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nChrist
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« Reply #4815 on: February 21, 2018, 05:40:18 PM »

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Contextualizing the Gospel
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


    “I have a question regarding something I believe is called contextualizing of the gospel message…I would like to understand more about this….”

The contextualizing of the gospel is a concept that has been popularized by the emergent churches out west, which in itself is a cause for concern. It is essentially an attempt to accommodate social change, culture, tradition, and religious views of other so-called faiths when presenting the gospel. The Word of God is then conformed, as needed, to adapt to these areas more effectively to minister to others.

For example, the Muslim holds a monotheistic view of Allah. That is, there is only one true God. Contextualizing theology asks the question whether this is compatible with Christianity since it also holds to a monotheistic view of God. With what appears to be common ground they feel they have an open door to advance the gospel. While this is only one facet of contextualizing, it is a practice that is questionable at best, and in some cases heretical.

The Word of God stands alone as the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. It does not need the assistance of concepts, which only serve to undermine the Scriptures. There is one true and living God whose name is Jesus Christ, “For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). All other gods or views of gods are false!
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« Reply #4816 on: February 22, 2018, 05:46:17 PM »

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The Apostle Of Grace
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


The conversion of Saul of Tarsus was an amazing event. Saul loathed the very name of Christ. He blasphemed Him and caused others to be tortured so as to compel them to blaspheme that holy name. He led his nation and the world in rebellion against the resurrected, glorified Christ — the world which had already disowned and crucified the lowly Jesus.

But as Saul went to Damascus, still “breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1), God did a wonderful thing. Rather than crush the leader of the world’s rebellion, He saved him. Christ broke through the heavens, as it were, to speak words of pity to His greatest enemy on earth. As a result Saul’s rebellious spirit was broken and in one moment the pitiless persecutor became the docile, indeed the devoted follower of Christ.

More than this, Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor, became Paul the Apostle. To him the glorified Lord committed “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph. 3:2) and “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). Now he went everywhere proclaiming grace, telling men how God loved them, how Christ had come into the world and had gone to Calvary to pay man’s debt of sin so that believing sinners might be saved.

“The gospel of the grace of God,” found in Paul’s epistles, does not blame anyone for the death of Christ. Rather it presents the cross as good news. It declares that “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). It says that “God hath concluded them all in unbelief that He might have mercy upon all” (Rom. 11:32) and that “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom. 5:20). Thus the vilest sinner may believe and rejoice in the consciousness of sins forgiven.
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« Reply #4817 on: February 23, 2018, 11:15:44 AM »

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Baptism And The Remission Of Sins
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16).

The twelve apostles preached and practiced exactly this. When Peter’s hearers at Pentecost were convicted of their sins and asked: “Men and brethren, what shall we do” Peter did not tell them that Christ had died for their sins and that they could receive salvation as the gift of God’s grace, apart from religion or works. Rather he said:

    “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.).

Years ago, in a series of debates on dispensationalism, the author asked his opponent: “Suppose, after a Sunday evening service, some of your hearers were convicted of their sins and asked you and your co-workers: ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Would you tell them what Peter told his convicted sinners at Pentecost?”

“Why, of course!” he exclaimed.

“In those words?” I persisted.

He thought for a moment and then replied: “Well, I guess not exactly in those words.”

The fact is that this pastor would not at all have said to his hearers what Peter said to his. Even though a Baptist, he would not have said: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins,” for he believed that subjection to water baptism should be left to each person’s conscience, and he did not believe that it had anything to do with salvation. He would doubtless have said to any inquirers what Paul said when the convicted Gentile jailor asked: “What must I do to be saved?” Like Paul, he would have replied: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.. .” (Acts 16:31). Peter at Pentecost preached what he was commanded to preach under his commission: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16), but when God raised up Paul, that other apostle, He sent him to proclaim “the gospel of the grace of God” and the finished work of Christ.
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« Reply #4818 on: February 24, 2018, 04:11:34 PM »

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Three Brutal Murders
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Every student of the Word should know the three brutal murders around which all history revolves. These three murders represent Israel’s response to God’s three-fold call to repentance. They explain the unpardonable sin and form the background for the present dispensation of grace.

