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nChrist
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« Reply #4515 on: April 26, 2017, 04:51:52 PM »

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Conversation Peace
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “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” (Phil. 1:27).

Interestingly, whenever Paul uses the phrase “stand fast,” it is always to challenge people to stand fast in an area in which they were not standing fast! For instance, he tells the Corinthians to “stand fast in the faith” (I Cor. 16:13), for they had lost their faith in one of the fundamentals of the faith, the resurrection (I Cor. 15:12-50). He told the Galatians to “stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” (Gal. 5:1) because they were forsaking grace for the law. He told the Thessalonians to “stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught” (II Thes. 2:15), especially the “tradition” of working for a living (3:7-12). The Thessalonians had become so excited about the Rapture that many of them quit their jobs in anticipation of the Lord’s coming!

But here in Philippians 1:27, Paul tells the Philippians to “stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” This is because two ladies in the church were quarreling (4:2), and some in the church were siding with Euodias and some with Syntyche. “Striving together” is the Greek word sunathleo. The prefix sun means together with, and athleo is the word from which we get athlete and athletics. Athletes are often teammates who must strive together to achieve a common victory, and this is what Paul was calling on the Philippians to do for the cause of Christ.

Notice Paul isn’t talking about faith in the gospel. The faith of the gospel is our faithfulness or fidelity to maintaining the gospel as God gave it, just as old “high-fi” or “high-fidelity” records claimed to be highly faithful to the sound recorded in the studio. We are to strive together to maintain fidelity to the gospel God gave to Paul.

Finally, Paul does not say we should strive with one another for the faith of the gospel. He rather says we should be striving “together” as those who see the fellowship of the mystery with those who don’t. With all the talk about “peace on earth”, how refreshing it would be if we could enjoy the “conversation peace” Paul longed to see in Philippi! (Psa. 133:1; Eph. 4:3).
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« Reply #4516 on: April 26, 2017, 04:54:35 PM »

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Should Believers Be Called "Christians"?
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


    “‘And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch’ (Acts 11:26). The Apostle Paul addresses believers as saints, brethren, and the faithful in Christ Jesus, but never Christians. Should not believers today be more properly called ‘grace believers’ instead of Christians as so many denominations do?”

The term “Christian” is a title that was originally given to us by the world. Notice, the believers were “called Christians first in Antioch.” These believers spoke so frequently and affectionately of Christ that the world coined the term Christians. Of course, they meant it in a derogatory sense. The citizens of Antioch were famous for their witty quips; they were the punsters of their day. Since this expression has a Latin origin, it was probably the Romans among them who first assigned this name to believers.

Be that as it may, we have no major objection to believers being called Christians, based on Acts 11:26; 26:28, and I Peter 4:16. Today, however, the word is so sweeping that it includes both believers and religious unbelievers. While a true believer is a Christian, one who calls himself a Christian may not necessarily be saved. With that said, we prefer the terminology “believer,” “saved,” “brethren,” “saints,” or “faithful in Christ Jesus.” We would also include the designation “grace believers,” the sense of which is drawn from Paul’s letters, but it should be remembered that not all believers are “grace” as we understand the usage.
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« Reply #4517 on: April 27, 2017, 06:10:13 PM »

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True Revival
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


In the days of Ezra the prophet, Israel was in much the same state as the Church today. Happily, however, some of the leaders became convicted that they had been neglecting the Word of God — especially that part which was addressed to them: the law of Moses.

As a result they built for Ezra a pulpit on which to stand and read the Scriptures to the people (Neh. 8:4). “From morning until midday” he read to them, while others mingled with the audience and “caused the people to understand.”

    “So they read in the book, in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense,” with the result that “all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions [gifts], and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them” (Vers. 8,12).

Similarly, after our Lord had explained the Scriptures to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, they said to each other:

    “Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?” (Luke 24:32).

Well-meaning groups and individuals have for decades been praying in vain for a true spiritual revival in the Church, but the only sure road to revival is a renewed interest in the Bible, and especially in what God there says to us in the Epistles of Paul.

