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. 🙂

Heathen Churches #4

Friday, August 5, 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 Spirit’s commentary on Israel’s 10 northern tribes: “And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them. And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove [shrine], and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal [an idol]” (2 Kings 17:15,16). These sins resulted in their being taken away in judgment via the Assyrian Captivity.

About the two tribes of the Southern Kingdom (Judah), the Prophet Jeremiah penned: “Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good” (Jeremiah 10:1-5). Do you happen to know of any trees decorated with “silver and gold” for religious purposes? The Bible calls it heathenism, not Christianity!

“Images,” shrines, and “idols” are aids to worship in heathenism. “The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands” (Psalm 135:15). “And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone [idols] (Ezekiel 20:32). Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Heathen Churches #3

Thursday, August 4, 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!

Heathen also pray. Therefore, praying in and of itself is no automatic indication a person is a Christian. We ponder this excerpt from the Sermon on the Mount: But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:7,8).

In Christ’s day, the “heathen” (Gentiles, nations) recited prayers that were nothing but “vain repetitions.” Over and over and over and over and over again, these idolaters begged their deities (gods and goddesses) to intervene and give them this or give them that. They were under the impression that repeating something constantly would increase the likelihood of a “higher power” taking notice and helping them by answering their prayers. It was such mindless, mechanical, empty behavior that the speech was spiritual gibberish or babblings. The Lord Jesus instructed His followers that this was not how His Heavenly Father operated and it was not how He wanted them to function either.

We must always remember the religious or belief systems in existence today (except Judaism and Christianity), in their most basic form, can be traced back to the Tower of Babel in Genesis chapter 11. Consequently, the “vain repetitions” of Christ’s earthly ministry are with us even now. They have existed for millennia in Eastern or Oriental religions—and they are known as “breath prayers” (essentially, mantras or chants). When Roman Catholicism was being developed during the three or four centuries after Christ, these breath prayers influenced the institution of the rosary, a series of elaborate petitions and adulations meant to influence a “higher power” through habitual recital. Ignorant Protestants, while not accepting the rosary, nevertheless also practice similar “breath prayers” to some degree at times (for instance, “Jesus, I love you, Jesus, I love you;” or, “Praise God, Praise God, Praise God”). Yes, it is controversial. It is also heathenism in “Christian” churches….

A Storm Is Coming! #4

Friday, June 26, 2020

“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26,27 KJV).

Storms are a common theme in the prophetic Scriptures, but rarely is their connection recognized and their inclusion understood. If we are to appreciate them as Almighty God intended, we must delineate and examine their respective passages.

In chapters 8 and 9 of Matthew, we read of 10 specific miracles the Lord Jesus performed to substantiate the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5–7). Let us now notice the fourth miracle, as found in chapter 8: “[23] And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. [24] And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. [25] And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. [26] And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. [27] But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”

While Jesus and His disciples are traveling eastward in a boat, there arises an enormous storm in the Sea of Galilee. Since the waves violently crash onto and into the ship, the disciples fear it will sink and kill them. Jesus, fast asleep, appears to be unaware or unconcerned. They frantically wake Him up and relay the news—they are all soon to die! He labels them as men of “little faith” (verse 26), seeing as to He had already told them they would “depart unto the other side” (verse 18). They certainly would not perish, for they were bound to land on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. He, the Creator, speaks to still the winds and sea. All is now peaceful, as a third precedent is set….

A Storm Is Coming! #3

Thursday, June 25, 2020

“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26,27 KJV).

Storms are a common theme in the prophetic Scriptures, but rarely is their connection recognized and their inclusion understood. If we are to appreciate them as Almighty God intended, we must delineate and examine their respective passages.

When concluding His magnificent Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5–7), the Lord Jesus put forth the Parable of the Wise Man and Foolish Man: “[24] Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: [25] And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. [26] And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: [27] And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. [28] And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: [29] For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”

Christ provided two alternatives. Firstly, His audience could hear His words and do them, or, secondly, they could hear His words and not do them. The former is the walk of faith, that which the wise man takes; the latter is the walk of unbelief, that which the foolish man takes. Jesus had just given them three chapters of doctrine. The Principles of the Kingdom were not hidden but fully known to His disciples. Above all, in light of the Kingdom, a most destructive storm was coming! Therefore, He firmly counseled His Jewish listeners to be ready—lest they be destroyed when that tempest finally arrived….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How could Jonah flee from God’s presence?

Wise or Foolish? #7

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:…. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand…” (Matthew 7:24,26 KJV).

Dear friends, are we wise—or foolish?

Contrary to popular belief, the Gospel message preached in Christ’s earthly ministry was not our message. Jesus dying for people’s sins was not their good news; nevertheless, God had words for them to believe. In an abbreviated form, it is, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). Jesus Himself preached it in Matthew 4:17. Matthew 9:35 summarizes, “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” This is not “the Gospel of the Grace of God,” the title of the message we preach today (Acts 20:24; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

Matthew 16:15,16 summarize the heart of the Gospel of the Kingdom: “[Jesus] saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” There is nothing here about Calvary (Jesus dying for sins). Contrariwise, it is all about who He is—He is Christ/Messiah, God’s Anointed One, Israel’s King (John 1:41,49). It is not about what He will do (as in the crosswork), but rather who He is. These believers are safe from being deceived when (counterfeit) Antichrist arises.

