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nChrist
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« Reply #4530 on: May 11, 2017, 01:30:45 PM »

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Do You Worship At Your Church?
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


When a Christian lady asked us this question many years ago, we knew she was really asking if our church service was characterized by the kind of emotionalism that is found in so many churches. Her question prompted me to do a study of the word worship in Scripture, in an effort to obtain a Biblical definition of what constitutes genuine worship of Almighty God.

A Worshipful Life

Our study begins with God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his only son (Gen. 22:1-4), and Abraham’s announcement that he planned to “worship” God in so doing (v. 5). The law of first reference suggests that the Bible’s first use of the word worship here defines it as a willingness to obey God no matter how one’s faith is tested, a good overall definition even today. And since Abraham indicated that “the lad” was also going to worship, the willingness of Isaac to give his life up at his father’s behest 1 suggests that when we willingly offer our lives as living sacrifices at our Father’s behest (Rom. 12:1), this too is an act of worship. We find confirmation of this when the Lord equated worshipping God with serving God in Matthew 4:10.

Years later, when Abraham sent his servant to his homeland to find a bride for Isaac (Gen. 24:1-11), his faithful servant prayed for God’s help (vv. 12-14). When he received it (vv. 15-25), he “worshipped the Lord” by thanking Him (vv. 26,27), suggesting that each time we bow to thank God for answered prayer, we too are worshipping Him.

Many years later, the people of Israel “bowed their heads and worshipped” (Ex. 4:31) when they acknowledged that God was honoring His promise to visit and redeem them from Egyptian bondage (Gen. 15:13-16). This leads us to believe that it is a form of worship when we today acknowledge and thank God when He honors promises He has made to us, such as that found in Romans 8:28.

Next, the Bible calls it “worship” when the people of Israel brought “the firstfruits of the land” to God (Deut. 26:10). Thus we believe that God considers it worship when we put God first in our lives. We well remember the day we asked one of the men in our church to help us with some work on the building. This faithful man listed all of the things that he had to do that week, then paused, and said simply, “But the Lord comes first.” We believe he worshipped God that day, when he gave Him the firstfruits of his time and effort.

As we come to Judges 7, Gideon “worshipped” God for the assurance He gave him that his little band of 300 would defeat the Midianites (7:9-14). Similarly, when we thank God today for all the assurances we find in God’s Word, we believe God is thrilled with this kind of worship.

Then when we consider the patriarch Job, it takes our breath away to see how he “fell down upon the ground, and worshipped” after losing all of his children and possessions (Job 1:20). Here we see worship characterized as a firm resolve to maintain one’s spiritual “integrity” (2:9) in the face of even the most horrendous ordeals of life. Add to this how David is also said to have “worshipped” God in the aftermath of his heart-wrenching loss (II Sam. 12:18-20). The worship of God at times like these is a powerful testimony to the lost that we have something they do not possess.

Contributing financially to the Lord’s work is probably not commonly thought of as worship, but the worship of the wise men is said to have included presenting the Lord with their gifts (Mt. 2:11), suggesting that giving
to the Lord’s work is an example of worship that is fit for a King.

We don’t always feel like worshipping God when a loved one is sick, and He does not extend to us the same “mercy” He granted Paul and Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25-27). But when the Lord refused mercy to the Syrophenician woman, she “worshipped” Him anyway (Mt. 15:21-25), and her faith and her understanding of why He was refusing to help her touched His heart (vv. 26-28.). Surely God’s heart is still touched when we are able to worship Him at such difficult times, understanding that when He forbears to bestow such help, it is so that we will “rather” learn to rejoice in His all-sufficient grace, and the perfecting of His strength in our weakness (II Cor. 12:9).

If your heart longs to worship the Lord, but you find it difficult, remember that worship always comes much easier when you find yourself in the place where God has “appointed,” just as the disciples did long ago (Mt. 28:16,17). Of course, in this dispensation, God has “appointed” that we suffer “afflictions” for the cause of Christ (I Thes. 3:3), but there is perhaps no time when our worship is more pleasing to God than when we worship Him in the face of such affliction.

