttered so long ago, just as applicable today: “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).

Never should we forget the major thrust of John 12:42,43: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him [Christ Jesus]; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.Here is our choice, dear friends. We either love the praise of men, or we love the praise of God. It is impossible to seek both….

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.

Moderation as Preparation #3

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:5 KJV).

Friend, are you ready for the Lord’s return? Today’s Scripture says you should be!

Christ’s coming is associated with our “moderation,” our avoidance of excess or extremes. That is, we are in control of our behavior; we are not acting wildly. Instead, we allow the Holy Spirit to govern us so we conform to sound Bible doctrine. “Moderation” in Greek is “epieikes.” Our King James translators rendered it elsewhere in the following ways.

The bishop must be “not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient [epieikes], not a brawler, not covetous” (1 Timothy 3:3). Christians are urged, “…speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle [epieikes], shewing all meekness unto all men” (Titus 3:2). “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle [epieikes], and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17). “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle [epieikes], but also to the froward” (1 Peter 2:18).

How often we believers cry out for His return, but are we prepared to meet Him? If He were to come back this very moment, would we be ashamed of our activities? Are we about the work of His ministry, or our ministry? Have we been walking/running in wisdom, or swaggering/staggering in foolishness (Ephesians 4:17–6:20)? Would He find us living in moderation,” or, like the Philippians, engaging in immoderation? Either way, lost people are watching us. Today’s Scripture therefore encourages us, Let your moderation be known unto all men.” In addition to the testimony of His truth that we display before the unsaved world, we remember the Lord Jesus at the Rapture could be just seconds from arrival! “The Lord is at hand.”

Christ said of believing Israel awaiting His Second Coming: “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” (Matthew 24:44-46). Likewise, let us be faithful and wise! 🙂

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “Who was more responsible for Jesus’ death, the Jews or the Romans?” and “If they were fulfilling Bible prophecy, how are Christ’s murderers culpable of wrongdoing?

Impetuous Peter! #15

Thursday, March 4, 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!

Much can be gathered about a person’s faith or beliefs by listening to the words from his or her mouth. Although a saved man, the Apostle Peter did not always speak accordingly. He blurted out seemingly impressive statements, later retracting them because they were made hastily and faultily. These comments were often in direct opposition to something Almighty God had already revealed to him. Hence, Peter should have let Divine wisdom become his wisdom, thereby choosing his words prudently.

The Bible speaks of the sin of rashness in 2 Timothy 3:4. It is the adjective “heady”headlong, falling forward, rushing to action without thinking about what we are doing. A “heady” tongue is most especially dangerous, for it is not operating under the control of the Holy Spirit. It therefore is a powerful tool in communicating Satan’s doctrine, false teaching, destructive information (cf. James 3:1-18). If we are to avoid Peter’s bad habit of impetuousness or recklessness, especially pertaining to speaking, we should first have a renewed mind.

Paul’s epistles—Romans through Philemon, God’s current operations with man—are Divine wisdom for us. Grace principles should govern our lips. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice…” (Ephesians 4:29-31). “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him…” (Colossians 3:8-10).

If we know what the Lord spoke through the Apostle Paul, it will never be said of us, “they wist [discerned] not what to say!” 🙂

-FINIS!-

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/s-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. 🙂

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?