Jesus Christ is “the Rock” of the Bible, the sure foundation (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Peter 2:3-8; 1 Corinthians 3:11). However, if we fail to build on Him, it will be a disaster (cf. today’s Scripture). There will be such dissatisfaction if we neglect to see Jesus Christ according to the preaching of the revelation of Paul’s mystery (Romans 16:25,26). Furthermore, beyond our dispensation, those who accept Antichrist when he is revealed will be disappointed after they see the ruin and misery he brings them. As Christ said Himself, they are deceived, debilitated, and great will be their fall—eternally damned!

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. 🙂

Wise or Foolish? #6

Monday, February 4, 2019

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:…. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand…” (Matthew 7:24,26 KJV).

Dear friends, are we wise—or foolish?

In Israel’s prophetic program and our mystery program, having the right doctrine is essential. Without sound Bible doctrine, we will fall for Satan’s lie program. Millions of confused people currently attend “Christian” church services. They could not identify the truth if their lives depended on it. Millions upon millions more—those in the world religions—do not use the Holy Bible at all. If anyone is using Scripture, it is often not handled dispensationally. Dear friends, it is not enough to have Bible doctrine; it is much more important to have sound Bible doctrine.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). We must, must, must (!) rightly divide God’s Word—making the distinctions that He Himself has already made. Therefore, Paul spoke of himself as “a wise masterbuilder” (1 Corinthians 3:10), and warned us to be careful what we build into our inner man. If it is not God’s wisdom for this dispensation, His knowledge for this dispensation, His understanding for this dispensation, then it is not applicable to this dispensation. The Lord Jesus Christ gave to the Apostle Paul “the Dispensation of the Grace of God,” and he gave it to us Gentiles (Ephesians 3:2). If we disregard Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, we will be just as unwise as the foolish man of today’s Scripture. We will be susceptible to Satan’s wiles, his tricks, designed to fool us.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ cautioned His audience concerning false prophets. We have many such liars in our midst even now—people who claim to be speaking for the God of the Bible, but they are not. Their words do not match Paul’s inspired writings. May we rather be like the wise man of today’s Scripture, who built on the things Jesus Christ spoke to him….

Wise or Foolish? #5

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:…. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand…” (Matthew 7:24,26 KJV).

Dear friends, are we wise—or foolish?

Scripture speaks of six spiritual building materials or types of information we can store in our inner man. First Corinthians chapter 3: “[10] According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. [11] For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. [12] Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; [13] Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. [14] If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. [15] If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

Of course, as in the physical world, so it is in the spiritual world. Gold, silver, and precious stones are noncombustible, rare, and valuable. This first triad is spiritual wisdom, spiritual understanding, and spiritual knowledge—which very few Christians have. Spiritual health and strength are found therein (which explains the multitudes of feeble believers).

Wood, hay, and stubble are flammable, plentiful, and little worth. This second triad is empiricism, tradition, and intuition: this abounds in more hearts and minds than anything else. This second class of materials leads to spiritual weakness and incapacity. First Corinthians chapter 2, verse 9: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

In today’s Scripture, Jesus Christ provided an illustration of such spiritual stability and spiritual instability….

NOTE: If you so desire, you may refer to our (archived) Super Bowl devotional.

Wise or Foolish? #4

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:…. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand…” (Matthew 7:24,26 KJV).

Dear friends, are we wise—or foolish?

Regardless of the dispensation, failing to rely on God’s Word by faith results in spiritual injury. Ephesians 4:14: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;….” The Apostle Peter concurred, “[Paul’s epistles]…which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). Ignorant and vulnerable souls, “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine,” “wrest” or distort God’s words. It was true in Christ’s day, Paul’s day, Peter’s day, and is certainly of our own day!!

Concerning Israel’s prophetic program, there is an end-time period of testing or separation—“the Tribulation,” or “Daniel’s 70th Week.” It is the storm of today’s Scripture. This test’s standards are recorded quite plainly in the Book of 1 John. A Jew who fails to trust the words of Jesus Christ as spoken in Matthew through John, automatically sets himself up for deception and displeasure during the end-times.

Paul provides details in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2: “[8] And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: [9] Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, [10] And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. [11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: [12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

Many such people even today will find themselves tricked and disappointed….

Wise or Foolish? #3

Friday, February 1, 2019

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:…. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand…” (Matthew 7:24,26 KJV).

Dear friends, are we wise—or foolish?

Wherever the God of the Bible is working, Satan is nearby frustrating it. As Jesus Christ was gathering Israel’s believing remnant during the Books of Matthew through John, the Devil was working just as diligently to produce an imitation nation that appeared genuine. Prior to closing the Sermon on the Mount with today’s Scripture, the Lord Jesus said:

“[15] Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. [16] Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? [17] Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. [18] A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. [19] Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. [20] Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

“[21] 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. [22] 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? [23] And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

There were religious liars in Israel, pretenders who appeared to be serving God. What mattered, first and foremost, was the content of the message they preached. Did it fit the words of Jesus Christ? Their deeds—no matter how “miraculous”—are actually called “iniquity” (evil!) and Christ says He never had any intimate relationship with them. Contrary to their claims, they were not serving Him. The storm would expose these fake “believers” and their followers….

Bible Q&A #575: “Why do the good die young while the wicked are granted longevity?