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Author Topic: Daily Inspirational  (Read 8810 times)
Brother Love
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« on: May 05, 2004, 05:16:52 AM »

GRACE AND PEACE


For many years this writer, along with the mass of religious people, supposed that the Bible phrase "grace and peace be unto you" was simply a beautiful, spiritual salutation. Thank God we have come to learn that it is much more than a salutation. It is an official proclamation.

Every single one of the epistles signed by St. Paul opens with the declaration: "Grace be unto you and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." This was
the theme of the message which he, as a duly appointed ambassador, had been sent to proclaim.

To appreciate this fully we must remember that God had declared in prophecy that He would reply to the world’s rejection of Christ with judgment. Psa. 110:1 pictures the Father saying to the Son: "Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy foot-stool." Psa. 2:5 declares: "Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them
in His sore displeasure."

After the crucifixion and ascension of Christ it seemed that all was ready for the judgment to fall. As the signs of Pentecost appeared Peter declared: "This is that which was
spoken by the prophet Joel" (Acts 2:16) and it did indeed look as if the rejected Lord was about to return to "judge and make war," as Rev. 19:11 puts it. But now, instead of
judgment and war, St. Paul proclaims grace and peace. Does this not indicate that in grace God interrupted the prophetic program to bring in the present dispensation under which God’s ambassadors proclaim with Paul:

"But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that as sin hath reigned... so might grace reign" (Rom. 5:20,21).

Indeed, Paul the former persecutor was him-self the living demonstration of God’s grace to a Christ-rejecting world. In I Tim. 1:15,16 he declares:

"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."

"Howbeit, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting."

By C. R. Stam


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WOULD YOU PLEASE HELP US GROW!
It is our heart at GRACE AND THE TRUTH to reach as many people as we possibly can TO SHARE with them the Word of God and all that the Lord Jesus Christ has done for members of the body of Christ.  We are now living in a time that we desperately need the joy, peace and comfort of our Lord in these most trying times, and to know that He (Christ) is in control of all things. We want to see body of Christ members not living in fear but resting and trusting Christ. Please be sure to tell your friends and loved ones about us.   Feel free to share any of these articles that you believe might be a blessing.  

Eph 3:9  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
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Daily Inspirational

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E-Mail GracentheTruth@aol.com

2 Tim 2:15  Study to show thyself approved unto God, a  workman  that needeth  not  to  be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.




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Brother Love
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2004, 05:19:40 AM »

LIGHT OUT OF DARKNESS


"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of
God in the face of Jesus Christ.

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us" (II Cor. 4:6,7).

Any instructed Christian reading this passage from the pen of the Apostle Paul naturally goes back in his mind to the time when God first said: "Let there be light," and dispelled the darkness of the primeval world.

He might also recall the incident related in the book of Judges, when Gideon’s army went to battle against the Midianites, each man with a sword in one hand, and a lamp
hidden within a pitcher in the other. At Gideon’s command the soldiers broke the earthen vessels and the lights shone out to strike terror into the hearts of the enemy, who could not account for the crash and the blaze of light at this midnight hour.

For every believer God has caused light, wonderful light, to shine out of the darkness and fill the heart, just as once He said to the dark and chaotic earth: "Let there be light --
and there was light."

But we believers have come into "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God" by com-ing to know Christ. Our Lord rightly said: "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me" (John 14:6). God is unknown and unknow-able apart from Christ, who is God manifest-ed in the flesh. It was He who lived a perfect life and then died a sinner’s death in order to bring us into relationship and fellowship with God.

By C. R. Stam
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Daily Inspirational

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2 Tim 2:15  Study to show thyself approved unto God, a  workman  that needeth  not  to  be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.




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Brother Love
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2004, 05:22:27 AM »

NO TIME FOR GOD?





Those who have no time for God should consider what their circumstances would be if He had no time for them; no time to paint the sunsets, no time to send the warm sun’s
rays or the refreshing showers, no time to make the crops and flowers grow. We doubt that any thinking person would actually want nothing to do with God.

Cain despised God’s authority and finally murdered his brother, but when he was driven from the presence of God he said: "My punishment is greater than I can bear" (Gen.
4:13).

One of the saddest sentences in the gospel records is our Lord’s prediction that He would have to say to some: "I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity"
(Matt. 7:23).

Just what it will mean to be "cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20:15), we pray God none of our readers will ever find out, but the Scrip-tures do clearly indicate that those involved will be cast forever out of the presence of God.

Thank God, it is not He who desires this. He paid for our sins at Calvary to reconcile us to Himself (Eph. 2:16). St. Paul declares that God has called believers "unto the fellow- ship of His Son" (1 Cor. 1:9) and that at His coming for them they shall "ever be with the Lord," adding: "wherefore, comfort one another with these words" (1 Thes. 4:17,18).

