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nChrist
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« Reply #4635 on: August 25, 2017, 03:31:59 PM »

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The Secret Of The Gospel
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Significantly, it was to Paul, not Peter, that “the secret of the gospel” was first revealed. (See Eph. 3:1-3; 6:19). It was he who was first sent forth to proclaim the doctrine of salvation, and to reveal all that had been accomplished at Calvary.

The Old Testament Scriptures had predicted that the sins of others would be laid upon Christ, but they had not explained how Christ’s death would be the basis for the sinner’s justification.

Many a criminal has gone free because his crimes have been “pinned on” another, but this has by no means justified the criminal! Some sincere Christians seem to think that substitution is the very acme of Bible truth, when in fact it is but the beginning, for substitution in itself does not imply the sinner’s justification.

It is also true that salvation had been offered before Paul. Men were told what to do to be saved — though the terms varied from time to time — and were even instructed, upon Christ’s arrival, to believe in Him for salvation. At that time sacrifices, circumcision, water baptism, etc., were still required for the remission of sins — and any believer would approach God in His way. This is why these religious rites were observed throughout our Lord’s earthly ministry and even through Pentecost.

The Apostle Paul, however, was later raised up to make known “the secret of the gospel,” and to proclaim the glorious accomplishments of Christ at Calvary. All the rich blessings so thrillingly set forth in Paul’s epistles flow to us from Calvary. Ours is a heavenly position because He came to earth to die for our sins. Ours is “the hope of glory,” because He suffered our shame. Ours is the blessing of “peace with God” because He bore God’s wrath upon sin. Ours is relief from the load of sin because He bore that load. Every one of our “all spiritual blessings” comes to us from Calvary. Paul’s “secret of the gospel” centers in Calvary. Little wonder St. Paul calls his preaching “the preaching of the cross.”
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« Reply #4636 on: August 26, 2017, 03:31:33 PM »

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Two In The Field And Two At The Mill
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour you Lord doth come” (Matt.24:40-42).

How often the above passage has been interpreted to apply to our Lord’s coming for the members of His Body! At the rapture of the Church, it is said, two will be working in the field, when one will be taken to heaven and the other left to go through the day of God’s wrath, and so also with two women who may be grinding side by side at the mill: one will be caught up to be with the Lord and the other left behind.

But actually this passage cannot have anything to do with the rapture of the Body to be with Christ.

First, the truth of our Lord’s coming for the members of His Body was a secret first revealed by the glorified Lord through Paul (I Cor. 15:51-58; I Thes. 4:15-18.).

But from Matthew 24 itself it is still more evident that the passage cannot refer to the rapture.

True, the passage says: “The one shall be taken, and the other left”, but where and how will the one be taken, and what will be the lot of the one who is left behind?

From the verses immediately preceding, it is evident that the coming of Christ to earth to judge and reign is in view. This coming is likened to what happened in the days of Noah. The people ate and drank, married and gave away again in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, “and knew not until the flood came and took them all away“. These people were not “taken away” to glory; they were “taken away” in judgment.

Since verses 40 and 41 are a continuation of this illustration, it is evident that the two “taken away” are taken away in judgment at our Lord’s return to reign, while the two who are “left” are left to enter into His millennial reign. This interpretation alone is consistent with the whole context in which we find this passage.

How much confusion would be avoided if the truth of the rapture of the Body to be with Christ were recognized to be what it is: a divine secret first revealed to Paul concerning the Church of this present dispensation, the Body of Christ.
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« Reply #4637 on: August 27, 2017, 04:35:46 PM »

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Some Certainties in Uncertain Times
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


It is certainly evident that we are living in uncertain economic times. At such times, certain industries fare better than others. For instance, there will always be a need for people to work in the food industry, for people will always need to eat. There will also always be a need for health care workers, since people will also continue to get sick and need health care.

It is equally evident that we are living in uncertain spiritual times. At such times, there will always be a need for Christians who are willing to work to bring the gospel to the lost. There will always be “certain” among the lost who will actively seek salvation (Luke 18:18.), but “certain” others will trust in themselves that they are righteous (Luke 18:9), so God’s people will need to reach out to them.