A Worshipful Church Service

While we have looked at several ways to worship the Lord, we began by asking if the church service at a grace church is characterized by worship, and the answer to this is a resounding yes! To begin with, when Joshua is said to have worshipped the Lord, he asked, “What saith my lord unto His servant?” (Joshua 5:14). This worshipful attitude of seeking the words of God is the same mind-set we display every time we gather in a grace church to hear God’s Word taught, for it is only when the Word is rightly divided that we hear the Lord’s words to His servants today.

Then too, remember how the Lord said of the Pharisees, “in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mt. 15:9)? Well, if teaching the commandments of men constitutes vain worship, then teaching the commandments of God must be considered true worship! And only grace churches are emphasizing the commandments of God given to us through Paul (I Cor. 14:37; I Thes. 4:2).

This does not mean, of course, that we throw away the law and the prophets, for even Paul himself professed that his “worship” included “believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets” (Acts 24:14). Here we see that we worship God when we go to church and simply believe His Word, His entire Word. Of course, it is only when we recognize dispensational differences and changes that we “worship God in the spirit” (Phil. 3:3).

And so if others have caused you to feel that you don’t worship at your grace church, we trust these thoughts from God’s Word have helped you to see that, as a grace believer, you worship God in ways that are far more pleasing to Him than those who attend services characterized by mere shallow emotionalism. We feel certain that if Jeremiah were to visit some of these churches, he would post a sign above the door that read: “Hear the word of the Lord, all ye…that enter in at these gates to worship” (Jer. 7:2). Hearing the word of the Lord is the highest form of worship, for when we recognize just who it is that is speaking to us through the Scriptures, we see that this too is a form of worship (cf. John 9:35-38.).

A Worshipful Future

Finally, once we draw our last breath and enter His presence, we can look forward to worshipping the Lord in a very unique way. Consider how the people of Israel “worshipped” the Lord after they saw how He accepted their sacrifice (II Chron. 7:1-3). Then think of what a thrill it will be when we stand someday at the Judgment Seat of Christ and see Him accept every sacrifice we have ever made for Him, and reward us accordingly. It will be our highest honor and deepest privilege to worship Him in that day.

In closing, we would be remiss in this brief study of Biblical worship if we did not call your attention to Isaiah 66:23,24, where we read that in the kingdom of heaven on earth, they will “worship” God by going forth on a regular basis, as God says, to “look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against Me.” The prophet speaks here of souls in Hell, where “their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched.” At the present time, of course, our hearts break at the thought of friends and loved ones suffering eternal torment. But once we reach the eternal state, our minds will be so much like His that we will worship Him by acknowledging that even this most severe of all His judgments is “true” and even “righteous” (cf. Ps. 19:9; Rev. 16:7; 19:2). What a burden this should lay on our hearts to reach these dear ones now with the wonderful gospel of the wonderful grace of God.

Notes:

1 -    As a young man, Isaac could have easily overpowered or outrun his elderly father.
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« Reply #4531 on: May 11, 2017, 01:38:52 PM »

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Let Him Be Accursed
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


    “It can’t possibly be the correct interpretation that Paul’s usage of the term ‘accursed’ in Galatians 1:8,9 meant believers could lose their salvation. What is your position on this issue?”

    “As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:9).

Let us look to Deuteronomy 7:26, which is the first place in our English Bibles that the Hebrew word ghehrem is translated “a cursed thing.” This will help us understand Paul’s usage of the term. It is important to bear in mind that the apostle had a thorough knowledge of the Old Testament, from which he often borrowed his terminology, even when writing in Greek.

    “Neither shalt thou bring an abomination [an idol] into thine house, lest thou be a cursed [accursed] thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed [accursed] thing” (Deut. 7:26).

