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 on: Today at 12:12:46 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
The Words of Christ!
From Timeless Grace Gems
J.R. Miller

        What wonderful things are the words of Christ!

        When a traveler comes home from some strange land, on which foot of traveler never trod before — how eagerly do men gather around him to listen to his story!

        If one of our beloved dead, who has been a few months or years with God, were to come back to our home again — with what enrapt interest would we listen to every word he should speak about that heavenly land!

        If an angel were to come down from Heaven into our streets, and speak in seraphic words of the wonderful things of God —  what eager listeners would we be! How his words would enchain our thoughts, and linger in our minds and hearts!

        But the words of Christ are more astonishing still. As we turn the gospel pages, and linger over the glorious truths which gleam and sparkle upon them, like diamonds in their settings of gold, or like stars in the midnight sky — we read, not the words of a returned traveler; not the words of one come back from the dead; not the words of an angel who had worshiped a thousand ages before God's throne — but the words of One who had dwelt from eternity in the Father's bosom — the living, spoken words of God himself!

        There is a divine power in the words of Christ! Once one of them fell upon a stormy sea — and stilled it in a moment. One of them flew into the darkness of a sepulcher, where a dead man lay — it touched his heart and started it beating, and sent the frozen currents tingling, hot with new life, into every member of the dead body. One of them struck a barren tree — and caused it to wither to the roots. Another gently touched a leprous body — and healed it in a moment.

        The words of Christ were not mere empty sounds — they were full of divine life and energy. They have not lost their power through the ages. If you lean upon a word of Christ — you shall find Christ's mighty arm under it. If you are sinking in the waves of trial, and reach out your hand of faith and grasp one of these blessed words — you shall find the hand of Christ gloved in it, and shall be held up.

        If you are pursued by the fierce enemies of your soul, and flee for refuge behind a word of promise — you shall find yourself in the secret place of the Most High, under the shadow of the Almighty. If you are weary, or in trouble and sorrow, and pillow your head upon one of these precious words — you shall find that you are lying upon the bosom of your heavenly Father, and shall feel the warm beatings of his heart. If you are alone in darkness or trial, and grasp some sweet word of love — you shall find that you are leaning upon the arm of the Beloved. You may take these words into your heart — and you shall have Christ there too.

        "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly!" Colossians 3:16

        The human soul is like a house. It has many rooms. Some are in the basement where the lower passions and appetites lurk. Some are high up with an outlook on Heaven, where faith, hope, the affections and devotion dwell.

        When a man buys a house, he wants the keys of every room. Christ has bought the soul-house, and his Word claims possession of every chamber, every room, every closet.

        In old castles and other stately mansions, there would be a little room set apart for God — while the whole of the great building besides, was devoted to the uses of the owner of the mansion. And this little chapel door was seldom opened.

        In the same way, there are many men who want to have merely a little chapel for Christ in one corner of their heart, while they lock every other door against Him. They are willing to let "the Word of Christ" regulate their praying and church-going, and whatever belongs to the specifically religious part of their life. But when they see it coming toward the door of their business-room, or safe, or workshop; or when it comes in to control their entertainments or their pleasures, or to regulate their general life — then they shut the door in its face, and turn the key quickly, protesting against such "unwarrantable interference." They do not believe in mixing up religion with the rest of life.

        But the blessed word of Christ will not stay in any mere chapel in a man's heart. It will dwell only as master.

        If it has not full possession of your soul, holding every key;
        if it cannot go into every chamber, and be master everywhere;
        if it cannot control your business, your pleasures, your tempers, your lips, your appetites, your whole life — then it will shake the dust off its feet, and, weeping over your deserted heart, will write "Ichabod!" upon the closed doors!

        The Word of Christ will be no mere lodger. It must possess the soul, driving out every profane occupant — cleansing and beautifying every unhallowed chamber — living and ruling in every faculty, feeling, and affection.

