While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks #3

Saturday, December 10, 2022

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:13,14 KJV).

The fifth verse and the final verse of the classic Christmas carol paraphrase today’s Scripture.

“Thus spake the angel and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels, praising God, and thus
Addressed their joyful song:
‘All glory be to God on high,
And to the earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from Heaven to men
Begin and never cease
Begin and never cease.’”

People who know nothing about the Bible carelessly complain that the God of the Old Testament was a “bigot.” They dislike that He dealt almost exclusively with Israel, having almost no dealings with Gentiles. Additionally, they whine that Jesus was a “racist” because He said that His earthly ministry was limited to Israel (Matthew 10:5-7; Matthew 15:24). What fools and blasphemers!

When JEHOVAH promised Abraham that He would make of him a great nation, that nation was to be the channel of God’s salvation and blessing to reach all the world’s (Gentile) nations. “…[I]n thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). Rebuking ignorant Nicodemus, Jesus said of Israel’s earthly kingdom: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Jesus also said, “…[R]epentance and remission of sins should be preached in [my] name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). He told His apostles to baptize and teach all nations(Matthew 28:19). God was dealing with and converting Israel, that redeemed Israel go to all nations on His behalf when Jesus became their King!!! Read Zechariah 8:20-23 and Isaiah 60:1-3 (yet future).

Hence, the angels sang at Jesus’ birth, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” God wanted everyone“good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (verse 10)—to have a relationship with Him in Israel’s kingdom. Of course, Israel’s kingdom is still future. Romans 11:11-13 says salvation is coming to us Gentiles without Israel, through Paul’s ministry and Paul’s Gospel (Christ’s finished crosswork).

NOTE: I want to say a special “Happy Birthday” to my Mom, who will no doubt read this. Thank you for being faithful to Father God in leading me to Jesus Christ and teaching me the Scriptures all those years ago! 🙂

That I Might Save Some of Them #4

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them” (Romans 11:13,14 KJV).

The operative term here is “some!”

Dear brethren in Christ, the Apostle Paul never realized his ministry would last 2,000 (!) years, that God would extend His grace, mercy, and peace to all people without distinction for 20 centuries. Despite the persecution, his ministry was not a waste of time after all, was it? Has it not eternally touched and benefited even us?

We are not omniscient (all-knowing), so we can never really gauge with certainty whom we are impacting with the Holy Bible and our testimony. For example, as we share sound doctrine electronically (online written studies and videos, especially through social media) and/or physically (Bible and Gospel tract distribution, Christian literature circulation), there is no practical way to estimate just whom that information will reach or may already be reaching. Imagine those tremendous implications.

Leave a Gospel tract in a public place. Potentially, not only will one soul read it and believe its verses, he or she might share it with 100 others (and you will know nothing about it!). Maybe a pastor of thousands will be reached, and he will broadcast those Bible verses to his congregation. You might post an online Bible study video, receive just a few “likes,” and assume you made little to no difference. However, what you do not know is the countless people who saw and accepted that information in secret (if they were to publicly admit it by “liking” it would jeopardize their social status!). What you will never learn until you get to Heaven is the hundreds, thousands, or millions of souls the Lord used you to reach—“strangers” from around the world, to whom you ministered via videos and books, people you influenced decades (or even centuries) after your death!

Overall, though, we do not endeavor to save “most” or even “many” people from their spiritual error (blindness, darkness, impotence, immaturity). We conduct our grace ministries as the Holy Spirit enables, “if by any means… [we] might save some of them.”

That I Might Save Some of Them #3

Monday, November 21, 2022

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them” (Romans 11:13,14 KJV).

The operative term here is “some!”

Writing during the Acts period, Paul lamented in Romans chapter 10, verses 1-3: “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.” Before coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul himself had been a fanatical works-religion man (even a leader) for many years in Judaism, so, as Saul of Tarsus, he was most familiar with self-righteous people who assumed they did not need the Saviour (see Acts 22:1-3, Acts 26:1-11, and Philippians 3:1-11).

