The Grace Lifers
by Shawn Brasseaux
[11 July 2009]
As most of you know, I was a small child when I came to trust the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour (circa 1994-1995). For the next decade, my family and I did not have a stable local church. I grew up in religious denominational doctrine; my parents were saved in 1980, but they were not being taught correctly either. At the denominational churches where we went, we were fed men’s ideas instead of God’s Word. Upon my finding Les Feldick, an Oklahoman Bible teacher on television in early 2007, and Richard Jordan’s “Forgotten Truths” television program in late 2007, the Lord opened our eyes to “right division,” or dispensational Bible study. “Rightly dividing the Word of Truth” is the key to unlocking the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15).
For well over the past two years, I have learned how to rightly divide the Scriptures: to understand the distinctions that God has made in His Word. The Bible makes so much sense in light of dispensational Bible study—I finally know how to use my Bible!!! The sad reality is that so many poor church members are not being taught the Bible God’s way. Consequently, they are so confused, like my family and I once were. If you have never seen it before, please memorize 2 Timothy 2:15 as found in the King James Bible: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” But, why the King James Bible, you ask?
This verse is one of the most important Bible verses, so the devil has seen to it that it has been watered-down and diluted in most modern English Bibles like the NIV, NASB, NKJV, ESV, NRSV, et cetera. Most church members use these modern versions instead of the 1611 King James Bible, and they have been robbed of that important verse—no wonder most church members in America are so confused when it comes to the Bible. Pitiful! We have discussed this before in past articles, but if you are new to dispensational Bible study, or want more information, contact me.
Anyways, this past week, I had the pleasure of traveling to Oklahoma and personally meeting Brother Les for the third time (we have gone these past two summers). We went to the television studio where his programs are taped, and in a few weeks, those programs will be aired on national television (I will be seen with my parents in the studio audience!).
Les is just an ordinary man whom the Lord has used to teach nondenominational Bible classes. What great fellowship my parents and I had with Brother Les and his wife Iris at their home with two other believers! It feels good to be in the presence of Christians. It is even better to fellowship with grace believers who know about the importance of dispensational Bible study. They will not try to feed you something their church (or denomination) wants you to learn.
It is quite sad to know that right now, I have so many Christian brethren seeking to serve a denomination: I thought the Christian was to serve the Lord? These confused people have lost sight of the “revelation of the mystery,” and the only “Bible” they know is what their weekly Sunday School material says. How it breaks my heart that even when you confront these denominational Christians about dispensational Bible study, they call you a “troublemaker” or a “heretic.” But, again, how many times have I asked: “Since when does a heretic use God’s Word God’s way?” Are not those who refuse to use the Bible God’s way the heretics?
Why do you suppose denominational leaders do not want you to study your Bible dispensationally (“rightly divided”)? If you study and believe the Bible rightly divided, you begin to see that denominations are practicing and believing vain religious tradition—denominations are men’s ideas disguised as God’s Word. Once you learn about right division, you are a threat to denominations! They do not want you in their churches, for they fear you might expose them as hypocrites.
Now, I may step on some toes, and ruffle feathers, but I am not ashamed to admit that arC Ministries does not agree with the religious baloney that is being promoted today as God’s Truth. Denominationalism abuses and twists the Bible. We will humbly yet firmly stand on that premise. When we rightly divide the Scriptures as God instructed us, this is what we learn:
- Just as God sent Moses to Israel, He sent Paul to us Gentiles. Paul is the man that the ascended Lord Jesus Christ personally sent to the Gentile, non-Jewish world (Romans 11:13; Romans 15:16; 2 Timothy 1:11). We study and use the entire Bible, Genesis through Revelation, but our Gospel of Grace and our doctrine, duty, walk, and destiny as members of the Church the Body of Christ are only found in the Pauline epistles of Romans through Philemon.
- The Apostle Paul is God’s Word to us: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37). The Holy Spirit wrote through Paul: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). If we reject Paul’s epistles—and follow the Four Gospels, for instance—we reject God’s Word to us, and thus, we will be out of God’s will. Dispensational Bible study is that important, so ignoring the Bible’s dispensational layout and design is serious!!!!
- When we understand that Paul is our apostle, we begin to understand the Bible. For instance, rather than believing that we must tithe in order to get God’s blessings (as Malachi 3:8-11), we understand that we are not under an obligatory giving (tithing) system. The tithe was Old Testament Law to Jews, and Paul writes that in our dispensation, “ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14,15). We give money “willingly,” and rather than giving 10 percent tithes, we give the amount the Lord leads us to give (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
- There is one baptism today (Ephesians 4:5), but it is not water baptism (as religion teaches). Paul, our apostle, writes, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel…” (1 Corinthians 1:17). In 1 Corinthians 12:13, we learn: “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.” This is a supernatural baptism performed by the Holy Spirit, not some priest or preacher: the baptism of 1 Corinthians 12:13 is “the operation of God” (Colossians 2:12), not the operation of a preacher or priest.
