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Ambassador4Christ
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« Reply #45 on: October 11, 2003, 07:51:55 PM »

My Favorite Web-Sites And Studies
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Bible Doctrines to Live By, Inc.
http://www.bdtlb.org/phpshop/
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Articles- A Passion for Souls  (Part 2 of 3)

The Bible uses a special word for divine Love – “agape.” It’s the kind of love that only God is and only God has. God the Father, in this Dispensation of Grace, has commissioned those who are believers to be ambassadors, to be receptacles and dispensers of His love.

 Now, Paul turns and he looks and he shares something that is not natural but comes from God,

“I say the truth in Christ. I lie not. My conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost. I have a great heaviness and a continual sorrow in my heart for I could wish myself accursed.”

Now stop for a moment and think. Paul is expressing a deep serious desire. Paul is saying this is the way he feels. He feels so bad about his lost kinsmen’s impending peril and is so serious about seeing them saved that, if possible, he would be willing to go to Hell for the sake of their salvation. No! God is not going to fulfill Paul’s desire in exchange for the salvation of his brethren.. Paul has expressing a desire that God is not going to answer. And No!! Paul is not going to lose his salvation. The Bible very clearly teaches once a person is saved – they are always saved - once safe - always safe! We know that the Bibles teaches in this dispensation a believer cannot lose their salvation – no, we can’t be accursed – we can’t be cut off, but we can quench the Holy Spirit and we can grieve the Holy Spirit (1Thess. 5:19; Eph. 4:30) which is a serious sin. Oh how much Paul cared!

Somebody needs to care. Moses cared. The Apostle Paul cared. He looked around and said, “Oh God, I Care.” I want you to know that there are millions upon multiplied people who think nobody cares. Do you remember the story when David was running from his own son, Absolom? Absolom had every intention of killing his own father. David took his mighty men and he went back into the wilderness fleeing for his life and he cries out, “I looked to my right and I looked to my left and no man, nobody cared for my soul.” And, I double guarantee you there are lots of people out there like that.  I’ll guarantee you there are boys and girls right now who are absolutely convinced that nobody cares about them.

Remember the crippled man (Acts 3:1-10)? Forty years they brought him and they laid him by the Pool of Bethesda. There was a legend that an angel would come down and stir the pool and when the waters of the pool were troubled, they believed that the first one into the pool would be healed. And when he was approached he said “I don’t have anybody, I don’t have anybody, I don’t have anybody who will care enough to help me into the pool.” And I double guarantee you that there are men and women that you rub shoulders with and work with every day who would say, “I have no one who cares.” Do they want help? Do they know where to go for help? And, if they did know, who would be there to help?

Do you remember the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch? This is a really religious man. He has already gone to Jerusalem. He has already worshipped but he comes home empty. Religion isn’t the answer. Ceremony isn’t the answer. Ritual doesn’t help and now he finds himself alone in a chariot reading the Scriptures. Then, our loving God sent Phillip, the evangelist, and he attached himself, the Bible says, to him and asked him, “Understandest thou what thou readest?” To which, the Eunuch said, “How can I, except some man should guide me” (Acts 8:30-31)? He tells Phillip I don’t have anybody, I don’t know anybody to tell me what this means. And I double guarantee you that there are people, religious people, Bible in their hands but nobody to tell them what it means. Of course, Phillip immediately opens to the same place where he was reading and began to preach unto him Jesus Christ. I wish I could tell you there are millions, and millions of faithful witnesses ready to go wherever God calls, sharing the love and passion of God, but you know that I can’t. Where are the laborers? Look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:36).

I’m thankful there are some who care but not near as many people as there ought to be. However, there have been some who care and I want to remind you of them. I want to ask you, Why do you think they did what they did?  Why did they go? Was it so they could get a pat on the back? …So that they could be recognized? …So they could become famous? …So they could become rich. No! They did what they did because somehow or another by the grace of God, God shared His love, they embraced the love of the Lord Jesus Christ through His death burial and resurrection. They simply believed the testimony of God the Father that Jesus Christ satisfied the sin debt. They obeyed the call of God on their lives and when God said, “go” – they went! I want to tell you, you can’t spell “Gospel” and leave out the word “go.” I’ll tell you why they did what they did. It is because they knew that God had not only saved them but God had commissioned them. The Bible says, “that those who live,” this is the Apostle Paul speaking. “That those who live” …what does that mean? It is talking about those who are saved. “That those who live should not henceforth live unto themselves.” We are to live for the Lord Jesus. So as God has saved us; He has also commissioned us and given us the Word and the ministry of reconciliation. He even dared to call us “saints.”  However, edH HhhhhhHe went beyond that and sent us to be His ambassadors. Some have gone.

It was passion that caused David Livingston to die in Africa vowing to fulfill his duty to the Lord. I wish I could tell you the whole story. I wish I could tell you. I wish I could get you in to feeling the passion of the call and circumstances. They had sent a man by the name of Stanley to search for Livingston and tell Livingston, “Enough is enough, enough, enough, enough, come home, come home, come home.” And, when he found David Livingston he said “no, no,” The story is he knelt by his cot in the dark jungles of Africa and he entered in his diary that night, as Stanley departed home for England, “All that I am, all that I shall ever be I rededicate myself, body, soul and spirit for the cause of Jesus Christ.” He never got up from his knees. He died as he prayed. Where did he get that passion? Where does it come from?

It was because of passion for souls that John Knox prayed for Scotland, “Oh God give me Scotland or I’ll die.” You know what Mary Queen of Scots said? She said, “I fear John Knox and I fear his prayers more than all the armies of England.”

John Wesley. Why did John Wesley do what he did? They say that John Wesley knew the Bible better than any other man. He considered the world to be his parish. He preached on horseback. I boasted this morning that this year I’ll probably travel 20,000 miles in a comfortable motor home. You know what John Wesley did? Year after year he traveled as many as 20,000 miles on horseback to preach the Gospel.