        No man can live two lives, have two chiefs in his heart, or serve two masters. The word of Christ is the voice of the living Christ, who sits nowhere — if not on the throne. Let this blessed Word dwell in you — ruling, guiding and transforming!

        As one opens his windows and doors, on a sweet summer's morning, to let the fragrant air and pure sunshine flow into every corner of his dwelling — so open your hearts to the blessed, sweetening, enriching, and purifying Word of Christ. It will beautify your whole life. It will bring heavenly fragrance into your soul. It will cheer and gladden you. It will strengthen and help you. It will enlighten your darkness. It will comfort your sorrow. It will change you into the image of God!

 on: Today at 12:11:32 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
Dead at the Top!
From Timeless Grace Gems
J.R. Miller

        Men are like trees. The comparison holds in many regards; among others, with respect to growth. No tree starts tall, full-branched, fruit-covered — but is first only a seed, then a shoot, then a sapling, and finally a tree. It is ever growing into nobler and more beautiful proportions. Though it lives three thousand years — every year has its own circle of growth. When it ceases to grow — then it ceases to live.

        So men's bodies grow, beginning with the helplessness of infancy, and developing into strong and vigorous manhood.

        So men's minds grow. All the germs of the mental faculties, of thought, and will, and feeling — are folded up in the infant. It is the work of a true education to draw out and train these faculties, which are capable of almost limitless expansion and development, and which will doubtless continue to grow forever in the future world.

        Then there is still a higher life — the life of the soul. And no character is complete without its soul-growth. This is the part of our being on which the curse of the fall chiefly rests. The spiritual nature has been blasted by sin. Not until the new blood of redemption flows into the soul — is there life there. But provision has been made in grace, for the quickening of these dead branches. Every soul united by faith to Christ, lives. And wherever there is spiritual life — there is also spiritual growth.

        But there are many men whose lower, physical natures are marked by a luxuriant growth — whose higher, spiritual nature is starved and left to die! I have seen trees which cast a wide shade. Their lower branches reached far out and were covered with leaves, and gave to the tree the appearance of great prosperity. But when I have looked up toward the top, I have seen only a bare, dead, branchless, leafless trunk, rising above the greenness like the mast of a ship.

        And that is a picture of many lives. In all that concerns the body or the mind — in all the lower branches of the life-tree — there is great prosperity. They are prosperous in the lower or worldly sphere. They put forth great boughs, and spread themselves out wide, and send their life-blood pulsing through great business establishments and enterprises, or through whole communities, or cities, or states, or nations. They have a marvelous growth and development — but it is all low down, close to the earth. They make a great show of prosperity before the world. Men come and rest in the shadow of their great spreading branches, and eat of the fruit of their toil and care.

        But when you turn your eyes up to the higher parts of their being — you see nothing but bare branches, with no leaves nor fruit. They are like the tree, green and living below — but dead at the top, their souls stand out above all their earthly luxuriance, ghastly, bare, and dead!

        Now it is well to develop one's physical nature, to draw out its powers to the utmost, and lay them on the altar for God. It is well to educate the mind, to train its power for the highest possible uses. Every one is responsible for the development and use of all the faculties God has lodged in his being.

        But above both body and mind — is man's spiritual nature. It is the crown of manhood. It is the part of our being which is nearest to Heaven, which makes us akin to God, and which contains the germs of our future eternal growth toward bliss, or woe. It is on this part of the life-tree that faith, hope, love, meekness, humility, patience, and all the Christian graces grow. It is at the top, which the Master looks for fruit.

        And what does it matter then, that a man has the most wondrous growth and development in the lower branches of his life — if he is dead at the top? What does it matter that body and mind are clothed in luxuriance — if the soul is starved and bare?