It is also certain that some will continue to oppose Paul’s gospel, “certain” of them opposing it on philosophical grounds (Acts 17:18.), “certain” others because they are set in their ways and so naturally resist the new truth that Paul set forth (Acts 15:1).

Who will step up to meet these challenges? In Paul’s day, “a certain disciple… named Timotheus” answered the call (Acts 16:1). How about you, man of God? Why not consider enrolling in our Berean Bible Institute, “that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed” (Luke 1:4). Then go out and “preach the word” and “do the work of an evangelist” as the Lord would have you do (II Tim. 4:1-5).

When Paul preached in Athens, “certain men clave unto him” (Acts 17:34), just as grace believers have today. But just as “a certain young man named Eutychus” fell asleep when “Paul was long preaching” (Acts 20:9), many long-time grace believers have fallen asleep under the ministry of Pauline teaching. If you fear that describes you, why not wake up and follow the example of “a certain man…named Justus” (Acts 18:7) and “a certain woman named Lydia” (Acts 16:14) who opened their homes to the ministry of Pauline truth and helped establish grace churches in their respective cities.

Many Christians are at a complete loss as to knowing what to do in these uncertain spiritual times, but that doesn’t apply to those who know the certainty of Paul’s gospel. We have the answer to the religious confusion all about us! If you’re not part of the movement that is bringing the solution to these poor confused people, you’re part of the problem.

One thing is sure. “We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (I Tim. 6:7). With that in mind, why not begin today to live with eternity in view?
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« Reply #4638 on: August 28, 2017, 03:55:51 PM »

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Did the Lord Declare All Foods Clean in Mark 7:19?
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “Did the Lord declare all foods to be clean in Mark 7:19, as it says in the NIV? I thought He came to obey and fulfill the Law, not change or negate it?”

    “…whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats” (Mark 7:18,19).

At the end of Verse 19, the NIV adds in parenthesis, “(In saying this, Jesus declared all foods ‘clean.’)” These words, which in NIV format appear to be part of the Bible text and not an editorial note, are not in any Greek text. The Lord was not setting aside the Law; He was speaking of the body’s natural ability to purge food of impurities.

As we compare Scripture with Scripture, we know that if the Lord had spoken these added words, then Peter would not have spoken these words years later:

    “I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean” (Acts 10:14).

If the Lord had pronounced unclean foods clean in Mark 7, Peter would have started eating them at that time, but his words here clearly indicate that such was not the case. The dietary laws of Leviticus 11 were not set aside until the ministry of the Apostle Paul (Rom. 6:14; I Tim. 4:4,5). God used Peter’s sheet vision to introduce this change, and teach Peter and his fellow Hebrews that Gentiles were no longer to be considered unclean (Acts 10:28.) by teaching them that unclean foods were no longer unclean.
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« Reply #4639 on: August 29, 2017, 12:45:21 PM »

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It Didn't Add Up!
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


In Daniel 9:25, the prophet Daniel was told that from the going forth of the commandment to restore Jerusalem “unto the Messiah” would be 69 weeks of years (cf. Gen. 29:27; Lev. 25:8.). Frankly, this very specific prophecy baffled Bible students for many years, for the predicted time of 483 years (69×7) “unto the Messiah” did not match up with the time of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Then, in his book The Coming Prince, a Bible teacher named Sir Robert Anderson realized the problem lay in the different ways Jews and Gentiles mark time. We number our years using a solar calendar wherein each year has 365¼ days, but the Jews used a 360-day lunar calendar, with each year consisting of 12 months of 30 days each.

Evidence of this is found in Genesis 7:11, where we read that the deluge began “in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month,” yet exactly “an hundred and fifty days” later (v. 24), “the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month” (8:3,4). The only way an exact period of five equal months can end 150 days later on the same day of the month is if each of those months has 30 days. Further evidence of this is seen when we remember that the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week is sometimes said to last “forty and two months” (Rev. 11:2), and sometimes it is said to last “a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (v. 3). The only way 42 equal months can work out to 1260 days is if each of those months has 30 days.

Once Sir Robert recalculated the prophecy using lunar years, he found that the 69 weeks “unto the Messiah” worked out to the very day the Lord Jesus rode the colt into Jerusalem and made an official presentation of Himself to Israel. No wonder the Lord lamented later that day, “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace!” (Luke 19:42).

