DISCUSSION FORUMS
MAIN MENU
Home
Help
Advanced Search
Recent Posts
Site Statistics
Who's Online
Forum Rules
Bible Resources
• Bible Study Aids
• Bible Devotionals
• Audio Sermons
Community
• ChristiansUnite Blogs
• Christian Forums
• Facebook Apps
Web Search
• Christian Family Sites
• Top Christian Sites
• Christian RSS Feeds
Family Life
• Christian Finance
• ChristiansUnite KIDS
Shop
• Christian Magazines
• Christian Book Store
Read
• Christian News
• Christian Columns
• Christian Song Lyrics
• Christian Mailing Lists
Connect
• Christian Singles
• Christian Classifieds
Graphics
• Free Christian Clipart
• Christian Wallpaper
Fun Stuff
• Clean Christian Jokes
• Bible Trivia Quiz
• Online Video Games
• Bible Crosswords
Webmasters
• Christian Guestbooks
• Banner Exchange
• Dynamic Content

Subscribe to our Free Newsletter.
Enter your email address:

ChristiansUnite
Forums
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
July 18, 2018, 12:43:23 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Our Lord Jesus Christ loves you.
279132 Posts in 26809 Topics by 3790 Members
Latest Member: Goodwin
* Home Help Search Login Register
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10

 1 
 on: July 17, 2018, 05:44:25 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
_______________________________________________
Two Minutes With The Bible
From The Berean Bible Society

Free Email Subscription


For Questions Or Comments:  berean@execpc.com
_______________________________________________


For Just Being Here
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


When you sigh for heaven, remember:

    “…Christ…loved the Church, and gave Himself for it…That He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25,26).

Too readily we forget that Christ loves us infinitely more than we love Him; that He paid the penalty for our sins on cruel Calvary and shed His life’s blood that one day He might have us for Himself to share His glory with Him forever.

Surely, then, He would rather have us at His side in heaven than here in this scene of sin and sorrow, and sickness and death. We should bear this in mind when we long that we might leave this world and go to be with Him.

But there is more: The Saviour, who was exiled from this earth, and is, even now, rejected by men, has not yet rejected them. Rather, He has left us here as His ambassadors on hostile territory, to plead with his enemies, praying them “in His stead” to be reconciled to God, assuring them that He has done all that is necessary to effect a reconciliation (II Cor. 5: 20,21).

And this is His attitude toward mankind now, though the prophetic Scriptures declare so emphatically that man’s rejection of Christ was to be — and will be — visited with the severest judgment (Psa. 2:4-9; Acts 2:16-20).

But not yet! Though man had declared war on Christ (Acts 4:26,27), He did not yet make a counter-declaration, but interrupted the prophetic program to save Saul of Tarsus, the leader of the rebellion and sent him forth to usher in the present “dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph. 3:1-3).

This is why, in His love and compassion, He leaves us here still to plead with His enemies: “Be ye reconciled to God”. And what about His special love for us? Entirely apart from rewards earned by service or suffering for Him, God will richly reward us (II Cor.4:17) just for being here as “ambassadors for Christ”.

 2 
 on: July 17, 2018, 05:42:24 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
__________________________________________
From Grace Gems - Free and Public Domain:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
FREE E-mail Subscription:
http://www.gracegems.org/
___________________________________________


It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!

(Matthew Mead, "Falling into the Hands of the Living God!" 1629-1699)

"It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!" Hebrews 10:31

It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God, because, as He is the all-knowing and Almighty God--so He is the just and righteous God; and will be so forever, for He is the living God. His righteousness and justice are everlasting--and this makes Hell so dreadful.

As it is the great comfort of believers to have such a Mediator and Surety, such a high priest to live forever to make intercession for them--so this is the great misery of lost sinners: to fall into the hands of that God, who ever lives to avenge Himself on their unbelief and rebellion. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God . . .
  who knows all their sins,
  who is so holy--that He must punish them,
  who is so powerful--that He can punish them,
  who is so just--that He does punish all impenitent sinners forever!