        Men should look to their spiritual nature. They should seek, first of all — soul-growth. No life is beautiful or complete in God's sight — which is leafless, fruitless, and dead or dying at the top. But the life that is crowned with foliage and fruitage here, shall be crowned with unfading glory in Heaven!

 on: Today at 12:09:18 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
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Grace For a Restless Apostle
by Pastor Ricky Kurth

Philippians then was a letter of reproof, written to people who weren’t acting in accord with this Ephesian doctrine of our oneness in Christ. What evidence do we have of this? In Philippians 4:2, we read:

    “I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.”

Here we have confirmation that two of the ladies in the Philippian church were having a feud, and throughout the epistle we see indications that the church was divided, some siding with Euodias, and some with Syntyche. Paul’s frequent use of the word “all” in this epistle (1:1,4,7,8,25; 2:17; 4:23) shows that he refused to take sides in this quarrel, but rather loved and prayed for them all, and begged that they would live as “one” (1:27; 2:2).

But in light of this discord, how could God accept the sacrifice of these disobedient people? What had changed since His refusal to accept Israel’s sacrifice under Amos the prophet? Ah, Grace had now entered! Grace is a system of unconditional acceptance, and God is pleased to accept all sacrifices made to Him regardless of our spiritual condition. There is even a play on words in the Greek text, for the word for “sweet smell” (Phil. 4:18.) is euodia. Euodias should not have smelled sweet to God because of her disobedience, but she did under Grace! Likewise the sacrifice of the Philippians should not have smelled sweet to God, but it did under Grace!

Having said that, this unconditional acceptance God gives us under Grace should never be viewed as a license to sin. Make no mistake about it, sin grieves the heart of a holy God (Eph. 4:30). But it should encourage the heart of every believer to know that every sacrifice we make for Him is accepted of Him. What a motivation to live sacrificially for the One who sacrificed Himself for us on Calvary’s tree.

Now we come to a very sobering part of our text, for Paul has told us that we are a sweet savour to God “in them that are saved, and in them that perish” (II Cor. 2:15).

    “To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life…” (v. 16).

When we make manifest the savour of His knowledge and someone believes, we are of course a sweet savour to God. But when we make manifest the savour of His knowledge and someone does not believe, we are likewise a sweet savour to God. We see this exemplified in our Lord’s testimony to the two thieves with whom He died. One believed on Him while the other did not, but who can deny that He was a sweet savour to God in both cases. Hebrews 4:16 compares the Word of God to a “two-edged sword,” a weapon that cuts both ways. The same sun that causes the crops to grow can also ignite destructive wildfires that can devastate the countryside, but God is always pleased with the sun. And when we faithfully present the Son of God, He is always pleased with our sweet savour, regardless of whether the results be eternal life or eternal destruction.

Paul closes this passage with a haunting question:

    “…and who is sufficient for these things?” (II Cor. 2:16).

Who is sufficient, i.e., who can be trusted with these issues of eternal life and eternal death? Obviously, the Lord proved sufficient for these things as He hung between the thieves. But we too are sufficient for these things if we faithfully make manifest the savour of His knowledge!

This writer never wanted to be a doctor; I never wanted to have human life dependent on my ability to preserve it. If the reader is thinking, “But Pastor, you became a minister, and people’s eternal lives depend on you,” think again! Paul says of the gospel that “IT is the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). The eternal destiny of men depends upon the gospel, not on our ability to present it. All we have to do is hold it forth, and we are “sufficient for these things.”

That is, if we do not corrupt the Word of God. Paul says that he and his co-workers were sufficient for these things,

    “FOR we are not as many, which corrupt the Word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ” (II Cor. 2:17).

Who would want to corrupt the Word? Unscrupulous men who are more interested in personal triumph than allowing God to cause them to “triumph in Christ.”

We all receive junk mail, Christians receive Christian junk mail, and pastors receive pastoral junk mail. This writer receives plenty of the latter, all of it promoting ways to build a bigger church. None of these ways ever involve preaching the pure, unadulterated gospel of the grace of God, or teaching God’s Word, rightly divided. But it is only in the measure that we are faithful in these areas that we are sufficient to be entrusted with issues of eternal life.

