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nChrist
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« Reply #5085 on: November 24, 2018, 03:32:26 PM »

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Suppose
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Suppose it were true that a person once saved could be lost again.

Suppose such a person, to gain heaven, would then have to be saved all over again.

But suppose the person in question never did get saved the second time and, departing this life a lost man, went finally to the lake of fire–after having once been “saved?”

In what sense, then, was he first saved? From what was he saved?

Was he saved from the penalty of sin? No, for he did not escape the lake of fire.

Was he saved from the power of sin? No, for he fell back into sin and died a lost man.

And most assuredly he was not saved from the presence of sin. None this side of heaven have yet been saved from that.

From what was he saved then? The answer is: Nothing at all.

He may have thought he was saved. He may have felt saved. He may have acted as though he were saved. His friends may have thought he was saved. But, in the final analysis, he was saved from nothing.

Salvation, to be anything more than a mere term, must be everlasting. Any person who has been saved has been eternally saved. No one is saved until he is eternally saved. Anyone who dies in a lost condition never was saved at all.

Does this mean we must wait until after this life is over to find out? No. We may be saved now and know it. This is evident from such passages as 1 Corinthians 1:18, where the Apostle Paul refers to “us which are saved.”
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« Reply #5086 on: November 25, 2018, 03:28:48 PM »

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Is the Word of God Consistent?
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler


Inconsistencies are the way of man. Politicians are inconsistent; they often promise one thing and do another, depending on how the political winds are blowing. The testimony of a murderer is often inconsistent with the evidence that is presented. Even medical science is inconsistent with its own declarations. The conventional wisdom years ago was to stay in bed for two weeks after major surgery to heal properly. Today, most patients are required to be up and around the same day.

I recall the time I was speaking to a young dispensationalist who was convinced that the “two…in the field; the one…taken, and the other left” was clearly the Rapture. I graciously shared with him that he was anticipating revelation. That is, he was taking something he had learned from Paul’s writings and was superimposing it on the Lord’s teaching about His Second Coming. I pointed out to him that his view was inconsistent with the context of Matthew 24. When I inquired who was removed from the earth in the days of Noah, the believer or the unbeliever, he was speechless.

Unlike man, the Word of God is never inconsistent with itself, even though it may appear to be at times. God is omniscient; therefore, His Word is like a finely woven tapestry from beginning to end. A friend in Christ once wrote to me about an observation he had made from the gospel according to Matthew:

    Here’s one that will probably stump you—it has me! Matthew states that the “blood money” that was used to purchase the potter’s field after Judas hanged himself was in fulfillment of “…that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet” (Matt. 27:8-10). I’ve searched the Book of Jeremiah thoroughly and I am sorry to report, it’s not there.

He’s right! A few years ago he would have had me over a barrel on this one. But recently, I did some research on this portion and discovered the solution to the problem staring me in the face. Normally, the Gospel writers state, “As it is written…,” such as we have in the case of John the Baptist (Compare Luke 3:4,5 & Isa. 40:3,4). However, Matthew does not say that which was fulfilled was written. Instead, Jeremiah is said to have spoken these words, which the Spirit of God revealed to the apostle by a special revelation. This is another thread of inspiration that is carefully interwoven throughout the Scriptures (II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:21). Indeed, the Book you hold in your hand is the Word of God!
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« Reply #5087 on: November 26, 2018, 01:44:39 PM »

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A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 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. 2:3,4).

In the soldier it is courage and self-discipline that are important. It has been well said that the measure of a good soldier is not how much he can “give,” but how much he can “take,” how much he can endure — how much it takes to make him give up.

It is a sad fact that many of God’s people simply do not want to be soldiers. They are sure that the battle for the truth can be won by “love.” They decline to obey God’s specific order to “fight the good fight of the faith” (I Tim.6:12). Some even find fault with those who do stand as soldiers for Christ and wield the Sword of the Spirit in defense of the truth.