It was John the Baptist, the last of the Old Testament prophets, who was sent as the forerunner of Christ to call Israel to repentance. He was beheaded by Herod, the wicked and licentious “king of the Jews”. After John, Christ Himself took up the cry: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”. Him they crucified. Then, at Pentecost, Israel was given a third opportunity to repent, until they shed blood again, stoning Stephen to death.

It should be noticed, too, that their guilt, as well as their bitter enmity, increased with the second and third murders! Had Israel, responded to John’s call to repentance Herod would never have dared to even put John in jail. This explains why our Lord did nothing to release him from prison, even though this had offended John. It was not His, but theirs to do something about John’s unjust imprisonment and every moment he spent in prison testified against them. Read carefully Luke 3:18-20; 7:19-29; and Matthew 14:1-11. As to the beheading of John the Baptist, they permitted it. As to the crucifixion of Christ, they demanded it (Luke 23:23,24). As to the stoning of Stephen, they committed it, casting him out of the city with their own hands and stoning him there.

And so that generation in Israel committed the unpardonable sin which our Lord warned would not be forgiven, either in that age, or in the age to come. Thus we close this article by quoting those precious passages from Paul’s epistles which clearly DENY the possibility of any “unpardonable sin” during the present “dispensation of the grace of God”:

    “We have redemption through His blood, THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).

    “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. BUT WHERE SIN ABOUNDED, GRACE DID MUCH MORE ABOUND: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:20,21).
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« Reply #4819 on: February 25, 2018, 04:47:19 PM »

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It's a Matter of the Heart
by Pastor John Fredericksen


In recent months, my wife’s father has had a series of issues with his heart that required different pacemakers to be implanted. After two previous by-pass operations, there have been justifiable reasons to be concerned about him. So, when we see or call him, we frequently ask, “How is your heart today?”

The condition of one’s heart is just as important in the spiritual realm as it is in the physical realm. It is for this reason the Scriptures say so much about the heart and why Solomon wrote, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). The spiritual condition of one’s heart will determine how one responds to the Lord and, ultimately, it will have a huge impact on each of us in eternity.

Since God is “not willing that any should perish” (II Pet. 3:9) and “lighteth [or draws to Himself] every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9), everyone has the option to be saved from eternal punishment. The Lord seeks with every individual to do what He did with Lydia, “whose heart the Lord opened” (Acts 16:14): drawing him or her to a personal decision of saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, because many resist and refuse this internal wooing of the Lord, they remain as some to whom Paul wrote in the Roman epistle: “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and… righteous judgment of God” (Rom. 2:5).

Thankfully, many choose to open their hearts to the salvation God offers. Countless numbers of people have “called on the Lord out of a pure heart” (II Tim. 2:22). Hosts of believers today seek to leave behind the regular practice of sin because they “have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” (Rom. 6:17). On a daily basis, most believers pursue a walk that will please the Lord because “in singleness of heart, fearing God…[they choose to] serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:22-24). Many believers are “doing the will of God from the heart” (Eph. 6:6). Those who choose such a path do so because they are choosing to “keep their heart with all diligence.” They do so by regularly taking in the Word of God and applying proper truth to the way they live each day.

It is, of course, possible for a believer to choose a path of sinful living. Every believer can choose to allow his heart to grow cold to the things of the Lord. For those who do, the Apostle Paul warned that, while still saved, they could reach a spiritual condition of “having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God… because of the blindness of their heart” (Eph. 4:18.). Such a condition is the spiritual equivalent of a blockage to the heart. Knowing that as believers “we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ… [and] every one of us shall give an account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:10,12), it behooves every believer to maintain a soft, responsive heart to the Lord.

