333’s 3400th – Grace Living and Grace Planning

Sunday, September 20, 2020

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6,7 KJV).

Dear readers, only by God’s grace, we mark 3,400 devotionals!

Saints, with each passing day, we draw closer to our Lord Jesus Christ’s return. Yet, Scripture provides no exact date concerning when our Dispensation of Grace will end. As it has been aptly quantified, “We should live like Christ is coming within the next 10 minutes, but we should plan like He is not coming for the next 10 years.” On one hand, we Christians should be careful how we conduct ourselves, for if He returned in just a few moments, would He find us conformed to this world or transformed by the renewing of our mind? On the other hand, we should not be lethargic as if His arrival is soon, for if He did not come for a long while, we would then be wasting time we could have redeemed for His glory!

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1,2). If you noticed, the will of God is described in a three-fold manner: “good, acceptable, and perfect.” These are degrees of spiritual growth, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding—the Christian moving from making merely “good” decisions, to “acceptable” choices, to “perfect” (mature) decisions.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). These last 3,400 days, we have studied and believed the King James Bible rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15), better acquainting ourselves with God’s present dealings with man. Yet, there is room for much more learning and growth! Whether or not our Lord comes for us soon, onward to devotional #3500! 🙂

Remember, links to all our previous devotionals are archived on the following passage: https://333wordsofgrace.org/master-list-of-devotionals-chronological/.

Blinded!

Saturday, August 15, 2020

“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:1-4 KJV).

Look, the formidable enemy the Christian is up against in ministry!

Recently, I spoke with a relative about spiritual matters. She grew up in a cult, spent time in other churches, and now stays home. As she described her “Christian” life though, it sounded very much like she was as lost as lost could be! Whenever I and another Christian present shared the Gospel of Grace with her, she never seemed to respond in faith. Also, even if she used Bible terms, she attached denominational definitions to them. For example, she told me she would “repent of her sins every night.” When I asked her what she meant, she clarified, “I tell God I am sorry for what I did wrong!” When I told her repentance in Scripture means “change in mind,” she was shocked to realize just how misled she really was.

Long ago, her grandfather told her never to read the Bible from cover to cover, because she would “go crazy” by the time she got to the Revelation! For comfort, she recited the “Our Father” Prayer. She loved reading the Book of Psalms, though she read Ephesians or Colossians too. What made the whole exchange awkward was the constant interruptions from various sources. I thought we would never really make any progress with all the distractions!

The additional challenge in dealing with such people—and it is mindboggling to think there are hundreds of millions (yea, billions!)—is to unravel the decades of church tradition and peel back the layers of ingrained misinformation. Satan’s evil world has done a thorough job in deceiving! Let us be skilled in the Word rightly divided, fully equipped to lead them to the acknowledging of the truth (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

An Ambassador Turns 32!

Friday, August 7, 2020 🎂

“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:” (Proverbs 1:5 KJV).

A certain ambassador marks another birthday!

With the passing of every year, today’s Scripture should be increasingly applicable to the saint of the Most High God. As the aging process continues—mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually—more strength should be gained. It is the intention of the Holy Spirit to use the Holy Bible to focus especially on “the inner man,” affording the reader or listener the opportunity to augment his knowledge. Once this is allowed to occur, the person graduates to “wise counsels,” having not simply disjointed fragments of assorted information but possessing a comprehension of the larger picture.

Over in 2 Timothy 2:22, we read: “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Pastor Timothy was a young man, so he still had a lot of growing to do. As opposed to being conformed to this world, he was to make steady progress in being transformed by the renewing of his mind (Romans 12:2). Sin was to have a lessening grip on him, and it would—provided he set his focus on uprightness, trust in God’s words, love in action, and tranquility.

In His grace, the Lord has blessed me with 32 years of earthly life. However, there is an afterlife to anticipate too. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). For the past 25 years, I have come to enjoy eternal life—and that will continue forever. There is still so much for me to learn about this life and the life to come. If I were granted another 50 years here—to come to an even greater spiritual maturity, and to bring many more lost people to Christ and many more Christians to full-grown status—that would be awesome beyond description. Still, the Lord may have other plans. For example, before then, He may decide to return and close the Dispensation of Grace with our gathering together unto Him. We shall have to see! Since we have opportunity now, let us continue being about our Father’s business! 🙂

A Grace Study Bible

Saturday, August 1, 2020

“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).

