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nChrist
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« Reply #4695 on: October 24, 2017, 05:10:55 PM »

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Two Aspects of Christian Liberty
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


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

The true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ enjoys glorious liberty, and our Lord Himself said that there are no strings attached… “Ye shall be free indeed,” free even from the most oppressive of all slave masters: sin. While the Law never saved one man from sin, the Lord Jesus, by His death on Calvary did, for we read that “Christ died for our sins.”

Therefore the Apostle wrote by divine inspiration: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1). His letters thunder severe rebukes against believers who “desire to be under the law.” To the Colossian Christians he wrote:

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

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

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

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

    “…Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth” (Rom. 14:22).
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« Reply #4696 on: October 25, 2017, 05:57:37 PM »

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It Is I
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid” (Mark 6:50).

They thought they had seen a ghost!

Already bone-weary from “toiling and rowing” against a “contrary” wind, and still “in the midst of the sea” though the night was far gone, they saw something in the distance that frightened them even more than the storm itself.

It was a ghost — they thought — and a chilling fear gripped them as they were made to face something they had never experienced before. At first, doubtless, they were petrified, gripped with unspeakable terror. Then they “cried out” and in response came the reassuring voice of their own blessed Master and Lord: “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid”. The grim specter that had filled them with stark dread had turned out to be the Lord Himself, the One whom they loved more deeply than any other on earth. See their faces! Looks of terror have given way now to looks of relief and joy. Their faces now are wreathed in smiles.

What a lesson for God’s people in times of crisis! When caught in the grip of unspeakable fear, unable to face what seems to lie ahead, it is infinitely blessed to hear His voice, saying, “It is I“; not merely “I am here too”, but “it is I”. “I am in this trouble you fear to face. Indeed, it is I you will find in all your troubles if you will look at them more closely.”

Those who are so careless as to confuse the believer’s standing with his condition and experience should take note that it is Paul, the one who writes of our position in the heavenlies, who says in his very last epistle and in its very last chapter: “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me… Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me…” (II Tim. 4:16,17).

It was a frightening experience to have to stand as a Christian before the wicked monster, Nero. And standing there alone, forsaken by all, served to add hopelessness to fear. Ah, but in his darkest hour “the Lord stood with him, and strengthened him”. Yes, Paul knew something of this, and so might we when crises alarm us. So might we hear those encouraging, comforting words: “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid”.
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« Reply #4697 on: October 26, 2017, 04:45:32 PM »

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The Pauline Authority Of The Local Church
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19).

By the time the Lord spoke these words to Peter, He knew from the reaction of the religious leaders in Israel that they were not going to accept Him as their Messiah, but were rather going to kill Him. Hence we see Him here preparing for His death by giving Peter the power and authority to act in an official capacity in His absence. This power was then expanded to include a quorum of two of the twelve apostles (Matt. 18:18,19). We see the apostles exercising this authority in the early chapters of the Book of Acts.

However, the authority the Lord gave the twelve apostles had to do with authority in the “kingdom” church (Matt. 16:19), and we know that God interrupted the kingdom program after the stoning of Stephen. The Apostle Paul was then given the “authority” to act in an official capacity in the Lord’s absence during the dispensation of grace (II Cor. 10:8.). This authority was then passed on through Paul’s epistles to the local church. Note Paul’s words in I Corinthians 5:

    “For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present…”

    “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 5:3,4).

Here the Corinthians are assured that when they broke fellowship with the man living in open and unabashed sin (v. 1,2,13), they would be doing so in the “spirit” of the Apostle Paul. That is, they could be sure that the decision of their local church would carry with it his apostolic authority and “the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We see this principle again in II Corinthians 2:10:

    “To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also; for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ.”

Here we find Paul claiming to be acting “in the person of Christ,” i.e., with His power and authority. And we also see him telling the Corinthians that when they acted, they acted in his authority, and in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

All of this is especially significant when we remember that Paul says these words to the Corinthians, the most carnal church to whom he wrote. Thus we know that the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ today resides in the humblest local church that recognizes the authority of the Apostle Paul in the present dispensation.
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« Reply #4698 on: October 27, 2017, 04:55:00 PM »

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The Death Of The Cross
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


There are four words which every one of us should consider in connection with Christ’s death at Calvary if we would fully appreciate what our Savior did for us there.

CRUCIFIXION

It is doubtful whether man has ever conceived a more cruel and humiliating way to execute even the vilest criminals. The physical agony alone must have been horrible beyond comprehension. The criminal was nailed to a tree and left to hang there, writhing in the most intense pain until, fevers wracking his body, he died. And then think of the humiliation as he hung there, stripped and naked, to suffer shame and disgrace before the public gaze. Little wonder Phil. 2:8 says that Christ humbled Himself to become obedient “unto death, even the death of the cross.”