In the ’60s, the militant anti-government protestors became aware that the TV news cameras were broadcasting their protest meetings to the world, and so at one point they broke into a chant that soon became their mantra: “The whole world is watching!” As Christians, we have a far more important and august audience, One who monitors our every thought, word and deed. As Paul puts it: “in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” May the lives that we live and the message that we proclaim always be worthy of His closest scrutiny.

 on: Today at 12:08:18 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
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Grace For a Restless Apostle
by Pastor Ricky Kurth

If the reader is wondering whether God is still actively opening such doors of opportunity in our lives, it should be noted that Paul speaks of this very thing in Colossians 4:2,3, a prison epistle that was penned after the close of the transition period in the Book of Acts. In fact, he asks for prayer in this late epistle that God would continue to open such doors, indicating that this would continue to be the norm throughout the duration of the dispensation of Grace. May we be faithful to enter such open doors at every opportunity!

In light of Paul’s failure to enter an open door, it is intriguing to hear him speak of triumph in the next verse of our text:

    “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place” (II Cor. 2:14).

While Paul had failed to enter a door of opportunity to serve the Lord, God was still able to cause him to triumph in Christ, because wherever Paul went instead of entering that open door, he faithfully made manifest the savour of His knowledge.

Perhaps the reader of this page is haunted by the memory of a similar open door that you too failed to enter years ago. May I say unto you by the authority of the Word of God that your life needn’t be filled with spiritual regret over this. God can cause you too to triumph in Christ if, like Paul, you too are faithfully making manifest the savour of His knowledge wherever it is that life has led you instead.

    “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish” (II Cor. 2:15).

In spite of Paul’s failure, we read that his life was still a sweet savor to God. We believe that this was because of the Biblical significance of the phrase “sweet savour.” This phrase is used forty-three times in Scripture, and almost always refers to the burnt-offering of an animal sacrifice. Notice the significant first use of this phrase in Genesis 8:20,21:

    “And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar.

    “And the Lord smelled a sweet savour….”

The reason the burnt-offering was a sweet savour to God was because it foreshadowed the sacrifice of Christ, which is also described as a sweetsmelling savour:

    “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Eph. 5:2).

We believe that the sacrifice of Christ Himself was a burnt-offering. Throughout the Old Testament, God showed that He was pleased with an offering made unto Him when He answered by fire (Lev. 9:24; I Kings 18:24,38; I Chron. 21:26; II Chron. 7:1). And so it was that on Calvary, unseen to human eyes, the fire of God’s wrath fell on our Saviour, causing him to “thirst” (John 19:28.), just like the rich man in hell (Luke 16:24), who was also experiencing the wrath of God. Thus there can be no question that God was pleased with the sacrifice of our Lord, the ultimate burnt-offering, and accepted it by fire.

But there were times in Israel’s past when God refused to smell her burnt-offerings. For instance, in Amos 5:21,22 we read:

    “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.

    “Though ye offer Me burnt-offerings and your meat-offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts.”

Why would God refuse to smell something that reminded Him of the coming sacrifice of Christ? Why did He accept the burnt-offering of Noah and refuse the burnt-offerings of Israel in the days of Amos the prophet? What had changed? Ah, the Law had entered! The Law of Moses was a system of conditional blessing, which stipulated that when Israel was good, God would bless them, but when they were bad, He would curse them (Lev. 26).

We know that Israel was bad in Amos’ day since God speaks to Israel of “your feast days” and “your solemn assemblies.” When God gave these feasts to Israel, He called them “the feasts of the Lord“ (Lev. 23:2,4,37,44), but when they were living in rebellion against Him, God took His name off of these feasts and contemptuously called them “your feasts.” This is similar to how in the beginning of the Lord’s earthly ministry, He called the temple “My Father’s house” (John 2:16), but by the end of His ministry He called it “your house” (Matt. 23:38.) because of their sin and rebellion. And so, since Israel was under the Law, it is not surprising to read that God would refuse to smell their sweetsmelling burnt-offerings in the sinful days of Amos.

