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nChrist
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« Reply #4785 on: January 22, 2018, 06:01:44 PM »

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Godliness In An Ungodly Day
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


It is an interesting fact that the words “godly” and “godliness” are not found in Paul’s writings until we come to the Pastoral Epistles, the very epistles that have so much to say about evil days and evil surroundings.

In the epistles to Timothy we read about the “perilous times” with which this present dispensation of grace will be brought to a close, while in the letter to Titus we read of “unruly and vain talkers and deceivers,” of “liars… evil beasts… lazy gluttons,” whom Satan would use to neutralize the work and witness of God’s servants.

To Timothy and Titus, these young men of God, the Apostle had much to say about godliness, and we must not forget that Paul’s words to them are also God’s Word to us, believers in Christ, who indeed appear to be living in the closing days of the dispensation of grace, surrounded by a steadily-rising tide of evil and an ever-growing number of wicked, godless men.

We do not mean to imply that the Apostle does not deal with the various phases of the Christian life in his other epistles, but rather that here in the Pastoral Epistles he wages a sort of campaign for individual godly living in the midst of increasing apostasy and godlessness.

May God help us, in our character and conduct, to exhibit “the power of godliness,” the spiritual power that comes from putting Christ first in all things.
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« Reply #4786 on: January 26, 2018, 05:49:23 PM »

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Eye Hath Not Seen
by Pastor Kevin Sadler


    “In 1 Corinthians 2:9, what is ‘the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him’ referring to?”

    “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9).

This verse is commonly interpreted to refer to the glories of heaven which none has seen nor heard. Once we get a meaning for a verse in our minds, it is often difficult to dislodge it and consider any other meaning.

However, here Paul wrote about the truths of the Mystery that have been revealed to those who love the Lord in this dispensation of grace. “The things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” were not seen nor heard in the past, and they never “entered into the heart of man” because they were “hid in God” (Eph. 3:9) and were never before revealed. But Paul writes in the next verse in 1 Corinthians 6:10: “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit.” Now the Mystery has been fully revealed! Now we see and know the things God has prepared for us as members of the Body of Christ through the Holy Spirit via illumination to His Word.

Paul’s point here is not the things in heaven God has prepared for us. Rather, it is that God has fully revealed to us His formerly-hidden wisdom, the Mystery and the dispensation of grace. God has revealed to us our heavenly calling and our blessed hope (Phil. 3:20; Titus 2:13) which He “hath prepared” and “ordained before the world unto our glory” (1 Cor. 2:7), and we can see it, know it, and enjoy it right now!
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« Reply #4787 on: January 26, 2018, 05:51:20 PM »

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The Lord's Prayer Dispensationally Considered
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


    “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.”
    — Matthew 6:7,8

Religious leaders love to have their people recite the Lord’s Prayer. It’s been the religious thing to do for centuries. The Lord’s Prayer is one of the most beautiful, meaningful, and touching prayers in the Prophetic Scriptures, but those who recite it today are committing two major blunders. First, the Lord warned the disciples that they were not to pray this prayer, or any prayer for that matter, repetitiously (Matt. 6:5-7). Prayer is not a religious exercise, but rather communication with God; therefore, it should always be spoken from the heart. Second, the Disciples Prayer, which is the correct connotation for this prayer, was given as a model for those who would be called upon to endure the Tribulation. Since the Body of Christ is delivered from the wrath to come, this prayer does not apply to us in this dispensation (I Thes. 5:9).

The Disciples’ Prayer

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.The reference here to “our Father” is to the God and Father of Israel — the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In prophecy, heaven was His throne and earth His footstool. His name was so holy that the Jews feared they might inadvertently speak it in vain, consequently they changed it from Yahweh to Adonai — Master, Ruler (Deut. 5:11; Isa. 66:1; Matt. 15:31; Luke 1:68.).

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.The hope of every Israelite was the establishment of the Davidic Kingdom. God’s will for the earth is to overthrow the kingdoms of this world and establish the millennial kingdom of His dear Son (II Sam. 7:8-17; Luke 1:68-72; Rev. 11:15; 20:6).