In other words, the idol was to be removed from their presence; it was to be avoided. In like manner, those who reject Paul’s gospel are to be avoided lest we be drawn away to another gospel, which is exactly what happened at Galatia. As we know, two cannot walk together in close fellowship unless they are agreed (Amos 3:3).

So Paul isn’t speaking about saints who teach another gospel losing their salvation, because we know that those who are saved are eternally secure in Christ. Thankfully, salvation doesn’t depend on our actions, but on Christ’s finished work at Calvary on our behalf. Clearly the apostle is speaking about separating ourselves from those who deny his gospel. However, there may have been some who believed a false gospel and therefore were not saved in the first place. Those who believed such a false gospel and went on to teach it to others were accursed indeed.
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« Reply #4532 on: May 12, 2017, 08:11:09 PM »

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The Kingdom Reign Of Christ
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


The Kingdom Reign of Christ, often called the Millennium, is, of course, still future, but even this dispensation will commence with a clear indication that our Lord’s beneficent reign will not change the unregenerate heart. Man is still a failure.

This will be evident from the fact that to put the rebellion down our Lord will have to “break” the nations “with a rod of iron” and “dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psa. 2:9). Indeed, He will have to “rule them with a rod of iron” (Rev. 2:27). It is not strange, then, that we read in Revelation 20:7-9:

    “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

    “And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

    “And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”

This final rebellion is followed by the casting of Satan and all unbelievers into the lake of fire and the bringing in of the new heavens and the new earth in which all the reconciled find their all in Christ (Rev. 20:10-21:1; Eph. 1:9,10; Col. 1:19,20). It is interesting and instructive to see in the book of Revelation how the Lamb slain occupies the center of the glory of the universe. Not one saint from any age will ever boast of his own righteousness in that day. All will acknowledge their own unworthiness and proclaim the praises of the One who died that they might live and be justified and gloried. And even the unsaved and all demons and angels will acknowledge Jesus as Lord in that day. Because He humbled Himself and submitted Himself to “even the death of the cross… God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name:

    “THAT AT THE NAME OF JESUS EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, OF THINGS IN HEAVEN, AND THINGS IN EARTH, AND THINGS UNDER THE EARTH;

    “AND THAT EVERY TONGUE SHOULD CONFESS THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LORD, TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER” (Phil. 2:8-11).
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« Reply #4533 on: May 13, 2017, 06:29:10 PM »

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What Should We Render to God?
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


When the Lord Jesus Christ said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21), it was clear that He meant that the tax money they had asked Him about (v. 19) should be rendered to the king. But did you ever wonder what He had in mind in speaking of the things that should be rendered unto God?

Well, in the context of being asked about money that God’s people owed the government that ruled over them in civil matters, the Lord was surely thinking of the money they also owed the priests who ministered to them in spiritual matters. Remember, the priestly tribe of Levi was granted no inheritance in the Promised Land, leaving them no source of income other than the tithes that faithful Hebrews had to pay if they wanted to render to God what was God’s.

But I believe the Lord was thinking of something else that people should want to render to God. Let’s not forget how the Lord determined what should be rendered to Caesar. The penny He had asked to see (v. 19) bore the emperor’s image (v. 20), and He rightly concluded that it therefore belonged to the emperor. But by that reasoning, since all men bear the image of God by virtue of creation (Gen. 1:27; 9:6; 1 Cor. 11:7), they belong to Him and owe Him the glory that historically men have refused to give Him (Rom. 1:21).

Of course, while many Christians glorify their Creator, all of them should, since we who are saved bear God’s image spiritually as well. You see, when God saved you, you were “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29), and you “put on the new man” which bears “the image of Him that created him” (Col. 3:10). So if we render money to Caesar because it bears his image, we should also yield ourselves to God “as those that are alive from the dead” (Rom. 6:13).

In addition, your physical body also belongs to Him (1 Cor. 6:19,20), so it too is among the things that are His that should be rendered to Him. That means that while you will no doubt want to render to God financially to support the ministries that minister to you (1 Cor. 9:11; Gal. 6:6), you should also consider following the lead of the Macedonians, who “first gave their own selves to the Lord” (2 Cor. 8:5).

