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February 18, 2018, 12:06:23 AM

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Our Lord Jesus Christ loves you.
278344 Posts in 26607 Topics by 3790 Members
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 21 
 on: February 15, 2018, 06:11:15 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

Why the Cross?

(Octavius Winslow)

True sanctification is a daily mortification of the root of sin in the heart--the continual destruction of the principle.
What is your predominant sin? Lay the axe at its root!
Seek its death and destruction--or it will be death and destruction to you, as long as it prevails.

One sight of a crucified Savior imparted by the Holy Spirit, will effectually weaken the power of indwelling sin--more than all other means combined.

O the might of the Cross!
O the virtue of the blood!
O the power of the grace of Jesus--to crucify, cleanse, and subdue our iniquities!

While the Cross is a comforting truth--it is also a sanctifying truth.

Why the Cross?

To evince the exceeding hatefulness of sin, and to show that nothing short of such a stupendous sacrifice could remove sin consistently with the glory of the Divine nature, and the honor of the Divine government.

When the mind is diverted from the Cross--sin appears to be a trifle. It can be . . .
  looked at without indignation,
  tampered with without fear,
  committed without hesitation,
  persisted in without remorse,
  gloried in without shame,
  confessed without sorrow.

But when Divine justice is seen drinking the very heart's blood of God's only Son, in order to quench its infinite thirst for satisfaction; when Jesus is seen in His humiliation, suffering, and death--all with the design of pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin--then how fearful a thing does it seem to sin against this holy Lord God! How base, how ungrateful, does our sin appear--in view of love so amazing, of grace so rich, and of glory so great!

Cultivate a constant, an ardent thirst for holiness. Do not be discouraged if the more intensely the desire for sanctification rises--the deeper and darker is the revelation of the heart's hidden evil. The one is often a consequence of the other. The struggle may be painful, the battle may be strong--but the result is certain, and will be a glorious victory--victory through the blood of the Lamb!

 22 
 on: February 15, 2018, 06:10:07 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

Short pithy quotes from Adrian Rogers

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Our sins were the nails that nailed Him to that tree--and our hard hearts were the hammers that drove those nails!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Reputation is what others think about you.
Character is what God knows about you.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

If you live for this world--then you are in the junk business. It's all just premature junk!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Some people go to to Hell--with a chest full of Sunday school attendance pins!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Anything you love more, fear more, serve more, or value more than God--is your idol!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

To be almost saved--is to be totally lost!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The devil would just as soon send you to Hell from the pew--as from the gutter!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

God is sovereign--so live confidently.
God is holy--so live reverently.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Where God leads--He feeds.
Where God directs--He protects.
Where God guides--He provides.

 23 
 on: February 15, 2018, 06:08:56 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
__________________________________________
From Grace Gems:
Very Old - But Beautiful and Timeless Treasures.
Everything is FREE and Public Domain.
http://www.gracegems.org/19/literature.htm
___________________________________________

Have you ever wondered what a church full of Pharisees would be like?

(Adrian Rogers)

Have you ever wondered what a church full of Pharisees would be like?
   1. They would all attend every service.
   2. They would all tithe.
   3. They would all work in the church.
   4. They would all go to Hell!

"Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!" Matthew 23:15

 24 
 on: February 15, 2018, 08:30:04 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
The Lively Oracles

“This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us.” (Acts 7:38)
 
This pungent expression, “lively oracles,” is the felicitous King James translation of zao logion, “utterances that are vibrantly alive.” In Stephen’s address, he was referring, of course, to the tables of the law, “written with the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18) and received by Moses on Mount Sinai directly from the Lord.
 
The Greek word logion is derived from logos (“word”) and occurs just four times. In the other three references, it appears in the phrase “oracles of God” (Romans 3:2; Hebrews 5:12; 1 Peter 4:11). These “oracles” are living words precisely because they do come from God. They include not only the Ten Commandments but all the Holy Scriptures.
 
