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Ambassador4Christ
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« Reply #225 on: March 16, 2004, 01:13:37 PM »

THE ONE TRUE CHURCH

By Cornelius R. Stam

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

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

"FOR BY ONE SPIRIT ARE WE ALL BAPTIZED INTO ONE
BODY...."

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

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

Indeed, it is on the basis of the fact that there is but "one
body" in Godís sight that He exhorts us to seek to "keep the
unity of the Spirit":

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

"THERE IS ONE BODY...." (Eph. 4:3,4).

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

The question, then, is not: What church do you belong to?
but, Do you belong to the Church, the Body of Christ, com-
posed of all who have acknowledged themselves to be sin-
ners in the sight of God and have trusted in Christ and
His finished work for salvation?
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Subscribe at:
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Two Minutes With The Bible By Pastor Stam

Mailing Address:
Berean Bible Society
N112 W17761 Mequon Road
P.O. Box 756
Germantown, WI 53022

Web Site:
http://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/
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« Reply #226 on: March 17, 2004, 01:45:25 PM »

THE SPIRIT OF FAITH

By Cornelius R. Stam

It is thrilling to hear the Psalmist, though "greatly af-
flicted," say: "I believed, therefore have I spoken" (Psa.
116:10).

It is thrilling too, to see the Apostle Paul, though "trou-
bled... perplexed... persecuted... cast down... always de-
livered unto death for Jesusí sake," -- it is thrilling to see
him take his stand with David and to hear him speak of
having "the same spirit of faith," adding: "we also believe
and therefore speak" (II Cor. 4:8-13).

If only all who believe the glorious message of Godís
grace: that believers in Christ are accepted in Him, pro-
nounced "complete" and baptized into one body by one di-
vine baptism -- if all who believed these truths would speak
out today, there would be a sweeping revival tomorrow in
the Church, the Body of Christ. If, putting all other con-
siderations aside they would openly and honestly say: "We
also believe and therefore speak," the results would be as
refreshing as far reaching. And they should speak, for this
is "the spirit of faith."

But, alas, there are few who possess "the spirit of faith";
few who will stand, regardless of consequences, for the light
God has given to them. Some maintain a discreet silence
for the "fear of man"; others because they love "the praise of
men." Both say: "One must be careful what one says, for
these truths are not popular," but both alike are guilty of
unfaithfulness to God and the truth.

With Godís help, let us not be among them. Let us, where
the truth is concerned, stand with David and Paul and say:
"We also believe and therefore speak!" Let us be among
those who truly possess "the spirit of faith," who are deter-
mined to "stand fast in the faith" and ready to "fight the
good fight of [the] faith" (1 Cor. 16:13; I Tim. 6:12).
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Subscribe at:
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Two Minutes With The Bible By Pastor Stam

Mailing Address:
Berean Bible Society
N112 W17761 Mequon Road
P.O. Box 756
Germantown, WI 53022

Web Site:
http://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/
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« Reply #227 on: March 18, 2004, 01:29:35 PM »

OUR ONLY BOAST

By Cornelius R. Stam

"God forbid that I should boast, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Gal. 6:14).

St. Paul was once a proud Pharisee, smug in his self-
righteousness. In Phil. 3:5,6 he lists some of the things in
which he took great pride:

"Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless."

But everything was changed since that day when the
Lord appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Suddenly
he had seen himself a lost, condemned sinner in the sight of
a holy God and had tasted the matchless grace that could
reach down from heaven and save even him. He knew now
that he could not stand before God in himself, or "on his
own two feet," as we say. His only safety, before the bar of
God, was to take refuge in Christ, as he says in Verse 9:

"And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. "

Now he knew, as we all should know, that he really had
nothing to boast of as far as his own standing before God
was concerned. For the rest of his life, however, he did con-
stantly boast of one thing: the cross, where the Christ
whom he had so bitterly persecuted had died for his sins
that he (Paul) might be justified before God. All else of
which Paul boasted was embraced in the cross of Christ.
This too, is really the only thing we have to boast of and
the most godly saint will enthusiastically join Paul in say-
ing:

"But God forbid that I should boast, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world."
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Subscribe at:
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Two Minutes With The Bible By Pastor Stam

Mailing Address:
Berean Bible Society
N112 W17761 Mequon Road
P.O. Box 756
Germantown, WI 53022

Web Site:
http://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/
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« Reply #228 on: March 19, 2004, 02:39:21 PM »

GODíS ETERNAL PURPOSE

By Cornelius R. Stam

Have you ever considered carefully the opening words of
the Bible? "In the beginning God created the heaven and the
earth." Why doesnít it simply say that God created the uni-
verse? Why the heaven and the earth?

