Purity or Compromise? #7

Thursday, October 21, 2021

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones” (Proverbs 3:5-8 KJV).

Will we be pure and thus purified? Or, will we compromise and thus be compromised?

If we doubt the Scriptures, taking a negative view of them, we will gradually relinquish more and more of them—leading to increasing uncertainty. To appeal to the world, to gain their “fellowship,” we have compromised. Eventually, we wind up like so many dear souls who have expressed throughout history, “I hate the Bible and have tossed it out altogether!” Here is apostasy, falling away from the truth, the result of failing to maintain doctrinal integrity. If this is the way we want it, then the God of the Scriptures will let us have it. Therefore, we must be extremely careful in this regard.

Believing the Scriptures, taking a positive view of them, we will continue to grow purer in our understanding of spiritual matters—causing greater confidence. To seek God’s approval, to think like He thinks, we have faith in what He has spoken to us. Ultimately, we experience what precious few souls have exclaimed throughout history, “I trust, understand, and enjoy the Bible!” Here is maturity, a greater awareness of the truth, the consequence of upholding doctrinal integrity. If this is the way we want it, then the God of the Scriptures will let us have it. Therefore, we need to be exceedingly careful in this regard too.

Dear brethren, as grace believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we must be particularly vigilant to be people of faith not doubt, to be saints of purity not compromise. Even within the Grace Movement, it is often quite difficult to discern who is a Christian and who is not. This is to be expected of denominationalists who have compromised but not dispensationalists who are allegedly pure! Let us cogitate on these simple truths, and may we adjust our minds and actions accordingly.

Our latest Bible Q&As: “What is a ‘battlement?’” and “Can you explain ‘cogitations?’

Living By the Faith of Others #4

Friday, September 10, 2021

“For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands” (Deuteronomy 31:29 KJV).

Moses is quite spiritually minded. Is Israel?

Brethren, let it be made abundantly clear that having a spiritual mentor is not a sin. Yet, we must always remember our Christian life needs to depend on our own understanding and our own faith in the Scriptures. Walking with someone in sound Bible doctrine is absolutely not to be confused with leaning on them as they walk! If our spirituality hangs on other people, what will happen once they grow apostate (turn from the truth) or grow old and die (leave this life via physical death)?

The way to victorious Christian living is to take our own stand on the principles of God’s grace. We do this by reading God’s inspired and preserved words in English, the Authorized Version King James Bible, and studying them ourselves. It goes beyond letting someone else—parents, grandparents, spouses, preachers, priests, theologians, professors, commentary writers, et cetera—tell us what to believe. We need to do our own investigations and come to our own conclusions. Furthermore, it is our job to pass on to future generations not only what we believe, but why we believe it. Again, we do this by taking God’s inspired and preserved words in English, the Authorized Version King James Bible, and letting younger people follow along reading their personal copy as we read our personal copy.

Again, it is not a sin to have a spiritual mentor. It is not a sin to be a spiritual mentor either. Yet, neither is a substitute for the indwelling Holy Spirit teaching the Christian via personal Bible study. When our mentors are long gone (apostate, dead, et cetera), our Christian lives can go on as normal; when we can no longer mentor to our students (we are apostate, dead, et cetera), their Christian lives can go on as normal. Why? These Christian lives were never actually depending on men anyway!

Living By the Faith of Others #3

Thursday, September 9, 2021

“For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands” (Deuteronomy 31:29 KJV).

Moses is quite spiritually minded. Is Israel?

Read the dreadful account of once-spiritual King Joash/Jehoash. Second Chronicles chapter 24: “[15] But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died; an hundred and thirty years old was he when he died. [16] And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God, and toward his house. [17] Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them. [18] And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass.

“[19] Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear. [20] And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you. [21] And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at [!] the [!] commandment [!] of [!] the [!] king [!] in the court of the house of the LORD. [22] Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but [!] slew [!] his [!] son [!]. And when he died, he said, The LORD look upon it, and require it.”

Unfortunately, without Priest Jehoiada’s spiritual counsel, and heeding the “advice” of worldly-minded consultants, Joash/Jehoash reinstated the apostasy of his grandmother Queen Athaliah—even encouraging the murder of God’s Prophet Zechariah, Jehoiada’s own son! At age 47, Jehoash/Joash was wounded in battle with the Syrians, and his servants assassinated him (2 Kings 12:19-21; 2 Chronicles 24:23-26). Moses, in today’s Scripture, was correct….

Living By the Faith of Others #2

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

“For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands” (Deuteronomy 31:29 KJV).

Moses is quite spiritually minded. Is Israel?

Years ago, when training for ministry, I greatly benefited from some counseling video-sermons from a certain grace evangelist. The brother explained how he and his wife had trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, had left their denominational system, and were now growing in God’s grace. Years later, I asked a pastor friend (who had known them personally) whatever became of them. I learned the evangelist and his wife had remained grace-oriented for the remainder of the man’s earthly life, but once he moved to Heaven, his wife remarried. Her new husband was a member of her former denomination—and she returned to the group. My pastor friend had not heard from her or their family in several years, for she had broken off contact with all grace associates now that her grace evangelist husband was with the Lord. How tragic!