The word “lively” is the Greek zao, occurring over 140 times and translated variously (depending on context) as “alive,” “live,” “living,” “quick,” etc. It is significant that it occurs, first of all, on the lips of Christ Himself when He 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). We are truly alive only through the life-giving words of the living God! “For the word [that is, each individual saying] of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword . . . and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
 
The Bible is not just a book but the Book. Its content is “for ever . . . settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89), “able to make thee wise unto salvation” (2 Timothy 3:15), and is “given by inspiration of God” (“God-breathed”) (2 Timothy 3:16). Its words must guide our very lives! HMM

 25 
 on: February 14, 2018, 08:39:13 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
Love in the Old Testament

“And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” (Genesis 29:20)
 
It is well known that “love” in the New Testament almost always means unselfish agape love. The Greek word for sexual love or romantic love, eros, is never used at all in the New Testament. Even marital love is ideally agape love in its main expression, as in Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”
 
In the Old Testament, on the other hand, there are about a dozen different Hebrew words used for “love,” and these often have wide variations in meaning, depending on context, often including romantic love as one of them. For example, Jacob’s willingness to work for Laban seven years in order to obtain Rachel for his wife clearly must have involved a high degree of romantic love on his part. He also loved her sister Leah, after Laban insisted he marry her first, but “he loved also Rachel more than Leah” (Genesis 29:30).
 
Several different “love” words are used in the Song of Solomon, as Solomon and his bride frequently speak of their romantic love for each other. There is no doubt that God approves of such love when it is pure and true and involves self-sacrificing agape love as well. “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). The word for “whoremonger,” incidentally, is also often translated “fornicator” and can refer to any kind of sexual activity (some may call it “love,” but this is a caricature) outside of monogamous, man-and-woman, lifelong marriage.
 
The greatest love of all, of course, in both Old and New Testaments, is God’s love for the men and women He has created and redeemed. HMM

 26 
 on: February 13, 2018, 08:48:33 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
Seven Days

“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” (John 8:56)
 
Jesus spoke to the Pharisees about “my day”—a day that Abraham had “seen” 2,000 years before. This evidently referred to the time when Christ would be on Earth, which God had enabled Abraham to see in prophecy.
 
But of all the days when He was on the earth, the most glorious was the great day when He rose from the dead. “He hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” (Acts 13:33).
 
As a result of His death and resurrection, “behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). The day of salvation is any day in this age of grace when a person believes on Christ for salvation. He then receives “the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). This great future day of redemption evidently is the same as “the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6), when He comes again.
 
Following this is the fearful day of the Lord, when Christ will punish and judge and reign. “The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night . . . and they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3). It is also called “the great day of his wrath” (Revelation 6:17).
 
This day of the Lord will culminate at God’s great white throne. This will be “the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5).
 
Finally will come the eternal “day of God” when this present earth will be purified with fire and “we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). That day will never end, “for there shall be no night there” (Revelation 21:25). HMM

 27 
 on: February 12, 2018, 05:51:41 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
________________________________________
The Patriot Post Digest 2-12-2018
From The Federalist Patriot
Free Email Subscription
________________________________________


Uh, not really. While objectification may lead to harassment, how Day presents women is all about objectification, selling magazines in order to generate revenue from their advertisers.

Day says her goal was to make the models “as much participants as objects,” thus inadvertently admitting to the objectification. She claims she is giving them “a real opportunity to be who they are,” noting, “you’re always an actor, you’re always a part of the photograph, you’re always performing for something: for the brand, the photographer, the spirit of the photograph, and you’re never really your most authentic self.”

So, paint some slogans on nudes — that’ll fix it!

Day concludes of this annual exercise in objectification, “To be sure, this year’s Swimsuit Issue will still have the swimsuits and sandy beaches its readers have come to expect. These are sexy photos. At the end of the day, we’re always going to be sexy, no matter what is happening.”

On that assertion, Jenny Baker protests, “MJ Day, must be from some alternate universe. Fighting the objectification of women by posting photos which objectify women? You can’t alter the disrespect of women by objectifying them as a tools of pleasure.”

Jenny concludes, “Perhaps, if Day wanted to change attitudes toward women, she would’ve featured photos of women doing the extraordinary things many of us do every day, rather than nude photos of women with cheap slogans painted on them. As for Sports Illustrated and MJ Day, I now call you ‘#OneOfThem.’”

(Editors Note: ESPN’s “Body Edition” competes with SI’s objectification of women, but maybe they will have more sense than to claim they are doing anything but that.)

Top Headlines10

Trump’s budget will propose cutting $3 trillion, set goal of reducing the debt rather than balancing the budget (Washington Examiner11)

Trump to unveil $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan (The Washington Times12)

Consumer spending update: Confidence rockets to new four-year high (Rasmussen Reports13)

No. 3 official at the Justice Department is stepping down (The New York Times14)

Trump asks for Democrat memo “re-do” after blocking release (Bloomberg15)

Grassley-Graham Memo16 affirms Nunes memo — media yawns (National Review17)

DACA recipient wanted for murder in Texas (The Daily Wire18.)

