Be of the Same Mind in the Lord

Sunday, August 21, 2011

“I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord” (Philippians 4:2 KJV).

In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul mentions two Christian women, Euodias and Syntyche, in opposition to one another. We know not the nature of that disagreement, but it was disruptive in the Philippian church, so Paul addressed the matter and begged them to resolve it.

There should be unity within the Church the Body of Christ, but there is very little because human viewpoint and religious tradition divide. Unfortunately, even among some “grace brethren,” we find “strange doctrines” that generate arguments. We should make every attempt to get along with our Christian brethren, but we should never, ever seek unity at the expense of sound doctrine. There should be no disagreement in the Body of Christ regarding matters clearly taught in the King James Bible.

The Corinthian church was noteworthy for its divisions (“denominations!”). Some Corinthians followed Christ according to His earthly ministry, others followed Peter, some followed Apollos, and still others followed Paul (1 Corinthians 1:10-13). Paul wrote, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (verse 10). How were they to avoid these divisions? They were to follow Paul as he followed Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

The Bible says (Galatians 5:15,16): “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Arguments can get rather nasty amongst Christians (spiritually “biting and devouring” each other). As long as we “walk in the Spirit,” allowing God’s Holy Spirit to teach us to follow the doctrine in Paul’s epistles, we will believe what the King James Bible says where it says what it says, and not argue with God. This is the unity that God desires the Body of Christ to have.

Must You Bless the Jew for God to Bless You?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

“Now the LORD had said unto Abram…And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:1,3 KJV).

Many preachers use today’s Scripture to argue that as long as the United States blesses and supports Israel, then God will bless us. If we turn our backs on Israel, it is said that we will be cursed of God. Today’s Scripture does teach that, right?

Our Apostle Paul writes that national Israel is “fallen,” “cast away,” and “[spiritually] blinded” in this the Dispensation of Grace (Romans 11:11,15,25). How could God bless us for us blessing Israel when God Himself says that national Israel does not exist today? Genesis 12:3 is true, in Israel’s program.

Currently, Jews need the same salvation in Christ Jesus that we Gentiles need (Romans 3:9-20). I love Jews because God loves them, but I do not love them to receive God’s blessing. I love Jews because God died to save them just as much as He died to save me, a Gentile!

How does God bless us today? On the basis of our efforts? No. God does not deal with us via a performance-based acceptance system like He dealt with Israel in time past. In Israel’s program, people had to perform in order to get God’s blessings—Genesis 12:3 fits in Israel’s program, not ours.

Today, Paul writes that if we have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Father “hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). We are blessed in Christ because of what He has done, not because we bless Israel.

God is not cursing anyone today because the Bible says that God has reconciled the world unto Himself through the cross work of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). The Bible says that God is not imputing trespasses unto anyone. Today, God’s attitude toward the world is grace and peace, not anger and judgment. By the way, if God were cursing those who hate Israel today, then why are many anti-Israel nations prospering?

To Give His Life a Ransom for Many?

Monday, August 1, 2011

“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 KJV).

Calvinists use today’s Scripture to argue “limited atonement,” the belief that Christ only died to savemany,” not all.” Does God want all to be saved, or just manyto be saved?

In Luke 1:68,69,77, the Holy Ghost speaks through Zacharias (father of John the Baptist): “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;…to give knowledge unto salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,”

Surely, the Holy Ghost is speaking of Israel here. According to the Old Testament, Israel had to be saved first, and then God would use that saved nation to bring salvation to the rest of the world (Exodus 19:5,6; Isaiah 60:1-3; Zechariah 8:20-23; et al.).

“He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). Jesus Christ came to Israel first because the Old Testament covenants were given to Israel’s patriarchs, not to the Gentiles. Christ came to fulfill Israel’s covenants (Romans 15:8), which explains why He restricted His earthly ministry to Jews. “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel(Matthew 15:24; cf. Matthew 10:5-7; John 4:22). Salvation needed to be preached to Israel first (Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:36-38; Acts 3:24-26).

When we come to Paul’s ministry, we learn: “but rather through [Israel’s] fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke [Israel] to jealousy” (Romans 11:11). Israel blasphemed against the Holy Ghost, and rejected the establishment of her kingdom. Consequently, God went to the nations, apart from Israel. Today, the Apostle Paul writes that Christ “gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:6). Thus, limited atonement is foolishness.

Today, salvation is sent to the entire world (“all”)—not just to Israel (“many”)—through Paul’s Gospel.

We Are Ambassadors for Christ

Sunday, July 31, 2011

“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).

In the context of today’s Scripture (verses 14-21), the Apostle Paul describes our “Great Commission.” Why has God (temporarily) left us saints here?

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 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” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15). Saints, we are alive physically. But Christ died to give us His life, so we are also spiritually alive.

We died on Calvary’s cross with Christ (Romans 6:6). We live not for our glory, but unto the glory of Christ whose life is now in us. God left us, the Body of Christ, on earth so we could be “ambassadors,” His servants in this foreign land where we do not belong (Ephesians 2:19-22; Philippians 3:20).