But if God does not wish us to be soldiers in the fight of the faith, why did He command us to be such in the first place, and why, in Ephesians 6:10-20, does He urge us to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might,” instructing us to “Put on the whole armour of God,” naming each piece separately, so that not one might be missing? Why does He bid us to “take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God”?

Does He mean that we should put our sword in the scabbard and go on dress parade, to show what fine soldiers we are? No! We are to wield the Sword of the Spirit, “standing against the wiles of the devil”, and to keep standing until, “having done all,” we are still found “standing.”

Four times in this passage the word “stand” is used, and God has provided a complete armour so that we may be enabled to stand.

But there is more. A “good soldier,” says the Apostle, is careful not to “entangle himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (Verse 4).

What a lesson! Should not we, who have been bought with the precious blood of Christ, be “good soldiers” for His sake, single-minded, and disentangled from the affairs of this life?
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« Reply #5088 on: November 27, 2018, 03:17:53 PM »

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What Was Accomplished At Calvary?
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


If the Bible makes anything clear, it is the fact that the secret of all God’s good news to men is centered in Calvary. It was because Christ was to die for sin that God could proclaim good news to sinners down through the ages.

It was not until some time after the crucifixion, however, that “the preaching of the cross” was widely proclaimed as a message by Paul in “the gospel [good news] of the grace of God” (ICor.1:18; Acts 20:24).

The proclamation of “the gospel of the grace of God” was the natural accompaniment to the revelation of the cross as the secret of God’s good news to man. In this proclamation of His over-abounding grace to sinners, everything centers in the cross.

According to Paul’s epistles “we have redemption through His [Christ’s] blood” (Eph.1:7), we are “justified by His blood” (Rom.5:9), “reconciled to God by the death of His Son” (Rom.5:10), “made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Eph.2:13), and “made the righteousness of God in Him” because “God hath made Him to be sin for us” (IICor.5:21).

The “covenant” of the Law was abolished by the cross (Col.2:14), the curse of the Law was removed by the cross (Gal.3:13), the “middle wall of partition” was broken down by the cross (Eph.2:14,15), and believers in Christ are “reconciled to God in one body by the cross” (Eph. 2:16). Little wonder Paul calls this message “the preaching of the cross”!

To the believers it is thrilling indeed, and how thankful we should be, to see the cross as God’s reply to Satan when, at first glance, it had appeared that the cross was Satan’s greatest triumph.
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« Reply #5089 on: November 28, 2018, 11:42:56 AM »

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Remission of Sins
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


“Is the remission of sins the same thing as the forgiveness of sins?”

Bible words can often be defined by the way New Testament writers quote the Old Testament. For instance, we know that the words deliverance and salvation are the same, for when Paul quotes Joel, he changes the word “deliverance” to “saved” (Joel 2:32; Rom. 10:13). In the same way, we know that remission and forgiveness are the same, for in quoting Jeremiah, the writer of Hebrews changes the word “forgive” to “remission” (Jer. 31:34; Heb. 10:17,18).

In addition, we know that God set Christ forth “to be a propitiation… to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past” (Rom. 3:25). That’s not talking about the sins that are past in your life, that’s talking about the remission of the sins of Old Testament saints like Abraham and David. So when we read that Abraham was also “justified” (Rom. 4:1-3), and David was “forgiven” (Rom. 4:7), we have to conclude that the remission of sins is tantamount to justification as well as forgiveness.

Finally, if you look up the word “remit” in a good dictionary, one of the words used to define it is “forgive,” and vice versa.
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« Reply #5090 on: November 29, 2018, 03:58:31 PM »

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When The Lord Wouldn't Answer
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


In the various accounts of our Lord’s earthly ministry we find three occasions when He declined to answer those who appealed to Him or questioned Him.

First there is the Gentile woman of Matt. 15:21-28. Her daughter was possessed of a demon and in her trouble she appealed to the Lord to help her, “but He answered her not a word.” Finally, in His grace He did help her, but not until He had taught her the lesson that as a Gentile she had no claim on Him. As Romans 1:28 tells us, the Gentiles had been “given up” because “they did not wish to retain God in their knowledge.” In this connection we Gentiles should read carefully Eph. 2:11,12 and see how utterly without hope we are apart from the grace of God.

