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nChrist
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« Reply #4770 on: January 07, 2018, 03:28:25 PM »

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A Tale Of Three Cities
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


In Thessalonica Paul reasoned out of the Scriptures for three sabbath days with men who were unwilling to be convinced (Acts 17:1-9). The bigotry of these Thessalonians not only kept them in spiritual darkness, but it moved them to bitter opposition to the truth, so that they persecuted Paul and Silas and even followed them to Berea, stirring people up against them.

Bigotry has the same effect today. Let us never close our minds so as to keep error out, for in doing so we will only shut new light out and close old errors in. Moreover, it is but a small step from shutting out new light from God’s Word to engaging in bitter opposition against it.

The Athenians went to the other extreme. They lost interest in what was old and clamored only to hear new things (Acts 17:21). Yet when Paul came to them with the good news of the gospel of grace, some “mocked” while others, more polite, said: “We will hear thee again of this matter,” and turned away (Verse 32).

The Athenian spirit too is still rife today. Many are constantly giving up the old and looking for something new, sure that the latest fashions, the latest statistics and the latest advice must be best. This is why the New Evangelicalism has gained so many followers in our day.

Significantly, the story of the noble Bereans falls between those of the Thessalonians and the Athenians in our Bibles. These Bereans possessed true spiritual greatness. They gave man’s word respectful consideration, whether old or new, but then subjected it to careful examination in the light of the Word of God. They received Paul’s word, we read, with open minds, and then “searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Verse 11). For this God called them “noble.” They were the spiritual aristocracy of their day.

May God help us to be neither “Thessalonians” nor “Athenians,” but true Bereans. If we follow men we drift on a sea of human speculation, for men disagree on the most vital issues. Only as we stand on the infallible, unchangeable Word of God can we be sure that we have the truth.
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« Reply #4771 on: January 10, 2018, 03:49:02 PM »

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God For Us
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Many people, even religious people, suppose that God is against sinners. “Do what is right,” they think, “and God will love and bless you, but do what is wrong and He will be angry with you and curse you.”

Perhaps this view of God comes from the fact that many Scripture passages, especially in the Old Testament, reveal God as the Enemy of the workers of iniquity. But He is the Enemy of the workers of iniquity as such — as workers of iniquity, not as individual persons.

In Ezek. 18:23 God asks: “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die… ?” And in II Pet. 3:9 we learn that when God might have judged this world for the crucifixion of Christ. He delayed the judgment because He is “longsuffering” and “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

The Apostle Paul, referring to the crucifixion, declares that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (II Cor. 5:19).

How could He have shown sinners more conclusively that He desires their good than by imputing their sins to Christ and telling them that He is not imputing their trespasses unto them? Their trespasses will be imputed to them, of course, if they reject God’s provision of salvation through Christ, but for the present it is a wonderful fact that we can go to any sinner and say on the authority of God’s written Word: “Your sins have been paid for; God is not holding them against you. Will you accept His love and receive Christ as your Savior?”

No, unsaved friend, God is not against you. He loves you and provided abundantly for your salvation by paying for your sins Himself at Calvary. This is the essence of “the gospel of the grace of God” (See I Tim. 2:4-7). Will you believe it? Will you trust Christ now, acknowledging Him as your Lord and Savior?
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« Reply #4772 on: January 10, 2018, 03:51:54 PM »

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Cursed Is Every One!
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


The Law curses “every one that continueth not in all things… of the law” (Gal. 3:10). The words “continueth” and “all” here tell us the Law demands 100% faithfulness 100% of the time! Though this may sound unreasonable, how many of our married readers are satisfied with 99% faithfulness from your spouse? Even if you could go 70 years without sinning, then sin, the Law would curse you. This too might sound unreasonable, but if you go 70 years without killing anyone, then snap, the law won’t let you slide just because you’ve never done it before, and neither will God!

“But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident” (Gal. 3:11). The Greek word for “evident” here is translated “certain” when Paul says, “we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out” (I Tim. 6:7). You’ll never see a U-Haul trailer behind a hearse! And it is just as evident that no one can be justified by the Law. You might look good in your neighbor’s sight, but we’re talking about “the sight of God” (Gal. 3:11). Even Abraham looked good to his neighbors, but he couldn’t boast before God (Rom. 4:2), for God knew he lied about his wife.