But now let’s make a comparison of all this to how things work under Grace. For this, of course, we will need to turn to the epistles of Paul, the apostle of grace, and in particular to Paul’s epistle to the Philippians.

The Philippians weren’t offering animal sacrifices, of course, but we believe them to be the Macedonians whom Paul said gave sacrificially to the poor saints at Jerusalem (II Cor. 8:1-5; Rom. 15:26), and then proceeded to give sacrificially to the Apostle Paul:

    “But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God” (Phil. 4:18.).

Here we see that the sacrifice made by the Philippians smelled good to God, and was acceptable to Him. If the Philippians were under the Law, we would have to conclude from this that they had been good, and that this was why God did not reject their sacrifice, as He did with Israel’s sacrifices in the days of Amos. However, when we examine the epistle to the Philippians we find evidence to the contrary.

We believe Philippians is an epistle of reproof. Paul tells us all Scripture is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction” (II Tim. 3:16), and his epistles appear in our Bibles in this very order. Romans is an epistle of doctrine, setting forth the doctrine of our salvation from sin, and how we should live in such a way that demonstrates we are free from sin. The Corinthian epistles that follow Romans are letters of reproof. Reproof was what was needed when the carnal Corinthians didn’t live in accordance with the doctrine set forth in Romans. Galatians comes next, and is a letter of correction. Correction is what the Galatians needed since they weren’t thinking clearly about the doctrine set forth in Romans. With Ephesians, the cycle begins again, as this great epistle sets forth the doctrine of the oneness of the Body of Christ.

 on: Today at 12:06:43 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
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Grace For a Restless Apostle
by Pastor Ricky Kurth

(From a message given at the 38th annual Bible conference of the Berean Bible Fellowship, June 18th, 2006)

    “Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,

    “I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia” (II Cor. 2:12,13).

Paul speaks here of the serious effect it had on him when he was deprived of the fellowship of his friend Titus. He begins with the word “furthermore” because fellowship was also the subject of the preceding context, although this is not readily apparent. Let’s begin by backing up to determine what this “furthermore” is there for.

After Paul had advised the Corinthians to break fellowship with the fornicator in their midst in I Corinthians 5, he was delighted to hear that they had followed his instructions. However, he was now dismayed to learn that they were refusing to restore fellowship to the man after he repented! And so Paul says to them,

    “Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.

    “So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow” (v. 6,7).

The reason Paul urged them to re-admit the man into their assembly was because he knew that the man needed their fellowship—and they needed his. Paul knew that fellowship is important, and to show these Corinthians just how important it was, he begins our text by saying, as it were, “Furthermore, even I Paul need fellowship.” He then went on to describe how he had “no rest” apart from the fellowship of Titus. And so we begin this message with a few words about the importance of simply going to church.

Grace believers know that the Apostle Paul never commands us to go to church. Even if you believe that Paul wrote Hebrews, the admonition we read in Hebrews 10:25 is not in the imperative mood in the Greek text, and so is not a command. But while Paul never commands us to go to church, he assumes that we will want to attend church regularly. He says in I Corinthians 11:18:

    “For first of all, when ye come together in the church….”

Do you see how Paul just assumes that even the carnal Corinthians will gather together regularly with other saints to study God’s Word, to sing His praises, and to fellowship with one another? Surely if even the great Apostle Paul needed fellowship, it is certain that we need it too!

Perhaps the reader is thinking, “Pastor, you don’t understand. My church is filled with difficult people, with whom I find it hard to get along.” All the more reason to go to church! We can never learn to demonstrate the grace of God in our lives without difficult people to be gracious to! Where better than the local church to learn to display the same mercy, longsuffering and grace that God extends to us when we grieve Him.