Next there was a Jewess, in trouble of a different kind. She had been caught in adultery and was brought to Him for judgment (John 8:1-11). Unlike the Gentile woman, she belonged to the chosen race and possessed God’s holy Law, a distinct advantage — unless you are a lawbreaker. Our Lord, in grace, also helped her, but not until He had demonstrated that the Law is the great leveler of mankind, bringing all in guilty before God (Rom. 3:19).

But finally we find how it was that our Lord could show grace — and do it justly — to sinners, both Jewish and Gentile, for in the third instance we find the Lord Himself in trouble. On trial for His life before the representatives of Hebrew and Roman law, He is accused of all sorts of wicked crimes. But on this occasion too, He declines to answer.

First Caiaphas, the High Priest, asked Him: “Answerest Thou nothing? What is it which these witness against Thee? But Jesus held His peace…” (Matt. 26:62,63).

Next Pilate, the Gentile judge, said: “Hearest Thou not how many things they witness against Thee? And He answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly” (Matt. 27:12-14).

Why did our Lord decline to answer and defend Himself? Because He had come into the world especially to die for man’s sins. Had the sinners of all ages been there to accuse Him of their sins, He would still have remained speechless, for He stood there as man’s representative, so that we sinners might be “justified freely by God’s grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).
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« Reply #5091 on: November 30, 2018, 04:55:27 PM »

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On the Brink of Extinction
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


The extinction of the dodo bird has been so well known for such a long time that it has given rise to the expression, “dead as a dodo.” There is, however, another dodo that we fear is also on the verge of extinction:

    “Eleazar the son of Dodo…smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the Lord wrought a great victory that day…” (II Sam. 23:9,10).

Eleazar’s name appears here among a list of “the mighty men whom David had” (v. 8), and in smiting the Philistines until “his hand clave unto the sword” and they literally had to pry his fingers from the hilt, this dedicated soldier proved himself mighty indeed! What an inspiration this makes him to those of us who are called upon by God to “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (II Tim. 2:3)—and that would include all who name the name of Christ. It is the duty of every believer to “put on the whole armour of God” (Eph. 6:11), armor which includes “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Eph. 6:17). Continue to use it even when someone tells you they don’t believe the Bible is God’s Word. No soldier ever sheathed his sword just because his opponent said he didn’t believe it would cut!
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« Reply #5092 on: December 01, 2018, 04:26:02 PM »

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How Full Is Your Assurance?
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    “For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them… That their hearts might be comforted… unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding…” (Col. 2:1,2).

There is nothing worse than running low on assurance! During the gas shortage of the ‘70s, I was traveling from Illinois to Minnesota for a fishing trip with my father, when we began to run low on fuel. As we looked for a place to fill up, we were alarmed to find that one gas station after another had posted an “Out of Gas” sign. Suddenly all assurance that we wouldn’t find ourselves stranded along the Interstate was gone!

While the assurance that a full tank of gas can give is a comfortable thing, the assurance of salvation is infinitely and eternally better! No wonder the Apostle Paul was willing to endure “great conflict” for the saints to whom he ministered, that their hearts might be comforted by “the full assurance” that can be ours with a proper “understanding” of how simple faith saves us in the dispensation of grace (Col. 2:1,2).

But as we rightly divide the Word of truth (II Tim. 2:15), we find that to obtain the assurance of salvation, God required more than just faith of the Hebrews. In Hebrews 10:22, for instance, we read:

    “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Here we see that in a day when God required water baptism for the remission of sins (Mark 1:4; 16:16; Acts 2:38; I Pet. 3:21), Hebrews could not enjoy “full assurance of faith” unless their bodies were “washed with pure water.” Of course! While men have always been saved by faith, when God required certain works as an expression of that faith, there could be no salvation without a performance of whatever work He required 5, and no assurance apart from that expression of faith.