Give us this day our daily bread.In the future Tribulation, God will set a table in the wilderness for His people, as He did in time past. The saints in that day will find it necessary to pray for their daily provision of food, since they will be unable to buy or sell without the Mark of the Beast. Subsequently, God will supernaturally nourish the chosen nation (Rev. 12:14 cf. Rev. 13:13-18.).

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.Today we are to forgive others, even as God for Christs sake has forgiven us, but under the kingdom gospel, forgiveness was based upon a like-spirit (Matt. 18:21-35 cf. Eph. 4:32).

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil [Gr. noun: evil one]. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. The sense here is, “Lord lead us not into the Great Tribulation, but deliver us from Satan, who brings death and destruction in his wake” (Rev. 6:7-11; 12:12; 13:1-10).
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« Reply #4788 on: January 26, 2018, 05:52:39 PM »

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Reflections on Ephesians
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


There is no epistle in which we find more about the grace of God than that great and wonderful epistle of Paul to the Ephesians! It is one of his prison epistles and, interestingly enough, he was actually and literally in jail for telling a secret, the secret of the mystery (Eph. 6:19,20). Evidently he had a great deal of opposition in trying to make this secret known. That’s rather unusual, isn’t it?

The Ephesian epistle was probably written about 64 A.D., and was evidently sent by the hand of a man named Tychicus (6:21,22), along with two other letters, one to the Colossians (Col. 4:7-9), and that to Philemon (Col. 4:7-9 cf. Phile. 10-12). Never, never were more valuable documents entrusted to human hands!

Now, in the earlier epistles of Paul, we learn a great deal about dispensational change and development, but in Ephesians we have arrived, and find ourselves on the highest, broadest spiritual ground. Here the Holy Spirit reveals to us, in all their fullness, those blessed truths which distinguish this dispensation from others.

For example, the mystery or the sacred secret is here revealed in all its fullness. He says that this secret is now made known (1:9) through him (3:1-3), but it is for all to see (3:9), for it concerns our close relationship to Christ (5:30,32). And since Satan will oppose the proclamation of this secret, boldness is needed to proclaim it (6:19,20).

In this epistle, the one Body of Christ, the Church of this dispensation, is emphasized throughout. The whole body, he says, is the fulness, the complement, the fulness of Christ (1:23). He says God is making one new man today (2:15), reconciling Jews and Gentiles to Himself in one body (2:16), a joint body (3:6), in which we are to keep the unity of the Spirit (4:3,4). The Body, he says, must grow up, and it must build itself up in love (4:11-16). Christ is the Head of the Body, and its Savior (5:23), and we are the members (5:30). How close that brings all believers to each other! How close it brings us to Christ!

Our position in the heavenlies is prominently brought out in this epistle. We read that, immediately upon conversion, we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies (1:3). We’re told that God’s power in raising Christ from the dead and exalting Him far above all is now extended to us-ward who believe (1:19-21). Positionally, he says, we’ve already been raised from the dead and seated in the heavenlies (2:6). Now, he says, it is ours to occupy this position by faith, as a witness to the principalities and powers in the heavenlies (3:10). Hence we must wrestle with the rulers of the darkness of this age, wicked spirits in the heavenlies (6:12). And for this, he says, we’re going to need the whole armor of God (6:10,11).

In this epistle, all is grace. Read Ephesians and see how it is permeated with grace. Even the salutation speaks of grace and peace (1:2). Compare that with what we read about the second coming of Christ to this earth, where He will come to judge and make war (Rev. 19:11). Grace and peace is the exact opposite of judgment and war! Thank God He hasn’t declared war yet. He hasn’t visited this world in judgment yet. He still offers to sinners everywhere, and to saints, of course, in greater measure, grace and peace.

Now the doxology—oh, what a doxology of grace! The doxology in the Ephesian epistle is the longest of all of Paul’s doxologies, and in the original it is his longest sentence. We’re blessed because we are chosen by God the Father to the praise of His glory (1:4-6). We’re made accepted in the Son to the praise of His glory. We’re sealed by the Spirit to the praise of His glory. Glory to the triune God! Glory for His grace!

We read individual things, too, about the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All throughout this epistle, everything emanates from the Father. The Father is always the source. The Father has chosen us (1:3,4) according to the good pleasure of His will (v. 5), according to the riches of His grace (vv. 6,7), according to His good pleasure (v. 9), according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will (v. 11), according to the working of His mighty power (v. 19), and according to His eternal purpose (3:11). There’s more about that in the epistle, showing that everything finds its source in the will of God.