 3 
 on: July 17, 2018, 05:40:05 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
________________________________
The Patriot Post Digest 7-17-2018
From The Federalist Patriot
Free Email Subscription
_______________________________


Top Headlines21

Trump fires back at criticism of Putin press conference (The Hill22)
Despite botched summit with Putin, Trump’s policies are still pressuring Russia (The Federalist23)
Video: Chris Wallace interviews Russian President Vladimir Putin (Fox News24)
The DOJ charges a Russian with attempting to infiltrate the NRA (National Review25)
Right on cue, Kavanaugh accused of hiding sexual harassment (The Daily Wire26)
CA judge halts deportations of reunited migrant families (NBC News27)
House GOP reverses, cancels vote on Dem bill to abolish ICE (The Hill28)
New details emerge about Mossad raid to obtain Iranian nuclear secrets (The Washington Free Beacon29)
Communists brutally murdered Russia’s last royal family 100 years ago today (The Federalist30)
Humor: The Bee explains Democratic Socialism (The Babylon Bee31)
Policy: What’s next for U.S.-Russia relationship (The Daily Signal32)
Policy: The immigration scandal no one is talking about (The Daily Signal33)
For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report34.

https://patriotpost.us/articles/57164-tuesday-top-headlines

MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

Could Roe v. Wade Be Overturned?40 — If Roe is overturned, then abortion law merely returns to the states, where it constitutionally belongs.
Video: Public Union, Public Enemy41 — Millions of public employees don’t want to be pawns for the union agenda.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Dennis Prager: “The reason we worry so much about vast numbers of immigrants is that too many immigrants in too short a period of time will change American culture and values. Our concern is not rooted in xenophobia; it is rooted in values-phobia. Why is this an issue now? Because the vast majority of past immigrants changed their values, not America’s, when they came to this country. They came here to become American, not only in terms of language, citizenship, and national identity but also in terms of values. But while some immigrants still do, the majority does not. They want to become American citizens in order to better their lives — a completely understandable motivation — not to embrace American values and identity. The majority of today’s immigrants from Latin America, for example, wishes to become wealthier … Latin Americans. Tens of millions of people have been coming to America with non-American values — essentially, values of the Left such as big government and a welfare state. And thanks to the Democratic Party and the Left, they don’t jettison these non-American values at the border and are encouraged to hold on to them. … Large-scale Muslim immigration to Europe will do to Europe’s values what large-scale northern-state immigration has done to Florida and what large-scale European immigration did to the native culture of North America. So, while the issue appears to be whether one is for or against large-scale immigration into America, the real issue is whether one wants to preserve American values or see them changed. The Left wants them changed. Conservatives don’t.”

SHORT CUTS

Advice: “[Vladimir] Putin knew exactly what he was doing, was always in control, and never said anything to undercut his own country [during yesterday’s confab]. In this sense, if no other, Trump should take notes from the man he refuses to criticize.” —Rich Lowry

Braying Jenny: “Every single day, I find myself asking: what do the Russians have on [Donald Trump] personally, financially, & politically? The answer to that question is that only thing that explains his behavior & his refusal to stand up to Putin.” — Nancy Pelosi

For the record: “The political Left was giddy as Obama negotiated a nuclear deal with the Holocaust-denying regime of Iran as its agents were killing U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama didn’t want Congress to vote on it, and parts of the deal were kept secret from Congress. He flew pallets of cash to Iran in the middle of the night. He refused to prosecute Hezbollah for drug trafficking. Maybe we should be asking what Iran has on Obama!” —Gary Bauer

Alpha Jackass: “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin.” —former CIA Director John Brennan, who once voted for a communist presidential candidate

Non Compos Mentis: “We’re starting to see that the people who create value in society are not experiencing any portion of the value that they are creating. So I do think that, absolutely, capitalism was the most efficient and best economy, perhaps, for the time that it was at, perhaps. But as we evolve, as automation begins to take out extremely large industries, we have to say that we aren’t going to throw those people away.” —"Democratic socialist" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

And last… “Hate is not a policy, and the Democrats are so devoid of policies that they have run out of even bad ones. This once-great party used to have at least some leaders with integrity. Now they are only about destroying the president and grabbing power once again. What would they do with power if they got it?” —Cal Thomas

https://patriotpost.us/articles/57158-tuesday-short-cuts

Join our editors and staff in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families. We also humbly ask prayer for your Patriot team, that our mission would seed and encourage the spirit of Liberty in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher

 4 
 on: July 17, 2018, 05:38:59 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
________________________________
The Patriot Post Digest 7-17-2018
From The Federalist Patriot
Free Email Subscription
_______________________________


It’s worth noting, as CBS’s Michael Graham does8, that Trump’s record is key: “Despite all the pillow talk with Putin, Trump has kept Obama-era sanctions in place, added new sanctions of his own, reversed Obama policies by giving offensive weapons to Ukraine and missile-defense systems to Poland, and allowed our military to wipe out a large group of Russian mercenaries fighting for Syria’s Assad regime.” That’s in addition to economic pressure he’s applied via oil and gas9 in particular.

