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….

The Bible’s Season of New Life

Monday, April 5, 2021

“God that made the world and all things therein… he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;” (Acts 17:24,25 KJV).

May we never forget the true meaning of Eastertime!

Satan is the master counterfeiter: from Genesis to Revelation, the Scriptures reveal how the devil schemes to “be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). Whatever God does, Satan defiles that work by introducing false doctrine, distracts mankind from God’s truth by mimicking His actions, discourages God’s people from His ministry by using incorrect thinking patterns, and so on. Why? Satan wants the worship that God alone deserves (Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8).

Consider Christmastime. Centuries before Christ, Satan had pagans worshipping the birth of the sun god in early winter—near the date that Jesus Christ (God the Son) took upon human flesh in the virgin Mary’s womb! Now, consider Eastertime. Centuries before Christ, Satan had pagans worshipping fertility deities and new life in early spring, near the date that Jesus Christ (God the Son) died for our sins and resurrected victoriously over sin, death, hell, and Satan to give us new life! (To Satan’s delight, today’s average church member is not mindful of relevant sound Bible doctrine during Christmastime and Eastertime—the devil’s distractions have never lost their efficacy!)

The God of the Bible instituted in Israel a festival, Passover (the killing of a spotless lamb and its bloodshed in early spring), while they were still in Egypt (Exodus chapter 12)—Passover’s annual observance reminded them of JEHOVAH delivering them from Egyptian slavery unto new life. Israel did not understand its meaning until 1,500 years later. The true Passover lamb, Jesus Christ, died and shed His sinless blood during that annual Passover feast (early spring), and He resurrected in new life to give them spiritual life and liberty.

Yes, the pagans may have “hijacked” this time of year for the devil’s glory, but we can disregard their ignorance: spring is God’s season for new life. We can still use this season to bring the God of the Bible glory by remembering that He has given us physical life (today’s Scripture), and He offers us new life (that is, spiritual life) through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection! 🙂

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. 🙂

Messiah’s Joy Amidst Calvary’s Grief #2

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2 KJV).

Do you ever wonder what our Lord Jesus Christ was thinking about while He hung there on Calvary’s cross?

Jesus knew Bible prophecy had to be fulfilled: He had to suffer in accordance with the Old Testament prophets. Even when He spoke seven times from the cross, He quoted various Old Testament verses. The Old Testament prophets also gave Him comfort: for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (today’s Scripture).

For instance, He remembered that Jonah’s prophecy had to be fulfilled: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). On the third day, He would live again, and be reunited with His heavenly Father!

He knew that His Father would resurrect Him. His spiritual torment and physical death were only temporarily, as David quoted Jesus 1000 B.C., “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10; cf. Acts 2:24-31).

Our Lord thought of reigning over that glorious kingdom that His Heavenly Father would give Him after His resurrection. As the psalmist wrote centuries before Calvary’s crosswork, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm 2:6-8). “Begotten” refers to Jesus’ resurrection, not His nativity in Bethlehem (Acts 13:33,34).

Jesus Christ, during His torturous crucifixion, thought about and rejoiced in the promises in the Scriptures that applied to Him. Likewise, we, during difficult circumstances, can remember and joy in God’s promises to us—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

We too can share Messiah’s joy amidst grief! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did the disciples go to the wrong tomb on Resurrection Sunday?

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?

Impetuous Peter! #10

Saturday, February 27, 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!

Christ Jesus has been crucified, killed, buried, and resurrected. In John chapter 20, Mary Magdalene and Apostles Peter and John discover His empty tomb (verses 1-10). Mary Magdalene sees Him first and even speaks to Him, ultimately reporting the news to the disciples (verses 11-18). That evening of Resurrection Sunday, He appears to all His disciples except “doubting Thomas” (verses 19-24). Eight days later, He revisits them—Thomas included (verses 25-29). Indeed, there is abundant proof Jesus is the Son of God, alive again (verses 30,31)!

Even after witnessing those spectacular sights, impetuous Peter produces yet another thoughtless pronouncement. John chapter 21: “[1] After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. [2] There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. [3] Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.”

Such is reminiscent of Luke 5:1-11, when Peter and his fishing partners James and John were on the Sea of Galilee and had futilely attempted to catch fish the previous night. Once Jesus gave the command, however, their nets were filled with fish! “…And Jesus said to Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him” (verses 10,11). Peter left his fishing business to serve Christ in ministry. Nevertheless, three years later, he denied Christ thrice, abandoned his ministry, and returned to his former life on Galilee (without Christ). Peter’s ninth foolish statement summarizes that pitiful choice, “I go a fishing” (John 21:3). Hearing and seeing him, six other Apostles follow him to “fish in the flesh.” Wasting time and energy (again), “they caught nothing!” Thankfully, Christ will appear to restore them all to ministry….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why was the Lord crucified between two thieves?