San Francisco fines landlord $2 million for renting out dwellings to low-income veterans that violated zoning codes (Reason19)

Outback asked uniformed officer to leave because he was armed (NRA-ILA20)

Student loans will cost taxpayers $36 billion: Thanks, Obama (Investor’s Business Daily21)

Policy: The major issue plaguing accident-prone Amtrak (Manhattan Institute22)

Policy: The congressional budget process: a brief primer (American Enterprise Institute23)

For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report24.

MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

The Real American Racists27 — Apparently, white Americans should either feel ashamed, guilty or apologetic — simply for being white.
Taxpayers Scalped by Demos and Insurance Companies28 — Elizabeth Warren pushes for more socialized medicine to “fix” problems Democrats created.
Remember When Democrats Were for Deportation?29 — With all those fake Democrat crocodile tears on behalf of poor immigrants, let’s take a walk down memory lane.
Eve, the First #MeToo?30 — A woman rabbi ignorantly argues against a pitiful strawman — that God was the first sexual assaulter.
The Sinclair Merger Is a Potential Game Changer31 — The media landscape could change dramatically, and conservatives might just have reason to cheer.

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

John C. Goodman: Fake News on the Nunes Memo32
Gary Bauer: Obama Funded Terrorism33
Todd Starnes: University: Drag Queens Are Welcome, Creationists Are Not34
Kathryn Jean Lopez: A New Face of Hope35
Burt Prelutsky: Why Westerns Are So Popular36
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion37.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Burt Prelutsky: “Each time I see footage of the Democrats at Trump’s State of the Union speech I’m reminded of those sneering football players who spent the season getting more attention for what they were doing on the sidelines than what they were doing on the field. The 242 Democrats (49 senators, 193 House members) who sat on their hands even when Trump pledged to support family leave, something not even Obama called for, may have thought they were expressing their disapproval of the man, but I suspect that a great many Americans saw it for what it was; they were showing their contempt for those of us who had elected the man at the podium. They were taking a knee and giving the rest of us the finger. Perhaps the most telling moment came when Nancy Pelosi turned to glare over her right shoulder and appeared to be making sure that none of her stooges were caught applauding for veterans, an end to chain migration or the Pledge of Allegiance.”

SHORT CUTS

The Gipper: “Great nations have responsibilities to lead, and we should always be cautious of those who would lower our profile, because they might just wind up lowering our flag.”

Observations: “You watch Fox News — ‘We love President Trump.’ You watch MSNBC or CNN — ‘We hate President Trump.’ Is there any other news going on in the world that isn’t about Trump? I swear, if the World Trade Center had come down yesterday, the top story today in the mainstream media would be all about Donald Trump.” —Michael Reagan

For the record: “The Trump presidency is like a ‘Peanuts’ cartoon, with Trump as Lucy with the football. Every time you think this time will be different — this time he’ll stay on message, this time he’ll show some discipline, this time he’ll realize how much more powerful it is to be presidential — he pulls the football away.” —Marc A. Thiessen

Demo-gogues: “I think [Trump] should resign, and if he’s unwilling to do that, which is what I assume, then Congress should hold him accountable. We’re obligated to have hearings.” —Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Dunderhead: “Yeah, I would have participated in [anthem protests], for sure. I’m sure I would have gotten some flak for it. That’s fine. I think that [Colin Kaepernick’s] message was a very simple one. It was police brutality needs to stop. We need to take a look at that.” —ex-NBA star Kobe Bryant

Village Idiots: “We don’t like to say we are a ‘backward’ country so let’s just say we’re suffering from a case of temporary insanity.” —Robert De Niro

Conspiracy? “The Woman’s [sic] March has now emerged as a major movement in the US and of course the Zionists have deeply infiltrated it the way they infiltrated the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and sought to twist it to the advantage of Israel.” —Columbia University professor Hamid Dabashi

And last… “The best argument against Trump’s parade is that it will become a cultural-war flashpoint and ‘the resistance’ will try its utmost to ruin the affair. Just imagine a protester in a pussy hat in a Tiananmen Square-style standoff with an M1 Abrams tank.” —Rich Lowry

Join us 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

 28 
 on: February 12, 2018, 05:50:41 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
________________________________________
The Patriot Post Digest 2-12-2018
From The Federalist Patriot
Free Email Subscription
________________________________________