King Hezekiah “rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him” (2 Chron. 32:25), but in light of the endless love and amazing grace that God has bestowed on us, let’s you and I render unto God the things that are God’s!
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« Reply #4534 on: May 15, 2017, 01:10:17 PM »

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Boldness Today
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Some may suppose that it would require little boldness today to proclaim grace in all its purity. Who is ever persecuted now, at least in free, enlightened lands, for preaching God’s grace? Ah, but do not be deceived. Satan was no less active in his opposition to the truth when Constantine exalted the professing Church to prominence than when his predecessors persecuted the Church and sent its members to death by fire and sword. Indeed, the devil was doubtless more successful in Constantine’s day than he had been when persecution raged.

Does any believer in the Word of God suppose that Satan has relented in his opposition to the truth today, just because men, at least in this land, are not burned at the stake or thrown to the lions? Do not be misled. Satan’s enmity against God and against His Word continues undiminished. His hatred of “the gospel of the grace of God,” is as bitter, and his opposition to it as determined as it ever was. But well does he know that the constant discouragements connected with being in the minority often succeed in silencing those who would stand against physical persecution.

Today Satan uses the new evangelicalism with its highly- organized, highly-financed campaigns — and its woeful lack of doctrinal and dispensational teaching of the Word — to neutralize the saints. Multitudes are attracted to these neo-evangelical extravaganzas, at which the participants are for the most part performers, and those who stand for the truth often feel very small as compared to the vast unthinking majority. But let us never forget that God uses “things that are not” to accomplish His work (See I Cor. 1: 26-29).

Let us, who know and love the truth, then, determine by God’s grace that nothing shall make us unfaithful to our glorious commission; that, whatever the cost, we shall faithfully and boldly proclaim to others the unadulterated gospel of the grace of God, “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery.”
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« Reply #4535 on: May 16, 2017, 01:43:43 PM »

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Paul's Claims
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Paul’s Spirit-inspired claims for the distinctive character of his apostleship leave no room for doubt. Consider a sampling of these.

    Romans 11:13: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I AM THE APOSTLE OF THE GENTILES: I MAGNIFY MINE OFFICE”.

    Galatians 1:11,12: “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is NOT AFTER MAN.

    “FOR I NEITHER RECEIVED IT OF MAN, NEITHER WAS I TAUGHT IT, BUT BY THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST.”

    Ephesians 3:1-3: “For this cause, I PAUL, THE PRISONER OF JESUS CHRIST FOR YOU GENTILES,

    “If ye have heard of THE DISPENSATION OF THE GRACE OF GOD, WHICH IS GIVEN ME TO YOU-WARD:

    “How that BY REVELATION HE MADE KNOWN UNTO ME THE MYSTERY….”

    Colossians 1:25: “…I am made a minister, according to THE DISPENSATION OF GOD WHICH IS GIVEN TO ME FOR YOU, to fulfill [fill full, or complete] the Word of God”.

    I Timothy 2:5-7: “For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus;

    “Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

    “WHEREUNTO I AM ORDAINED A PREACHER, AND AN APOSTLE (I SPEAK THE TRUTH IN CHRIST, AND LIE NOT); A TEACHER OF THE GENTILES IN FAITH AND VERITY.”

    Titus 1:2,3: “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie; promised before the world began;

    “But hath in due times manifested His Word THROUGH PREACHING WHICH IS COMMITTED UNTO ME, according to the commandment of God our Saviour.”
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« Reply #4536 on: May 17, 2017, 12:07:54 PM »

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The Resurrected Body
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


Winter is a great time of the year to sit down by a crackling fire with a cup of hot coffee and read a good book. But thankfully, winter’s blast eventually turns into the warm breezes of spring when the flowers begin to bloom. We go from the barreness of wintertime that symbolizes death, to springtime when life wondrously springs forth, a fitting illustration of the resurrection.

