by Shawn Brasseaux
Oftentimes, our preaching and teaching the King James Bible rightly divided seems like a waste of time. Most people—even professing Christians—do not want to hear us teach and preach sound Bible doctrine. Furthermore, Satan’s evil world system uses religion to blind their minds, causing lost people to stay unsaved (2 Corinthians 4:3,4) and Christians to remain confused and spiritually immature (2 Timothy 2:24-26). Dear saints and brethren who study the Bible dispensationally, it seems like we are fighting a losing battle, does it not? Is our Christian service really worth it? In this Bible study, we want to search the Holy Scriptures for the answer.
Paul writes of Aristarchus his “fellow-prisoner” (Colossians 4:10). Colossians 4:18 also indicates Paul is in prison while writing this letter: “Remember my bonds.” In Philemon 1:1,9, Paul writes that he is “a prisoner of Jesus Christ.” Epaphras is Paul’s “fellow-prisoner” (Philemon 1:23). Ephesians 3:1 says Paul is “the prisoner of Jesus Christ for [us] Gentiles.” Ephesians 4:1 says Paul is “the prisoner of the Lord.” In Ephesians 6:20, Paul admits that he is “an ambassador in bonds.”
The Apostle Paul, still in prison some years after writing the above epistles, wrote to Timothy, his beloved son in the faith. Let us consider some of the lines from Paul’s final epistle. Notice 2 Timothy 2:8,9 KJV:
“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 evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.”
Despite his frequent imprisonments and the horrible persecution he endured, our Apostle Paul faithfully preached the Gospel of the Grace of God (Acts 20:24). Was Paul wasting his time? Not at all, for Paul wrote “but the word of God is not bound.” Yes, Paul was physically incarcerated. For several years, he was bound in iron shackles and limited geographically. However, that was unimportant because Satan could not shackle God’s Word. Satan could keep God’s apostle to the Gentiles in physical bonds in an attempt to suppress Paul’s ministry. Nonetheless, try as he might, Satan could never prevent God’s Word from permeating the whole then-known world. According to the Bible, there were three positive outcomes of Paul’s imprisonment.
THE PENNING OF PAUL’S PRISON EPISTLES
Firstly, the Lord Jesus Christ allowed Paul to go to prison so he would be allowed time to write his prison epistles—Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon (some would also include 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus in this list). Had Paul never gone to prison, God would have never been able to slow Paul down so he could write those priceless letters. One positive outcome of Paul’s imprisonment was the penning of his prison epistles! This is one example to show that Satan’s plan had backfired.
THE SALVATION OF MEMBERS OF CAESAR’S PALACE
In the first century A.D., there was limited communication. Nevertheless, Paul wrote that the gospel had been preached “to every creature which is under heaven” (Colossians 1:23). While Paul was chained to Roman soldiers, he would preach to them the message of God’s grace to us in Christ Jesus. Once they would individually trust Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, then these soldiers would witness to others within Caesar’s palace. This is a second positive outcome of Paul’s imprisonment.
We pick that up from what Paul wrote in Philippians 1:12,13 KJV:
“12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
As Paul concludes his letter to the Philippians, he writes: “All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household” (4:22).
While in bondage in his miserable Roman prison cell, Paul was comforted by the fruit God’s Word was bearing… in his prison. Pagan Gentiles had been eternally saved in Christ Jesus, and they were beacons of God’s grace in this present evil world to others. God’s Word had transformed people’s lives literally from the inside out! We can only imagine how encouraged the aged Apostle was to see that, indeed, “the word of God is not bound.”
THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN BRETHREN
We read of a third positive outcome of Paul’s imprisonment by continuing in Philippians chapter 1: “13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; 14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
When saints would hear of the Apostle Paul’s imprisonment, they would “wax confident” and become “much more bold to speak the word without fear.” In other words, these saints reasoned, “Look at Paul in prison! If the grace of God enables him to endure it, let us go forth and boldly preach God’s grace. Even if we are imprisoned like Paul, the Lord will comfort us, as He does Paul. Moreover, God’s Word will spread in the prison where we will be confined.” By confining Paul to a Roman prison, Satan defeated himself! This is the wonderful wisdom of God.
THE WORD OF GOD PROSPERS
In Isaiah 55:10,11 KJV, the LORD said: “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
Just as rain and snow fall from heaven and water the earth, encouraging vegetation to sprout forth, so God’s Word bears fruit. God designed precipitation to regulate plant growth, and intended His Word to produce spiritual growth. We are sure that no matter how defensive or resistant someone is to hearing God’s Word, the King James Bible has the power to overcome Satan’s opposition and that most hardened heart.
Notice these references to God’s Word prospering during the first half of the first century A.D.:
- Acts 6:7 KJV: “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.”
