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nChrist
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« Reply #4650 on: September 09, 2017, 03:31:50 PM »

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Christian Conduct
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


A man’s conduct, in Scripture, is called his “walk”! The Bible has much to say about how we walk, morally and spiritually. Many “walk after their own lusts” (II Pet. 3:3) and “walk in darkness” (John 12:35). Some even “walk in craftiness” (II Cor. 4:2) trying to lead others astray. Indeed, even Christian believers are sometimes careless about their “walk” and so cause others to stumble.

Every true child of God should be very careful about his walk, or conduct. In Eph. 2:8-10 we read that while believers are not saved by good works, they are saved “unto good works.” God’s grace is the root of our salvation, and good works are the fruit.

Sincere believers in Christ are counted as one with Him, and it is expected of us that “as Christ was raised up from the dead” after having died for our sins, “even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).

Christians are exhorted in the Bible to “walk worthy of the Lord, unto all pleasing” (Col. 1:10), to “walk in the spirit” that they might not “fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). They are exhorted to “walk worthy of [their] calling” (Eph. 4:1), to “walk in the light” (I John 1:7) and to “walk as children of the light” (Eph. 5:8.). They are exhorted to “walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise” (Eph. 5:15), to “walk honestly” (Rom. 13:13), to “walk in love” (Eph. 5:2) and to “walk by faith, not by sight” (II Cor. 5:7).

Much more is said about the believer’s walk in the Bible, but never are we told that it is our “walk,” or conduct, that makes us acceptable for salvation. Our failing, stumbling ways could never earn salvation for us. On the contrary we are exhorted to walk pleasing to the Lord out of sheer gratitude to Him.
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« Reply #4651 on: September 10, 2017, 05:43:24 PM »

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Good Works
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Millions of people are striving to make themselves acceptable to God by good works. Such people can never be sure of salvation, for the simple reason that they can never be sure whether they have done enough good works or whether they have done them in the right way. Some suppose that heaven can be won if our good works outweigh our evil works, but this does not make sense either, for good works are what all of us ought to do and even one evil deed would prevent a just and holy God from justifying us or admitting us into His presence.

Let’s not put the cart before the horse. God does expect good works from His children but not as payment for salvation, for eternal life and glory could not possibly be bought at any price. “Christ Jesus came into the world,” says the Apostle Paul, “to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15). Then, having saved them by grace, He expects them to do good works out of gratitude.

It is interesting to compare Titus 3:5 with Titus 3:8:
    Titus 3:5:”NOT BY WORKS of righteousness which we have done, but ACCORDING TO HIS MERCY HE SAVED US.”

    Titus 3:8:” …these things I will that thou affirm constantly, THAT THEY WHICH HAVE BELIEVED IN GOD MIGHT BE CAREFUL TO MAINTAIN GOOD WORKS. …”

Faith is the root; good works the fruit. Thus we read in Eph. 2:8-10:

    “For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
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« Reply #4652 on: September 11, 2017, 05:06:03 PM »

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The Incarnation of Christ
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


Historically, it is a well-established fact that Jesus of Nazareth was born in Bethlehem in the days of Herod the King. Matthew and Luke record our Lord’s arrival with remarkable simplicity that even a child can understand. But it is the Apostle to the Gentiles who explains the significance of the incarnation of Christ.

According to Paul

When Christ left heaven’s glory, He as God, emptied Himself of the outward manifestation of His attributes. It was essential that the Lord veil the glory of His deity so sinful humanity could exist in His presence.

—Philippians 2:6,7

Christ’s entrance into the world was through natural means like any other birth. He was born of the woman that He might accomplish the great work of redemption.

—Galatians 4:4,5

Our Lord humbled Himself by stepping into a sinless human form so that He might experience all the trials and temptations we encounter. Therefore, He took upon Himself the form of a servant that He might minister to others.

—Philippians 2:7,8

Into this pure, sinless vessel was poured our sins and iniquities. As a result, He was made sin for us so that His righteousness might be imputed to us.