We see this again in I John 3:17-19:

    “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?… let us not love in word…but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we… shall assure our hearts before Him.”

Clearly, if John’s readers wanted to assure their hearts, they had to express their faith by sharing “this world’s good” (things like food and clothing) with fellow Hebrews in need of these things. Here it must be remembered that John wrote these words with the coming Great Tribulation in view 6. After the Beast issues his mark, many Hebrews will find themselves unable to buy this world’s good without it (Rev. 13:17). Thus God has ordained that men seeking salvation in that day must express their faith by helping Hebrews in need (James 2:14-17 cf. Matt. 25:31-46). Under this arrangement, there can be no salvation without these works, and no assurance of salvation apart from these mandatory expressions of faith.

Nor could this brotherly benevolence be a one-time occurrence. Such charity will have to be maintained throughout the duration of the Tribulation, as we see in Hebrews 6:10,11:

    “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love…in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end.”

The words “unto the end” here help us understand the meaning of verses like Matthew 24:13, where Hebrews were told, “He that endureth to the end shall be saved.” In a day when “the love of many shall wax cold” (v. 12), true believers will maintain their love for their brethren by continuing to supply them with this world’s goods all the way to the end of the Tribulation. Of course, this will become increasingly difficult as Daniel’s seventieth week wears on, especially since true believers will themselves be unable to buy food or clothing without taking the mark. No wonder these Hebrews are exhorted to “shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end.” There can be no assurance of salvation in that day without continuing in these necessary expressions of faith.

How then can believers today enjoy “the full assurance” Paul described in our text? Well, notice that Paul speaks of “the full assurance of understanding” (Col. 2:2). To attain the full assurance of salvation today, in the dispensation of grace, God does not ask us to do something, He asks us to understand something. And He doesn’t leave us guessing as to what it is we must understand, for Paul goes on to talk about “the acknowledgment of the mystery” (2:2). The only way to enjoy the full assurance of faith today is to acknowledge that the mystery has introduced an era in which works are no longer required as expressions of faith. There can be no assurance of salvation without an “understanding” and an “acknowledgment” of this dispensational change.

Many suspect that the gas shortage of the ‘70s was man-made, designed to drive up the price of gasoline. While we know nothing of this, we do know that if you are suffering from a shortage of assurance, it is a man-made shortage, caused by men (perhaps wellmeaning men) who taught you God’s Word without rightly dividing it. But we trust that the “understanding” we have shared in this article will enable you to rejoice with us in “all riches of the full assurance of understanding.”

Notes:

1    Except when this was impossible, as with the thief on the cross.

2    The Hebrew epistles were written to 1st century Hebrews to instruct them as to how to be saved and enjoy the assurance of faith, even amid the terrors of the Tribulation. Had the dispensation of grace not interrupted God’s prophetic program, these people would have lived to see that terrible time. Even after the mystery was introduced, it was thought that the Rapture would take place quickly (as Paul’s use of the word “we” in I Thessalonians 4:15,17 indicates) and that the time of Jacob’s trouble would then come upon them.

3   Except when this was impossible, as with the thief on the cross.

4   The Hebrew epistles were written to 1st century Hebrews to instruct them as to how to be saved and enjoy the assurance of faith, even amid the terrors of the Tribulation. Had the dispensation of grace not interrupted God’s prophetic program, these people would have lived to see that terrible time. Even after the mystery was introduced, it was thought that the Rapture would take place quickly (as Paul’s use of the word “we” in I Thessalonians 4:15,17 indicates) and that the time of Jacob’s trouble would then come upon them.