As we go on reading we find the answer to this question,
for the Bible clearly teaches that God has a twofold pur-
pose; one having to do with the earth and the other with
heaven. The former is the subject of prophecy, while the
latter is the subject of "the mystery," or secret, revealed to
and through St. Paul. (See Acts 3:21; and cf. Rom. 16:25).
The former concerns Israel and the nations, the latter "the
Body of Christ," the Church of the heavenly calling.

Some people are surprised to learn that there is not one
promise in the whole Old Testament about going to heaven.
There the whole outlook is earthly, with Messiah reigning
as King (Jer. 23:5, et al). When our Lord appeared in the
flesh the angels proclaimed "peace on earth" (Luke 2:14).
He Himself said that "the meek" should "inherit the earth"
(Matt. 5:5). He taught His disciples to pray: "Thy will be
done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10). Even at Pen-
tecost Peter declared that after "the restitution of all
things" God would send Jesus back to earth and the times
of refreshing would "come from the presence of the Lord"
(Acts 3:19-21).

Not until the raising up of Paul do we learn that now all
believers in Christ are "baptized into one body" (1 Cor.
12:13), and Col. 1:5 and many other Pauline passages speak
of "the hope which is laid up for you in heaven." Indeed,
before God believers are already given a position "in heav-
enly places" and are "blessed with all spiritual blessings
in heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3; 2:4-7).

The prophecies regarding the kingdom, however, will still
be fulfilled and Christ will reign on earth and bring the
promised "times of refreshing." Thank God, this world will
not forever be a place of war and bloodshed, sickness and
death, misery and woe. Indeed, at that time, heaven and
earth will be opened to each other, and thus will be fulfilled
Godís twofold purpose: "That in the dispensation of the ful-
ness of times He might gather together in one all things in
Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth;
even in Him" (Eph. 1:10).
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Subscribe at:
http://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/twominut.html
Two Minutes With The Bible By Pastor Stam

Mailing Address:
Berean Bible Society
N112 W17761 Mequon Road
P.O. Box 756
Germantown, WI 53022

Web Site:
http://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/
Gospel Books, Materials, & Free Mailings

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« Reply #229 on: March 20, 2004, 07:13:42 AM »

WHEN THE LORD WOULDNíT ANSWER

By Cornelius R. Stam

In the various accounts of our Lordís 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 Godís holy Law, a
distinct advantage -- unless you are a lawbreaker. Our Lord,
in grace, also helped her, but not until He had demon-
strated that the Law is the great leveler of mankind, bring-
ing 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 Gen-
tile, 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 an-
swered 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
manís 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 manís representative, so that we sin-
ners might be "justified freely by Godís grace, through the
redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24).
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Subscribe at:
http://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/twominut.html
Two Minutes With The Bible By Pastor Stam

Mailing Address:
Berean Bible Society
N112 W17761 Mequon Road
P.O. Box 756
Germantown, WI 53022

Web Site:
http://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/
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« Reply #230 on: March 23, 2004, 03:05:02 PM »

NOT ALWAYS SO BAD!

By Cornelius R. Stam

Have you heard the story of Honus? Honus was a wicked
old renegade who lived in a small country town. When he
died his body lay in the funeral parlor for three days with-
out anyone even taking notice. Finally, on the day of the
burial, a few of his old cronies did stop by to at least pay
their respects.

As they gathered, the funeral director said: "Now fellows,
we canít bury Honus like a dog. Weíve got to have some
kind of service for him. Wonít somebody here take charge?"
But the silence was profound, so finally the funeral director
himself agreed to take charge.

He began by asking whether there wasnít someone who
had some good word to say for Honus before they buried
him. Again there was a deep silence, until finally one old
man stood up and said: "Well, I can say this much for
Honus; he wasnít always as bad as he sometimes was."

To be honest, isnít this true of all of us? Some people take
offense at Rom. 3:22,23, which says: "For there is no dif-
ference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of
God." They think there is a difference, and that they have
not been as sinful as others. Ah, but while there may be a
difference in the nature or the degree of our sins, Romans 3
is right when it says that there is no difference in this: that
"all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." A
person may put up a good front, feeling that he is not
nearly so great a sinner as others, but whether a bridge is
ten feet or a hundred feet short of spanning the chasm, it is
still useless, so donít try crossing it.