- The King James Bible is the inspired and preserved Word of God in the English language. This author has researched that God’s pure Word cannot be found in most modern English Bible versions such as NIV, NASB, NRSV, NKJV, ESV, CEV, TEV/GNB, NEB, Living, Message, et cetera.
- The rapture is pre-Tribulation: it will occur before the seven-year Tribulation because the Church the Body of Christ has not replaced Israel. Israel is spiritually blinded today, fallen, and cast away (Romans 11:11,15,25). The Body of Christ will not go through the Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:10). We cannot mix Israel’s prophetic program (Acts 3:21) with our mystery program (Romans 16:25,26).
- Signs, miracles, and wonders belong to the nation Israel (1 Corinthians 1:22). Today, in the Dispensation of Grace, there are no “speaking in tongues,” miracle healings, visions, dreams, or angelic appearances because we have the completed and written Word of God (1 Corinthians 13:8-13). “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
- Repentance is not necessary for salvation, as found in Acts 2:38—that was God’s message to Israel (see verse 36). Repentance (change in mind) is a RESULT of salvation. Repentance was necessary in Israel’s Gospel of the kingdom (see Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:15), but this is not Paul’s Gospel of Grace of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. SALVATION IS BY FAITH WITHOUT WORKS (Romans 4:1-5; Ephesians 2:8,9)! Paul did not say, “Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
If you refuse to rightly divide the Scriptures, you will never get any of those doctrines straight, and your Christian life will not function efficiently. We will continue this Bible study next week.
The Grace Lifers II: Mirrors of God’s Grace
by Shawn Brasseaux
[18 July 2009]
As we discussed last week, God does not want “religious lifers,” He wants “grace lifers.” We Christians need to have a firm, intelligent understanding in His Word and a knowledge of “the revelation of the mystery,” the special ministry that He gave to the Apostle Paul. God wants Christians who are so ingrained in His truth that they are not easily led astray with false teaching. The Lord does not want us to be ignorant and untaught: we need to be firmly grounded in solid Pauline Bible truth so that we can then be able to teach others. Because of a lack thereof, the Church Body of Christ is greatly suffering. Spiritual confusion is everywhere, even in most “Bible-believing” churches! It is my responsibility as a servant of our Lord Jesus Christ to see to it that this never happens here. This week we will continue looking at the issue of the “grace lifers.”
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Again, how does one become a Christian? Simply stated, rest exclusively in Paul’s Gospel of Grace as found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV: “…how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” After God sees your faith in that Gospel alone, He seals you with His Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13), and you are an instant member of the Church the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13)! Faith in what God said is all that He is asking. Good works, repentance, and water baptism are not necessary for salvation in this the Dispensation of Grace.
Okay, now let us consider Titus 2:11,12 KJV: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” By God’s grace, He saved us; God’s grace will now teach us to live differently (to put away sin and walk in newness of life). We may not get to verbally tell everyone about Christ, but you have that testimony. Please do not live life carelessly; we have enough people bringing reproach to Christ’s name. You as a grace lifer are one of the few people God has to reach our lost world! Your lifestyle is the way that the lost world sees Christ.
As long as we “rightly divide” the Scriptures like we mentioned last week, we can see what God expects from us as “grace lifers.” Everything outside of Paul’s epistles is legalistic, associated with the nation Israel, the Mosaic Law, and Judaism. Thus, trying to practice the Mosaic Law will not be following the grace life. Following the prophetic program God has for the nation Israel will not cause you to lead the grace life. God sent Paul to us, so if we are to accept God, we are to accept God’s apostle to us (Matthew 10:40; John 13:20; Acts 9:15-16; Romans 11:13; Romans 15:16). Paul is the only apostle who gives us the instructions to living the grace life because God gave Paul the Dispensation of Grace. To ignore those Pauline epistles like most people have and replace them man’s ideas (or replace them with Old Testament Law-keeping) is to ignore God’s message to you.
As you study the whole Bible, but place more emphasis on the Pauline epistles, something awesome will happen when you believe (have faith in what you read). Your faith will prompt the Holy Spirit to take His Word and use it to transform your inner man, which will also affect your outer man (outward activity). The power that is in God’s Word will be unleashed, and His Word will “effectually worketh in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). This is Christ living His life in you. Galatians 2:20 says: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
God’s grace, not the Mosaic Law, is the way God teaches us what is right and what is wrong with behavior. Let us read Romans 6:4-11 KJV:
“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.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
As you believe God’s Word, the Holy Spirit transforms you day by day, from the inside outward: you think differently, you have different desires, and you act differently. How exciting! Look at Ephesians 4:22-24 KJV:
“22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteous and true holiness.”