No, “The just shall live by faith” (Gal. 3:11), that is, the way you get to be just is by faith. “And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them” (Gal. 3:12), i.e., live eternally (Lev. 18:5 cf. Luke 10:25-28.). God is fair. If you could obey Him perfectly, He would give you eternal life. It is not technically correct to say the only way to heaven is by faith. But while there are two ways to get to the moon, by rocket and by jumping, one of these two ways is impossible! Just so, there are two ways to get to heaven, by faith and by the works of the Law (Rom. 2:6-10), but the latter is just as impossible! (Gal. 2:16).

Thankfully, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). “That the blessing of Abraham [salvation] might come on the Gentiles through….” Through what? Through Israel? Through circumcision, or the Law? This was true for Gentiles in the Old Testament. But today the blessing of Abraham comes on us “through Jesus Christ.” Why not “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). Notice it doesn’t say “believe and be good.” It just says believe and be saved! “Christ died for our sins…and…rose again” (I Cor. 15:3,4). Don’t try to add any good works to Christ’s work, for salvation is “to him that worketh not, but believeth!” (Rom. 4:5).
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« Reply #4773 on: January 10, 2018, 03:56:48 PM »

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Faith And Hearing
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17).

This important passage of Scripture is, sad to say, little understood. Many people think of faith in the abstract, as though it had some mysterious power in itself. They speak of faith, but what do they mean? Faith in what? or in whom? Surely it is not possible just to have faith, without something or someone to have faith in.

Faith is not wishing hard, or feeling confident. It is not optimism or presumption or imagination. Faith must have a basis, a foundation. Thus the Christian’s faith is founded on “the Word of God” — on what God has said in the Bible.

The above passage explains: “Faith cometh by hearing.” Isn’t that simple? Isn’t it true? Some have said that “seeing is believing,” but a moment’s reflection will reveal that, like the phrase: “I’m from Missouri,” this saying is an expression of unbelief. When we have seen a thing we need no longer believe it; it has been demonstrated to us. But when we hear [or read] a matter reported, we may either believe or doubt it. “Faith cometh by hearing.” And likewise hearing comes through what has been said. We believe, or doubt, what we hear and we hear what has been said. The Christian’s faith, then, comes by hearing (God) and hearing by the Word of God. All true Christian faith is founded on the Word of God.

Actually the word “hearing,” in Rom. 10:17, however, has the idea of heeding — paying attention, listening eagerly. This is why Gal. 3:5 speaks of “the hearing of faith.” And thus Eph. 1:13, referring to Christ, says: “In whom ye also trusted, having heard the Word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.” Thus, too, we read in John 5:24 the words of the Lord Jesus:

    “HE THAT HEARETH MY WORD, AND BELIEVETH ON HIM THAT SENT ME, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE, AND SHALL NOT COME INTO JUDGMENT, BUT IS PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE.”
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« Reply #4774 on: January 11, 2018, 04:27:47 PM »

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John 3:16
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Do you believe it?
With all your heart?
Do you believe that God gave His Son because He loved the whole world?
Do you believe that whosoever believes in Him receives everlasting life?
Gentiles as well as Jews?
Do you believe that John 3:16 applies to this age?
SO DO WE!–WITH ALL OUR HEARTS!

We emphasize this because we have been charged of late with putting a dispensational question mark opposite John 3:16.

We not only believe that John 3:16 applies to this age, but that it is more pertinent today than when our Lord first spoke it to Nicodemus.

But first let us turn to two other Scriptures, just as plain, though less frequently quoted.

In Matthew 15:24 we have the plain words of our Lord, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

In Matthew 10:5,6 we read “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

How can we reconcile these Scriptures with John 3:16?

    John 3:16, — “The world…whosoever.”

    Matthew 10:5,6; 15:24, — None but “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

The key to this question is found in Acts 3:25,26 where Peter says to the house of Israel, “Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, AND IN THY SEED SHALL ALL THE KINDREDS OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED. Unto you first God, having raised up His Son Jesus sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”

The Old Testament abounds with prophecies that salvation would go to the ends of the earth through Israel. This is why our Lord confined His earthly ministry exclusively to the house of Israel. This is why Peter said to the people of Israel, “Unto you first…”

It was no secret that salvation would go to all the world, but remember that it was to go through the covenant people.