"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" (II Cor. 5:20).

God has demonstrated His love for us in Christ. Why not respond by gratefully trust-ing Christ as your Savior?
By C R. Stam
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Should this devotional be a blessing to you, maybe you have a friend or family member that would like to start receiving the daily word. You may forward this to them, by copy and paste method,  and they can use the below link to subscribe. We love to meet new people

Daily Inspirational

WEB SITE
Grace And The Truth
www.graceandthetruth.com

E-Mail GracentheTruth@aol.com

2 Tim 2:15  Study to show thyself approved unto God, a  workman  that needeth  not  to  be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.



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Brother Love
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2004, 05:25:56 AM »

CONFESSING CHRIST





"......if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou
shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Rom. 10:9, 10).

In these sublime words the Apostle Paul sets forth God’s simple plan of salvation. He calls it, in the preceding verse, "The word of faith, which we preach."

But often babes in Christ are urged to get to their feet in public testimony on the basis of the words: "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth... thou shalt be saved." Thus new
Christians are given to feel that a heart faith is not enough to make them secure; that not until they have risen in public  testimony are they saved and safe.

But what, then, does the Apostle mean by these words?  Does he not plainly say, "If thou shalt confess... thou shalt be saved?" Yes, but here again, as with so many other passages, a traditional meaning has been superimposed upon the actual words of Scripture. What does the English word
"confess" mean? Why, nothing more than to "acknowledge," to "admit." And this is exactly what the original Greek word means too, nor does Rom. 10:9,10 say anything about confessing before men.

The trouble is that the idea of confession has been changed to profession -- even public profession -- and multitudes have followed the tradition of the fathers instead of exam-ining the Word to see what it actually says. And so "the word of faith" has been corrupted.

But does not the Apostle clearly say "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth... thou shalt be saved?" Indeed! And he adds, "and shalt believe in thine heart!" Now let us ask: Is it with that physical organ which pumps blood into our veins that we believe on Christ as our Savior? Oh, no! You say that is merely a figure of speech; somehow the heart is
associated with believing. Exactly! Then you would insist that it is with the physical mouth we must confess! Can mutes not be saved then?

As if anticipating the misinterpretation of his words, the Spirit-inspired Apostle adds:

"For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed... For whoso-ever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Vers. 11, 13).

This is "the word of faith, which we preach."

By C.R. Stam
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Should this devotional be a blessing to you, maybe you have a friend or family member that would like to start receiving the daily word. You may forward this to them, by copy and paste method,  and they can use the below link to subscribe. We love to meet new people

Daily Inspirational

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E-Mail GracentheTruth@aol.com

2 Tim 2:15  Study to show thyself approved unto God, a  workman  that needeth  not  to  be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2004, 05:35:33 AM »

JEHOVAH IS HIS NAME

In Genesis 15:5,6, God told Abraham to look up and count the stars, for "So shall thy seed be", and Abraham "believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness". But who is the "God" in whom Abraham believed, what is His name?

When the Israelites were in the bondage of Egyptian slavery and Moses was commanded to deliver them out of Egypt, he also inquired about God’s name:

"...Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto  them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name?, what shall I say unto them?
"And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you" (Ex.3:13,14).

Now in Exodus 6:3, the Lord again spoke to Moses: "And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but  by My name JEHOVAH was I not known to them".

So it was Jehovah, the Lord God Almighty, in whom Abraham believed, the same Lord who "made Heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is" (Gen.1:1; Ex.20:11; Eph.3:9).

In John 8:56 Christ spoke to the Jews of His day about Abraham’s God:  "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad". How often in John’s gospel the Lord speaks this truth, that "...Before Abraham was, I AM" (8:56; 6:35; 8:12; 10:7-11; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1-5). This is most interesting, because, in the darkness of that night of Christ’s betrayal and arrest, they fell over "backward" upon hearing those two little words, "I AM" (John 18:5,6). The Eternal God was in their presence! And they could only arrest Him, as He voluntarily surrendered to God’s purpose.

So, Jehovah, of the Old Testament, is the Lord Jesus Christ, of the New Testament.

In his epistles, the Apostle Paul relates that this same JESUS "took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
"And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil.2:7,8).

Thus, the Apostle points peoples of all nation-alities to the Christ of Calvary’s cross as the only means of salvation today:

"For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

"Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Rom.4:3-5).

Jehovah means Saviour, Jesus Christ is our only Saviour, consequently, God will also "count" your "faith" for "righteousness", if you will simply believe what the Bible says about Jesus Christ:

  "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitia-tion through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins ... that He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in JESUS" (Rom.3:24-26).