Trump went to Helsinki with hopes of improving relations with Russia, and both he and Putin said afterward that they made progress toward that goal. If Trump truly wants better relations, then he should follow Ronald Reagan’s model of peace through strength. Reagan never backed down from the Soviet Union and he never missed an opportunity to call out the Soviets on their bad behavior, even while maintaining a cordial relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev. Trump has shown some backbone in his dealings with Russia, but he needs to be more consistent. Monday’s Helsinki press conference was a missed opportunity for him to put Putin in his place.

But there will be others.

On a final note, we’ll conclude with Trump’s strongest remarks: “As president, I cannot make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease partisan critics or the media, or Democrats who want to do nothing but resist and obstruct. Constructive dialogue between the United States and Russia affords the opportunity to open new pathways toward peace and stability in our world. I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics. As president, I will always put [first] what is best for America and what is best for the American people.”

https://patriotpost.us/articles/57161-trumps-blunder-isnt-the-only-story

IN BRIEF
Baltimore Crime Rate Confirms Ferguson Effect10

Last year Baltimore, Maryland, led the nation in homicides, continuing its growing trend in violent crime that began in 2015 following the death of Freddie Gray11 while in police custody. That happened during the height of the Black Lives Matter12 protests across the nation. Feeling the pressure, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake refused to back the city’s police department, thus precipitating days of violent rioting only quelled after the National Guard was brought in.

Six Baltimore city police officers were put on trial over Gray’s death, resulting in three acquittals and the city dropping the case13 against the other three. Barack Obama’s Justice Department investigated Baltimore’s police department and accused “Baltimore’s police of arresting thousands of people without a valid legal basis, using unjustified force and targeting black neighborhoods for unconstitutional stops.” Needless to say, the message had a chilling effect upon the city’s law enforcement.

Now USA Today reports14, “The surge of shootings and killings that followed has left Baltimore easily the deadliest large city in the United States. Its murder rate reached an all-time high last year; 342 people were killed. The number of shootings in some neighborhoods has more than tripled. One man was shot to death steps from a police station. Another was killed driving in a funeral procession.”

While the city’s police officers have been as vigilant as ever in responding to crimes, what has changed has been proactive policing. As USA Today further explains, “Millions of police records show officers in Baltimore respond to calls as quickly as ever. But they now begin far fewer encounters themselves. From 2014 to 2017, dispatch records show the number of suspected narcotics offenses police reported themselves dropped 30 percent; the number of people they reported seeing with outstanding warrants dropped by half. The number of field interviews — instances in which the police approach someone for questioning — dropped 70 percent.”

A retired police officer explained the attitude, stating, “These guys aren’t stupid. They realize that if they do something wrong, they’re going to get their head bit off. There’s no feeling that anybody’s behind them anymore, and they’re not going to do it. Nobody wants to put their head in the pizza oven when the pizza oven is on.” In other words, it’s the “Ferguson Effect15,” and it is deadly. And more often than not, black people are the victims. For all their protesting and rioting, in the end it appears that saving the lives of black people is less important to BLM than is impugning police for alleged institutional racism16 as part of the fight for leftist “social justice” causes.

https://patriotpost.us/articles/57138-baltimore-crime-rate-confirms-ferguson-effect

San Francisco’s Rank Number Two17
Thomas Gallatin

San Francisco — who would want to live in that feces hole? (Donald Trump allegedly had another word18 for such places.) That sentiment quite literally is a problem that the city’s newly elected Democrat Mayor London Breed is facing. You see, San Francisco has an excrement problem — an excrement problem directly linked to its massive population of homeless people. Some 7,500 vagrants are currently living (and doing their business) on the city’s streets. Breed recognizes the stinky problem, stating, “There is more feces on the sidewalks than I’ve ever seen growing up here. That’s a huge problem and we are not just talking about from dogs — we’re talking about from humans.” Well, at least admitting there’s a problem is a start.

Throwing money at the problem hasn’t helped. Last year alone San Francisco spent19 $275 million on supportive housing for the homeless. That was up from $241 million the year before, and this year the city is projected to spend upwards of $280 million.

The root of San Francisco’s mess can be tied directly to decades of Democrats enacting their leftist policies. San Francisco has the highest rent in the world, coming in at an average of $3,500 a month. The median home price is a whopping $1.5 million, an amount that only 12% of residents can afford.