When we become convicted of our neglect of God’s Word to us as found in the Epistles of Paul; when men of God “study” to “rightly divide” the Word and begin teaching it from the pulpit, a great spiritual revival will inevitably follow but, alas, most of God’s people are too complacent, too satisfied with a shallow profession to enter into this blessed experience. However, as we study the Word of God for ourselves, and especially that part of His Word which applies particularly to us, we, like the Israelites of Ezra’s day, will experience the joy of understanding God’s love letter to us.
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« Reply #4518 on: April 30, 2017, 03:28:32 PM »

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Seated In Heaven
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


God sees every believer in Christ as already in heaven. See what the Bible says about this:

    “BUT GOD, WHO IS RICH IN MERCY, FOR HIS GREAT LOVE WHEREWITH HE LOVED US,

    “EVEN WHEN WE WERE DEAD IN SINS, HATH QUICKENED US TOGETHER WITH CHRIST (BY GRACE YE ARE SAVED),

    “AND HATH RAISED US UP TOGETHER AND MADE US SIT TOGETHER IN HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST JESUS:

    “THAT IN THE AGES TO COME HE MIGHT SHOW THE EXCEEDING RICHES OF HIS GRACE IN HIS KINDNESS TOWARD US THROUGH CHRIST JESUS” (Eph. 2:4-7).

Most sincere believers, poorly taught in the Word, are concerned about getting to heaven, but as far as God is concerned they are already there. They have been “made accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6). God has given them a position “in Christ.”

We are well aware that most of God’s people know little about this experientially, but God says that as far as He is concerned, they are already in heaven, and this is what matters. As Christ took our place on Calvary’s cross, God now sees us in Christ, at His own right hand, the place of favor and honor. This is why the Apostle Paul says to believers in Christ:

    “IF YE THEN BE RISEN WITH CHRIST, SEEK THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE ABOVE, WHERE CHRIST SITTETH ON THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD.

    “SET YOUR AFFECTION ON THINGS ABOVE, NOT ON THINGS ON THE EARTH.

    “FOR YE ARE DEAD, AND YOUR LIFE IS HID WITH CHRIST IN GOD” (Col. 3:1-3).

And all this by the free grace of God:

    “WHO HATH SAVED US, AND CALLED US WITH AN HOLY CALLING, NOT ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS, BUT ACCORDING TO HIS OWN PURPOSE AND GRACE, WHICH WAS GIVEN US IN CHRIST JESUS BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN” (II Tim. 1:9).

Our hearts go out to those of our readers who have not yet received this “gift of the grace of God.” “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
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« Reply #4519 on: April 30, 2017, 03:31:09 PM »

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Foes in High Places
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


While it is nice to have friends in high places, God’s people have foes in high places!

    “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12).

The Greek word for “high” here is epouranios, elsewhere translated “heavenly,” “celestial,” and “in heaven.” Only here is it translated “high places,” a phrase that is elsewhere always found in the Old Testament, where it was associated with the worship of the false god Baal (Num. 22:41; Jer. 19:5; 32:35) and idolatry (II Chron. 14:3). That’s why it angered God when Israel allowed these high places to exist in their midst (Psa. 78:58.), and why He was pleased when they were removed (II Kings 18:1-4) and displeased when they were not (II Kings 12:3;14:4; 15:4,35).

But here’s the kicker. As strange as it may sound, Jehovah was often worshipped in these high places in the worship of idols (II Kings 17:32; II Chron. 33:17)! If that sounds familiar, it is because fusing the worship of God with idolatry is a device Satan used for centuries during the Dark Ages in the church of Rome in our own dispensation.

This pollution of worship was still going strong when our Authorized Version was translated, and it might be why the translators rendered epouranios as “high places” in our text. They may have perceived that while the “spiritual wickedness” they wrestled was the host of fallen angels in heavenly places, the sphere of operation of these wicked spirits on earth was in the Roman church whose towering cathedrals reminded them of the “high places” where God was worshipped with idols in Israel.

In Daniel’s day, a wicked spirit wrestled with an angel sent from God to try to keep a message from God from getting through to a man of God (Dan. 10:10-14). Similarly, during the Reformation, the Reformers wrestled with wicked spirits who tried to keep the message of God’s Word from the people of God by using the brute strength of the Roman church that restricted His Word to the Latin language that few could read. The Reformers wrestled and overcame them by translating the Bible into the languages of the people.

Today those same wicked spirits strive to keep the message of God’s Word to us from God’s people, the message of Paul’s distinctive apostleship. This is the battle we fight here at Berean Bible Society, and it is the wrestling in which you too must be engaged if you want to “fight the good fight” (I Tim. 6:12). It is the “good fight” that Paul fought to his dying breath (II Tim. 4:7). Is it your fight too?
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« Reply #4520 on: April 30, 2017, 03:34:29 PM »

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Now Is The Time
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Today we think of St. Paul’s words to the Corinthians in II Cor. 6:1,2:

    “We then as workers together with [God], beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain…. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

This passage reminds us that it is not enough that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” collectively. We, each one individually, must do something about appropriating this salvation for ourselves.

