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nChrist
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« Reply #5355 on: August 25, 2019, 04:50:08 AM »

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The Rightness Of God
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


There are many theological words which most people — even most Christian people — do not understand. Among these is the Bible word “righteousness”. Actually, though, this word is very simple and we ought to understand about God’s righteousness even before we learn of His love.

Righteousness is simply an old word for rightness. When we say that God is righteous, we simply mean that what He does is always right; that He will not and cannot do anything that is not right. This is why Paul declares in Romans 1:16, 17:

    “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…FOR THEREIN IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS [rightness] OF GOD REVEALED…”

We are proud to proclaim the gospel of the grace of God because it emphasizes God’s rightness. The gospel does not tell us that God will overlook our sins or wink at them and smuggle us into heaven. It doesn’t tell us that He will forgive us if we are sorry enough or do enough good deeds to counterbalance our sins. By no means.

The “gospel of the grace of God” is based on His rightness. It is the wonderful message that “Christ died for our sins”, that He paid for them Himself so that He might justly offer us forgiveness and declare us righteous.

Romans 3:26 puts it beautifully. There the apostle declares that since our sins were paid for by Christ at Calvary, God can now “be just — and the Justifier of him who believes in Jesus”.

For centuries religious people have said to each other: “We must be truly sorry for our sins and do all the good we can and surely God will forgive and accept us”. But this is not the gospel. The gospel gives us more solid ground to plant our feet upon. It says to every man, woman and child: “Your sins were PAID FOR by Christ at Calvary. Trust in Him and you will be saved”. This is gospel [good news] indeed, for it is based on the just payment of the penalty for sin.
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« Reply #5356 on: August 26, 2019, 12:25:03 PM »

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Cursed Is Every One!
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


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

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

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

Thankfully, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13). "That the blessing of Abraham [salvation] might come on the Gentiles through…." Through what? Through Israel? Through circumcision, or the Law? This was true for Gentiles in the Old Testament. But today the blessing of Abraham comes on us "through Jesus Christ." Why not "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). Notice it doesn't say "believe and be good." It just says believe and be saved! "Christ died for our sins...and...rose again" (I Cor. 15:3,4). Don't try to add any good works to Christ's work, for salvation is "to him that worketh not, but believeth!" (Rom. 4:5).
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« Reply #5357 on: August 27, 2019, 02:41:36 PM »

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The Gift Of God
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Men have given many gifts to each other down through the ages, but in James 1:17 we read that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,” and comes to us from God. The greatest of these gifts is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the redemption He has purchased for us. In speaking to the sinner-woman at Sychar’s well, our Lord drew a picture, contrasting the barrenness of her own life with the refreshing joy of salvation, saying:

    “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water… Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again, but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst…” (John 4:10-14).

By nature we are all sinners, but by the grace of God we all may be saved.

    “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

    “For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9).

Thus St. Paul speaks of “the gift of the grace of God” (Eph. 3:7) and constantly emphasizes the fact that salvation is a free gift.

But a gift is not possessed until it is accepted. Thus the Apostle, in Rom. 5:17, refers to those who “receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness.” Those who receive Christ and the salvation He has wrought for them, find it natural to exclaim with Paul-

    “THANKS BE UNTO GOD FOR HIS UNSPEAKABLE GIFT!” (II Cor. 9:15).
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« Reply #5358 on: August 28, 2019, 11:43:18 AM »

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Puffed Up Believers?
by Pastor John Fredericksen


During a Sunday morning service, we had a dear saint get up and do something that made us cringe. He was expressing thanks for the preciousness of rightly dividing the Word of God. Unfortunately, he was doing so by comparing ourselves to a denomination, saying how foolish and incorrect they were in interpreting God's Word. We've seen wild Tom Turkeys all puffed up, spreading their feathers and strutting their stuff to impress the ladies around them. Sadly, this was the impression our Christian friend was leaving with those who were visiting from the denomination he was ridiculing.

The knowledge that God has placed divisions in His Word is, indeed, precious. It helps us better understand truth in Scripture, and dissolves what otherwise would seem to be contradictions. But there are two dangers we should be keenly aware of and avoid.

