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GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Thu 18 Dec 2014, 5:44 pm

"The Power of His Might" 
Part 2 of 4
BY RICHARD JORDAN 

What is being referred to here is the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ over the government of the universe. The Father "raised Him from the dead"·· and not just to "sit on David's throne" (Acts 2:30), as prophecy had predicted. We now know He has "set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion." 

For God to have "set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places" and to have 'put all things under His feet and [given] Him to be head over all things" signifies that Christ has been placed into a position of governmental headship. Just what government the principality--power--might---dominion" is referring to is expanded in Col. 1:16, 

"For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers: all things were created by him, and for him." 

There is a government not only "in the earth" but also "in heaven," Just as Satan usurped the position of "prince of this world" he has also taken the position of  "prince of the power of the air" --the unseen, heavenly realm, But God has a plan and purpose to restore His authority in all these governmental positions--in heaven as well as in the earth. 

His prophesied intent, is to reclaim the authority in the earth through the instrumentality of a kingdom vested in the nation Israel. This is the subject of prophecy and has been "spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:21). 

God also has a purpose and plan to restore His authority in the government in the heavenly places as well. This is the subject of the mystery revealed to Paul and was "kept secret since the world began but now has been made manifest" (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3: 1-9). 

Eph. 1: 19·22 is setting forth the greatness of God's power as demonstrated by making the Lord Jesus Christ the head over a heavenly kingdom. The governmental positions of rank and authority which have been usurped from God's authority by Satan and his host have been reclaimed by the Lord Jesus. Thus Christ now sits as the rightful head of "all things." Note that the context clearly defines "all things" in verse 19-- "all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named. " 

And this is done to the specific advantage of the members of the Body of Christ: 

"And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, "Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all" (vs. 22,23). 

Notice Paul does not here say that Christ is the "head of the church." That is a glorious truth but it isn't the point here. Rather Eph. 1:22 declares Him to be "head over all things to the church." Again, the "all things" over which He is made head is the heavenly government--and it is to the advantage of the church that He is so positioned. 

Christ has a two-fold headship that should not be confused. Col. 1:18 declares, "He is head of the body, the church. " But he is also the "head of all principality and power, " as Col. 2:10 clearly states:

"And ye are complete in him, WHICH IS THE HEAD OF ALL PRINCIPALITY AND POWER." 


Glory be to God for fulfilling His promises in raising Jesus Christ from the dead. Nevertheless, does His resurrection have any meaning to you? Has it had any impact in your life? Have you experienced the work of salvation that Jesus Christ perfected in His resurrection? 

Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" 

OUR COMMISSION IN AGE OF GRACE IS:

2Co 5:16-21  Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more.  Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.   Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Wed 17 Dec 2014, 11:02 pm

"The Power of His Might" 
Part 1 of 4
BY RICHARD JORDAN 
 

 The book of Ephesians begins with a three chapter exposition of the wealth of our calling in Christ as members of His body. This is followed by almost three more full chapters detailing our walk in our conduct as members of that body on planet earth. Paul then concludes the epistle with an exhortation concerning the warfare we face due to our conflict with the adversary the devil. 

These final instructions are introduced with the statement:
 
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might" (Eph. 6:10). 

This is a twofold declaration. First comes a message of grace: "Be strong in the Lord." As we previously saw in our study of this phrase, this is an exhortation to be strong in God's grace to us in Christ --to take our stand in the "all spiritual blessings in heavenly places" which God's grace has so freely bestowed upon us "in Christ. "
 
To this Paul adds a message of glory: "Be strong in ... the power of His might." Although this part of the verse is often mistakenly assumed to be simply a repetition of the first part, we will find great profit in considering it more fully on its own. 

A MESSAGE OF GLORY 
In speaking of being strong in "the power of His might" Paul is referring back to Eph. 1 and the risen, ascended Lord Jesus as the source of the power which enables us to stand the shock of the battle with the adversary. He does this for a very important reason--one which explains why Satan hates the Body of Christ and the message of grace with such ire. 
 
Eph. 1:15-23 contains the first of two great prayers recorded in this book. It is a prayer for enlightenment: that believers might know what is (1) "the hope of His calling"--the glorious expectation inspired by what God has purposed to do with and through the Body of Christ; (2) "the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints "--what God will gain for Himself in all He plans to accomplish; and (3) "the exceeding greatness of His power" in accomplishing it all. 

The standard for measuring "the greatness of His power"is then set forth: 

" ... according to the working of His mighty power,
 "Which HE WROUGHT IN CHRIST, WHEN HE RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, AND SET HIM AT HIS OWN RIGHT HAND IN HEAVENLY PLACES, 
"FAR ABOVE ALL PRINCIPALITY, AND POWER, AND MIGHT, AND DOMINION, AND EVERY NAME THAT IS NAMED, NOT ONLY IN THIS WORLD, BUT ALSO IN THAT WHICH IS TO COME: 
"AND HATH PUT ALL THINGS UNDER HIS FEET, AND GAVE HIM TO BE THE HEAD OVERALL THINGS TO THE CHURCH, 
"WHICH IS HIS BODY, THE FULNESS OF HIM THAT FILLETH ALL IN ALL" (Eph. 1:19-23). 