Dear believer, how is your heart today, in a spiritual sense? If you have made past decisions of sinfulness that have hardened your heart, you can choose to open the door of your heart and begin to live for the Lord again. You can begin today. You can begin to read the Scriptures again, talk to the Lord in prayer, and seek a church where the truths of God’s Word are faithfully taught. If your heart has been faithfully following the Lord, “Praise His Name.” May we all seek to apply the wise counsel from Solomon to “keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
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« Reply #4820 on: February 27, 2018, 01:17:21 AM »

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That Precious Deposit
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


The story is told of how a wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art. When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son. About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said, “Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art.”

The young man held out his package. “I know this isn’t very much, I’m not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.” The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. “Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It’s a gift.” The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the great works of art he had collected.

The man died a few months later. Shortly thereafter, there was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having the opportunity to purchase one for their collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. “We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?” There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, “We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.” But the auctioneer persisted. “Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?” Another voice shouted angrily. “We didn’t come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!” But still the auctioneer continued. “The son! The son! Who’ll take the son?”

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. “I’ll give $10 for the painting.” Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. “We have $10, who will bid $20?” “Give it to him for $10. Let’s see the masters.” The crowd was becoming angry. They didn’t want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel. “Going once, going twice, SOLD for $10!” A man sitting on the second row shouted, “Now let’s get on with the collection.”

The auctioneer laid down his gavel. “I’m sorry, the auction is over.” “What about the paintings?” “I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets every thing!”

God gave His Son 2000 years ago to die on a cruel Cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is, “The Son, the Son, who’ll take the Son?” Because, you see, whoever takes the Son inherits everything! 1

EARTHEN VESSELS

    “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (II Cor. 4:7).

In biblical times earthen vessels were clay pots that had been thoroughly baked in an oven. They were fraught with imperfections, which meant that no two were exactly alike. Archeologists have discovered that those who lived during that period secretly buried their treasures in clay pots for safekeeping. As we shall see, the master illustrator uses this facet of everyday life to illustrate a grand spiritual truth.

Those who have taken the Son are heirs, joint-heirs with Him. As members of the Body of Christ, we are partakers of His glory, His power, and His reign. In short, we are the recipients of the wealth of heaven! While the believing Gentiles will partake of the blessings of the kingdom, they are not said to be heirs. In the kingdom, heirship is a question of nationality. In the present dispensation of Grace, heirship is based upon relationship. We are one in Him. Therefore, what rightfully belongs to Him, we have come into possession of, and will share it mutually with Him for eternity (Rom. 8:17 cf. Eph. 3:6).

Today when men want to safeguard their riches they place them in vaults made of steel and concrete. But God’s ways are not man’s ways. God has deposited the riches of His grace in earthen vessels. We need not wait until we arrive in heaven to learn what we presently possess in Christ. We have this treasure, that is, the gospel of the grace of God in earthen vessels. Those who have been saved by grace are blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. But what we positionally enjoy in Christ must become a practical reality in the Christian experience if we ever hope to maintain a godly testimony among men. For example, we are forgiven in Christ, but grace teaches us that we are to forgive others even as Christ has forgiven us.

In the year 1818, Tamatoe, King of Huahine, one of the South Sea Islands, believed the gospel. He discovered a plot among his fellow natives to seize him and other converts and burn them to death. However, he organized a band to attack the plotters and captured them unawares. Having exposed the plot, he forgave them, and set a feast before his would-be captors. This unexpected kindness amazed the savages, who burned their idols and became Christians. 2

But why would God place these unspeakable riches in such an unsecure place? We are unworthy sinners, weak and frail, who have the sentence of death within us. Perhaps the hymn-writer, Robert Robinson, has expressed it best, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” The answer to the question is found in the latter part of our passage. “That the excellency [exceeding greatness] of the power may be of God, and not of us.” While others usually think more highly of us than they should, essentially it is the power of God working through us that produces results in the Lord’s work.