The first is to search only for "knowledge" when we read God's Word. Please don't misunderstand what we are trying to say. The knowledge of sound doctrine, or information, from God's Word is essential. Paul told the saints at Corinth that when he ministered to them, "what shall I profit you, except I speak to you...by knowledge...or by doctrine" (1 Cor. 14:6). He encouraged believers to "give attendance...to doctrine (1 Tim. 4:13), to be "nourished up in...good doctrine" (1 Tim. 4:6) and to become skilled in sound doctrine (Titus 1:9; 2:1). But the trap that many fall into is thinking that information is all they should be looking for when studying God's Word. When this happens, it only leaves us "puffed up" with pride. Our study will then, in effect, leave us worse off in pride and less pleasing to the Lord.

The second trap is failing to look for application to change our lives. Paul told the saints in Romans 6:17, "But God be thanked...ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you." God is not impressed with how much we know, unless it shows itself in a transformed life of greater godliness. Therefore, after every time in the Scripture, we should always be able to answer the question: "So what difference does God want this information to make in my life today?" This is the most essential aspect of every Bible study. Demand of yourself, and anyone who teaches God's Word, that this kind of application be made.

Let's not be puffed up over how much doctrine we know. Let's be transformed into lives of greater godliness!
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« Reply #5359 on: August 29, 2019, 07:35:42 AM »

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A Stone Of Stumbling
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

Some thirty years after the death and resurrection of Christ, St. Peter wrote to the believers of the Jewish dispersion:

    “Unto you therefore which believe He is precious; but unto them which be disobedient, the Stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

    “And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient…” (I Pet. 2:7,8).

It is true that Israel’s builders, 1900 years ago, “disallowed” Christ as the cornerstone for their building, and that when He became the “Head of the corner,” according to Psa. 118:22, it was for them an occasion for stumbling and embarrassment.

But Christ is a “stone of stumbling” to all who reject Him. In Rom. 9:33 St. Paul quotes from several Old Testament passages:

    “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence; and whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.”

In Peter’s day and in Paul’s, those who looked upon Christ as their Cornerstone were never given cause to be ashamed. It was those who disallowed and refused Him who kept stumbling over Him and were constantly embarrassed by Him.

So today, those who put their trust in the crucified, risen Christ are eternally secure and will never be put to shame for having done so. But those who reject Christ keep forever stumbling over Him. They hear Him preached over the radio, they see Him offered as the One who died for their sins, they are constantly confronted with His claims and they are embarrassed. They keep forever stumbling over Him.

Moral: trust Him now as your personal Savior, for “whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.”
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« Reply #5360 on: August 30, 2019, 11:45:08 AM »

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Looking Up
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


How many people, even Christian people, live in fear these days! They consider how we have gone from atom bombs to hydrogen bombs to nitrogen bombs, with megatons of explosive power. They read about all the deadly weapons being perfected by countries all over the world, and they fear that frightful destruction may at any time overtake them.

It does indeed appear that this world is headed toward the prophesied destruction, but true believers should understand that God has clearly predicted that He will recall His ambassadors before giving the world up in judgment. Paul, the apostle of grace, made it clear that no one can tell how long the dispensation of grace will last, but he did declare that this age would close with the coming of our Lord for His own.

    “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

    “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

    “Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thes. 4:16-18).

In the next chapter, we have the prediction of the pouring out of God’s wrath on the world but the believer in Christ will escape this.

Thus Paul reminded the Thessalonians how they had “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for His Son from heaven…” (I Thes. 1:9,10). Thus too he reminded the Philippians: “Our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20). And thus, finally, he instructed Titus to be looking for that blessed hope, and the appearing in glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
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« Reply #5361 on: August 31, 2019, 02:48:59 PM »

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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 #5362 on: September 01, 2019, 03:31:33 PM »

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Reward Or Loss
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


Fortunately, salvation is by grace, through faith, and we do not doubt that even in the dark ages many were saved in spite of their blind leaders and their limited knowledge.

