Live Right Now But Plan for Later

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

“And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:5 KJV).

Long ago, a dear brother gave me some Christian advice that has been on my mind ever since: “Live like the Lord is coming in the next 10 minutes, but plan like He is not coming for the next 10 years.” We would all do well to remember it even now… and to keep bringing it to memory as often as we can.

Believers in Christ commonly ask, “When is the Lord coming back? Are we getting close? How much longer can He tarry? Look at how conditions are worsening. Surely, the world cannot continue going down this awful path much longer.” We must be careful here, though, as we can grow apathetic. “If the Lord is coming back soon, we can just sit around idly until then. We do not need to be concerned with the distant future because we will not be here anymore anyway.” In contrast, many believers seem to lose sight of the prospect of Christ’s return. “Christians have been waiting for 20 centuries and He still has not appeared. He must not be coming back, so living right will make no difference. Let us just enjoy our lives and live however we want.”

The fact of the matter is that we should avoid both extremes. Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, never give one hint as to the exact timing of Christ’s coming for the Church that is His Body, but they do say He is coming. The Thessalonians had great confusion concerning the Rapture (Christ’s coming from His Body) and the Second Coming (Christ’s later coming for Israel). Unfortunately, that perplexity abounds today.

Today’s Scripture underscores that we remember the love of God (Calvary’s finished crosswork—Romans 5:8) and patiently wait for Christ (because He is coming back!). We should lay out life and ministry goals that take us several years into the future, as we do not know precisely when He will return. Yet, we should not live carelessly either, as we do not want to be acting foolishly if He happened to return very soon. Here is mature Christian thinking!

Learn Right Division!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

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).

Here is the key to understanding and enjoying the Bible!

Today’s Scripture sits in the context of false teachers and their method of Bible perversion: “[14] Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. [15] Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [16] But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. [17] And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; [18] Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.”

The only Scripture verse that exhorts us to “study” the Bible also tells us how to study it. We seek to be “approved unto God;” we absolutely do not seek any preacher’s approval, any theologian’s endorsement, or any denomination’s approval. If we “rightly divide the word of truth,” then we will have Almighty God’s blessing in our Bible study. However, a failure to “rightly divide” will result in “profane and vain babblings,” increasing to more “ungodliness” with respect to doctrine, and such error spreading like cancer or gangrene (destructive infection).

In verse 18, two false teachers claim “the resurrection is past already.” They have not “rightly divided the word of truth.” Rather than keeping “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2) separate from the rest of Scripture, they are combining the various instructions God gave to man through time. Instead of properly placing on the Bible timeline the resurrection event (Rapture) that terminates our dispensation, they have combined our dispensation with the subsequent dispensation. Like most today, they are not making proper divisions in Scripture.

Three main points we must understand are “time past,” “but now,” and “ages to come.” Read Ephesians 2:7 and verses 11-13. These markers help us to identify our location on the Bible timeline, leading us to “rightly divide the word of truth.” Will we recognize our Dispensation of Grace as distinct from other dispensations?

A Momentary Separation

Friday, May 10, 2019

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).

Yes, we sorrow, but not as “others which have no hope.”

Recently, I counseled a dear brother in Christ who has been mourning the loss of his believing wife nearly two months now. He has “his good days and his bad,” struggling with bitterness and loneliness. It was a privilege for me to remind him again of our Christian hope. She is “absent from the body and present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). We are “at home in the body and absent from the Lord” (verse 6). This is temporary; she has left us but for a moment.

We have unlimited confidence or courage. If Jesus Christ went to such great lengths to save us from our sin—and was completely victorious over sin and death—then we too have conquered sin and death. Short of His coming at the Rapture, we will age, grow sick, weaken, and die. That really does not matter. Bodily resurrection is inevitable for lost and saved alike, non-Christian and Christian alike. See the Bible’s great “resurrection chapter,” 1 Corinthians chapter 15.

Today’s Scripture and its context show us that, at the Rapture, we will be reunited with our Christian loved ones: “[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.”

Brethren, let us find boundless solace here, for herein can be found great hope! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does the Bible say about motherhood?

Distracted Eutychus Dies! #3

Sunday, November 4, 2018

And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead (Acts 20:9 KJV).

What can the context of today’s Scripture teach us about the Dispensation of Grace?