Then we see how our salvation centers in the Son. He’s always the second person in the Trinity. His place is always in the midst. We read, for example, that we’re blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ (1:3), and have redemption through His blood (v. 7), in whom we are greatly enriched (v. 11), in whom also we are saved (v. 13), and sealed (v. 13). Think of that! We are in Christ, and because of His finished work, the believer is sealed until the day of redemption.

Then we come to the Spirit. It all comes down to us through, or by the operation of, the Spirit. We’re sealed by the Spirit (1:13), and we have access to God the Father by the Spirit (2:18.). We are an habitation of God through the Spirit (2:22), and we’re strengthened by the Spirit (3:16). We must not grieve the Spirit (4:30), but rather bear the fruit of the Spirit (5:9). We must be filled with the Spirit (5:18.), use the sword of the Spirit (6:17), and we must pray in the Spirit (6:18.).

What a tremendous, tremendous epistle!
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« Reply #4789 on: January 26, 2018, 05:53:51 PM »

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Are You A Pillar of God's Community?
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision” (Galatians 2:9).

When Paul shared his new message of grace with the leaders of the twelve apostles, it seemed that James, Peter and John were going to be pillars. That is, it seemed like they wouldn’t receive his new message, that instead they were each going to be as immoveable as a pillar when it came to acknowledging it.

That’s the way the word “pillar” is used in Revelation 3:12, where we read that God will take those who overcome the temptation to take the mark of the beast and make each one a pillar, a permanent part of His temple, the living temple made up of believers (cf. Amos 9:11,12). In that same sense of the word pillar, James, Peter and John looked like they would permanently resist Paul’s new message, and cling to the truth the Lord had given them for the dispensation that was passing away.

By the way, that’s how you should be about the truth that God has given you. You should cling to it with all your might. You know, the way Peter clung to the truth God had given him in the Law when the Lord surprised him with a command to eat unclean animals. Peter replied, “Not so, Lord” (Acts 10:14). He stood there arguing with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, standing his ground, saying, “Your Word says I can’t eat unclean animals.” Now, if he put up that kind of fight with the Lord, imagine the battle he gave Paul over something new! I expect that ol’ boy gave Paul the fight of his life. “What do you mean there’s an entire new program called the mystery that the prophets knew nothing about?” (cf. Ephesians 3:1-9).

And listen, he was 100% right to do so. That’s the way you should be about the truth that God has given you through Paul, because Paul says the church of which you are a part is “the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Tim. 3:15). When someone attacks the truth, you need to give him the fight of his life. Graciously, of course! (II Tim. 2:24,25). If Stonewall Jackson stood like a stone wall in the onslaught of enemy opposition, you should too. God help us to be like Jeremiah, whom God made “an iron pillar…against the whole land” (Jeremiah 1:18,19). When the dust of this life settles and eternity begins, it will be all that will have mattered.
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« Reply #4790 on: January 28, 2018, 11:41:49 AM »

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Good Directions
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


An old joke that is popular among women speculates that the reason it took the Jews forty years to make the eleven-day journey across the wilderness (Deut. 1:2) is because Moses was a typical man, too stubborn to stop and ask for directions! Of course, Bible students know that the real reason for this epic delay was Israel’s sinful rebellion against God. Back then, the Lord led His people each step of their way with a cloud (Num. 9:15-23), but the cloud led them to “wander in the wilderness forty years” (Num. 32:13) to punish them for their disobedience.

But in the absence of any guiding cloud today, how can we expect the Lord to direct us? What exactly did Paul mean when he wrote,

    “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ” (2 Thes. 3:5).

Most grace believers know that God directs members of the Body of Christ with His Word, but there continues to be a lot of confusion about this, based on verses like Proverbs 16:9:

    “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.”

Verses like this are used to teach that men plan what they are going to do, but then God comes along and overpowers their will and makes them walk in a direction that is different than what they planned. This interpretation leads to an extreme form of Calvinism that teaches that God is responsible for every move men make, that He is the Puppeteer pulling the strings and man is the marionette doll responding helplessly to His every whim. This view of God borders on what is called fatalism. A lot of unbelievers believe that “fate” controls everything in our lives and we are powerless to override its slightest caprice.