And the biggest contributor to this obscenely high cost of living is onerous laws. Columnist Rachel Alexander reports20, “Zoning regulations and building codes have increased the cost of housing. … Due to the high cost of living, a family making $117,400 annually is considered ‘low income.’ A family making $73,300 is ‘very low income.’ The minimum wage is $15 an hour, but it’s not enough to rent a two-bedroom apartment. In order to live comfortably in San Francisco, an annual salary must be at least $110,000.”

Exorbitantly high cost of living and yet the city is increasingly becoming a slum. No wonder residents are leaving the city in droves. No U.S. city lost more residents in the last quarter of 2017 than did San Francisco. Here is yet another sad example of a long-time Democrat-controlled city whose residents are suffering — and smelling — the consequences.

https://patriotpost.us/articles/57162-san-franciscos-rank-number-two

 5 
 on: July 17, 2018, 05:33:22 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
________________________________
The Patriot Post Digest 7-17-2018
From The Federalist Patriot
Free Email Subscription
_______________________________


The Patriot Post® · Mid-Day Digest

Jul. 17, 2018 · https://patriotpost.us/digests/57166-mid-day-digest

THE FOUNDATION

“Foreign influence is truly the Grecian horse to a republic. We cannot be too careful to exclude its influence.” —Alexander Hamilton (1793)

IN TODAY’S EDITION

The Left wants Trump’s Russia blunder to be the only story. It’s not.
Baltimore’s rising crime rate confirms the Ferguson Effect.
Democrat-run San Francisco is turning into a literal cesspool.
Could Roe v. Wade be overturned? If so, what then?
Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

FEATURED ANALYSIS
Trump’s Blunder Isn’t the Only Story1

Lewis Morris

President Donald Trump’s summit this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin has been boiled down to a few sound bites that allow Trump’s opponents to claim that he is in the pocket of the Russian strongman.

The media buys and sells sound bites because that’s all most Americans can handle. Trump gave them a terrible sound bite yesterday, and that’s entirely his fault. But it’s the result of him refusing to concede an inch on the Democrat/Leftmedia narrative about collusion. They deliberately conflate two things: the phony idea that Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election and actual Russian election interference to undermine voter confidence.

But rather than explain that nuance, Trump did as he typically does — he let his ego obscure the issue as he blundered through a bad answer on the Russia investigation.

During a joint post-summit press conference2, Trump first correctly insisted, “The [Russia] probe is a disaster for our country. I think it’s kept us apart. It’s kept us separated. There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it.”

Too bad he didn’t leave it at that.

In the sound bite that has people on both sides rankled, Trump went on to imply that he believed Putin’s denial about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election over his own intelligence agencies. “I have great confidence in my intelligence people,” Trump said of their assessment of Russian interference, “but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.” He also said, “[Putin] just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

Oh really? The Soviets have only been interfering in Western elections for a century — sometimes at the invitation of Democrats (see 19843).

Notably, Democrats have, by way of the Trump/Putin collusion charade, done more to undermine election confidence than Putin ever could — which has been precisely their objective.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich criticized Trump for his careless wording, saying, “President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin. It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected — immediately.”

The current speaker, Paul Ryan, was equally forceful: “There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world.”

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats defended U.S. intelligence, saying, “We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security.”

Trump’s other assertion receiving a lot of attention was, as we argued yesterday4, directed at the previous administration. “I hold both countries responsible [for bad relations]. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we’ve all been foolish.” Unfortunately, Trump’s wording was sloppy and left him harshly criticizing his own country on foreign soil, which presidents should not do.

Again, Ryan correctly responded, “There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals. The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy.”

The real problem is that Trump’s statements breathe new life into the collusion story by his appearing to side with the lying, murderous tyrant Putin over his own government. Trump has thrown the American intelligence community under the bus before, but to do it in so public a forum and while standing next to Vladimir Putin is unlikely to do him or the country any favors.

Trump is famous for working a long game that the media and his opponents don’t see, but it’s hard to fathom how his “Art of the Deal” strategy is working here. Perhaps he doesn’t want to upset negotiations with Russia, but the optics of Trump placating Putin are going to be hard to overcome. Either way, the fact remains that there is still no evidence of any collusion between Trump and Putin, and Trump seems uninterested in trumpeting anything else.