BY RUSSELL S. MILLER
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Should this devotional be a blessing to you, maybe you have a friend or family member that would like to start receiving the daily word. You may forward this to them, by copy and paste method,  and they can use the below link to subscribe. We love to meet new people

Daily Inspirational

WEB SITE
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www.graceandthetruth.com

E-Mail GracentheTruth@aol.com

2 Tim 2:15  Study to show thyself approved unto God, a  workman  that needeth  not  to  be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

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Brother Love
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2004, 05:38:45 AM »

PARDON vs. JUSTIFICATION




Did you read, recently, about the man, named Zimmerman, who spent nearly twenty-five years in prison for a murder which, it is now clear, he never committed! The mistake was discovered two years ago, and he was released, of course, but only after spending almost a quarter of a
century in prison for a crime he did not commit!

This was a grim mistake, but even at that, it must be wonderful in such a case, to be free -- and to have people actually sympathize with you! Yet, after two years of liberty, Zimmerman says he still feels a bit numb. Waking up mornings he still imagines he hears the harsh sound of the prison bell, and looking about he still thinks he sees bars on the windows.

Things could be worse, though: Suppose he were guilty of the crime, merely pardoned and released. Then everyone would be saying: "There goes that murderer. They pardoned him. Don’t get too friendly with him." The stigma would always remain - -as long as he lived.

Let us thank God that believers in Christ are not merely pardoned.  Rom. 3:24 declares that we are "justified freely by [God’s] grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."

Christ died for our sins and satisfied the just claims of the Law, and more: through the Holy Spirit He revolutionizes our lives and makes new creations out of us, for "If any man be in Christ," says II Cor. 5:17, "he is a new creation."

"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. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:8-10).

By C R. Stam

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Should this devotional be a blessing to you, maybe you have a friend or family member that would like to start receiving the daily word. You may forward this to them, by copy and paste method,  and they can use the below link to subscribe. We love to meet new people

Daily Inspirational

WEB SITE
Grace And The Truth
www.graceandthetruth.com

E-Mail GracentheTruth@aol.com

2 Tim 2:15  Study to show thyself approved unto God, a  workman  that needeth  not  to  be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2004, 05:42:18 AM »

"THE BEMA  SEAT OF CHRIST"


The men that the Lord has raised up, and divinely inspired to write the books of the Bible, have spoken about the many  judg-ments of God.

Some of the more prominent judgments are: 1) When the Lord returns "with power and great glory" to resume His royal rights to this earth (Matt.24:27-31);  2) The Judgment of the Nations, often called "the sheep and goat judgment" where those nations who have blessed His people will be rewarded, but the wicked shall be cast into "everlasting fire" (Matt.25:31-46); 3) The Great Tribulation when the seven seals, and the seven trumpets, and the seven vials, shall mark the end of Satan’s global power in this world-system (Matt.24:15-26; Rev.4:1—16:21; 20:1-10); and 4) The Great White Throne Judgment of the unsaved dead of all the ages (Rev.20:11-15).

But none of these passages speak about "the BEMA Seat of Christ" (IICor.5:10) because this is distinctly Pauline. This judgment deals with the service that each believer has render-ed to God, in this dispensation of grace, since the day of his conversion to Christ. In several of Paul’s epistles he declares that "we shall all stand before the Judgment (BEMA) Seat of Christ" (Rom.14:10). This will be an awesome day, though a great day of rejoic-ing, for some, more so, than for others.

In I Corinthians 3:9-15 Paul speaks about those who build upon the foundation that he laid, and warns, "Let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

"FOR OTHER FOUNDATION CAN NO MAN LAY THAN THAT IS LAID, WHICH IS JESUS CHRIST" (ICor.3:10,11).

Many have built upon Christ with "wood, hay, and stubble", when they should have "built upon this foundation [with] gold, silver, [and] precious stones".

"Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the Day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is..." (ICor.3:13-15).

In regards to "the Revelation of the Mystery" of Romans 16:25, Paul points out the para-mount importance that "stewards" are to be "found faithful" in the Lord’s service:

"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God" (ICor. 4:5).

So this Judgment (bematos*) Seat occurs when "THE LORD COMES" for His Church, for us, the members of the Body of Christ. It will be seen then, how vital it was, to have "walk-ed worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increas-ing in the knowledge of Christ" (Col.1:10). Paul’s words in Galatians 5:16 have not been  spoken for naught. Yes, you’re eternally secure in Christ and, no, God does not change His mind when you "sin against Christ", but walking in the "flesh" affects your service for Christ, "so that ye cannot do the things that ye would" (Gal.5:17).

"SO THEN EVERY ONE OF US SHALL GIVE ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF TO GOD" (Rom. 14:12).

