Saved or Lost? #19

Monday, September 19, 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?

Once more, 2 Corinthians 11:3,4: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” We can talk about “the gospel” and yet not refer to Paul’s Gospel currently in effect.

Galatians 1:6-8: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed [avoided].” Comparing this to Acts 15:1-5, Galatians 4:21, Galatians 5:1-12, and Galatians 6:12-15; we realize a works-religion “gospel” message had misled the Galatians.

Paul preached the Gospel of Grace (“Christ died for your sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day”—1 Corinthians 15:3,4) to evangelize heathen Gentiles. Once Paul left those regions, “Judaizers” (Jewish denominationalists) would enter and confuse his grace converts with a performance-based acceptance system: “You need to be physically circumcised to gain God’s favor” (Biblical [Exodus 12:48] but not dispensational [according to Galatians chapters 4–6 cited above, inapplicable to us in this the Dispensation of Grace or Paul’s ministry]).

They cancelled Christ’s finished work on Calvary’s cross (grace) by “supplementing” it with man’s religious works (legalism). Today, we are not being pressured to embrace physical circumcision. Instead, religious tradition would have us believe water baptism, confession of sins, commandment-keeping, Sabbath Day observance, and tithing will “enhance” or “impart” eternal life and make God “happy” with us. Indeed, friends, the spiritual traps are everywhere….

Keep Your Fork! #12

Saturday, August 20, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Dear saints, we “keep our fork” because we know “dessert” is coming: Heaven is real, it is organized, it is defiled, and it will be restored (here is our eternal destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ). Even the “best thrills and chills” that life on Earth has to offer us do not compare to what lies ahead for we who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour. Only the depths of God’s infinite wisdom are the limit!

It has been estimated that there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on all of Earth’s beaches. (Try to wrap your mind around that!) These celestial bodies, where the angels live, are mostly unknown to us because of their extreme distances from us. There are innumerable worlds—planets, bodies of rock, ice, and gas—no human has ever visited. Father God has deemed them our realm of influence in the ages to come. Therefore, we must receive glorified physical bodies that can function in outer space.

“For our conversation [lifestyle reflecting citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things [the offices of government!] unto himself” (Philippians 3:20,21). After reflecting on God’s magnificent plans for us in the ages to come (covered in the first three chapters), the Apostle Paul burst into a doxology or praise of God: Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen (Ephesians 3:20,21). May we too reply with a hearty, “Amen!”

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

Keep Your Fork! #11

Friday, August 19, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

For many, “church” is just a “humbling” place where someone prattles in monotone about superstitious nonsense. Yawns can be frequently heard, and sagging heads and closed eyes can be seen regularly: here, it is a sin to whisper anything save a prayer. (Now we see why this strict, ceremonial setting is usually abandoned for an assembly “more exciting.” At this new “church,” dancing, jumping, lifting of hands, singing for hours—such entertainment, such “praise and worship”—will attract newcomers indefinitely!)

Though religion is tiresome and Christendom dull, life in Christ (whether now or in Heaven) is something else entirely. According to today’s Scripture, we the saints in the Body of Christ are bound for the heavenly places. In God’s mind, we already share in Christ’s influence there. We have been ascended and we sit together (as in seats of authority) in heavenly places in Christ. Father God’s purpose or intent in the endless ages to come is to “shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Grace, all that He can do for and with us through Christ’s finished crosswork, can be appreciated to some degree now, though its fullest extent surpasses our finite minds.

Furthermore, it is not merely “grace” but “the exceeding [beyond, above] riches [resources, treasures, reserves] of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” How we are so undeserving, but what Father God will do in and through us in eternity future is something so exceptional that it will take a literal forever to completely fathom it. His kindness to involve us in what He is doing and will do with His beloved Son—instead of letting us go to a permanent Devil’s Hell that we have so merited as sinners—is something that still escapes our total comprehension even now.

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Keep Your Fork! #10

Thursday, August 18, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Prior to the Apostle Paul’s execution, he wrote: “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18). This loops back to chapter 2: “[8] Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: [9] Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evildoer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. [10] Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. [11] It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: [12] If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: [13] If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.”

Remember, there is a kingdom in Heaven (currently defiled by Satan’s angels, but a kingdom nonetheless). Jesus Christ, heir to King David’s throne, will extend His earthly government into the heavenly places—and here is our “inheritance” and destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ (recall Ephesians 1:8-12). “Eternal glory” is the praise and honor the Lord Jesus Christ will receive in and through us because of the fulfillment of our Father’s “eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11).

