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.

Superfluous #4

Sunday, June 12, 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?

Since the Lord’s introduction of the mystery program (the Apostle Paul’s ministry and message) delayed the conclusion of the prophetic program, it was only natural for Paul’s Gentile converts to then contribute financially to the welfare of Israel’s believing remnant already formed during the prophetic program. If Israel’s God was now the God of non-Jewish heathen—the fruit of Paul’s ministry—then these Gentile saints (the Church the Body of Christ) should support believing Israel (the Little Flock).

Romans 15:27 again: “It hath pleased them [Paul’s saints] verily; and their [Israel’s] debtors they [Paul’s saints] are. For if the Gentiles [Paul’s saints] have been made partakers of their [Israel’s] spiritual things, their [Paul’s saints] duty is also to minister unto them [Israel] in carnal [material, physical] things.” Hence, the Apostles James and Cephas (Peter) and John, leaders of the Jerusalem Church, prompted Paul and Barnabas to “remember the poor” (Galatians 2:10; the Acts chapter 15 conference). Contrary to popular belief, the “poor” here are not underprivileged people in general: they are the poverty-stricken Little Flock of the Acts period!

In today’s Scripture, the issue is members of the Church the Body of Christ (Paul’s ministry) giving financial aid to Israel’s “saints” or believing remnant (under the leadership of Peter and the 11 Apostles). As Paul established and visited local grace churches, he took up collections of money and goods to bring to “the poor saints which are at Jerusalem” (Romans 15:26; also, remember 1 Corinthians 16:1-3). By the time of today’s Scripture (2 Corinthians), the Corinthian saints (in 1 Corinthians) had already been made aware of the plight of the Jewish believers in Christ in Jerusalem and Judaea; the Corinthians needed no instructions about giving, so it was “superfluous” for Paul to write to them on the subject.

However, the Holy Spirit through Paul taught them again about giving under grace anyway….

Samaria and The Holy Ghost #6

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

“Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost” (Acts 8:14-17 KJV).

What is going on in today’s Scripture? Is it something we should practice?

The Holy Ghost was given in Jerusalem (Acts chapter 2), previewing Israel’s New Covenant and Millennial Kingdom blessings. To demonstrate how He would one day rejoin the Northern Kingdom (10 tribes, including the Samaritans) to the Southern Kingdom (two tribes; capital city Jerusalem), the Holy Spirit moved Philip to preach to the Samaritans and then motivated Apostles Peter and John of the Jerusalem Church to confirm or authorize these Samaritans’ entrance into the Little Flock (Israel’s believing remnant).

Denominationally-minded people, no matter how sincere, are sincerely wrong if they believe today’s Scripture defines what the God of the Bible is currently doing with us. We should be ever so careful before we “name and claim” passages—ignoring contexts and lacking a firm understanding of what the Scriptures have already stated about those topics. Contrary to popular belief, just because it is in the Bible does not mean it is our pattern. We can be “Scriptural” and still be outside God’s will!

According to the Bible, Paul is “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), God’s spokesman to us. We do not appeal to Peter or John—including today’s Scripture. If we study Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, we will discover there is absolutely nothing about laying hands on anyone to impart the Holy Spirit to them. That is Israel’s doctrine, not ours. If anyone wants the Holy Spirit today, they need to believe Christ died for their sins, was buried, and rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed [preserved] with that holy Spirit of promise,…” (Ephesians 1:12,13).

Understanding Grace Living

Saturday, May 21, 2022

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid” (Romans 6:14,15 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand grace living?

What is the key to victorious Christian living for us? Again, had this question been correctly answered these last 20 centuries, there would be much less confusion, disappointment, and discouragement among church members. Try as hard as we might, we cannot (!) force God to do something He is not doing. Indeed, we can pick and choose Bible verses that teach “perform to get God’s blessings” (see Deuteronomy 28:1-14, for example). This is the Law of Moses, operating at that particular point on the Bible timeline. Yet, is that what the LORD tells us today in this Age of Grace? No. No. No. According to the Lord speaking through the Apostle Paul, today’s Scripture teaches us we are under grace not law. To be “under grace” is opposite of “under law”—if words mean anything, of course!