Today, we reflect on eight full years of the arC Ministries’ Grace Study Bible Project!

Some 100 years ago, the Scofield Study Bible was published. It was a work that popularized—not invented—dispensational Bible study. For a century, the Church the Body of Christ has used this monumental aid to edify itself. It was (and still is) useful in recovering precious Bible truths that had been lost for centuries, doctrines still pushed aside by denominational hierarchies that prefer to be the “authority” with their “tradition of men.”

Eight years ago today, after much prayer and consideration, I began the formation of a new grace study Bible. Using the King James Bible, my goal in this project is to build on Dr. Scofield’s foundation laid long ago. We are (and will always be) indebted to that brother for his faithful service, his submission to the Holy Spirit to produce a profitable study Bible. (Incidentally, Dr. Scofield led a missionary to Christ, that missionary led a preacher to Christ, that preacher led a woman to Christ, that woman led Mom to Christ, and Mom led me to Christ.) What took Dr. Scofield decades to learn, we can acquire in a fraction of that time. Brother Scofield did not live long enough to progress any further in Bible understanding, but in the century since he has gone to heaven, a faithful remnant within the Body of Christ has expanded upon Dr. Scofield’s insightful notes. We recognize where he was wrong in certain areas, and we can improve those areas in our understanding and study.

In brief, some stats about our grace study Bible. We seem to be roughly 75 percent completed with it. How many more years it will take remains to be seen, but rest assured, what cannot be condensed into marginal notes or footnotes, will be, Lord willing, expanded into a full-Bible commentary book series! Stay tuned in the coming years and thank you for your prayer in this regard! 🙂

Special-edition Bible Q&A #750: “How many dispensations are there?

* You can read more about our Grace Study Bible Project below.

arC Ministries Is 13!

Friday, July 31, 2020

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20 KJV).

To our Lord Jesus Christ’s glory, arC Ministries celebrates its 13th anniversary today!!!

Thirteen years ago, as a 19-year-old college student, I endeavored to use Facebook to create a Bible study group for teens and college students. Thus, “ambassadors for the risen Christ ministries” was born. As I grew more in God’s Word rightly divided, I grew increasingly aware of the need for additional ministry projects. The more I had been learning drove me to share those precious truths with others. That eventually led me to look for supplementary avenues of ministry.

During these past 13 years, God’s grace has enabled us to continue the original group on Facebook. In addition, we have branched out quite a bit in other areas. This devotionals blog has been operating for over nine years now. For the last eight years, we have focused on developing and drafting a grace study Bible (now in its ninth year). Other ministry projects include a 22-week newspaper ministry column (this devotionals blog’s predecessor), a YouTube channel with home Bible study videos, a Twitter feed, a full-length Bible studies blog, a college campus ministry, a nursing-home ministry, and our Bible-question-and-answer blog. Four years ago, we launched our new main ministry website and now have a line of printed Bible study booklets available for sale there. Early last year, we recorded and distributed our Old Testament Survey video series. A year ago, we launched our New Testament Survey video series (which will last a few years). We hear from people all over the world!

Our name says it all: we serve the risen Lord Jesus Christ, not some “dead Jew” and not ourselves. The original motto of our ministry was, “To equip ambassadors, and to encourage others to become ambassadors.” Our primary goal is to teach Christians, and our secondary goal is to evangelize the lost world. Thirteen years later, we still endeavor to uphold God’s Word (King James Bible) rightly divided, whether it be in edifying the Christian brethren or preaching the clear Gospel of the Grace of God to this lost and dying world. For those of you who have been with us from day 1, thank you for your prayer and encouragement. We pray for you upon every remembrance! There is still plenty more for the Lord Jesus Christ to do in and through us, so let us give Him all the praise and glory as we enter Year 14! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who were ‘the sons of the prophets?’

Who Will Go? #7

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8 KJV).

May we agree with the Prophet Isaiah!

Second Timothy chapter 2: “[20] But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. [21] If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. [22] Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. [23] But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. [24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

A servant is just a nobody—no one special. Yet, if the Lord Jesus Christ is involved, nothing becomes something: His vessels are filled with His mighty power! In this world growing wilder and darker daily, we should have a clear Gospel message to share with lost souls: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). This is how they escape Satan’s policy of evil! We should also have a well-defined Bible study system for those interested in understanding and enjoying the Scriptures: “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). This too frees souls from spiritual darkness.

