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

Subscribe to our Free Newsletter.
Enter your email address:

ChristiansUnite
Forums
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 11, 2020, 06:18:55 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Our Lord Jesus Christ loves you.
282853 Posts in 27483 Topics by 3790 Members
Latest Member: Goodwin
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  ChristiansUnite Forums
|-+  Theology
| |-+  Debate (Moderator: admin)
| | |-+  So - WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND?
« previous next »
Pages: 1 [2] Go Down Print
Author Topic: So - WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND?  (Read 4399 times)
nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 64256


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2009, 08:04:57 PM »

"Striving Together for the Faith of the Gospel"
By Cornelius R. Stam

"For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

"Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you" (Philippians 1:23,24).


Paul had a great desire to depart and be with Christ; not that he was tired of living, by no means. Under the protection of the Roman government, as one of their most prominent prisoners awaiting trial, he was doing a work that would excite the imagination and interest of any man of God. There was already a church established right amongst Caesar's household, and Paul was known everywhere as a prisoner for Christ. All through the palace and all around about they knew him for this. Oh, no, Paul was by no means tired of living. But the Christ that he proclaimed came to mean so much to him that he longed to see Him and be with Him. This would be far, "far better" than his present state.

Yet, "to abide in the flesh", as he calls it, was still necessary for the sake of the Philippians and others to whom he ministered. So he felt sure that the Lord would keep him on earth for some time to come. And he expressed the hope that he might see his beloved friends at Philippi before too long. And so it was that he wrote:

"Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

"And in nothing terrified by your adversaries, which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.

"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 1:27-30).


OUR CONDUCT AS CHRISTIANS

Did you notice that word "only" with which he opens this appeal? "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ." This is of primary importance. Be sure that this is done above everything else. All through this first chapter of Philippians the apostle adapts almost all he says - his greeting, the news about himself and his ministry, his expressed desire to go and be with Christ, but the necessity to remain here - he adapts all this to the need for true unity among the Philippian believers. In almost every paragraph, every sentence, many subtle phrases or words are employed with a special view to get them to love each other truly, and to work together. And so it is with that word rendered "conversation" in verse 27.

"Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ."

We find this word again in Philippians 3:20:

"For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ."

A MATTER OF TRANSLATION

The Revised Version never uses this word "conversation" in its translation, for the simple reason that it no longer means what it meant nearly 400 years ago when our King James Version of the Bible was translated. But the Revised Version, perhaps, has not done a great deal better than the King James. In Philippians 1:27 they have translated it: "Only let your manner of life be as it becometh the gospel of Christ," while the RSV renders Philippians 3:20: "Our citizenship is in heaven." Now there is a great difference between a "manner of life" and "citizenship," and beloved, most translations simply render the passage: "Let your manner of life..." or "Let your conduct be...."

What all of these translations have overlooked is that all through this epistle the apostle deals with their responsibility, not as individuals only, but as a Christian assembly, as a group. This word in the original Greek refers not so much to the way we live, as to the way we live together. So the word "conversation" in the Authorized Version is not too far off. Picture three or four men with their heads together and you know they have something in common. The Greek word is the very word from which we get our English word "politics." It's not merely a manner of living, but a manner of living together. How this agrees with the rest of the verse, and with the whole purpose of this letter to the divided Philippians!

"Only let the way you live together be as it becometh [or as is appropriate to] the gospel of Christ, that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you are standing together."

There are five phrases in this one verse alone that emphasize the idea of unity.

First, "Only let your conversation, the way you live together, be as it becometh the gospel of Christ,

"...that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs that ye stand fast." Don't split and scatter.

Then, "stand fast in one spirit";

"...with one mind...."

And finally, "striving together for the faith of the gospel."

Read that verse again, and see the power of it, as he writes of these Philippians who had allowed a division to come in between them. A division that might, if they let it go, become very deep and wide, and impossible of curing:

"Only let the way you live together be as it becometh the gospel of Christ, that whether I come and see you or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel."
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 64256


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2009, 08:11:00 PM »

"Striving Together for the Faith of the Gospel"
By Cornelius R. Stam

THE GOOD FIGHT OF THE FAITH

There is another word here that I should say something about. It is not a bad translation, but nearly 400 years ago the word "striving" also meant something different than it does today. The word striving is simply an old English word for fighting. It is the very same word that we would render "fight." Paul wanted them to fight together, not fight amongst each other, but fight together against a common foe. And what were they to fight for?

Ah, many Christians do not see the importance of this; they don't know what it is to "fight the good fight of faith" (I Timothy 6:12). And by the way, when you read the phrase "the good fight of faith" in Paul's epistles, remember that in the original the definite article is there. It should have been translated: "The good fight of the faith." And here in Philippians 1:27 we also have the definite article: "Fighting together for the faith of the gospel." Thus "the faith" is the doctrine, the things to be believed about the gospel of the grace of God.