However, we fear that the spiritual leaders of our day will fare little better than the leaders of their day when they appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ, for they have certainly not taken heed to build according to the plans and specifications committed to Paul as God’s appointed “masterbuilder” of the Church (I Cor. 3:10).

Just think a moment. Is the Church today mostly composed of “gold, silver and precious stones” (morally and spiritually), or of “wood, hay and stubble” (I Cor. 3:12)? Surely many a man who enjoys prominence and popularity today will weep in that day to see his works go up in flames, as it were (I Cor. 3:13). It will be a dreadful thing to “suffer loss” when the rewards for Christian service are given out (Ver. 15).

Christian ministers, missionaries, evangelists, Bible teachers, we appeal to you in behalf of a stricken Church. They are God’s building — we are the builders (Vers. 9,10). “We are laborers together with God.” What a calling! Paul, as an instructed “masterbuilder,” has given us the plans and specifications in his epistles. We should be intelligent workmen; workmen whom God can approve, who will not need to be ashamed when the divine Building Inspector examines our workmanship.

There is only one way. Take your hand off the public pulse (Gal. 1:10), cease giving so much attention to organizing and advertising — and compromising — and begin to diligently, prayerfully obey II Tim. 2:15:

    “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.”

We will not always be praised for teaching the Word of God, rightly divided, but God’s blessing is worth far more than human acclaim.
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« Reply #5363 on: September 02, 2019, 03:16:03 PM »

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The Bible And The American Home
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


More than nineteen hundred years ago St. Paul wrote to a young man named Timothy: “From a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Tim. 3:15).

Timothy was a fortunate young man. His father was not a believer, but his godly mother made up for the lack, and her mother helped as, day after day, from his earliest childhood, they taught him the Word of God. As a result he came to know Christ as his Savior at an early age, and later became Paul’s faithful co-worker and closest associate in making known the wonderful “gospel of the grace of God.” In his very last letter the Apostle recalls Timothy’s “unfeigned faith… which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice” (II Tim. 1:5).

If only we had more such grandmothers today, and mothers, with husbands to help them! If only our American children were not set adrift on a tossing sea of human speculation, but were taught the eternal truths of that Old Book, the Bible!

Certainly the rebellion of so much of our American youth against law, authority and morality is directly related to the disappearance of the Bible from American life. It is not those young people who have been brought up in Bible- reading homes and in Church and Sunday School, who are making us ashamed today; it is those, from backgrounds both rich and poor, who have been brought up without Bible teaching.

We all need to “know the holy Scriptures,” not only because they teach reverence for God and build moral character, but most of all because they “are able to make [us] wise unto salvation through faith… in Christ Jesus.” The theme of the Bible, Old Testament as well as New, is the Lord Jesus Christ, the riches of whose saving grace are unfolded to us in the Epistles of Paul, the chief of sinners saved by grace.
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« Reply #5364 on: September 03, 2019, 01:06:25 PM »

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Is It Important Who You Spend Time With?
by Pastor John Fredericksen


Whether we realize it or not, we are all affected by the people with whom we spend time. Their attitudes, philosophies, language, and spirituality (good or bad) have a tendency to rub off on us, even if we don't realize it. The Lord warns us about this in I Corinthians 15:33: "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners." This isn't true only for young people. It is true for believers of all ages. We might not want to think this could happen to us, but the Lord encourages us not to be deceived about this important principle.

David realized how important it was to surround himself with the right kind of spiritually minded people. His testimony was, "I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts" (Psa. 119:63). He intentionally chose to minimize the time he spent around the ungodly, or only somewhat spiritually minded, and to maximize his time around truly dedicated believers. Doing so gave him continual encouragement to walk after the Lord with a pure heart and not after the ways of the world.

The Apostle Paul must have embraced this principle for living too. As we look through his letters, it is easy to see the close relationship he maintained with many saints who were truly living for the Lord. Luke, Aquilla and Priscilla, Philemon, Titus, and Timothy are only a few he mentions with whom he had consistent fellowship. In contrast, neither Paul nor David spent a great deal of time with the lost, or ungodly, unless it was with ministry in mind.

