A Better Baptism #13

Monday, September 30, 2019

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

Romans 6:3,4: “[3] Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Despite what we have heard over the years, dear friends, water baptism is not in this passage! Again, water baptism (a physical substance) cannot place us into the Body of Christ (a spiritual entity).

The moment we believed on Jesus Christ dying for our sins, being buried, and being raised again for our justification (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), the Holy Spirit placed—baptized—us into the Church the Body of Christ (today’s Scripture). It was instantaneous and invisible. We did not see, feel, or hear it—and we would not know about it without the Scriptures. Moreover, the Spirit of God transferred Christ’s identity to us: when He died, we died with Him, and when He was resurrected, we were resurrected with Him. Romans chapter 6 says we are dead to sin, and alive unto God.

Compare that to Colossians 2:11,12: “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” This is no more a physical (water) baptism than it is a physical circumcision. Water baptism is not here.

Now, Galatians 3:26-28: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Here is the one baptism that counts for eternity….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who is speaking in Proverbs 8:22?

Children of Light #6

Friday, August 30, 2019

“While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them” (John 12:36 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is one of three instances of the expression “children of light” in the Bible. What is the significance of this title?

When the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ reached down and saved Saul of Tarsus, nearly all the world groped in spiritual darkness. Except for the Little Flock (those few Jews who had trusted Jesus as Messiah—Luke 12:32), mankind was under Satan’s control. Almighty God sent the Apostle Paul to preach to these unsaved souls (Acts 26:16-18).

Read 2 Corinthians chapter 4: “[3] But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: [4] In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. [5] For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. [6] For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Recall Psalm 119: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path…. The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (verses 105,130).

Compare with Colossians chapter 1: “[12] Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: [13] Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: [14] In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:….” Paul’s Gospel is “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Israel’s rejected Messiah—that is, personal faith in Jesus’ finished crosswork—is how we escape the formidable darkness of Satan’s evil world system! As God wanted the Jews to be His children, the “children of light,” so we become “children of light” through simple faith in His Son….

Be a Grace Lifer!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

“…God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3,4 KJV).

Here is God’s twofold will for all people!

Today’s Scripture sits in a context often overlooked: “[3]… God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” Millions upon millions upon millions constantly ask, “What is God’s will for me?” How sad—how truly sad it is (!)—that they ignore this passage!

Through the Apostle Paul’s ministry and message, we learn that the Lord Jesus Christ died not only to save Israel from her sins (Isaiah 53:8; Matthew 20:28; Matthew 26:28), but He died to save us from our sins too. However, it was not until Paul that Almighty God revealed to the whole world the fact that Christ “gave himself a ransom for all.” “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Here is God’s grace, what He has done for us through Calvary’s finished crosswork!

Firstly, Father God wants each and every one of us to be “saved,” spiritually healed from sin’s effects, delivered from Hell and the Lake of Fire (sin’s eternal penalty!). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). We thus become a Christian. Secondly, God desires us to “come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Why did He save us from sin and Hell? He gave us His written Word—the Holy Bible—to tell us. If we “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), then we will “come unto the knowledge of the truth.” As we read Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, we will learn how God’s grace can transform us unto people “zealous of good works” (Titus 2:11-14; Ephesians 2:8-10). Christ’s very life becomes our very life—the grace life! 🙂

Brethren, these past 7 studies are our “Original 7 Devotionals” expanded for the sixth time. We are now ready for our seventh 500-devotional unit, a much higher plane of doctrine!

arC Ministries Is 12!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

“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 12th anniversary today!!!

Twelve years ago, as an 18-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 12 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 eight years now. For the last seven years, we have focused on developing and drafting a grace study Bible (now in its eighth 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. Three years ago, we launched our new main ministry website and now have a line of printed Bible study booklets available for sale there (new ones are forthcoming this year, hopefully). Earlier this year, we recorded and distributed our Old Testament Survey video series. Soon, we will launch 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. Twelve 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 13! 🙂

Bible Q&A articles #634 and #635: “Why did the Lord Jesus never tell jokes?” and “What exactly is ‘hypocrisy?’

No Way Out! #3

Monday, July 29, 2019

“Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” (John 13:22 KJV).

Look, the disciples have no way out!