God is doing something amazing today in this the Dispensation of Grace. As His children in Christ Jesus we should participate in what He is doing by placing our faith in His Word to us (Paul’s epistles). It is our “reasonable service” to “present [our] bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Romans 12:1).

As we tarry in this world, waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to snatch us away, He has entrusted us with the message of His grace. God wants to utilize us to demonstrate His grace, His glory, and His life to the world. As God’s children, it is our responsibility to tell the lost world that God has reconciled them unto Himself by Jesus Christ and His finished crosswork.

We have “the ministry of reconciliation,” the Christian ambassadorship, to share the “word of reconciliation,” the gospel of grace (2 Corinthians 5:18,19): that Christ died for their sins, was buried, and raised again for their justification (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

In Paul’s epistles we learn the true meaning of “ambassadors for [the risen] Christ.”

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*As “ambassadors for the risen Christ Ministries” (arC Ministries) celebrates its fourth anniversary today, we want to take this opportunity to thank all those who have labored with us in the gospel. It has been a privilege, and we look forward to serving you for another year (Lord willing). Thank you for your continued prayer. –Shawn Brasseaux

Ye Must Be Followers of Paul

Friday, July 29, 2011

“Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me” (1 Corinthians 4:16 KJV).

Paul is the only Bible author that declares, “Follow me.” Why? Paul writes in Ephesians 3:2,3a: “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he [Jesus Christ] made known unto me the mystery;”

Today, we live in the Dispensation of Grace, a time period separate from Israel’s prophetic program. In 1 Timothy 1:15,16 we read that God made Paul “a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him [Jesus Christ] to life everlasting.” In order to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in this the Dispensation of Grace, we must follow Him according to the doctrine He committed unto the Apostle Paul’s trust.

We do not follow Christ after His earthly ministry because that was God’s message to Israel (Matthew 15:24; John 4:22; Romans 15:8; 2 Corinthians 5:16). Even the Apostle Peter admitted that the details of the Dispensation of Grace are only found in Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon (2 Peter 3:15,16).

Lest someone accuse us of exalting Paul above Jesus Christ, consider what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:1: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” The Holy Spirit instructs us to follow Paul in Philippians 3:17 and 1 Thessalonians 1:6. We follow Paul as he follows Christ.

God sent Paul to us. Paul is “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13; Romans 15:16; 2 Timothy 1:11). Just as Israel followed Moses, we follow Paul. To follow Paul today is to follow Christ; conversely, to reject Paul is to reject Christ (John 13:20). Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:37: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.”

Does your pastor follow Jesus according to His earthly ministry? If so, flee from that assembly, friend. That is not what God is doing today. The Bible says that God made Paul our pattern. If ye are to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, ye must be followers of Paul!

Fallen from Grace?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4 KJV).

Today’s Scripture has been greatly misunderstood, often being used to support the idea of loss of salvation. The Galatians were saved because Paul called them “brethren” nine times (1:11, 3:15, 4:12, 4:28, 4:31, 5:11, 5:13, 6:1, 6:18).

“Fallen from grace” describes many Holy Spirit-indwelt Christians today. They are saved, eternally secure in Christ Jesus, but like the poor Galatians, they have fallen prey to denominationalism. They have inadvertently or deliberately abandoned God’s grace to us in Christ. Sadly, they prefer Israel’s legalistic program of time past.

Galatians 3:1-3 could be written to today’s average “Bible-believing” church: “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”

Protestant and Catholic churches force their members to keep the Mosaic Law in order to gain favor with God. Are we saved by keeping the Law? No. We are saved by God’s grace, apart from our works (Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5). How do our Christian lives operate? On the basis of Law? No. Our Christian lives operate by Christ living in and through us, not us living the Christian life (Galatians 2:20).

“I do not frustrate [hinder, make of no effect] the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:21). The way you prevent God’s grace from operating in your Christian life is to force yourself back under Israel’s yoke of bondage, the Mosaic Law. At that point, your Christian life will be utterly destroyed, like the Galatians’.

Brethren, do not fall from grace. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).

Little is Much

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

“And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and behold how the people cast money into the treasury: and much that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing” (Mark 12:41,42 KJV).

In today’s Scripture, Jesus watched people throw money into the Temple treasury. A poor widow cast in two mites, a farthing—only 1/64th of a laborer’s daily wages! The Lord Jesus calls over His disciples and tells them (verses 43,44): “Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”

This poor widow had almost nothing, and yet she gave what little she did have. Today’s “make-a-quick-buck” religious systems demand you give large “tithes.” Give a generous donation for candle lighting and prayers. In special cases, some churches press their members to give away all their savings to the church!

In this the Dispensation of Grace, the Apostle Paul never sets a minimum (or maximum) for giving. Today, you cannot give “too much” or “too little.” Then how do you know what amount to give? We read in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” No matter how much you give, do it “cheerfully” (put your whole heart into it!).

God’s work needs to be accomplished through the ministry of the local church. It requires money. You need to consider playing a role in giving to your local grace church or ministry. Let God’s Word work in you and God’s Word working in you will cause you to give what He wants you to give. Never let someone tell you that you gave too much or too little.

If you cannot afford to give much just remember the poor widow: little is much!