We are not suggesting that believers cut themselves off from the unsaved or become hermits. We have instruction and examples to the contrary. We learn from II Corinthians 5:20 that "we are ambassadors for Christ" with the ministry of reconciliation or, in other words, the mission of sharing a clear gospel of grace with all that we can. Similarly, Ephesians 3:9 tells us Paul's mission was also to "make (or help) all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery." We too should share this goal of seeking to share with everyone the gospel of grace and the joyous news of God's secret program of grace that is distinct from Israel and the Mosaic Law. So, we should have a ministry-minded outreach to others.

The proper balance to find should be in still maintaining an outward ministry, yet limiting our time with the lost, unspiritually minded, or even marginally spiritually minded. It is important for us to "be not deceived" about how others influence us and therefore to choose, like David and Paul before us, to make friends and companions of those who are so spiritually minded that we will be continually encouraged in the Lord. Is it important who we spend time with and how much time we spend with them? It certainly is! May God help each of us to cultivate the best kind of friendships: those with dedicated, spiritually minded believers of like precious faith.
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« Reply #5365 on: September 04, 2019, 01:01:35 PM »

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God's Answer To Unbelief
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


The resurrection of Christ is God’s answer to unbelief. The changed attitudes of His followers who saw Him alive after His crucifixion and the revolution in the life of Paul, who saw Him “last of all,” rank high among the “many infallible proofs” of His resurrection. Cowards were made bold, doubters believed, the sorrowing were made glad, the pitiless persecutor became His devoted follower. The broken Roman seal, the empty tomb, the failure of the enemies of Christ to produce the dead body and a hundred other facts add their testimony in confirmation of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ has been “declared to be the Son of God with power… by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4).

The resurrection of Christ assures us that His payment for sin is all-sufficient and complete, for “when He had by Himself purged our sins [He] sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3). “For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14).

Next, the resurrection of Christ gives us a living Savior. Comparing the Old Testament priests with Christ, Heb. 7:23-25 says:

    “And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this Man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

The resurrection of Christ is also the pledge of the believer’s resurrection in glory. In I Pet. 1:3 the Apostle Peter breaks out in a doxology:

    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a living hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

And our Lord Himself said what no other could possibly say:

    “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).

Finally, the resurrection of Christ is a warning to the world of judgment to come:

    “Because [God] hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained: whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).

    “Now is the accepted time” (ll Cor. 6:2).

    “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
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« Reply #5366 on: September 05, 2019, 11:00:04 AM »

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God: A Just Judge
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


How just are the judgments of God! In Rom. 2:16 St. Paul says: “God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” Notice carefully what this involves:

1. He will judge “the secrets of men.” In human courts there are often miscarriages of justice because all the facts are not brought to light. But at the “Great White Throne” there will be a Judge with “eyes… as a flame of fire” (Rev. 19:12), before whom no secret can remain hidden. (See also Heb. 4:13).

2. He will judge the secrets of men “by Jesus Christ.” Not the Father, but the Son will preside at the judgment of the unsaved. John 5:22 declares that “the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” and Verse 27 adds that the Father has given the Son this authority “because He is the Son of man.” This insures just judgment, for, men will be judged in that day by the One who loved them enough to become a man that He might understand and help men, and even die for their sins.

3. He will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ “according to my gospel,” says Paul. How eminently fair and just this is. If He judged men according to the law of Moses no one ever would be saved, for all of us have broken the Law. Moreover the children of fallen Adam, because of their depraved nature, cannot consistently keep the Law. Thus they will not be judged on the basis of that which they were unable to live up to. This is why He will judge men according to the good news proclaimed by Paul, which is the great truth that salvation is denied to no one who takes God at His Word and approaches Him in His way. His way for today? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”

    “To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:5).
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« Reply #5367 on: September 07, 2019, 01:47:07 AM »

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The Day Of Itching Ears
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


For the professing Church the day of theological controversy has passed. Ecumenism is now the word on every tongue. Church leaders appear to have become convinced that the stifling confusion in the Church can be overcome only by all of us getting together, minimizing our differences and emphasizing those doctrines on which we all agree. As a result some of the most important doctrines of Scripture are neither denied nor affirmed; they are ignored. But little matter, for the objective now is not to be true to the written Word of God, but to see to it that the Church is “strong” and commands the world’s respect.