The Patriot Post® · Mid-Day Digest
Feb. 12, 2018 · https://patriotpost.us/digests/54078-mid-day-digest

IN TODAY’S EDITION

The American media’s Olympic coverage features love for North Korea gulag queen.
Stranger than fiction: Sports Illustrated uses nude models to speak against objectification.
Was Eve the first #MeToo victim? One female rabbi “thinks” so.
Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren makes a faux complaint about ObamaCare.
The real American racists are those who don’t think being white is okay.
Remember when Democrats were for deportation? Elian Gonzalez rings a bell.
Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” —Thomas Jefferson (1800)

FEATURED ANALYSIS
Love Trumps Hate? Media Swoon Over Kim’s Murderous Sister1


By Jordan Candler

Some of you may recall many years ago when CNN founder Ted Turner made some cringe-inducing bromides about North Korea. In 2005, he portrayed the murderous regime of Kim Jong-il — the father of current madman Kim Jong-un2 — as fairly typical and not altogether lacking human decency. He deliriously pontificated: “I am absolutely convinced that the North Koreans are absolutely sincere. … I looked them right in the eyes. And they looked like they meant the truth.” In reference to Kim, he stated, “He didn’t look too much different than most other people.” He added, “I saw a lot of people over there. They were thin and they were riding bicycles instead of driving in cars, but … I didn’t see any brutality.” And the Non Compos Mentis gold medal goes to…

Fast forward to today, and Turner’s impaired perception of North Korea is no different from what the Leftmedia despicably showed during Friday night’s Olympic Games opening ceremony. In fact, the Olympics were quickly tarnished by Trump Derangement Syndrome. Vice President Mike Pence, who was on hand for the ceremony, was eviscerated for his refusal to overlook North Korea’s abhorrent and tyrannical dictatorship. North and South Korea had recently — and no doubt apprehensively — agreed to show harmony at the Olympics, such as processing together for the opening ceremony and sporting a joint women’s hockey team. That’s their prerogative, and everyone hopes that something good can come out of it.

But the U.S. certainly shouldn’t be shamed for its cautionary approach to the Koreas’ decision and the inevitable outcome. According to The New York Times, “Mr. Pence drew the greatest reaction for where he did not appear: most pointedly, at a dinner [South Korean President] Moon [Jae-in] hosted before the opening ceremony. That meant that he avoided spending much time with the North Korean delegation, including Kim Yong-nam, the country’s ceremonial head of state.” Pence also refused to stand when the combined Korean delegate was accentuated during the opening ceremony. The Times wrote that critics view the snub as “disrespectful of the athletes and his host, Mr. Moon.”

Naturally, the Left quickly pounced on Pence’s stern but substantive conduct. This isn’t surprising, but what’s absolutely despicable is the length to which media outlets went to shown their disdain for the Trump administration — and love for the North Korean communists. Kim Jong-un did not attend the opening ceremonies but instead dispatched his sister, Kim Yo-jong. And she was quickly adopted as the new face of the anti-Trump “Resistance.” CNN — the same network on which Ted Turner extolled the “virtues” of North Korea — ran with the atrocious headline, “Kim Jong Un’s sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics.” The New York Times wasn’t much better, tweeting, “Without a word, only flashing smiles, Kim Jong-un’s sister outflanked Vice President Mike Pence in diplomacy.”

Reminder: North Korea is so impoverished that soldiers ransack farms for food3 while Kim and his family eat to their hearts’ content and while precious money is diverted toward nuclear weapons proliferation. The state has executed hundreds of innocent people, including Kim’s own brother. It’s facilitated numerous global hacking campaigns. It’s threatened time and time again to annihilate America and its allies. And some 300,000 people have defected since 19534. Who knows how many lost their lives trying or didn’t try at all out of fear.

Complicit in all this? Kim’s sister. And the Leftmedia want to slam Pence for not acquiescing to North Korean propaganda? Yo-jong is just as ruthless as Jong-un is. Together they have committed atrocities most Americans can’t comprehend. And President Donald Trump knows that what North Korea wants is not at all reflected in what it’s trying to sell at the Olympics. The media in the Age of Trump perpetually lecture us that “Love Trumps Hate.” Unless, of course, they can prop up someone who literally hates all that lives and breathes and who can serve to promote the Left’s equally hateful agenda of trying to destroy the Trump administration.