SUBSTITUTION

We have not even begun to understand the cross if we do not understand that Christ died there as our Substitute, paying for our sins.

    “Christ died for our sins” (I Cor. 15:3). “His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24).

REPRESENTATION

But Christ was more than our Substitute; He was our voluntary Representative at Calvary. He had taken on Himself human form that He might represent man before God and die as Man for men.

    “As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment, so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many…” (Heb. 9:27, 28.).

    “[He] was made… lower than the angels… that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb. 2:9).

IDENTIFICATION

It follows from this that if Christ represented me at Calvary, He became identified with me there, and I am identified with Him as I accept this by faith. Hence Paul exclaims:

    “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
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« Reply #4699 on: October 28, 2017, 04:21:50 PM »

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Three Causes of Depression
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


Sin: When Cain failed to bring the acceptable blood sacrifice that God
required, “his countenance fell.” He descended into a state of depression
due to his disobedience. The Lord confronted Cain to do what was right!
In other words, bring the proper sacrifice and he would be accepted, but
if he refused to do so, “sin lieth at the door,” that is, crouching at the door
to consume him with guilt. Disobedience and unaddressed sin in a life
can be one of the causes of depression.

Satanic Attack: After Elijah’s incredible triumph at Mt. Carmel over the
prophets of Baal, Jezebel vowed to hunt him down and kill him. Since
this was no idle threat, Elijah fled for his life. On the lam, he sat down
under a juniper tree and descended into a dark place called depression.
Oftentimes after we experience a great victory for the Lord, Satan will
cause a shadow of melancholy to come over us. Many of the past giants
of the faith, who made major inroads into the kingdom of darkness, were
afflicted with bouts of depression.

Medical: Sometimes depression is a medical condition, which can be
caused by any number of reasons: biological differences, brain chemistry
(neurotransmitters interaction with neurocircuits), hormones, family
history, etc. If you suffer with clinical depression, it should not be taken
lightly. Consult your family doctor as soon as possible. There are many
very effective medications today that can help you live a normal life.
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« Reply #4700 on: October 29, 2017, 03:43:58 PM »

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God's Starter House
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “Jacob… lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night… and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows… And he dreamed, and… awaked out of his sleep, and… said… this is none other than the house of God” (Genesis 28:10-17).

And you thought your starter house was humble! At least you had a roof over your head and pleasant amenities like walls, doors and windows. As you can see, the first house that God chose to call home here on earth had none of those luxuries! As a result, the first houseguest of the Almighty slept outdoors on the ground with rocks to serve as his pillows.

God’s next house was a little more substantial, but fairly small by our standards. We speak, of course, of the ark of the covenant. At 1.5 x 1.5 x 2.5 cubits (Exodus 25:10), it could easily be featured on the popular television show Tiny House Nation. We know it was a mobile home, for it led God’s people through the wilderness, and we later read about something that happened “all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh” (Judges 18:31).

When God finally decided to settle down, He chose to put down roots in the land of Israel, where “Solomon…built the house of the Lord in Jerusalem” (I Chronicles 6:32). This is a reference to the magnificent temple that King Solomon built for God, of course. And it was into this new house of God that they brought the old house of God, when “the priests brought in the ark…into the most holy place” (II Chronicles 5:7). The temple then became the big house of God, with the little house of God inside, a more appropriate home for the God of all creation.

But this house-within-a-house is nothing compared to the living arrangements God has today. The “fearfully and wonderfully made” 1 physical body of every believer “is the temple of the Holy Ghost” (I Corinthians 6:19). But “the house of God” today is also the local church (I Tim. 3:15), the gathering of God’s people together in a local assembly. But as impressive as some of these local assemblies are, they pale in comparison to “the church, which is His Body” (Ephesians 1:22,23), a church made up of all believers found everywhere around the world. Thus today God dwells in a house-within-a-house-within-a-house. Now that’s a great house!

“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour” (II Timothy 2:20). Which are you? If your house is not in order, maybe it’s time to do a little housecleaning. “Dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (II Corinthians 7:1). God’s starter house was pretty humble, but with a little spiritual elbow grease you can make your body a house that brings Him great glory. And together we can improve our local churches to the point where “the church, which is His Body” will exceed Solomon’s temple, as far as the sun exceeds the moon, in bringing glory to God!