—II Corinthians 5:21

The Manger and the Cross stand at the opposite ends of our Lord’s earthly life, but they are uniquely connected by a special revelation given to Paul that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” It has been said, “Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born, if He’s not born in you, your soul is still forlorn.”

Although tradition often overshadows the truth, may God, in His infinite grace, use us as instruments to show a lost and dying world the Way, which is Christ Jesus.
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« Reply #4653 on: September 12, 2017, 04:21:08 PM »

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Your Labor Is Not In Vain in the Lord -- Or Is It?
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Cor. 15:58.).

Many years ago, my good friend Pastor John Fredericksen gave me a plaque engraved with this text, a plaque that sits on my desk here at Berean Bible Society to this day. As I labor for the Lord, it is such an encouragement to me to know that, no matter what, my labor is not in vain in the Lord.

But if that be so, why did Paul tell the Galatians,

    “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain” (Gal. 4:10,11).

And what about what the apostle told the Philippians:

    “Do all things without murmurings and disputings…that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Phil. 2:14-16).

And don’t we find the same thought in I Thessalonians 3:5?

    “…I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.”

If it was possible that Paul’s labor for the Lord might have been in vain, how could he tell the Corinthians that their labor could not be? How could the labor of a godly apostle be in vain, but not the labor of the carnal Corinthians?

We believe the answer is found in the context of the verse, where right before telling the Corinthians that their labor was not in vain, Paul spoke to them about the Rapture (I Cor. 15:51-57). In that day, when we stand before the Lord at the Judgment Seat of Christ, no believer’s labor will be in vain, for all of our labor for Him will be richly rewarded.

And so it is that, if the Galatians persisted in their legalism, if the Philippians continued to do things with murmurings and disputings, if the Thessalonians abandoned the faith, Paul’s labor among them would have been in vain in this life, but not in the next life! And if you are feeling discouraged about your labor for the Lord because people whom you have led to Him have departed from the faith, or believers to whom you’ve introduced the grace message have turned their back on that blessed truth, you too can rejoice that your labor is not in vain in the Lord!
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« Reply #4654 on: September 16, 2017, 04:41:11 PM »

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Paul's Two Roman Imprisonments
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


Scripture Reading:

    “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.”
    — II Timothy 4:6-8

Approximately two years after being delivered into the hands of Roman authorities things had apparently gone well for the apostle, therefore he anticipated his soon release from prison. Thus he writes to the church at Philippi: “For I know that this [their prayer for his release] shall turn to my salvation [deliverance from prison]” (Phil. 1:9).

We believe that Paul did in fact enjoy a short period of freedom which enabled him to continue his apostolic journeys. We know, for example, that according to the Acts record the apostle never visited Crete on any of his previous apostolic journeys. Paul did sail around the island on his way to Rome as a prisoner, but it was not until his release from his first Roman imprisonment that he actually visited Crete. The apostle’s brief stay on the island was long enough to see that the churches there were in a state of chaos (Titus 1:10-16). Consequently, Paul leaves Titus behind, his companion in travel, “to set in order the things that were wanting” (Titus 1:5).

Probably from Crete Paul made his way to Corinth where he writes to Titus to inform him that he planned to winter in Nicopolis (Titus 3:12). It could well be that the apostle was apprehended at Nicopolis and taken again to Rome for preaching Christ. This time however, the sentence would go against him. So without hesitation he writes to Timothy, since it was nearing winter, to bring his cloak and also the Parchments (II Tim. 4:13).
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« Reply #4655 on: September 16, 2017, 04:42:18 PM »

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Spiritual Aristocracy
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


Pastor Stam used to call the Bereans “the spiritual aristocracy of their day” because they “received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:10,11). Knowing that he was a wordsmith who chose his words carefully, I looked up “aristocracy,” and sure enough, one of the definitions is, “those who rise above the rest of the community in any important respect, as in wealth, knowledge, character, etc.”

I thought of all this when I recently came across Proverbs 25:2 again in my daily Bible reading:

    “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.”