« Last Edit: October 11, 2003, 07:56:33 PM by Ambassador4Christ » Logged



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Ambassador4Christ
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« Reply #46 on: October 11, 2003, 07:53:39 PM »

My Favorite Web-Sites And Studies
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Bible Doctrines to Live By, Inc.
http://www.bdtlb.org/phpshop/
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Articles- A Passion for Souls  (Part 3 of 3)
 
You know my Dad. I want to tell you a story about my Dad. I’ll tell you what you don’t know about my Dad. Dad was my hero – he still is. When I grew up I never sat on my father’s lap but what I didn’t smell strong drink. My Dad was almost 50 years old and so far as I know he had never been inside the four walls of a church. He didn’t fear God and he didn’t fear man. But when I was about 14 years old, believe this or not, my father stood on a street corner and a total stranger walked up to my father and gave him the Gospel. He told him that God loved him and Christ died for him. So far as I know, the first time my father ever heard the Gospel my Dad got saved. “Amazing Grace!” Believe me, my Dad got converted! I never knew my father ever to take another drink. I never ever heard my father take God’s name in vain again. I can tell you my Dad wasn’t perfect but something wonderful happened when Christ came in. But here’s the rest of the story. I never knew my father to shed a tear until one day he heard the song, “Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” I remember watching the tears run down my father’s cheek – remember he is 50 years old. You don’t go off to Bible College to study for the ministry at 50 years of age. They won’t let you in – you’re too old, they said. But as Dad studied his Bible he knew that God had called him. I can still remember he called the pastor over to the house, Pastor George Whitman, and he said, “Pastor, do you think God can use me. Can God use me to go back to the Indians where I grew up and teach them about the Lord Jesus?” And for thirty-three years my father preached the Gospel on the Navajo Indian Reservation. I don’t know whether you know it or not but my Dad was probably the most popular preacher on the Navajo Indian Reservation. I say this to the testimony of the faithfulness of my father. Dad knew how to turn every conversation into a presentation of the Gospel. Dad led more people to Christ by accident than most people do on purpose. Where did he get the idea? “God so loved the world – not willing that any should perish.” It is called the grace of God! It is called the kind of grace that not only saves somebody but takes a saved sinner and He commissions him to go. There aren’t many like that.

I want to tell you about another one. Pastor/Evangelist Finley Hunter. I wish I could tell you how much I owe to Finley Hunter. I can remember saying, “Watch out for him he’s in a cult.” And I watched him. I found out that he knew the Bible better than any other man I had ever met. I found out that he answered questions I couldn’t answer and didn’t know anybody else could answer. I knew that he believed that the Bible was the Word of God. I knew that he believed the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. I knew that he believed that salvation was “by grace through faith and not of yourselves, not of works lest any man should boast.” I know that he believed that there was a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. I’m thinking to myself, “that don’t sound like a cult to me.” But do you know what impressed me most? If you know Finley Hunter, he was like my Dad, he never met a man that he didn’t witness to. And, I’m trying to tell you dear friends that there are thousands and thousands of people out there who don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh! God gives an army of Finley Hunters!

Where do we get that kind of passion? Is it possible that the cults and the isms have more passion for people than we do? Do you know where we were just last Wednesday? We were in Salt Lake City. We went to the Mormon Temple Square. We were met at the entrance and were greeted with a smile and warm “Hello!” They were bold. They didn’t say, “Look at these big beautiful buildings.” They said,  “Come in and let us tell you what we believe.” Last summer we spent most of our summer in New York City. The Jehovah’s Witnesses were everywhere. And they are, like the Mormons, a false cult with a false doctrine, a false gospel. Both are sincere, lovely, energetic, enthusiastic, but preaching a false gospel.  They weren’t sent by God but God has sent us to preach the Gospel of the Grace of God!.

I wrote some things down about the Lord Jesus. I want you to listen to them. Where did Moses get this passion? Where did Paul get this passion? Where did David Livingston get this passion? Where did John Knox get his kind of passion?” Where did John Wesley get the passion? Where did my Dad get the passion? What motivated my dear friend Finley Hunter? …Brother Joe Mason. Missionary John Rachoy and others?  I want to tell you it is the love of God. The love of God that is not willing that any should perish. It comes from the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus who had compassion for sinners who needed the protection and the shelter from the wrath of God. Hear His passion. Feel His passion. Feel it. Lost sinners they need protection and shelter from the awful wrath of God. Here’s what Jesus said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem thou that killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee how often would I have gathered thy children together even as a hen gathereth her chicks under her wings and ye would not.” Jesus had compassion for sheep that had no shepherd. Here’s what He said, “But when He saw the multitudes He was moved with compassion on them because they fainted and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd.” Jesus had compassion on the sick and those that had no physician. Here’s what He said, “And Jesus went forth and saw the great multitude and He was moved with compassion towards them and He healed their sick.” Jesus had compassion on the hungry that had no provision. Do you know anybody that is hungry? Do you know anybody who is sick? Do you know anybody who is lost? “Then Jesus called His disciples unto Him and said ‘I have compassion on the multitude because they continue with me now three days and they have nothing to eat. I will not send them away fasting lest they faint on the say.” Jesus had compassion for those who were blind. Do you know anybody who is spiritually blind? “So Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes and immediately their eyes received sight and they followed Him.” Jesus had compassion on the lepers who were the untouchables. Do you know any untouchables? Do you know any dope addicts? Drunkards? People with incurable diseases? “And Jesus moved with compassion, He put forth His hand and He touched him.” Do you know any homosexuals? Do you think they need Jesus? Do you know anybody with AIDS? Jesus had compassion on the Demoniac. A demon possessed man who had no peace. There is no peace in this world apart from Jesus. In a very real sense the whole human race is to some degree or not, maybe not demon possessed, but demon oppressed. Here’s what Jesus said, “Howbeit Jesus suffered him not but said unto to him “go home to thy friends and tell how great things God hath done for thee and hath had compassion on thee.” Jesus had compassion for the widow with a dead son. Do you know somebody who is lonely – a widow, a widower? Someone who says, I don’t have any family members. I have no place to turn. Jesus sensed their need. Here’s what He said, “And when Jesus saw her He had compassion on her and said unto her ‘weep not.”

Please give attention to this: We can say we have the love of God but if the love of God does not move us out from our place of complacency – if the love of God does not move you out of your comfort zone – if the love of God does not move you to obey what the Bible has commissioned us to do and exercise our ambassadorship then I submit to you that you are as a “sounding brass and a tinkling symbol.”

Friend, would you pray with me: Dear God, I need to be reminded of your wonderful amazing grace and love. I pray you will give me a passion, a like passion that Paul had for his kinsman according to the flesh. I pray dear God for our Grace Movement, you how badly we need revival. I pray, please raise up a whole army of people who love the Lord. Help me be an ambassador, help me to tell somebody, please Lord, help me not to forget to give away that gospel tract, help me Lord to look for opportunities, help me to care - that’s what I need Lord. I need to care. Help me I pray.
 
by Evangelist S. Lee Homoki  
 




« Last Edit: October 13, 2003, 05:22:09 PM by Ambassador4Christ » Logged



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Ambassador4Christ
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« Reply #47 on: October 12, 2003, 11:55:34 AM »

My Favorite Web-Sites And Studies
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
A Little Light Bible Fellowship
http://www.alittlelight.org/
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Question:  What is the difference between "law" and "grace"?  