The point? When you are asked why men should trust the God of the Bible, why not give the reason God Himself gives—fulfilled prophecy! (Isa. 42:8,9; 44:7,8 cf. John 13:19). To those who would tout the gods of the world’s other religions, God says, “Produce your cause…bring forth your strong reasons…let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen…shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods” (Isa. 41:21-24).

The God of the Bible alone is God!
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« Reply #4640 on: August 30, 2017, 05:43:01 PM »

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If Only
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


    “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).

We fear that many believers today take the things of the Lord far too lightly. Of course, the concern is that at the end of their life they are going to look back with regret at what could have been, if only! When you come to the end of your life are you going to find yourself uttering those dreadful words? If only, I had lived a godly life when I was raising my children, perhaps they would have an interest in spiritual things today. If only, I had heeded the Lord’s leading and had gone to Bible School, I might have made a difference on the mission field in those regions beyond. If only, I had agreed to become a Sunday School teacher, perhaps I could have helped one of our young people avoid a shipwrecked life.

If only, I had taken the time to study the Scriptures, perhaps I could have been used of the Lord to win souls to Christ and comfort those who were crying out for help! If only, I hadn’t been so selfish and self-serving. If only! As we prepare to stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ, mark these words, and mark them well: “Only one life, ’twill soon be past; Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
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« Reply #4641 on: August 31, 2017, 05:08:50 PM »

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How Many Heavens?
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


    “Exactly how many heavens are there and what is the purpose of each realm?”

We believe the Scriptures teach there are three heavens.

The first heaven is our atmosphere where we live and serve the Lord. It is where the Psalmist says, “the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches” (Psa. 104:12).

The second heaven is the solar system that consists of the sun, moon, stars, and planets (Gen. 1:14-18.). Prior to the written revelation of God, the Lord used this realm as a teaching tool. Once again, in the words of the Psalmist, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament [expanse] sheweth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge” (Psa. 19:1,2). While Satan currently dwells in the second heaven, he will be cast out of heaven to the earth in the middle of the Tribulation period (Rev. 12:7-12). Throughout eternity, the members of the Body of Christ will occupy this realm and its various seats of authority (Eph. 2:6).

The third heaven is the abode of God often referred to in the Scriptures as the heaven of heavens. It is also where an innumerable host of angels worship and serve the Lord. This is confirmed by Nehemiah, “Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein” (Neh. 9:6).

Paul reveals that he was caught up to the “third heaven” where he received a further revelation from the Lord regarding the Mystery (II Cor. 12:1-4; Eph. 3:2,3). The apostle also calls this realm Paradise. Today, we have a heavenly hope according to Colossians 1:5; therefore, when we come face to face with death, we look forward with great expectation to be absent from the body “and to be present with the Lord” (II Cor. 5:6-9), Who dwells in the heaven of heavens.
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« Reply #4642 on: September 01, 2017, 03:48:05 PM »

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Numbered With The Transgressors
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “And the Scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And He was numbered with the transgressors” (Mark 15:28.).

The progressive fulfillment of this passage from Isaiah 53 is the amazing story of our Lord’s three baptisms. First, this prophecy must be applied to our Lord’s incarnation. Born a babe at Bethlehem, He was baptized into the human race, becoming, not merely one with us, but one of us, a true human being, though still also “very God.” This is how He was first “numbered with the transgressors.”

Later the Lord was baptized again, this time with water, by John the Baptist. John’s baptism was unto “repentance for the remission of sins” and those who responded came to his baptism “confessing their sins” (Mark 1:4,5). Little wonder that John at first refused to baptize this sinless One, saying: “I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?” But the Lord insisted, saying: “Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:13-15). Thus our Lord joined repentant sinners in baptism and was, in this practical way, “numbered with the transgressors.”

But after His baptism into the human race and His subsequent baptism with water, our Lord spoke of a third baptism, saying: “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened [Lit., “What a spot I am in”] till it be accomplished!” (Luke 12:50). This third baptism was, of course, His death at Calvary, where He was baptized into God’s judgment upon sin in order that He might save us from it.