After the Apostle Paul addressed our heavenly citizenship in Philippians, and how we are to be looking for the Lord’s return, he made an interesting statement: “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself” (Phil. 3:21). Paul believed in the resurrection!

Notice when the Lord comes, He is going to transform this body of humiliation that is prone to suffering and corruption, and conform it to His glorious body. Therefore, our resurrected body is going to be like His resurrected body, with the exception of His being God. If we understand the nature of our Lord’s resurrection, it will give us a better understanding of our future body. For example:

    The Lord appeared in a visible form (Luke 24:36,37).
    He had a body comprised of flesh and bones(Luke 24:39;John 20:24-28.).
    The molecular structure of His body was such that He could pass through solid objects, such as a door that was closed (John 20:19,26).
    His identity was preserved in the resurrection. The disciples recognized Him (Luke 24:31; John 20:20).
    He had the ability to speak and reason with them (Luke 24:25-27).
    The Lord had a memory of past events (Luke 24:44).
    He ate with the disciples on more than one occasion (Luke 24:41-43;John 21:12-15).
    He retained His knowledge of the Scriptures (Luke 24:46,47).
    The Lord had the ability to appear in another form (Mark 16:12).
    He could instantly vanish out of sight (Luke 24:31).

Our resurrected body is going to be very adaptable to its surroundings. While these natural bodies are given to weakness and fatigue, our new ones will be raised in power. Since it is controlled by the Spirit, we will have an endless source of energy to serve the Lord throughout eternity.
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« Reply #4537 on: May 18, 2017, 01:02:23 PM »

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Trash Talking
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


“I’ll beat him so bad he’ll need a shoehorn to put his hat on!” That’s what acclaimed boxer Mohammed Ali said about Floyd Patterson ahead of their championship match back in 1965. Known as “trash talking,” boxers also engage in this form of verbal sparring in the midst of the actual fight itself, taunting and goading their opponents.

In the midst of the greatest fight of all time, the Lord Jesus Christ engaged in a little verbal sparring of His own. In a passage that eavesdrops on the Lord’s thoughts as He hung on Calvary’s cross, He first reflected on the scourging and shameful spitting to which He’d been subjected (Isa. 50:6), and then the prophet heard Him call out His foe:

    “He is near that justifieth Me; who will contend with Me? let us stand together: who is Mine adversary? let him come near to Me” (Isa. 50:8.).

Just picture the scene! Outwardly, the Lord was the sacrificial Lamb of God, meekly submitting to the will of His Father. Inwardly, He was the defiant contender to the throne of the world, thundering forth a challenge toward His unseen adversary, the reigning champion who had wrested the throne away from Adam. The god of this world thought he had your Savior on the ropes that dark day, but inwardly the Lord was roaring, as it were, “Bring it on! Is that the best you’ve got? A little scourging? A little shame and spitting? A little crucifixion” (v. 6)? By all outward appearances, your Savior looked like a helpless victim that day, but inwardly He was the vanquishing Victor!

How could someone in such an impossibly hopeless situation feel so overwhelmingly triumphant? It was simple, really. He trusted in God, as the next verse shows:

    “Behold, the Lord GOD will help Me; who is he that shall condemn Me?…” (Isa. 50:9).

If those words sound familiar, it is because those are the words that the Apostle Paul chose to encourage you in whatever impossibly hopeless situation you may find yourself:

“Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom. 8:33,34).

With all of the “tribulation” in your life (v. 35), outwardly it might look as if you are “accounted as sheep for the slaughter” (v. 36), living in the impossibly hopeless situation of a lamb about to be butchered. But knowing that “it is God that justifieth” you, you can say, as it were, “Bring it on! Is that the best you got? A little unemployment? A little cancer? A little grief when the dearest on earth is ripped from my side?”