Do you get Paul's message to these Philippian believers and God's message to believers today? What he is saying in a very tactful way is this: "Don't fight amongst each other. This doesn't become those who proclaim the good news of the grace of God. Rather stand together and fight together for the faith, or the doctrine, of the gospel," for Satan is ever alert to pollute the blessed unadulterated gospel of the grace of God. And he has done this in religious circles all over the land, and all over the world, where they have adulterated and polluted God's pure message of grace through the all-sufficient finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Such a united stand for the good news of grace is bound to arouse opposition, for Satan hates grace. You can mix in a little works, you can add confirmation, you can make baptism necessary to salvation or even add it later - anything, any work, any human work will frustrate the grace of God. In Paul's day it was the Jewish rite of circumcision:

"Behold I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcized, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace" (Galatians 5:2-4).

"And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work" (Romans 11:6).

In our day Satan adulterates the gospel of grace wherever it is mixed with works. Where works are even appended to it, to make believers in some way more complete, or more acceptable to God, there Satan largely leaves the situation alone. It is where the gospel of the grace of God is preached in its pure, unadulterated form that souls are saved and brought into the truth:

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

This is the message that our adversary so bitterly hates and so relentlessly opposes. When you emphasize the fact that the believer, the simplest, most humble believer, is made "accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6); and is pronounced "complete in Christ" (Colossians 2:9), it is then that Satan begins to fight.

THE ADVERSARIES OF CHRIST

For this reason the apostle goes on in Philippians:

"Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God" (Philippians 1:27,28 ).

The enemies of the truth read their own defeat in the unity and confidence of the saints of God, and to the saints themselves this is the surest token of victory. So Paul says: "Don't you be afraid, don't you be frightened by our adversaries. But as you stand together for the doctrine of the gospel - for the truth of the gospel of the grace of God - the adversary will see a token of his own defeat. And to you, this will be a token of glorious victory. A victory given by God Himself."

The world has never been able to understand why it cannot make the true Christian afraid. The Christian who relies wholly on Christ has a powerful testimony. Have you ever read that old book, Foxe's Book of Martyrs? Oh, you should read it and see how God has given His people special grace and courage in special times of need. Men, women, yes, and even young lads and maidens have been tortured, burned at the stake, thrown to the lions, and have done these things by choice rather than renounce the Lord Jesus Christ.

Some of you know that my missionary brother, John, just older than I, and his wife Betty, were beheaded by communists in China some years ago. The world would think this was a deadly blow to missionary work there; but do you know what happened? Within one month more than 200 young Christian men and women applied to go as missionaries to that very city in China where John and Betty Stam had been beheaded, and thousands of others consecrated their lives to missionary work at great missionary conferences all over Europe and America.

Years ago the Auca Indians killed five missionaries brutally, beastially, and what happened? Their wives and other missionaries went back to the Indians to win them to Christ, and they have been making significant progress since. The world can't understand this, but it is a fact that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 64256


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2009, 08:16:22 PM »

"Striving Together for the Faith of the Gospel"
By Cornelius R. Stam

THE BOLDNESS OF THE APOSTLES OF CHRIST

"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).

Did you notice it is given to you to suffer for Christ's sake? It is a privilege, it is a privilege in several ways. First it is an honor to suffer for Christ because His cause is just. Do you recall how the apostles at Jerusalem were cruelly beaten for testifying to Christ's resurrection?

"And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name.

"And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ" (Acts 5:41,42).

THE APOSTLE OF GRACE

But for Paul, and for us, it is still a greater honor and privilege to suffer for Christ today. In speaking about his sufferings for Christ, the apostle says:

"Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind [that which still remains] of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His Body's sake, which is the Church" (Colossians 1:24).

The meaning of this passage is not difficult. Christ was not wanted here; they crucified Him, and even after He was raised from the dead, they still would not have Him. They stood by that awful deed, and He ascended as a royal exile to Heaven. But while the world was through with Him, He was not yet through with the world. In infinite grace He left the Apostle Paul here with a wonderful message of grace and reconciliation:

"To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the Word of reconciliation" (II Corinthians 5:19).

In effect God has said, "I'll count Christ's death at Calvary as the payment for your sins," and so Paul says in II Corinthians 5:

"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

"For [God] hath made Him to be sin for us, [Christ] who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:20,21).

Did you get it? "We pray you in Christ's stead." He as much as says: You didn't want Christ; you wouldn't have Him here; you crucified Him and said, "Away with Him," but, ah, we are here. He sent us as His ambassadors, and we stand here instead of Christ to beseech you "that ye receive not the grace of God in vain" (II Corinthians 6:1).

THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS

But Christ is still rejected and despised today, beloved; His name is cursed and blasphemed on every street corner. And who bears the suffering for this? Not He. He is now forever glorified in Heaven. Paul says, "I am suffering; I am bearing that which still remains of the afflictions of Christ," and furthermore he says, "I rejoice in it."

"That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings..." (Philippians 3:10).

These are His sufferings inflicted by unbelievers who hate Him, not you, my Christian friend. The hate is really against Christ. So Paul calls it "...the fellowship of His sufferings..." and it is sweet fellowship indeed, for there are rich rewards which such sufferings will gain:

"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (II Corinthians 4:17).

Ah, little wonder the apostle encourages the saints at Philippi to work together in our passage:

"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."
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 64256


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2009, 08:19:31 PM »

"Striving Together for the Faith of the Gospel"
By Cornelius R. Stam

You ask how much we suffer for Christ today? Well, I stood one day with a group of Christians and asked that same question, and added, I've never even been slapped in the face for my faith in Christ, have you? And to my embarrassment one woman that was present replied: "I have." Later the others told me how this woman's husband had beaten her and had done everything in his power to make life difficult for her because of her faith in Christ. Well, whether you have borne this kind of suffering, or perhaps that cold icy stare, or the cold shoulder that would push you out and give you a poor position at work and give your position to someone else, or whatever - if it's suffering for Christ, it is a privilege and an honor.

"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 here to be in me" (Philippians 1:29,30).

Such suffering is sweet because it is the fellowship of His sufferings. It is filling up that which still remains of the world's rejection of Christ, the afflictions that He would be bearing were He here.

THE RICHES OF KNOWING CHRIST

Now, my dear unsaved friend, God does not ask you to suffer to be saved. You should go to India or some other places in the world where pagan religions, and all the sad darkness of superstition prevails. You'd see poor souls torturing themselves in order to make themselves accepted of whatever gods there are. Ah, no, we don't ask you - God does not ask you - to suffer, or to do anything to earn your salvation. God simply says:

"For by grace are ye saved through faith [believing]; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8-10).

But you say: "Oh, but I've been such a sinner; isn't there something I have to pay? I should think I'd have to suffer something to be made worthy of this."

Ah, no, Ephesians 1:6,7 says that in grace, God hath made us "accepted in the beloved [One]. In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." And in Romans 5:20,21 Paul declares: "The law entered that the offence might abound, but where sin abounded grace did much more abound."

My friend, I don't care what kind of a sinner you are, or what your past has been, and God does not care, because it was all paid for at the cross, where "Christ died for our sins." There in one stroke the great Creator bore the sins that would have sunk the world to hell, and now He offers you salvation through the merits of Christ at Calvary. Oh, believe it and be saved today. In the words of the old hymn1 writer:

"Sinners Jesus will receive;
Sound this word of grace to all
Who the heavenly pathway leave,
All who linger, all who fall.

"Come, and He will give you rest;
Trust Him for His word is plain;
He will take the sinfulest;
Christ receiveth sinful men.

"Christ receiveth sinful men,
Even me with all my sin;
Purged from every spot and stain,
Heaven with Him I enter in.

"Sing it o'er and o'er again;
Christ receiveth sinful men;
Make the message clear and plain;
Christ receiveth sinful men."

Endnote

1. What a grand old hymn, "Christ Receiveth Sinful Men," by James McGranahan.
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 64256


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2009, 08:27:07 PM »

Access Your Grace and Joy!
By Pastor Ricky Kurth

(From a message given September 30, 2006, at Berean Grace Church in Genoa City, Wisconsin)

"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).


In 1888, a poem appeared in the San Francisco Examiner that soon swept the nation. It was a ballad about the then relatively young sport of baseball, and was entitled, "Casey at the Bat." The last line of this epic poem reads: "But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out."

What a telling example of how the world about us views the subject of joy. When things are good, and their team has won, there is joy! But when things go bad, and their team has lost, their joy is lost. And so it must always be for the unbeliever, or even for the believer who knows no better than to find the basis for his joy in his circumstances. How much better is the joy that God offers to those who understand what His Word teaches on this important subject! Our text says that we can rejoice in hope of the glory of God. The word rejoice is the verb form of the word joy. If you are rejoicing, you have joy, and if you have joy, it means that you are rejoicing.

The Bible study principle known as The Law of 1st Mention says that the first mention of a word in Scripture often defines the word, or sets the tone for its use throughout Scripture. And while Romans 5:2 is not the first mention of joy in the Bible, it is the first mention of joy in Paul's epistles. Since Paul is the apostle of the present dispensation, we can conclude that the basis for all of our joy as members of the Body of Christ is found here in these verses.