Finally, then, Isaiah 53:12 was fulfilled, for it is in connection with His death at Calvary that Mark 15:27,28 says:

    “And with Him they crucify two thieves; the one on His right hand, and the other on His left. And the Scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And He was numbered with the transgressors.”
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« Reply #4643 on: September 02, 2017, 03:09:08 PM »

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Power Perfected In Weakness
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


To Paul was committed the greatest revelation of all time. He was divinely commissioned to proclaim the glorious all-sufficiency of Christ’s redemptive work, God’s offer of salvation by free grace to all who trust in Christ and their heavenly position, blessings and prospect.

Lest he should become puffed up by the glory of these great truths, God gave him what he calls “a thorn in the flesh”, an aggravating physical infirmity of some sort. “For this thing,” he says, “I besought the Lord thrice [three times], that it might depart from me” (II Cor. 12:8.). But the Lord knew better than Paul what was best for him:

    “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (Ver. 9).

How right God was! Every Christian knows that with brimming health and “good fortune” comes the tendency to forget our need of Him, while infirmity causes us to lean harder and to pray more and this is where our spiritual power lies. Every believer should acknowledge this and say with Paul:

    “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities…for when I am weak, then am I strong” (II Cor. 12:9,10).

Infirmities of the flesh are common even to God’s choicest saints. What satisfaction there is, then, in just believing God’s Word: “My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness”.
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« Reply #4644 on: September 03, 2017, 02:39:21 PM »

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Anger Management
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


Scripture Reading:

    “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”
    — Ephesians 4:26,27

Around the turn of the century, the Church was graced with an array of great preachers, but none were more tenacious and outspoken than Billy Sunday. He seemed to have a way of driving home a point. It is said that a woman once approached him after one of his meetings who was well known for her bad temper. She sought to defend her actions by saying: “But Mr. Sunday, although I blow up over the least little thing, it’s all over in a minute.”

The evangelist looked her straight in the eye and said, “So is a shotgun blast!! It’s over in seconds, too, but look at the terrible damage it can do.”

God created us with a wide range of emotions, each of which serves a purpose. Yes, even anger can be good. Contrary to popular opinion, anger itself is not sinful. Notice how the apostle words his above statement, “Be ye angry, and sin not.” In essence, Paul is saying that we are well within our rights to be angry over an injustice or unrighteous circumstances.

The recent debate over “partial birth abortion” is a good example. We should be incensed by “abortion” in general and horrified by “partial birth abortions” in particular. Any procedure (usually performed at 7 or 8 months gestation) that allows the infant’s head to remain in the birth canal while the abortionist forces a surgical instrument into the base of the skull to suction out the little one’s brains is nothing short of first degree murder. Here a righteous anger is perfectly justified. In fact, there are scores of times in the Old Testament where the anger of the Lord is said to be kindled against His enemies (Num. 25:1-9; Jer. 12:13).

Surely our Lord is a prime example that anger itself is not necessarily sinful, for He knew no sin. Thus the Lord was well within the boundaries of godly behavior when He exhibited a righteous anger toward those who had made His Father’s house a den of thieves (John 2:13-17). In the future Tribulation Period those who reject God’s anointed and worship the beast and his image, “the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone” (Rev. 14:10).

Carefully note, Paul adds to the phrase “be ye angry” a warning, “and sin not.” Unbridled anger can easily turn into a fit of uncontrollable rage which normally leaves a path of destruction in its wake. Unchecked, anger that overflows into resentment almost always results in some form of retaliation. This may take the form of verbal attacks, threats, or even physical abuse.

In a worst case scenario, it is much like a volcano that builds pressure over a period of time and finally erupts. Whenever you watch a news report of a lone gunman who enters his former place of employment with a semi-automatic weapon and kills his supervisor and three other fellow workers, you are witnessing the eruption of pent-up anger. Another example is the believer who allowed his anger to get the better of him and shot an abortion doctor outside a clinic down south. With one pull of the trigger, this young man disgraced the name of Christ, labeled all Christians as radicals in the eyes of the world, destroyed his personal testimony, and ended up with life in prison. These are both cases where anger spun out of control with tragic results.

How to Deal with Anger

We are living in a day when philosophy says, “express yourself openly,” “tell it like it is,” “open up,” “let it all hang out.” However, the Scriptures counsel us to exercise restraint.