Answer:  Under the law system, God's relationship with man was on the basis of man's obedience to God's divine law. Failure to obey resulted in withholding of blessings, punishment, separation and death.
God's command to man was "thou shalt..." and his promise was "I will..." Some examples are found in Exodus 20: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." "Thou shalt not kill." "An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee." (verses 3, 7, 13, 24)

What was the problem with the law? Simply put, man failed to keep it and thus man became guilty of all. "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10 The law was weak in the flesh. When Christ shed his blood on the cross, he condemned sin in the flesh and liberated us from the law. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:2-4

What was the purpose of the law? To teach us that we are sinners and that we are in need a Saviour. "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." Romans 3:19-20 "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." Galatians 3:24-25

Under grace, God's relationship with man is based upon His mercy in giving man total and complete forgiveness for sins. The sacrifices under the law could not take away sins. "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." Hebrews 10:4 These sacrifices were only a temporary solution. God provided a permanent solution by taking away sins with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. "Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool." Hebrews 10:9-13

Because man fell short of God's glory by sinning, God set forth Jesus Christ as our propitiation (or fully satisfying sacrifice). "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." Romans 3:23-26

The law taught us of our short comings and our need for salvation. Grace teaches us of our completeness in Christ. "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespases; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." Colossians 2:6-15

The law required continual obedience. Grace requires one time acceptance. The law worketh wrath. "Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression." Romans 4:15 Through grace, we have peace. "THEREFORE being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Romans 5:1-2 "Moreover the law entered that the offence might abound, But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 5:20-21
 

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« Reply #48 on: October 12, 2003, 12:56:32 PM »

Seems this has become just another site to post what others have written.
I do have some sites though that I find useful. No teacher is perfect except the Lord, there are some things that I don't agree with but I have found these sites generally good.
Favorite bible study aids:
http://www.biblegateway.com/cgi-bin/bible
http://www.blueletterbible.org/
This one has a good interlinear. http://www.olivetree.com/bible/index.html

Bible teachings and sermons:
3 Old guys:
http://www.spurgeon.org/mainpage.htm
http://www.johnbunyan.org/
http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Pointe/4495/index2.html

Listen:
http://www.accradio.com/Barnhouse/Programs.htm
http://www.accradio.com/main.htm

Others:
http://www.founders.org/
http://www.reformedreader.org/
http://www.oneplace.com/Ministries/The_Bible_Study_Hour/

Lots of material here:
http://www.ccel.org/
http://www.reformed.org/calvinism/
http://www.banneroftruth.org/pages/articles/articles.php
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Luke 24:45  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
John 6:29  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
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« Reply #49 on: October 13, 2003, 05:29:31 PM »

My Favorite Web-Sites And Studies
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Faith Bible Church
http://www.bygracethrufaith.org/
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Are You Going To Heaven?

 
Are you sure? Most people think that we are all born good, and have to do something really bad to go to Hell. But the Bible says we are all born bad and headed for Hell--unless we get saved.

 

 

Are you saved? We call the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. Well, the purpose of a Savior is to save people. So I ask again, are you saved? You may have even sung "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me." But are you saved? You can be! Right now. The Bible says:"...Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..." (Acts 16:31). It doesn't say, "Believe and be good." It just says believe! Why, even the devil knows that people are saved by believing: "...then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved." (Luke 8:12)

 

 

By now, I'm sure you are wondering what you have to believe about Christ in order to be saved. Well, just listen as the Apostle Paul reminds the Corinthians about what they believed to be saved: "...I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received...by which also ye are saved...how that Christ died for our sins..." (1 Cor. 15:1-4)

 

 

Obviously, to be saved you must believe that Christ died for our sins. So the only question is, do you believe God when He says that Christ paid for your sins? If you do, the Bible says you are saved.

 

 

However, if you don't believe God when He says that your sins are all paid for, then you'll just have to keep on trying to pay for your sins in your own way--being good, being religious, etc.--something the Bible says you can never do: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us..." (Titus 3:5)

 

 

 

Why Not Believe And Be Saved Right Now!
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« Reply #50 on: October 14, 2003, 01:14:10 PM »

My Favorite Web-Sites And Studies
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
GEMS OF GRACE TRUTH
Parsons Publishing Company
http://parsonspublishingcompany.com/
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
ALL FOR US

Scripture Reading:    Romans 4:4-5

 

The Grace Movement and dispensationalists in general have often been accused of rejecting parts of the Bible. While we cannot speak for all who "rightly divide the word of truth." this writer has never rejected any part of the Bible, nor have we ever heard of a "Grace Dispensationalist" who does. Indeed, we who claim to follow Paul as he followed Christ (I Corinthians 11:1) affirm that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable..." (II Timothy 3:16). "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Romans 15:4). Notice that our text says the Scripture (Old Testament) were written "for our learning." not "for our obedience." There is a big difference between the two.

We can learn much from the failures of Israel in the wilderness, as Paul points out in I Corinthians 10. We certainly are not bound to bring the legal sacrifices and observe the rituals of the Law as they were bound to do. Yet Paul draws practical applications for us from their experiences: "Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them...Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed...Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted..." (I Corinthians 10:7-9).

We believe the whole Bible is God's inspired Word and is to be read and studied from cover to cover. Learn from the moral principles of the Law, find inspiration in the Psalms, be instructed by the practical wisdom of the Proverbs, but remember that our personal instructions are in the epistles of Paul.

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« Reply #51 on: October 15, 2003, 05:06:39 PM »

My Favorite Web-Sites And Studies
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The Magnified Word
http://www.magnifiedword.com/index2.htm
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

How Excited Are You About Being Saved?

Emphasis on Evangelism

By Steve Todd

Are you exacted enough to tell others? Are you thankful enough to tell others? Are you grateful enough to be associated with the Lord to tell others? Are you concerned for souls enough to tell others? Are you compelled to tell others?

I'm convinced that once a person ...

* Knows they are saved (I John 5:13, Rom. 5:1);

*Understands from what they have been saved ("In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;" 2 Thess. 1:8-9);

*Realizes unto what they are saved (2 Cor 4:17, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this -,present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us " Rom. 8:18);

* Assumes their purpose in life (... "and (God) hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 2 Cor 5:18);

* Acknowledges their privilege, calling, commission, and entrustment of the "good news" ("But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. " I Thess. 2:4), ... sharing Christ will become a way of life.