The obvious problem with believing that we are manipulated by the Almighty and cannot make a move that He does not cause is that it makes Him the author of our every sin. And so there must be some other explanation for verses like Proverbs 16:9, and we believe that there is. The only safe way to interpret the Bible is by comparing Scripture with Scripture (1 Cor. 2:13), so let’s compare the word “directeth” in this verse to how Isaiah used the word in time past:

    “Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counselor hath taught Him?” (Isa. 40:13).

Notice that when the prophet says no one can direct the Spirit of the Lord, he then goes on to rephrase his words by saying that the Lord cannot be counseled or taught. This, then, is what Paul meant when he spoke about God directing our hearts. God directs us by counseling us through the teaching of His Word. A man’s evil heart devises his way (Jer. 17:9), and the Lord comes along and directs him to do what He commands by the counsel of His Word.
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« Reply #4791 on: January 28, 2018, 11:42:58 AM »

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Two Walls
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


We were all doubtless surprised when the East German authorities began opening the Berlin Wall to West Berlin visitors at Christmas time. We can never be sure just what might be up the Communists’ sleeves, but for the time being it sounds encouraging. What they ought to do, of course, is to tear the wall down. It is a crime against humanity and a sin against God to confine half a city in a cage, to treat human beings as if they were animals.

The Bible speaks of a wall that separated all mankind into two parts. In Ephesians 2 the Law, the Ten Commandments, is called “the middle wall of partition.”

The Law was given to God’s covenant people. The Gentiles had been given up long before at the Tower of Babel and God had called out Abraham and his seed and had given them the Law. They broke the Law, however, so that Rom. 3:19 says:

    “Whatsoever the law saith it saith to them that are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may be brought in guilty before God.”

Because of the broken Law all men have been placed on the same level, but this was also God’s purpose of grace: “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief: that He might have mercy upon all” (Rom. 11:32). And thus God offers salvation to all through Christ, who died for our sins at Calvary. This is why Eph. 2:13-16 says:

    “But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who once were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us… that He might reconcile both unto God in one Body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.”

Thank God there is no “Berlin Wall” between God and those who trust His Son, nor between believers who have been made “one Body in Christ.”
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« Reply #4792 on: January 29, 2018, 06:17:17 PM »

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The Least in the Kingdom?
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “What did Jesus mean when He said the least in the kingdom was greater than John?”

    “…Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matt. 11:11).

Some feel that the Lord was speaking of Paul, since the apostle uses the word “least” to describe himself twice (1 Cor. 15:9; Eph. 3:8.). However, “the kingdom of heaven” of which the Lord spoke was the kingdom that will one day be established on earth for the redeemed in Israel, and Paul was never a part of that kingdom, nor will he ever be.

In that kingdom, all the redeemed will be filled with God’s Spirit, who will “cause” them to walk in His statutes (Ezek. 36:27). Because of this, the least member of that kingdom will be incapable of sinning, and so will exceed the righteousness of even a man as holy as John. Speaking of the kingdom, the prophet declared,

    “…he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them” (Zech. 12:8.).
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« Reply #4793 on: February 01, 2018, 05:41:37 PM »

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Was Peter Competent to Interpret the "Great Commission"?
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Mark’s record of our Lord’s commission to the eleven clearly states: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). As to unbelievers, baptism, of course, did not even enter into their case, thus the record goes on to say, “and he that believeth not shall be damned [condemned].”

This passage has always presented a problem for Fundamentalists who cling to the practice of water baptism and deny the special revelation committed to Paul for the present dispensation. The result has been that some change the meaning of this passage, while others contend that the last twelve verses of Mark 16 are not in the inspired originals.

To change this passage to read, “He that believeth and is saved ought to be baptized,” is simply to pervert and misrepresent the written Word of God. If a minister in the pulpit can lightly do this to one passage, beware of him; he may do it to others too.

As to the argument that the closing portion of Mark’s Gospel is not in the original, we reply that one cannot look into this contention without concluding that it is part of the inspired text.

First, it must be remembered that we have no original manuscripts of the Bible. Second, the manuscripts we do have contain it in the ratio of 300 to 1. Third, the Vatican and Sinaitic manuscripts, which do not contain it, leave spaces where it has been omitted. Fourth, we have translations earlier than our oldest manuscripts which do contain it. Fifth, we have the writings of fathers who lived still earlier, containing quotations from this passage.