Our old sin nature has been put to death with Christ (cf. Romans 6:6). We are living in the power imparted to us by the Holy Spirit now: this is the grace life God has purposed for us! We are not striving to please God anymore; God has now accepted us “in the beloved” (Christ Jesus) (Ephesians 1:6). Now that God has already accepted us, we should be willing to let Him work in and through us for His glory, and that will cause our lives to bring glory and honor to Him!
Now, understand that you cannot see the Holy Spirit working, so do not expect visible proof in your emotions or your experiences. The proof that God the Holy Spirit is working in you that believe is because the Bible says so, and this proof is sufficient. When the Holy Spirit is working in us, our lives will manifest the “fruit of the Spirit.” Let us examine Galatians 5:16-26 KJV:
“16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”
When we Christians do good works, we are simply walking in our new identity in Christ Jesus: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
Your neighbors, friends, and family will all notice the change in your behavior—after they make a lot of snide comments, you will hear very little from most of them. You have stopped the wild living: no more drugs, no more bars, no more walking the streets. You have seen the light of God’s grace, you have stepped into it by faith, and your old thinking patterns and lifestyle are gone. Hallelujah! 🙂 You have come into the grace life!!!
As a Christian, you have that indwelling Holy Spirit who convicts you when you sin. You love God’s Word; you recognize it as no ordinary book because you are now a new person after discovering its Truth! You look forward to assembling and fellowshipping with other Christians. You are not tied to any one group or denomination. You have no desire to adhere to some rigid set of legalistic guidelines that someone has laid out in religion. You experience the liberty of the Christian grace life—as Paul said in Galatians 5:1-6, free from the wages of sin and hellfire indeed, but free from religious bondage too! 🙂 As the Bible says in Galatians 6:14, be excited and “glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!” As members of the Church the Body of Christ, we are freed forever from sin, hell, and Satan!
Despite the tremendous amount of false teaching out there, we do not have to duped and misled. We can study God’s Word God’s way (dispensationally) and then tell others about these glorious Bible truths! Tell the lost world about that Gospel of Grace of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Share with the Christian brethren that “rightly dividing” (dispensational Bible study) is the key to unlocking the Scriptures as 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV says. God’s instructions to us are found in Romans through Philemon, but we also need the remaining 53 books of the Bible for background. Lead that grace life as laid out in the Pauline epistles by letting Christ Jesus live His life in and through you. Go contrary to the world’s culture. Be a mirror of God’s grace. Let the world see Christ living in you! Bring honor and glory to the Lord, and avoid that vile, careless lifestyle the world leads. You are an “ambassador for the risen Christ;” now, represent Him as His Word instructs. It is your reasonable service to serve the One who died for you, and gave Himself you. Read Romans 12:1,2 KJV: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Serving the Lord by letting Him live the grace life in you is the most rewarding life one can have. However, your fellow man will persecute you (inside, they respect you because you practice the lifestyle you tell them that God has for them!). They never liked Christ in the flesh, so they will not like Him living in you now. People will discourage you from living the grace life. They want you to live the carnal (worldly) and/or religious life of trying to “measure up” to God using religious duties. You just remember, you serve the Lord, not man, so you follow that grace life as God instructed, and let the denominations criticize you. Stand firm in your Pauline theology!
You will lose “friends” and you will lose popularity, but that is okay because Paul served the Lord and lost all his material possessions and family in the process! Peter and the eleven also left their former trades and lifestyles to follow Christ. WHO CARES IF WE LOSE EVERYTHING IN THIS LIFE FOR FOLLOWING JESUS CHRIST!!!! We have something far better in the heavenly places, so do not be caught up in losing anything here. Focus on the eternal, not the temporal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). You can also see Ephesians 1:16-23, Philippians 1:9-11, and Colossians 1:9-15.
Become a grace lifer, and I can promise you from experience, that you will never, EVER regret it! ;D
The Grace Lifers III: The Pneuma Hagion (Holy Spirit)
by Shawn Brasseaux
[25 July 2009]
As we open up our third and final installment of “The Grace Lifers,” maybe you are a new believer whose faith is resting completely and solely in Paul’s Gospel. Or, maybe you are a believer who had simply never been aware of the grace life you have been promised in Christ. In this final study about the grace lifer, we look at the Person of the Godhead Who is most often misunderstood and ignored: the Holy Spirit, or in the Greek the Pneuma Hagion (pneuma meaning “air/spirit;” hagion is the Greek word for “holy”).