This is why we all need "the forgiveness of sins, according
to the riches of [Godís] grace" (Eph. 1:7). And we may have
this by trusting in the Christ who died for our sins (1 Cor.
15:3). "For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not
of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:Cool.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Subscribe at:
http://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/twominut.html
Two Minutes With The Bible By Pastor Stam

Mailing Address:
Berean Bible Society
N112 W17761 Mequon Road
P.O. Box 756
Germantown, WI 53022

Web Site:
http://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/
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« Reply #231 on: March 24, 2004, 02:26:53 PM »

WHICH GOSPEL?

By Cornelius R. Stam

A friend asks: "Have you heard the good news?" and you
reply: "What good news?" Naturally! All good news is not
the same. Yet few people follow this procedure when they
read in the Bible the phrase "the gospel" -- which simply
means "the good news." They have been taught that "the
gospel is the gospel" and "there is only one gospel," but this
is simply not so in the light of the Bible itself.

God has not proclaimed only one gospel, one item of good
news, down through the ages, but many. He has qualified
the word "gospel" by distinctive titles, just as a woman
labels her preserves to distinguish the different goodies she
has put up for the winter.

The "gospel of the kingdom" and the "gospel of the grace
of God" are not the same, and certainly the "gospel of the
circumcision" and the "gospel of the uncircumcision" are
not the same.

When we come upon the phrase "the gospel" without any
qualifying title, we should immediately ask: "Which gos-
pel?" and invariably the context will provide the answer.
Luke 9:6, for example, simply states that the twelve dis-
ciples went about "preaching the gospel," but Verse 2 of the
same chapter explains how the Lord had sent them "to
preach the kingdom of God" -- not the cross, but the king-
dom, since He, the King, was in their midst. These disciples
could not have engaged in "the preaching of the cross," as
Paul later did, for it was not until at least two years later
that the Lord "began" to tell them how He must suffer and
die (Matt. 16:21) and Peter "began to rebuke Him" (Ver. 22)
and none of the twelve even understood what He was
talking about (Luke 18:34).

But whereas "the gospel of the kingdom" had been com-
mitted to the twelve while Christ was on earth, "the preach-
ing of the cross" (as good news) and "the gospel of the grace
of God" was later committed to the Apostle Paul and to us
(1 Cor. 1:18; Acts 20:24).

Today we do not proclaim the kingdom rights of Christ.
Rather we proclaim "redemption through His blood, the for-
giveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph.
1:7).
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Subscribe at:
http://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/twominut.html
Two Minutes With The Bible By Pastor Stam

Mailing Address:
Berean Bible Society
N112 W17761 Mequon Road
P.O. Box 756
Germantown, WI 53022

Web Site:
http://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/
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« Reply #232 on: March 25, 2004, 01:32:08 PM »

CONFESSING CHRIST

By Cornelius R. Stam

"...if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness;and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Rom. 10:9, 10).

In these sublime words the Apostle Paul sets forth Godís
simple plan of salvation. He calls it, in the preceding verse,
"The word of faith, which we preach."

But often babes in Christ are urged to get to their feet in
public testimony on the basis of the words: "If thou shalt
confess with thy mouth... thou shalt be saved." Thus new
Christians are given to feel that a heart faith is not enough
to make them secure; that not until they have risen in pub-
lic testimony are they saved and safe.

But what, then, does the Apostle mean by these words?
Does he not plainly say, "If thou shalt confess... thou shalt
be saved?" Yes, but here again, as with so many other pas-
sages, a traditional meaning has been superimposed upon
the actual words of Scripture. What does the English word
"confess" mean? Why, nothing more than to "acknowledge,"
to "admit." And this is exactly what the original Greek
word means too, nor does Rom. 10:9,10 say anything about
confessing before men.

The trouble is that the idea of confession has been
changed to profession -- even public profession -- and multi-
tudes have followed the tradition of the fathers instead of
examining the Word to see what it actually says. And so
"the word of faith" has been corrupted.

