The Flesh Straineth, Christ’s Love Constraineth

September 16, 2012

by Shawn Brasseaux

On what basis does the Christian life operate? The average church replies, “By keeping the Ten Commandments.” While God’s Word explicitly maintains that the Mosaic Law is “holy, and just [right before God], and good” (Romans 7:12), there is a problem—we are incompatible with God’s Law because we are naturally unholy, unjust, and bad! In this Bible study, we want to remind ourselves, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me….”

* * *

We can attempt to obey all Ten Commandments, but ultimately, we fail (sin) at some point. James 2:10 KJV explains: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” If we so much as break one commandment of God, the Bible says that we are guilty of breaking every commandment of God. Does that sound like the life God wants for us Christians? A life of constant failure and complete misery? Then why do so many churches emphasize this type of “Christian” living? It is a failure to appreciate the Word of God dispensationally, negligence to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).

There was a time—“time past” (Ephesians 2:11)—when God instructed Israel to keep the Mosaic Law. He promised to bless them if they obeyed all of His laws, but He also swore that He would curse them if they refused to follow His laws (see Leviticus chapter 26 and Deuteronomy chapter 28). This was the religion of Judaism, a strict set of rules that governed every facet of the Jews’ daily behavior.

Religion is analogous to running on a treadmill—you had better keep moving or you will wipeout! There are literally billions of souls burdened, firmly shackled, by religious works. They strain to please God, hoping that He will accept their performance. Their religious system reassures them, “Just follow our instructions, and God will be happy with you and you will reach heaven.” What a devil’s lie, straight from hell!!

Unfortunately, not only are these lost people bound by religion, but many true Christians (those who have trusted Jesus Christ alone for salvation) believe they have to live the Christian life, that they must work to “keep fellowship with God.” Christendom abounds with this legalism: “If you want to receive God’s favor and blessings, you must give more, pray more, confess more, come to church more, quit doing ___ and start doing ___.” Again, this flawed theology is derived from a failure to understand the Bible dispensationally.

Yes, God did deal with Israel via the Mosaic Law. He did instruct them to keep His commandments so they could receive His favor and blessings (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28). However, our apostle, Paul, writes, in our Dispensation of Grace, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14). Dispensational Bible study (Pauline dispensationalism) enables us to see that God—in the “but now” (Ephesians 2:13)—has abolished Israel’s performance-based acceptance system (religion) and He has replaced it with His Christ-based acceptance system (grace). Our performance is not the issue today—Christ’s performance is. Our performance is not the basis for our Christian life—Christ’s performance is.

God is not dealing with us as He dealt with Israel in time past: we are under grace, not law. Attempting to follow Israel’s Law program will only cause sin to dominate us. God’s grace-based acceptance system involves us placing our faith in Paul’s epistles, letting Christ Jesus live His life in and through us, making our Christian life pleasing to God. We would do well to memorize, meditate on, and believe the following verses, a wonderful encapsulation of the Christian life: “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

In Romans chapter 7, the Apostle Paul discussed how he strained to perform the Christian life. He struggled to do right, but he would only sin instead:

“15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would [that is, wish to do], that do I not; but what I hate, that do I….
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would [that is, wish to do] I do not: but the evil which I would [that is, wish to do] not, that I do….
21 I find then a law, that when I would [that is, wish to] do good, evil is present with me”

Paul is a saved man, “delighting in the law of God after the inward man” (verse 22). However, he writes:

“23 But I see another law in members [body parts], warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”

Frankly, it is impossible for us weak, sinful creatures to live the Christian life. Galatians 5:17 KJV reminds us: “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” (cf. Romans 7:15,18,19,21). Paul finally realized that struggling under the Mosaic Law—his performance—only genders defeat and misery. Only Jesus Christ can live the Christian life: it is His life! We have victory, not in our performance, but in Christ’s performance (verse 25). Romans 8:1-4 KJV, the verses following, explain:

“1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

God the indwelling Holy Spirit fulfills the Law in us Christians! This saved Paul—and saves us—from misery and defeat, our struggling to live the Christian life. We need not keep the burdensome Mosaic Law; the Holy Ghost fulfills it in us as we walk by faith in God’s Word to us!

Galatians 5:13-18 KJV supplements:

“13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
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.”

The Holy Spirit leads us today, and this means we are not under the Law (verse 18). When we “walk in the Spirit,” allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us, we will not sin (that is, we will not “fulfil the lust of the flesh”)

For nearly 1,600 years (Moses to Paul), Israel strained to keep the Mosaic Law. Unlike their heathen (Gentile) neighbors, the Jews had the Law of God, and other advantages (Romans 9:4,5; cf. Ephesians 2:11,12). Despite their privileged position, however, they were just as sinful as the Gentiles (non-Jews). Hence, the Gentiles observed that “God’s” people, Israel, acted just as shamefully as they did (Romans 2:17-29)!

Sinful Israel broke this Old Covenant (Mosaic Law), thus necessitating the institution of the (future) New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:7-13). If Israel, sinful sons of Adam that they were, could not keep the Mosaic Law, should we Gentiles fare any better, also being sinful sons of Adam? I trow (think) not (1 Corinthians 10:1-14)!

Actually, when believing, Law-keeping Jews (saved in Israel’s program) demanded that Paul’s Gentile believers (saved in our program) keep the Mosaic Law to be saved (Acts 15:1-5), the Apostle Peter asked (verse 10): “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” Law-keeping is a burden, for no sinner can bear it!