Sports Illustrated’s Objectification Issue5

By Mark Alexander

Sports Illustrated aims to solve the problem of objectifying women by running photos of nude models painted with some slogans. I know, this seems like something right out of a satire site like The Babylon Bee6, but no, that is precisely what SI is doing to justify its annual “swimsuit issue” that will hit shelves tomorrow.

This is not satire, but it certainly is an award winner from the theater of the absurd.

For some proper perspective on this issue, I turned to my friend Jenny Baker. She has devoted much of her adult life to educating women about the terrible burden of distorted female images propagated by the media — particularly the suffering this creates for adolescent girls7.

Jenny is author of The War on Normal8, a book devoted to helping women find truth and contentment in their post-baby bodies. She writes, “The media is powerfully influential in defining what constitutes ‘beauty.’ When women continue to see images which set that standard, they begin to believe that’s what they, too, should look like. Over time, we begin to believe we too should strive to comport with the mass media projection of ‘normal,’ and if we don’t comply, we are ‘flawed.’”

Regarding the SI issue, she observes, “Since 1964 the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue has been objectifying women, reducing them to nothing more than a sexualized body. The positions, facial expressions and attire all communicate a message of ‘I exist for your pleasure.’ This year SI is attempting to attach this disgraceful annual objectification of women to the ‘#MeToo’ movement — asserting that publishing photos of nude female models will help fight that objectification, and the resulting sexual harassment and assault.”

Jenny notes, “Sports Illustrated is promoting the idea that unless you look the way their models do, and wear and pose they way they dress and pose, your body isn’t to be celebrated. This can result in women feeling inadequate, rejected and even shameful.”

SI’s female editor, MJ Day, in an interview with Vanity Fair9 (no small irony, in their “Vanities” section), claims that she is “thrilled that this [MeToo] movement is going on because I feel like it’s going to change things for the better.” Day insists that her nude layout is “about allowing women to exist in the world without being harassed or judged regardless of how they like to present themselves. That’s an underlying thread that exists throughout the Swimsuit Issue.”

 29 
 on: February 12, 2018, 05:21:59 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
_______________________________________________
More Minutes With The Bible
From The Berean Bible Society

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For Questions Or Comments:  berean@execpc.com
_______________________________________________


The Wonders of His Grace
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler

HOW GRACE CHANGES US

Although some seem to think that grace gives us a license to sin, quite the opposite is true. It teaches us to deny ungodliness and to live righteously in this present evil age. The actions of both Paul and his new convert illustrate this—grace changes lives. Like anyone who comes to Christ, Onesimus looked back on his past life with regret. Clearly he had shared with the apostle how he had wronged his master (vs. 11 & 18.). A life touched by grace is always characterized by honesty. It was now his desire to set the record straight with Philemon in spite of the consequences, but how to accomplish this was another matter.

Here the apostle intercedes for his new friend. He could have merely instructed Onesimus to return home, throw himself on the mercy of his master and pay restitution. But instead Paul acts in accordance with the mind of Christ. He offers to pay the debt on behalf of Onesimus. “If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account; I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it” (vs. 18 & 19). That’s grace! Grace is acting on behalf of another who is unworthy and undeserving. If Onesimus got what he rightfully deserved, he probably would have been put to death, or at the very least endured hard bondage the rest of his days.

But Paul makes a compelling argument to Philemon. “I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds” (vs. 10). The law commanded, “this do and thou shalt live,” but grace beseeches—I beg you! Philemon forgive Onesimus for the wrong he has done, “even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32). Then the apostle adds:

    “Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel: But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly” (vs. 13 & 14).

Paul could have reasoned that the slate of Onesimus was wiped clean; therefore, I will use him here at Rome to minister to my needs. Think how much more I will be able to accomplish in the Lord’s work if I retain him. Surely Philemon will understand! But Paul valued the fellowship of Philemon far too much to take advantage of him. The apostle knew that Onesimus was the property of his friend, thus he would allow him the courtesy of making that decision. You see, grace always does what is right.

It literally takes years and years to earn the respect of others, but it can all be destroyed in a moment of time. This is why it is so essential to maintain a consistent godly testimony, as exhibited by the apostle. In his book, Ten Mistakes Parents Make with Teenagers, Jay Kesler describes a conversation he had with a young lady at a Youth for Christ summer camp:

This particular camp was in Ohio and after one of the services some kids came forward, but one young woman was having a difficult time so the counselors asked me if I would speak to her. We sat down in the front row of the Chapel, and through many tears her heartbreaking story began to unfold. She’d been molested by her father since she was four years old. She had never told anyone about this and carried a great sense of guilt, as though she were to blame for her father’s actions.