The most conclusive evidence, however, is that contained in Peter’s testimony at Pentecost. Surely Peter was working under the “great commission” at this time. Surely, also, he was better able to interpret the commission than we are. The Lord had already “opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45). With eyes thus opened, the apostles further sat under Christ’s special instructions for forty days before His ascension (Acts 1:3). And to cap it all, we read that “THEY WERE ALL FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST” (Acts 2:4).

Surely, under such conditions Peter could not have misinterpreted his commission. And are the terms laid down in Mark 16:16 omitted from his offer of salvation, or does he change or minimize them aught? Indeed not! He emphasizes them as he says to his convicted hearers:

    “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38.).

Surely, Spirit-filled Peter, taught for forty days by Christ, with his understanding opened to God’s revealed plan, would not have demanded water baptism for the remission of sins if he had not been instructed to do so. Those who would seek to eliminate Mark’s record of the commission to the eleven (later twelve) have this further fact to face. Sad to say, some also misrepresent these words of Peter’s by substituting three periods or an “etc.” for the words “for the remission of sins.”

Peter interpreted the rest of the Mark commission correctly too, for as it says, “these signs shall follow them that believe,” and he promised that “the gift of the Holy Spirit” (for miraculous power) would follow repentance and baptism.

Unless Fundamentalists are ready to interpret and proclaim the message of Mark 16:15-18 as Peter did, they should acknowledge that we are to labor, not under the so-called great commission given to the eleven, but under that much greater commission given by the ascended Lord to Paul and to us (2 Cor. 5:14-21); that commission in which water baptism has no place, but the all-sufficiency of Christ and His finished work is the theme.
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« Reply #4794 on: February 01, 2018, 05:42:45 PM »

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God's Revelation of Himself
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Romans 1:18-20 declares that God has revealed Himself to man in creation. Not that we can learn His plan of salvation from creation — far from it. But the creation: the glory of its star-studded heavens, the beauty of its flowers and sunsets, the sun and rain and crops to supply us with food, and the unchangeable laws of nature, all show forth, not only the existence of God, but His power, His love, His justice, so that man is a responsible being and, as Verse 20 says, “without excuse” for the deplorable condition in which he finds himself.

A believer, talking with an atheistic evolutionist one day, took out his watch, looked at it and put it back into his pocket, saying: “I have a wonderful watch; it keeps perfect time; never misses a second.”

“What make is it?” the atheist asked.

“Oh, no make,” answered the Christian.

“Well, who manufactured it?”

“Oh, nobody; it just put itself together somehow.”

“Nonsense,” said the atheist, “A watch can’t just come into existence. Somebody had to design it and somebody had to manufacture it.”

“True,” said the Christian, “yet you expect me to believe that this universe, with its billions of stars and planets, all working together in perfect order, just came about by itself; that it had no Designer, no Creator and no one who keeps it running? Isn’t that nonsense?”

No wonder Paul says that the godless are “without excuse,” including even the vast majority of “religious” people, who salve their consciences by giving a small part of each week or each day to the performance of some religious rite but keep God out of their businesses, their politics, their social relationships — their hearts.

But thank God, as He has revealed His power and glory in creation, He has revealed His mercy and grace, His plan of salvation, in the Bible, where we read how “Christ died for our sins” (I Cor. 15:3), so that we might have “redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).
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« Reply #4795 on: February 01, 2018, 05:43:58 PM »

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Faith
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Faith is one of the most precious treasures a man can possibly possess. It is a pity that so few understand what the Bible teaches about it.

Faith is often confused with presumption, optimism, determination, superstition and imagination. Actually it is simply believing. This is why we read in Rom. 4:5:

    “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

Obviously, faith honors God, while doubting His Word must insult and displease Him. The Apostle John wrote:

    “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater…. He that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son.

    “And this is the record: that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (I John 5:9-11).

Little wonder that we read in Heb. 11:6:

    “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”

But why did God give the law, if salvation can be obtained by simple faith? St. Paul answers:

    “The law was our schoolmaster, to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24).

    “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law”
    (Rom. 3:31).