The Apostle Paul reaffirms that Mosaic Law-keeping is a “a yoke of bondage:” Law-keeping is impossible for us sinful creatures, and this performance-based acceptance system makes void (cancels) God’s grace-based acceptance system which is in operation today in our Dispensation of Grace. When legalists (Law-keeping Jews) tried to subvert the Galatian believers by telling them to keep the Mosaic Law for salvation, Paul warned them in Galatians 5:1-4 KJV:

“1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.
4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”

If we attempt to make ourselves acceptable to God by doing “good” works, then we ignore Christ’s perfect, finished crosswork on Calvary (the only means whereby we can be—and ultimately are—made acceptable to God, for only Jesus Christ will ever please God; Matthew 3:17). By struggling to live the Christian life (Law-keeping), we render useless Calvary’s impact on our lives, never allowing Jesus Christ to live His life (because we are too busy trying to live it).

Unlike Judaism, and contrary to popular belief, Christianity is not a system of rules and regulations. The Christian life is not us trying to “measure up” to please God—that is impossible. Once God proved that sinful mankind could never keep His Law perfectly, He introduced through the Apostle Paul’s ministry the wonderful system we now enjoy: His grace-based acceptance system, where Henot ourselves—will make us acceptable in His sight and accepted in His Son, Jesus Christ!

God, Jesus Christ, “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:7,8). Jesus Christ was obedient to His heavenly Father, declaring, “…the Father hathnot left me alone; for I do always those things that please him(John 8:29bc; cf. Isaiah 50:5,6). His Father, God, affirmed: “This is my beloved Son: in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17).

On Calvary’s cross, the blood of God’s perfect, only begotten Son, was shed for our sins! “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just [Jesus Christ had a right standing before God] for the unjust [we had a sinful standing before God]” (1 Peter 3:18).

We, as people who have trusted in Christ’s finished crosswork—His bloodshed, death, burial, and resurrection—alone as sufficient payment for our sins, are made acceptable in God’s sight and are accepted in His Son. Jesus Christ’s performance not only saved us from our sins, but His performance also makes our daily lives acceptable to God our Father.

In Colossians 2:6,7, we read: As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” How did we “receive Christ Jesus the Lord?” By our works? NO! By faith in His finished crosswork on Calvary. How does our Christian walk function? By our works? NO! By faith in His finished crosswork on Calvary.

Sinful mankind could never please God, so God did for mankind what he could never do for himself: pay for his sins in full. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure [perhaps] for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).

This love—the love of God, “the love of Christ,” not our (feeble) love for Christ—forms the basis for our Christian life, and it “constrains” (empowers, motivates) us (2 Corinthians 5:14). Jesus Christ loved us enough to die for our sins, be buried, and be raised again the third day to make us (positionally) accepted before God (justification). “We thus judge [conclude]” that we Christians should allow Christ’s love for us to work in and through us by means of His indwelling Holy Spirit, as we walk by faith in an intelligent understanding of His Word to us (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon), thereby making our lifestyles (practically) acceptable to God (practical sanctification).

As people who have trusted Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection alone as sufficient payment for our sins, Christ’s righteousness—His perfect performance—has been applied to our account (imputation). We have a right standing before God (justification): “we [have been] made the righteousness of God in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We Christians need not strain to perform in religion, seeking God’s favor and acceptance. God already accepts us in Christ, because of what He did for us on Calvary’s cross! “God hath made us accepted in the beloved [Jesus Christ]” (Ephesians 1:6).

We are not under the Mosaic Law (Romans 6:14,15), but God still cares how we live. Once we understand and rest in God’s great love for us (His sacrifice of His Son on our behalf), it transforms our thinking (today’s Scripture). Since God loves us so much, we Christians should not selfishly live our lives, doing whatever we want. We should, by faith, offer our lives to Him so He can accomplish His will in and through us. As one Christian brother says, “Jesus Christ gave His life for us, so He could give His life to us when we trust Him alone, so He could live His life through us when we trust Him alone!”

Our Christian service is us studying and believing sound Pauline Bible doctrine, and then us letting the indwelling Holy Spirit use that doctrine to work in us (1 Thessalonians 2:13) to generate “the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, unto the praise and glory of God” (Philippians 1:11). These “fruits of righteousness” are Christ living His live in us, conforming our lifestyles to our position in Him.

“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. I do not frustrate [hinder, disrupt] the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:20,21). We could not achieve righteousness (salvation) by our performance, and we cannot achieve righteousness (godly living) by our performance. If our performance was ever the issue (for salvation or godly living), “Christ is dead in vain [is (present tense) dead for nothing].”

Our Christian lives are really Christ’s life! “Christ liveth in me.” We live by His faithfulness, by His performance working in us. Compare “the Son of God… who loved me, and gave himself for mewith 2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV: “the love of Christ constraineth [motivates] us… [Christ] died for all… [Christ] died for all… [Christ] died for them.”

 

 

CONCLUSION

God’s grace—everything that He has done for us on Calvary’s cross—teaches us: “Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly [responsibly], righteously [acceptable to God], and godly [reflecting God’s values]” (Titus 2:11,12 KJV).  We who have trusted Christ are “new creatures in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our lives should reflect this new position/identity. God died to save us from our sins, so why should we return to them? We should let Christ Jesus live His life in and through us, “to prove that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2 KJV). We do this by placing our faith in this sound Bible doctrine, which God uses to transform our minds, and then our lives!

“The flesh (always) straineth, Christ’s love (always) constraineth….”


Lest Satan Should Get an Advantage of Us

August 5, 2012

by Shawn Brasseaux

We as Pauline dispensationalists need to know who our adversary is, and who our adversary is not. In this Bible study, we will learn how Satan divides us, the grace believers, and how to prevent him from “getting an advantage of us.”

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Even someone with a shallow understanding of the Bible knows that there is a battle between good and evil, between God and Satan. The devil and his fallen angelic cohorts are warring against God and His children, the Christians. Satan has employed perhaps the oldest military strategy—“divide and conquer”—in order to make the Christian army weaker and more susceptible to defeat.