It was truly the glory of God that He could conceal the Mystery from the devil. After all, it was said of the Antichrist, “thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee” (Ezek. 28:3), an arrogance he will learn from his master. Since that was Satan’s boast as well, imagine how humiliated he was when Paul went forth heralding “the mystery of the gospel” (Eph. 6:19), the secret of the gospel, and he learned that the Cross he thought spelled his greatest victory was actually the thing God would use to rescue sinners from his clutches!

Then, as the apostle began to unfold “the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles” (Col. 1:27), how Satan must have gasped as God’s secret plan to reclaim the rule of the heavens from the “spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12) caused him to realize that there was a secret that had been hidden from him, one that spelled his complete defeat! No wonder Paul concludes his greatest chapter on the mystery by saying of the Father who concealed this matter, “unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus” (Eph. 3:21).

But while it is the glory of God that He could conceal such a great thing, “the honour of kings is to search out a matter.” You may not be a kingpin in the world, but you prove yourself to be part of the spiritual aristocracy of your day when you search out the depths of the mystery that God concealed from Satan so effectively since before the world began. What an honor it is to plumb the depths of this great truth, and to “be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of that which “passeth knowledge” (Eph. 3:18,19), “that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”
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« Reply #4656 on: September 16, 2017, 04:43:34 PM »

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Living a Dedicated Christian Life
by Pastor John Fredericksen


Why do missionaries leave their families and native country to labor in distant lands?  Why do Christian workers (teachers, secretaries, etc.) labor in ministries instead of working in higher paying positions in the world?  Why do most believers cheerfully give from their income to the local church when they could spend it on things of pleasure?  Why do Sunday School and Bible teachers sacrifice their time to prepare for their ministry to the saints instead of using that time for leisure?  Why do so many believers make it a priority to set aside time to consistently be in Bible class, the preaching hour, and mid-week prayer and study services when they could choose to spend this time at work or play?

The answer to the above questions is found in II Corinthians 4:18: “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.”  You see, a truly spiritually minded believer does NOT simply live for this life alone.  Instead, he weighs his present actions and choices from a heavenly and eternal perspective of gain or loss.  He is able to look at today’s time, ministry, finances, and choices as an opportunity to invest in eternal future reward, and he is motivated to do so with consistency, diligence, and joy.

How have you been looking at your life?  Have you been only looking at the “things which are seen,” or have you been looking at, and valuing most highly, the things which are eternal?  This may be a good day to change focus and priority.
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« Reply #4657 on: September 16, 2017, 04:44:55 PM »

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You Can't Get By With This
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


One of Pastor Stam’s favorite jokes went something like this:

Teacher: “Johnny, what’s the difference between a pronoun and a preposition?”

Johnny: “Yeah, that’s what I say, what’s the difference!”

Despite Johnny’s indifference, we know there is a great deal of difference between pronouns and prepositions! These parts of speech are important, especially when it comes to Bible study. For instance, Pastor Stam once wrote:

    “Not once does Paul in his epistles teach that members of the Body of Christ are baptized with or in the Spirit.”

In response to this, we sometimes get letters asking about this verse:

    “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…” (I Cor. 12:13).

But a close look will reveal an important difference in the preposition used in each case. The Apostle Paul taught that believers today are baptized “by” the Spirit, but Pastor Stam doesn’t say we’re not baptized by the Spirit, he says we are not baptized “with” the Spirit. No contradiction here!

Speaking of Christ, John the Baptist predicted:

    “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 3:11).

This prophecy was fulfilled at Pentecost, where “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues” (Acts 2:4). It is important to notice that Christ is the Baptizer here, and that He baptized people with the Spirit. This is often confused with I Corinthians 12:13, but in this passage the Spirit is the Baptizer, baptizing people into the Body. That’s quite different than what happened at Pentecost, where the Lord was the Baptizer, baptizing people with the Spirit, enabling them to speak in tongues.