That said, if we want to see what Putin manhandling a U.S. president looks like, and if we want to investigate Russian collusion with a U.S. administration, then we should focus on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton5. From the silly “reset” button to Obama’s famous hot-mic admission to former Russian President (and Putin placeholder) Dmitri Medvedev to Clinton’s shady uranium deal and her family’s foundation hanky-panky, there is plenty of evidence that can prove collusion. But this isn’t the collusion the media or Mueller want to prove.

Trump has correctly placed much of the blame on his predecessor for the sad state of affairs6 between the two nations. Obama and Clinton, in her capacity as secretary of state, presidential candidate, and Clinton Foundation gadfly, did a fine job of mucking things up with their arrogance and shortsighted worldview. If they had not proved so anti-American, Putin would not have been emboldened to run roughshod internationally.

Mitt Romney famously pointed out in the 2012 presidential campaign that Russia was a problem that was only going to get worse. He was ridiculed only to be proven right over the next four years. Democrats are only coming around to this idea now because Trump is seeking better relations. In their Never-Trump worldview, whatever Trump seeks, they must seek the opposite.

It’s difficult to know at this point if any substantive ground was covered between Trump and Putin because the press conference overshadowed any other details from their meeting. There were a host of issues7 on the table beyond Russian interference in the American election, including Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Putin’s stranglehold on the press and political opponents at home and abroad, assassinations and attempted assassinations of political opponents in Russia and in Europe, what to do about Syria, and Russia’s breaking of the 1987 INF Treaty.

The two men met in private for over two hours before speaking with reporters, and there has been little indication that any progress was made in any of these areas.

 6 
 on: July 17, 2018, 08:40:19 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
The First Love

“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24)

This is the very heart of the moving prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ in the upper room before His arrest and crucifixion. As we hear Him pray, we are translated back in time, before time began, and there we encounter the indescribable love within the counsels of the triune Godhead—Father, and Son, and Spirit—three persons, yet one God.

Then, after speaking of this love, Jesus prayed—in the final words of His sure-to-be-answered prayer—“that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (v. 26).

This love—the love within the Trinity—was the primeval love and, therefore, is the spring from which flows every other form of true love—marital love, mother love, brotherly love, love of country, love of friends, love for the lost, or any other genuine love.

It is appropriate that the first mention of love in the Old Testament refers to the love of a father (Abraham) for his son Isaac (Genesis 22:2), and then that the first reference to love in the New Testament (Matthew 3:17) speaks of the heavenly love of God the Father for God the Son. In both cases, the son is called “beloved,” yet in both cases the father and son are prepared to go to the altar of sacrifice, that the will of God might be done and a way of salvation be provided for lost sinners.

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). One day—as He prayed—we shall be with Him, see His glory, and even experience His own eternal love in our hearts. HMM

 7 
 on: July 16, 2018, 07:56:05 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
_______________________________________________
More Minutes With The Bible
From The Berean Bible Society

Free Email Subscription


For Questions Or Comments:  berean@execpc.com
_______________________________________________


The Importance of the Local Church - Part 1

by Pastor Paul M. Sadler

    “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Phil. 4:9).

What have we “learned” from Paul? If we carefully study his three apostolic journeys we find that Paul’s proclamation of the Word of God was the basis for both the establishment and growth of the local church. Everywhere the apostle went he opened the Scriptures to the people and they responded with grateful hearts. We’ll allow the biblical record to speak for itself:

1st Apostolic Journey, Antioch in Pisidia: “And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the Word of God” (Acts 13:44). Iconium: “Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the Word of His grace” (Acts 14:3). Lystra and Derbe: “And there they preached the gospel” (Acts 14:7).

2nd Apostolic Journey, Thessalonica: “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ” (Acts 17:2,3). Corinth: “And he [Paul] continued there a year and six months, teaching the Word of God among them” (Acts 18:11).

3rd Apostolic Journey, Ephesus: “And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the Word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:10). Troas: “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight” (Acts 20:7).

Today, the sound preaching of the Word has been replaced in most local assemblies with alternative worship services and marketing schemes to build a popular church that everyone wants to attend. There is rarely a month that goes by that I don’t receive a colorful brochure come across my desk on Church Growth Programs. Sadly, the church growth movement has relegated the Word of God to a secondary role in favor of song services, skits, films and testimonials. This concept is merely an attempt to draw larger audiences with the idea that “bigger is better.” If they provide more social functions and innovative programs they’ll be better equipped to meet the needs of the community. It’s a lofty goal, but a flawed concept.