And aren’t these the greatest of God’s attributes? Don’t you want opportunities to display the mercy, longsuffering and grace of God in your life, and in so doing testify to what He has done in your life? When it comes right down to it, these grand attributes are actually the only attributes of God that we can display. Not a one of us can display God’s omniscience, His omnipotence or His omnipresence, but all of us can learn to exhibit His grace. But not without difficult people to be gracious to!

The absence of the fellowship of Titus so affected Paul that he didn’t enter an open door of opportunity to preach the gospel. This is the only time we read that Paul failed to enter an open door. Why would God allow this dark blot on Paul’s otherwise unimpeachable record if not to teach us the importance of fellowship. Take some time to read the stirring list of things that Paul endured in the ministry in II Corinthians 11:23-33. As you read each item in this poignant register, remind yourself that the beatings that Paul endured didn’t stop him from entering open doors, the stonings didn’t stop him, the shipwrecks didn’t stop him—NOTHING stopped him. But a simple lack of fellowship stopped him dead in his tracks.

And it might stop your pastor also. Thus one of the simplest ways you can support the teaching of God’s Word in your area is to simply go to church. You don’t want to have to explain at the Judgment Seat of Christ how you allowed the light of the gospel to be snuffed out in your area because your pastor was deprived of your fellowship and support.

Now, careful students of Scripture might object that the real reason for Paul’s discouragement was his concern over the response of the Corinthians to his first letter to them, an epistle that contained some sharp reproof. Thus when Titus failed to appear with news of their reaction, it was this that caused Paul to pass on entering the open door. We agree that this was part of the reason for Paul’s disheartenment, for later in this epistle, he states:

    “For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.

    “Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;

    “And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more” (II Cor. 7:5-7).

Here it cannot be denied that part of the reason for Paul’s unrest was due to his concern over the Corinthian reaction to his first epistle, and the absence of news about this that he expected Titus to bring. But when Paul says that he was comforted “by the coming of Titus, and not by his coming only,” we must conclude that he was adversely affected by both the absence of the fellowship of Titus and the report that Paul expected he would bring.

This brings up another very practical point. Perhaps Paul would have entered the open door had he not been burdened with concern over the Corinthian reaction to his reproof. Obviously, this concern diverted Paul from furthering the gospel through that open door. With this in mind, how it behooves us to conduct ourselves in the local church in such a way that our pastors can give themselves to the ministry, and not be distracted by concerns over disobedience in the church.

Before we move on in our text, we want to share one more thought about “open doors.” It is said that God never closes a door without opening a window. While this is not a quotation from Scripture, it was surely true in the life of the Apostle Paul. Paul was later imprisoned by the Roman government, but as the prison door closed on his freedom, a window of opportunity opened for him to share the gospel with members of Caesar’s household (Phil. 4:22). You see, Paul was incarcerated in a sort-of “white collar prison” located right in Caesar’s “palace” (Phil. 1:13), giving him access to members of the royal family, some of whom had come to know the Lord!

 on: Today at 12:05:18 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
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Two-Faced Christians
by Pastor Ricky Kurth

Our month January is named after Janus, the mythical Roman god of gates and doorways. Janus had two faces which looked in opposite directions, just as January looks back on the old year and forward to the new. Hypocritical people are often called “Janus-faced” or two-faced. Abraham Lincoln, not known for his good looks, was once called Janus-faced. He responded, “If I had two faces, do you think I’d wear this one?”

We can avoid being Janus-faced spiritually by putting off the old man and putting on the new man (Eph. 4:22-24). But many Christians find this difficult. Some feel they could more easily muster up the spiritual fortitude to live a consistent Christian life if they could just speak to the Lord “face to face” on a daily basis, as did Moses (Ex. 33:11). This blessing is of course not available to us during this dispensation—or is it?

When Paul told the Corinthians that one day they too would see the Lord “face to face” (I Cor. 13:12), he spoke not of the day when they would see His face in heaven, but of a face-to-face relationship with the Lord that they actually lived to see and enjoy. You see, as Paul wrote these words the Bible was not yet complete. Consequently, men were able to see God only as “through a glass, darkly.” The crude glass of ancient days gave men an unclear view of what was on the other side.