Verse 8, we recall, stated (in part), “And there were many lights in the upper chamber.” The time is late—approximately midnight (verse 7). Pitch darkness outside starkly contrasts brilliant lighting inside. Today’s Scripture reports that Eutychus “sat in a window.” Seated between light and darkness, he is a compromiser, a “fence straddler.” Not entirely inside the building, he is not completely outside either. Yet, he has focused too much on the blackness without, causing him to fall into a deep sleep.

The world system has been dark ever since Adam willfully followed Satan in his rebellion against the Creator God. However, upon our believing the Gospel of the Grace of God—Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)—we are rescued (redeemed) from that spiritual nighttime. Second Corinthians 4:3-6: “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. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Second Corinthians 6:14 thus asks, “What communion hath light with darkness?” Ephesians chapter 5 adds: “[8] For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: [9] (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; ) [10] Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. [11] And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Unlike Eutychus, the nighttime—the evil world system—should not distract and influence us….

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. 🙂

Distracted Eutychus Dies! #2

Saturday, November 3, 2018

And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead (Acts 20:9 KJV).

What can the context of today’s Scripture teach us about the Dispensation of Grace?

“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight” (verse 7). Paul is preaching, not only in Troas in the A.D. first century, but worldwide today and beyond—the entire Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 3:1,2). Today’s Scripture says he is “long preaching.” The Dispensation of Grace has operated for nearly 2,000 years now: Almighty God has been “longsuffering,” extending grace and peace to this lost, dying, and Christ-rejecting world (1 Timothy 1:15,16; 2 Peter 3:9,15,16). Paul is “ready to depart on the morrow.” At any moment, his preaching will cease. His grace message, his mystery ministry, and our dispensation will thus conclude with the Church the Body of Christ being raptured into Heaven.

“And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together” (verse 8). Christians have assembled to listen, hear, and see God’s grace exhibited. The “many lights in the upper chamber” signify abundant spiritual illumination brought by God’s Word—particularly, Pauline doctrine. Psalm 119: “[105] Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path…. [130] The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” Ephesians chapter 1: “[17] That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: [18] The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,….” When the Lord Jesus Christ is preached “according to the revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25,26), spiritual ignorance and darkness are dispelled.

Alas, tragedy mars the cheerful Bible conference. Joy flees as sleeping Eutychus plummets to the ground and perishes….

Why Death Loses

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57 KJV).

Behold, the deathblow to death!

Secular scientists claim “natural selection” (the heart of evolutionary theory) is nature’s mysterious method of “selecting” against weak and sickly traits while simultaneously ensuring beneficial characteristics are passed on to offspring. Organisms, if they do not adapt to their environments, die (making reproduction impossible). (On a larger scale, such vague genetic “selections” allegedly originated Earth’s millions of species of life over four billion years.) Since natural resources are limited, not all members of all species can survive anyway. Death is therefore viewed as advantageous: it eliminates the bad, that the good may have a chance to exist and thrive.

Indeed, it makes perfect sense in the lost person’s mind, but we with spiritual eyes simply cannot agree that death is suitable. Romans 5:12 declares: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:….” Originally, immediately after Creation, sin and death were nonexistent on planet Earth. It was not until Adam, the first man, intentionally followed Satan did our world (and human race) fall. Death made its grand entrance all those millennia ago… and has been stealing from us ever since!!

If death were “natural”—God’s intention from the very beginning—then He would have no reason whatsoever to abolish it with resurrection! Today’s Scripture in context: “[53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. [54] So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. [55] O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? [56] The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. [57] But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. [58] Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

Death loses simply because the Lord Jesus Christ resurrected and won, thereby giving us the victory too!

Bible Q&A 545: “O ye of little faith?

When Death Loses

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54 KJV).

Friends, it (unfortunately) appears that death wins, does it not? Loved ones leave us; we leave them. Yet, God’s Word speaks of the day when, “Death is swallowed up in victory….”

Isaiah 25:8 prophesies of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming: “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.” The Lord GOD—Father God—will wipe away all tears from their faces via bodily resurrection. Shortly after Christ’s Second Coming, He will physically resurrect the saints of the ages in Israel’s program (Revelation 20:1-6).

When describing our resurrection at the Rapture, the catching away of the Church the Body of Christ, the Apostle Paul quoted Isaiah. While Isaiah 25:8 is not fulfilled at the Rapture, our resurrection is similar to the believers’ resurrection that will transpire after the Second Coming to establish God’s earthly kingdom.

Today’s Scripture in context: “[51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. [53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. [54] So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

“[55] O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? [56] The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. [57] But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. [58] Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”