Notes:

1    Psalm 139:14
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« Reply #4701 on: October 30, 2017, 04:52:13 PM »

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Standing Whatever The Cost
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


When the Babylonian multitudes prostrated themselves in worship before the golden god which Nebuchadnezzar had erected, three young Hebrews refused to bow and remained standing, erect and alone.

When called before Nebuchadnezzar to answer for their impudence and threatened with death in a fiery furnace, they answered:

    “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us… but if not, be it known unto thee, O King, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Dan. 3:17,18.).

This is the stand every believer should take for God and His truth. He is able to deliver us from persecution if we stand true, but even if He does not see fit to do this we should still stand alone, if necessary, for the light He has given us from His Word.

Many have suffered temporary loss for standing for their convictions. Hebrews 11 lists among the heroes of faith some who were “tortured, not accepting deliverance,” and others who suffered “trial of cruel mockings and scourgings …bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented” (Heb. 11:35-37).

But we read that these all “obtained a good report” before God and looked forward to “a better resurrection” (Vers. 35,39).

As the apostasy rises all about us and those who stand for God’s truth are often ridiculed and despised, may God give us the grace to stand true regardless of the cost, remembering that any sufferings for Christ are only temporary while the rewards will be eternal.
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« Reply #4702 on: October 31, 2017, 04:43:10 PM »

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Are You Sure?
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Would you like to have the knowledge, the assurance and the joy of sins forgiven? Would you like to be sure of heaven?

Well, the first step to heaven is to realize that you cannot get there by trying. You can’t walk there. You can’t climb there. You can’t fly there. Only God can take you there. Many try to earn heaven. They try to climb there on a ladder of good works. They talk about “adding another rung.” But look out for that good works ladder! It’s not anchored at the top and the higher you climb the farther you will fall.

God’s Word says that salvation is “the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9). He is not going to have boasters in heaven — there are enough of them on earth and nobody likes them.

All of us should realize that even the best of us are not good enough for heaven, for “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), but in this same statement the Apostle Paul declares that believers in Christ, who died for our sins, are “justified freely by His [God’s] grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).

    “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).

So, friend, it is not by trying, or crying, or praying, or paying, or doing anything that you will reach heaven: it is only by believing. God says He loves sinners, and that Christ died for our sins. Will you believe this and trust Christ as your Savior? The terms are stated very plainly in John 3:35,36:

    “The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into His hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
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« Reply #4703 on: November 01, 2017, 04:36:59 PM »

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Can The Law Save?
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


This writer does not wear clerical garb, but somehow when he visits a church away from home, someone is apt to step up to him and ask: “Are you by any chance a minister?”

Acts 13 tells how this once happened to Paul and Barnabas. They had entered a synagogue as strangers and simply sat down to listen. After “the reading of the law and the prophets,” however, the leaders of the service sent someone to ask them: “Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on” (Verses 14 and 15). Somehow Paul and Barnabas had been recognized as men of God.

The custom at that time was to read a passage from the Law and then some passages in which the prophets urged the people to observe the Law. This was followed by an exhortation by one or more of the religious leaders present.

Well, Paul did have a word of exhortation for the people, but it would be somewhat of a surprise. Getting to the point of his message, he preached to them Christ and the resurrection, and closed his talk with the words: “Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses”(Verses 38 and 39).

This was the gist of his “exhortation”: Don’t trust in the Law for salvation — trust in Christ, who fulfilled the Law and died for your sins. This makes sense, and it agrees with the Bible as a whole. “By the Law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20): “it was added because of transgressions” (Gal. 3:19): “for as many as are of the works of the Law are under the curse” (Gal. 3:10); but “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law” (Rom. 3:28.).

It should be obvious that the Law can only condemn sinners, but it is also a fact that Christ died for sinners, to save them from the condemnation of the Law. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).
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« Reply #4704 on: November 02, 2017, 05:16:27 PM »

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The Baby Jesus And The Lord Of Glory
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Each year at Christmas-time, the “baby Jesus” is the subject of discussion and attention. Indeed, all year long the Babe in its mother’s arms and the dying Sufferer on the cross are kept constantly before the masses, while our Lord’s resurrection, ascension and present glory in heaven are given but scant attention. This is because so few have taken note of the great message of the Apostle Paul about the glorified Lord in heaven. In II Cor. 5:16, the Apostle wrote:

    “…yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more.”

It is sad that so many still know only “Christ after the flesh.” They love to discuss the “gospel stories” about the “Man of Galilee,” but find themselves strangers in the great Epistles of St. Paul.