Many years ago I was invited to minister the gospel at a Bible camp in the Rocky Mountains. On the last evening, I spoke on “The Danger of Falling Into the Hands of An Angry God.” Earlier that day I hadn’t been feeling well, due to altitude sickness. In addition to being exhausted that night, I was short of breath. At ten thousand feet it doesn’t take much to get winded. I now understand why it took Moses so long to return from Mount Sinai with the tablets of stone. He undoubtedly had to keep stopping on his way down to catch his breath! As I arose to speak that evening I thought to myself, this is going to be an absolute disaster. It was, or at least I thought it was, until I learned two months later that an entire family was saved that night. Brethren, the gospel is the “power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Rom 1:16).

At the Judgment Seat of Christ no one will be able to boast regarding what he or she has accomplished, for the power is solely of God and not of us. “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” In the final analysis, God will receive all the glory and honor and praise and adoration for the great things He has done. We are merely vessels through whom God has poured out the riches of His grace to a lost and dying world.

What is your attitude toward the Mystery? When the final chapter of your life is written and the book is closed, will you be able to say with the Apostle Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”? May you have no regrets at that day!

Notes:

1    Author unknown.
2    Paul Lee Tan, Signs of the Times, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations, Assurance Publishers, Rockville, MD, 1979.
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« Reply #4821 on: February 27, 2018, 06:08:30 PM »

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True Riches In Christ
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


To know God through Christ and His redeeming work is to be rich indeed.

The Scriptures have much to say about the infinite riches of God. They tell us of “the riches of His glory” (Rom. 9:23; Eph. 3:16), “the riches of His wisdom and knowledge” (Rom. 11:33), “the riches of His goodness and forbear-ance and longsuffering” (Rom. 2:4) and “the riches of His grace (Eph. 1:7; 2:7). God would have us enjoy these riches through faith in Christ, who died for our sins.

    “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich” (II Cor. 8:9).

We should rejoice continually that God, in addition to being rich in wisdom and knowledge and in glory and power, is also “rich in mercy” (Eph. 2:4) and that “the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him, for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:12,13).

To St. Paul, the chief of sinners, saved by grace, God revealed the greatest riches of all. Paul said: “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given, that I should preach among the nations the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8.). These riches include, among other things, “all the riches of the full assurance of understanding” (Col. 2:2). How wonderful to have an intelligent understanding of God’s plan of salvation and of all He has purposed in His heart of love for those who accept the salvation He has provided through His beloved Son!

True riches are not comprised of material things. The Scripture calls these “uncertain riches” and warns us not to trust in them (I Tim. 6:17). True riches is “to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge” and so to be “filled with all the fulness of God” (Eph. 3:19).
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« Reply #4822 on: March 02, 2018, 02:24:07 PM »

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Evolution And Sin
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Rom. 8:22).

Modern evolution, of course, denies the Bible account of the fall and has much to say about “the ascent of man,” but evolution fails to account for, indeed, assiduously evades, that which lies at the very root of all man’s troubles: sin. It fails to explain adequately why man finds himself weak, poor, miserable, distressed, corrupt, perishing, and it fails to explain why he is so utterly helpless to lift himself from this state. It fails to explain his inherent sense of blameworthiness; indeed insists he has no cause for a “guilt complex.”

Every man feels within himself a disorder, a positive dislocation of things, which science — and certainly the theory of evolution — is unable to explain. Only the Bible account of the fall explains it and shows how all man’s trouble and distress arise from his own nature, which is fallen and corrupt.

    “…BY ONE MAN SIN ENTERED INTO THE WORLD, AND DEATH BY SIN; AND SO DEATH PASSED UPON ALL MEN, FOR THAT ALL HAVE SINNED” (Rom. 5:12).

It is most important for the unsaved to learn this lesson; to learn that it is not merely our sins, but our sin that makes us unfit for the presence of God; not merely our deeds but our nature; not merely what we have done, but what we would do because we are essentially sinful as the children of Adam.

How profoundly grateful we should be, then, that God loves us despite our sins and our sinful natures, and that… “…God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8.).