We must not forget that John 3:16 was spoken to “A RULER OF THE JEWS.” This makes the words of our Lord doubly significant. It would not be at all amiss to paraphrase them thus: “For God so loved the world, Nicodemus — not only Israel, but the world— that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Sad to say, the rulers of the Jews rejected Christ. The glorious message of John 3:16 would never have reached the Gentiles if God had waited for Israel to proclaim it.

As a nation they themselves rejected God’s Son. They even persecuted those who preached Christ and Saul of Tarsus became the leader of the opposition.

It was in this crisis that God arrested Saul and saved him so that He might unfold His secret purpose of grace to him and through him.

We quote a few Scriptures from Paul’s letters:

    “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious; but…the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant…that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (I Tim. 1:13-16).

    “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned…so might grace reign” (Rom. 5:20,21).

    “FOR GOD HATH CONCLUDED THEM ALL IN UNBELIEF, THAT HE MIGHT HAVE MERCY UPON ALL. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out!” (Rom. 11:32,33).

    “For He is our peace, who hath made both one and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us…for to make in Himself of twain one new man…and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body BY THE CROSS” (Eph.2:14-16).

This message of grace abounding, of grace reigning was revealed from heaven by the Lord Jesus Christ to the apostle Paul. He says in Ephesians 3:2,3: “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward, HOW THAT BY REVELATION HE MADE KNOWN UNTO ME THE MYSTERY.” This was God’s eternal purpose, “kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25), “hid in God” (Eph. 3:9), “in other ages not made known,” (Eph. 3:5), “hid from ages and from generations” (Col. 1:26), “THE MYSTERY” (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 1:9; 3:3,4,9; 6:19; Col. 1:26,27; 2:2; 4:3).

And now, thank God, though Israel, through whom the nations should have been blessed, gropes in darkness and staggers in unbelief, any poor sinner, Jew or Gentile, may rejoice that “GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.”
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« Reply #4775 on: January 16, 2018, 05:54:09 PM »

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Do I Need To Know the Time and Date?
by Pastor Kevin Sadler


    “I don’t know the exact time and date I was saved. I’ve been told that I should know this if I’m truly saved. Is this true?”

Knowing your spiritual birthday is not required at all. Whether you know in your heart that you’ve placed your faith in the gospel of grace that Christ died for your sins personally, was buried, and rose again is what is required for your salvation (Eph. 2:8,9; 1 Cor. 15:3,4).

In my own life, I have no clue as to the exact time and date that I was saved. I grew up in a home where the gospel was constantly before me. In my father’s pulpit ministry, his hell-fire sermons scared me to death. I can vividly remember praying in the pew, telling the Lord that I believe. I did this many times. Eventually I stopped, because I knew I was right with the Lord and saved from my sins.

The idea that you have to know an exact time you were saved doesn’t come from the Bible. It comes from man. Our confidence for our salvation shouldn’t be in a date anyway. Our confidence is in Christ, His Cross, and the Word of God. “The Lord knoweth them that are His” (2 Tim. 2:19), and if you’ve placed your faith in Christ that He died for you and rose again, you are His. Praise the Lord!
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« Reply #4776 on: January 16, 2018, 05:55:19 PM »

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What About Me, And The Future?
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Is it not amazing that men who can produce intricate electronic mechanisms, build giant sky-scrapers, fly men to the moon and back — is it not amazing that such men often do not even know what will finally become of themselves! And what is more amazing still is that most of them do not even try seriously to find out.

They are intelligent enough to plan carefully for the future where temporal affairs are concerned, but foolish enough to neglect their eternal welfare. They make plans for themselves in case they become ill and need additional funds for surgery, medicine and hospital care. They even make plans for their loved ones in case of death and bereavement, but fail to ask themselves: “What will become of meafter death?”

Daily “the wise of this world” witness the truth of Hebrews 9:27, that “it is appointed unto men once to die”, and most of them know that the Bible adds: “after this the judgment”. They may hope that this is but a false alarm, but they do not know. They can only wonder and worry. Hebrews 2:15 declares that “through fear of death” they are “all their lifetime subject to bondage”. Like Adam, they run and hide from God instead of running to Him and asking: “What must I do to be saved?”Too cowardly to face up to their own grave, no hope beyond the tomb — too afraid, generally, to even discuss death.