Telling others about the free gift (Rom. 5:18) will become, not only a priority, but the goal of everything you do. We should not allow this hectic world in which we live cause us to lose sight of the cross work of the Lord Jesus Christ and all He accomplished for us at Calvary ("And be not conformed to the world. but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. " Rom. 12:2), Satan desires to get us so caught up in this world that we forget our mission here. His plan is to snare us into worries and involve us with our cares so deeply that our focus is lost. Even preachers are prey to his evil devices.

Understanding the dispensation of the grace of God and all it entails is so very important. But once a person learns it, Satan shifts his aim to pre- venting you from sharing it. He is not as concerned then with what you know, but with what you tell. So don't let him succeed in keeping you silent and afraid to speak.

If we don't share these sentiments and live our lives this way, we need either to come to a greater understanding of all that we are and have in Christ and refresh ourselves about these truths or to seriously consider whether we have simply an intellectual understanding of Christ rather than a personal relation- ship with Him.

I encourage each of you to plan each day, not around what you need to accomplish for yourself, but around all there is to accomplish for Christ's sake and His glory ("Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or what so ever ye do, do all to the glory of God. " I Cor 10:31).
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The Gift of God Few Christians Seem to Want (Part 1 of 2)

By Keith R. Blades  

God is a giver of gifts. In both God's program with Israel and in His program with us today in this dispensation of His grace, gifts from God are commonly spoken about. For example, in connection with Israel's program we find the following...

"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the GIFT of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:38)

"Every good GIFT and every perfect GIFT is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:17)

"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and GIFTS of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?" (Hebrews 2:3-4)

"...and have tasted of the heavenly GIFT,..." (Hebrews 6:4)

Then to us in this dispensation of grace we can find the apostle Paul saying,...

"For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper GIFT of God, one after this manner, and another after that." (I Corinthians 7:7)

"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable GIFT." (II Corinthians 9:15)

"Whereof I was made a minister, according to the GIFT of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power." (Ephesians 3:7)

"But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the GIFT of Christ." (Ephesians 4:7)

In both of God's programs the pre-eminent gift is the gift of eternal life. But it is not the only gift, as the preceding verses show. And if we add to these the issue of the various spiritual gifts that operated at the beginning of this dispensation of grace, it is all the more obvious that God truly is a giver of gifts. In view of this the doctrine of gifts is of great interest. However, amidst all the talk and fervor that there is over the issue of the gifts of God, there is one gift that is often overlooked, or seldom mentioned. In fact, when it is pointed out for the gift of God that it is, it is usually not very well received. Indeed, few Christians seem to even want it. Yet it is a gift that the Apostle Paul recognized was a special privilege of God's grace to have given to him, and therefore he cherished it and teaches us that we should do the same. This special gift of God is the gift of suffering for His sake. The Gift

In Philippians 1:29-30, Paul taught the saints at Philippi that they needed to realize that it truly was a gift and privilege of God's grace unto them to suffer for the cause of Christ as they were doing.

"For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, BUT ALSO TO SUFFER FOR HIS SAKE;

Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me." (Philippians 1:29-30)

That suffering should ever be thought of as a gift and a privilege is something hard to accept. It grates against our customary thinking as well as our wants. Hence, the Philippian saints were having some difficultly with it, especially now that their suffering included "having the same conflict" Paul was experiencing. Nevertheless, their suffering for Christ's sake was indeed a gift and privilege of God's grace unto them, and they needed to realize that so they could respond to it properly. Instead of murmuring and complaining, they needed to rejoice. Instead of not wanting to so suffer, they needed to have Paul's attitude to such sufferings. And so should we.

"According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death." (Philippians 1:20)

"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;" (Philippians 3:10)

"Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:" (Colossians 1:24)

Paul understood that it was a gift of God and a privilege of His grace to suffer of Christ's sake. Hence, he didn't simply endure it or tolerate it. He wanted it. He cherished it. He even rejoiced over it. For he knew that suffering for Christ's sake was not only a gift of God, it was a very special gift; an honored gift of God through which an opportunity to glorify Christ was granted to him. Two Kinds of Suffering

Before we consider this any further it is important for us to recognize that not all suffering is suffering for Christ's sake. Far from it. Instead, Paul teaches us that there are primarily two kinds of suffering that we can experience in this world, and the most common of all is the suffering we have in common with all men.

In Romans 8 Paul describes the source of our most common suffering as "the sufferings of this present time."

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18)

The "sufferings of this present time" are just that , the sufferings that we will experience during this "present time" because of the "bondage of corruption" that still grips creation. In common with all creation we suffer the effects of corruption as we eagerly await "the redemption of our body." Hence, Paul says,...

"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." (Romans 8:22-23)

As corruption takes its toll, the whole creation, including ourselves, "groaneth and travaileth in pain." Sickness, disease, decay, and death; along with other effects of corruption like accidents, bloodshed, pestilence, being victims of crime and evil, and the like are our common lot. Hence, pain and suffering because of "the bondage of corruption" will be experienced by us for as long as this dispensation of grace continues on. This, once again, we have in common with all creation, and therefore the "sufferings of this present time" are not to be thought of by us as suffering for Christ's sake. However, suffering for Christ's sake is not something that is common to man. Rather, it is a kind of suffering that can only come upon us who belong to Christ, as we become the objects of both the world's hatred of Christ and Satan's despising of us. Paul introduces us to the reality of this special kind of suffering further on in Romans 8.

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The Gift of God Few Christians Seem to Want (Part 2 of 2)

By Keith R. Blades  


"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." (Romans 8:35-36)

As Paul shows by citing the similar situation described in Psalm 44:22, the sufferings that he talks about here are "for thy sake." Therefore, they are not sufferings that are simply common to man. Instead, they are sufferings for Christ's sake. They are what Paul describes in greater detail in II Corinthians as "the sufferings of Christ."

"For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ." (II Corinthians 1:5)

The "sufferings of Christ" are sufferings that come upon us as those who hate Christ make us the object of their hatred. In particular, they are sufferings from the Satanic policy of evil against us, as Satan vents his anger and takes out on the body of Christ that which he cannot take out on Christ Himself. Hence, this kind of suffering is very special in nature and we need to recognize it as distinct from the "sufferings of this present time." Yet much more than this, suffering for Christ's sake needs to be recognized by us as a privilege of God's grace; a gift given to us of God; a grace by which we are granted the marvellous opportunity to actually glorify God and magnify Christ, which is the exact opposite of the Adversary's intention in causing us to suffer. And this is something we should want and something about which we should not be ashamed. To The Glory of God

Briefly put, there are three particular ways that God is glorified when we suffer for Christ's sake.