Over a century after King David’s death, one of his descendants is reigning in Jerusalem. Young Joash or Jehoash, crowned King of Judah at only seven years of age (!), had a wicked grandmother (Athaliah). Athaliah had slaughtered all her grandchildren but him. She usurped her son Ahaziah’s throne after his death in battle, and reigned as an idolatrous queen for seven years before her execution. Ahaziah’s son and rightful heir, Joash—in hiding all this time—now rules. Under his direction, Judah undergoes major religious reformation, including the renovations of Solomon’s Temple and purifications of all Athaliah’s heathen religion (2 Chronicles 24:1-14).

“And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him” (2 Kings 12:2). “And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest” (2 Chronicles 24:2). Let us see what happens to Jehoash/Joash after Jehoiada’s death….

Living By the Faith of Others #1

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

“For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands” (Deuteronomy 31:29 KJV).

Moses is quite spiritually minded. Is Israel?

Today’s Scripture in context: “[24] And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book [the Book of Deuteronomy], until they were finished, [25] That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, [26] Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee. [27] For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death? [28] Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them. [29] For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.

Over the years of my Christian life and ministry, I have witnessed the spiritual deterioration of families and friends that I dearly love. For example, one specific strong Christian lady I knew was the “spiritual glue” of her family. When she graduated to Heaven, her husband, children, and grandchildren became as worldly as ever. Evidently, they were living somewhat decently while she was with them—living by her faith. Howbeit, once she was absent, they were no longer “forced” to go along with her understanding of the Bible. If she could see them now, her heart would be broken many times over! Dying Moses, through prophetic insight, was in a similar predicament….

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!

arC Ministries Is 14!

Saturday, July 31, 2021

“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 14th anniversary today!!!

Fourteen 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 14 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 10 years now. For the last nine years, we have focused on developing and drafting a grace study Bible (now in its tenth 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. Five years ago, we launched our new main ministry website and now have a line of printed Bible study booklets available for sale there. Two years ago, we recorded and distributed our Old Testament Survey video series. Later that year, 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 15! 🙂

Bible Q&As #864 and #865: “Should ministers study Scripture to prepare for teaching?” and “Does ‘touch not mine anointed’ forbid us from correcting erring church leaders?

The Great Eagle #3

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent” (Revelation 12:14 KJV).

Who or what is this “great eagle?”

If curious about the meaning of the eagle in today’s Scripture, we simply look up the word “eagle” in a Bible concordance and see related verses. These passages will then shed light on the verse about which we have a question. Remember, the Bible features its own built-in dictionary: we let it interpret itself. Obviously, though, it requires effort to find and read cross-referenced verses. However, the common church member is accustomed to being shallow in the Scriptures; therefore, Bible study is frequently dismissed as “boring,” and is thus rare. Yet, study and subsequent meditation is the only way to grow spiritually. Still, we are usually tempted to let someone else (preacher, priest, teacher, professor, church father, et cetera) study and think for us. Until we break ourselves of that bad habit, false teachers will continue to master us and we will remain in darkness and childishness.

The first “eagle” appears in a King James Bible in Exodus chapter 19, the LORD addressing Moses as touching Israel’s rescue from Pharaoh’s (Satan’s) bondage: “And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself” (verses 3,4). Four decades later, just before he dies physically, Moses reminds Israel of that marvelous escape: “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the LORD alone did lead him [Israel], and there was no strange god with him” (Deuteronomy 32:11,12). Notice the striking parallels to today’s Scripture. Were American troops present to deliver Israel from Egypt? No! That was over 3,000 years before the United States existed!

Let us continue searching the Scriptures and forming our chain of “eagle” Bible cross-references….

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?

“Christianettes” #10

Saturday, June 12, 2021

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1 KJV).

How can we prevent ourselves from being “Christianettes?”

The Holy Spirit’s deliberate arrangement of Paul’s epistles in the canon of Scripture—Romans first and Philemon last—brings successive waves of doctrine, reproof, and correction. All is “instruction in righteousness,” Christian living. To move from childish/simplistic thinking to adult/critical thinking, one must be taught increasingly deeper concepts. However, since any teaching, especially sound Bible teaching, can be found in so few Christian institutions and assemblies, spiritual babies abound instead of grownups. If they are reading Scripture, it is usually not the Dispensation of Grace but rather a non-Pauline/tradition assortment or Pauline/non-Pauline/tradition hybrid.

Christendom often appeals to Matthew through John, Christ’s earthly ministry, attempting to force those passages onto us. Yet, Christ ministered to Israel only (Matthew 15:24) on the basis of Jewish covenants (Romans 15:8), including the Mosaic Law (Galatians 4:4). However, Christ through Paul says to us: “Ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14,15). We know Jesus today, not through His earthly ministry to Israel, but rather through His heavenly ministry to us Gentiles via Paul’s apostleship: “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” (2 Corinthians 5:16).

Alas, as early as the A.D. first century, the Body of Christ had forsaken Pauline doctrine (grace): “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). Evidently, they preferred legalism (Mosaic Law)—precisely the sentiments of nearly all churches today! Satan’s evil world system is responsible for such ignorance, but the pastors and teachers who should have guarded their local assemblies are not without blame. Brethren, unless we expel the spiritual babies from our seminaries and pulpits, and return to the Apostle Paul’s pattern for edification, the professing church has absolutely no hope of being victorious over its constant sins, false teaching, and impotence.

Only saints mature in grace can do the work of the grace ministry… and only Paul’s epistles will bring us from the status of carnal “Christianettes” (babes) to spiritual Christians (adults) (1 Corinthians 14:37,38)! 🙂