Ecumenism, sad to say, has made significant inroads among evangelical believers too. All too seldom do men of God stand up to defend by the Scriptures the truths they believe and proclaim. Theological debate has given place to the dialogue, in which two individuals or groups sit down together to discuss their differences and see if there is not some basis for agreement. This appears generous and objective but too often convictions are compromised and the truth watered down by such undertakings, with the result that the Spirit’s power is sacrificed for numerical strength.

No man of God can speak in the power of the Spirit when he places anything before the Word and Will of God. Nor can the Church ever be truly united and strong unless she puts God’s Word and Will first and takes her place in the world as Christ’s embassy on alien territory (See II Cor. 5:20).
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« Reply #5368 on: September 07, 2019, 02:25:57 PM »

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Why No Replacement for James?
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


    "If the apostles picked a replacement for Judas when he died, why didn't they pick a replacement for James when he was killed?"

We know that the Lord told the Twelve that "in the regeneration" they would "sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 19:28). So when Judas betrayed the Lord and took his life, it was necessary that he be replaced, as Peter explained in Acts 1:15-26.

But had the apostles replaced James when he was killed (Acts 12:1,2), there would be thirteen apostles in the resurrection and only twelve thrones on which for them to sit. Remember, James will rise in "the first resurrection" (Rev. 20:5) to assume his throne with the rest of the Twelve, but Judas will not.

This is similar to how Job lost "seven sons and three daughters" (Job 1:2 cf. 1:18,19) and lots of livestock (1:3 cf. 1:14-17). Later, when "the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before" (42:10), He doubled Job's original number of animals (42:12) but only gave him an additional "seven sons and three daughters" (42:13). You see, he hadn't lost his family eternally. They will rise with him in the resurrection, where he will have twice as much family as he had while here on earth. And the Twelve hadn't lost James eternally either, so there was no need to replace him. With the kingdom program in abeyence, a twelfth apostle would not be needed before the resurrection.
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« Reply #5369 on: September 08, 2019, 02:29:23 PM »

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God's Starter House
by Pastor Ricky Kurth


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

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

God's next house was a little more substantial, but fairly small. The tabernacle that God called home among the people of Israel was nothing more than a tent, and could easily have been featured on the TV show Tiny House Nation. Especially when you consider that "the most holy place" (Ex.26:34), a place within the "holy place" of the tabernacle (v. 33), was God's actual dwelling place. We know that the tabernacle was small enough to be a mobile home, for God's people carried it through the wilderness for forty years.

When God finally decided to settle down, He chose to put down roots in Israel, where "Solomon...built the house of the Lord in Jerusalem" (I Chron. 6:32). And just like the tabernacle, Solomon's house of God had an "inner house, the most holy place" (I Kings 7:50). Thus it was true of both the tabernacle and the temple that God's house in Israel was actually a house-within-a-house.

But this house-within-a-house is nothing compared to the living arrangements God has today. The physical body of every believer "is the temple of the Holy Ghost" (I Cor. 6:19). But "the house of God" today is also the local church (I Tim. 3:15), the gathering of God's people together in a local assembly. And the people of the local assembly are housed within the larger house of "the church, which is His Body" (Ephesians 1:22,23), a church made up of all believers! Thus today God dwells in a house-within-a-house--within-a-house. Now that's a great house!

"But in a great house there are...vessels...to honour, and some to dishonour" (II Tim. 2:20). Which are you? If your house is not in order, maybe it's time to do a little housecleaning. Our apostle Paul says, "Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness" (II Cor. 7:1). God's starter house was pretty humble, but with a little spiritual elbow grease you can make your body a house that brings Him great glory.
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