As she told me her story, I noticed that both of her wrists were scarred. (If you work with youth today, you see these marks often.) “Tell me about your wrists,” I said. “Well, I tried to kill myself.” “Why didn’t you do it?” I asked. Killing yourself is a relatively simple thing if you really want to do it. If it is just a bid for attention, the attempt is usually feeble. She said, “Well, I got to thinking…we have a youth pastor at our church….”

Oh no, I thought, now I’m going to hear an ugly story about her getting involved with some youth pastor. But that wasn’t it at all. She said, “He’d just gotten married before he came to our church, and I’ve been watching him. When he and his wife are standing in line at church he holds her hand. They look at each other affectionately, and they hug each other right in church. One day I was standing in the pastor’s study, looking out the window and the youth pastor walked his wife out to the parking lot. Now there was only one car in the parking lot; nobody was around; nobody was looking. And that guy walked all the way around the car and opened the door and let her in. Then he walked all the way around and got in himself. And there was nobody even looking.”

That was a nice story, but I couldn’t make the connection between that and her problem of incest and suicide. So I asked why this seemed significant to her. She said, “Well, I just got to thinking that all men must not be like my dad, huh?” I said, “You’re right. All men are not like your father.” “Jay, do you suppose our youth pastor’s a Christian?” “Yes,” I said, “I think he probably is.” “Well that’s why I came tonight. I want to be a Christian, too!”

Why did she want to trust Christ and become a Christian? Because she saw a believer being affectionate and respectful to his wife—when he thought no one was looking. That’s the power of a consistent life in Christ. 3

A FINAL THOUGHT

The love that Paul and Philemon had for each other was mutual. Thus, he beseeches his friend on the basis of “love’s sake.” This was another opportunity for Philemon to demonstrate his love for the Lord and his apostle. So it is touching to see how Paul desires that Philemon receive Onesimus as himself. In short, “If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself” (vs. 17). The grace and kindness you would show to me when I visit, show to our beloved Brother Onesimus. Put him up in the best lodging, give him my seat at your table, and provide for his needs, as you have done so generously for me. Accept him, even as the Father has accepted us in the Beloved. That’s grace!

In essence the aged apostle says to Philemon, Onesimus may have departed from you wearing the garments of a runaway, thieving slave, but I am sending him back to you clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Therefore, receive him, “Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?” (vs. 16). The gospel transforms lives! Onesimus returned a trusted servant and a steward of the mysteries of God with whom Philemon could now fellowship. As the hymn writer has said, “Grace ’tis a charming sound!”

Notes:

1    Pastor Kurth feels that Philemon may have neglected his responsibility to witness to Onesimus, which is certainly a possibility. Either way, the end result is the same, the providence of God was at work (See Pastor Kurth’s article: “Satan’s Devices”). May we challenge you to be a Berean (Acts 17:10,11).
2    Spurgeon’s Sermons, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Vol. 10, Page 320.
3    Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories and Illustrations, and Quotes, by Robert J. Morgan, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, Page 276.

 30 
 on: February 12, 2018, 05:20:57 PM 
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The Wonders of His Grace
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


    “Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer” (Phile. 1:1).

Paul’s letter to Philemon is a masterpiece of Christian correspondence. It is a prime example of how to deal with a sensitive issue in the proper manner. In the New Testament the epistles mark a new form of revelation. As we know, in time past the will of God was made known through the law, the prophets, the Psalms, and the Gospel narratives. When God introduced the format of the epistles, He adopted a more personal and direct method to communicate His will.

Like the facets of a diamond, this particular letter is a demonstration of God’s grace from different perspectives. The narrative opens with an affectionate greeting—”Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer.” Paul had a special place in his heart for Philemon, having led him to the Lord. This joyous occasion probably took place while the apostle resided at Ephesus, where it is said “all they which dwelt in Asia heard the Word of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:10). This is what Paul means when he says with all humility, “albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides” (Phile. 1:19).

Little wonder he addresses him, not simply as “beloved,” but “dearly beloved.” So Paul and Philemon had a very special relationship, but grace doesn’t take advantage of a brother in Christ on the basis that a debt of gratitude is owed. Grace is never presumptuous; it always takes into consideration the feelings and preferences of others.

YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CAN’T HIDE

The story of Philemon unfolds against the backdrop of slavery. Sadly, slavery was a fact of life in biblical times. There were at least four ways to become a slave: If a thief was unable to pay restitution he became the property of another; parents often sold their children into slavery; a man could sell himself into slavery to pay a debt; and one could be born into it. For the sake of the gospel Paul never advocated the abolition of slavery, but he did perceive the gospel would eventually eradicate it, which indeed it has for the most part.

Since slavery was woven throughout the fabric of the ancient world, it should not seem unusual that Philemon was a slave owner, even though he was a believer. While we tend to envision slaves chained together treading through the mud pits of Egypt, many were trusted servants who were given a wide range of responsibilities in their master’s affairs. This was the case with one of Philemon’s slaves named Onesimus. A seemingly trustworthy member of the household, Onesimus took advantage of his position by stealing from his master and fleeing from Colosse. Consequently, Paul says to his friend in the faith, “Which in time past [he] was to thee unprofitable” (vs. 11).

Why Onesimus ran away we are not told. Surely it could not have been that Philemon was a cruel taskmaster. Quite the contrary, he had the reputation of being an honorable man. In fact, his faith and love are crowning virtues in these opening passages. Paul says of him, “For we have great joy and consolation in thy love” (vs. 7). Philemon had received the saints into his home to worship, and, if nothing else, he was at least fair with his servants. It seems more probable that Onesimus had rebelled against his master who had faithfully shared with him the good news that Christ died for his sins. 1

What’s in a name? Back in biblical times names had great significance attached to them. Onesimus means profitable or helpful. But he was anything but helpful. He was a rebellious sinner who hardened his heart against God, betrayed his master’s trust, and ran away. You can run from God, but you can’t hide! God has unique ways of bringing the sinner and the gospel of salvation together. In this regard, I have had more funerals than I care to remember over the years, but one thing I’ve always been conscious of at such occasions is the providence of God. With one turn of the wheel, God alters the path of a sinner who would rarely darken a church door, to bring him under the sound of the gospel.

Charles Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, relates this account from his years of ministry at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England:

Some three years ago I was talking with an aged minister, and he began fumbling about in his waistcoat pocket, but he was a long while before he found what he wanted. At last he brought out a letter that was well nigh worn to pieces, and he said, “God Almighty bless you! God Almighty bless you!” And I said, “Friend what is it?” He said, “I had a son—I thought he would be the stay [support] of my old age, but he disgraced himself, and he went away from me, and I could not tell where he went, only he said he was going to America. He took a ticket to sail for America from the London Docks, but he did not go on the particular day he expected.”

This aged minister bade me read the letter, and I read it, and it was like this: “Father, I am here in America. I have found a situation [employment], and God has prospered me. I write to ask your forgiveness for the thousand wrongs that I have done you, and the grief I caused you, for, blessed be God, I have found the Savior. I have joined a church here and hope to spend my life in God’s service. It happened thus: I did not sail for America the day I expected. I went down to the Tabernacle to see what it was like, and God met with me. Mr. Spurgeon said, `Perhaps there is a runaway son here. The Lord call him by His grace.’ And He did!”

“Now” said he, as he folded up the letter and put it in his pocket, “that son of mine is dead, and he is in heaven, and I love you, and I shall do so as long as I live, because you were the means of bringing him to Christ.” 2

While some may conclude that Onesimus ended up in Rome by chance, Paul seems to suggest it was according to the providence of God when he says to Philemon: “For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever” (vs. 15). Interestingly, the apostle tells us Onesimus departed, but he does not give us the sordid details of his sinful ways, which were best left unsaid. A good lesson for us to remember!

As Onesimus made his way to Rome he apparently came under deep conviction of his sin. He may have had his liberty, but he was still in bondage to his sins. Unable to function with the heavy burden he was carrying, he recalled that the saints at Colosse had been praying for the Apostle Paul who was a prisoner at Rome. Therefore, he may well have sought out the apostle. Whatever the case, Paul had an opportunity to lead Onesimus to the Lord (vs. 10). He was wonderfully saved by the grace of God! Grace reached down and unshackled him from the burden of his sins.

Centuries later, John Newton, that once old wretched slave trader who was also saved by grace, wrote a hymn to which each of us former Onesimi can surely relate:

    “Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.

    “I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”

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