Frozen in Death #5

Saturday, June 18, 2022

“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13 KJV).

What priceless lesson can we learn from today’s Scripture?

Read Matthew 21:18-22 and Mark 11:12-14,20-26. On the Monday before His Thursday crucifixion, Christ Jesus was near Jerusalem when He encountered a fig tree “and found nothing thereon, but leaves only” (Matthew 21:19; Mark 11:13). Here was Israel’s religious system symbolized—advertising its superficial “greeneries” (alleged “life”) but, upon closer examination, utterly fruitless inside (spiritually dead and therefore useless to God)! In fact, this narrative of the fig tree is presented in conjunction with the Lord purging the polluted Jerusalem Temple of Satan’s emissaries (see Matthew 21:12-17 and Mark 11:15-19). You can also compare it to The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree in Luke 13:6-9, Christ seeking fruit (faith and good works) in national Israel but finding none during His three-year earthly ministry.

Let us ponder another illustration. Imagine a dead tree with bare branches, with neither leaves nor fruit. We can glue green leaves to it, and hang ripe fruit from it—but that nice external appearance does not detract from the fact that tree is lifeless. Religion is dead, so it cannot produce the life of God. Think of yet another analogy. We can take a dirty, dead battery and clean it with soap and water—but it is still powerless. Religion has no power, so it cannot produce the works of God.

Victorious Christian living occurs when we are strengthened with might by [God’s] Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in [our] hearts by faith…” (Ephesians 3:16,17). If we are alive in Jesus Christ, it is His life, and He will produce fruit: “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11). “Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart(Ephesians 6:6). We learn and believe the principles of grace outlined in Romans through Philemon, thereby eschewing spiritual hypocrisy, duplicity, and immobility!

Frozen in Death #4

Friday, June 17, 2022

“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13 KJV).

What priceless lesson can we learn from today’s Scripture?

In Matthew chapter 15, the Lord Jesus censured the vain, hollow religious system corrupting His nation: “[7] Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias [Isaiah 29:13] prophesy of you, saying, [8] This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. [9] But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Also, the parallel passage, Mark chapter 7: “[6] He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. [7] Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

Verily, they read and heard the Hebrew Bible during synagogue services every Saturday Sabbath. Doubtless, they sang excerpts from the Book of Psalms at their religious gatherings—including the feast days. “How we love God! Praise the LORD!” However, it was empty talk: there was no internal faith in their spiritual heart to correspond to the holy words proceeding from their physical lips. Their unbelief, refusing to trust Jesus as Christ during His earthly ministry, proved that was so. What is far more important is the heart attitude, a love for the LORD’S Book and a sincere quotation of its teachings, not blindly following religious “authorities” who simply and mindlessly utter sound waves for religious duty’s sake!

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19). “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord (Colossians 3:16). It is the Word of God’s Grace—His Bible rightly divided—that we trust and then apply to our daily lives, the resultant joy manifesting itself in songs. Here is how we avoid boarding the “frozen ship….”

A Delight That is Right #4

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8 KJV).

What is the “delight” that is right?

The Lord Jesus Christ is the most unique Person in all the universe: He is the God-Man, undiminished Deity and full humanity. The Gospel Record of Luke prominently features His human qualities. For instance, “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him…. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man (Luke 2:40,52). As we grow and learn, so Jesus developed physically and mentally.

Isaiah the Prophet, 700 years before, quoted Christ: “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back” (chapter 50, verses 4,5). In complete submission to His Heavenly Father, He learned exactly what His Father had planned for Him. Jesus took particular interest in studying the Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament Scriptures, His Father’s preserved words. “Yea, thy law is within my heart” (today’s Scripture).

One fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit is “joy” (Galatians 5:22). In other words, if He is working in us, we will rejoice or take delight in what God is doing. Yet, we cannot know what God is doing until we first find His words to and about us. The Apostle Paul is God’s spokesman to us Gentiles in the mystery program (Romans 11:13; Ephesians 3:1,2). We study the entire Bible, but we pay special attention to the Pauline Epistles, Romans through Philemon, God’s current dealings with man. As Jesus Christ conducted His earthly ministry, He knew exactly where He was in the purpose and program of Father God. Similarly, we can find immense satisfaction in knowing where we are on that Divine timeline for the ages. Of all the pleasures and thrills in this life, dear friends, nothing else even comes close to the delight that is right!

A Delight That is Right #3

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8 KJV).

What is the “delight” that is right?