Re-read Acts 9:20; Acts 13:5,14; Acts 14:1; Acts 17:1-4,10,11,17; and Acts 18:4,5. These are some of the passages that feature Paul’s “provoking” ministry to apostate Israel (it actually covered Acts chapters 9–28). When lost Jews saw and heard Paul exercising their (Israel’s) spiritual gifts amongst the Gentiles (speaking in tongues, physical healing, and so on—see 2 Corinthians 12:12), that indicated to lost Israel that God had moved from them (lost Israel) and gone to Gentiles through Paul’s ministry! If these lost Jews were receptive to Paul’s miracles and message, they too would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as Paul himself had: they would have to become like Paul’s Gentile converts (believe the Gospel of Grace of 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, thereby joining the Church the Body of Christ). However, as the Book of Acts bears out, Jewish opposition against Paul intensified, until his horrendous final pronouncement of Acts 28:25-28 (read verses 17-29 for the context).

Yet, always remember, Paul’s Acts ministry was not a waste, for it had numerous Jewish converts (see Acts 13:43; Acts 17:1-4,10-12; Acts 18:7-11; Acts 19:15-18; Acts 28:23,24). Likewise, though our ministry endeavors seem fruitless, hopeless, and pointless, we never know whom the Lord is reaching….

That I Might Save Some of Them #2

Sunday, November 20, 2022

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them” (Romans 11:13,14 KJV).

The operative term here is “some!”

Indeed, the believer’s ministry usually appears to be a waste of time. For example, the Lord Jesus taught a transdispensational (across the dispensations) truth that there is always a believing remnant, never 100% of audiences trusting God’s words. “Enter ye in at the strait [narrow] gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13,14). There was just a believing remnant in Israel, a little flock” of saints (Luke 12:32), a small body of Jews who had recognized Jesus as their Messiah/Christ!

Actually, after three full years of the Lord’s earthly ministry, there were simply 120 believers in Jerusalem (Acts 1:15). Where were the several thousands He fed in Matthew 14:21 and Matthew 15:38? Apparently, they just wanted a free meal! “From that time many [not a few but many!] of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66). Joshua and Caleb, only two of 12 spies, believed God’s word as touching the Promised Land (Numbers 13:1-3,26-33; Numbers 14:6-10,30-39; Numbers 26:65; Numbers 32:9-13). Remember, Noah had seven converts after 120 years of preaching (1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5). Consider the 7,000 believers in the Israeli kingdom of millions who had not worshipped the idol Baal (1 Kings 19:18). Think of the 3,000 converts in Acts 2:41 and the 5,000 believers in Acts 4:4—but what are these in a nation of millions? See the sad realities of 2 Timothy 1:15, Isaiah 1:9, and Genesis 18:23-33 (cf. Genesis 19:24,25)!

Paul, in today’s Scripture, knew his Bible well. Therefore, he understood he would not win all or even most of his Jewish brethren to Christ. Only some of them” would believe, and he continued his ministry to reach whomever he could….

That I Might Save Some of Them #1

Saturday, November 19, 2022

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them” (Romans 11:13,14 KJV).

The operative term here is “some!”

According to a contemporary researcher, just 6% of Americans have a biblical worldview: to wit, only this small remnant of the purported “Christian” United States actually believes we should think and live according to a literal, historical interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. A mere 37% of professing “Christian” pastors have a biblical worldview (mainline Protestant leaders are 32%, but Roman Catholic leaders are 6%). In decreasing order, here are the percentages of church members who agree with the biblical worldview: 78% of Southern Baptists, 51% of Evangelicals, 48% of Baptists, and 37% of Pentecostals. Overall, a meager 2% of Millennials—those born between the years 1980 and 2000—have a biblical worldview.

Friends, these are truly some alarming and dismal values, but, frankly, they are likely overestimates. Whoever believes “we are bringing in God’s kingdom by preaching the Gospel” is surely mistaken! Postmillennialism—“Jesus will come back to reign once we reform Earth”—is ignorance. Yet, if these figures are accurate, and unbelief runs rampant amongst those who attend and even lead church services, why should we bother to try to share the Bible with anyone at all? Why preach the Gospel of Grace when so few will receive and believe it? Today’s Scripture serves as a reminder that soul-winning has been the Christian’s challenge for 20 centuries.