The problem here is this: when the church across town announces they’re building a new gym or they plan to have a contemporary worship service with gifted musicians, probably before long many of your people will be going to this new venue. It wouldn’t be the first time a local assembly was left with a small handful of people and a large mortgage. Unfortunately, all of this is at the expense of the Word of God, which is the very thing that will minister to the needs of the people.

The temptation is very real for local churches to go along with the trends of the day, but is it our desire to please men or God? Many church boards are fearful that if Paul’s apostleship and message are proclaimed in their fullness it may upset someone and drive them away! I remember several years ago I was on the platform with a young Grace Pastor who spent the first ten minutes of his message apologizing for Paul’s apostleship. He felt we made too much of Paul and we needed to tone it down in the Grace Movement or we were going to offend people. I’m sure most of his comments were for my benefit, but he was speaking to the wrong person. I came out of the confusion of denominationalism years ago and I have no intention of returning, as this young man was suggesting. I thank God without ceasing that I’ve been set free from the bondage of tradition and I’m going to tell anyone who’s willing to listen that they, too, can be delivered if they acknowledge Paul’s gospel.

Beloved ones, Paul is God’s spokesman for the Church today, thus, to speak disparagingly of God’s apostle is to reject the counsel of God itself. Paul’s epistles reveal the mind and will of God for the Body of Christ during this dispensation. Shall we apologize for the Word of God that has been delivered to us by our apostle? I think not!! While we should speak the truth in love, the truth is offensive (Gal. 5:11 cf. Eph. 4:15). I recall the first time someone told me I was a hell-deserving sinner—I was offended by that statement! But I thank God that I was offended, because through the process I got saved. We must be very careful not to remove the “offense of the Cross” by sugar coating our words with flowery platitudes, which can condemn men to perdition.

One of the purposes of the local church is to provide an atmosphere where the Word of God can be received with thanksgiving. The preaching of the Word must be the centerpiece of our worship of Almighty God. True worship begins with God being glorified in the teaching of His Word. It is then enhanced by the singing of hymns, spiritual songs, prayer and testimonials. For the most part, this order has been reversed in our churches today, which has left the Lord’s people floundering spiritually in their Christian lives.

When we speak here of preaching the Word, we are not referring to a 12-minute devotional message on Sunday morning, which has little profit. Rather, whenever we gather around the Word to worship the preferable way to open the Scriptures is to do a verse-by-verse exposition of a particular book, such as the Book of Romans. We believe this is the most profitable and effective way to teach the Scriptures. Remember, Paul reasoned with his hearers, he alleged, he taught them the Word of life. Whatever format you use, “preach the Word” and the Lord’s people will respond as those at Thessalonica did to Paul’s preaching.

    “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (I Thes. 2:13).

Because the saints at Thessalonica eagerly received the Word of His grace, the Word began to work within them and it changed their lives. The ways of the world that once were so important to them were gradually being replaced with a desire to walk worthy of their calling. They were growing in grace and becoming more and more spiritually minded.

Little wonder the apostle says: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Heb. 10:25). If you aren’t attending a local assembly regularly we would like to encourage you to do so for the following reasons. First, it gives you an opportunity to worship God with others of like-precious faith. Second, the Word of God will build you up in the faith, thus enabling you to become more effective in the Lord’s work. This will also help to strengthen your relationship with Christ. Third, the gifts and talents the Lord has given you can be used to His honor and glory. Fourth, the world can be a discouraging place at times; therefore, the fellowship and interaction with other believers will be a great encouragement to you.

The local church that is built upon the Word of God is a stable church, where the Lord’s people know they will hear sound biblical teaching that will challenge them in the faith. This type of church home produces a family atmosphere and families stick together. Seeing that the majority of the assembly has been grounded in the Word when the storms of adversity come, and they will come, the members of the assembly are equipped to weather the storm to the glory of God.

Notes:

    The Radio Bible Class, Our Daily Bread, Grand Rapids, MI.

 8 
 on: July 16, 2018, 07:48:09 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
_______________________________________________
More Minutes With The Bible
From The Berean Bible Society

Free Email Subscription


For Questions Or Comments:  berean@execpc.com
_______________________________________________


The Importance of the Local Church - Part 1

by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


It seems as though everyone these days is looking for the perfect church. Some years ago Our Daily Bread published the following account: A man reportedly came to the British pastor, Charles H. Spurgeon, looking for the perfect church. The famous preacher told him he had many saintly people in his congregation, but a “Judas” could also be among them. After all, even Jesus had a traitor in the company of His apostles. He went on to say that some might be walking disobediently, as had been the case among the believers at Rome, Corinth, and Galatia.