For instance, the Church the Body of Christ can be divided into two groups: the denominationalists comprise the vast majority, while the Pauline dispensationalists constitute only a very small percentage. The denominationalists are segmented into thousands of groups, all of which claim to be “Christian.” Satan has the denominationalists under his influence because they do not understand the Bible dispensationally. They do not know what God is doing today, so they cannot do God’s will for their lives (they do not know what God’s will even is for this, the Dispensation of Grace). Fragmenting the Body of Christ into thousands of denominations, and the resulting confusion, is one of Satan’s ways of conquering God’s people.

With the denominationalists sidetracked by church tradition, we, the Pauline dispensationalists, are of particular interest to the devil’s tactics, for we know how to use God’s Word, the Bible, God’s way, and we serve as a threat to Satan’s agenda. Because we study the Bible and we know how to use it to find the answers that Satan and religion often obscure, the devil is usually unsuccessful in deceiving the local grace church with denominational doctrine. If he cannot infiltrate our local grace church with denominational teaching, then Satan will use our flesh to divide local grace church and thus discredit the message it proclaims and defends.

Let us consider 2 Corinthians 2:10,11 KJV, “To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

The Corinthians and the Apostle Paul had forgiven someone. Who was this individual, and why was it necessary for the Christian brethren to forgive him? When Paul wrote the epistle of First Corinthians, he addressed nearly a dozen issues that disrupted Christian fellowship and hindered spiritual growth in Corinth. The problem associated with 2 Corinthians 2:10-11 is described in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 KJV:

“1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

A Christian brother in Corinth was having sexual relations with his father’s wife, an act that not even the pagan Gentiles committed! Unfortunately, the Corinthians were bragging of this sin, making light of it, and Paul’s solution was to temporarily cast out the man from fellowship, which would hopefully bring him to his senses, and cause him to change his lifestyle:

“9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.”

Now, in Second Corinthians, a year or so has passed since the penning of First Corinthians. Evidently, the Corinthians had heeded Paul’s instructions by having nothing to do with the fornicator, and Paul now tells them how to go about restoring the brother to fellowship. Read 2 Corinthians 2:6-8,10,11 KJV:

 “6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
8 Wherefore I beseech you that you would confirm your love toward him….
10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

This brother had now straightened up, so the Corinthians were to forgive him, accept him, and show their love toward him, lest Satan would use bitterness and strife to further divide these Christians. Saints, we must never be ignorant of Satan’s “devices,” tactics he uses to thwart the ministry of the local grace church. May we forgive, and not “give place to the devil” by holding grudges or being bitter. Let us compare that to Ephesians 4:20-32 KJV:

“20 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
21 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 righteousness and true holiness.
25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27 Neither give place to the devil.
28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour [shouting, demanding, uproar], and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Our sin nature—our “old man”—has been crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6). Grace teaches us to “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, that we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11,12 KJV). Sin does not rule us anymore: Jesus Christ has given us victory to deny sin so that is does not control us. In Christ, we can walk pleasing to the Lord, fulfilling His will.

We are to be “renewed in the spirit of [our] mind” (Ephesians 4:23 KJV). Romans 12:2 KJV affirms, “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.” And Colossians 3:8-10 KJV:

“8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”

When we study and believe the Pauline Bible doctrine that discusses our identity in Jesus Christ—that is, when we walk by faith in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to us (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon)—then God’s Word will transform our minds for His glory (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

Returning to opening Bible passage, which mentioned forgiving a Christian brother, so that Satan would not get an advantage of the Christians (2 Corinthians 2:10,11). In Ephesians 4:26,27 KJV, we read something similar: “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil.” There is nothing sinful about anger, if this anger is righteous and if this anger does not lead you to commit sin (cf. Matthew 5:22; Mark 3:5). It is when you do not control your anger—that is, you allow it generate bitterness and strife—that Satan will use this to isolate you from the grace saints, and vice versa. Forgiveness is necessary, especially within the confines of the local grace church, or the ministry of the church will be hindered, and it will risk the credibility of the church. This is why we read the Bible’s passages warning against bitterness and strife.

Ephesians chapter 4 concludes with: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour [shouting, demanding, uproar], and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (verses 31,32).

CONCLUSION

Saints, we must never be ignorant of Satan’s “devices,” tactics he uses to thwart the ministry of the local grace church. May we forgive, and not “give place to the devil” by holding grudges or being bitter. Let us understand that God has already forgiven us in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ. Now, that forgiveness that we have received from God is our motivation to forgive others (Ephesians 4:32). Satan is our enemy, not our grace brethren.


Father: A Godly Man

June 17, 2012

by Shawn Brasseaux

Today is Father’s Day, so we dedicate this Bible study to godly men (specifically fathers).

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WHAT KING SOLOMON WROTE ABOUT FATHERS/MEN OF GOD

The book of Proverbs uses the phrase “my son” nearly two-dozen times. This is because Proverbs contains many sayings spoken from a parent’s perspective (either by David, or Solomon, and Solomon’s mother’s comments about the godly wife). Notice a few of these proverbs written by a father:

“My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:…. My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not…. My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:” (Proverbs 1:8,10,15 KJV).

Proverbs 2:1-5 KJV says:

“1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.”

 

Proverbs 3:1,2,19-23 KJV:

“1 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee….
19
The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.
20 By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.
21 My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:
22 So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.”

“Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many…. My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings” (Proverbs 4:10,20 KJV).

“My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: that thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge” (Proverbs 5:1,2 KJV).

“My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:” (Proverbs 6:20 KJV).

“My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye” (Proverbs 7:1,2 KJV).

Proverbs 23:22,24,25 KJV:

“22 Hearken unto thy father that begat thee….
24 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.
25 Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.”

“My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways” (Proverbs 23:26 KJV).

“A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent” (Proverbs 15:5 KJV).

“The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother” (Proverbs 10:1 KJV).

Just as Proverbs records instructions that fathers give to their children, Proverbs instructs fathers to discipline their children when their children refuse to obey their father’s instructions.

A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke…. He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Proverbs 13:1,24 KJV).

“Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying” (Proverbs 19:18 KJV).

Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell” (Proverbs 23:13,14 KJV).

“My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: for whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth” (Proverbs 3:11,12 KJV). (God repeats this to Israel in Hebrews 12:5-11).

Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul” (Proverbs 29:17 KJV).

 

WHAT THE APOSTLE PAUL WROTE ABOUT CHRISTIAN FATHERS/MEN

Bishops and deacons were to be model citizens, men of exceptional character and actions. Notice what God through the Apostle Paul had to say about bishops and deacons, especially their fatherhood, as noted in 1 Timothy chapter 3 KJV:

“2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)….
12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.”

Compare that to Titus 1:5-9 KJV:

“5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

And finally Titus chapter 2 KJV:

“1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience….
6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.”

As the above passages teach, bishops and deacons—and all Christian fathers in general—need to discipline their children. Christian husbands-fathers are ordained of God to be spiritual leaders of the household. Ephesians 6:4 agrees with what Solomon wrote earlier: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Compare to Colossians 3:21 KJV: “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”

On one hand, the Christian father is to “bring [his children] up in the nurture of the Lord.” “Nurture” is simply defined as “caring for and encouraging their growth or development.” All too often, fathers (sadly) ignore this, usually being too rough, or even, apathetic (unconcerned). On the other hand, the Christian father is to “bring [his children] up in the admonition of the Lord.” “Admonition” is simply defined as “authoritative counsel or warning.” He is to lovingly guide them in life, instructing them from God’s Word rightly divided.

And finally 1 Thessalonians 2:11 KJV: “As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,….” Again, a father is to be both a leader of his children and an encouragement to his children: he is neither a tyrannical monster nor an unconcerned parent. He lovingly teaches his children the things of God.

Lastly, the father should also provide for his children and family, fulfilling their physical and material needs: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8 KJV).

 

CONCLUSION

Oftentimes, fathers are either too authoritative (very strict) or too carefree (little to no concern for their children). According to the Bible, fathers must have a balance between setting boundaries and enforcing them, and refraining from being a heartless tyrant. A father is not simply one who procreates. God’s Word makes it very clear that fathers should be more than just “sperm donors.” They should serve a lifelong, active role in their children’s lives. Fathers need to instruct their children in the Word of God rightly divided.

A Christian man, especially a father, should be a godly man in beliefs as well as in deed. He needs to set an example for his children (especially his sons): it is his duty as an older Christian man to set an example for younger men.

He should be a hard worker, he should meditate on the things of God (the Bible), his speech should conform to sound Bible doctrine, he should be hospitable and caring, kind and loving, he should respect and love his wife, he should love his children, and he should be reserved and cautious in his actions.

A Christian man need not try to meet the Bible’s standards of manhood/fatherhood in his own strength, for he cannot meet them in his own strength. In the person of Jesus Christ, God has equipped the Christian man to become a virtuous man, a man who values the things of God, and who places his faith in the Word of God.

When a Christian man and/or Christian father places his faith in this sound Bible doctrine, the indwelling Holy Spirit will then take that doctrine and transform him for God’s glory (1 Thessalonians 2:13). His mind will be renewed by sound Bible doctrine, and that will transform his outward activity (Romans 12:1,2).

Are you a Christian man or Christian father who desires to be the man God intends you to be in Christ Jesus? Place your faith in this sound Bible doctrine, and God will take care of the rest! Then, you will become the godly man described on the pages of Scripture, thus bringing glory and honor to the great God and our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ.


Mother: A Virtuous Woman

May 13, 2012

by Shawn Brasseaux

Today is Mother’s Day, so we dedicate this Bible study to godly women (specifically mothers). I especially dedicate this to the virtuous woman who has been in my life for almost 24 years… my mom!

WHAT KING SOLOMON WROTE ABOUT MOTHERS/WOMEN OF GOD

Proverbs 31 is often called the Bible’s “Virtuous Woman” chapter. Let us begin reading Proverbs 31 at verse 10:

“10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

The virtuous (godly) woman is priceless“her price is far above rubies”—for she is quite rare! Her husband safely trusts her. He has no need for material riches, for he is rich by having her as his wife! The virtuous woman will not harm her husband. She will submit to his headship and leadership (Ephesians 5:22-24; Titus 2:5). She will treat him with respect: as long as she lives, she will not abuse him or belittle him.

“13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.”
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.”
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.”
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.”
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.”

The virtuous woman is a hard worker: she does not sit around and do nothing. She seeks wool and linen to sew and weave. She cooks for and feeds her household. She contemplates a field, and buys it in order to plant a vineyard. Again, the virtuous woman is not lazy: she works hard.

“18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.”

According to the Bible, the virtuous woman weaves and sews to make merchandise to sell or trade. She stays up late working hard. The virtuous woman is compassionate: she pities the poor people who have little to nothing. She provides her family with clothes that keep them warm, so she does not fear snowfall. She makes herself clothing of silk and purple.

“23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.”

This verse means just what it says. Her husband is famous for being married to her. She has such a distinct lifestyle that others marvel at those who know her (especially her husband!).

“24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”

As we said regarding verses 18-22, the virtuous woman works hard. She produces goods (clothing, fabrics, et cetera) in order to sell them to make a living. What an expression—“Strength and honour are her clothing.” Strength and honor are her very nature! The virtuous woman speaks wisdom (God’s Word), and her speech is kind and gentle. She meets the needs of her household: again, she is not lazy (“[she] eateth not the bread of idleness”).

“28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

The children of the virtuous woman praise her for her godly living. Her husband speaks well of her; he is proud to be her husband. The virtuous woman is a role model—she does not need to be sinless because she cannot be sinless. What is the virtuous woman, according to God’s Word? She is defined in verse 30 as “a woman that feareth the LORD.” The works of the virtuous woman praise her, for they reflect her godly beliefs and high values (her inner man).