The believer in the Word of God is not left thus in the dark. He glories in the truth of the passages from which we have quoted in part above. We quote them now in full:

    Hebrews 2:14,15:  “Forasmuch then as the children [of Adam] are partakers of flesh and blood, He [Christ] also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

    “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

    Hebrews 9:27,28:  “And 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; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without [lit., “apart from”] sin unto salvation.”
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« Reply #4777 on: January 16, 2018, 05:56:32 PM »

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Do You Understand?
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


This was the question Philip asked of the Ethiopian prince as he sat reading from Isaiah’s prophecy (Acts 8:30), and it is a question which we should continually keep asking ourselves as we read the holy Scriptures.

There are always those among God’s people who do not much care whether or not they understand what they read if only it warms their hearts! To them the Bible is little more than a fetish. Taking only those Scriptures which appeal to them, and leaving the rest, they actually feel themselves quite spiritual and often talk about believing the Bible whether or not they understand it!

But such “spirituality” is far from genuine, and such “faith” is blind and superstitious at best. While it is true that the Bible teaches many truths which we believe, although they are beyond our comprehension (such as its opening verse!), yet how can we believe what the Bible says unless we understand what it says? God would have us understand what we read and believe it intelligently.

Indeed, true faith will want to know and understand more and more of God’s Word. One who does not care whether or not he understands what God has said is not truly interested in knowing what God has said. His faith is based on his own will rather than on God’s Word, for regardless of the meaning of Scripture, he will take any passage that suits his fancy and use it as he wishes. How great an emphasis God Himself places upon the importance of understanding His Word!

On one occasion, when our Lord saw the multitudes, He “was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34). And now that the secret of God’s “eternal purpose” has been made known, how much more reason there is to study the Scriptures, with a view to understanding them! How Paul, by the Spirit, emphasizes this, as he writes of his prayers for the saints:

    “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him:

    “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling…” (Eph. 1:17,18.).
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« Reply #4778 on: January 16, 2018, 05:57:46 PM »

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The First Book To Read
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


In years gone by, when life was simpler, men had more time to ponder over the really important questions: What will become of me when I die? Is there a heaven — and a hell? Can I know God? Will He forgive my sins? If so, on what basis? What must I do to be saved?

The materialism, commercialism and technology of our day, however, have so complicated life that secondary problems hinder many people from even considering at leisure that which is most important.

Yet, despite all the hurry and anxiety, all the noise and distraction, there are troubled souls, hungering and thirsting for true satisfaction, for hearts cleansed from sin, for deliverance from the awful burden of a guilty conscience.

Such people should read Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and meditate on its great message of salvation. In fact, this is the first book they ought to read.

In Romans the inspired Apostle declares that “all have sinned” (3:23) and that “the wages of sin is death” (6:23). But this is not all. Romans also proclaims the good news that the Lord Jesus Christ “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” and that therefore we may have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (4:25; 5:1).

More than this, Romans offers abundant grace to all who trust in Christ. “The law entered that the offence might abound, but where sin abounded grace did much more abound” (5:20,21). Thus believers are “justified freely by [God’s] grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (3:24) and “the [free] gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (6:23).

We urge those who are not sure of salvation to read carefully and prayerfully this great Epistle to the Romans. You may be thanking God for the rest of your earthly life — and forever — that you did.
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« Reply #4779 on: January 16, 2018, 05:59:06 PM »

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The Intent of the Ten
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (I Timothy 1:5).

“The commandment” here is a reference to the ten commandments, commandments which God sees as one (James 2:10,11). The “end” of the commandment refers to the goal or intent of the ten commandments. We use the word “end” that way when we ask, “To what end are you doing what you are doing?” God’s goal in giving the ten commandments was charity, a Bible word for love. God’s goal in giving the commandments was to get men to love God and their neighbor. If you love God, you won’t take His name in vain, and if you love your neighbor, you certainly won’t bear false witness to him or steal his stuff!

But the intent of the ten commandments wasn’t just to get people to love God and their neighbor. It was to get them to love “out of a pure heart,” and the only people who have a pure heart are saved people (Ps. 24:3,4). That’s why the Lord said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Mt. 5:8.). So God’s goal in giving the ten commandments was to get everyone saved and obeying them out of a pure (saved) heart.