The primary source of the believer's joy here is knowing that we have been "justified by faith." What does it mean to be justified? It means to be made righteous. We have no English word righteous-fied, and so if you are justified, it means that you have been made righteous, and if you have been made righteous, it means that you are justified. But what does it mean to be made righteous?

Many years ago, if a man in England shot and killed a man who was raping his wife, it was considered "justifiable homicide." This means that not only was the husband not guilty of any wrong-doing in shooting the rapist, he was actually considered to have done the right thing. Similarly, when we get saved, God gives us so much more than just forgiveness. We are actually justified, "made the righteousness of God" in Christ (II Corinthians 5:21). The very righteousness of God is imputed to us in Christ.

But how is God able to impute such righteousness to sinful men? The answer to this question is important, for it differs greatly from the justification offered by Greek mythology.

Has the reader ever wondered why the "gods" of the Greeks were frequently portrayed as lying, cheating, stealing, and lusting after human beings and other gods? Why would men fabricate gods who behaved so poorly? Ah, to justify their own behavior! After all, if their gods conducted themselves so sinfully, it was easy to rationalize and justify such iniquity amongst themselves.

How different is the justification offered by God in His Word. God justifies us not by lowering Himself to our level, but rather by raising us to His! He did not lower His standards of absolute righteousness so as to allow sinful men to be justified. He rather sent His Son to live a life that fully met His perfect standard, who then died a sacrificial death on our behalf. This explains how God could be "just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:26). God then is able to impute His righteousness to us when we believe the gospel, and thus as our text says we are "justified by faith." The word "faith" is the noun form of the word believe. If you believe, you have faith, and if you have faith, that means that you have believed.

But what is it that we must believe in order to be justified? Well, our text begins with the word "therefore." Students of the Bible know that when we see a "therefore" in Scripture, we must look to see what it's there for! In this instance, if we back up one verse, we learn what it is that we must believe in order to be justified. Speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ in Romans 4:24, Verse 25 says:

"Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification."

The most important word in this verse is one of the smallest words, as is often the case in Scripture. It is the word "for." Believing that Christ died and rose again is not enough to save anyone, for these are merely well-documented facts of history. It is only when we believe that Christ died for our sins and was raised for our justification that God can impute His righteousness to us. What a wonderful source of joy!

Additional grounds for the believer's joy can be found in our text when Paul speaks of our "peace with God." The peace that God makes with us is unlike the peace men make with one another, which is only temporary in nature. When we hear the announcement of a "cease-fire" in the Middle East, we know it will only last until the next shot is fired! Similarly, Hitler made "peace" with Stalin, but it wasn't long before the German panzers were rolling eastward into Russia. Contrariwise, the peace that God offers is irrevocable! The believer in Christ will never again be the enemy of God that he was before salvation (Romans 5:10).

If you stop and think about it, justification and peace with God are the only things we should rejoice in, for they are the only things we have that cannot be taken away! Many a man rejoices in his house, his car, his riches or his health, but all of these are things that can be lost. When husbands rejoice in their job, and wives rejoice in their children, these things are certainly more noble things in which to rejoice, but these too are things that can be taken away from us. When Christians rejoice in their church or in their pastor, this appears even more virtuous, and yet these too are things that can be lost. The only safe things in which to base our joy are immutable truths like our justification and our peace with the Almighty.
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 64256


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2009, 08:31:20 PM »

Access Your Grace and Joy!
By Pastor Ricky Kurth

Further joy can be found in our text in the "access" we have "into this grace wherein we stand." Our personal computers contain many files, and they are our files, but we must be able to access them for them to be of any use to us. Similarly, the believer in Christ has grace, but we must be able to access this grace for it to be of any functional value in our spiritual lives.

But of what grace does the apostle speak when he uses the phrase "this grace"? When he writes of "this grace" in II Corinthians 8:7, the context tells us that he speaks of the grace of giving. But here the context determines that the phrase "this grace" speaks of the grace of our justification and our peace with God.

But if we "stand" before God justified and at peace with Him, why do we need to "access" this grace? The answer lies in the difference between our standing as believers and our state. Sometimes expressed in other terms, such as the difference between our position and our practice, this Bible study principle points out the difference between the perfect standing that believers have before God in Christ, and the outworking of that position in our daily lives (Philippians 2:12). Ideally the two should be the same, but even the best of us falls short of the absolute perfection we have in Christ.

Likewise our text tells us that we stand fully justified and at peace with God. However, when we sin, it is natural to fear that we have provoked God. Likewise when we get sick, or suffer an accident or experience some other adversity, we are prone to think that God is angry with us. When these things happen, we must access the grace that tells us we stand before Him justified and at peace.