WHAT THE APOSTLE PAUL WROTE ABOUT CHRISTIAN MOTHERS/WOMEN

We would also do well if we read what the Apostle Paul wrote about older Christian women and/or women who were mother-like figures to younger women. The Bible says in Titus 2:3-5 KJV:

“3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

The virtuous woman should not slander/gossip, not be controlled by alcohol and emotions (sober minded), be a teacher of good things, love her husbands and children, be cautious and modest, maintain the home, be “good,” and should obey (respect) her husband… “that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

CONCLUSION

A Christian woman, especially a mother, should be a virtuous woman in beliefs as well as in deed. She needs to set an example for her children (especially her daughters): it is her duty as an older Christian woman to set an example for younger women.

She should be a hard worker, she should meditate on the things of God (the Bible), her speech should conform to sound Bible doctrine, she should be hospitable and caring, kind and loving, she should respect and love her husband, she should love her children, and she should be modest and cautious in her actions—“that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

A Christian woman need not try to meet the Bible’s standards of womanhood/motherhood in her own strength, for she cannot meet them in her own strength. In the person of Jesus Christ, God has equipped the Christian woman to become a virtuous woman, a woman who values the things of God, and who places her faith in the Word of God.

When a Christian woman and/or Christian mother places her faith in this sound Bible doctrine, the indwelling Holy Spirit will then take that doctrine and transform her for God’s glory (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Her mind will be renewed by sound Bible doctrine, and that will transform her outward activity (Romans 12:1,2).

Are you a Christian woman or Christian mother who desires to be the woman God intends you to be in Christ Jesus? Place your faith in this sound Bible doctrine, and God will take care of the rest! Then, you will become the virtuous woman described on the pages of Scripture, thus bringing glory and honor to the great God and our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ.


Easter 2012 – Christ Liveth in Me

April 8, 2012

by Shawn Brasseaux

In religion, Easter is the time of year when pagans celebrate fertility, reproduction, and life (the heathen counterfeit of the God-given festivals Passover, which typified Christ’s death on Calvary, the Days of Unleavened Bread, symbolic of Christ’s burial, and Firstfruits, a type of Christ’s resurrection). Beloved, our desire is not to participate in faithless religious activity. We need sound Bible doctrine, for our faith needs to rest in this alone. Sound Bible doctrine—not religious tradition—is the only information that will matter in eternity.

Our goal in this Bible study is to show from God’s Word that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is not simply a story found in the pages of Scripture, and it is not to be remembered only once a year (Easter). The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a reality that should be in the minds of us Christians every day of the year.

* * *

Today, all professing Christians make reference to Christ’s crucifixion, but most of them do not respect the Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. They talk about Calvary, they mention “Jesus died for our sins,” but this is merely a head knowledge. To the multitudes of these precious church members, Jesus dying on Calvary is just a historical fact. They have not placed their faith in that finished crosswork alone as the only way to heaven.

Instead, they exalt their religious performance above Jesus Christ’s crosswork—they never place their faith in Christ alone for salvation (religious people always want to work for salvation, so they ignore the sufficiency of Christ’s finished crosswork).

Let it be known that we Bible-believing Christians are saved alone by God’s grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ alone, and we celebrate Christ’s resurrection every day (not just on Easter).

 

CHRIST’S DEATH AND RESURRECTION: NOT JUST HISTORICAL FACTS

Historically, there was a (God-)Man named Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah of Israel, who was condemned under the administration of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate after Israel shouted, “Crucify Him!” He was literally nailed to a Roman cross, He literally and physical died, and His body was literally buried in a rich man’s tomb. Three days later, He literally and physically resurrected.

But, this account is not simply historical fact—it is a spiritual reality that affects us today, nearly 2,000 years later. On that resurrection Sunday nearly 20 centuries ago, when Jesus Christ triumphed over Satan, sin, and death (Acts 2:24; Colossians 2:14,15; Hebrews 2:14), we too triumphed over Satan, sin, and death.

 

GOD’S WILL FOR US

God’s will is that “all men [all people] be saved…” (1 Timothy 2:4a). Friend, do you want to do God’s will? Then, get saved! Trust Christ Jesus alone as your personal Saviour (Paul’s Gospel) and receive eternal life in heaven. God the Holy Spirit will then take you and place you into the Church the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). Salvation is that simple!

Once a person is saved, God’s will for this person is for he or she to learn why He saved them: He wants them “to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4b). God wants to teach us His overall goal for creation and our role in accomplishing that purpose (we learn this by studying His Word, the Bible). Do you want to do God’s will as a Christian? Follow the Apostle Paul as he follows Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1)! Learn about God’s will for you in this Dispensation of Grace by focusing on Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

The Bible says that God’s “eternal purpose”—His overall will for creation—is to exalt Jesus Christ in the heaven and in the earth. This “eternal purpose” was something that God “purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The whole issue is Jesus Christ! Let us notice Ephesians 1:9,10 KJV: “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:” What are these “all things?” God the Father wants His Son Jesus Christ to be glorified in the governments of heaven and earth. Consider Colossians 1:16-20 KJV:

“16 For by him 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.”

 

HOW WILL JESUS CHRIST BE EXALTED IN HEAVEN AND IN EARTH?

Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote: “[Christ] Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect [spiritually mature] in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily (Colossians 1:28,29). The same Spirit of God that worked in Paul to accomplish his ministry now wants to do that same work in and through us! What was this work God did in and through the Apostle Paul? It is the same good work He wants to do in and through us today!

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). It is God’s “good pleasure” to work in us to so that our Christian lives will bring Jesus Christ glory and honor. However, we are members of the Church the Body of Christ, so God’s primary goal is to one day take us to heaven and bring Him glory there (Ephesians 2:6,7).

Epaphras prayed that the Colossian believers “would stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (4:12). Compare that to Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonian believers: “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:11,12; cf. Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 1:9-11). The goal of God’s working in and through us is to glorify “the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in [us],” and to “glorify [us] in him.”