First, as Paul teaches in Romans 8, instead of having us think that we have been separated from the love of Christ by such sufferings, God has provided it so that...

"Nay, in all these things we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through him that loved us." (Romans 8:37)

To be "more than conquerors" means much more than just not being defeated by the sufferings. It means more than not being made to think that because we suffer we have been separated from the love of Christ. It means that they actually work to our advantage. Instead of making us think that we have been separated from the love of Christ, they actually become the means by which we are able to appreciate God as "the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort." Paul teaches us this in II Corinthians 1 where he says,...

"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort;

Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."

For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ." (II Corinthians 1:3-5)

There is no way that we can come to appreciate God as "the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort" if we do not need mercy and comfort. Hence, it is especially by means of "the sufferings of Christ" that God has designed for us to understand and appreciate Him as such. And when we appreciate Him as such, we glorify Him as we "bless" him for His mercy and comfort, just as Paul did. Because of this, in all these things we truly are "more than conquerors through him that loved us." Second, God is glorified when we also appreciate the excellency of the power of His word working within us, stabilizing us, comforting us, and so enabling us to endure the sufferings. Hence in II Corinthians 4:7ff, after describing his own understanding and appreciation for this in view of "the sufferings of Christ" he endured, Paul says,...

"For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God." (II Corinthians 4:15)

Through the example of Paul's own "spirit of faith" we are taught about the "excellency of the power" of God's word to likewise work within us. As he was "always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be manifest in our body," we are shown how that same "life of Jesus" is designed to be manifest in us. And when we realize this as Paul did, and give God thanks for the same "excellency of His power" working in us, it redounds to His glory. Thirdly, God is glorified as this same "excellency of the power" of God's word working within us is put on display to the chagrin of Satan and his principalities and powers in the heavenly places. Paul teaches us this in II Corinthians 11 and 12, especially as he recounts the time at which he learned it.

"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given unto me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (II Corinthians 12:7-9)

When the Lord told Paul, "my strength is made perfect in weakness," Paul was not the only one whom God expected to recognize that truth. The "messenger of Satan" was going to realize it too, and in turn Satan himself would be confronted with it. In this dispensation of grace the "excellency of the power" of God's word is not only being made manifest to us and for our appreciation, it is also being put on display to Satan and his cohorts. God is confronting them with the issue of the superiority of the power of His word working within His saints to successfully equip them to withstand and overcome any of their opposition. And in this God is glorified.

With God having designed it so that we can actually glorify Him when we suffer for Christ's sake, it is little wonder that Paul was not ashamed to do so. It is little wonder that he gloried in his infirmities and said...

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (II Corinthians 12:10)

Suffering for Christ's sake was a gift of God that Paul gladly received. He understood the significance and privilege wrapped up in those three words, "for Christ's sake." Therefore he wanted the gift. He cherished the gift. And he rejoiced over the gift. May we, as ones to whom the same gift is given, learn to do likewise and not refuse the gift as is so often done.
 
 
 
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Israel and Many Lost for the Same Reason
by Pastor Thomas Bruscha

Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Rom 10:1-4

God's requirement for right standing before him is our absolute perfection. Most people think, "I'm not too bad, I think I'll make it to heaven." Are you perfect? Absolutely perfect? Never failed once in your life? Have always done what God has said to do? Never once broken any of his laws? Well, if you're that perfect, then yes, you can make it. But don't think that you're pretty good and that's good enough. Pretty good isn't good enough. You'll be going to hell. Many people are ignorant of God's standard of absolute perfection. But how can this absolute perfection be achieved? The Israelites, as many people do today, went about to establish their own righteousness. That's not how to get absolute perfection. The righteousness that's required for you to get to get to heaven is found in Romans 10:14 "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." God wants you to realize that you're unrighteous because Jesus Christ died to pay for your sins and when you believe on him, God will give you his righteousness and then accept you because he'll place you in Jesus Christ and see you as having the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Do you know what the difference is between a saved person and a lost person? A saved person has believed what Jesus Christ has done for him and understands that salvation is a free gift. RO 5:15, 6:23. A person is lost for one or two reasons: 1) Either they've never heard the gospel of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the full payment for their sin (and, therefore, they're lost), or, 2) they've heard it and not believed it. They say, "No, you can't just believe what Jesus Christ did. You can't just believe that he died on the cross, paid for my sins, and that's enough to save me. I've got to do something, too." And as soon as they say, "We've got to do something, too," do you know what they're doing? They're going about to establish their own righteousness. When a person tries to offer to God their own works, do you know what's going to happen to them? They're going to go to hell. There's only one person in this world who's ever pleased God the Father, who has ever lived rightously before his eyes. He said, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." Mt. 3:17. The beloved son who never disobeyed God the Father, went to the cross where God made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ. God places us in Christ and we're found righteous. God gives this to us on the basis of faith. "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for everyone that believeth."

You see, every person who still goes about to establish their own righteousness is lost. When you ask a person, "If you were to die today do you know where you'll spend eternity?" If that person starts to answer the question by saying they've gone to church, or prayed, or have been water baptised, or take communion, or go to confession or begin by saying, "I did" and then start answering the question by sharing what they've done, look again at that verse and realize that this person is going about establishing their own righteousness and you need to pray for them that they might be saved from the penalty of their sins. But if a person answers, "Well, I could never do anything worthy of going to heaven, but Jesus Christ died on the cross and paid for my sins. I trust him to be my savior. God will save me from the penalty of my sins and give me eternal life and the righteousness of Jesus Christ" this person has pleased God and received righteousness on the basis of faith. See, God doesn't want your eyes on yourself, but on his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. If you've never understood this, you've never been saved. You're saved when you understand what Christ has accomplished for you by believing solely on the person and work of Jesus Christ for your salvation.

So, why is it when you come to the Bible, the book of Romans is addressed to Gentiles? And salvation is come to us? And it came to us, as we'll learn in Chapter 11, through the fall of the nation Israel. But why did they fall? Well, they stumbled over Christ. They didn't think they needed a savior, they were going to do it themselves.

We live in a country which is very much Gospel hardened. People don't want to hear about the gospel, "Oh, saved, yeah, I heard about being saved. Christ died for my sins. Yea, yea, yea." They're tired of hearing about it. Every once in a while you'll get someone who never really understood the gospel and will choose to believe. But on the most part everyone has had pretty much an opportunity to be saved and just haven't had ears willing to hear.