How do we access this grace? Paul says that we do so "by faith," and faith comes by hearing the Word (Romans 10:17). Thus when your conscience whispers that God is angry with you, or when some preacher on TV suggests that God is judging you for your sin, you must by faith access His Word, and remind yourself that God says you have irrevocable peace with Him. Our joy is based in our peace with God, but we must access this grace by faith if we are to have the joy that God wants us to enjoy.

Next, Paul says that we "rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Here we know that Paul is speaking of the Rapture, because the words "hope" and "glory" remind us of how Paul describes the Rapture as "that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing" of the Lord Jesus (Titus 2:13).

But has the reader ever wondered what the glory of God is, specifically? We needn't speculate. When Moses asked God to show him His "glory," the Lord replied that He would do so by showing him His "goodness" (Exodus 33:18,19). God's glory is His goodness. Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." The glory of God is that He is so good that He has never sinned, and we have all fallen short of this. This is why the natural reaction of men to the glory of God is fear (Luke 2:9). It is natural for unholy men to fear the absolute holiness of God.

How then can Paul say that we "rejoice" in hope of the glory of God? Ah, it is because at the Rapture, God's glory will not just be revealed to us, as it was revealed to the frightened shepherds at our Lord's birth, it will be revealed "in" us (Romans 8:18 ). And so we needn't fear God's glory, we can rather rejoice in it, because in that day we will share it!

Imagine sharing the glory of God! People pay big bucks to buy JFK's golf clubs, or a dress worn by Princess Diana, but these purchases can hardly enable the buyer to share the glory of these celebrities. Yet the God of all creation, who declared He would not give His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8; 48:11), has given this glory to the Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:5), and will someday give it to us through Him. Surely this is grace to rejoice in!

"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulations worketh patience;

"And patience, experience; and experience, hope" (Romans 5:3,4).


The Greek word for "glory" in Verse 3 is the same as that translated "rejoice" in Verse 2. Coupled with the word "also" here, Paul is saying that we glory in tribulations as much as we rejoice in the Rapture! To which most of us would reply - "We do? How can Paul say such a thing!"

The key is in the word "knowing." The key to glorying in tribulation is convincing ourselves that God is correct when He says tribulation works patience. As adults we endure going to the dentist, working out in the gym, etc., because we know that these things work physical good in us. Likewise as sons of God, we should be able to endure anything if we truly believe that it is working spiritual good in us.

If the reader wonders if tribulation really works patience, just imagine a Christian who was born wealthy and whose parents shielded him from all tribulation in life. Such a man is likely to be very impatient, and so we can prove by reverse reasoning that the Bible is as right about this as it is about all other things. But as tribulations begin to work patience in our shielded wealthy friend, his "experience" with tribulation will begin to work "hope" in him. A believer who experiences no tribulation in life is unlikely to be hoping for the Rapture.

But can we ever get to the point where we actually rejoice in tribulations? Perhaps the reader has heard of Ivan Pavlov, the Russian scientist who rang a bell when he fed his dog, then noticed that his pet would salivate even before being presented with food. In a lesser-known experiment, Pavlov administered an electric shock to the dog, who understandably growled at him. He then began to administer shocks to the dog followed by a treat, and soon his pet ceased growling after receiving a shock. Eventually the animal actually began to wag his tail upon receipt of the unpleasant jolt, joyfully realizing that a treat would follow.
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 64256


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2009, 08:36:59 PM »

Access Your Grace and Joy!
By Pastor Ricky Kurth

In like manner, the believer in Christ can also learn to stop growling when we are on the receiving end of the many shocks and traumas of life, and actually learn to rejoice in tribulations. This is high spiritual ground indeed, but it is a level that Paul was able to attain in II Corinthians 7:4, where he said, "I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation."

Of course in Scripture, "glory" is the opposite of "shame" (Psalms 4:2; Proverbs 3:35; Isaiah 22:18; Hosea 4:7; Habakkuk 2:16; Philippians 3:19). And so if as a believer you have not yet attained to the level of spirituality needed to actually rejoice in tribulations, you can at least know that tribulation in our lives is nothing of which to be ashamed.

This is different than under the Law. In Jeremiah 14:1-4, the farmers in Israel were "ashamed" when they experienced the tribulation of a drought. Why would a farmer be embarrassed about a lack of rain? In the dispensation of grace, such a dearth is in no way the farmer's fault. But under the Law, the people of Israel brought drought upon themselves. The terms of their covenant with God stated that if they were disobedient, God would chasten them by withholding precipitation (Leviticus 26:19). And so to experience a drought under the Law was a cause of shame and embarrassment, for it meant that they had been disobedient to God. Now it is possible that the farmers' shame in Jeremiah 14 was also due to embarrassment caused by calling in vain upon false gods for rain (cf. Jeremiah 2:26,27), but the fact remains that tribulation under the Law was a cause for shame, not glory.