The Holy Spirit opens a lost person’s understanding so they can come to salvation. But, to the Christian, the Holy Spirit becomes the Navigator: He leads us to God’s Truth, and turns us from error. The Holy Spirit is doing a number of things inside every believer, and He will carry out that work until “the day of redemption,” the day when the rapture happens and our physical bodies are redeemed (Ephesians 4:30; Philippians 1:6).
- THE HOLY SPIRIT INDWELLS AND SEALS THE BELIEVER. Once a person has genuine salvation by believing Paul’s Gospel, the Holy Spirit will instantaneously indwell that person; believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9, 11; Ephesians 1:13). “Christ [is] in us” in the Person of the Holy Spirit (Colossians 1:27; 2 Timothy 1:14). In the event of the believer’s death, the Holy Spirit will immediately usher the believer’s soul and spirit into the presence of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8).
- THE HOLY SPIRIT BAPTIZES US INTO ONE BODY. Genuine, Holy Spirit-indwelt believers have been “baptized” (this is not water baptism) into the Church the Body of Christ the moment they trust Jesus Christ as their Saviour (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Holy Spirit unifies all Christians because He has placed us into this one Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:3-6).
- THE HOLY SPIRIT ENABLES US TO LEAD THE GRACE LIFE. The Holy Spirit leads believers to live righteously in God’s sight. In time past, Israel had the Mosaic Law; today, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide us in the ways of God, and we are becoming more like Christ and less like ourselves (Romans 7:6; Romans 8:4,14,15; 2 Corinthians 3:6, 17,18; Galatians 2:20-21; Galatians 5:17,18; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 5:8,9,18; Titus 2:11-15).
- THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE “EARNEST” OF OUR INHERITANCE. The Holy Spirit is a witness to the Christian’s salvation: He confirms our salvation, “that we are the sons of God” (Romans 8:16-17). The Holy Spirit is the “earnest”—the King James’ word for “down payment” or “guarantee”—of our inheritance with Christ in the heavenly places (2 Corinthians 1:22; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:3,14).
- THE HOLY SPIRIT IS GRIEVED AND QUENCHED WHEN WE SIN. The Holy Spirit is saddened/grieved when we sin and go contrary to God’s working with us (Ephesians 4:30). As Paul wrote, “quench not the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19)—do not be rebellious but rather submit to His working in you. We will make mistakes when we follow our old sin nature, but we cannot let that discourage us from getting back up and trying to learn from those mistakes!
- THE HOLY SPIRIT CONNECTS US TO GOD THE FATHER. Through Christ, both Jews and Gentiles have access by the Holy Spirit unto God the Father (Ephesians 2:18; cf. Romans 8:26,27). The Holy Spirit is God, but by means of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we can go through Jesus Christ the Mediator, to reach God the Father.
- THE HOLY SPIRIT REVEALS GOD’S TRUTH TO US.The Holy Spirit, through Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, has revealed to us God’s Dispensation of Grace, and the “revelation of the mystery” (Ephesians 3:1-5). Had God the Holy Spirit not revealed these “mysteries”/secrets to us through His Word, we would have never known them in our otherwise natural, unsaved state (1 Corinthians 2:9-16).
- THE HOLY SPIRIT STRENGTHENS OUR INNER MAN. As we read, study, and have faith in God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will take His Word and strengthen our inner man (Ephesians 3:16). This promotes spiritual maturity—the more we grow spiritually, the stronger we grow in knowledge of the Scriptures. “The word of God… which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). This serves as a safeguard against false teaching, too (cf. Ephesians 4:11-16).
- THE HOLY SPIRIT PRAYS FOR US. As members of the Church the Body of Christ, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, praying for our needs that we cannot adequately express in words (Romans 8:26,27). We have both God the Son and God the Holy Spirit making intercession for us to God the Father.
*(Portions of this article have been excerpted from the original “Pneuma Hagion” study).
In closing the series, we cannot live the grace life “in the flesh,” in our own strength. We need “the power from on high,” the strength God imparts to us through His indwelling Holy Spirit. The Lord has equipped us as members of the Church, the Body of Christ, to handle life and all its accompanying troubles (Philippians 4:13). Certainly, we will have the struggles and burdens, but the Holy Spirit is with us. Remember, the entire Godhead is “for us, so who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
The Holy Spirit goes to work in our lives as we rest our faith in His Word to us. The Holy Spirit, not some church or denomination, has to guide our thinking. He has to transform our minds, so we can have an intelligent understanding of how God wants us to live. As “ambassadors for the risen Christ” having a good foundation in the Pauline epistles, we are capable of leading the grace life. Let the world scoff, ridicule, and scorn; you serve the Lord, and you only have to please Him! We live in the Dispensation of Grace, so let your life confirm it: FOLLOW THE GRACE LIFE!! … And if necessary, be willing to give up your physical life for the sake of living the grace life, too….