After the classic passage in II Cor. 5:14-21 where the Apostle tells how Christ “died for all,” and how God deals with all men in grace since “He hath made Him to be sin for us” so that “we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” — after this great unfolding of what God, through Christ, has done for us, he urges individual acceptance of this great truth.

As “workers together with God,” the Apostle and his associates begged men not to “receive… the grace of God in vain,” but to trust Christ, each one as His own personal Savior, to apply His redemptive work to themselves.

And even at that early date in the history of the Church, the Apostle gave men to understand that there was no time to lose; the day of grace was not to last forever, but was to give place to the day of judgment and wrath.

If this was so then, how much more is it so now! God has been very longsuffering with the world. He has continued to deal with mankind in grace for nearly two thousand years but according to both Old Testament prophecy and Paul’s “mystery” He will judge this world for its rejection of Christ.

When will this happen? No one knows. It is the very essence of grace that no one knows when the dispensation of grace will end. It is grace, pure grace, on God’s part that causes Him to linger day after day in mercy toward a world that rejects Him.

Thus God’s messengers cannot offer even one more day of grace. We must say as St. Paul did: “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” “Christ died for our sins” (I Cor. 15:3). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
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« Reply #4521 on: May 01, 2017, 07:50:40 PM »

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How to Get to Heaven from Your Current Location
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


MapQuest® is an ingenious website that many have probably used at one time or another.  Simply type in where you live and where you want to go and, voila!  It gives you step-by-step directions to your final destination.  Of course, it cannot give you directions on How to Get to Heaven from Your Current Location.  Only the Word of God can give us these instructions.

The year leading up to the conversion of George Whitefield, the famous English Evangelist, is a good example of how God will have nothing to do with good works or acts of self-denial for the salvation of a lost soul.  Both are repulsive in His sight.  Shortly after entering his third year at Oxford, young Whitefield underwent a spiritual crisis.  It was said of him:

“The life of God in his own soul was what he craved and must have—but how to obtain it!  The thought of his sins caused him to sweat and groan.  He shunned all company, wandering the fields and woods, deep in prayer—sometimes lying all night upon the freezing ground.  He wore the shabbiest of clothing; his only fare [meals], dry bread and tea.  In time even his prayers seemed to become sinful.”  (George Whitefield and the Great Evangelical Awakening by Anthony Beaurepaire, The Protestant Truth Society, London, England, Pg. 13).

It wasn’t until Mr. Whitefield came to the end of himself that he began to reflect on his reading of Christian literature, how it was “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.”  With the burden of his sin greater than he could bear, he turned to Christ, the great Sin-Bearer, and was gloriously saved by the grace of God.  In his own words, he gave this touching account of his conversion:

“God was pleased at length to remove the heavy load, to enable me to lay hold on His dear Son by living faith…Oh, with what joy, joy unspeakable, even joy that was full of, and great with glory, and my soul was filled when the weight of sin went off, and an abiding sense of the pardoning love of God and a full assurance of faith broke upon my disconsolate soul!”1

Perhaps you are like Mr. Whitefield prior to his conversion, trying to find acceptance with God apart from Christ.  Your defense may be, “I’m not so bad.  After all, I’ve never murdered anyone,” as if God will accept you because you never committed the act of murder.  But which sin is worse, murder or lying?  According to Proverbs 6:16,17, lying is the greater violation of the two in the sight of God—because lying leads to murder!  We need to remember and remember well, all sin has eternal consequences for those who reject Christ as their Savior.

Perhaps your pursuit of God has taken you down the path of religious rituals.  Surely here you will find favor with God!  Interestingly, it is in this area that Satan has done his most effective work to blind men to the light of the glorious gospel.  He uses religion!  If men think their religious service will gain them acceptance with God, he has accomplished his purpose to keep them eternally damned.

Here is a short list of religious practices that men do, hoping to earn their way to heaven: church attendance, water baptism, first communion, confirmation, reciting the Lord’s Prayer, responsive readings, doing the sign of the Cross, confessing and receiving forgiveness of their sins from a priest, etc.  Before his conversion to Christ, Martin Luther, the founder of the Lutheran Church, visited Rome, where he climbed the steps of Scala Santa on his knees.  The Scala Santa is believed to be the stairway the Lord ascended to reach Pilate’s Judgment Hall on the day of His crucifixion.  The Catholic Church supposedly had it brought from Jerusalem to Rome.