Now don’t get me wrong, God approves when unsaved people obey His commandments. We know this because that’s what will happen in the millennial kingdom! The kingdom will begin with the deaths of all of earth’s unbelievers at the battle of Armageddon. No one but the pure in heart will enter the kingdom that Christ will then establish on earth. But the saved people who enter the kingdom will then bear children who must themselves choose to be saved.

And the majority of children in the millennial kingdom will choose not to be saved, just as has always been the case with the children of men. This will eventually result in the Lord ruling in the midst of His “enemies” (Ps. 110:2), “with a rod of iron” (Rev. 19:15) “in righteousness” (Isa. 32:1), the righteousness of the ten commandments. In that day, everyone on the planet will obey the ten commandments, including the unsaved, who will obey the commandment out of an impure heart.

The problem with obeying the commandment out of an impure heart is that it doesn’t change a man’s heart. We know this because after the millennial kingdom, the enemies that God will have to defeat at the battle of Gog and Magog will number “as the sand of the sea” (Rev. 20:7-9). Clearly, 1,000 years of obeying the ten commandments with an impure heart will not have changed the hearts of the vast majority of men!

That’s why God’s goal in giving the ten commandments was never to have men obey them outwardly while inwardly seething, just waiting for their chance to rebel against Him, as will be the case in the millennial kingdom. No, God’s goal in giving the commandments was to get people saved and obeying them out of a pure heart. That was the intent of the ten.

The process starts when the unbeliever hears the commandments and gains “the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20; 7:7). He then can see his need of a Savior and believe the gospel. This then enables him to obey the ten commandments out of a pure heart and out of “a good conscience.” Unbelievers cannot obey the ten commandments out of a good conscience, for “even their mind and conscience is defiled” (Titus 1:15).

But when a saved man obeys God’s commandments, he does so out of “faith unfeigned.” The word “feign” means to pretend (I Sam. 21:13), so unfeigned faith was genuine faith, the kind Timothy himself had! (II Tim. 1:5). In the millennial kingdom, the unsaved will have to feign faith, but the goal of the commandment in the dispensation of grace is “charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” Are you living up to God’s intent?
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« Reply #4780 on: January 17, 2018, 06:16:11 PM »

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Condemnation And Death -- Righteousness And Life
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Contrasting the New Covenant with the Old, the Apostle points out that “the letter,” with its requirements and penalties, “killeth.” Therefore the dispensation of the Law is called “the ministration of condemnation” and “the ministration of death” (II Cor. 3:7,9).

The ministration of the Law began in a blaze of glory. Mount Sinai was “altogether on a smoke… as the smoke of a furnace.” There were thunderings and lightnings and an earthquake. There was the sound of a trumpet, “exceeding loud.” There was the glorious Shekinah cloud in which God Himself appeared and “spake all these words” (Ex. 19:9- 20:1).

But ere Moses had even come down from the mount with the tables of stone, the people were breaking the very first commandment, dancing like heathen about a golden calf. From here on the administration of the Law took on another aspect. Judgment had to be pronounced and penalties inflicted. Nor could any escape its just sentence of condemnation and death. What had begun in glory led but to gloom, “because the law worketh wrath…” (Rom. 4:15). “…for it is written: cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Gal. 3:10).

But there can be no gloom associated with the ministration of the New Covenant, says the Apostle, for under it righteousness and life are administered to all who will receive them by faith. And this because the claims of the Old Covenant were fully met by Christ at Calvary. Thus the ministration of the New Covenant outshines the ministration of the Old in every respect.

But was not the New Covenant made “with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,” rather than with the Church of our day? Yes, but with Israel’s rejection of Christ and her temporary blindness the blessings of the New Covenant are now bestowed by grace upon those who do receive Christ. Hence, it was not Peter or the twelve, but Paul who, with his associates, was made an “able minister of the New Testament” (II Cor. 3:6).
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« Reply #4781 on: January 22, 2018, 05:56:02 PM »

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A Close Personal Relationship
by Pastor John Fredericksen


Shortly after meeting the woman who became my wife, I knew she was the one for me.  It was hard to explain, but she had captured my heart.  I thought about her as soon as I woke in the morning, continually during the day, and she was one of the last things I thought about before going to sleep.  I consistently pursued a relationship with her allowing all other relationships to become secondary.  I not only confirmed that I loved her, I also expressed to her that she satisfied and completed me like no other woman could.