    “In whom we have redemption, through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).
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« Reply #4823 on: March 02, 2018, 02:35:10 PM »

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Mind Your Magistrates
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates…” (Titus 3:1).

Who are these “principalities and powers” to whom we must be subject? Well, we know there are different kinds of principalities and powers, since in Ephesians 6:12 we are told to “wrestle” them, while here we are told to “be subject” to them! Ephesians, of course, speaks of the unseen demonic host, “the rulers of the darkness of this world,” who wrestle with us as we proclaim God’s Word. But Titus 3:1 speaks of the human rulers of this world, the “magistrates” in government to whom God says we must be subject (Rom. 13:1-7).

You wouldn’t think Christians would need to be told this, but once we learn we are already citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20), it is easy to think that this somehow negates the responsibilities of our earthly citizenship. But remember, while there is “neither bond nor free” in Christ (Gal. 3:28.), Paul still tells servants to “be obedient unto their own masters” (Titus 2:9). While there is also “neither male nor female” in Christ (Gal. 3:28.), Paul still tells wives to “submit yourselves unto your own husbands” (Eph. 5:22). And while in Christ we are already citizens of heaven, we must still be subject to magistrates.

Solomon warned, “fear thou the Lord and the king; and meddle not with them that are given to change” (Prov. 24:21). This refers not to voting men out of office, but rather to getting involved in subversive anti-government activities. God has said that the meek in Israel will inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5), and so He plans to fix all of earth’s governments for them prior to the establishment of His kingdom (Rev. 11:15). But this world is not our inheritance, we’re “just a-passing through” it, and so fixing her governments is not our fight.

An example from Israel’s past might serve to illustrate this. As Israel was passing through the wilderness on her way to the Promised Land, Edom refused to let her pass through their land (Num. 20:14-22). Why didn’t Israel fight, as they later fought those who resisted them in Canaan? Because God had instructed them to “meddle not with them,” since Edom was not their inheritance (Deut. 2:1-5)—they were just a-passin’ through! Just so, this world is not our inheritance, and so we should “meddle not with them that are given to change” its governments. We are called to “fight the good fight of faith” (I Tim. 6:12), and “no man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (II Tim. 2:4).
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« Reply #4824 on: March 02, 2018, 02:36:19 PM »

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The New Creation
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


In Romans 5:12 God tells us how we are all related to the first man, Adam:

    “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin… so death passed upon all men…”

This verse clearly indicates that every child born into the world since Adam has partaken of Adam’s sinful nature.

Parents sometimes wonder why their children act as they do. The answer is simple! Every child is related to rebellious Adam by physical birth, and soon rebels like Adam, whose offspring he is.

In Scripture we are told that God “commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8.).

When you are in trouble and someone comes to your aid, are you not automatically drawn to that person? Should we not then be attracted to the One who cared so much for us that He “made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:7,8.)?

Through natural birth we partake of the sinful natures of our parents back to Adam, and frequently we even have the same physical features as our parents. How touching, then, to know that the Lord Jesus Christ took on Him “the likeness of men” (apart from sin) and, as the God-man, died for our sins upon the cross, where sinful men (people like us) nailed Him! As we recognize this and place our faith in Him, a spiritual birth takes place and we become the children of God (John 1:12). More than this, we become members of the Body of Christ, God’s new creation, for “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation” (II Cor. 5:17). “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
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« Reply #4825 on: March 03, 2018, 06:20:07 PM »

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What's Satan's Address?
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “Hymenaeus and Alexander…I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme” (I Timothy 1:20).

Who were these guys, how were they blaspheming, and what does it mean when it says Paul delivered them to Satan? What’s Satan’s address anyway? Well, there seems to be more than one Alexander in the Bible, but there is only one other mention of a Hymenaeus:

    “…Hymenaeus and Philetus…concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some” (II Tim. 2:18.).