As a Roman Catholic, at the time, Luther believed such acts of self-sacrifice would increase his chances of entering heaven.  But it wasn’t long thereafter, in a monastery at Wittenberg, he saw things in a whole new light.  As Luther was reading Romans 1:17, where it states, “The just shall live by faith,” he paused a moment, and then it suddenly dawned on him that salvation was by faith.  Up to that point he had tried to earn his salvation through religious observances, but never felt he had done enough.  Now, for the first time, he saw that a lost soul is declared eternally righteous by God through faith on the basis of the finished work of Christ.  He was delivered from the bondage of his sins and indescribable joy flooded his heart.  So dramatic was the change in his life that Luther went on to be the spark that ignited the great Reformation.

If you would like to get to heaven from your current location, simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  We want you to know that God loves you and Christ died for your sins (Rom. 5:8.).  You see, the day Christ died at Calvary, He wasn’t dying for His sins.  He knew no sin.  Instead, He was dying for the sins of the world—my sins and your sins.  God has made a provision for all, but to receive the benefit of this provision you must believe that Christ died personally for you and rose again (I Cor. 15:3,4; I Thes. 4:14).  Salvation is in a person, and that person is the Lord Jesus Christ!  He alone can save you from your sins!
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« Reply #4522 on: May 03, 2017, 06:27:04 PM »

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In What Sense Did Christ Atone?
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


    “Paul states in Romans 5:11: ‘And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.’ In what sense did Christ atone for our sins?”

This passage is one of many in our English translation of the Scriptures where it is necessary to consult the original language to ensure we have the proper sense of what the apostle was seeking to convey. When we do so, we find that the Greek word katallage or “reconciliation” is used. It is understandable that the KJV translators used the term atonement because in their day the term meant “agreement, concord, or reconciliation after enmity or controversy.”

For the sake of clarification, in contemporary language the word atonement obscures the meaning of the passage. The emphasis of Paul’s special revelation here is on reconciliation, not atonement, as confirmed by the Greek text. The Hebrew word kaphar, translated “atonement” in the Old Testament meant “to cover.” Hence, the blood of bulls and goats merely covered the sins of those in Old Testament times; it didn’t have the efficacy to remove them.

    “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins” (Heb. 10:11).

Through the forbearance of God those sins that were atoned for in time past are now removed on the basis of the shed blood of Christ (Rom. 3:25). Today, Paul teaches us that we are freely justified and forgiven by the blood of Christ: “Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Rom. 5:9). In other words, the blood of Christ doesn’t atone for our sins, it actually cleanses them forevermore.

In the context of the above passage, the apostle was instructing the Romans that it is a source of joy to know that we are at peace with God (Rom. 5:1), seeing that we have accepted His gracious offer of reconciliation (II Cor. 5:18.). The subject of Romans 5:11 is reconciliation, not atonement.
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« Reply #4523 on: May 03, 2017, 06:28:18 PM »

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When The Lord Wouldn't Answer
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


In the various accounts of our Lord’s earthly ministry we find three occasions when He declined to answer those who appealed to Him or questioned Him.

First there is the Gentile woman of Matt. 15:21-28. Her daughter was possessed of a demon and in her trouble she appealed to the Lord to help her, “but He answered her not a word.” Finally, in His grace He did help her, but not until He had taught her the lesson that as a Gentile she had no claim on Him. As Romans 1:28 tells us, the Gentiles had been “given up” because “they did not wish to retain God in their knowledge.” In this connection we Gentiles should read carefully Eph. 2:11,12 and see how utterly without hope we are apart from the grace of God.

Next there was a Jewess, in trouble of a different kind. She had been caught in adultery and was brought to Him for judgment (John 8:1-11). Unlike the Gentile woman, she belonged to the chosen race and possessed God’s holy Law, a distinct advantage — unless you are a lawbreaker. Our Lord, in grace, also helped her, but not until He had demonstrated that the Law is the great leveler of mankind, bringing all in guilty before God (Rom. 3:19).

But finally we find how it was that our Lord could show grace — and do it justly — to sinners, both Jewish and Gentile, for in the third instance we find the Lord Himself in trouble. On trial for His life before the representatives of Hebrew and Roman law, He is accused of all sorts of wicked crimes. But on this occasion too, He declines to answer.

First Caiaphas, the High Priest, asked Him: “Answerest Thou nothing? What is it which these witness against Thee? But Jesus held His peace…” (Matt. 26:62,63).