“My church is not the one you’re looking for,” said Spurgeon. “But if you should happen to find such a church, I beg you not to join it, for you would spoil the whole thing.” 1

The local church will never be perfect on this side of glory, simply because disobedience and carnality are always in attendance with grace and love. If you have ever attended a congregational meeting where opposing sides were having a heated discussion over a thorny issue, you probably tried to leave early to avoid being tarred and feathered. Attending these types of congregational meetings is not for the faint of heart. It reminds us of the old saying, “To dwell above with saints we love, oh that will sure be glory. But to dwell below with saints we know, well, that’s another story!” Interestingly, this statement touches the very heart of the matter. In fact, it’s why the local church is so essential to the plans and purposes of God, as we will see.

THE CHURCH

    “And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the Church, which is His Body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:22,23).

    “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord” (I Cor. 1:2).

The word “church” or “assembly” (Gr. ecclesia) is a very general term that is defined as a group of “called out ones.” It can refer to an unruly mob of unbelievers such as we have at Ephesus in Acts 19:38-41, or a group of believers in Christ (I Thes. 1:1). The context will always govern which “church” is being spoken of, whether it is the called out Israelites in the wilderness (Acts 7:38) or the kingdom church (Matt. 16:18). For this particular study we will be limiting ourselves to the called out ones of this present dispensation: the Church, the Body of Christ (Col. 1:18).

The Church, the Body of Christ is a new creation that is made up of Jews and Gentiles who have placed their faith in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. It matters not what race you are, or your denominational affiliation, or what your social status may be, if you have trusted Christ as your personal Savior then you are a member of the mystical Body of Christ. This is the true Church! For the sake of clarity, while every member of the true Church which is His Body is saved, this is not necessarily the case with every member of a local church. Salvation is the result of having a relationship with Christ, it is not the product of having your name on the membership role of a local assembly.

    “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers….As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away” (Acts 13:1-3).

Very early in the present dispensation, Antioch in Syria became the headquarters for the Gentile church. What Jerusalem was to the kingdom saints, Antioch was to the Body of Christ. It was from this local assembly at Antioch that the Holy Spirit sent forth the Apostle Paul on his three missionary journeys. Of course, it was the Lord of glory who called and commissioned the apostle years earlier (Acts 26:16 cf. Gal. 1:1), but it was the Holy Spirit who instructed the saints at Antioch to send Paul forth on his three missionary journeys, which were actually apostolic in nature. Paul was the first to introduce the gospel of the grace of God to the known world of His day.

The apostolic ministry of Paul was threefold: He evangelized the lost to Christ, he committed the revelation of the Mystery to those he evangelized, and he conducted an ongoing church planting ministry. At the end of his first apostolic journey, Paul and Barnabas returned to the cities of Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch in Pisidia where they had preached the gospel. It is important to note why they retraced their footsteps. According to the record, it was to ordain elders in the churches they had previously established in those cities. Once this was accomplished they prayed with these dear saints and “commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed” (Acts 14:21-23). The church planting ministry to which Paul was called by the Spirit is a clear indication to us that the local church is ordained of God. It is the vehicle through which God is making known the riches of His grace. Everything that is done in the Lord’s work should be either directly or indirectly tied to the local church. For example:

The Berean Bible Society is a para-church organization, but our ministry has always been geared toward the local assembly. We have often said when we hold our meetings around the country that it is not our purpose to compete with the local church; rather it is our desire to compliment it by reinforcing what our Grace Pastors are already teaching. This is achieved through our literature and tapes which help believers become more spiritually minded so that they might be more productive members of their local assembly. Another example is our new Sunday School curriculum for our young people. This project has had the local church in mind since its inception. So then, the outreach of BBS is twofold—we minister to the Body of Christ in general, and the local church in particular.

The local church is a group of believers in Christ, whether small or large in number that meets at a specific location under the ministry of the elders who provide spiritual guidance in the things of the Lord. The denominational superstructure we see all around us today, with its hierarchy and tradition, is merely a monument to man’s ambitious ways. While these things may appeal to the flesh, they were not a part of God’s original plan for the Body of Christ. According to the Scriptures, when the Apostle Paul planted churches at Thessalonica, Corinth, Ephesus, and Philippi all of these assemblies were independent and self-governing (Phil. 1:1). And this was for good reason: if one of these assemblies were to depart from the faith it was less likely to affect the other assemblies, since they were not subject to a hierarchy.