5    Except when this was impossible, as with the thief on the cross.

6    The Hebrew epistles were written to 1st century Hebrews to instruct them as to how to be saved and enjoy the assurance of faith, even amid the terrors of the Tribulation. Had the dispensation of grace not interrupted God’s prophetic program, these people would have lived to see that terrible time. Even after the mystery was introduced, it was thought that the Rapture would take place quickly (as Paul’s use of the word “we” in I Thessalonians 4:15,17 indicates) and that the time of Jacob’s trouble would then come upon them.
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« Reply #5093 on: December 02, 2018, 04:15:18 PM »

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Boldness Today
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Some may suppose that it would require little boldness today to proclaim grace in all its purity. Who is ever persecuted now, at least in free, enlightened lands, for preaching God’s grace? Ah, but do not be deceived. Satan was no less active in his opposition to the truth when Constantine exalted the professing Church to prominence than when his predecessors persecuted the Church and sent its members to death by fire and sword. Indeed, the devil was doubtless more successful in Constantine’s day than he had been when persecution raged.

Does any believer in the Word of God suppose that Satan has relented in his opposition to the truth today, just because men, at least in this land, are not burned at the stake or thrown to the lions? Do not be misled. Satan’s enmity against God and against His Word continues undiminished. His hatred of “the gospel of the grace of God,” is as bitter, and his opposition to it as determined as it ever was. But well does he know that the constant discouragements connected with being in the minority often succeed in silencing those who would stand against physical persecution.

Today Satan uses the new evangelicalism with its highly- organized, highly-financed campaigns — and its woeful lack of doctrinal and dispensational teaching of the Word — to neutralize the saints. Multitudes are attracted to these neo-evangelical extravaganzas, at which the participants are for the most part performers, and those who stand for the truth often feel very small as compared to the vast unthinking majority. But let us never forget that God uses “things that are not” to accomplish His work (See I Cor. 1: 26-29).

Let us, who know and love the truth, then, determine by God’s grace that nothing shall make us unfaithful to our glorious commission; that, whatever the cost, we shall faithfully and boldly proclaim to others the unadulterated gospel of the grace of God, “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery.”
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« Reply #5094 on: December 03, 2018, 06:08:37 PM »

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The Noble Bereans And Paul's Gospel
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


We have said that the Bereans were commended for listening with open minds to teachings which they had never heard before. Yes, when they were confronted with them. It was the Athenians, not the Bereans, who made it their policy to consider as many viewpoints as possible on every subject (Acts 17:18-21).

The strength of the Bereans was that they kept close to the Scriptures. When confronted with some new doctrine, they did indeed give it an interested hearing, but then“searched the Scriptures daily whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). Had they found anything in Paul’s message which contradicted the Scriptures they would immediately have rejected it. And for this God calls them “noble”. They were the truly great, the spiritual aristocracy of their day.

Too many believers today aspire to be like the Athenians rather than the Bereans. They say they wish to have open minds, and this is good if it is remembered that an open mind is like an open mouth; not everything should be put into it.

The Athenians went to the other extreme from the Thessalonians, who would not even consider a new doctrine when confronted with it — would not even consider it in the light of the Scriptures.

The Bereans were the wisest of the three. They kept close to that blessed Book, and, when confronted with unfamiliar teachings, immediately subjected them to the test of Scripture.

This is the wisest course, even if only because we are all limited in time and strength. Obviously we cannot spend a great deal of time looking into the conflicting teachings of men without sacrificing a great deal of much-needed time for Bible study, and in the measure that we do this we are bound to grow spiritually weaker.
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« Reply #5095 on: December 04, 2018, 04:12:51 PM »

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A Prayer We Never Pray
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Down through the centuries many sincere believers have uttered this prayer: “Come, Lord Jesus; come quickly,” but we have not joined them in this.

Lest we be misunderstood, we hasten to explain that we, personally, long to see and be with our blessed Lord, and did we think only of ourselves we would have Him come now, without further delay.

But this continued absence of our Lord in grace is the special subject of Paul’s epistles, as Peter states:

    “AND ACCOUNT THAT THE LONGSUFFERING OF OUR LORD IS SALVATION; EVEN AS OUR BELOVED BROTHER PAUL ALSO ACCORDING TO THE WISDOM GIVEN UNTO HIM HATH WRITTEN UNTO YOU;

    “AS ALSO IN ALL HIS EPISTLES, SPEAKING IN THEM OF THESE THINGS…” (II Pet.3:15,16).