As the disciples in the Upper Room were “at a loss” regarding whom among them was Jesus’ traitor, so the Apostle Paul did not know which way to turn mentally concerning the Galatians. Read from his epistle to them, chapter 4:

“[15] Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. [16] Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? [17] They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. [18] But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. [19] My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, [20] I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you [“aporeo”—same as “doubting” in today’s Scripture]. [21] Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?”

Prior to writing the Galatians, Paul had visited these pagan idolaters and preached the Gospel of Grace to them. From him, they heard about the one true God and His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork—He had died for their sins, been buried, and been raised again (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). They came to faith in Christ alone as sufficient payment for their sins. How joyful they were to no longer be slaves to works-religion, sin, and Satan!

Alas, after Paul departed from their midst in order to visit and evangelize other pagans, false teachers slipped in and conquered the Galatians with works-religion. These legalists emphasized Law and thereby excluded Grace. Understandably, Paul was amazed, confessing to the Galatians, “I stand in doubt of you.” It is not that he doubted their salvation. Rather, he could not wrap his mind around the fact that they had been led astray so quickly and so easily (cf. Galatians 1:6-10). Yea, he too had “no way out….”

Not Many Likes

Friday, July 26, 2019

“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:5 KJV).

If social media were around in Noah’s time, how many “likes,” “shares,” “views,” and “re-tweets” would he have had?

Brethren, let us never (ever!) forget that we are not (NOT!) in the grace ministry to see how many “likes” we can get on Facebook, “views” on YouTube, “re-tweets” on Twitter, or “shares” and “subscribers” on any other internet platform. We are not (NOT!) in the grace ministry to see how many names and addresses we can add to our mailing list, or how many subscribers to our television shows, radio programs, and podcasts. “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12).

Honestly, if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself had social media accounts, He would have few friends. Actually, He would soon be banned for being “homophobic,” “xenophobic,” “misogynistic,” “Islamophobic,” and so on. When His orating got tough, the offended got going! “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66).

Have you realized Bible truth is unpopular? We do not find many who have trusted—let alone, know—the Gospel of the Grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). We find few English-speaking Christians faithfully using the King James Bible. We do not find many Christians who are Pauline dispensationalists. Thus, when we share those doctrines, we should never expect widespread endorsements. So what! We are not in a popularity contest. Remember, our endeavor is to please God rather than men (Galatians 1:10); we seek God’s praise (cf. John 12:43). We are servants of Jesus Christ not mortal man (Romans 6:22).

In today’s Scripture, what ordinal number do we see? “One millionth?” (No!) “Ten-thousandth?” (No!) “One-hundredth?” (No!) “Tenth?” (No!) Noah was “the eighth person!” That meant, after 120 years of preaching, he converted seven people: his wife, their three sons, and their three wives entered the Ark with him (Genesis 6:3,18; Genesis 7:7; Genesis 8:16). The rest of the human souls on Earth—perhaps a few billion—drowned. Wow!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How could God forbid Jeremiah to pray for His people?

The Echo Heard Round the World #5

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

“So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing” (1 Thessalonians 1:7,8 KJV).

Do you see the “echo” in today’s Scripture? (Do you see the “echo” in today’s Scripture?)

Paul and his ministry companions traveled to Thessalonica (a city in Macedonia) and they preached the Gospel of Grace to lead pagan idolaters to faith in Jesus Christ: “[9] For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; [10] And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”

Sadly, some people can hear or read the Gospel dozens of times and do nothing with it. If they do happen to believe it, they seldom have fruitful Christian lives that reflect their conversion. This was certainly not true of the newly-saved Thessalonian saints. They believed and their testimony spread throughout Macedonia (northern Greece) and Achaia (southern Greece). Verse 3 again: “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.” The “work of faith” was they had “turned to God from idols,” the “labour of love” was they went on to “serve the living and true God,” and the “patience of hope” was they were “wait[ing] for his Son from heaven.”

The message of God’s grace went forth from Paul and his ministry companions, and the Thessalonians “echoed” that message through their lifestyle. It was not an imitation of Christ’s life but a resounding of His life. Heathen souls in neighboring regions and elsewhere were hearing that echo, and they too were coming to the one living and true God, also laying aside their worthless idols. This was the occasion of Paul, Silas, and Timothy writing 1 Thessalonians. May our testimony, brethren, “echo” likewise! 🙂