Although the churches at Corinth and Ephesus were larger works, most of the assemblies Paul ministered to were small. In his epistles we frequently read about the church in someone’s house. A good example is Nymphas: “Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house” (Col. 4:15). Whether the work was small or large, it is interesting to note that every assembly Paul had established or ministered to was a Grace Church at that time. They all had received the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the Mystery and initially each one stood for the truth of Paul’s gospel (Rom. 16:25).

THE PURPOSE OF THE LOCAL CHURCH

I have had the privilege, by the grace of God, to pastor three Grace Churches. The experience was invaluable and as I look back, while I didn’t realize it at the time, the Lord was preparing me for the position I presently hold at the Berean Bible Society. During those years of my pulpit ministry I learned the importance of patterning my ministry after the Apostle Paul. Essentially I sought to emulate what the apostle did when he planted a local church. In fact, did he not instruct us along these lines to do this very thing?

 9 
 on: July 16, 2018, 07:43:36 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
_______________________________________________
Two Minutes With The Bible
From The Berean Bible Society

Free Email Subscription


For Questions Or Comments:  berean@execpc.com
_______________________________________________


Rightly Dividing The Word
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


It is not enough to use the Bible as a grand book of wonderful sayings from which we may choose what we wish for our inspiration, nor will one who truly realizes that “God hath spoken” ever hold so shallow an opinion of the sacred Scriptures.

“The Word of truth” must be “rightly divided”; for while it is all given for our spiritual profit, it was not all addressed to us, or written about us. Thus one who truly desires to understand and obey God’s Word will seek first to determine what Scriptures are particularly related to him and will study all the rest in the light of these.

Sad to say, however, there are many who fail to give the Book of God the respect and reverence it deserves. They flip it open at random, let a finger light upon the open page and then read the verse indicated to see if perchance they may find leading from the Lord in that way. And if it doesn’t “work” the first time they try it again and again until it does “work.” They use “promise boxes” in the same way, on the basis that “every promise in the Book is mine.” They take passages out of their contexts, “spiritualize” them, and give them “private interpretations.” Finding “precious passages” anywhere at all, no matter to whom addressed or when or why, they place their own constructions upon them and claim them as promises of God to them! To take isolated statements from the writings of men and use them in such a manner would be considered dishonest, but even Bible teachers do it with the Word of God!

The Word, rightly divided, is of supreme importance to the Church at large as well as to the individual believer, and it is because this fact has not yet been sufficiently recognized that we have not experienced the true, heaven-sent revival that the Church so sorely needs.

 10 
 on: July 16, 2018, 07:41:04 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
_______________________________________________
Two Minutes With The Bible
From The Berean Bible Society

Free Email Subscription


For Questions Or Comments:  berean@execpc.com
_______________________________________________


Did Christ Offer Animal Sacrifices?
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “Did Christ offer animal sacrifices?”

You wouldn’t think He did, since sacrifices were brought “for atonement” (Ex. 29:36), and He had no sins for which to atone. However, He also had no sins of which He needed to repent to receive remission of them, and yet He submitted to John’s “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4). Of course, we know that He was baptized “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15). That is, in order for us to be numbered with the righteous, He had to be “numbered with the transgressors” so He could die for them (Isa. 53:12). So He was numbered with the transgressors in His baptism, and also when He died between two transgressors (Mark 15:28). But if He identified with sinners at the beginning of His ministry with His baptism, and at the end of His ministry with His death, perhaps He identified with sinners in between those events as well, with animal sacrifices.

But here we have to be careful how we say the Lord offered such sacrifices. As a Jew under the Law (Gal. 4:4) He had to keep the Law, for to transgress it would be sin (I John 3:4). Well, the Law required men to keep the seven feasts of Leviticus 23, each of which involved an animal sacrifice, and we know the Lord kept Israel’s feasts (Luke 22:15; John 7:2,10). These sacrifices were offered for the people of Israel as a whole, and He was one of the people, and so in this way He identified with them with animal sacrifices. But the One who “knew no sin” (II Cor. 5:21) never brought a sacrifice for any personal transgression.

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10



More From ChristiansUnite...    About Us | Privacy Policy | | ChristiansUnite.com Site Map | Statement of Beliefs



Copyright © 1999-2016 ChristiansUnite.com. All rights reserved.
Please send your questions, comments, or bug reports to the

Powered by SMF 1.1 RC2 | SMF © 2001-2005, Lewis Media