The fruit of the spirit is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22,23). As we walk by grace through faith, temperance will enable us to keep our anger under control. But how does this work out in a practical sense? Those who fly off in a fit of rage permit their anger to take control of them. Consequently, the energy emitted from this emotion is usually misdirected at someone or something. Sinful anger tears down. Thus, in the heat of the moment things are often said and done which cause irreparable damage to relationships.

Paul adds here in Ephesians, “let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” We should never allow our anger to simmer overnight. This will only cause it to become more deeply seated. “Neither give place to the devil” (Eph. 4:27). You see, if you fail to handle things in the proper manner, you may well be giving Satan an opportunity to drive a deeper wedge in your relationships with others. Surely, we are not ignorant of his devices. Always remember, Satan is an opportunist.
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« Reply #4645 on: September 04, 2017, 03:38:29 PM »

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Sad, But True
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


Scripture Reading:

    “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” — I Corinthians 10:12

Heard a story told by a Grace Believer who met another Grace Believer in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge:

“I was standing in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge admiring the view when another tourist walked up alongside of me to do the same. I heard him say quietly, as he took in the beauty of the view, ‘What an awesome God.’

“I turned to him and said, ‘You a Christian?’

“He said, ‘Yes, I am a Christian.’

“I said, ‘So am I,’ and we shook hands. I said, ‘Are you a liberal or a fundamental Christian?’

“He said, ‘I am a fundamental Christian.’

“I said, ‘So am I,’ and we smiled and nodded to each other.” I said, ‘Are you a Covenant or dispensational, fundamental Christian?’

“He said, ‘I am a dispensational, fundamental Christian.’

“I said, ‘So am I,’ and we slapped one another on the back.” I said, ‘Are you an early Acts, mid-Acts or late Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian?’

“He said ‘I am a mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian.’

“I said, ‘So am I’ and we agreed to exchange Christmas cards each year. I said, ‘Are you an Acts 9 or 13, mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian?’

“He said, ‘I am an Acts 9, mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian.’

“I said, ‘So am I’ and we hugged one another right there on the bridge. I said, ‘Are you a pre-trib, or post-trib, Acts 9, mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian?’

“He said, ‘I am a pre-trib, Acts 9, mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian.’

“I said, ‘So am I,’ and we decided to exchange kids for the summer.”I said, ‘Are you a 12 in or 12 out, pre-trib, Acts 9, mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian?’

“He said, ‘I am a 12 in, pre-trib, Acts 9, mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian.'”I said, ‘You heretic, and I pushed him off the bridge!'” — Author Unknown

The above is sad but all too true, with the exception of being pushed off a bridge, although some may have even considered that! Of course, the shoe could have been on the other foot; that is, the weary traveler might have held the 12 out position — heaven forbid! The point is, no matter how deeply our convictions may run on secondary issues, they should never disrupt our fellowship together. Issues such as: Are the 12 in or out of the Body of Christ? Was Paul the author of Hebrews? Should we observe holidays? Was Paul in or out of the will of God in Acts 21? Where did the Church begin — Acts 9, 11, or 13? And on and on we could go.

Our Fellowship in Christ must rest solely on the Fundamentals of the Faith and the Doctrines of Grace found in Ephesians 4:4-6. There is no room for further discussion on these matters. On other areas of the Word of God where we may find ourselves in disagreement, let us “agree to disagree” in a Christ-like manner. This will help maintain the unity of the Spirit among us and glorify God in the process.
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« Reply #4646 on: September 05, 2017, 04:38:32 PM »

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Peace With God, Access To God And The Hope Of Glory
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


According to Rom. 4:25, Christ was delivered to death for our sins and then raised from the dead because He had fully settled our debt. The results of this mighty work of redemption are marvelous indeed to ponder over.

First, it means for every believer in Christ, that “being justified by faith we have peace with God” (Rom. 5:1). If Christ has paid for our sins and the barrier between God and us has been removed, why should we not enjoy peace with God? Why should we not rise in the morning, go about our work during the day and retire at night with complete confidence that all is well; that we are at peace with God and that He loves us as His very own?