If our text is speaking of the same man teaching the same error, it would appear that by the time Paul wrote these words in his second epistle to Timothy that Alexander had learned not to blaspheme. But Hymenaeus had evidently gone on to find a new partner in a man named Philetus. These new “partners in crime” then proceeded to “overthrow the faith of some” by continuing to teach Hymenaeus’ error, “that the resurrection is past already.”

Since the “overthrow” of Sodom involved its complete destruction (Gen. 19:24,25), the overthrow of a believer’s faith must involve the same. I know it would destroy my faith in God if I thought that the resurrection of the Rapture had taken place and I’d been left behind, instead of being caught up to meet the Lord in the air with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord as God promised (I Thes. 4:15-17).

Rather than allow the faith of God’s people to be overthrown like that, Paul went on in the very next verse to argue that the resurrection could not be past:

    “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His…” (II Timothy 2:19).

Paul responded to Hymeneus’ error by declaring that the Lord knows them that are His, so there is no way He would have left any believer behind at the Rapture!

When Hymeneus and Alexander first began to teach otherwise, Paul delivered them to Satan in the same way he told the Corinthians to deliver a man to Satan (I Cor. 5:5), by putting him out of the assembly (v.2,13). That may sound harsh, but Paul knew it was the only way Hymeneus and Alexander would “learn not to blaspheme.”

When we think of blasphemy, we think of cursing the name of God (Lev. 24:15,16), but there are other ways to blaspheme. When the king of Assyria suggested that God couldn’t deliver His people the way He promised He would (II Kings 18:33—19:2), Hezekiah pronounced it “blasphemy” (19:3). And this is the kind of blasphemy of which Hymeneus and his cohorts were guilty as well. When they suggested that God couldn’t deliver every member of the Body of Christ at the Rapture, as He promised He would in the epistles of Paul, they too blasphemed!

If you are thankful that the Lord Jesus Christ plans to employ a “no man left behind” policy at the Rapture, don’t forget that after assuring us that “the Lord knoweth them that are His,” Paul went on to tell us how we can express our gratitude for that assurance: “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (II Tim. 2:20).
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« Reply #4826 on: March 04, 2018, 06:07:49 PM »

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The Great Deceiver
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


    “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken.” —Habakkuk 2:15

There are many passages in the Word of God, such as the above reference, that are timeless principles. While the alcohol industry goes to great lengths to get people to believe that drinking is a harmless way to have a good time, the facts are otherwise. It is very careful never to advertise the alcoholic who is dying of cirrhosis of the liver or the homes that have been destroyed by strong drink. And of course, there’s always a voice in the crowd that says a few social drinks will never hurt anyone. Most recovering alcoholics, however, tell a much different story of how their slide into a life of drunkenness all started with social drinking.

    “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Prov. 20:1).

Many years ago, I was driving through Apollo, Pennsylvania, where I saw a mangled piece of wreckage alongside of the road. Upon slowing down, I discovered it was an automobile, or at least what was left of it. Apparently someone survived the crash because there were beer cans strategically placed beside the car with a sign, which read, “And they told us we were going to have fun!” Someone lied.

Contrary to the world’s view that alcoholism is a disease, the Word of God calls drunkenness a sin (Gal. 5:19-21). Excessive drinking is not a disease; it is a matter of choice. Although some drunkards overcome their addiction through programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, apart from faith, all too often they return to their drinking ways when confronted with a crisis. The world’s answer to the problems of this life is, “I need a drink.” However, the answer is not found in the bottom of a bottle. The answer is a personal relationship with Christ!

Everyone reading these lines has a family member, a dear friend, or a neighbor who struggles with this temptation. Yes, even believers wrestle with this sin, as Paul makes very clear:

    “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness….But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:12-14).