But does not the Apostle clearly say "If thou shalt con-
fess with thy mouth... thou shalt be saved?" Indeed! And
he adds, "and shalt believe in thine heart!" Now let us ask:
Is it with that physical organ which pumps blood into our
veins that we believe on Christ as our Savior? Oh, no! You
say that is merely a figure of speech; somehow the heart is
associated with believing. Exactly! Then you would insist
that it is with the physical mouth we must confess! Can
mutes not be saved then?

As if anticipating the misinterpretation of his words, the
Spirit-inspired Apostle adds:

"For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed... For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Vers. 11, 13).

This is "the word of faith, which we preach."
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Subscribe at:
http://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/twominut.html
Two Minutes With The Bible By Pastor Stam

Mailing Address:
Berean Bible Society
N112 W17761 Mequon Road
P.O. Box 756
Germantown, WI 53022

Web Site:
http://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/
Gospel Books, Materials, & Free Mailings

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« Reply #233 on: March 25, 2004, 01:36:38 PM »

UNTIL WHEN?

By Cornelius R. Stam

One of the greatest prophecies of Scripture is found in
Psalm 110:1 where David wrote: "The Lord said unto my
Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand until I make Thine enemies
Thy footstool."

In Matt. 22:41-46 our Lord explained that this was a
prophecy about Himself, Davidís Son and Lord. Men might
hate Him and cry "Away with Him!" They might nail Him
to a tree and laugh and sneer at Him, but God the Father
responds by saying: "Here, come sit at My right hand until I
make your enemies your footstool."

We should never forget that according to Bible prophecy
Godís response to manís rejection of Christ was to be judg-
ment and wrath. In Psalm 2 the question is asked why
the nations rage and the people of Israel imagine a vain
thing: that they can get along without the One whom God
has anointed to be King. The Psalm depicts God laughing
at their attempts to thwart His purposes and predicts that
"the Lord shall have them in derision" and "speak unto them
in His wrath."

At Pentecost all was ready for the judgment to fall.
Christ had been crucified and "the last days" had begun, as
Peter declared in Acts 2:16,17, quoting from the prophet
Joel. But strangely, while some of Joelís prophecy was ful-
filled, or began to be fulfilled, at that time, the rest of it
was not, for God did not -- and has not yet -- sent the prophesied judgment.

Thank God, in infinite grace He interrupted the prophetic
program, delayed the remainder of its fulfillment and re-
vealed to the Apostle Paul His secret purpose to offer to His
enemies everywhere salvation and reconciliation by free
grace, through faith in the crucified, risen Savior.

In His Ephesian letter the Apostle asks whether they
have heard of "the dispensation of the grace of God, which is
given me to you-ward; how that by revelation He made
known unto me the mystery" (Eph. 3:1-3). Now, thank God,
His eternal purpose in Christ is no longer a secret. While
the day of grace lasts we may be "justified freely by His
grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom.
3:24).
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Subscribe at:
http://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/twominut.html
Two Minutes With The Bible By Pastor Stam

Mailing Address:
Berean Bible Society
N112 W17761 Mequon Road
P.O. Box 756
Germantown, WI 53022

Web Site:
http://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/
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« Reply #234 on: March 25, 2004, 01:41:22 PM »

JUSTIFIED FREELY

By Cornelius R. Stam

"Being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in
Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24).

It is wonderful to know that we sinners are not justified
by praying, or paying, or saying, or sighing, or crying, or
doing anything.  We are justified freely, by the grace of God.

But this passage from Romans will mean more to us
when we learn how the word rendered "freely" here is
translated elsewhere in the Bible. The same expression is
found in John 15:25, where our Lord, quoting from the
Psalms, said: "They hated me without a cause."

Why did men hate Him? He went about doing nothing
but good: healing the sick, giving the blind their sight,
causing the lame to leap for joy, preaching good news to the
poor and deliverance to those who were bound. There was
no good reason for crying, "Away with Him!" and "Crucify
Him!" They hated Him "without a cause."

But in the same way we might ask: "Why should He die
for sinners? Why should He pay for their sins? He had done
nothing wrong." Ah, it was in love that He deliberately gave
Himself into the hands of sinful men, that He, the sinless
One, might pay for their sins. He did not die His own
death, for death is "the wages of sin." He died our death,
paying for our sins. So, as men hated Him "without a
cause" (except their own sinful condition), so Christ has
"Justified" believers "without a cause" (except His own
divine love).