In Chapter 10, we realize that Israel is not saved and the praying Paul's heart desire is that they would be saved. The reason they are not saved is not because they didn't believe in God, they believed in God. It's not because they didn't work for God, they had a zeal for God. So these people believed in God and were working hard for God. And it's not that weren't rightous, they pursued the righteousness of the law.

But see, none of those things saved them. In fact, these very same things become a stumbling block to the nation of Israel because they didn't realize that the way to be found rightous in God's sight is through Jesus Christ. They needed to realize that no matter how hard they tried they could never live good enough. No matter how moral they've lived, they'd never live perfect enough for God to receive them. They needed to come to God as sinners and believe that Jesus Christ was and is the answer for their means of righteousness.

I learned from Chapter 10, verses 1-4, a very important lesson. That is, out of everybody who professes to be a Christian, everybody who professes to be saved, the only people who are really saved are those who are not trying to save themselves. Those who are not trying to offer God their zeal, or their works, or their righteousness. Because that's what kept Israel from being saved. Being ignorant of God's righteousness, verse 3, and going about to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted themselves to God's righteousness. To be found right in God's sight is through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and that alone. When you believe that Christ died for YOU, to pay for YOUR sins, and to cleanse YOU of ALL your sins then God imputes righteousness to your account. He puts the righteousness of Jesus Christ to your account and declares you saved from the penalty of your sins.

In fact, Romans Chapter 5:16,17 righteousness is called a gift because, once you receive the truth, God gives you the righteousness required for you to be saved and to be holy in his sight. And you must believe that. Whereas, while you are striving for your own righteousness, you're not submitting yourself to the righteousness of Jesus Christ. And so, when I begin talking to people who say they are Christians, and I ask them, "Are you saved?" they'll say, "Oh, yes" . Then I will ask, "How are you saved?" and they'll say, "Well, Christ died on the cross for my sins." I then continue, "What are you trusting in to get you to heaven? If you were to died today, and God were to ask, 'Why should I let you into heaven?' what would you say?" many of them will say, I go to confession, I pray regularly, I've been baptised, and on the list goes on. And I'm thinking, here's someone not submitting themselves to the righteousness of Christ.

Mankind has been trying to establish their own righteousness through all different kinds of means, dreaming up all kinds of ways, to the point where he thinks he is actually cleaning up his life enough to present himself before God, but the answer is only found in Jesus Christ, that's verse four. And until a person says that they're saved by no other means, other than through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and thereby receive the righteousness of Jesus Christ as a gift from God, through faith in Christ, they're not saved from the penalty of their sins yet. Are you depending only upon the work of Jesus Christ? "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness." It's not through the Ten commandments ~ being zealous of the law. It's not by your works. "Christ is the end of the law for everyone that believeth."

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presents DICTIONARY OF THE GOSPEL
by Thomas M. Bruscha
http://www.gracebibleministries.org/GBMstudies/DictGospel/DictofGospel.htm
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

DICTIONARY OF THE GOSPEL
 

A paperboy on the street corner yelling, "GOOD NEWS, GOOD NEWS, READ ALL ABOUT IT," will sell some newspapers. But if he were more specific and announced how this good news affects the public, he would sell even more papers. For instance, suppose he yelled; "GOOD NEWS, GOOD NEWS, READ ALL ABOUT IT. MAN INVENTS CURE FOR OLD AGE!" Now that would sell newspapers.

That is the purpose of this book. No, not to sell papers, but to inform you in a specific way about the good news that affects your eternal destiny. You see, the term "GOSPEL" means "GOOD NEWS." The good news published in this book is God's good news to you about an opportunity you have been given to receive eternal life freely.

There are many messages of "good news" in the Bible, but the message of good news for this present age is the good news that God has provided for everyone a free, total, and complete salvation from all our sins.

The book of Romans in the Bible is God's great explanation of how this salvation was accomplished. The simplicity of the gospel is that: (I Corinthians 15:3,4)

CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS, WAS BURIED, AND ROSE FROM THE DEAD THE THIRD DAY, ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES.

However, involved in that death and resurrection was a very precise, strategic, and technical accomplishment of a victory which God has won over sin, over death, and over Satan.

Now God desires you to know, to understand, and appreciate this "GOOD NEWS." For that reason the book of Romans used technical language that--when understood--thrills the heart of every Believer. When these technical terms are not understood, it results in confusion. Romans 3:21-28 heralds the good news of our salvation with such terms and doctrines as:

"Righteousness"                             "Faith"
"Imputation"                                  "Remission"
"Justification"                                 "Forbearance"
"Grace"  *                                      "Reconciliation"
"Redemption"  *                               "Sanctification"
"Propitiation"  

* The last two terms are from other portions of Scripture which shall be included in this study of "SALVATION."

 

There is much more confusion amongst Bible students over the question of salvation.

1. Is a person saved through faith alone?

2. Are works part of salvation?

3. Can a person know for sure he is saved?

4. What if a person sins again after being saved?

5. Can a person lose his salvation?

All of these questions can be answered simply, just by understanding the meaning of the terms which are listed on the previous page. This is why it is our purpose in this book to define these terms. At the end of the book we will review these questions and see how easily they are answered.

These eleven terms constitute what is called "THE GOSPEL." Therefore we have entitled this book:

"DICTIONARY OF THE GOSPEL"

READ ON!

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Faith Bible Church
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Jesus Christ: The Ministry of Paul (Part 1 of 2)
By Kevin Heyle, Kansas City, MO

Today in our fast paced society we hear so much about motivation, goals, strategies, and productivity. There are countless seminars on how to make improvements in anyone of these areas. A vast amount of money is being spent trying to motivate people in all areas of life. Whether it is the corporate world, manufacturing, education, physical fitness or any field one can imagine. One area in which this is rapidly taking place is within the church. Countless books, magazines, and sermons are available proclaiming some new program or series to motivate the pastoral staff for ministry, equip the saints for evangelism, or just to fill the pews. In others areas it is about knowing more, studying more, and articulating doctrine to others. Do not be mistaken, there is some good to be found in all of these, but how are these to be integrated into ministry? Let's take a look at the moving force behind one of the greatest evangelists, the Apostle Paul, in what role he played as church planter, preacher and teacher.

 

What was it that moved or motivated the Apostle Paul? Did Paul methodically lay out his goals and work towards them? What was his strategy in working towards those goals? Is there a formula we can find that will produce the results that we find in Paul's ministry? In Romans 15:14-21 the Apostle Paul givesus a good synopsis about his overall ministry.