To wit, Father God’s plan to exalt His Son throughout the endless ages to come involves our appointment in the heavenly offices of government and Israel’s appointment in the earthly offices of government. All saints—filled with Christ’s life and teaching His doctrine—glorify Him by “reigning with him” in their respective roles. As today’s Scripture reveals, Heaven, like Earth, will be a realm of intense activity and profound instruction in eternity future….

Keep Your Fork! #9

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Obviously, Heaven is where angels live (see Matthew 24:36, Mark 12:25, Luke 2:15, Revelation 12:7, et cetera). Yet, they can (and do!) look down at our tiny planet and watch us as we go about our daily routines. Ephesians 3:9-11 informs: “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:….” To wit, Paul’s goal in ministry was to reach everyone, every nation, he could with the Gospel of Grace, so more human souls would believe and join the Body of Christ. God’s “manifold [multifaceted, complex] wisdom” would then be displayed in these saints’ lives, and the angels of Heaven would view and learn spiritual truths!

By God’s design, while angels have intellects far superior to our own, they must rely on believers in Christ to learn Bible truth (especially that which pertains to our salvation, which they can never experience themselves). First Peter chapter 1: “[10] Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: [11] Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. [12] Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.”

As our ministry on Earth involves teaching angels Bible truth, so will our ministry in Heaven….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Was Christ’s earthly ministry an ‘epic failure?’

Keep Your Fork! #8

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 6: “[1] Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? [2] Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? [3] Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? [4] If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. [5] I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? [6] But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. [7] Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? [8] Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.”

The Corinthian assembly was so filled with human wisdom—especially Greek (pagan) philosophy—its members were unable to settle even the pettiest disagreements amongst themselves. Actually, these genuine Christians (!) had taken each other to the heathen courts of law so lost people (judges) could render verdicts for them. Imagine: God’s people appealed to Satan’s people for advice! One rhetorical question the Holy Spirit asked through Paul to prompt the Corinthian Christians to come to their senses is: “Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” Here, “judge” means “rule, govern” (cf. the 12 Apostles “judging” Israel’s 12 tribes in Matthew 19:28). If we saints will rule the angelic kingdom in Heaven, we are quite silly to seek unsaved governmental officials to determine what is good and fair among us….

Keep Your Fork! #7

Monday, August 15, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Let us take a few moments to address a pervasive misunderstanding. Correctors of the King James Bible frequently refer to “the heavenlies,” and this faulty terminology has crept into the vocabularies of common people who innocently repeat what they have heard from “the blind leaders of the blind.”

Dear friend, if you use a printed King James Bible, you will notice “places” is italicized in today’s Scripture (also, Ephesians 1:3,20; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12). That is, there is no Greek word directly corresponding to the English, but the implication is there: “en [‘in’] tois [‘the;’ plural noun] epouraniois [‘above the sky’ = ‘heavenly;’ plural noun].” Our translators inserted the noun “places” to complete the thought. In Greek, adjectives such as “heavenly” are usually written without the modifying noun (substantive). To avoid an incomplete thought, an English word must be supplied during translation. (Think of the English sentence, “The good die young.” Obviously, “good” suggests “good people/men/folks,” but we do not need a noun there because it is implied to us English speakers. The Greeks used adjectives in a similar manner, which our Greek New Testament reflects. To adequately convey the sense of the Greek adjective, our translators added a substantive or noun: “heavenly places.)

To remove the italicized “places” from “heavenly places” and make it “heavenlies” is to generalize and obscure Bible truth. Firstly, “heavenlies” is actually nonsense to an English speaker. Heavenly what? We are not told! Our King James translators therefore supplied us with the plural noun “places.” Secondly, to take away the italicized “places” from “heavenly places” and have it read “heavenlies” causes us to lose the cross-reference to the word “place” in Revelation 12:8 (read verses 7-9). By correcting the Bible, we have robbed ourselves of the realization that we members of the Body of Christ will take over the seats of government, the dwellingplaces, of Satan and his fallen angels currently occupying the heavenly places….