"bematos"- blessing seat."
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Should this devotional be a blessing to you, maybe you have a friend or family member that would like to start receiving the daily word. You may forward this to them, by copy and paste method,  and they can use the below link to subscribe. We love to meet new people

Daily Inspirational

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E-Mail GracentheTruth@aol.com

2 Tim 2:15  Study to show thyself approved unto God, a  workman  that needeth  not  to  be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2004, 05:45:30 AM »

From whence He cometh to catch us away



THE RAPTURE

by James R  Gray


One-fourth of the Bible contains unfulfilled prophecy. That means there are a lot of events still coming, for God will not permit His Word to remain unfulfilled. The next major event is revealed in 1  Thess- alonians 4:13-18, and is referred to by students as the Rapture of the church. Some object to the word rapture because the word does not appear in any reference of Scripture. Because the word does not appear in the Scripture some try to discredit the word and the truth it represents. The word "rapture" comes from the Latin word "rapere" meaning "to size," or "to snatch."
Thus the term "rapture" is applied to the doctrine of the "catching up" of believers. Paul uses the term in 1 Thess. 4:17 when he de-clares that we "who are alive and remain shall be caught up together" to meet our Savior in the air. The Greek word is harpagesometha, which comes from the verb harpaso meaning to snatch or catch away. The word is found 13 times in the New Testament and almost always implies a change of location of an object or a person (Acts 8 :39; 2 Cor. 12:2-4).

PARTICIPANTS OF THE RAPTURE

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18  presents four participants. First, is the Lord Himself. The Word "Himself" is in the emphatic position, meaning the "same" Jesus who died and was resurrected will begin this great event.
Second, we see the Archangel. This is perhaps Michael (cf. Daniel 10:13,21; 12:1; Jude 9 ; Revelation 12:7).
Third, believers who have died before this event takes place. This is not a general resurrection  of all the dead, but a particular resurrection of believers. These believers are  those who are "asleep," that is, who are "dead in Christ." The Spirit of God places us into Christ upon the act of faith in Christ as our Saviour.
Fourth, believers who are alive at the time of his event.  Twice Paul uses the phrase "we who are alive and remain" (v. 15,17).

The student should note, however, that while the passage gives us four participants, the emphasis is upon those who are alive and remain. The main purpose of this passage is to show the relationship  between those who have died and those who are alive at the time of this event. They were not ignorant of the resurrection. "Paul writes, not to teach the fact of resurrection but rather the fact that at the rapture the living would not have an advantage over the dead in Christ."

THE PUZZLE OF THE RAPTURE

Why were the Thessalonians puzzled about this relationship? Because what Paul taught them about the rapture was new. Until the time of Paul, Scripture gives no indication that believers would be "caught up to meet the Lord in the air," nor that their bodies would be "changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" (1 Cor. 15:51-52). It was a revelation  given to Paul alone. It was a "mystery," hidden in God, until it was revealed to Paul.
The revealed mystery is that, at the time of the rapture, those who are alive and remain will be changed. The word is the Greek verb allasso, meaning to make other than it is, to transform, change. The character of this change is described as "incorruption" and "immortality." The word incorruption means unable to destroy, and immortality means deathless.  In Colossians 3:4 Paul tells us; When Christ, who is our life shall appear, then we will appear with Him in glory." Philippians 3:2 tells us this change of our bodies will entail being "fashioned like His glorious body." Nowhere else, except with Paul do these truths become known. They were written distinctively to the Church, the body of Christ.

-Contiued Next Post-
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Should this devotional be a blessing to you, maybe you have a friend or family member that would like to start receiving the daily word. You may forward this to them, by copy and paste method,  and they can use the below link to subscribe. We love to meet new people

Daily Inspirational

WEB SITE
Grace And The Truth
www.graceandthetruth.com

E-Mail GracentheTruth@aol.com

2 Tim 2:15  Study to show thyself approved unto God, a  workman  that needeth  not  to  be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2004, 05:49:25 AM »

He could come tonight  are you ready?