How different things are under Grace! What a blessing it has been over the years for this Grace pastor to be able to visit God's people in the hospital and not have to suggest that perhaps they were hospitalized because of some secret sin! If the reader of this page is currently going through some tribulation in life, you needn't be ashamed in such circumstances as people were under the Law.

One more thing about experience. As we all know, experience is a great teacher, and our experience with tribulation teaches us that we are not under Law (Romans 6:14,15). When we sin, we sometimes experience tribulation afterward - and sometimes not. Sometimes when we experience tribulation, we can think back to a particular sin that we have committed - and sometimes we can't. In other words, our experience with tribulation teaches us that our tribulations have nothing to do with our conduct! For the believer today, tribulations are just a result of living with the results of Adam's fall. We do experience trouble as a result of reaping what we sow (Galatians 6:7), but that is quite different than tribulation sent from God under the Law as a result of disobedience.

"And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5).

At the risk of sounding irreverent, I would suggest to you that without the blessed hope of the Rapture, you should be ashamed of God! In the dispensation of grace, are you guaranteed prosperity, as was the experience of Abraham and Lot (Genesis 13:2,5,6), Job (1:3) and others? Should you be pursued by men intent on doing you harm, and you find yourself cornered at a large body of water, will God part the waters to facilitate your escape? When you are hungry, does He provide manna for you as He did for Israel?

These things and more might cause us to be ashamed and embarrassed to name such a God as our own. Ah, but "hope maketh not ashamed"! The blessed hope of living eternally with God in heaven takes away all "shame" of worshipping a God who does not defy nature to meet our needs and deliver us from tribulation in life. Paul was right when he said that "if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable" (I Corinthians 15:19). Thank God, we have hope in Christ in the next life as well!

God's love may not be shed abroad in our health or our wealth, but "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts" (Romans 5:5). The word "shed" in Scripture is almost always used in conjunction with the shedding of blood, and so the Apostle uses this word here to remind us that "God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8 ). Of course, while the Lord's blood was shed at Calvary, the love of God that was manifest in the Cross is only shed abroad "in our hearts" when we believe.

We must always remember to measure the love of God by the love expressed at Calvary. We have ways of measuring just about everything, including the amount of electricity and natural gas that comes into our homes. But in order to get a correct measure of things, we must use the proper measuring device. Every cook knows that if the recipe calls for a dry measure and you employ a liquid measuring cup, you are going to come up with a faulty measure! Every electrician knows that you can't measure amps with an ohmmeter, or ohms with a voltmeter. And every Christian should know that we cannot measure the love of God in our lives by the amount of tribulation in our lives. The only accurate standard by which to measure the love of God is the Cross of Christ.

The story is told of a young man in ancient times who was convicted of adultery, a crime punishable in those days by the putting out of the two eyes of the perpetrator. But after he levied the sentence, the judge revealed that he was the young man's father. He then announced that he would execute the sentence by putting out just one of his son's eyes, and one of his own. In this way the justice of the law was satisfied, but the judge's son would be spared total blindness.

While this story is a touching one indeed, it cannot begin to illustrate the love that God showed to us at the Cross. For there the Lord Jesus did not just volunteer to "go halves" with us in satisfying the just demands of the Law. He rather bore all the punishment that was justly due to us, as He "bare our sins in His own body on the tree" (I Peter 2:24). When the trials of life seem almost too great too bear, what joy can be ours as we access by faith this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God!
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 64256


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2009, 08:52:21 PM »

The Affliction of Christ
By Cornelius R. Stam

"I Paul...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 1:23,24).

Already I can almost hear some of you beginning to quote passages from Scripture which clearly indicate that our Lord suffered the full penalty for our sins at Calvary, that His vicarious sacrifice was a once for all matter. This is true, but it is not the whole truth.

A New York woman is supposed to have called Transworld Airlines one night to ask how long it would take to fly to Hawaii. When the young lady at the other end said, "Just a moment," the woman said, "Thank you" and hung up! She didn't listen long enough to get the true answer. Let's not make this mistake here. Let us rather consider this passage thoughtfully and thoroughly so as to understand its true meaning.

WHAT IT DOES NOT MEAN

This passage certainly does not mean - it cannot mean - that Paul had to supply a lack in the vicarious suffering of Christ. This is clear, not only from Scripture as a whole, but from this very epistle of Paul. Verse 20 of this very chapter speaks of God's "having made peace through the blood of His Cross," and verses 21 and 22 add:

"And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled.