But more: Verse 2 goes on to say that by Christ we also have “access by faith into this grace wherein we stand.” If the barrier of sin has been removed and we are at peace with God, what is there to keep us out of His presence, especially when He Himself bids us to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”? (Heb. 4:16). How wonderful to have a standing before God in grace! to be at peace with Him and to enjoy free access into His presence by faith!

But there is still more. Not only does the believer in Christ enjoy peace with God and access to God, but, as this same verse says: “We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” “Hope” in the Bible is, of course, more than a wish. It is an eager anticipation of wonderful things to come. Heb. 6:19 says: “Which hope we have as an anchor to the soul, both sure and stedfast.” Man has always been afraid of the glory of God. When the glory of the Lord shone round about the Judaean shepherds “they were sore afraid.” This was because “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). But the simplest believer in Christ may rejoice in the anticipation of sharing God’s glory some day.
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« Reply #4647 on: September 06, 2017, 05:01:26 PM »

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Growing Old Gracefully
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


Scripture Reference:

    “Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.”
    — I Timothy 5:1,2

The Apostle Paul deals with many different types of relationships in his epistles, but perhaps the most delicate relationship is with those who are older in years. Like the seasons of the year, each of us gradually grow older until we find ourselves in the winter of our lives. The first 70 years are normally filled with vim and vigor as we fulfill the desires of our heart. But if by reason of strength we survive beyond this point the Scriptures indicate that the days ahead are going to be filled with labor and sorrow. Labor, in the sense that even the mundane things of life, such as rising from a chair, becomes burdensome.

To complicate matters further, sorrow surrounds us like a tattered garment as death robs us of those we love. Little wonder that Paul admonishes us to esteem the senior members of the Body of Christ as fathers and mothers. Their plight deserves our sensitivity and their years of experience our respect. Furthermore, it will serve us well to remember that someday soon we will be the patriarch or matriarch.

In Ecclesiastes wise old Solomon, stricken in years himself, describes the aging process that creeps up on us like the leopard that stalks its prey.

    “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them” (Eccl. 12:1).

Someday the grim reaper will stand at the foot of our deathbed and the “mourners [will] go about the streets” whispering: Has he passed on? Beloved, there are thousands of ways to leave this earthly tabernacle, but perhaps the most common today is when the “pitcher is broken at the fountain.” In short, a fatal heart attack.

    “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (vs. 7).

The sting of death is sin, but thanks be unto God that Christ died for our sins thereby removing its sting. Thus, according to Paul’s epistles death is merely a passage way into eternal life for all those who believe (I Cor. 15:55-57; Heb. 2:14,15). No one looks forward to growing old, but hopefully we will do so gracefully and with dignity. As they say: “There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.” The blood of Christ is our eternal life insurance policy which has a rider guaranteeing our future resurrection!
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« Reply #4648 on: September 07, 2017, 05:37:45 PM »

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Faith Amnesia
by Pastor Kevin Sadler


    “Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread…And when Jesus knew it, He saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread?…When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto Him, Twelve. And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. And He said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?” (Mark 8:14a,17a,19-21).

John W. Moore is credited with saying, “Age hasn’t affected my memory a bit. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I forgot something.” 1 When reading the four Gospels, sometimes one has to wonder if the disciples suffered from memory loss. They definitely experienced faith amnesia.

Mark 6:31-44 is the account of the Lord feeding the five thousand by multiplying five loaves and two fishes. In Mark 8:1-9, they were again in the wilderness with a great multitude of four thousand men present. In Mark 8:2, the Lord said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with Me three days, and have nothing to eat.” In response to this, you’d think the disciples would’ve said, “Lord, simple, just do that miracle again and multiply and create some loaves and fishes like You did the last time!”

Instead they say, “From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?” (Mark 8:4). In other words, “Where could anyone find enough bread in this wilderness? Where could we possibly go in this desolate place to find food to satisfy all these people?” They’re immediately frustrated and dismayed at the impossible task of feeding such a crowd. They’re telling the Lord what He knew, that this was a barren area. Cities were far away. There weren’t even villages nearby. Finding food for this many people just wasn’t feasible nor realistic.