It reminds me of how before the launch of satellite telescopes, Earth-based telescopes labored under the limitation of having to peer at the stars through the earth’s atmosphere, which distorted man’s view of the heavens. One scientist likened it to bird-watching from the bottom of a lake! But the launch and perfecting of the Hubble telescope gave science a crystal clear image of Creation.

In much the same way, the addition of Paul’s last epistles completed the Word of God (Col. 1:25), and launched our understanding into the heavens (Eph. 1:3). Now as we look into the pages of God’s completed revelation, we are able to see God Himself “face to face.”

Paul used yet another metaphor to drive this point home. Looking into the unfinished Word of God was also like looking into the crude mirrors of those days. Mirrors in Paul’s day gave imperfect reflections, and so while everyone else knew exactly what Paul looked like, Paul himself knew what he looked like only “in part” (I Cor. 13:12). Similarly, with the Bible incomplete, men had an unclear view of the image of God. But once the Word of God was complete, Paul predicted: “then shall I know even as also I am known,” i.e., then he would know God as clearly as men knew him.

Thus there is no excuse for us to be two-faced Christians. As we peer daily into the pages of the written Word of God, we can see God “face to face,” and can sculpt our lives into His image:

    “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Cor. 3:18.).

 on: Today at 12:04:06 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
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Seven Times a Failure
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

Despite man’s natural tendency to boast, history has proved again and again that he is a failure, in deep need of God and His grace.

The Age of Innocence closed with man rebelling against his Creator and becoming a fallen, sinful creature (Rom. 5:12).

The Age of Conscience opened with one murder (Gen. 4:8.) and before another age was ushered in “the earth was filled with violence” (Gen. 6:11).

Then came Human Government, but the world’s first ruler made a spectacle of himself through drunkenness (Gen. 9:20,21). Little wonder we soon find the race intoxicated with its own importance so that God had to confuse their language at Babel (Gen. 11:4,7,8.).

The Age of Promise came next, with Abraham failing to enter the promised land through unbelief (Gen. 11:31-12:3). It closed with Israel, his seed, failing to enter the promised land through unbelief (Heb. 3:19).

The Age of Law began with Israel worshipping a golden calf before Moses had even gotten down from Sinai. Little wonder it ended with the rejection of Christ.

The Age of Grace commenced with the Apostle Paul, God’s ambassador of love and grace, persecuted and imprisoned (Eph. 6:20). This showed man’s attitude toward God and His grace. It will be brought to a close as man continues persistently to go on in his sin rather than accept redeeming grace through Christ (II Cor. 4:4; II Tim. 3:1-5).

The Kingdom of Christ, which is to follow the present age, will begin with our Lord rebuking strong nations (Micah 4:3) and will close with multitudes, who for a time had rendered enforced obedience, following Satan (Rev. 20:7-9).

How all this demonstrates man’s need of God and salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ! “All have sinned” (Rom. 3:23) but, thank God: “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13). Though surrounded by sin and rebellion, multitudes down through history have called and have been saved.

 on: Today at 12:03:00 PM 
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Sickness And Sin
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

One thing that really concerns this writer about modern life, is how sin is constantly called sickness. A man commits some moral outrage and they say he is sick — they even tell him that.

I went to see a man some time ago who had fallen into unspeakable immorality and it had caught up with him. For years his sanctimonious life had been a sham; now the mask was torn off and he was in trouble — deep trouble.

I had been telling him that now his best course was to make a clean confession — to the courts and to God. But someone else had gotten to him first. While he stood by, listening, this man had told his wife: “You must get Jim to see that he’s sick and needs help. I’m not condoning what he has done, but I’m hopeful that if he gets the proper help he can be cured.”