Many of the same principles that make close human relationships work are the same in our personal relationship with the Lord, after salvation.  Even though the program has changed from the Law of Moses to the principles of grace, walking with the Lord every day is essentially the same now as it was for David.  In Psalm 63, he expresses many of the things that made his daily walk with the Lord such a sweet and joyous experience.

David did not merely have a passive interest in the Lord.  He longed for a vibrant relationship with the God of his salvation.  He told the Lord, “my flesh longeth for Thee [as] in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (v. 1).  Since David wrote these words “when he was in the wilderness of Judah”, where water was extremely scarce, his description of being thirsty for the Lord pictured his surroundings.  Just as only water can satisfy the need of one in the desert, David realized that only God could satisfy the thirst of his soul.

These were not mere empty words on the part of David.  He promised the Lord: “early will I seek Thee” (v. 1).  David, like Abraham before him (Gen. 19:27), was in the habit of beginning the early part of his day in communion with the Lord (Psa. 5:3).  Just as two people in love long to see each other, David longed “to see Thy power and Thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary” (63:2).  As David went through the day, he continued to think about the Lord and talk about Him.  He wrote, “…my lips shall praise Thee.  Thus will I bless [or praise aloud] Thee while I live” (vv. 3b-4a).  When a man and woman love each other, they talk to others about the one they love, extoling each other’s virtues.  It was the same with David, who happily expressed the virtues of the Almighty.

David’s walk with the Lord was so fulfilling that he couldn’t help but express it.  He told the Lord, “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips…in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice” (vv. 5,7b).  When two people are in love and maintain a healthy, growing relationship, they too make a conscious decision to be satisfied and joyful in time together.  David experienced an even richer and more complete joy by being in the satisfying presence of his God.

David not only began his day in fellowship with the Lord and spoke of Him throughout the day, he also ended his day with the Lord.  He wrote, “I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches” (v. 6).  For soldiers and shepherds, the night was divided into three watches: from sunset to 10 p.m., from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., and from 2 a.m. until dawn.  In verse six, David is sharing that, throughout the night, sleep sometimes evaded him because even then he was thinking about the Lord and His greatness.

David also explained: “My soul followeth hard after thee” (v. 8.).  Just as a young man oftentimes pursues hard after a young woman to win her love, David fervently pursued his relationship with the Lord.  Of course, David did not have to win His love.  The Lord already loved David.  Nonetheless, David was not casual or complacent in the way he nurtured his relationship with the Lord.  His walk with the Lord meant too much to him for his efforts to be anything less than diligent and wholehearted.  In principle, we should exert the same kind of effort in our relationship with the Lord as we read that David did.

Are you following hard after the Lord?  We encourage you to pattern your walk with Christ after the example of David’s wholeheartedness.  Make a strong effort to make each day one of fellowship with the Lord from beginning to end.
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« Reply #4782 on: January 22, 2018, 05:57:13 PM »

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The One True Church
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Religious people — even sincere Christian people — may divide themselves into various denominations or churches, but there is no indication in the Bible that God recognizes these divisions. Indeed, God makes it abundantly clear that in His sight there is but one Church, composed of all who truly trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. In I Cor. 12:12,13 the Apostle Paul declares by divine inspiration:

    “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ:

    “FOR BY ONE SPIRIT ARE WE ALL BAPTIZED INTO ONE BODY….”

Again, in Rom. 12:5, he says:

    “SO WE, BEING MANY, ARE ONE BODY IN CHRIST, AND EVERY ONE MEMBERS ONE OF ANOTHER.”

Indeed, it is on the basis of the fact that there is but “one body” in God’s sight that He exhorts us to seek to “keep the unity of the Spirit”:

    “ENDEAVORING TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE.

    “THERE IS ONE BODY….” (Eph. 4:3,4).

How can we become members of that “one Body ,” the true Church? Ephesians 2 explains how Christ died for all, Jew and Gentile alike, “that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross…” (Ver. 16). Indeed the Epistles of St. Paul show how God “hath concluded… all in unbelief that He might have mercy upon all” (Rom. 11:32), and offer to them reconciliation and salvation by grace through faith in Christ who died for our sins.