According to Philippians 2:13, God’s “good pleasure” is to work in and through us to accomplish His will. When we place our faith in the sound (dispensational) Bible doctrine that tells us what God is doing today (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon), then God the Holy Spirit will use that doctrine to transform us from the inside (soul) out (lifestyle)!

Once you study, learn, and believe the King James Bible rightly divided (dispensationally), the indwelling Holy Ghost will use that sound Bible doctrine to work mightily in you. “…The word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13). What is God’s purpose in working in and through us? Let us search the Scriptures for the answer.

 

GOD’S DWELLING PLACE

In Ephesians chapter 2 (which I encourage you to read on your own), the Apostle Paul describes our sinful lifestyles and wicked nature before our salvation in Christ Jesus (verses 1-3). Verses 4-10 discuss how God saved us from sin and His wrath in order to make us His “workmanship” (creation). Verses 11 and 12 explain that when God dealt with Israel in “time past,” we Gentiles were “without Christ.” Verses 13-18 explain “but now,” in our Dispensation of Grace, God has removed the division between Jew and Gentile. God is now forming a spiritual body of believers, Jews and Gentiles.

Why is God forming the Church the Body of Christ? Ephesians 2:19-22 KJV explains:

“19 Now therefore ye [believing Gentiles] are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto
an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom
ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

God is forming the Church the Body of Christ so He can have a house (“an habitation”). The Holy Spirit not only lives in us Christians (1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; 2 Timothy 1:14), He wants to also live through us—to manifest His life living in us, so the lost world can see our new lifestyles and glorify Him!!

 

THE LIFE OF CHRIST IN US

God wants to fill our minds with sound doctrine, which we gain from proper (dispensational) Bible study, so the Holy Spirit can then take that doctrine and work in us (1 Thessalonians 2:13), “both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). God wants to teach us Christians His doctrine, so we can then believe that doctrine, so He can then use that doctrine to form Christ Jesus in us (Galatians 4:19).

Literally, the result will be “Christ [living] in us, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27; cf. Ephesians 3:16,17). Christ… is our life” (Colossians 3:4). Galatians 2:20: “…Christ liveth in me….” Actually, our life is not our life; it is Christ living His life in and through us (Philippians 1:21).

The Apostle Paul wrote, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Ephesians 5:15-18). As people who have trusted in Christ Jesus alone as our personal Saviour, God’s Holy Spirit wants to fill us—not to give us a “charismatic high,” but rather to transform us from the inside out.

God does not want us Christians living carelessly: “walk circumspectly [carefully, cautiously], not as fools, but as wise….” God wants to fill us Christians with His Spirit so He can be glorified in our church families (Ephesians 5:19-21), our marriages and families (Ephesians 5:22–6:4), and our workplace (Ephesians 6:5-9).

God’s will is to “strengthen [us] with might by his Spirit in the inner man [soul]; that Christ may dwell in [our] hearts by faith” (Ephesians 3:16,17).  The indwelling Holy Spirit wants to strengthen us with sound doctrine so Christ can live His life in and through us (cf. Galatians 2:20). This is “Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith,” and this is God “working in [us] both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

God wants “the word of Christ” to dwell in [us] richly in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16)—to fill us with sound (dispensational) Bible doctrine that will literally “dwell” (live) in us (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:13)! The indwelling Holy Spirit takes the sound Bible doctrine we believe and He uses it to form Christ Jesus in us, so that the sound Bible teaching (Christ’s life) is literally transferred to us, and then our lifestyles better reflect God’s grace (Titus 2:11-15).

The “fruit of the Spirit” (evidence of the Holy Ghost working in us) will then be manifested in our lives: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22,23). The world cannot see Christ’s physical body; instead, they see Him living in us Christians! God wants to live His life and through us, but that will only happen if we understand and believe God’s Word to us.

Dispensational Bible study is important, and the Bible versions issue is important. If Christ is to live His life in and through you, you must have the right Bible and your must have the right information (the doctrine that belongs in our Dispensation of Grace, information that is only found in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon). When Jesus Christ went to Calvary’s cross, He did not simply die to shed His sinless blood for our sins. He went to Calvary so that we could die to die with Him, and He was raised again so we could then be raised with Him to live a life pleasing in God’s sight! Romans chapter 6 is the best example of how the death and resurrection of Christ affects us:

“1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
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.
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.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Eternal life is not something that we gain once we die and go to heaven, but something we have right now in Christ Jesus! The life—Christ’s life—that now lives in us Christians is the life that was given back to Christ nearly 2,000 years ago when He resurrected! The same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is now causing Him to live His resurrected life in and through us as we walk by faith in an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to us.
CONCLUSION

Jesus Christ died, not simply to help us get to heaven as religion teaches, but He died because our “good” works were nothing but “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6) and “dung” (Philippians 3:8). Jesus Christ’s death was the only acceptable sacrifice to God: our good works cannot save us, and our good works will never save us. Our Lord Jesus Christ came to die for us so He could give His life to us when we trust Him, so He can then live His life in and through us! The life of Jesus Christ is anything but “dung” and “filthy rags.”

God’s will is not so much for us to do His will, but for us to allow Him to accomplish His will in and through us as we cooperate by faith in His Word to us (“Without faith it is impossible to please [God];” Hebrews 11:6).

God saved us, not simply to give us sinners an opportunity to avoid the hellfire that we deserve, but to make us trophies of His grace by Him doing the work in and through us (Ephesians 2:10). God (Jesus Christ) wants you to allow Him to live His life in and through you (Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:21) as your study and believe His Word His way (dispensationally). “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ [the rapture](Philippians 1:6).


Be Ye Separate

March 4, 2012

by Shawn Brasseaux

When Christians first come to understand dispensational Bible study, they go through a transition period. I know this first-hand, having come to an understanding of right division about five years ago. Just as my family and I, and countless other believers have experienced, these Christians also come to a crossroads in their Christian life when they understand right division:

  • Should I abandon my current local denominational church that neither understands nor teaches the special ministry of the Apostle Paul, and thus find and attend a local grace church that is “Pauline?”