Today’s Scripture reveals the key to delighting to do God’s will. We must first know God’s will, having His “law” (that is, His words) within our heart. Addressing the saints at Rome, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul penned, “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” (Romans 6:17). The Roman believers, as lost people, had trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Hence, they passed from death to life, Adam to Christ, Satan to God. Here is the first part of God’s will for any person: “…God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved…” (1 Timothy 2:3,4a).

Here is the second part of God’s will for us: “…God our Saviour; Who will have all men… to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3,4). This is victorious Christian living—learning, understanding, and believing sound Bible doctrine that will give us daily victory over sin. We have eternal life in Christ, so now that life of God is expressed in and through us as we walk by faith in these His words to and about us. In Ephesians 1:1-12, we read of “the good pleasure of [God’s] will” (verses 5,9). Ultimately, our Heavenly Father desires to have spiritually mature believers who can glorify His Son Jesus Christ in the heavenly places throughout the endless ages to come.

For now, we are on Earth, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:…” (2 Thessalonians 1:11). If we want to do God’s will, we simply find out what He enjoys doing, and, by faith, go do that, and thus we will do God’s will and have the delight that is right….

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. 🙂

Believing Unbelievers #7

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25 KJV).

Is it possible to be a believing unbeliever? According to today’s Scripture, YES!

We can fool people some of the time, but we can fool God none of the time. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The Holy Bible penetrates down to our innermost being, for it is the means whereby the God of the Bible evaluates just what ideas our heart entertains and exactly what plans our heart devises.

Dear friends, let us never forget to avoid religious hypocrisy at all costs. To appear to be a Christian, to sound like a Christian, but still be “in Adam” instead of being “in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17) does not deceive the Lord! He knows it is not Christ’s life in us but our flesh copying or mimicking. A denomination or theological system has been formed in us, but not Christ (Galatians 4:19). The internal, not the external, is what carries the greatest weight in eternity. Indeed, it is entirely possible to be the most pious soul on Earth—the world’s most dedicated church member, incumbered with innumerable rules and regulations—and still wind up going to eternal damnation, for believing in the head is no substitute for believing in the heart.

To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in the heart means we have already learned and admitted our performance is insufficient and always will be. In our heart, we have reckoned as true our need for the Saviour and all that He has done and all that He can do for us at Calvary’s cross. Ultimately, it is His life in us, “That Christ may dwell in [our] hearts by faith…” (Ephesians 3:17). May we be believing (heart) believers, not believing (head) unbelievers. Remember, God knows the difference! 🙂

Believing Unbelievers #6

Monday, March 28, 2022

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25 KJV).

Is it possible to be a believing unbeliever? According to today’s Scripture, YES!

While advantageous (when compared to ignorance), being knowledgeable of Bible truth in and of itself does not automatically guarantee one has a right standing before God. For example, consider this startling passage: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Did they not address Jesus as “Lord?” Did they not perform “good” deeds? They preached, cast out devils, and did “many wonderful works”and even gave Jesus (not Satan) all the credit. Despite this, He rejects them, telling them He has never had an intimate relationship with them. Moreover, He remarks, “Ye that work iniquity [evil, wickedness]!” They had spiritual light, but they were deceived because they did not genuinely receive it and actually believe it in the heart. It was intellectualism and fleshliness, religious busyness, but not God’s work in and through them. Unfortunately, Hell and the Lake of Fire will be packed with billions of such souls. They sat in church buildings and attended Bible studies for decades, seeing and hearing God’s Word over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. They looked like and talked like believers. Yet, no personal faith in the heart was ever exercised in Christ Jesus’ finished crosswork at Calvary.

They knew of the Lord Jesus Christ, but it was far better for them to have known Him, or, rather, for Him to have known them….

Believing Unbelievers #5

Sunday, March 27, 2022

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25 KJV).

Is it possible to be a believing unbeliever? According to today’s Scripture, YES!

The opening verses of Acts chapter 8 report the Evangelist Philip’s ministry in Samaria. However, Satan is working here too! “[9] But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: [10] To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. [11] And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. [12] But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. [13] Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.” Be sure to note verse 13, “Simon himself believed also.”

When the Apostles Peter and John subsequently visited Samaria, Simon saw their miracle-working power and offered to pay them to receive their spiritual influence (see verses 14-19). Verses 20,21: “But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.” Whereas Simon had “believed” (verse 13), the Holy Spirit through Peter condemned Simon’s heart as wicked. Like those of today’s Scripture, carnal or fleshly Simon believed in his head, but his heart was void of faith. Remember, Romans 10:10, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness….” Religious intellectualism, superficial mental agreement, is not true faith. Genuine faith is our heart or soul trusting God’s Word….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘listeth’ mean?

Believing Unbelievers #4

Saturday, March 26, 2022

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25 KJV).

Is it possible to be a believing unbeliever? According to today’s Scripture, YES!

Imagine being in today’s Scripture. To watch the Lord heal the sick, cast out devils, and do other mighty miracles would have truly been a sight to behold! It is beyond our comprehension. Yet, He was not seeking to entertain anyone—and He knew who was present just for amusement, to experience a spiritual high or adrenaline rush.

Consider modern Christendom. We notice many people walking aisles, making professions of faith, kneeling and bawling uncontrollably at “altars,” dancing and lifting hands to “praise and worship” music, packing stadium “sanctuaries,” sitting in confessional booths, being water baptized, reciting the “sinner’s prayer,” teaching Sunday School classes, preaching fervent sermons, knocking on doors, passing out tracts and Bibles, joining faculties of prestigious seminaries, sitting on Bible translation committees, talking about “Jesus” and “the Holy Ghost,” writing “Christian” study “aids,” memorizing creeds and confessions, organizing missions trips, travelling and setting up “healing tents,” and a host of other activities. The average person cannot help but remark, “Look at all these ‘Christians!’”

One brother in Christ observed: “God did not give the Scriptures for the purpose of scholarly intellectual exercise.” Yet, as he pointed out, innumerable people have used them—are using them—for just that. Textual critics study Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and Aramaic. They pore over ancient manuscripts, teach theology and church history classes, and debate “Christian” philosophy, but is there any personal heart faith in the Bible itself? How many of them are actually Bible-believing Christians? Who are members of the Church the Body of Christ, and who are simply members of manmade denominations? Do they know what the Gospel of Grace even is? Could they show us verses for victorious Christian living?

Intellectual assent is no substitute for heart faith….

Bible Q&A #935: “What are ‘victuals?’

Believing Unbelievers #3

Friday, March 25, 2022

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25 KJV).

Is it possible to be a believing unbeliever? According to today’s Scripture, YES!

Those present in Jerusalem in John chapter 2 were indeed religious, for they had come to celebrate Passover according to the Law of Moses. Furthermore, when they witnessed Jesus’ miracles, the Bible informs us “many believed in his name.” Their piety and “faith” make them appear to be genuine believers. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit’s commentary provided in the rest of the passage indicates something else entirely.

“But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.” The Greek word translated “commit”“episteuo”—was rendered “believed” in the previous verse. Although they believed in Him, He did not believe in them. The reason is provided in the fact the Lord Jesus Christ was and is an omniscient Being. He knows what people are like; no one has to lecture Him on the human condition. After all, He Himself wrote the following verses: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:9,10). You can also read His unappealing assessment of us in Matthew 15:10-20 and Mark 7:14-23!

Human nature is sinful, for it constantly tries to replace God’s life with something else (human “good” and/or human evil). Also, emotions and “thrills and chills” (an insatiable quest for entertainment) corrupt man’s internal makeup. We like to be amused—and that was precisely the problem with the spectators in today’s Scripture. They were not people of faith in the heart, but curiosity seekers looking for a “good time.” Even now, 20 centuries later, it is a recurring difficulty in religious circles….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is a ‘casement?’

Believing Unbelievers #2

Thursday, March 24, 2022

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25 KJV).

Is it possible to be a believing unbeliever? According to today’s Scripture, YES!

Remember, the nation Israel is God’s “sign” people (Psalm 74:9), for “the Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22) and, as Jesus told His Jewish audience, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” (John 4:48). Consequently, “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people (Matthew 4:23; cf. Matthew 9:35). “And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,…” (Luke 8:1).

The Lord performed miracles to demonstrate or validate the Gospel of the Kingdom He was proclaiming. In His kingdom, blessings from God will preclude sickness and eliminate bondage to Satan. He also endowed His Apostles with this supernatural power: “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen” (Mark 16:17-20; cf. Matthew 10:1-8).

When Christ executed miracles, it was not simply to give people carefree, problem-free lives. These miraculous demonstrations were proof His message was worthy of His audience’s trust. Yet, if they did not have a positive attitude toward these supernatural events, they would overlook the meaning and thus fail to genuinely believe the message conveyed thereby….