It is entirely possible—yea, it has happened—that we can be “scriptural” and be outside God’s will. Not only must we be scriptural, we must also be dispensational. What are God’s instructions to us? They are “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” committed exclusively to the Apostle Paul’s trust: “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of grace of God which is given me to you-ward” (Ephesians 3:1,2). To find victorious Christian living for us members of the Church the Body of Christ, we read Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

Contrary to popular belief, to be “under grace” does not mean God encourages us to go live in sin. (We were already doing that before we came to faith in Christ anyway!) Grace teaches us not to sin (see Titus 2:11-15). What Almighty (all-powerful) God can do for us through Calvary (grace)—for we are too sinful and weak to do anything for Him (law)—is how the Christian life operates. It is Jesus Christ’s life manifested in and through us, as we walk by faith in the principles of Pauline theology.

NOTE: With our “Original 7” studies expanded a seventh time, we grow up into more sound Bible doctrine.

Understanding Your Apostle Paul

Friday, May 20, 2022

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” (Romans 11:13 KJV).

Friend, would you like to understand your Apostle Paul?

“Who is your Apostle?” Had the professing church correctly answered that question through these last 2,000 years, Christianity’s testimony would be far more potent because we would actually know God’s will better than the world knows Satan’s policy of evil. Alas, the average church member is totally unable to discern and combat bad doctrine—and it is not God’s fault!

Regarding what the Bible titles “time past,” God was forming the nation Israel, distinguishing the world between “circumcision” (Jew) and “uncircumcision” (non-Jew, Gentile). “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:…” (Ephesians 2:11,12). Yet, in “but now,” God has erected a new arrangement: “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (verse 13). Today, there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—all can come to God by faith in Christ’s finished crosswork alone and join the Church the Body of Christ.

In the context of today’s Scripture, we learn: “[11] I say then, Have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:….” Here is Paul’s ministry, the Lord sending this man to notify us of the dispensational change from “time past” to “but now” (Acts 26:16-18). We therefore see God’s current operations are confined to Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. Appealing to other Scriptures to find God’s will for today is how Christendom has failed miserably in using God’s Word God’s way—and look at the disastrous results!

God’s “Imperceptible” Work #4

Thursday, May 12, 2022

“And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them” (Exodus 2:23-25 KJV).

Beloved, the LORD is never idle, so may we grow in His words to better see His works….

God is neither “asleep” nor “on vacation;” He is quite alive and alert. Are we? He does care, having appointed a day when He will lift the curse of sin, restore creation to its original state, punish evil, and cause righteousness to prevail in the Earth. That is Christ’s glorious Second Coming of Revelation chapter 20. However, the prophetic program to which all these events belong is momentarily suspended.

The Apostle Peter himself ultimately realized that in 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack [lazy, inattentive] concerning his promise [coming in wrath], as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Peter learned this from the Apostle Paul (see verses 15,16); we should ascertain it too. God’s wrath is delayed because the Dispensation of Grace has interrupted prophecy, thereby allowing people to come to faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork alone, before that wrath does fall. Saul of Tarsus himself experienced that truth firsthand in Acts chapter 9 (cf. 1 Timothy 1:12-17).

Why does God not hurry up and accomplish His will in the Earth by judging sin now? He is forming the Church the Body of Christ, His heavenly people. Indeed, this world is a mess (Genesis chapter 3! Romans chapter 1! Romans chapter 8!)—and it will only worsen because it is headed for the Tribulation or Daniel’s 70th Week. Israel’s national restoration is delayed, for God is doing something amongst the Gentiles through Paul’s ministry (Romans 9–11); this parallels the LORD waiting to redeem Israel from Egypt until He had wrought a work with Gentile Pharaoh (cf. Romans 9:17,18). By faith, brethren, we see the Lord administering the mystery program, knowing full well the prophetic program will resume when “grace and peace” finishes!