OR

  • Should I continue in my local denominational church because it has nice programs, since I have friends and family there, and given that I may be able to “convert” them to become “Pauline?”

What would God want them to do—stay in the local denominational church, or leave it and find and attend a grace church? This seems like a dilemma, but the best choice becomes clear once we consider God’s perspective. In this Bible study, we want to provide sound doctrine regarding the question—Do I stay in my denominational church, or do I pursue a grace church? Let us see what the Bible says. After all, God’s Word is the final authority.

* * *

The Christian church in Corinth had several problems that the Apostle Paul addressed. Notice 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 KJV:

“1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”

Paul explains that all these problems in Corinth are due to spiritual immaturity—these believers were unable to think like mature Christians. For 18 months, the Apostle taught the Corinthians sound doctrine (Acts 18:1,11), but these Corinthians never believed that sound doctrine with their heart. Thus, they remained “babes in Christ.” Sadly, they had the spiritual capacity of someone who trusted Jesus Christ as Saviour just yesterday!

The writer of the book of Hebrews addressed similar Bible ignorance among Jews. Read Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV:

“11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

The writer of the book of Hebrews declares that these Jewish believers should be teachers of God’s Word. Why are they not teachers? Like the Corinthian believers, these Jews are spiritually immature. They cannot tolerate spiritual meat, only spiritual milk. In fact, they do not know even the most basic Bible doctrines, so they are unable to teach anyone else!!!!! What a sad, sad, commentary!!

In the physical world, adults are wiser and stronger than children. This is also true in the spiritual world. Immature Christians do not know what God expects them to believe and what He expects them to do; thus, these “babes in Christ” are not as useful to God as mature believers. This is why God does not want immature Christians. God wants adult (mature) Christians. The method by which God spiritually matures us is to use proper Bible study in a local church setting. Notice Ephesians 4:11-15 KJV:

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
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;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

Notice, God wants “perfected” saints, Christians who “grow up into him [Christ] in all things.” This spiritual growth comes by “edification,” building up (strengthening), and edification comes by proper Bible study. Notice, we are studying the Bible, not catechisms, papal encyclicals, church history books, and patristic writings. In 2 Timothy 3:16,17 KJV we read: 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, throughly furnished untoall good works.”

The Bible alone will bring about “perfect” (mature) Christians, individuals who know and understand God’s will for them. Mature Christians are “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” (Ephesians 4:14). Mature Christians—that is, those that know God’s truth for this the Dispensation of Grace—will not be deceived by religious tradition/satanic deception (just as in the physical world, adults are less likely to be deceived than children, so it is in the spiritual world).

The Lord Jesus Christ said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; cf. Luke 4:4). Just as physical food provides our physical bodies with nourishment, so “every word of God” provides our spiritual bodies with nourishment. A local church should be an environment where God’s Word is taught correctly, a church were “rightly dividing the word of truth” is seen as the only method of Bible study (2 Timothy 2:15). This is critical because those in attendance need to hear God’s Word to them, so they can then believe God’s Word to them, and finally they can then allow that Word to work in them for God’s glory.

But, exactly how will God grow our inner man, and produce spiritual maturity in our Christian lives?

WHO IS OUR PATTERN?

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me” (1 Corinthians 4:16 KJV). Paul also wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:37 KJV: “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.” Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:1 KJV: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (cf. Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6). Paul is the only Bible author that declares, “Follow me.” Why? Paul writes in Ephesians 3:2,3a: “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he [Jesus Christ] made known unto me the mystery;”

Today, we live in the Dispensation of Grace, a time period separate from Israel’s prophetic program. In 1 Timothy 1:15,16 we read that God made Paul “a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him [Jesus Christ] to life everlasting.” In order to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in this the Dispensation of Grace, we must follow Him according to the doctrine He committed unto the Apostle Paul’s trust.

We do not follow Christ after His earthly ministry because that was God’s message to Israel (Matthew 15:24; John 4:22; Romans 15:8; 2 Corinthians 5:16). God’s message to us Gentiles living outside of Israel’s program is Paul’s 13 epistles, Romans through Philemon. God sent Paul to us: Paul is “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13; Romans 15:16; 2 Timothy 1:11).

Just as Israel followed Moses, we follow Paul. To follow Paul today is to follow Christ; conversely, to reject Paul is to reject Christ (John 13:20). Even the Apostle Peter admitted that the details of the Dispensation of Grace are only found in Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon (2 Peter 3:15,16).

God wants to “stablish” (stabilize) your Christian life and inner man by using a three-fold process. He wants you to understand the life that He has given to you in Christ Jesus, so that you can better understand what He is doing today, and then you can, by faith, follow Him and do the same. The Bible says in Romans 16:25,26 KJV:

“25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:”

Notice the three-fold process of Christian edification:

  • my gospel—Paul’s Gospel, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, is the foundation of the Christian life
  • the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery—this is Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, the sound doctrine (building materials) which we use to build on that foundation
  • the scriptures of the prophets—this is all of the Holy Scriptures, in light of the doctrine revealed to Paul

This is why studying the Bible rightly divided is so important. We study all of the Bible, Genesis through Revelation, but we follow the design of Christian edification as laid out in Romans 16:25,26. If we refuse to follow the dispensational layout of Scripture, as most people refuse it, then we will be going against what God is doing today, and our Christian lives will be in shambles (which is why Christendom is in such pitiful shape!).

If you want to be spiritually “edified” (“strengthened”) and spiritually “perfected” (“matured”), you need to study the Pauline epistles of Romans through Philemon. “Rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15)—understanding that God’s Word to us is Paul’s epistles—is the key to understanding and enjoying the Bible. But, here is the problem….