The Apostle Paul wrote Romans during the Acts period, when he himself was travelling to and preaching Jesus Christ in synagogues (Jewish places of worship) throughout the Mediterranean world (for a few examples, see Acts 9:20, Acts 13:5,14, Acts 14:1, Acts 17:1-4,10,11,17, Acts 18:4,5). Read those contexts. Lost Jews would persecute him and his converts, for they so hated the Lord Jesus Christ whom he proclaimed and served (the same Christ their nation had murdered on Calvary’s cross years earlier!). Yet, Paul endured those struggles and sufferings in ministry to try and save even “some of them….”

Saved or Lost? #8

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

The physical realm abounds with abnormalities or seeming impossibilities (extreme or rare medical conditions). Similarly, the spiritual world is filled with eccentric or appalling disorders (contradictions or paradoxes). These sinning saints appear to be unbelievers in thoughts and/or actions, but are indeed members of God’s family!

Believers in the God of the Bible have done stupid things, spoken foolish words, and entertained silly ideas. The Apostle Peter thrice denied he knew his Saviour (Mark 14:66-72). Moreover, he had even intensely argued with the Lord how this would never happen—essentially calling Christ a “liar” (verses 27-31; also see the other occasion in Luke 22:31-34)! Moses, in an infantile rage, struck the rock twice when the LORD had ordered him to speak to it instead (Numbers 20:1-12). Let us not forget how Noah ruined his testimony with drunkenness in Genesis 9:20-27!

Abraham listened to his wife (not the LORD) concerning his sexual relations with Hagar (Genesis 16:1-4): resulting son Ishmael, a product of Abraham’s flesh (law, religious performance), competed with God’s promised son, Isaac (grace). King David committed adultery, fathered an illegitimate child, and then murdered the adulteress’ husband to cover it all up (2 Samuel 11:1–12:14). In 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, a Christian brother is fornicating with “his father’s wife” (hopefully, it was his stepmother and not his biological mother)! Not even the Gentile idolaters had such a revolting reputation (verse 1)!

Believers in Christ Jesus in John 12:42,43 were silent about their faith, since they would be excommunicated from the synagogue if they were outspoken (“for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God”). King Solomon was romantically involved with almost 1,000 idolatrous women, not only permitting their heathen religion in the Promised Land but even practicing it himself (1 Kings 11:1-13)! Finally, the Apostle Paul, awaiting his execution, wrote some poignant words concerning a grace ministry coworker: “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:10; cf. Galatians 1:4; 1 John 2:15-17).

Yes, these were believers (!!!!!!)….

Saints, please remember this work of the ministry requires monthly financial support to operate (Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:16-17; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Those who prefer electronic giving can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux. Anyone who wishes to donate by regular mail can visit https://333wordsofgrace.org/contact-us-mailing-address-for-donations/ for details. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! Unfortunately, since our ministry audience is so large and our ministry staff is so small, I can no longer personally respond to everyone. Thanks so much for understanding in this regard. 🙂

Heathen Churches #5

Saturday, August 6, 2022

For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess (Acts 19:37 KJV).

Do even the “heathen” attend church? Yes, according to today’s Scripture, they do!

The Holy Bible says “heathen,” among other traits, have “churches,” repetitious prayers (chants), and various “aids to worship” (idols, images, and shrines). In fact, the ancient Jews corrupted the LORD’S Jerusalem Temple with this false religion. “Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem(2 Chronicles 36:14). That evil religion had so infiltrated Israel during Christ’s earthly ministry that He addressed and condemned it (see Matthew 6:7,8; Matthew 23:1-39)! It had caused the deaths of countless Jewish saints, and even Jesus was ultimately murdered because this heathen mindset infected and confused His people.

In one sense, it was actually easier to become a Christian and learn Christian truth 2,000 years ago than it is today. Back then, there were not tens of thousands of “Christian” denominations riddled with heathenism all claiming to be “the church Jesus founded” as now. It was far simpler to identify Christian teaching, seeing how it was separate and distinct from heathenism. Over these last 20 centuries, however, the definite lines between truth and error have become blurred. The advanced revelations the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ gave the world through the Apostle Paul, have been increasingly set aside in favor of the pagan darkness they were meant to overcome.

“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; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles [heathen!], unto whom now I send thee, 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 (Acts 26:16-18). If we are to guard against heathen churches, we had better look especially to Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

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. 🙂

Psalm 110:1 #6

Saturday, June 25, 2022

“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1 KJV).