What a way to evade the sin question! Of course the man was sick — I imagine you and I would be sick too if we lived as he had been living! But let’s get this straight: His sick- ness came from his sin, not his sin from some sickness. He would have been far better off to sob out his heart in contrition before God for his sin than to excuse his conduct on the grounds of illness. Rom. 5:12 says: “By one man sin entered into the world and death by sin,” and Rom. 6:23 says: “The wages of sin is death.”

The sobering fact is that while there may be differences in the kinds of sins we commit, or in the degrees of our sin, Rom. 3:23 declares that there is no difference in this, that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

This is why we are so pleased and proud to proclaim “the gospel of the grace of God,” how Christ paid the penalty for our sins that we might have a perfect standing before a holy God, “being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24). “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift!” (II Cor. 9:15).

 on: Today at 12:00:18 PM 
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The Unpardonable Sin
by Pastor Ricky Kurth

    “…All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men… neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matthew 12:31,32).

As a pastor, I often hear from people who are afraid they’ve committed the unpardonable sin. They cite these verses, and then proceed to tell me what they said or did that has caused them to believe they blasphemed the Spirit.

When this happens, I remind these dear troubled souls that before he was saved the Apostle Paul was “a blasphemer” (I Tim. 1:13), and it was unquestionably the Spirit whom he blasphemed. As a Jew who followed the Law of Moses scrupulously (Phil. 3:6), he would not have blasphemed God the Father, and there is no concrete evidence that he ever even met God the Son. It wasn’t until the twelve were “filled with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:4) that Saul showed up and led the blasphemous persecution against them (Acts 7:57—8:3).

So when the Lord said that those who blasphemed the Spirit couldn’t be forgiven “neither in this world, neither in the world to come,” we have to conclude that with the saving of Saul, God introduced a whole new world. A world called “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph. 3:2). A world in which grace reigns:

    “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:21).

How thoroughly does grace reign? Notice Paul says grace reigns unto life as sin reigned unto death. And sin reigned unto death with absolute sway over men. The prophet declared, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4), and there have never been any exceptions! So when Paul says “that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign” to eternal life, you have to conclude that “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13), with no exceptions. This is because whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord is “made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21), allowing grace to reign “through righteousness unto eternal life” (Rom. 5:21).

So if you are among the many who have agonized over the Lord’s words in Matthew 12:31,32, agonize no more. No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve said or done, you cannot commit a sin that God’s grace cannot forgive. You have His Word on it.

 on: Today at 11:58:43 AM 
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We shall always find him at church!

(J.C. Ryle, "The Gospel of Luke" 1858.)

"This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the Word of God. Those along the wayside are the ones who hear--and then the devil comes and takes away the Word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved." Luke 8:11-12

The first caution that we learn from the parable of the sower--is to beware of the devil when we hear the Word. Our Lord tells us that the hearts of some hearers are like "the wayside." The seed of the Gospel is plucked away from them by the devil almost as soon as it is sown. It does not sink down into their consciences. It does not make the least impression on their minds.

That malicious devil is unwearied in his efforts to do us harm. He is ever watching for our halting--and seeking occasion to destroy our souls. But nowhere perhaps is the devil so active, as in a congregation of Gospel-hearers! Nowhere does he labor so hard to stop the progress of that which is good--and to prevent men and women being saved. From him, come . . .
  wandering thoughts--and roving imaginations;
  listless minds--and dull memories;
  sleepy eyes--and fidgety nerves;
  weary ears--and distracted attention.
In all these things, Satan has a great hand.

People wonder where they come from, and marvel how it is that they find sermons so dull--and remember them so badly! They forget the parable of the sower. They forget the devil.

Let us take heed that we are not wayside hearers. Let us beware of the devil. We shall always find him at church! He never stays away from public ordinances. Let us remember this--and be upon our guard. Heat and cold, and rain and snow--are often dreaded by church-goers, and alleged as reasons for not going to church. But there is one enemy whom they ought to fear more than all these things together--that enemy is the devil!

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