"In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in His sight."

Again in chapter 2, verses 10-13, the apostle declares that believers are "complete" in Christ, having been identified with Him in His death and resurrection.

These passages in this very epistle speak of the glorious all-sufficiency of Christ's finished work of redemption.

Once hostile to God and the things of God, we have now been reconciled and have in turn been commissioned to proclaim "the word of reconciliation" to others (II Corinthians 5:19). Of this glorious message the Apostle Paul was the first to be "made a minister," as he says in Colossians 1:23. But what, then, does verse 24 mean, where the apostle refers to "that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ"?

WHAT IT DOES MEAN

There is an interesting connection between verses 22 and 24 of this chapter. In verse 22 the apostle refers to "the body of HIS [Christ's] flesh," while in verse 24 he speaks of filling up what is behind of the afflictions of Christ "in MY flesh, for His Body's sake."

To understand the significance of this latter passage let us consider the background.

Psalms 2 predicts the Father's response to man's rejection of His Son:

"He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision.

"Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure" (Vers. 4,5).


Similarly, in Psalms 110:1, we find the Father saying to His rejected Son:

"Sit thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool."

Such predictions as these may be found throughout Old Testament prophecy, and nowhere is there any indication of any prolonged delay in the judgment, or of any period of grace between man's rejection of Christ and the judgment to follow. This was a "mystery...hid from ages and from generations," as the apostle points out in verse 26 of the passage we are considering.

It was when Jew had joined Gentile in declaring war on "the Lord" and "His anointed" (Psalms 2:1-3; 110:1), when the stage was fully set, as it were, for the outpouring of the bowls of God's wrath, that God interrupted the prophetic program by saving the leader of the rebellion and sending him forth as an ambassador of grace and reconciliation.

Thus Christ was to remain a voluntary exile as the rebellion on earth continued, and Paul, along with others, was to bear whatever sufferings might still remain in connection with the continued rejection of Christ. And this is exactly what happened.

Paul had been persecuting Christ (Acts 9:4) as he inflicted suffering and sorrow upon His saints, but now that the persecutor was saved, the Lord said to Ananias:

"I will show him how great things he must suffer for My name's sake" (Acts 9:16).


Thus Christ was to remain "rejected of men," but who was to bear the sufferings associated with His rejection? Surely not the Lord Himself, for He is forever blessed in heaven. These sufferings were now to be borne by Paul - and us. "That which is behind," or which still remains, "of the afflictions of Christ," is to be borne, not by Christ, the Head, but by us, the members of His Body.

Such suffering was sweet to Paul. If the apostles of the kingdom could rejoice that they were "counted worthy to suffer shame for His name" (Acts 5:41), how much more could the apostle of grace rejoice in bearing the afflictions of Christ so that he might continue to carry on his "ministry of reconciliation" and so add members to Christ's precious Body! This was nothing less than "the fellowship of His suffering" and the apostle longed to experience it more fully (Philippians 3:10).
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 64256


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2009, 09:00:52 PM »

The Affliction of Christ
By Cornelius R. Stam

We belong to a soft generation, in which most seem to think that living in ease and pleasure is man's highest good. But those of us who are truly regenerated and have tasted of the riches of God's grace in Christ should long, as Paul did, to experience, yes to enjoy, more fully, "the fellowship of His sufferings," standing fast against all odds in the proclamation of the glorious message He has committed to us. The words of Paul to the Philippians on this subject are also God's Word to us:

"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).


Just as Paul, Christ's "Ambassador in bonds," was a living demonstration of God's grace to a rebellious world, so believers today who stand true to their glorified Lord to suffer for Him, are thereby telling the world that "the dispensation of the grace of God" is still in effect. The present "afflictions of Christ," however, are not the result only of witnessing to the lost; they are often also the lot of those who defend the message of the glorified Lord against the inroads of false doctrine and practice. When Paul referred to "my sufferings for you" and declared that he suffered the afflictions of Christ "for His Body's sake," he did not mean only that the Body might grow numerically, but also spiritually, through the teaching of the truth. It was his stand against false religion in defense of the truth that cost him the most suffering of all, but think of the far-reaching results!

It is true indeed that the sufferings of some believers are not exactly the sufferings of Christ but are due rather to their own failures. On the other hand, however, there is a growing feeling in more liberal circles today that those who witness tactfully to the world, as one with them, and stand diplomatically for the truth, will not be called upon to suffer for it, while in fact God's Word declares:

"Yea, and ALL that will live godly in Christ Jesus SHALL suffer persecution" (II Timothy 3:12).

God helps us to faithfully "fill up that which is behind [still remains] of the afflictions of Christ... for His Body's sake." It is in this connection that the apostle declares:

"...God would make known [to His saints] what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you [Gentiles], the hope of glory:

"Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect [mature] in Christ Jesus:

"Whereunto I also labor, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily.


