Hearing is Not Enough #3

Saturday, January 7, 2023

“And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word” (Luke 10:39 KJV).

Is hearing the Word of God enough?

Mary says nothing about Jesus’ power to raise her brother from the dead (John 11:32), although Martha indicates she believes Lazarus will live again through Christ (verses 21-27). While both women were Messianic Jews, their mortal weaknesses become evident when we study the Bible text. In today’s Scripture, Mary heard Jesus’ words while Martha was off preparing food for her special Guest! One lady was sidetracked, but eventually expressed spiritual wisdom (Martha). The other woman, although once listening to Jesus teach, ultimately was pessimistic and bitter (Mary). Their brother Lazarus was dead now, but Martha, unlike Mary, heard and believed sound doctrine.

Commenting on ancient Israel under Moses several centuries prior, Hebrews chapter 4, verse 2, relates: “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” Indeed, the Israelites in Egypt heard Moses and Aaron preach God’s words and saw them work miracles to confirm that Word throughout Exodus chapters 4–14. By the time the Jews crossed the Red Sea, they were singing sound Bible doctrine in chapter 15. They knew, unquestionably, the LORD had saved them from mighty Pharaoh and his formidable army, and He was now bringing them to His land (the Promised Land). Note especially Exodus 15:13,16-18: the “LORD’S house” is the land of Canaan, and they expected Him to live with them in a kingdom (see “Immanuel/Emmanuel,” “God with us,” in Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23, and Zechariah 8:23) once they arrived. They heard the Word, and (!) they (!) even (!) sang (!) it (!), but they did not believe it (Hebrews 4:2)!

Once Israel reached the Promised Land, their unbelief was made manifest. Read Numbers chapters 13 and 14 carefully. Heeding the advice of Satan’s messengers, Israel grew too discouraged to enter Canaan and the LORD God subsequently destroyed all those hundreds of thousands of unbelievers over the course of 40 years. Yea, “The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” Hearing the Word of God is not enough….

Hearing is Not Enough #2

Friday, January 6, 2023

“And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word” (Luke 10:39 KJV).

Is hearing the Word of God enough?

Re-read Martha’s profession of faith in John 11:21-27: “Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” Martha believes Jesus can raise her deceased brother.

Contrast this with Mary’s remarks in verse 32: “Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” There is nothing here along the lines of, “But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee…. I know that he shall rise again” (but these were Martha’s words in verses 22 and 24). Mary makes no comment about resurrection.

Again, remember today’s Scripture and its context, how Mary had sat at the Lord’s feet to learn His teachings, whereas Martha was preoccupied with worldly affairs. Yet, in John chapter 11, the woman who paid more attention to Christ (Mary) is now exhibiting less spiritual insight and more pessimism (negativity), and the lady who paid less attention to Him (Martha) is now demonstrating more spiritual insight and more optimism (positivity). Surely, they had listened to Jesus teach on many occasions (not just in Luke), but, regarding the application of Scripture to life, Martha (the “distracted” one) was more spiritually developed than Mary (the “listening” one!).

Doubtless, both Mary and Martha were saints, members of the Messianic Church, but, as we see with Mary, hearing sound Bible doctrine does not guarantee spirituality….

Hearing is Not Enough #1

Thursday, January 5, 2023

“And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word” (Luke 10:39 KJV).

Is hearing the Word of God enough?

Read today’s Scripture in context: “[38] Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. [39] And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. [40] But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. [41] And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: [42] But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Observe how Martha is busy in the kitchen while her sister Mary listens to the Lord Jesus teach. Mary is paying attention to important matters, but Martha is distracted and fretting over insignificant matters. We would expect, therefore, Mary to be more spiritually mature than Martha. However, something unusual is noted about them in John chapter 11. When Lazarus, their gravely ill brother, dies, the Lord comes to visit these two women. Martha is more receptive of Jesus, but Mary remains in the house. Read Martha’s profession in verses 21-27.

“[20] Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. [21] Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. [22] But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. [23] Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. [24] Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. [25] Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: [26] And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? [27] She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

Contrast this with Mary’s answer….