And so it is that we can now proclaim the glorious news
that God has sent us to tell all mankind, that His right-
eousness is conferred "upon all those who believe," and that
believers are "justified freely by His grace, through the re-
demption that is in Christ Jesus."
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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« Reply #235 on: March 26, 2004, 05:02:46 PM »

THE VALUE OF ONE INDIVIDUAL PERSON

By Cornelius R. Stam

Just imagine! It had been three weeks since a big Air
Force plane had disappeared over the Pacific with a crew of
eight and a Navy enlisted man.

Now, in that general vicinity, the pilot of an Air Force
cargo plane reported sighting a raft with one man standing
up in it, waving for help.

Almost immediately the Air Force dispatched sixteen
planes to the area and called upon all ships nearby to help,
in the hope of finding this one man.

Again and again we have witnessed the almost unlimited
effort and expense that men will go to to rescue even one of
their fellowmen from death. This is as it should be, for it is
only in this life that we can prepare for eternity and it is
important that each of us should have the greatest possible
opportunity to prepare, in case through carelessness we
may have put this important matter off.

It was with eternity in mind that the Lord Jesus Christ
paid the greatest possible price to save men from judgment
to come, and what the Bible calls "the second death."

"Christ also hath once suffered for sins," says I Pet. 3:18,
"the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God."
Tit. 2:14 says that "He gave Himself for us that He might
redeem us from all iniquity." I Pet. 2:24 declares that He
"bore our sins in His own body on the tree," and in Gal. 2:20
St. Paul exclaims: "He loved me and gave Himself for me."

After three weeks alone on the ocean, the man referred
to above was keenly conscious of his need. He stood up and
waved frantically, in the hope that someone on the plane
might see him and bring help. Some people, adrift in this
world of sin and trouble, go on for many years before they
become aware of their need-or at least, before they will
acknowledge it. But not until we do acknowledge our sin
and our need, can we expect help or salvation. "Christ
Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15).
Good people do not need a Savior, but who is really good?
Rom. 3:23 says that "all have sinned and come short of the
glory of God," and our consciences bear witness. But let us
rejoice that "Christ died for our sins," and trust Him for
salvation. "He that believeth on the Son [of God] hath ever-
lasting life" (John 3:36).
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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« Reply #236 on: March 27, 2004, 06:46:27 AM »

RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH

By Cornelius R. Stam

St. Paul wrote to Timothy, many centuries ago: "All
Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in right-
eousness" (II Tim. 3: 16).

The Apostle referred, of course, to the sacred Scriptures,
also called The Bible and The Word of God. All of it, he
says, is "God-breathed and profitable," to "teach," to "re-
prove," to "correct" and to "instruct."

But why, then, have so many heresies and false teachings
sprung up through the years - all based upon the Bible?
And why have so many thousands of sincere people been led
astray by these false teachings?

The reason is that teachers and followers alike have
failed to heed another important statement which Paul
made in this same letter prior to his declaration that all
Scripture is inspired of God and profitable. This statement
is found in Chapter 2, Verse 15:

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

The Bible can prove "profitable" to us only as we "rightly
divide" it. We must rightly divide the Word of truth for the
simple reason that if we do not do this we can pervert the
truth and change it into error. Through the centuries God
has periodically altered His dealings with mankind. Many
religious rites which were commanded in Old Testament
times are positively forbidden in this present dispensation
of grace.

In Old Testament times, for example, animal sacrifices
were required for acceptance with God, and from John the
Baptist through Pentecost water baptism was required
(Lev. 17:11; Mk. 1:4; Acts 2:38), but some years after the
death of Christ Paul was sent forth with "the preaching of
the cross," and he declared that: "We have redemption
through [Christís] blood, the forgiveness of sins according to
the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7). "Being justified freely by
[Godís] grace, through the redemption that is in Christ
Jesus" (Rom. 3:24).
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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Mailing Address:
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« Reply #237 on: March 28, 2004, 08:51:43 AM »

THE WATER OF LIFE

By Cornelius R. Stam

For almost twenty-four hours, recently, Chicagoans had
to boil their drinking water! Millions of small fish had
jammed the water intakes far out in Lake Michigan, and
had died there. It was, of course, a major operation to clear
them all away and to make sure that Chicagoís drinking
water was uncontaminated.

It is of the utmost importance, always, that the water we
drink is pure and fresh, and this is no less so where spir-
itual matters are concerned. The Bible has much to say
about stagnant water, and foul water, and poisoned water,
but the water which God would give to us is called in Scrip-
ture, "the pure water of life," doubtless because it is so
wholesome and refreshing.