How gracious has our Lord been in delaying His return for His own and the judgment to follow! How gracious to extend the day of grace until now! Now that we are saved we would fain be with the One we love and long for, but how grateful we should be that He waited for us, and how eager we should be to win others to Him while He waits still longer!

As we consider the lost about us, therefore, we cannot implore the Lord to “come quickly,” though His coming for us is indeed a “blessed hope,” and we remain on the alert for it to take place at any time.

In this connection it is interesting to observe that the prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus,” and its counterpart “How long!” are both “tribulation” prayers, uttered by saints (not of the Body) who will live during that dreadful time of God’s wrath. Both are found in the Book of the Revelation and both in connection with our Lord’s return to earth to judge and reign, and not in connection with the rapture. In both Revelation 2:5 and 2:16 our Lord says: “Repent…or else I will come unto thee quickly,” i.e., to judge. In Revelation 3:11 He writes to the church at Philadelphia, but again in warning: “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Revelation 22:7 and 12 are used in the same way, indicating that in that day only those who are “overcomers” will long for the Lord to come and put an end to the world’s rebellion. Thus John closes the Revelation with the declaration: “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly”, and the response: “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Verse 20).
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« Reply #5096 on: December 05, 2018, 04:52:22 PM »

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A Watchman For Israel And The Apostle Of Grace
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


    “…I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at My mouth, and warn them from Me” (Ezek.33:7).

The Prophet Ezekiel was appointed by God as a “watchman” over the house of Israel. He was held responsible to warn the wicked from their way, for while God must deal justly with sin, He had declared: “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Verse 11).

If Ezekiel failed to warn the wicked they would die in their sins, but their blood would be required at his hand. If he faithfully warned them, however, and they refused to heed the warning, they would die in their sins, but he would be absolved of all responsibility (See Verses 8 and 9).

Would some Christian reader remind us that we are living under another dispensation and that our message is one of grace? True enough, but this does not diminish, it increases our responsibility toward the lost.

    “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” (ICor.14:8).

If we believers carelessly allow the lost to go to Christless graves, are we not morally responsible for their doom? Will we not be held accountable at the Judgment Seat of Christ? (See II Corinthians 5:10,11). This is why we find Paul reminding the Ephesian elders that he had not ceased to “warn” men “night and day with tears” (Acts 20:31).

As the apostle looked back over his ministry among the Ephesians he could say: “I take you to record this day that I am pure from the blood of all men” (Verse 26). And this had been so of his ministry in general. Indeed, it was now his desire that whatever the cost, he “might finish his course with joy, and the ministry which he had received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Verse 24).

May Ezekiel, and the Apostle Paul, that great warrior for the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, be memorials to us — of our great responsibility toward the lost!
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« Reply #5097 on: December 06, 2018, 06:12:58 PM »

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The Genuine Article
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


Have you ever used Romans 15:16 to point out to someone that the Apostle Paul was “the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles,” only to have them argue that no, he was just a minister of the Gentiles, one of many who ministered to the nations? If you bump into someone who really knows his stuff, he may even point out that there are more verses that use the indefinite article to describe Paul as “a minister” (Acts 26:16; Eph. 3:7; Col. 1:23,25) than the lone Scripture that you can cite where he is called “the minister.”

If anyone has ever called you on this, as you’ve sought to press the apostleship of Paul, you don’t have far to go to turn the tables and give them pause and food for thought. You see, just a few verses earlier in Romans 15, Paul referred to the Lord Jesus Christ as just “a minister of the circumcision” (v. 8).