This explains why believers today are not able to speak in languages they never studied, as they did at Pentecost, for we do not have their baptism. But if we do not have their baptism, we must also conclude that at Pentecost they did not have our baptism. That is, we are not baptized by Christ with the Spirit, and they were not baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ.

We realize this runs contrary to the common teaching that the Church began at Pentecost, where it is said that believers were first baptized into the Body, but we believe the difference in prepositions used in these passages is just one of many evidences that the Body of Christ began later, with the raising up of Paul.

You just can’t get by with mixing with and by!
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« Reply #4658 on: September 17, 2017, 04:39:08 PM »

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A Pauline Doxology!
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


A doxology is an expression of praise to God that is sometimes sung as a short hymn. Perhaps the most famous doxology is the Latin hymn Gloria in excelsis Deo, which is Latin for “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14). When I was a boy, I sang this doxology as part of a Christmas music program at my public school. To help us remember how to pronounce the title, my music teacher said, “If someone were throwing egg shells at you, you would naturally cry out, ‘Egg Shells Cease!’” Now that’s the sign of a good teacher. She helped me remember how to pronounce a Latin phrase fifty years later!

After confessing to being the chief of sinners (I Tim. 1:15) and discussing the “mercy” and “longsuffering” that the Lord exhibited in saving him (v. 16), the Apostle Paul naturally broke out in a doxology all his own!

    “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (I Timothy 1:17).

In the context, “the King” here must be the “Him” of the previous verse, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is described as “eternal” (cf. Micah 5:2) and “immortal,” a word which means to be incapable of dying. Of course! “Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more!” (Rom. 6:9). The Lord wasn’t “invisible” when He was here on earth, but now in Heaven He is invisible in the same sense as God the Father, who said, “there shall no man see Me, and live” (Ex. 33:20). But that doesn’t mean our blessed Savior will be invisible to us when we get to Heaven, for in that day we will have “put on immortality” (I Cor. 15:53,54), and you will be able to gaze into the Savior’s face to your heart’s content. He is also “only wise” (cf. Jude 1:25), but not in the sense that the Father is not also “only wise” (Rom. 16:27), but only in the sense that He is the only wise God among the other “gods” mentioned in Scripture (I Cor. 8:5).

When Paul draws this doxology to a close by insisting that to Him “be honour and glory for ever and ever,” this brings us full circle back to the reason the apostle began praising God in the first place, for “worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive… honour, and glory” (Rev. 5:12). All of the Lord’s other attributes are wonderful, but this is the crown jewel of this and every other doxology.

If you are looking forward to joining the choir who are singing that doxology, don’t overlook that they are singing it to “a Lamb as it had been slain” (v. 6). This indicates that the Lord still bears the open wounds He invited Thomas to touch (John 20:27), wounds He will bear for all eternity so we never forget the price He paid for our redemption. It is wonderful to sing of gazing into the face of the Lord, but it takes our breath away to remember that His face will still be “marred more than any man” (Isa. 52:14). As Isaac Watts wrote, “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”
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« Reply #4659 on: September 18, 2017, 04:05:11 PM »

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Living To The Glory Of God
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (I Cor. 10:31).

This is the great guiding principle of the Christian life.

The Apostle Paul points out in the preceding context that what may be perfectly right for one person to do may trouble another’s conscience. The sincere and gracious believer, therefore, will not carelessly violate his brother’s conscientious scruples, offending him by indulging in that which he considers wrong. In Paul’s day, this particularly involved the foods of which men partook, but from both Romans 14 and I Corinthians 10 it is evident that Christian conduct in general is involved.

If, in my daily conduct, I consider not only my own, but also my brother’s conscience, it does not follow from this that I am disobeying Gal. 5:1, failing to “stand fast… in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.” True, I have no right to give up my blood-bought liberty, but I do have liberty to give up my rights. This the world about us is slow to do, but it is one of the signs of true regeneration.

My aim in life should not be to gratify my own desires, much less to show up my brother’s weaknesses by vaunting my liberty in Christ. My one aim should rather be to glorify God in all I say and do.