 

“Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient - in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man's foundation."

Motivation

We recognize Paul as the distinct apostle to the Gentiles who was given the revelation of the mystery of the dispensation of grace (Ephesians 3:1-10). However is the mystery itself the real motivating factor behind Paul? Does Paul continually appeal to the mystery to motivate others? Hopefully our response is a resounding no. This may be a surprise to some, but read the passage again. Notice not what but who is the focus. It is Jesus Christ! Paul reminds us of the grace given to him by God so that he might be a minister not of the mystery but of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. Paul viewed himself as a minister of Jesus Christ not a minister of the mystery.

 

As a minister of Jesus Christ, Paul was preaching and proclaiming Jesus Christ. Take for example our world's system. Within nations there are various ministries such as the ministry of the interior, ministry of agriculture, ministry of foreign affairs. Each minister is known for what he is proclaiming in regard to his respective ministry. The minister of Foreign affairs is not going to be giving advice in regards to the internal exchange of commodities. He is known for his specialization in foreign policy and not for the regulation of agricultural products however, he may have dealings with the ministry of agriculture in handling trade relations between nations. But primarily he is known for foreign affairs. Just as Paul was a minister of Jesus Christ. He was known for proclaiming Jesus Christ to the lost for salvation and to the saved for strength in living the daily life. Paul realized what the risen and glorified Lord Jesus Christ had accomplished on his behalf, that it so overjoyed him, he wanted all to know. Not only that, but he had been given specific instructions from the risen Christ (Gal 1:12).

 

So as to not be misunderstood, his ministry did in fact include the mystery. For we can not truly understand Jesus Christ apart from the mystery. Paul tells us in Romans 16:25 that the preaching of Jesus Christ is according to the revelation of the mystery. What is to be understood is that Jesus Christ is the issue and the focus, not the mystery. It is not what saves but Whom. It is not what gives us strength to live our lives but Whom. It is not what that loves us but Whom. It is not what we will go to battle for but Whom. It is not what motivates us but Whom. It is not what we know but who we know. The focus must be Jesus Christ. If we substitute anything or anyone else we will lose that focus.

 

As we examine Paul's letters we see he mentions the "mystery" roughly 17 times. On the other hand he mentions Jesus Christ 118 times and Christ Jesus 65 times. This does not include where he references the titles separately. The numbers alone should be indicative of who was continually on Paul's mind. But let's examine some selected verses to help us get a better idea of what Paul is getting at.

 

--1 Corinthians 3:11 “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

 

--1 Corinthians 16:22 “If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!”

 

--1 Timothy 6:3 “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, [even] the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine with accords with godliness.”

 

Paul always focuses his ministry on Jesus Christ.

 

Back to our Romans 15 text. Paul goes on to clarify what he glories in. He glories in Christ Jesus in the things that pertain to God. He finds his motivation, his strength, his joy and his glory, in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was truly Paul's only concern. He wrote to the church in 1 Corinthians in chapter 2 verse 2 saying For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Paul was consumed with Jesus Christ. He goes on in 9:16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! Paul was bound by his love for his Saviour. Galatians 6:14 is even stronger. "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." It was what Christ accomplished on the cross that motivated Paul.

 
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Jesus Christ: The Ministry of Paul (Part 2 of 2)
By Kevin Heyle, Kansas City, MO

Goal

With the motivation of Christ, Paul also worked toward a goal. He mentions it here as desiring that the Gentiles be acceptable and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. This was not only his goal for others but also for himself. Paul desired that all be transformed into the image of Christ. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18). We are told in Romans 8:29 that we are to be conformed to the image of Christ. It is to that end that Paul labored. To the Galatians he wrote My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you (4:19). His desire was to present the saints blameless and perfect (complete) before the Lord at the day of Christ. The following verses add clarity.

 

1 Thessalonians 3:12,13 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ will all His saints.

 

Colossians 1:28-29 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

 

Paul's goal was for everyone to be conformed to the image of Christ. He even desired the same goal for himself. The following are brief excerpts from Philippians 3:7-11. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ...that I might gain Christ...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death. Not only was Paul's motivation Jesus Christ but He was also his goal.

 
Strategy

Now that we have a beginning motivation and a goal in sight, we need to determine how we are going to reach that goal. What was Paul's strategy in reaching the end goal of Jesus Christ? Again back to our text of Romans 15 and verses 18 and 19. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed...by the Spirit of God.... Whose working or strategy is involved here? It is only of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. Look back at Colossians 1:29 and see that it is Jesus Christ who works in us mightily. Notice the two prepositions in the two verses, "in" and "through." Not until the Lord works in us can He work through us. It first must be an inward work before an outward work can truly take place. Can an outward work take place with no inward work? Of course. Because we know God's word never returns void. God will always honor His word when it is 'preached' but it does not have as powerful effect as when it is truly believed and has become a part of the 'preachers' life (1 Thessalonians 2:13). A greater testimony is one that is lived rather than only spoken. Our only strategy is believing God, taking Him at His word allowing Him to do the work. The perfect work that Jesus Christ began in you, He will also complete it until the day of Christ (Philippians 1:6). We can work and strategize and predict and contort and try all we want for some end to be accomplished but if Christ is not in it, or we have not truly believed it, it is to no avail.

 
Productivity

Output, fruit, and results are what the world is after. Paul also looked for these things. The fruit he was after is more than likely not what most are laboring towards. Lets be honest, how many are truly after numbers or proving ourselves right to others? Our flesh looks to these as indicators of our own productivity. As you have probably realized by now, he wanted Jesus Christ to be preached. He knew if Jesus Christ was preached; Jesus Christ would be the motivation; Jesus Christ would be the goal; Jesus Christ would be the strategy and Jesus Christ would be produced. What a marvelous unending cycle. Oh what wonderful simplicity we find in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3)

 

Essentially the productivity Paul was after was godliness. "Godliness" and "Christ likeness" or "Christ formed in you" are all synonymous terms. A clear picture of this is in 1 Timothy 4:6-11. In verse 7 he says exercise towards godliness he follows up with verse 10 saying For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those who believe. The end is godliness. Paul was laboring so that godliness would be produced in those who believe. Godliness is the outward manifestation of Jesus Christ.