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. 🙂

The Price of Christ #2

Friday, April 8, 2022

“Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment” (John 12:3 KJV).

How much should Jesus Christ be worth in the eyes of Christians?

About six days before His crucifixion, Jesus is in Bethany, a town one or two miles (1.6 or 3.2 kilometers) southeast of Jerusalem. He has raised Lazarus from the dead just a short time earlier (John chapter 11), and they are holding a supper for Jesus there in Bethany (John 12:1-9). Lazarus’s sister Mary (cf. John 11:2) anoints Jesus’ feet as recorded in today’s Scripture.

Mary took a “pound” (roughly a pint or 0.5 liter) of the very intense aromatic essential oil “spikenard” and poured it onto Jesus’ feet. She then wiped His feet with her hair. (You can grasp Mary’s humility by remembering that sandaled feet that trod hot Middle Eastern sand were quite filthy, sweaty, and smelly. Can you imagine wiping your hair on those feet?)

Spikenard, whose plant derivative is still unknown, was just as the Bible says—“very costly.” In fact, when Judas—the thieving treasurer of the apostles—saw what Mary did, he bemoaned, “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” (John 12:5). Verse 6 says, “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” Judas just wanted the spikenard sold so he could pocket the money!

The word “pence” in our King James Bible means the Roman coins called denarii. A denarius was equal to one day’s wages, so 300 pence was roughly ten month’s wages (the denarius was originally worth the price of ten donkeys, so 300 pence was 3,000 donkeys!). Mary recognized the great value of the Lord Jesus Christ: He was worth far more than the mere 30 pieces of silver (three or four months’ wages) Judas later received for betraying Him. May we Christians value the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ, as much as Mary did!

Fret Not! #7

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Election Day 2020 is passed, but its drama continues.

The upcoming weeks will be quite interesting for our country. Whatever happens, whoever is ultimately declared president, the next four years will be challenging. Maybe the “fatal blow” has already been inflicted—maybe not. Only time will tell. In light of eternity, this is really but a minor issue.

No matter what shocking or distressing information we uncover in this life, Father God already knew about it. In fact, He is aware of every single scintilla of bad news. The curse of sin and Satan’s influence are literally universal. Nevertheless, God, with complete knowledge of all that is wrong, is not fretting. Why? He knows how it will ultimately be made right one day. We simply take the position of faith. Yea, we agree with Him!

Never forget Colossians chapter 1: “[16] For by him [the Son, Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. [19] For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; [20] And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

Through Christ’s shed blood, saints will occupy Earth’s governments and Heaven’s governments. Redeemed Israel will accomplish God’s purpose and plan in the Earth; the Church the Body of Christ will do likewise in the Heavenly Places. Evil will be dealt with, and permanently removed from creation. Hasten that wonderful day, Lord, hasten that wonderful day! 🙂

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

Fret Not! #6

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Election Day 2020 is passed, but its drama continues.

Today’s Scripture encourages us to worry about nothing. In our circumstances—good or bad—we can and should come to Father God in prayer. Whatever the case, we talk to Him in light of what we have read in His Word rightly divided, thereby giving us “the peace of God.” “Peace” is in the sense of tranquility, freedom from distress or anxiety. Our hearts (souls) and minds (spirits) will be guarded through Christ Jesus, the one and only Mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5).

Verily, verily, we live in a fallen world; the Bible calls it “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4). This is because Satan is called “the god [ruler] of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), Adam giving him possession of it back in Genesis chapter 3. Hence, he boasted to Christ in chapter 4 of Luke: “[5] And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. [6] And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. [7] If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. [8] And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

Ultimately, Jesus will indeed gain control of the world’s kingdoms—and He will not have to worship Satan! Revelation 11:15 says of that glorious future day: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” As touching the evil in the world, let us remember that it is only for a time. The Lord, when He is ready, will make things right. We take comfort in that.

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Fret Not! #5

Friday, November 13, 2020

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Election Day 2020 is passed, but its drama continues.