THE RAPTURE
Part Two

by James R  Gray


THE PLACE OF THE RAPTURE

While almost all believers believe in rapture, there is a great  division on the place or time it will occur. Some believe it will occur before, some after, and a few during the Tribulation Period. The real question is: Does Scripture teach where or when the rapture will occur?  While some say there is no direct Scripture evidence to the question, I disagree. Paul gives us the place of the rapture in 1 Thessalonians. The context of the rapture and end times does not stop at the chapter division so continue to read. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 reveals the following facts:
First, the context deals with end time events. This is clearly seen in the phrases "times and seasons" and "the day of  the Lord." Note also the word "but" (Greek:de) this is a word of contrast.  Paul is beginning a new subject that is in contrast to the events that he has just described. The subject is clearly another end time event: The day of the Lord.  
Second, we see the description of the Day of  the Lord. It is described as a "thief in the night," and "darkness" v. 2,4-5). It is also a time of destruction" and "travail." This refers to the Tribulation Period and is confirmed by Scripture. Compare the great passages on the tribulation in the Old Testament. There we read:
"Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and he shall destroy the sinners out of it. For the stars...of heaven shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in its going  forth, and the moon shall not cause its light to shine. And I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity and I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness  of the terrible" (Isaiah 13:9-11).
"The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hastenth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord; the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness" (Zephaniah 1:14-15).
Also see Zehariah 14:1-8 and Joel 2:1-2; 3:14-21. From this comparison it should be clear that Paul is writing about the Tribulation Period, a time of darkness and wrath.
Third, note the believers' relationship to this time of darkness and wrath. There is a contrast between "you," "us," "we," (5:1-2, 4-6, 8-11) and "they" and "others" (5:3, 6-7).  There are two groups of people, those who are in or a part of this darkness, and those who are not.  It is Paul and his readers that are "not in darkness" (v 4), "not of the night, nor of darkness (v 5), "not appointed us for wrath (v 9). The believer is appointed to salvation.  Salvation to or from what? To be delivered from this darkness; the day of the Lord. The word, "salvation" in this context, is used of physical deliverance, not simply spiritual. The context demands that salvation be a physical deliverance from the wrath of God.
Paul is clearly showing  that believers are not a part of that coming day of wrath and darkness. Why? Because the believers are raptured from that day of wrath and darkness. This is the message of comfort (4:18, 5:10).
Another passage  that may indicate the place of the rapture is 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul is writing to assure them that the Day of the Lord had not come, as some were teaching.  In verse 3, he declares: "let no man deceive you by any means; for the day shall not come, except there come a  falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." Thus, the day of the Lord will not come until two events happen. One is that the Antichrist must be revealed and the other is the apostasia. Two things the student should note: First, the Greek Text has the article, thus, it should be translated "the apostasia." Second, the word apostasia means departure. Kenneth Wuest tells us;
The A.V. offers an interpretation of the Greek word, "apostasia" instead of translating it and allowing the Spirit taught believer to interpret the context. The words are "a falling away," the thought being of "a falling away from the true doctrine," which is a case of exegesis (reading into the text that which is not there). The word considered in its historical background and context should be translated, "departure,"...the definite article occurring before the word makes it apply to a particular departure, one known to the writer and the recipients of the letter. It is the departure of the church spoken of in 2:1, "our gathering  together unto Him," and previously described in detail to the Thessalonians in Paul's first letter to them (4:13-18).
It is interesting to note that a modern translation translates the word apostasy, but not in the early versions. Almost all of them, such as the Coverdale Bible, Wyclifffe Bible, Tyndale Bible, Beza Bible, and the Geneva Bible translated the word as "departure." House notes that the "key is that it (apostasia) does not inherently carry the meaning of defection or revolt. I does so only because of the contexts in which it is found."

PURPOSE OF THE RAPTURE

The purpose of the rapture is at least threefold:
First, to gather together in one, all members of the body of Christ, His Church, to be taken to Heaven. We have a heavenly calling (Phil 1:20). Positionally we are there now seated with Christ (Eph. 1:3, 6). We are a part of God's heavenly kingdom (2 Timothy 4:18). That is our hope. Our purpose in the heavenlies will be to make known God's wisdom to the rulers and au thorities in the heavenly places (Eph. 3:10).
     Second,  to judge and reward the Church (2 Cor. 5:10).
    Third,   to remove the Restrainer from the earth ( 2 Thess. 2:7). The Restrainer is the Holy Spirit through the church. He has always been exerting His  restraining influence  (Gen. 6:3). He indwells believers and restrains the work of evil. At the rapture, this restraining power is taken out of the way, Walvoord reminds us:
If the Spirit of God indwells the church and the church is taken out of the world, then the Spirit of God will also be taken out of the world. This does not mean that the Spirit will not continue working in the world in some way, but no longer as the Restrainer.
The very removal of  both the church and the Spirit from the world will release the world to sin as it never has before. The presence of believers in the world exerts a great influence upon the wicked world.  Christians who have stood for civic righteousness and law and order will no longer be in evidence. For the time being at least there will be no one except unsaved people to run government. The net result will be that evil will be manifested beyond anything known in the history of man. The "mystery of iniquity" is, of course, already working, as mentioned in verse 7, but the Holy Spirit is now restraining until He is taken away at the translation of the church. When this occurs, it is revealed in verse 8 that "then shall that Wicked one be revealed whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.  
We as believers should be "looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ ( Titus 2:13)


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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2004, 05:57:58 AM »

GLORIOUS DELIVERANCE


In I Thes. 1:10, the Apostle Paul, by divine inspiration, assures believers that the Lord Jesus Christ has "delivered us from the wrath to come." He refers, of course, to deliverance from the penalty of sin. But in other passages he declares that we are also delivered from the power of sin. In Col. 1:12,13, for example, he gives thanks to God "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath
translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son."