Perhaps the reader will recall the picture our Lord drew
for that fallen Samaritan woman at the well of Sychar.
John 4:10-14 tells how he and this woman had discussed
Jacobís well. Somehow she seemed to sense that He was
contrasting her vain pursuit of pleasure with eternal life,
when He said:

"Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again, but whosoever
drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the
water that I shall give him shall be in him, a [fountain] of water, spring-
ing up into everlasting life" (Vers. 13,14).

How true this is! The pleasures of this world do not sat-
isfy. Men go on "pursuing pleasure" to keep from being
bored, but the everlasting life that God gives to those who
trust in Christ is a never-ending source of refreshment and
joy. Also, it provides the greatest incentive to serve Him.

Those who possess the joy of sins forgiven and of peace
with God naturally long to serve and please Him, and God
desires no service except that which springs from genuine
gratitude and love. "We love Him because He first loved us"
(I John 4:19).
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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« Reply #238 on: March 30, 2004, 02:18:07 PM »

HAVE YOU HEARD?

By Cornelius R. Stam

"If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward" (Eph. 3:2).

Could it be that those to whom Paul addressed his
Ephesian letter had not yet heard that God had committed
to him "the dispensation of grace"?

Next to the death and resurrection of Christ, the conver-
sion of Paul and his commission to proclaim "the gospel of
the grace of God" was the greatest event in history .

The apostles at Jerusalem had recognized the importance
of Paulís part in the divine program. They themselves had
at first been sent by Christ into "all the world," yet in Gal.
2:9 we find James, Peter and John publicly shaking hands
with Paul in a solemn agreement that he should henceforth
be the apostle to the nations.

Could it be that some twelve years later, when he wrote
the Ephesian letter, there were any who professed the
name of Christ who had not heard of Paulís special place in
the program of God as the apostle of grace? Little wonder
his words "if ye have heard" carry with them a touch of
reproach.

It is possible, of course, that there were some among
them, but recently brought into the Church, who had not
heard, but what seems utterly incredible is that there
should be even one believer at this late date who has not
heard that after Christ and His kingdom had been rejected
and the world was ripe for prophesied judgment to fall, God
intervened, saving Saul, His chief enemy on earth, and
sending him forth with "the good news of the grace of God."

This good news is based, of course, upon the fact that
since Christ was the spotless Lamb of God, His death is
accepted by God as full satisfaction for the sinner. Thus
Paul, by divine inspiration, declares that believers are
"justified freely by His [Godís] grace through the redemption
that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24).
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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Mailing Address:
Berean Bible Society
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P.O. Box 756
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« Reply #239 on: March 31, 2004, 04:36:41 PM »

THE ACCEPTED TIME

By Cornelius R. Stam

The city of Chicago recently witnessed one of the most
daring robberies in its history.

Right in the heart of the Loop, on busy State Street,
while all the stores were open for business, two masked
robbers entered Leboltís Jewelry Store. One of them did not
even carry a weapon, but the other had a revolver in each
hand, so while he kept the two customers and eight em-
ployees under control, the other went to the window and
scooped up more than $250,000.00 worth of diamonds and
jewelry. And all this with an audience looking in at the
window. Nobody wanted to get involved.

Roy Lloyd, Leboltís "diamond man," said: "It was like a
weird dream. Here I was watching the man shovel dia-
monds into his bag, and at the same time I could see people
out on State Street, watching him do it."

This sort of thing seems almost unbelievable, but ac-
tually it is not, in the light of our times, for this is no iso-
lated incident. Never has morality been at so low an ebb
among nations and individuals -- and never has the crime
rate been so high. This should cause thinking people to
recall what the Bible says about the closing days of the age
of grace in which we live.

II  Tim. 3:1-5: "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

"For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

"Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

"Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof..."

Doesnít this sound very much like the times in which we
live? And should it not cause us to consider whether "the
dispensation of the grace of God" might not be drawing to a
close? At this moment God is still sending forth His ambas-
sadors to proclaim salvation by grace, through faith in
Christ who died for our sins, but more than ever we should
heed the exhortation of St. Paul: "Receive not the grace of
God in vain.... Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold,
NOW is the day of salvation" (II Cor. 6:1,2).
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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Two Minutes With The Bible By Pastor Stam

Mailing Address:
Berean Bible Society
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