How can this be? How can the Son of God be anything other than the minister of the people He came to save (Matt. 1:21; 20:28)? I believe it is because, while the Lord Jesus was God in the flesh, He did not come into this world to sit in an ivory tower and dispatch other men to minister to the circumcision. He Himself was on the front line of the battle for the souls of men, standing shoulder to shoulder with other ministers of the circumcision, men like John the Baptist, the twelve, the seventy, and any and all others who ministered to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:6) in the face of opposition that came from men and devils alike.

In the same way, there is no question that the Apostle Paul was the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, the preeminent minister of the uncircumcision, as even an examination of the passages where he is called “a minister” will show (Acts 26:16-18; Eph. 3:1-7; Col. 1:24-29). But like his Lord, Paul was in the trenches, duking it out with the enemies of his gospel, standing shoulder to shoulder in the battle for truth with men like Timothy and Titus and Aristarchus and Epaphras and others.

So stick to your guns when it comes to standing for the distinctiveness of the apostleship and message of Paul. In the face of opposition from men and devils alike, continue to insist that whether he’s called by the definite or indefinite article, the Apostle Paul was the genuine article!
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« Reply #5098 on: December 07, 2018, 05:15:10 PM »

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The Mystery
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


In Eph. 3:1-3 “the dispensation of the grace of God” is specifically called “the mystery” (i.e., secret). It is thus designated for two reasons:

1.  It had been “kept secret since the world began, but now,” through Paul, had been “made manifest” (Rom. 16:25). “In other ages” it was “not made known” (Eph. 3:5). Rather, “from the beginning of the world” it had been “hid in God” (Ver. 9), “hid from ages and from generations, but now… made manifest to His saints” (Col. 1:26).

2.  It was at the same time the explanation, the key, to all God’s good news, including that which had been proclaimed in ages past. It explained how it was that Abel could be declared righteous by bringing an animal sacrifice, “God testifying of his gifts” (Heb. 11:4), how Noah could become “an heir of… righteousness” by building an ark (Heb. 11:7), how anyone could be saved under the dispensation of the Law, and how it is that we can be saved today by grace through faith alone.

Thus we have in Paul’s epistles, not only the gospel [good news] of “the secret” (Eph. 3:1-3), but at the same time, “the secret of the gospel” (Eph. 6:19,20).

This great secret, revealed to and through Paul, has rightly been called the capstone of divine revelation, for it concerns God’s eternal purpose in Christ. Through Paul, the chief of sinners saved by grace, God has now made this glorious secret known to us (Eph. 1:9) that we, in turn, might make it known to others (Eph. 3:9).
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« Reply #5099 on: December 08, 2018, 03:54:42 PM »

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Not Ashamed
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


The Apostle Paul uses three wonderful phrases in Romans One: “I am debtor” (Ver. 14), “I am ready” (Ver. 15), and “I am not ashamed” (Ver. 16).

As God’s appointed Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul declared: “I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise”.

The gospel now was no longer to be confined to Israel, but was to go to all nations, and Paul felt himself a debtor to proclaim it, first because God had appointed him to do so, and second, because he held in his hands that which would save the lost. He was morally obligated — and so are Christians today.

Notice: the Apostle did not say, “I am debtor, but” and then begin to give a thousand excuses, as so many Christians do. He said: “I am debtor…SO…” and his fidelity to his call is seen as he adds: “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel” (Rom. 1:15).

Oh, that the millions of Christians today would join Paul and say: “I AM READY to preach the gospel with all that is in me”.

But in Verse 16, the Apostle explains why he was ready to put his all into proclaiming the gospel to the Gentiles:

    “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; unto the Jew first and also to the Greek [Gentile or Nations]” (Rom. 1:16).

Many thousands of Jews had already come to trust Christ as Saviour, but the good news of Christ’s finished work of redemption was — and is — “the power of God unto salvation to EVERY ONE that believeth”.

Surely there is no other way. None of the pagan religions can give the assurance of salvation. They all represent efforts to find or earn salvation. Only the gospel, the good news of our Lord’s payment for sin can give us the knowledge, the assurance and the joy of salvation from sin.
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