This deliverance, and the glory of our heaven-ly position and blessings in Christ, we may enjoy experientially now, by grace. Rom. 6:14 says: "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under the law but under grace." This does not mean that it is not possible for the believer to sin, but rather that it is possible, in any situation, not to sin.
Thus the same passage in Romans goes on to say that we should not yield ourselves as servants to sin, but to God, who, in grace has broken sin's power over us.

Finally, the believer in Christ will one day be delivered even from the presence of sin, for at our Lord's coming for us "we shall all be changed" (I Cor. 15:51). Believers should long for Christ's coming for them, not merely because these bodies of humiliation will then be glorified, but because from that moment on they shall never again be tempted or de- filed by sin. What a change that will be!

In II Cor. 1:10 the Apostle includes all three tenses of the believer's deliverance. Here he tells how God has "delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver, in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us." This is why he could write to the Philippians about his confidence that "He who hath begun a good work in you will perform [complete] it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6).

Some may not feel the need of deliverance now, but we all need deliverance from sin and its results. If you have not yet experienc-ed this deliverance, why not place your trust in Christ who died to "deliver us from the wrath to come."
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2004, 06:01:12 AM »

TWO ASPECTS OF CHRISTIAN LIBERTY


"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free... If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:32,36).

The true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ enjoys glorious liberty, and our Lord Himself said that there are no strings attached... "Ye shall be free indeed," free even from the most oppressive of all slave masters: sin. While the Law never saved one man from sin, the Lord Jesus, by His death on Calvary did, for we read that "Christ died for our sins." Therefore the Apostle wrote by divine inspiration: "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangl-ed again with the yoke of bondage" (Gal. 5:1). His letters thunder severe rebukes against be-
lievers who "desire to be under the law." To the Colossian Christians he wrote:

"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days; which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [substance] is of Christ" (Col. 2:16,17).

But true liberty is used for good, otherwise it only reverts to bondage again, for whatever overcomes a man becomes his master (II Pet. 2:19), and doing evil can only harm ourselves and others. Thus the Apostle says further:

"But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak" (I Cor. 8:9).

"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another" (Gal. 5:13).

"...Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth" (Rom. 14:22).

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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2004, 06:05:59 AM »

WHAT SHALL WE DO?


When John the Baptist appeared as Christ’s forerunner, God’s chosen people had lived under the law of Moses for fifteen hundred years but had not kept it. Hence John’s call
to repentance and baptism for the remission of sins (Mark 1:4).

John was in earnest, too, for when the thoughtless multitude came to him to be baptized, he sent them back, saying: "Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance" (Luke 3:7,8). Their lives were to be changed and they were to show it.

When the people asked: "What shall we do, then?" he told them to live for others rather than for self (Luke 3:10,11). When the tax collectors asked: "What shall we do?" he de-
manded that they stop cheating the tax payers and live honestly (Vers. 12,13). When the soldiers asked: "What shall we do?" he told them to forbear violence, false accusa-
tion and bribery (Ver. 14). Clearly, righteous-ness was demanded under John’s message. His hearers were to repent, be baptized, and bring forth the fruits of true repentance.

When our Lord appeared, He proclaimed the same message as John (Matt. 3:1,2; 4:17). A lawyer asked: "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" and He replied: "What is written in the law?" When the lawyer recited the basic commands of the Law, our Lord answered: "This do and thou shalt live" (Luke 10:25-28). God was still demanding right-
eousness. They were all under the Law (Gal. 4:4,5; Matt. 23:1,2; etc.).

Some suppose this was all changed after Calvary by the so-called "great commission." This is not so. When, at Pentecost, Peter’s hearers were convicted of their sins and
asked "What shall we do?" Peter commanded them to "repent and be baptized... for the remission of sins" just as John had done (Mark 1:4; cf. Acts 2:38). He did not tell them that Christ had died for their sins.

Paul was the first to say: "But now the right-eousness of God without the law is manifest-ed... [We] declare His righteousness for the remission of sins" (Rom. 3:21-26).

When the Gentile jailor fell on his knees and asked: "What must I do to be saved?" Paul replied: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:30,31). This
is God’s message for sinners today, for "we have redemption through [Christ’s] blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7).

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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2004, 06:09:13 AM »

CONDUCT WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL

Part One
by Charles Wages




            The saints at Philippi were well acquainted with the concept of citizenship.  Philippi, named for Philip of Macedon, Alexander the Great’s father, was made a Roman Colony by Caeser Augustus around 42 B.C.  Roman citizenship was a valuable possession.  Some, such as the Apostle Paul, were fortunate enough to be born Roman citizens; others paid large sums of money to purchase this valuable title (Acts 22.28).  Roman citizenship entitled a person to specific rights and privileges that non-citizens could not claim.  For example, after being wrongfully imprisoned in Philippi, Paul announced he was a Roman citizen.  Upon hearing this, the city magistrates were afraid for they knew they had violated his rights (Acts 16:37-38).