Paul was the apostle for this present “dispensation of the grace of God.” It is he who presents Christ in His present glory as the great Dispenser of redeeming grace, through the merits He won at Calvary. In Eph. 1:15-23 we have recorded for us the Apostle’s prayer that we might be given “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ” that we might come to experience…

    “What is the exceeding greatness of [God’s] power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power,

    “Which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places.

    “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world [age], but also in that which is to come” (Eph. 1:19-21).

Let us thank God that the baby Jesus died for our sins and became the risen, living Savior at God’s right hand, abundantly “able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him” (Heb. 7:25).
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« Reply #4705 on: November 03, 2017, 05:02:04 PM »

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The Truth Of The Gospel
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Twice in Galatians 2 Paul speaks of “the truth of the gospel.” In both cases the Apostle had been forced to speak out to defend the purity of “the gospel of the grace of God.”

In Verses 4,5 he refers to his contest with those at Jerusalem who would have brought the Gentile believers under the law of Moses. Among them were “false brethren,” he says, “unawares brought in… to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: to whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.”

In the second case he refers to a controversy with Peter who, having enjoyed blessed fellowship with Gentile Christians, had been intimidated by some of his Jewish brethren into separating himself from the Gentiles. Concerning this, Paul writes: “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed” (Ver. 11). Why was Peter to be blamed? Verse 14 answers: Because he “walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel,” i.e., “the gospel of the grace of God,” in which believing Jews and Gentiles are “one body in Christ.”

How we should all thank God for Paul’s vigorous defense of the gospel of grace, under which all who trust in Christ as Savior are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the one true Bible Church (I Cor. 12:13).

Doubtless Paul’s stand for “the gospel of the grace of God” stemmed from the fact that he himself had experienced the truth of this blessed message. As the chief of sinners he had been gloriously saved. All his power and prestige as a Pharisee, all his intellectual achievement, all his rigid Law observance meant nothing now, as in the presence of the glorified Lord he saw himself a sinner, the chief of sinners, and was saved by the matchless grace of God.
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« Reply #4706 on: November 04, 2017, 04:40:39 PM »

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God's Two Poems
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


In Romans 1:18-20 the Apostle Paul declares that ungodly men are “without excuse” because they are surrounded by the evidences of the Creator’s “eternal power and Godhead.”

Our Authorized Version calls the creation, in this passage, “the things that are made,” but in the Greek it is called literally “the poyeema,” from which we get our word poem. The Apostle refers, of course, to the harmony of God’s creation, and is it not indeed amazing how billions of heavenly bodies can continually revolve in the vastness of space and never collide! And are not the flowers, the seasons, the sunsets all part of a harmonious creation, which God alone could have conceived and set to music?

But very interestingly, this word poyeema is used just once more in Scripture. We find it in Eph. 2:10, where it is translated “workmanship.” Let us consider this passage in its context:

    “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 [Gr., poyeema], created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10).

Romans speaks of the poem of creation, Ephesians of the poem of redemption, and the latter is the more wonderful. An old hymn says: “‘Twas great to speak a world from naught; ’tis greater to redeem.”

In this poem of redemption which God has composed, we believers too often want to change some word or phrase. We would like this or that in our circumstances to be different. Ah, but this would destroy the meter and meaning of God’s new creation.

Thank God, when we believers go to be with Christ, we will see the beauty and glory of the poem of redemption. Then we will rejoice that He did indeed “work all things together for good” for us.
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« Reply #4707 on: November 05, 2017, 04:52:56 PM »

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Grace Abounding In Paul's Ministry
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and THE MINISTRY WHICH I HAVE RECEIVED OF THE LORD JESUS, TO TESTIFY THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD.”
    –The Apostle Paul in Acts 20:24.

    “GRACE to you, and peace” (Rom. 1:7);

    “Being justified freely by His GRACE” (Rom. 3:24);

    “we have access by faith into this GRACE wherein we stand” (Rom. 5:2);

    “the GRACE of God, and gift by GRACE… is by one Man” (Rom. 5:15);

    “the abundance of GRACE and of the gift of righteousness” (Rom. 5:17);

    “where sin abounded, GRACE did much more abound…that GRACE might reign” (Rom. 5:20,21);

    “for ye are not under the law, but under GRACE” (Rom. 6:14);

    “not under the law, but under GRACE” (Rom. 6:15);

    “there is a remnant according to the election of GRACE” (Rom. 11:5);

    “if by GRACE, then it is no more of works; otherwise GRACE is no more GRACE…. But if it be of works, then is it no more GRACE” (Rom. 11:6);

    “By the GRACE of God I am what I am; and His GRACE… was not in vain, but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the GRACE of God which was with me” (I Cor. 15:10);

    “that the abundant GRACE might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God” (II Cor. 4:15);