All this, of course, has to do only with the conduct of believers in Christ. The unbeliever can do nothing to the glory of God. His very rejection of Christ is a continual offense to God who, in love, gave His Son to die in our place. The only way in which the unbeliever can honor God is to turn from his unbelief and trust Christ as Savior and Lord.
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« Reply #4660 on: September 19, 2017, 11:51:42 PM »

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Maker Of The Universe

by F. W. Pitt


The Maker of the universe
as Man, for man, was made a curse.

The claims of Law which He had made,
unto the uttermost He paid.

His holy fingers made the bough,
which grew the thorns that crowned His brow.

The nails that pierced His hands were mined
in secret places He designed.

He made the forest whence there sprung
the tree on which His body hung.

He died upon a cross of wood,
yet made the hill on which it stood.

The sky that darkened o’er His head,
by Him above the earth was spread.

The sun that hid from Him its face
by His decree was poised in space.

The spear which spilled His precious blood
was tempered in the fires of God.

The grave in which His form was laid
was hewn in rocks His hands had made.

The throne on which He now appears
was His for everlasting years.

But a new glory crowns His brow
and every knee to Him shall bow.
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« Reply #4661 on: September 20, 2017, 03:49:24 PM »

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A New Body
by Pastor John Fredericksen


The older we get, the more our bodies wear out and are filled with aches and pains. It reminds us of our heavenly home, and helps prepare us for the time when we step into eternity. In the fall of 2013, a dear saint in our assembly was having increasingly severe health problems. One day he stood and said to us all: “Enjoy your aches and pains now because one day soon we will be with the Savior in heaven. There we will be given new heavenly bodies. We will have no pain, no sorrow and no death. A glorious future awaits us. Rejoice in this.”

The above expectation is right on target. When John the Apostle explained the physical eternal state, he wrote, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2). Gospel accounts of our resurrected Savior describe Him with a body similar in appearance to His previous state. We would surely expect that as God Himself, the Savior no longer experienced any pain. Revelation 21:4 confirms this when it refers to the eternal state of the kingdom saints. John wrote, “And God shall wipe away all tears…there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.” The Apostle Paul explains there will be vast differences in our new eternal body. It will be a “celestial” body (I Cor. 15:38-40), meaning it will fitted by God to thrive in the atmosphere of the heavens. In contrast to our physical bodies that are weak, degenerating and eventually corrupt, our new bodies will be “raised in incorruption…glory…power…[and as] a spiritual body” (I Cor. 15:42-44). Paul continues his explanation by saying: “…flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God…behold I show you a mystery…we shall all be changed” (I Cor. 15:50-51). To summarize our change he says, “…as we have born the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (I Cor. 15:49).

Whenever you get weighed down with physical pain, remember, one day our Lord is going to give us new bodies without weakness or pain. Believe it, rejoice in it and look forward to it with thanksgiving. Keep looking up for His return in expectation and faithfulness until He comes.
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« Reply #4662 on: September 21, 2017, 04:01:49 PM »

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Will We Also Go Away?
by Pastor Kevin Sadler


In 2010, after attending a Bible conference in West Virginia, our family went to visit New York City. Pastor Dennis Kiszonas graciously offered to be our guide for a tour of the city. Since we were staying in New Jersey with a dear friend, I asked Pastor Kiszonas if we could stop by Star of Hope Mission in nearby Paterson before going into the city. Pastor Cornelius R. Stam spent much of his childhood working at this mission with his father, Peter, who founded it in 1913. In that day, missionaries and well-known preachers came to Star of Hope and faithfully preached the Word with clarity and authority. Many were saved through this ministry’s zeal for the Word of God and the unadulterated gospel of grace.