How grateful we all should be that God, in the Bible, has told us about redemption through Christ and how we may be saved by faith in Him!

    “[Christ] was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore, being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 4:25; 5:1).
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« Reply #4796 on: February 02, 2018, 01:55:32 PM »

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Dining with the King
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “…I appoint unto you a kingdom…that ye may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:29,30).

As you can see from these words that the Lord spoke to the twelve apostles, dining with the King is associated with reigning with Him. We see this same thought in the Lord’s words to Tribulation Jews who will need to overcome the temptation to take the mark of the beast if they want to reign with Christ in the kingdom of heaven on earth:

    “…if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne…” (Rev. 3:20,21).

If you are wondering what connection dining with the king could have to reigning with him, the king’s table was probably a place where the king’s business was discussed. This writer is not a member of the Berean Bible Society Board of Directors, but I have dinner with them when they are in town for a meeting. At these dinners, I’ve noticed that board business is always discussed at the table and, based on these discussions, decisions are made later at the official meeting.

We see this connection between dining and reigning typified in the story of Mephibosheth. If you’ll remember, after David became the king of Israel, he wanted to show kindness to any members of the house of Saul that he could find (II Sam. 9:1). When Mephibosheth was brought to his attention (vv. 2-6), David said to him,

    “…I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually” (II Sam. 9:7).

David went on to give Mephibosheth “all that pertained to Saul and to all his house” (v. 9), and remember, Saul had been king of Israel. In other words, Mephibosheth was given a king’s inheritance, and invited to sit at the king’s table and reign with him “as one of the king’s sons” (v. 11). Quite an honor for the grandson of a man who had once been the present king’s enemy.

Some men might take such a tremendous honor for granted, but not Mephibosheth! He later told David:

    “…all of my father’s house were but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king?” (II Sam. 19:28.).

Mephibosheth knew that he had been given such an unbelievably high honor that he felt he had no right ever to ask the king for anything ever again.

Now how about you? May I remind you that what the king did for Mephibosheth is exactly what your King has done for you? God “hath raised us up together” with Christ (Eph. 2:5,6), “and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” we who were once members of the family of God’s “enemies” (Rom. 5:10). Just as the Lord invited kingdom saints to sit and reign with Him in the kingdom of His Father, Paul says that we have been invited to sit and reign with Christ in the kingdom of His Father in the heavenlies—to sit with Him in His throne! Speaking of Christ, Paul says that God “hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church” (Eph. 1:22). Since God “calleth those things which be not as though they were” (Rom. 4:17), you are already seated with Christ at the Father’s right hand, and someday you will reign with Him over the angels (I Cor. 6:3).

In response, you can grumble and complain about your position in life, or you can rejoice in your position in heaven, and join Mephibosheth in wondering about your right ever to ask anything more of God beyond what He has already done in giving you a King’s inheritance (Eph. 1:11) and seating you at the King’s table “as one of the king’s sons” (cf. Gal. 4:4-7). I’m sure David would have given Mephibosheth anything he asked for, but his heart was so filled with thanksgiving that he felt he didn’t dare ask for more. While we have a clear command from God through Paul to “let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6), before asking God for anything, it might be good to run a “Mephibosheth check” on the level of your gratitude. After all, if God never did anything else for you other than what He has already done for you in Christ, He’s done enough.
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« Reply #4797 on: February 03, 2018, 02:47:37 PM »

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Savior of All Men?
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “How is Christ the Savior of all men, specially of them that believe?”

    “…the living God…is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe” (1 Tim. 4:10).

“…the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14), but “it pleased God…to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:21). So God is the potential Savior of all, and the particular Savior of all that believe. Righteousness is offered “unto all,” but it only comes “upon all them that believe” (Rom. 3:22).

But in the context of 1 Timothy 4:10, it is possible Paul had even more than this in mind. In Verse 16, he told Timothy:

    “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”

Since Timothy was already saved from his sins, Paul must be saying he could save himself and his hearers from all the misery and heartache that not taking heed to Pauline doctrine always brings. Unsaved men can benefit from this kind of salvation as well.