- Acts 8:14 KJV: “Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:”
- Acts 11:1 KJV: “And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.”
- Acts 12:24 KJV: “But the word of God grew and multiplied.”
- Acts 13:44 KJV: “And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.”
- Acts 19:20 KJV: “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”
Paul wrote: “…The word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth much fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:” (Colossians 1:5,6). Let us never be discouraged when people reject us sharing the Bible with them. God’s Word will take care of itself… it always has, and always will…. prosper!
“God that giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:7).
THE WORD OF GOD (STILL) PROSPERS
Here we are, over a decade into the 21st century and close to two millennia removed from the Apostle Paul and the early days of the Church the Body of Christ. Within the past half-century, there has been a technological explosion in our world, mainly satellite television, the World Wide Web, and cellular phones.
In the Apostle Paul’s day, there may have been some 250 million people in the whole world. Today, the world population is fast approaching seven billion! If Paul and the early Christians could reach the then-known world with such limited communication, how much more could we, considering the advancements in communication technology? Consider the following:
- Did you know that the two largest satellite television providers in the United States have a combined total of 30 million subscribers? Think of the spiritual harvest of just those two outlets!
- Think of the myriads of newspapers and magazines circulating all around the world.
- Text messaging, online video chat rooms, and email have greatly reduced the public’s use of “snail mail.” Social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace have become increasing popular in recent years. Facebook has 800 million users!
- There could be as many as 108 million websites available via the internet! If you have a computer with internet, the entire world is literally “one click away.”
I often think about what Paul would say about today’s modes of communication. Paul and the early Christians never even dreamed of these forms of mass communication.
Every day, an innumerable amount of souls around the world hear bits and pieces of the Holy Scriptures and the Gospel of God’s Grace. The Holy Spirit uses that written Word to mightily work in those people, so they either accept it by faith or reject it in unbelief. Still, God’s Word gets out there, and it is bringing glory and honor to His name.
WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO REJECT THE BIBLE?
Why do some reject the Bible? Is it because God’s Word is not effectual? Is it something wrong with God’s Word? Not at all. If someone rejects the Bible in unbelief, or accepts the Bible by faith, God’s Word was effectual in that it caused both people to see their need for salvation. Even if someone rejects the Bible, it still gives God glory because it accomplished what He wanted!
In John 12:48, the Lord Jesus Christ declared, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”
If most will never trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, then why preach to them at all? Are we wasting our time by preaching salvation through Christ alone, since most of our audience will ultimately go to the everlasting lake of fire anyway (Matthew 7:13,14)?
Frankly, we know not who will ultimately trust in Christ and who will not. We simply preach the Gospel of the Grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) to everyone, and then let them choose to have faith in Christ or reject Christ. If they reject Christ, and most will, our preaching is still not a waste. As Jesus taught in John 12:48, the salvation message that lost people reject will be that which condemns them to hell at the Great White Throne Judgment!
God knew only eight people would be saved from the Great Flood, yet He still directed Noah to preach (Genesis 7:7; 2 Peter 2:5). Why? So the people who rejected God’s Word would be without excuse and justly condemned.
“Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him” (John 6:64). Jesus knew “from the beginning” that many Jews would completely ignore His preaching, so why did He preach? Firstly, to save anyone who would trust in Him, and secondly, so that He would fair in condemning those who rejected Him. Those who rejected Christ will be condemned by the very words that He preached… the very words they rejected! No one will argue with God, “I did not know” or “I never had a chance.”
The Apostle Paul admitted he would never convert many or most, just “some” (Romans 11:14; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:22). Even though God knew just a few people would believe His written Word, He still preserved it for the benefit of those who would believe it. Furthermore, God’s preserved Word and our preaching it will be used against the lost when they are ultimately judged.
So, even if people reject God’s Word, God’s Word still prospers in that it convicted them and showed them their need for God and His salvation that He has so graciously provided us in Christ Jesus! Whether people reject God’s Word, or accept it by faith, God’s Word still prospers and God’s Word “will stand forever.”
The prophet Isaiah wrote: (40:7-8): “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”
The Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:23-25 KJV:
“23 …the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever….”
Proverbs 19:21 KJV explains: “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” We read in Isaiah 46:9-11 KJV:
“9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.”
We read in 2 Corinthians 13:8: “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.” By faith in God’s Word, we can cooperate with God. Or, in unbelief, we can reject God’s Word. Regardless of what we do, the will of God will still be accomplished. We would do well if we placed our faith in God’s Word, showing our gratitude to Him for dying on the cross for us.
Finally, we read 2 Thessalonians 3:1 KJV: “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:” God’s Word “is not bound”—it will have “free course!”