The best thing we can do for those who grapple with this addiction is to show them our love and support. It is important to share with them that they are dead to this sin in Christ and therefore, it doesn’t have to control their life any longer. Since alcoholism is such a deeply seated problem, encourage them to search out a godly pastor or Christian counselor who can assist them in a better understanding of Romans, Chapter 6.
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« Reply #4827 on: March 05, 2018, 03:03:14 PM »

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Are You Listening?
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


The Apostle Paul had much that he yearned to teach the Hebrew believers — wonderful truths that would have thrilled their hearts — but these truths were “hard to be uttered,” or difficult to explain to them, since they were “dull of hearing.” The word “dull” in Heb. 5:11 really means “slothful,” or indifferent (as in Heb. 6:12). They were not merely hard of hearing, as we say, but were too lazy, too indifferent, spiritually, to pay attention. They were not sufficiently interested.

This is always a serious condition in the light of the fact that “God hath spoken,” and that disobedience to His Word will be judged (Heb. 1:1,2; 2:1-3). Yet, alas, this is the condition of the professing Church today. The great majority of religious people are not sufficiently interested in what God has said to engage in diligent, prayerful study and, like those of Paul’s day, still have to be taught “the first principles” of the Bible. They have remained babes, spiritually, unable to digest anything but “milk,” and so remain “unskillful in the Word of righteousness” (Heb. 5:12-14).

What has brought this condition about? Is it because our Bibles are being burned and the Church persecuted for reading it? Is it because God is unwilling to lead us further into His truth? Most assuredly not. It is because so many men of God in high places no longer have the single passion to know God’s Word and to make it known. They could be as greatly used of God in teaching the Scriptures as their predecessors were, but they are “slothful of hearing” and hence can present their hearers with little that is of true value.

This, in turn, is reflected in the religious masses. They “love” their Bibles, but not enough to study them diligently and become workmen whom God can approve. Let us not be numbered among these. Rather, let it be our one great desire to gain a clear understanding of God’s Word, rightly divided — for His sake, for our own sake and for the sake of the needy souls about us.
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« Reply #4828 on: March 07, 2018, 12:20:30 AM »

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The Cross And The Christian
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Nothing will prove so helpful to a Christian in overcoming sin as an appreciation of Christ’s death for sin at Calvary. The Bible teaches that:

1. The cross stands between the believer and his SINS: the wrong things he does, or is prone to do, in thought, word and deed.

    “And you, that were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled, in the body of His flesh, through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in His sight” (Col. 1:21,22).

2. The cross stands between the believer and his SIN. It is not only men’s sins that keep them out of heaven, but their sin; not merely what they have done, but what they are and what they will do; not merely their deeds, but their nature. But Christ’s death took care of this too.

    “…by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin… But… much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many… That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:12,15,21).

    “For [God] hath made Him to be sin for us, [Him] who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21).

3. The cross stands between the believer and his SINNING.

    “What shall we say, then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? … Our old man [nature] has been crucified with Him… that henceforth we should not serve sin… let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof; neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves to God, as those who are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Rom. 6:1,2, 6,12,13).
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« Reply #4829 on: March 07, 2018, 05:56:56 PM »

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Church On Fire
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


The Chicago newspapers carried an account the other day of a large church, burned to the ground, at a loss of about half a million dollars. Our sympathy goes out to the pastor and congregation who, at best, will have to carry on for a time under makeshift arrangements.

But the account reminded me of the story of another church on fire. The crowds had gathered to see the fire engines pour water on the burning building, when one man spotted a friend in the crowd. “Hi Bob!” he shouted: “This is the first time I’ve seen you at church!” “Well,” responded the other, “This is the first time I’ve seen a church on fire.”

We write this as a special appeal to true, born-again Christians. Isn’t it true that if believers were more “on fire” for Christ, more completely sold out to Him, those who are now disinterested would be more apt to become interested and come to know Him as their Savior? We so soon lose interest or become discouraged, and quit. This is why the Apostle Paul, that tireless ambassador for Christ, wrote:

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

This, we repeat, is his exhortation to believers only, for God will not accept our money or our good works, until we have first accepted “the gift of God,” which is “eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

Accept this gift; trust the Christ who died for your sins and He will give you plenty to do — the most rewarding service any man could possibly render.
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