The question, then, is not: What church do you belong to? but, Do you belong to the Church, the Body of Christ, composed of all who have acknowledged themselves to be sinners in the sight of God and have trusted in Christ and His finished work for salvation?
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« Reply #4783 on: January 22, 2018, 05:58:31 PM »

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The Power Of Godliness
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


God would have us live as His own sacred possession, separate from this world-system, but godliness is out of style these days. Religious leaders in ever greater number are telling us that to win the world we must become part of it and to win the people of the world we must fellowship with them in the things they do and the places to which they go. But the believer cannot impress the world by conforming to it. And even if he could this approach would still be contrary to the Will of God, for His Word exhorts us:

    “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the re- newing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and accept- able and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2).

It is true godliness, consistent separation to God from this world, which most deeply impresses the lost to whom we bear witness.

True godliness exerts enormous spiritual power. It causes men to toil and sacrifice, yea to suffer and die for Christ and for others. It exerts a profound influence upon those with whom it comes into contact. A truly godly believer will win the respect of other believers and by his example encourage them to live godly lives, while at the same time his godliness will convict the lost, so that they will either be angered or will turn to Christ for salvation.

This is why II Tim. 3:12 says: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Carnal Christians do not like to think about the word “all” in this passage, but it is there and stands as a rebuke to their lack of consecration to God. They have “a form of godliness” but deny “the power thereof” (II Timothy 3:5).
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« Reply #4784 on: January 22, 2018, 06:00:28 PM »

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Walk, Don't Run!
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “…as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk… Art thou called being a servant? Care not for it…” (I Corinthians 7:17,21).

Some Christians find it troubling that the Bible counsels slaves to be content in their difficult circumstances, and walk in obedience to their masters rather than run away from them in rebellion (Eph. 6:5; Col. 3:22). But there were legitimate reasons why men were slaves in those days, and God has never been in favor of freeing “a lawful captive” from his owner (Isa. 49:24).

The Apostle Paul did tell slaves, “if thou mayest be made free, use it rather” (I Cor. 7:21). For example, if a man was a slave because he was working off his financial debts, if someone offered to pay his debts, this was benevolence that no servant should ignore. But if there was no legitimate means by which a servant could be made free, it was God’s will that he walk in the calling wherewith he had been called (I Cor. 7:17).

Of course, unbelievers think that this is terrible advice, and they aren’t shy about criticizing the Bible for not encouraging slaves to run away from their masters. But that’s because they’re thinking of the kind of slavery that existed in the early days of our country, when innocent people were kidnapped from Africa and brought here as slaves to serve in an illegitimate form of bondage. This type of slavery is condemned in Scripture, and those who dared perpetrate it in Israel were given the death penalty (Ex. 21:16). Yet even when men were kidnapped and wrongfully enslaved, Paul’s advice to be content in servitude was good counsel, for often it was just not possible for slaves to escape bondage, and God does not wish His children to live lives of abject frustration and misery.

But if you are thinking that it is equally impossible to “care not” for being a slave, consider the counsel that Paul went on to give servants in the very next verse,

    “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman…” (I Cor. 7:22).

The key to finding contentment as a slave was to remember that believing slaves were free men in the eyes of the Lord. In other words, the secret to being content in the harsh circumstances of bondage was for servants to look past their circumstances and focus on how God saw them in Christ. That is, when slaves couldn’t change their circumstances, the key to contentment was to change how they thought about their circumstances.

Now, is there anything you can learn from that about your difficult circumstances? Sometimes our situation in life can’t be changed any more than a slave could change his. Of course, if there is a legitimate means by which you might be made free from your difficulties, by all means do what Paul told slaves to do with such an opportunity and “use it.” But if you can’t change your circumstances, why not follow Paul’s advice and change the way you think about them?

If life has you feeling like a captive for whom there is no escape, never lose sight of the spiritual reality that you are “the Lord’s freeman.” Focusing on the problems that have you feeling imprisoned will only make you as miserable as the slave who focused on his. Focusing on “the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” (Gal. 5:1) is the only path to rejoicing.

It’s the secret of life.
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