Next Pilate, the Gentile judge, said: “Hearest Thou not how many things they witness against Thee? And He answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly” (Matt. 27:12-14).

Why did our Lord decline to answer and defend Himself? Because He had come into the world especially to die for man’s sins. Had the sinners of all ages been there to accuse Him of their sins, He would still have remained speechless, for He stood there as man’s representative, so that we sinners might be “justified freely by God’s grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).
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« Reply #4524 on: May 05, 2017, 05:02:18 PM »

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How to Comfort a Seasoned Saint
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


Back in 1992, I was on my way to the hospital to visit Bernie Mack, one of the founders of the church that I pastor. As I drove, I prayed and spoke with the Lord about what to say to encourage this veteran soldier of the cross. On hospital visits I usually shared Romans 8:18 and II Corinthians 4:16-18, verses that are tailor-made to minister to the heart of any believer lying on a bed of affliction. The problem that particular day was, I knew that Bernie knew those verses. As a seasoned saint, he knew those verses before I was born. So how was I going to comfort him? What could I possibly share with him from God’s Word that he didn’t already know?

If you’ve ever found yourself in a similar situation, the Apostle Paul gives us some direction in this area in his ministry to the Thessalonians. Paul introduced those dear saints to the doctrine of the pre-tribulation Rapture during his initial visit to Thessalonica (II Thes. 2:5). After that, he reviewed this precious truth in detail in his first epistle to them (I Thes. 4:13-5:11). So by the time Paul wrote his second letter to these saints, you’d think they would have been resting confidently in the “comfort” of this cherished truth (4:18; 5:11).

But when Paul’s second epistle exhorted them to “be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled” (2:2), we know that these brethren were shaken and troubled or else Paul would not have had to exhort them not to be. This means that even though these seasoned saints knew full well that they had been delivered from the coming wrath of the Tribulation (I Thes. 1:10), the persecutions they were enduring (I Thes. 1:6; 2:2,14; 3:3,4; II Thes. 1:4,7) were naturally causing their faith in the pre-tribulation Rapture to flag.

So how could Paul comfort them? What could he possibly share with them about God’s Word that they didn’t already know? How instructive it is for us that he didn’t even try! Instead, he simply reviewed the doctrine (II Thes. 2:1-4) and called upon them to remember all that he had taught them (v. 5).

And that’s what I did for Bernie that day. I read him the verses he knew and loved before I was born. You see, beloved, when it comes to comforting seasoned saints, God doesn’t expect us to come up with anything new. He expects us to do what Paul did, and simply review what a veteran believer already knows to be true from the timeless Word of the Eternal God. May we always be found faithful in this regard.
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« Reply #4525 on: May 05, 2017, 05:05:00 PM »

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Why Not Reverend?
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


    “Why is it that you never refer to yourself as ‘Reverend’ (Rev.) or ‘The Reverend’? I must add that I totally agree with not using the title.”

In the Old Testament “reverend” is an adjective referring to the One who was to be revered. The Psalmist says, for example, “He sent redemption unto His people: He hath commanded His covenant forever: holy and reverend is His name” (Psa. 111:9). The term is clearly used here to describe the honor of His name. The name Jehovah was so high, so holy, so revered that the Hebrews changed the pronunciation of it fearing the curse of the law:

    “And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord [Jehovah], he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger” (Lev. 24:16).

The Scriptures are very clear that we are to hold those in high esteem who have rule over us in spiritual things (I Thes. 5:12,13; Heb. 13:17). While they are indeed worthy of our recognition, the fact is, the very best fall short of the calling. Furthermore, we never want to give the impression that “The Reverend” is in any sense the final authority. Instead, it should be every spiritual leader’s desire that believers study the Word of God, which is the final authority.

Since the designation of “reverend” is such a lofty description that only God is worthy of, we believe ministers of the gospel should avoid its use. We should, however, give our due respect to those who proclaim the riches of His grace among us. This is the Lord’s way of encouraging them in the faith.
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« Reply #4526 on: May 06, 2017, 11:54:29 AM »

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Inexcusable
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


The second chapter of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans is a dark, sad passage, but it opens the door to the richest blessing the human heart can contain: salvation by grace.

The opening words: “Therefore thou art inexcusable,” are blunt indeed, but God exposes our sinful condition only so as to save us from it.