Remember, a few verses earlier, Paul told believers that “godliness is profitable… having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (v. 8.). Every believer knows that living a godly life will yield the profit of rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ in the life to come. But godliness also profits richly in this life as well. Berean Bible Society founder Pastor C. R. Stam used to say that if he died and found out that Christianity was all a lie, that there was no life after death or rewards in the life to come, he wouldn’t regret a moment of the life he had lived, for it is the richest, most rewarding and satisfying life that can be lived.

But even unbelievers know by experience that “the way of transgressors is hard” (Prov. 13:15), and that “virtue is its own reward.” So Christ can save them from misery and heartache as well, as they inadvertantly take heed to “the doctrine that is according to godliness” (1 Tim. 6:3).

And so, just as the sun and the rain that God gives all men can save unsaved men from the deprivation they would know without these things in life (Matt. 5:45; Acts 17:17), adhering to Christian principles can save unsaved men from misery and heartache in life. That makes God “the Savior of all men,” but specially of them that believe, for them that believe will also be saved from an eternity in the lake of fire in the life which is to come.
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« Reply #4798 on: February 04, 2018, 04:30:47 PM »

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A Thorny Issue
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


We often hear from grace believers who have been told, by someone who should know better, that those who belong to a denomination could not possibly be saved because they have no understanding of the Grace message. In their mind, they are entangled in a form of “religion” and merely going through the ceremonial motions. To them their hearts are far from God; therefore, those who attend a denominational assembly should be called “anathema.”

Those who hold this extreme position have a short memory, seeing that many of them are the fruits of one of these churches. According to them I was not saved when I was a Baptist. With this I would take issue. It is my firm conviction that it is not a prerequisite to fully understand the Mystery to be saved. Anyone who believes the terms of salvation set forth by the Apostle Paul—that Christ died for their sins and rose again—is saved by the grace of God and is a member of the true Church, the Body of Christ.

This means that anyone who has believed the gospel of salvation is saved, no matter what their denominational affiliation. Even though they may not have the understanding that we have of Paul’s gospel, we owe them both honor and respect as members of Christ’s Body. In light of the coming Judgment Seat of Christ, we are well served never to speak disparagingly of them. Mark these words of the Apostle Paul, and mark them well, “Why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought [despise] thy brother? for we shall all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ…So then, every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:10,12).

We most certainly acknowledge that Catholicism spiritually binds its hearers with the need to earn their salvation through good works. This false “religious system,” with all its unfounded traditions, must be exposed as heresy. But even here we must give thanks that there are Catholics who have believed the gospel and eventually recanted Catholicism. Protestantism, on the other hand, with all its shortcomings and denominational bias, does at least in varying degrees preach faith in Christ. Even though they have many times opposed us for proclaiming the gospel of the grace of God, we like Paul, are grateful that Christ is preached (Phil. 1:15-18.).

Rather than criticize those of the denominations who are saved, we have a responsibility to share the Word rightly divided with them so that they too might be delivered from the commandments of men. As Paul says, we are to “speak the truth in love,” something that is oftentimes lacking in the Grace movement.
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« Reply #4799 on: February 05, 2018, 07:07:04 PM »

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This Is For Jesus
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Visiting a young pastor and his family some time ago I observed a touching example of true Christian stewardship.

It was nearly time to go to church, when the pastor’s wife reached for a small box containing a few coins and handed it to her little boy. The coins represented the boy’s earnings received for jobs done, good behaviour, etc.

Seriously the boy contemplated the contents of the box and took from it two dimes — a substantial portion of the whole. Then looking up at me he said earnestly: “This is for Jesus”.

Several Scriptural lessons about Christian giving came to mind as we observed this simple incident.

This little lad had already been taught the responsibility of participating systematically in supporting the work of the Lord (I Cor. 16:2). He gave “as he purposed in his heart”; no one suggested how much he ought to give (II Cor. 9:7). After thinking it over carefully, he gave sacrificially (II Cor. 8:7,9). He “proved the sincerity of his love” (II Cor. 8:8.), for it was with sincere, childlike affection that he said: “This is for Jesus”.

Most of all, perhaps, his gift was a living demonstration of Paul’s exhortation in Romans 12:8: “He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity”. There was no fanfare, no boasting, no evidence of any feeling that he was doing a lot for the Lord; just an attitude of simple, humble satisfaction that he could join others in supporting the work of Christ.

How much we, who have too often been hardened through the years, can learn from children!
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