 

            In his letter to these Philippian saints, Paul makes use of their familiarity with the concept of Roman citizenship to teach them an important spiritual truth.

 

            “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Phil. 3:30-21)

 

            As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, our citizenship is in heaven.  The Philippians, though over 600 miles from Rome, still enjoy-ed all the privileges of Roman citizenship.  As believers, we, too, enjoy all the wonderful privileges of our heavenly citizenship, though we presently live here on the earth.  This world is not our home; heaven is.  We are merely strangers and pilgrims here on earth, living for and serving the Lord as His “Ambassadors” (2 Cor. 5:20) until He comes to take us home to be with Him.  The oppor-tunity to be an “Ambassador for Christ” is a great privilege, but it is also a great responsibility.

 

            An ambassador is sent to represent someone else.  In our case, we are here on earth to represent our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We are here to serve Him in “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18); to share His message with the world, “the word of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:19); to implore people, on His behalf, to “be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20).  As ambassadors, our words are very important, for we are present-ing the truth of Christ to others, but our con-duct, our behavior, is equally important.  Paul addresses the issue of our “conduct” as heavenly citizens in the opening chapter of Philippians.

 

            “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.  For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear in me.” (Phil. 1:27-30)

 

            The word “conduct” (“conversation” in the KJV) is the Greed word “politeuo” from which we get our English words: politics, political, police, and the suffix –polis (i.e. metropolis, Indianapolis, etc.). The word means “to be a citizen” or “to live as a citizen.”  Wuest, in his Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, says it refers to “the duties devolving upon a man as a member of a body” (i.e. as a citizen)

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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2004, 06:12:12 AM »

CONDUCT WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL
Part Two

by Charles Wages


           Our conduct here on earth should be proper or fitting for heavenly citizens, but how do we measure what is proper?  Paul says that our conduct is to be “worthy of the gospel.”  The word “worthy” is the Greek word “axios.”  You can readily see the English words that derive from this word:  axis, axiom, asle, etc. Thayer’s Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament defines the word as:  “weighing, having weight, having the weight of (weighing as much as) another thing, of like value, worth as much.”  The picture we get is that of a scale that measures by placing items of equal weight on each side.  As heavenly citizens, our conduct should have equal weight or value as “the gospel.”  That is, our conduct should be fitting and proper in relation to the wonderful “gospel” message that has been entrusted to us by our Lord (1Thess 2:4).  What a glorious privilege is ours!  Yet, what a tremendous responsibility is laid upon us!



            How can our conduct be “worthy” or balance with the gospel?  Consider the following three facts.  First, our gospel is “The gospel of Christ” (Rom. 1:16); the “good news” that Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose again (1 Cor. 15:3-4).  Just as the focus of our message is Jesus Christ, so the focus of our conduct should be as well.  Paul told the Philippians, “to me, to live is Christ” (Phil 1:21). Paul’s whole purpose for living was Jesus Christ; that He might be given the preeminence in Paul’s life (Col. 1:18).  Paul instructed the Colossian saints to “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him” (Col. 1:10).  Conduct worthy of the gospel is conduct that glorifies and honors the Lord Jesus Christ and seeks to please Him in all things.

 

            Second, our gospel is “the gospel of the grace of God”  (Acts 20:24); the “good news” is that “by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  (Eph. 2:8-9). Colossians 2:6 tells us:
         
            “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.”

 

            We received Christ Jesus all because of God’s grace. Our salvation was “not of ourselves” and “not of works,” there is there is therefore nothing for us to glory in; it was a wonderful gift from God.  Conduct worthy of the gospel is conduct that is dependent upon the grace of God for all our needs (2 Cor. 9.Cool; conduct that, therefore, gives God all the glory and boasts only in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 6:44.)

 

            Third, our gospel is a message of faith.  Paul speaks in this very verse (Phil. 1:27) of “the faith of the gospel.”  Salvation comes through faith in Christ and His finish-ed work on the cross for our sins.  We trust in Him and Him alone. We rely upon Him and His faithfulness toward us.  This is true in regard to our salvation, but it should also be true in regard to our daily walk, or behavior.  Conduct worthy of the gospel is conduct lived by the faith of the Son of God and by  faith in Him (Gal. 2:20); conduct that trusts in Him in all situations (Prov. 3:5-6).