    “receive not the GRACE of God in vain” (II Cor. 6:1);

    “ye know the GRACE of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Cor. 8:9);

    “God is able to make all GRACE abound toward you” (II Cor. 9:8.);

    “the exceeding GRACE of God” (II Cor. 9:14);

    “My GRACE is sufficient for thee” (II Cor. 12:9);

    “I do not frustrate the GRACE of God” (Gal. 2:21);

    “the praise of the glory of His GRACE” (Eph. 1:6);

    “the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His GRACE” (Eph. 1:7);

    “the exceeding riches of His GRACE” (Eph. 2:7);

    “For by GRACE are ye saved, through faith” (Eph. 2:8.);

    “the dispensation of the GRACE of God… given me to you-ward” (Eph. 3:2);

    “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly…singing with GRACE in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16);

    “the GRACE of our Lord was exceeding abundant” (I Tim. 1:14);

    “who hath saved us…according to His own purpose and GRACE, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (II Tim. 1:9);

    “Be strong in the GRACE that is in Christ Jesus” (II Tim. 2:1);

    “GRACE be with you all” (Titus 3:15).
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« Reply #4708 on: November 06, 2017, 05:21:08 PM »

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Peppermint
by Pastor John Fredericksen


I like peppermint. It has a refreshing taste and it can help refresh my breath, when it needs it, making it more suitable to interact in public. Peppermint also serves as an illustration or reminder of what we should be striving to be for the Lord.

Among Paul’s praises of Philemon was that “the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee” (Phile. 7). This precious saint had chosen to be like a peppermint for all the believers with whom he came in contact. It’s wonderful to read about this kind of testimony and what made him so refreshing to others. He demonstrated a sense of “love and faith… toward all saints” (v. 5). When these characteristics are present and genuine, they manifest themselves in a warmth and interest in others that is unmistakable. It will also be obvious in the tone and content of every word that comes out of one’s mouth.

Philemon was approachable even about sensitive matters. Paul felt free to be bold in asking him to kindly and lovingly receive someone (Onesimus) who had wronged him (vv. 10-16). This quality of being approachable engendered a respect, closeness, and freedom in relationships that made Philemon a blessing to others.

Philemon could be expected to respond in a correct spiritual way.  Paul had “confidence”(v.21) that Philemon would do the right thing in the right way and with the right spirit. No wonder, then, that this believer refreshed the saints around him, including the Apostle Paul.  Philemon was a grace believer who not only believed in grace doctrine, he lived and demonstrated grace.

As we consider this godly example, we should apply these truths by asking ourselves if we truly want to be the kind of saint that is like a refreshing, spiritual peppermint. We should want to be this kind of saint! A good way to begin is by asking the Lord to help us develop the kind of Christian character that makes us refreshing to other saints: loving, approachable, and so responsive to the Scriptures that others can be confident in our actions and reactions. If this is your prayer and heart’s desire, we encourage you to look for verses in Paul’s letters that will further empower you toward becoming this kind of godly example.
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« Reply #4709 on: November 07, 2017, 05:21:21 PM »

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Disciples And Apostles
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “And when it was day, He called unto Him His disciples: and of them He chose twelve, whom also He named apostles” (Luke 6:13).

Many people fail to distinguish between our Lord’s disciples and His apostles. They suppose they are the same. This is incorrect, however, for our Lord had a multitude of disciples while He had only a few apostles. His apostles were chosen from among His disciples, as we learn from the above message from Luke’s gospel.

A disciple is a follower; an apostle is a “sent one”. A disciple is a learner; an apostle is a teacher. There is a great lesson here for us all to learn.

We must come before we can go. We must follow before we can be sent. We must learn before we can teach. We must listen to the Lord before we can speak for the Lord.

“Thus saith the Lord”, was the familiar phrase with which the Old Testament prophets began their messages. But at the head of the long list of Old Testament prophets we find Samuel, a young lad, saying: “SPEAK LORD, FOR THY SERVANT HEARETH” (I Sam.3:9).

Before we can do or say anything for God, then, we must listen to God. This explains why the reading and study of the Word of God is so important.

First, salvation itself comes by hearing and believing God’s Word, especially about Christ, and His death for our sins. Romans 10:17 says: “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”, and I Peter 1:23: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever”. Then, having been saved, we can serve God acceptably only by diligent study of His Word. Perhaps the most important passage in the Bible on this subject is II Timothy 2:15:

    “STUDY TO SHOW THYSELF APPROVED UNTO GOD, A WORKMAN THAT NEEDETH NOT TO BE ASHAMED, RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH.”
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