Keep Your Fork! #6

Sunday, August 14, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Upon hearing the word “government” (regardless of form), most people cannot help but frown and snicker. Why? No matter the nation or city, a great many politicians are fraudulent, corrupt, inefficient, abusive, wasteful, greedy, self-serving, and embarrassing, among other things. Remember, since Adam’s sin in Genesis chapter 3, this is a fallen world under Satan’s control (Matthew 4:8-11; Luke 4:5-8); the Devil is thus styled “the god [ruler] of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). What would Earth be like if every “public servant” actually served the public’s best interests by working righteousness? There would be no crumbling infrastructure, unpunished criminals, shortages of necessities, and so on.

Similarly, Satan and his fallen angels (devils, evil spirits) have corrupted Heaven’s governments, leading to the “spiritual wickedness in high [heavenly] places” of Ephesians 6:12. Whatever evils we behold running and ruining Earth’s governments, they are precisely the activities and attitudes running and ruining Heaven’s governments. “Behold, he [God] putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight(Job 15:15). “…[Y]ea, the stars are not pure in his [God’s] sight (Job 25:5b). Until Almighty God removes all fallen angels (Heaven) and sinful humans (Earth) from power and replaces them with His saints (believing Israel in Earth, and us the Church the Body of Christ in Heaven), creation cannot function as originally intended.

The future eradication of evil in the heavenly places is Revelation chapter 12: “[7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, [8] And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. [9] And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Here is the cross-reference to today’s Scripture….

Keep Your Fork! #5

Saturday, August 13, 2022

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6,7 KJV).

Will Heaven be a boring place? (It is a resounding “NO!”)

Moving into the verses immediately preceding today’s Scripture (and being mindful of the concluding verses of chapter 1), we read about what has been aptly titled “God’s grace factory.”

Ephesians chapter 2: [1] And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. [4] But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, [5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) [6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

Before God in His rich mercy and great love for us reached down and delivered us the Gospel of Grace through the Apostle Paul’s ministry and message, we were lost, spiritually dead, Hell-bound, Satanically-controlled, pagan, idolatrous Gentiles. God decided that those who would trust Paul’s Gospel—Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins (grace not works!)—would become members of the Church the Body of Christ. Those saints would receive resurrection life through Christ’s own resurrection. When He ascended to Father God to become Head of Heaven’s governments (chapter 1), we too were counted qualified to serve in Heaven’s governments. Though we are not in Heaven yet, our Heavenly Father reckons it as though it has already happened….

arC Ministries Is 15!

Sunday, July 31, 2022

“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).

To our Lord Jesus Christ’s glory, arC Ministries celebrates its 15th anniversary today!!!

Fifteen years ago, as a 19-year-old college student, I endeavored to use Facebook to create a Bible study group for teens and college students. Thus, “ambassadors for the risen Christ ministries” was born. As I grew more in God’s Word rightly divided, I grew increasingly aware of the need for additional ministry projects. The more I had been learning drove me to share those precious truths with others. That eventually led me to look for supplementary avenues of ministry.

During these past 15 years, God’s grace has enabled us to continue the original group on Facebook. In addition, we have branched out quite a bit in other areas. This devotionals blog has been operating for over 11 years now. For the last 10 years, we have focused on developing and drafting a grace study Bible (now in its eleventh year). Other ministry projects include a 22-week newspaper ministry column (this devotionals blog’s predecessor), a YouTube channel with home Bible study videos, a Twitter feed, a full-length Bible studies blog, a college campus ministry, a nursing-home ministry, and our Bible-question-and-answer blog. Six years ago, we launched our new main ministry website and now have a line of printed Bible study booklets available for sale there. Three years ago, we recorded and distributed our Old Testament Survey video series. Later that year, we launched our New Testament Survey video series (which will last a few years). We hear from people all over the world!

Our name says it all: we serve the risen Lord Jesus Christ, not some “dead Jew” and not ourselves. The original motto of our ministry was, “To equip ambassadors, and to encourage others to become ambassadors.” Our primary goal is to teach Christians, and our secondary goal is to evangelize the lost world. Fifteen years later, we still endeavor to uphold God’s Word (King James Bible) rightly divided, whether it be in edifying the Christian brethren or preaching the clear Gospel of the Grace of God to this lost and dying world. For those of you who have been with us from day 1, thank you for your prayer and encouragement. We pray for you upon every remembrance! There is still plenty more for the Lord Jesus Christ to do in and through us, so let us give Him all the praise and glory as we enter Year 16! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&As: “What does ‘circumspect’ mean?” and “What is a ‘sherd?’