"For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh.

"That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement [full knowledge] of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ" (Colossians 1:27-2:2).

WHAT THIS MEANS TO US TODAY

All the prayers of a hundred thousand saints for revival, all the record-breaking evangelistic-revival campaigns, and all the organized efforts to establish unity by compromise will fail to bring about a true spiritual revival, as they have failed through the past several decades.

Since the revelation of the glorified Lord through Paul has been committed to us to proclaim, there will be no revival until this message is recovered and proclaimed, unadulterated and unmixed.

How can there be a spiritual revival while the church continues to work under the wrong commission and practices a dozen different baptisms? How can the Church enjoy true unity without a practical recognition of the Scriptural fact that "there is one Body," whose members have been united to Christ and to each other "by one baptism"?


To stand for these truths faithfully entails suffering - suffering for His Body's sake. But this suffering is sweet, first because it is "the fellowship of His suffering," and second because such a stand brings great blessing to the hearts and lives of those who take heed, "their hearts...being knit together in love, and [advancing] unto all the riches of the full assurance of understanding..." (Colossians 2:2).

God give us pastors, teachers and laymen who are willing to suffer "the afflictions of Christ... for His Body's sake," who count position, popularity, and material gain as loss for Christ, whose one consuming passion is to know "the riches of the glory" of the mystery revealed by our ascended Lord and to dispense these riches to others that the lost may know the glory of His saving grace and the saved the glory of their calling as "one Body in Christ."
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 64256


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2009, 09:24:41 PM »

Accepted in the Beloved
By Pastor John McKay

"To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6).

Alfred the Great was made king of an ancient division of England known as WessExodus Early in his reign he suffered devastating losses at the hands of the Danes. His men scattered and he was reduced to hiding in the cottage of a simple herdsman. Dressed as a peasant, Alfred did chores for the family, and once was scolded for letting the bread burn. Although the humble family did not know who they were scolding, Alfred displayed patience and humility. After he regathered his forces and went on to victory over the Danes, he returned - we are told - to thank and repay the herdsman for the kindnesses shown to him. Needless to say, he was fully received and treated as their King.

In a much more significant way, the Lord Jesus Christ "came unto His own, and His own received Him not." The princes of this world did not know the hidden wisdom of God, "for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." He was "despised and rejected of men," and still is by this present world-system. Although the Lord Jesus is now in glory, the world continues to reject Him. The principle that we are being rejected because He is being rejected is found in John 15:20.

Ephesians 1:6 brilliantly shines peace, patience, and comfort unto us. The Heavenly Father "hath made us accepted in the Beloved." When our faith is in the Son of God and His death for our sin, grace makes us immediately acceptable to God because of the infinite merit of Christ, and His righteousness to us by that faith! If we are rejected now, at least one day, we shall be manifested as children of God.

_____________________________

(My Notes:  It's not such a bad thing for us to be rejected by the world. What would be bad is to conform to the world or to compromise with the devil over the WORD of GOD and HIS GOOD NEWS! We should WORRY if this lost world likes us because that would mean we are neglecting our stand for the GOSPEL and HIS WORD. May GOD give us the strength, courage, and guidance to stand for HIM until HE comes to take us HOME to GLORY!)

Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 64256


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2009, 09:45:13 PM »

Romans 5:1-21 NLT  Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.  2  Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory.  3  We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us-they help us learn to endure.  4  And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation.  5  And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. 

6  When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.  7  Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good.  8  But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.  9  And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God's judgment.  10  For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life. 

11  So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God-all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God.  12  When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.  13  Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. And though there was no law to break, since it had not yet been given,  14  they all died anyway-even though they did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. What a contrast between Adam and Christ, who was yet to come!  15  And what a difference between our sin and God's generous gift of forgiveness. For this one man, Adam, brought death to many through his sin. But this other man, Jesus Christ, brought forgiveness to many through God's bountiful gift. 

16  And the result of God's gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man's sin. For Adam's sin led to condemnation, but we have the free gift of being accepted by God, even though we are guilty of many sins.  17  The sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over us, but all who receive God's wonderful, gracious gift of righteousness will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.  18  Yes, Adam's one sin brought condemnation upon everyone, but Christ's one act of righteousness makes all people right in God's sight and gives them life.  19  Because one person disobeyed God, many people became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many people will be made right in God's sight.  20  God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful kindness became more abundant. 

21  So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God's wonderful kindness rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Logged

Pages: 1 [2] Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



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



Copyright © 1999-2019 ChristiansUnite.com. All rights reserved.
Please send your questions, comments, or bug reports to the

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