How does today’s Scripture, this Psalm of David, explain the Bible timeline for us?

One key incident in the prophetic program concerns God the Father directing God the Son to sit at His right hand in Heaven. The Son would remain seated there until it was time for His enemies to be made His footstool. A “footstool,” as the name implies, is furniture on which someone’s feet rests. Therefore, to be made a “footstool” meant utterly defeated, the victor placing his foot on the loser’s neck. Such imagery is violent and indicative of war.

As we now know, Psalm 110:1 was partially fulfilled when the Lord Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry ended and He returned to His Heavenly Father in Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, and Acts 1:9-12. “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19). The next event on the prophetic calendar, according to today’s Scripture, was for Jesus Christ to rise from His seated position. Peter proclaimed that in Acts 2:34-36, and Stephen witnessed it unfolding in Acts 7:55,56. Yet, the Lord paused prophecy so it was not completely fulfilled. He initiated that drastic dispensational change with Saul of Tarsus.

Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee” (Numbers 10:35). Psalms repeats the vocative, Arise, O LORD” (Psalm 3:7; Psalm 7:6; Psalm 9:19; Psalm 10:12; Psalm 17:13; Psalm 44:23; Psalm 132:8); here is believing Israel in the ages to come, pleading for JEHOVAH God to return and save them from the Antichrist. Isaiah 2:19-21 depicts the LORD arising to “shake terribly the earth.” Also, Isaiah 3:13: “The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.” Finally, Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence [return, Second Coming!!!] of God” (Psalm 68:1,2).

Today, Christ is once again sitting… for now….

Psalm 110:1 #5

Friday, June 24, 2022

“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1 KJV).

How does today’s Scripture, this Psalm of David, explain the Bible timeline for us?

The most infamous Bible character present at Stephen’s murder was Saul of Tarsus: “And they cast [Stephen] out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul (Acts 7:58). Saul eventually got saved and become the Apostle Paul (see Acts 13:9). Years later, Paul (no longer lost) gave his testimony to lost Israel: “And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting [agreeing, approving] unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him(Acts 22:19,20). As an unbelieving religious leader, (Pharisee) Saul had led Israel’s rebellion against the Holy Spirit’s ministry during early Acts (Acts 8:1-4; Acts 9:1-14; Acts 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13,14,23; Philippians 3:5,6; et al.)!

Decades pass. In 1 Timothy 1:12-16, and late in his ministry, Paul reflected on his former life: “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief [leader]. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

Indeed, Jesus Christ did return in early Acts—but not in the wrath and war of prophecy. Rather, with the introduction of the un-prophesied, unexpected mystery program commencing in Acts chapter 9, the Lord came back in grace, mercy, and peace to meet and save first and foremost Saul of Tarsus. Grace and peace have been offered to all the world ever since….

Bible Q&A articles #964 and #965: “Did Nebuchadnezzar appoint his own uncle or brother as King of Judah?” and “Why are the genealogies of Matthew 1 and Luke 3 different?

Superfluous #5

Monday, June 13, 2022

“For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many” (2 Corinthians 9:1,2 KJV).

What does “superfluous” mean?

Read today’s Scripture with its context: “[1] For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: [2] For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many. [3] Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready: [4] Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting. [5] Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.”

Paul knew how “froward” or zealous the Corinthians were in their giving (verse 2, today’s Scripture). This Greek word is also translated “willingness” or “readiness” (Acts 17:11; 2 Corinthians 8:11,12,19). He had even alerted the Macedonian believers (northern Greece) how these Achaian believers (southern Greece, including Corinth)—as much as year prior—had been enthusiastic in giving of their resources to support God’s people (Israel’s believing remnant). That news encouraged other saints to make donations too.

It was thus “superfluous” or redundant for Paul to write to the Corinthians about giving (they were already well informed about the situation). Yet, just in case any Macedonians would visit Corinth, and Corinth be not ready, Paul sent the Corinthians this second epistle (and brethren, including Titus; 2 Corinthians 8:16-18) with guidelines for giving. Unless the Holy Spirit led Paul to pen 2 Corinthians, with chapters 8–10 in place, we would be without principles for giving under grace. Saints, let us be thankful for those “superfluous” words.