 

Paul lived a life of faith, believing that the Lord could and would accomplish what He promised in His Word. Paul was not looking for the results most of us look for today. We try to measure our own ministry or other' achievements by what we see on the outside. This is not faith. This is not our concern. If it was, we would have been told to walk by sight and not faith. Who is it that knows the hearts of men? It is certainly not you or I. That is the Lords business. Paul makes that quite clear in 1 Corinthians 4:3-5. We do not even know our own hearts; it is only the Lord who does. When we begin focusing on the outward appearance we immediately step outside the bounds of faith. We are then looking downward and not upward. Our circumstances then begin to dictate our actions and not the Lord working through us. Anything done apart from faith is sin. Romans 14:23.

 

For the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God (1 Corinthians 3:19). We must realize we are not of this world and the wisdom this world teaches will not work in our lives, in our families or in our churches. Our motivations, goals, strategies and productivity should not be of this world but of God. He has a much better plan and purpose in which to be involved. Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways (Psalm 128:1) The way is Jesus Christ.

 

 
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Fallacies Of Traditional Thinking

Forgiveness

Doug Dodd s.b.g. – Berean Bible Church – Edgewater, Florida

The Church That Preaches What The Bible Teaches

INTRODUCTION

There are many misconception that occur in bible study due to a failure to "rightly divide the word of truth". When we "rightly divide the word of truth" we give to Israel what belongs to Israel and we give to the body of Christ what belongs to the body of Christ.

Under Israel’s economy or dispensation forgiveness was handled differently than in the dispensation of the grace of God in which we now find ourselves. This is because Israel was kept on a "short account" system. That is, they had no long term provision for sin. Sin had to be dealt with quickly and the Levitical sacrificial system was instituted for this purpose.

It is instructive to note that God used this system to blind and fool Satan into believing he could somehow circumvent the purposes and plans of God. In the Old Testament Satan constantly bombarded that nation with false gods and religious systems to prevent Israel from being in favor with God. Later in the New Testament Satan literally drove the Lord Jesus Christ to the cross thinking - Mat 21:38 … This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.

How surprised he must have been on that morning when Christ rose from the dead!! As Paul reminds us… 1 Cor 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

One of the things that the Lord Jesus Christ bought for us in his death, burial and resurrection was total and complete forgiveness. Total and complete forgiveness was not available until after the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and the setting aside of the nation of Israel.

Traditional thinking errs by not observing this distinction. Therefore you have religious institutions which have implemented "sin management systems" to handle sin that is already forgiven.

They do this by:

having people to "confess their sins" either to God or a priest
by a false sacrifice system
by indulgences and prayers
We will now contrast some verses between instructions given to Israel and those given to the church the body of Christ.

 

VERSES FOR CONSIDERATION

Mat 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 

These verses clearly instructed Israel, during the earthly ministry of Christ, that to get forgiveness they must first forgive others. This was part and parcel of the "short account system". However, in the dispensation of the grace of God, forgiveness is handled NOT on a short account system but totally and complete.

Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

 

The operative word in this verse is HATH! It is past tense. We do not forgive others today in order to obtain forgiveness – we do so because we HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED fully pardon based upon the finished cross work of Christ in his death, burial and resurrection.

Notice again…

Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

Notice this is all trespasses! This is good news indeed! I am not motivated by fear of failure to forgive but I am motivated by the grace of God working in me to forgive as God does… for Christ sake!

 

CONCLUSION

A dispensational change in the fundamental application of forgiveness takes place in the dispensation of the grace of God with the result being total and complete forgiveness based on the finished cross work of Christ in his death, burial and resurrection.
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RIGHTEOUS BEFORE GOD

"There is none righteous, no not one."
"How should man be just with God?"
(Romans 3:10 and Job 9:2)


Since man is a sinner and God is holy, how can they meet? Job asked this question thousands of years ago, and man is still asking how he may become righteous in the eyes of God, or how God might excuse him for his sin. Job's three friends each had a solution to the problem; each one had a different idea, but the foundation of all three was a salvation based on human works. So, today, men are still offering the same answers as did the three friends of Job.
First - Bring God down to man's level. That is Demonism.
Second - Evolve man to God's level. That is modernism.
Third - Put on a nice, outward appearance. That is ritualism.

There is always a way "that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12).

To Job's three friends, God said. "Ye have not spoken unto Me things which are right, like My servent Job." Therefore we conclude that Job knew the right answer and that his three friends were wrong. Job's answer was:
"For He is not a man as I am, that I should answer Him and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any DAYSMAN betwixt us that might lay His hand upon us both" (Job 9:32-33). In otherwords, Job said that there must be a MEDIATOR, or a go-between, if he was to be accepted by God. What kind of a mediator did Job need? What kind of a mediator does man need today?

First of all, that mediator must be both God and man, and not only that, He must also be a REDEEMER, in order to redeem man from sin. And Job could say: "I know that my REDEEMER liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth" (Job 19:25). In I Timothy 2:5 we read: "There is ONE MEDIATOR between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus." That One who was in the form of God, but made Himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servent, came in the likeness of men, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:5-8). By His death on the cross He became the Redeemer of mankind.

"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich" (II Corinthians 8:9).

How then, can man receive the blessings of this matchless work of grace? First let us see how it is not obtained:

NOT BY WORKS


"Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9)
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done" (Titus 3:5)
"All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6).
"For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God...Abraham believed God, and it (his faith) was counted unto him for righteousness" (Romans 4:2-3).

"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:5).


NOT BY THE LAW
(The ten Commandments)


"A man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ,....for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Galatians 2:16).

"If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Galatians 2:21).

The purpose of the law is to stop all mouths; and it is the instrument by which the whole world is proven guilty before God. See Romans 3:19-20.

The law curses. "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that continnot in all the things which are written in the book of the law to do them" (Galatians 3:10).

The law is called the ministration of death, "written and engraven in stones," in II Corinthians 3:7.

"The law was our schoolmaster, to bring us unto Christ" (Galatians 3:24). "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth" (Romans 10:4), and He "took it out of the way, nailing it to His (Colossians 2:14). And now - "Ye are not under the law, but under grace" (Romans 6:14).


"THEREFORE" -


"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Romans 3:28).

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).

"By Him (Christ) all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:39).

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

John Bunyan wrote the following lines: "The righteousness of God, that is a righteousness of God's completing, a righteousness of God's bestowing, a righteousness that God gives unto and puts upon all them that believe, a righteousness that stands in the work of Christ, and that is imputed both by the grace and justice of God, the righteousness by which we stand just before God from the curse, was performed long ago by the Person of Jesus Christ."

By grace we are saved - Eph. 2:8-9.
By grace we are redeemed - Gal. 3:13.
By grace we are brought near - Eph. 2:13.
By grace we are justified - I Tim. 1:15.
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