 

“FULL WELL YE REJECT THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD, THAT YE MAY KEEP YOUR OWN TRADITION”

Most churches—even professing “Christian,” “evangelical” churches—are not studying God’s Word, God’s way (using dispensational Bible study). These local churches (denominational churches) are not conducive to learning God’s will for you. Why? These denominational churches encourage you to follow them in their vain religious tradition (which action the Lord Jesus Christ Himself rebuked in Matthew 15:1-9 and Mark 7:1-13).

Today, most “Christian” churches are anything but. They teach you to follow Israel’s system of worship—Israel’s water baptism, Israel’s tithing, Israel’s tongues, Israel’s Sabbath day, Israel’s prayers, Israel’s laws, Israel’s diets, Israel’s healing miracles, and so on.  Again, what God is doing with Israel is not what He is doing with us the Church the Body of Christ. Nevertheless, most churches refuse to teach this because they want to keep their tradition.

These churches do not follow the doctrines in the Apostle Paul’s epistles; they teach us to mimic Jesus’ earthly ministry (Matthew through John), which is God’s Word to Israel, not to us (Matthew 15:24; John 4:22; Romans 15:8). If we are doing what God told Israel to do, that is not faith and that is not what God is doing today—thus, when we follow Israel’s program, we are literally fighting against God’s work today!

 

COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM

Because God wants to teach us sound doctrine, He also wants us to avoid places (religious settings) where sound Bible doctrine is not taught. Notice 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 KJV:

“14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

The goal of the “ecumenical movement” is to have all “Christians” of every denomination ignore their doctrinal differences, and fellowship! This passage screams against such nonsense. (Actually, the ecumenical movement is preparing society for the one-world religion of Revelation chapter 17.)

Opposed to the ecumenical slogan, “Come as ye are, we accommodate all faiths!,” Scripture declares: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” This is actually quoting the Old Testament passages that God directed to the nation Israel! (Refer to Exodus 25:8, Exodus 29:45-46, Leviticus 26:12, Isaiah 52:10-11, and Ezekiel 37:27.) God told Israel not to mingle with the world’s (satanic) religious system.

As the psalmist declared: “For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens” (Psalm 96:4-5). The Thessalonians abandoned their former religious life, idolatry and false teaching in religion, and they embraced the sound doctrine of “the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9), the God of the Bible, and the doctrine Jesus Christ committed unto the trust of the Apostle Paul. These pagans who came to know Christ Jesus discarded their heathen practices and assembling around false gods, and we should do the same.

The denominational church that you attend hid the marvelous truths of God’s Word rightly divided from you, so why do you want to continue going there, bringing about bondage and spiritual darkness? Why prefer Satan’s trap of religious tradition (2 Timothy 2:24-26)? There is no sensible reason.

 

OBJECTIONS?

  • But the denominational church I attend professes that “Jesus is Lord!” So, in Matthew 7:21-23, people say “Jesus is Lord,” and they claim to have done many “good” deeds in the name of “Jesus.” Jesus declares to them, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
  • But the denominational church I attend preaches “the Gospel” and talks about “being filled with the Spirit.” So, 2 Corinthians 11:3,4 and Galatians 1:6-9 speak of damnable gospels, another (or false) Jesus, and false spirits. Be careful friend. It may not be the Holy Spirit working in that church.
  • We cannot find the “perfect church.” Of course not, but we are seeking a SOUND CHURCH.

 

CONCLUSION

As King James Bible-believing Pauline dispensationalists, we cannot unite with religionists and denominationalists because they deny the clear teachings of the Holy Bible. We refuse to embrace man’s “wisdom” and church tradition. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:15: “What concord [agreement] hath Christ with Belial [Satan]? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel [unbeliever]?” We have no fellowship with any religion—and that includes any “Christian” group that does not follow the rightly divided Word of God. There is no seven-fold unity of the Spirit between them and us (Ephesians 4:1-6). Go to 1 Timothy 6:3-5 KJV and read:

“3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”

Notice the word “wholesome” in verse 3; it means “promoting health.” If we want to be productive and mature ambassadors for the risen Christ, we need sound doctrine that will strengthen our inner man. We need “wholesome words…the words of the Lord Jesus Christ…the doctrine which is according to godliness.” This is a reference to doctrine in Paul’s epistles, not the doctrine in the Four Gospels, because the Four Gospels belong to Israel, not us.

The Bible says those who prefer religious tradition instead of God’s Word “rightly divided” do not know what they are talking about. They are arrogant and ignorant (unlearned/untaught). Foolishness and arguing are their ways. They have “corrupt minds” and are “destitute of the truth.” Paul warned us to avoid these types of people because they will only tear us down spiritually.

Look at what Romans 16:17,18 KJV says about false teachers: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” The Bible says time and time again to refuse any preacher who does not agree with sound, Pauline doctrine. God’s Word says that these false teachers “serve not our Lord Jesus Christ.” Satan has his people promoting his doctrine; his goal is to keep you from hearing God’s Word to you, and to keep you from knowing what God wants you to know. There are false Bibles, false teachers, and false brethren. The Pauline epistles scream: AVOID ALL THREE!

God does not want us fellowshipping in any religion or any denomination. Religion is satanic and anti-grace. If you compromise God’s truth and unite in error, your Christian life will be polluted and destroyed. If your pastor or church follows Jesus according to His earthly ministry, then flee from that assembly, friend. That is not what God is doing today. The Bible says that God made Paul our pattern. If ye are to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, ye must be followers of Paul!

The goal of anti-Pauline preachers is to deceive the simple-minded to make a profit and to perpetuate their own church tradition (denomination). When you hear or see a false teacher, flee, because your spiritual health depends on it! If he does not follow Paul, find a preacher who does. If you cannot find a local grace church, contact me, and I can help you with finding one through the internet.

We have unashamedly chosen to separate unto truth, and we unapologetically refuse to unite in error. Be ye separate!