 

            How important is this admonition to let our conduct be “worthy of the gospel?”  Paul prefixes this admonition with the word “only,” a word that emphasizes that as believers, our “only” concern, the single focus of our lives, should be that our con-duct is “worthy of the gospel.”  Is this true of your life?  I encourage you to carefully examine your own heart and life and answer this question honestly, and then seek to ensure that your conduct is, indeed, “worthy of the gospel” each and every day.
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« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2004, 05:06:33 AM »

That Precious Deposit


"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
-- II Corinthians 4:7



The story is told of how a wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art.  They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael.  They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.  When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war.  He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier.  The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.  About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door.  A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.  He said, "Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life.  He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly.  He often talked about you, and your love for art."

The young man held out his package.  "I know this isn't very much, I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this."  The father opened the package.  It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man.  He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting.  The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears.  He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture.  "Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift."  The father hung the portrait over his mantle.  Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he show-ed them any of the great works of art he had collected.

The man died a few months later.  Shortly thereafter, there was to be a great auction of his paintings.  Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having the opportunity to purchase one for their collection.  On the platform sat the painting  of the son.  The auctioneer pounded his gavel.  "We will start the bidding with this picture of the son.  Who will bid for this picture?"  There was silence.  Then a voice in the back of the room shout-ed, "We want to see the famous paintings.  Skip this one."  But the auctioneer persisted.  "Will someone bid for this painting?  Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?"  Another voice shouted angrily.  "We didn't come to see this painting.  We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!"  But still the auctioneer continued.  "The son!  The son!  Who'll take the son?"

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room.  It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son.  "I'll give $10 for the painting."  Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.  "We have $10, who will bid $20?"  "Give it to him for $10.  Let's see the masters."  The crowd was becoming angry.  They didn't want the picture of the son.  They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.  The auctioneer pounded the gavel.  "Going once, going twice, SOLD for $10!"  A man sitting on the second row shouted, "Now let's get on with the collection."

The auctioneer laid down his gavel.  "I'm sorry, the auction is over."  "What about the paintings?"  "I am sorry.  When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time.  Only the painting of the son would be auctioned.  Whoever bought that  painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings.  The man who took the son gets every thing!"

God gave His Son 2000 years ago to die on a cruel Cross.  Much like the auctioneer, His message today is, "The Son, the Son, who'll take the Son?"  Because, you see, whoever takes the Son inherits everything!

EARTHEN VESSELS

In biblical times earthen vessels were clay pots that had been thoroughly baked in an oven.  They were fraught with imperfections, which meant that no two were exactly alike.  Archeologists have discovered that those who lived during that period secretly buried their treasures in clay pots for safekeeping.  As we shall see, the master illustrator uses this facet of everyday life to illustrate a grand spiritual truth.

Those who have taken the Son are heirs, joint-heirs with Him.  As members of the Body of Christ, we are partakers of His glory, His power, and His reign.  In short, we are the recipients of the wealth of heaven!  While the believing Gentiles will partake of the bless-ings of the kingdom, they were never promised to be heirs.  In the kingdom, heir- ship is a question of nationality.  In the present dispensation of Grace, heirship is based upon relationship.  We are one in Him.  
Therefore, we have come into possession of what rightfully belongs to Him, and will share it mutually with Him for eternity (Rom. 8:17 cf. Eph. 3:6).

Today when men want to safeguard their riches they place them in vaults made of steel and concrete.  But God's ways are not man's ways. God has deposited the riches of His grace in earthen vessels.  We need  not wait until we arrive in heaven to learn what we presently possess in Christ.  We have this treasure, that is, the gospel of the grace of
God in earthen vessels.  Those who have been saved by grace are blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies.  But what we positionally enjoy in Christ must become a practical reality in the Christian experience if we ever hope to maintain a godly testimony among men.  For example, we are forgiven in Christ, but grace teaches
us that we are to forgive others even as Christ has forgiven us.

But why would God place these unspeakable riches in such an unsecure place?  We are unworthy sinners, weak and frail, who have the sentence of death within us.  Perhaps the hymn-writer, Robert Robinson, has expressed it best, "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love."  The answer to the question is found in the latter part of our passage.  "That the excellency [exceeding greatness] of the power may be of God, and not of us."  While others usually think more highly of us than they should, essentially it is the power of God working through us that produces results in the Lord's work.

Many years ago I was invited to minister the gospel at a Bible camp in the Rocky Moun-tains.  On the last evening, I spoke on "The Danger of Falling Into the Hands of An Angry God."  Earlier that day I hadn't been feeling well, due to altitude sickness.  In addition to being exhausted that night, I was short of breath.  At ten thousand feet it doesn't take much to get winded.  I now understand why it took Moses  so long to return from Mount Sinai with the tablets of stone.  He undoubt-edly had to keep stopping on his way down to catch his breath! As I arose to speak that evening I thought to myself, this is going to be an absolute disaster.  It was, or at least I thought it was, until I learned two months later that an entire family was saved that night. Brethren, the gospel is the "power of God unto salvation to every one  that believeth" (Rom 1:16).  

By Paul M. Sadler,  President
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