As with the Lord Himself, God does not promise that we will be able to conquer whatever harsh trial we are going through, but He does promise that in every trial we are “more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (v. 37), for none of these things “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (v. 39). The key is to remember that “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Cor. 4:17), and to remember that we are only more than conquerors when “we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (v. 18.).
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« Reply #4538 on: May 20, 2017, 10:51:00 AM »

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Enemies Reconciled To God
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “When we were enemies” (Rom. 5:10).

Think of it! God has good news for us even in our willfulness, our enmity against Him! “When we were enemies”, says Paul, “We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son”.

Here we can almost hear some reader object: “Of all things, don’t charge me with being an enemy of God. I’m a religious person, I go to church regularly, I even give to the church”. Ah, but God does not say that the unsaved are not religious. Perhaps 999 out of 1,000 are religious. The point is that by your ungodly, sinful life, and certainly by rejecting God’s gift of salvation, you have made yourself an enemy of God. You may not be an enemy against the “God” you have conjured up in your own mind, but you are certainly an enemy against God, the God of the Bible.

But despite all this God still sends His ambassadors out to offer reconciliation to all His enemies everywhere — “by the death of His Son”. Think of it! We who believe are reconciled to God, not by some effort or payment offered by us to placate God, but “by the death of HIS Son”. He bore the enmity as His own creatures mocked Him, spat in His face and nailed Him to a tree. This is grace indeed! And this is not all, for the whole passage reads:

    “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

    “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement [Lit., reconciliation]” (Rom. 5: 10,11).

The argument of this passage is that if, as His enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more “being reconciled”, we may be assured that our living Savior will keep us safe. And not only are believers safe in Christ, but all the while we “joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received”, not only help in our helplessness, or the forgiveness of our sins, but “the reconciliation”, by which we are brought nigh to God and experience His love toward us.
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« Reply #4539 on: May 20, 2017, 10:55:22 AM »

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Bethlehem's Babe Exalted
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


The Bible accounts of the birth of Christ are touching indeed. The angelic announcements, the virgin with child, deeply embarrassed, yet highly honored; the holy Babe in a stable because there was no room in the inn, wrapped in swaddling bands and laid in a manger; the night suddenly turned to day, the multitude of the heavenly host praising God!

Surely it is fitting that we remember all this and celebrate it, especially since our Lord thus humbled Himself that He might die for our sins. Yet here we must be careful not to be led astray, lest we know Him only as a sweet babe in a manger rather than as the mighty Savior that He is. As Americans we celebrate the birthdays of great men, but we do not emphasize their babyhood! We rather honor them for what they have accomplished, rejoicing that such men were born into the world.

Our Lord is no longer a babe and He does not wish to be thought of as a babe, but rather as the One who, having died for our sins at Calvary, now lives to dispense to a world of lost sinners the riches of His grace.

It was from His glory in heaven that He revealed Himself to St. Paul and instructed him to write: “Henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him [so] no more” (II Cor. 5:16).

And again in Hebrews 2:8,9, the Apostle declares: “Now we see not yet all things put under him, but we see Jesus…. crowned with glory and honor” as the One who “tasted death for every man.”

It is wonderful to remember our Lord as the Babe born at Bethlehem, but still more wonderful to know Him now as the One who is “able to save unto the uttermost all them that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).
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« Reply #4540 on: May 21, 2017, 12:24:55 PM »

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Looking For the Loophole
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


To many people, it just doesn’t seem right that God would punish someone in hell for all eternity, and so they look for loopholes in the Bible’s clear teaching about eternal damnation (Rev. 14:11, etc.). They mean well, but they remind us of what the Lord said about the rich man in hell, who pleaded that Lazarus be sent to warn his five brothers, “lest they also come into this place of torment” (Luke 16:28.). It is often argued from this that this man had repented, and only a God who was a monster would refuse to release him. As we compare Scripture with Scripture, however, we believe otherwise, especially when we compare the torments of hell to the torments of the Tribulation.