Arriving at the mission and going through the front door, I noticed a picture of Peter Stam prominently displayed in the foyer. However, right away I could see that the mission was no longer about proclaiming the Word of God. It had become a mission which was meeting only the community’s need for food and clothing. While this is admirable, how much more important are the spiritual needs of the soul? Star of Hope had been founded to preach the Word with a burden for the salvation of souls, but they’ve turned away from this original purpose to focus on meeting physical needs. In old pictures we have here at BBS, around the auditorium of Star of Hope were Bible verses painted at the top of the walls, verses such as Hebrews 2:3: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation.” As we toured the building, we saw boxes of food and clothing stacked high, blocking those verses and making them barely visible.

It reminded me how, over time, a ministry can lose sight of its primary purpose and how easy it is for other things and programs to take the place of what is most important: the eternal destiny of souls and the Word of God. What about the ministry you’re involved with? Is the gospel of the grace of God and preaching the Word, rightly divided, the main purpose? When many of the Lord’s followers left Him during His earthly ministry, He asked the twelve, “Will ye also go away?” (John 6:67). Will we also go away from the Lord in His heavenly ministry and from the things that matter most to Him? May it never be.
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« Reply #4663 on: September 22, 2017, 03:39:56 PM »

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God's Unconditional Love
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


    “But God commendeth [directed] His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8.).

We often hear couples speak of their love for one another after years of marriage, but there is a greater and deeper love—the love of God. The above is perhaps one of the most profound verses in the Word of God. It is amazing when we consider that God has directed His love toward us. But in what way did He do so? The answer is found in the very next statement: “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” In other words, when we were in total rebellion against God, dead in trespasses and sins, and shouting profanities in the face of God out of hatred for Him, God intervened to provide a way of salvation. In unconditional love, He sent His Son, the Son of His love, to die for His enemies—you and me!

God has made a provision for all, but only those who place their faith in the finished work Christ at Calvary will be saved from their sins. You see, God will not accept your good works for salvation. The Word of God could not be clearer on the matter: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5). Perhaps you are wondering: “What must I do to be saved?” It is simply this: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that He died for your sins, and rose again (I Cor. 15:3,4). The moment you trust Christ as your personal Savior, all of your sins will be forgiven, and God will grant you the free gift of eternal life.

God loves you; Christ died to save you; what more could He do for you? Trust Him today before it’s too late. Believe me when I say, you do not want to leave this life without Christ. To do so will leave you with an eternity of regret, because there are no second chances beyond the veil of death—it’s now or never! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and God will save you wonderfully by His grace. But the good news does not end here; He will also give you a new life in Christ!
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« Reply #4664 on: September 23, 2017, 01:02:52 PM »

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Don't Pay Attention To Stories
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “Neither give heed to fables…” (1 Tim. 1:4)

As the present-day English reader comes upon the word “fables” in the Authorized Version, he is apt to think of Aesop’s Fables, but these were illustrations, while the original word muthois means simply stories, including stories of imagined incidents or events.

There are two types of stories that have exerted an amazing influence upon twentieth century Christendom. One is the novel, the other the promotional story. In considering the above passage, this writer examined the contents of the popular Christian periodicals coming to his desk and was astonished to find how many of them were largely filled with fiction and with stories written to promote projects or viewpoints. The Apostle says about such stories that they raise questions but do not answer them, for stories really prove nothing. This is also true of many Christian films.

Many Christian novels have indeed exerted a savory influence upon their readers — when they have been founded upon Scriptural truths and principles. Obviously, however, an author can make his novel “prove” exactly what he wishes to prove, for the novel involves us in a world of make-believe. Thus a novel can be dangerous to Christian faith and practice.

The promotional story holds, perhaps, an even more prominent place in our popular Christian magazines. No one can object to factual reports of what God has wrought, but too many of these stories are nothing more than promotional efforts. Many of these “success stories” are so successful that thoughtful readers question their validity and are apt to lay them aside without even finishing them. Less discerning readers, however, are often deeply moved by them.

We are well aware that our objections are not popular, but we are not trying to be popular; we are trying to help sincere Christians find their way back, step by step, to renewed spiritual power. This power has been too long frittered away by substituting the will of man for the Word of God.
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