Conducting our ministries, we recruit others to God’s family… who, in turn, go out to convert others. As pertaining to the Dispensation of the Grace of God, the Lord is interested in sending out preachers and teachers. In unison, all members of the Church the Body of Christ should cry out, “Here are we!” 🙂

Who Will Go? #6

Monday, July 27, 2020

Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8 KJV).

May we agree with the Prophet Isaiah!

The evil world system, having mercilessly beaten them down, has caused so many precious Christians to become diverted and discouraged through the centuries. How they need to renew their mind and stop sitting around idly! As a famous evangelist wrote in his Bible by today’s Scripture: “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do, and what I ought to do, by the grace of God I will do!

Whenever Almighty God commissions anyone in any age of any age, He never fails to provide them with exactly what they need to accomplish His work. Never has He told them and never will He tell them, “I want you to go do this, and that, and this, and that. Oh, and, good (!) luck (!) figuring (!) out (!) your (!) way (!) and (!) finding (!) the (!) necessary (!) equipment (!) to (!) use (!) therein!” No, if ever there is a “crippled” saint, a soul confused in life and ministry, it is not God’s fault. Instead of appreciating what Father God has already given them in Christ, they endeavor in a struggle with their flesh and that of others. Exerting great effort, they still make no progress.

In this the Dispensation of the Grace of God, the Holy Spirit has given us a completed Bible—the mystery program fully revealed (Paul’s ministry) and the prophetic program fully revealed (the rest of Scripture). If we do not know God’s will, it is our own fault. The only way we know His will is if we know His Word, so if we do not know His Word, it is because we have not read His Word. We have paid attention to church tradition, speculations, and assumptions—and our ignorance could not be more pronounced. He has told us to “go” in ministry, and by our faith in His grace, we go in ministry….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What distance is ‘a stone’s cast?’

Who Will Go? #5

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8 KJV).

May we agree with the Prophet Isaiah!

As members of the Church the Body of Christ, our grace commission is 2 Corinthians chapter 5: “[14] For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: [15] And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. [16] Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

“[17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. [18] And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

We are “ambassadors for Christ” (verse 20)—in Greek, “presbeuomen,” messengers or missionaries. Here on Earth, we are “outposts of the third heaven” (as a Christian brother once put it so eloquently), representing Jesus Christ in this foreign land. Scripture says we have been given “the ministry of reconciliation” (verse 19). Through Christ’s finished crosswork, Father God has made it possible for all nations to come to Him by faith. The Apostle Paul was entrusted with that message, and we are too. We have all been called to the ministry—whether or not we are pastors or teachers. The Holy Spirit will use any and every believer to share the Word of His Grace with this lost and dying world. Let us respond like Isaiah….

Who Will Go? #4

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8 KJV).

May we agree with the Prophet Isaiah!

Saul of Tarsus, now the Apostle Paul, recounts his salvation and subsequent call to the ministry in Acts chapter 26 (historically, it happened in chapter 9, many years earlier): “[14] And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

“[15] And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. [16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; [17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee [apostello], [18] To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

“[19] Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: [20] But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” Paul’s own words concerning his Divine commission were identical to Isaiah’s reply: “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.” After opposing Jesus Christ for decades as a lost man, Paul finally trusted Him as his personal Saviour and then went by faith to conduct His grace ministry for over 30 years. He thusly penned: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office” (Romans 11:13).

Having regarded at Paul’s commission, let us look at our (related) grace commission….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “At what age did Jesus Christ die?

Who Will Go? #3

Friday, July 24, 2020

Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8 KJV).

May we agree with the Prophet Isaiah!

Noah’s call to the ministry is Genesis chapter 6: “[13] And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. [14] Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch…. [17] And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.

“[18] But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee. [19] And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. [20] Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. [21] And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. [22] Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.(For the next 120 years, Noah proceeded to build the Ark and preach; Genesis 6:3 cf. 2 Peter 2:5.)

The Prophet Hosea’s ministry was entirely unique. “The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD. So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son” (Hosea 1:2,3). Hosea’s tragic relationship with his twice-unfaithful wife perfectly pictures Israel and Judah cheating on JEHOVAH God with idols.

Let us likewise obey our call to the ministry….