There are many ways to show that the Tribulation will be a time of hell on earth, but perhaps the simplest is found when we read that “in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it” (Rev. 9:6). What a picture of hell! You would think that everyone on the receiving end of the unfathomable torments of that day would repent in the hope that God would relent and spare them further torment. Yet despite the fact that men will be “scorched with great heat” (Rev. 16:9), in John’s vision, they “blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not… of their deeds” (vv. 9,11).

In light of all this, we feel the rich man’s request to warn his five brothers was not an indication of any repentance on his part—far from it. Like many incarcerated men, he was looking for a loophole in the prosecution’s case against him. You see, if Lazarus was sent from the dead to warn his brothers, he could argue that he never benefited from such a supernatural warning, making his conviction unjust.

Add it all up, and a more accurate picture of hell appears. Hell is not filled with cries of repentance to which God turns an unfeeling deaf ear. Like the description of the Tribulation we just read, the air is rather filled with the sound of blasphemy, voiced by men who are eternally convinced that God is wrong and they do not belong there.

Fortunately, dear reader, you do not have to go there. Just admit that God is right, that you are sinner (Rom. 3:23) who deserves to die an eternal death for your sins (Rom. 6:23; Rev. 20:14), but that Christ died for your sins so that you don’t have to (I Cor. 15:1-4). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
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« Reply #4541 on: May 23, 2017, 01:09:37 PM »

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The Holy Spirit At Pentecost
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


The one hundred twenty disciples in the Upper Room had, of course, been much like any other group of believers in history. They had not all been equally spiritual or devoted, or faithful. Some had been more so than others, and where some had excelled in one virtue, others had excelled in another. Yet now they were all FILLED with the Spirit, from the least to the greatest of them.

The thoughtful student of Scripture will, of course, ask why all these believers were now filled with the Holy Spirit. Was it, perhaps, because they, as a group, had been more godly than those before them? The gospel records prove that this is not so. Peter boasted, Thomas doubted, James and John sought personal gain, and when our Lord was taken prisoner, “they all forsook Him and fled.”

Was it then because they had prayed long enough or earnestly enough for the Spirit to come upon them and take control? No; they had been instructed to go to Jerusalem, not to pray for the Holy Spirit to come, as some suppose, but to “wait for the [fulfillment of the] promise” regarding the Spirit (Acts 1: 4,5) — and right here is the answer to our question.

The believers at Pentecost were filled with the Holy Spirit, not because they had prayed long or earnestly enough for the Spirit to come, but because the time had arrived for the fulfillment of the divine promise. The Old Testament prophets and the Lord Jesus had promised that the Holy Spirit should some day come to take control of God’s people (Ezek. 36:26,27), and that day had come. They were filled with the Spirit because God, according to His promise, had baptized them with the Spirit (Acts 1:5).
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« Reply #4542 on: May 23, 2017, 01:12:14 PM »

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To Pray Or Not To Pray: That Is The Question!
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “Pray not for this people…” (Jeremiah 14:11).

    “Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17).

Here we go again! Another contradiction in the Word of God. One of the many incongruities in Scripture that make us wonder how to serve God when His Word gives conflicting instructions. Its easy to understand why we should pray without ceasing, but why did God instruct Jeremiah to “pray not” for His people?

To answer, a quick look at the preceding verse will reveal that in Jeremiah’s day God’s people “loved to wander” from Him, and had “not refrained their feet” (v. 10) from so doing. Little wonder their Father deemed them unworthy of the prayers of His prophet!

But aren’t God’s people today just as prone to wander? Don’t we sing that old hymn, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love”? Why then does God tell us to pray without ceasing?

The answer lies, as it so often does, in “rightly dividing the Word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15). You see, God’s people in Jeremiah’s day had a contract with Him, a covenant called the Law of Moses. Under that Law, if His people walked contrary to Him, He vowed to walk contrary to them (Lev. 26:23,24; 27,28.). And in Jeremiah’s day, God’s people had not refrained their feet from wandering and walking away from Him. They left God no choice but to walk contrary to them, and no amount of praying on the part of His prophet could change what He was contractually obligated by His covenant to do (Jer. 15:1).