This is where most philosophies and the Bible clash head-on. Most philosophies close their eyes to the sinful nature of man. They argue, generally, that man is inherently good, while overwhelming evidence bears witness that he is inherently bad. Therefore human philosophy offers no salvation from sin and its just penalty. Only the Bible does this with its “gospel [good news] of the grace of God.”

In Paul’s day the Greek philosophers condemned the uncivilized pagans for their open immorality and wickedness. But while preaching virtue these moralizers themselves practiced vice, and God said:

    “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things” (Rom. 2:1).

It is the same today. Multitudes of self-righteous people are outwardly cultured and moral, but they forget that God looks upon the heart and sees hate as murder, jealousy as theft and the lustful look as adultery. He considers, not what we do, outwardly, but what we desire to do or wish we dared to do. He sees the desires and motives of the heart.

But thank God, “Christ died for sinners” — guilty sinners, and all who come to God by faith in Christ are “justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).

“Inexcusable,” or “justified freely by His grace,” through faith in the Christ who died for our sins? Which will it be?
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« Reply #4527 on: May 07, 2017, 05:25:25 PM »

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He That Is Spiritual
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “He that is spiritual judgeth [discerneth] all things, yet he himself is judged [discerned] of no man” (I Cor. 2:15).

The truly spiritual man is so far above the wisest sages of this world, yes, so far above the mass of Christians with whom he comes into contact, that he can understand them, but they can never quite understand him.

We should all long to be truly spiritual, but what is true spirituality?

In the Pauline Epistles the human race is divided, by the Spirit, into four classes: the natural man, the babe in Christ, the carnal Christian, and the spiritual Christian.

All four of these are referred to in one passage of Scripture (I Cor. 2:14–3:4) and it should be noted that they are classified according to their ability to appreciate and assimilate “the things of God” as revealed in His Word.

Through diligent, prayerful study of the Word, and with a sincere desire to obey it, the spiritual man has come to know God and the Lord Jesus Christ more and more intimately. Babes in Christ and carnal believers about him cannot “discern” him, simply because they have not come to know God as he. But he, having grown to spiritual maturity, quite understands them. He is among those of whom it is written:

    “But strong meat [solid food] belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14).
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« Reply #4528 on: May 09, 2017, 06:24:49 PM »

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Men Wanted!
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


As Ezra prepared to lead God’s people back to the Promised Land after the Babylonian captivity, he had plenty of money to buy animals for sacrifice in the newly rebuilt temple (Ezra 7:11-17), but no Levites to offer them (8:15).

This reminds me of the situation in our own day. Grace churches frequently have enough money to serve the Lord, but no men willing to offer their bodies as “a living sacrifice” to God (Rom. 12:1). Will you be such a man, willing to serve Him in the ministry? I’m reminded of the Lord’s lament to men of God in Ezekiel’s day:

    “Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD” (Ezek. 13:5).

As grace pastors retire and others go to be with the Lord, there are always going to be gaps that need to be filled in the front lines of the battle for truth. If God is speaking to your heart about championing the cause of Paul’s gospel, why not say with Isaiah, “Here am I; send me” (Isa. 6:8.).
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« Reply #4529 on: May 09, 2017, 06:26:32 PM »

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The Mystery
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


In Eph. 3:1-3 “the dispensation of the grace of God” is specifically called “the mystery” (i.e., secret). It is thus designated for two reasons:

1.  It had been “kept secret since the world began, but now,” through Paul, had been “made manifest” (Rom. 16:25). “In other ages” it was “not made known” (Eph. 3:5). Rather, “from the beginning of the world” it had been “hid in God” (Ver. 9), “hid from ages and from generations, but now… made manifest to His saints” (Col. 1:26).

2.  It was at the same time the explanation, the key, to all God’s good news, including that which had been proclaimed in ages past. It explained how it was that Abel could be declared righteous by bringing an animal sacrifice, “God testifying of his gifts” (Heb. 11:4), how Noah could become “an heir of… righteousness” by building an ark (Heb. 11:7), how anyone could be saved under the dispensation of the Law, and how it is that we can be saved today by grace through faith alone.

Thus we have in Paul’s epistles, not only the gospel [good news] of “the secret” (Eph. 3:1-3), but at the same time, “the secret of the gospel” (Eph. 6:19,20).

This great secret, revealed to and through Paul, has rightly been called the capstone of divine revelation, for it concerns God’s eternal purpose in Christ. Through Paul, the chief of sinners saved by grace, God has now made this glorious secret known to us (Eph. 1:9) that we, in turn, might make it known to others (Eph. 3:9).
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