The disciples had already seen Christ feed an even greater crowd, but they were still at a loss when a similar problem arose. We can’t be too hard on them though, because we do the exact same thing. We forget what the Lord has done for us in the past, and we doubt, and our faith gives way when difficult circumstances come into our lives. 14 Berean Searchlight The disciples had to be taught and learn the same lesson again, that of recognizing their own insufficiency in an impossible situation, and their need to depend on the Lord. We often get faith amnesia and are thick-skulled like this. We too have to learn the same lesson over and over again before it gets through to us in our Christian lives.

After the Lord multiplied the loaves and fishes and fed the four thousand, it gets even more amazing and somewhat humorous as you read on in Mark 8. While leaving to cross the Sea of Galilee again, the Lord began telling them to beware of the leaven (or corrupting doctrine) of the Pharisees and of Herod, causing the disciples to be reminded that they had forgotten to bring bread except for the one loaf they had with them. These same disciples, who had barely gotten done handing out the multiplied bread to the four thousand, started worrying and whispering among themselves, saying that the Lord spoke of leaven because they hadn’t brought enough bread (Mark 8:13-16). Perceiving their discussion and thoughts, in Matthew’s account, the Lord incredulously asks, “O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?” (16:8.).

He then asked them, “Don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of pieces did you pick up?” They sheepishly replied, “Twelve.” “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many baskets full of leftovers did you pick up?” They awkwardly admitted, “Seven.” So He said to them, “How is it that ye do not understand?” (Mark 8:21). Or, “How is it that you don’t get it yet? You don’t have to worry about bread. Just trust Me.”

God had intervened miraculously and worked in their lives, but when the next difficult issue arose, their current situation and problem overwhelmed them, and the past goodness and working of God in their lives were then forgotten. They struggled with the idea that Christ could supply their needs and provide for them. They struggled with remembering what God had done for them in the past and that He is willing and able. They simply struggled with just trusting Him. And truthfully, we too all struggle with these things at one time or another in our Christian lives. Admitting that our faith always has room for growth is important for God, by His Word and the circumstances of our lives, to “perfect that which is lacking in your faith” (1 Thes. 3:10). May we have the same honesty of the man who pleaded for the deliverance of his demon-possessed son: “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

Notes:

1    John W. Moore, from the website of Kent Crockett, accessed December 4, 2016, www. kentcrockett.com/cgi-bin/illustrations/index.cgi?topic=Forgetting
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« Reply #4649 on: September 08, 2017, 04:26:56 PM »

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Repentance And Grace
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


When the sinner is convicted by the Holy Spirit of the seriousness of sin and of judgment to come, and cries to the Lord to save him, he has, of course, repented, or changed his mind, as the Greek word signifies. Many of God’s servants, however, considering only the fact that sinners need such a change of mind, conclude that the way to produce the greatest results in their ministry is to stress repentance.

Such should take note of the response to the three great calls to repentance by which the dispensation of the Law was brought to a close: John the Baptist called Israel to repentance but was beheaded as a result (Matt.3:1-12; 14:3-10). The Lord Jesus took up the cry where John had left off (4:17), but was crucified for it. After the resurrection He sent His disciples to preach “repentance and remission of sin…in His name” (Luke 24:47) but Jerusalem refused to repent and it was not long before blood again flowed, as Stephen was stoned to death and a great persecution followed (Acts 8:3).

The guilt of Israel’s impenitence increased too, as the call to repentance was intensified, for while John’s murder was permitted by the people, Christ’s was demanded by them, and Stephen’s was actually committed by them. Thus the so-called “Great Commission” was bogged down at the very start, for if Jerusalem and the covenant people refused to repent, what hope was there that the “nations”(Luke 24:47) would do so?

    “But where sin abounded, GRACE did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might GRACE reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom.5:20,21).

After calls to repentance had failed, the ascended Lord stooped down to save Saul, the chief of sinners, on the road to Damascus, in anything but a repentant mood. Not by threatening or dealing with him in judgment, but by speaking to him in the tenderest tones He showed him the glory of His grace. This “trophy of grace” was then sent forth to proclaim “the gospel of grace”, and the merits of his crucified, glorified Lord.

This is why repentance was emphasized, indeed was the theme of God’s message, from John until Paul, while grace, proclaimed through the cross and received by faith, gradually displaced it as the theme of God’s message for “this present evil age” (Acts 20:24).
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