How different things are for God’s people today! We are not under the Law, we are under grace! (Rom. 6:15). In “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph. 3:2), God is not obligated by the old covenant of the Law to walk away from His people when they walk away from Him, He is obligated by the new covenant of His grace “to dwell in them, and walk in them” and “be their God” no matter what (II Cor. 6:16 cf. Jer. 31:33).

So there you have it! Yet another contradiction in the Word of God explained, another puzzle solved, by rightly dividing the Word of truth.

But don’t just sit there reveling in the riches of God’s grace. Now that you know that God will hear your prayers for His people, pray! When you see your brother stumble in his walk, pray! When you find that you yourself have wandered from God, pray! God will never walk contrary to us, so pray that His people will respond to such amazing grace by choosing to “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing” (Col. 1:10).
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« Reply #4543 on: May 24, 2017, 01:26:40 PM »

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He Shall Reign
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


For 2500 years “death reigned from Adam to Moses”(Rom. 5:14).

During this period of history it was demonstrated that “death passed upon all men,” not because the Law of Moses had condemned them to death, but simply because they were the offspring of fallen Adam, and depraved by nature. Entirely apart from the Law, “sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (Jas. 1:15). Thus “death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had NOT sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.”

For 1500 years, under the law, “sin… reigned unto death”(Rom. 5:20,21).

Sin had surely risen to its height during Paul’s early years. Christ had been crucified and even after His resurrection His enemies had stood by that awful deed. Israel had joined the Gentiles in declaring war on God and His anointed Son (Psa. 2:1-3) and Saul of Tarsus was the leader of the revolt. It was no longer merely a matter of sin; it was now rebellion.

For 1900 years, “grace [has] reigned, through righteousness,unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:21).

Thus we are now living under the reign of grace. As “DEATH REIGNED from Adam to Moses” (Rom. 5:14); as SIN REIGNED “unto death” after “the Law entered” (Vers. 20,21), so now grace abounds, THAT GRACE MIGHT REIGN “through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Vers. 20,21).

For 1000 years the Lord Jesus Christ will reign upon this earth (Rev. 20:1-6), as King over Israel and the nations.

The kingdom will then be delivered over to the Father (I Cor. 15:24-28.).

For all eternity the Father, Son and Holy Spirit will reign in the person of Christ (Rom. 11:36; Eph. 1:10).

Note: From Adam to the present day God has always been “on the throne”, but rather than ruling directly, has overruled in the affairs of men.
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« Reply #4544 on: May 25, 2017, 09:28:57 AM »

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Spiritual Victory
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


If we go to the Scriptures and claim, by faith, the Spirit’s help in overcoming our sins, we enter into the enjoyment of the fullness of spiritual life and blessing. If we fail to do so, we wither and die — as far as our spiritual experience is concerned. We can never lose our salvation, of course, for “everlasting life” was obtained by faith in Christ, not by walking in the Spirit. This is confirmed by the fact that the same apostle who pleads: “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God,” hastens to add: “WHEREBY YE ARE SEALED UNTO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION” (Eph. 4:30).

But failure to appropriate God’s gracious provision for victory over sin does result in death as far as our Christian experience is concerned. This is what the Apostle means, when he says, by the Spirit:

    “FOR TO BE CARNALLY MINDED IS DEATH; BUT TO BE SPIRITUALLY MINDED IS LIFE AND PEACE” (Rom. 8:6).

    “FOR IF YE LIVE AFTER THE FLESH, YE SHALL DIE: BUT IF YE THROUGH THE SPIRIT DO MORTIFY [PUT TO DEATH] THE DEEDS OF THE BODY, YE SHALL LIVE” (Rom. 8:13).

To the careless Corinthians, the Apostle Paul exclaimed:

    “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

    “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Cor. 6:19,20).
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