The Book of James comments: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). Romans 16:19 adds: “For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.”

Over the decades, especially here in the United States, the professing Body of Christ has gained quite a reputation for taking certain political positions. While this is not wrong in and of itself, Christians should be more familiar with spiritual truth than political platforms. We should be known first and foremost for our doctrinal positions—which are often shallow or nonexistent. As we read in Romans above, it is better to be more familiar with the truth than be experienced in error. After all, “[Jesus Christ] gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:…” (Galatians 1:4). We should have our priorities straight. Sound Bible doctrine, once emphasized, will guard us against the lies of this evil world system.

Like James says, this world is opposed to Almighty God. Thinking like lost people is not for Christians. Let us see 1 John chapter 2: “[15] Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. [17] And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

No matter what happens, we need to remember, “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Are we immune to heresy and apostasy?

Fret Not! #4

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Election Day 2020 is passed, but its drama continues.

One of the “Christian metaphors” in Scripture is that believers in Christ are soldiers. Read 2 Timothy chapter 2: “[3] Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. [4] No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” A soldier cannot afford to be caught up in civilian life because he is not a civilian! If he is not fully conscious of who he is (and who he is not), then he will be unable to adequately fulfill his purpose. In like manner, we cannot let this temporary world distract us from our identity in Christ.

It has been joked—and, yet, it is more tragic than comic—that when Jesus Christ returns to take His people home to Heaven, He will have to yank some of them twice. They will be so intertwined with this earthly life; it will be hard for them to leave it all behind. Entertainment, possessions, and friends… they will be disheartened and disappointed to see it all fade away. This is not the way it should be. Colossians chapter 3: “[1] If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. [2] Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. [3] For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. [4] When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”

As long as the Christian has “set [his or her] affection [focus, attention, attitude] on things above, and not on things on the earth,” that believer, when the Lord returns, will gladly forsake all that this world has to offer. Earth is not our home, and we are “just passing through….”

Fret Not! #3

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Election Day 2020 is passed, but its drama continues.

The Apostle Paul teaches in Titus 3:8: “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” “Careful” here is in the sense of thoughtful, attentive, concerned about. If we Christians must be anxious about something, Scripture says we should worry about maintaining good works! This is an ongoing process, a keeping on laboring in accordance with sound Bible doctrine.

Chapter 2 had already stated: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. [15] These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” The Bible encourages us also in Philippians 3:20,21: For our conversation 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 unto himself.”

We members of the Church the Body of Christ are destined for Heaven. Consequently, it is ever (!) so (!) important (!) we as believers in Jesus Christ not get attached to this world, preoccupied and overwhelmed with all its problems. Martha of long ago needed to learn that lesson, and the Lord corrected her. In like manner, through Pauline doctrine, He adjusts our thinking to see “[the] one thing [that] is needful….”

In order to bring you a special study tomorrow, we temporarily break from this devotionals arc….

Fret Not! #2

Monday, November 9, 2020

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6,7 KJV).

Election Day 2020 is passed, but its drama continues.

Consider the words of 1 Peter chapter 5, verses 6 and 7: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” Here, “casting” is throwing. It is the same idea as Luke 19:35, “And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.” The Apostle Peter’s admonition will impart immeasurable strength to Israel’s believing remnant suffering persecution under the Antichrist. Likewise, it is an insightful cross-reference to today’s Scripture, that we may benefit.

Read Luke 10:38-42 again, noting the words “not care” of verse 40: “[38] Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. [39] And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. [40] But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. [41] And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: [42] But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” When the Bible says God “careth” for us, this would be in stark contrast to Jesus not being concerned with Mary leaving Martha (most insignificant!).

We are bound to time and space, so it is natural for us to see things from a “here-and-now perspective.” Unless we are using renewed spiritual minds, we will place great emphasis on temporary matters. Yet, if we take the position of faith, we will throw our minor worries onto the Lord. Released from those burdens, we are free to worry about something—yea, some things—of eternal worth. Let us see what they are….