God's power has been measured in different ways throughout Scripture. It was manifest in creation. With Israel, when the Lord wanted to cite who He is and what He does, He often pointed to their deliverance through the Red Sea as illustrating His power to deliver them. In the dispensation of grace, however, His power is set forth "when He raised [Christ] from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places." 

It is important to read these verses fully and appreciate that much more than simply the resurrection of Christ from the dead is in view here--as glorious as that wonderful truth is! 

    Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 


Message  "CHRIST" Rom. 16:25, Col. 1:28
Material   "All Scripture, 2 Tim. 3:16, 17
Method   "Rightly Dividing The Word of Truth, 2 Tim. 2:15
Mission   "To Make All See"  Eph. 3:9

"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." Eph.2:13. 

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:" 

We are wiling to help you on this journey just give us a call,  1 623 546 8866, Paris

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Sun 14 Dec 2014, 3:21 pm

"BLESSED WITH ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS"

By Robert Hanna, Pastor

Eph 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ"

When considering our positional blessings as believers saved by grace, we do well to remember how these blessings were acquired. True, it was "not by works of righteousness which we have done" (Titus 3:5). Consider our position in its full magnitude. We are "blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies IN CHRIST." "He hath chosen us IN HIM before the foundation of the world...having predestinated us unto the adoption of sons by Jesus Christ TO HIMSELF...He hath made us accepted IN THE BELOVED (ONE) (Christ).. in whom (Christ) we have redemption.. In whom also we have obtained an inheritance (in CHRIST)" (Ephesians 1:4-11).

All this--and we are totally undeserving of it. We earned none of it "For by GRACE are ye saved .. not of works.." (Ephesians 2:8- 9 .) Note, however, that it did not all 'just happen' to come to pass. Throughout all past dispensations, man has been instructed as to what he must do to satisfy God's requirements in order to attain acceptance in His sight. In time past God had required blood sacrifice, circumcision, works of law, works of ceremonial rite, etc.

But what of today, in the age of grace? "To him that worketh not, but BELIEVETH ON HIM. THAT JUSTIFIETH THE UNGODLY, his faith is counted for righteousness. Through verse 11 of Eph.  chapter 1 we have noted what we are and what we have IN CHRIST. Now on to verse 12: "IN WHOM (Christ) YE ALSO TRUSTED, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation."

Should this Inspirational be a blessing and encouragement to you, why not send to a friend, coworker or, to your loved one who may be defending the USA the Word of God is so needed in our troubled world. It is our heart at GRACE AND THE TRUTH and mission to reach as many people as we possibly can TO SHARE with them the Word of God and all that the Lord Jesus Christ has done for members of the body of Christ. 

"May God, Whose grace is irresistible and 
all sufficient, be glorified!" 

GraceNTheTruth@COX.NET

Finally Brethren
By Charles Wages

"Finally brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for all men have not faith. But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ." (2 Thess. 3:1-5)

The Apostle Paul uses the expression "Finally brethren" in his epistles to draw a conclusion to a particular matter of great importance. This is "the rest of the matter" until further instructions are given. These "finalities" are of great importance to all of us as believers. What is the first of these admonitions? "Pray for us."

This was his first and most needed request of the Thessalonian believers. This request was not for personal reasons, but for particular premises in the work of the Lord. The preeminent result was "that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men." This showed there were people of this nature in Paul's time. The amount and intensity of such men is prevalent in "our times" as well. Why were these people so unreasonable and wicked? The answer is forthcoming: "For all men have not faith!" Even today, there are some who have "faith," but are not "faithful men."

It is wonderful that we are told: "the Lord is faithful". However, we must be faithful to his Word. We are told in this passage of Scripture that "the word of the Lord may have free course and may be glorified, even as it is with you, and that you might be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men." God's preservation is amply seen in 2 Thessalonians 3:3, where we are told: "But the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and keep you from evil."

The "finalities" of these wonderful portions of Scripture is found in, "And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ" (2 Thess. 3:5).

Remember Paul's admonition, "Finally brethren, PRAY FOR US!"

Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" 

OUR COMMISSION IN THE AGE OF GRACE IS:

2Co 5:16-21  Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more.  Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.   Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 
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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Fri 12 Dec 2014, 8:33 pm

The FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD
Part  3 0f 3
ARTHUR W. PINK

God foreknows what will be because He has decreed what shall be. It is therefore a reversing of the order of Scripture, a putting of the cart before the horse, to affirm that God elects because He foreknows people. The truth is, He "foreknows" because He has elected. This removes the ground or cause of election from the creature, and places it in God's own sovereign will. God purposed in Himself to elect a certain people, not because of anything good in them or from them, either actual or foreseen, but solely out of His own mere pleasure. As to why He chose the ones He did, we do not know, and can only say, "Even so, Father, for it seemed good in Thy sight." The plain truth of Rom. 8:29 is that God, before the foundation of the world, singled out certain sinners and appointed them unto salvation (II Thess. 2:13). This is clear from the concluding words of the verse: "Predestinated to be conformed to the image of His son," etc. God did not predestinate those whom he foreknew were "conformed," but, on the contrary, those whom he "foreknew" (Le., loved and elected) He predestinated "to be conformed." Their conformity to Christ is not the cause, but the effect of God's foreknowledge and predestination.
God did not elect any sinner because He foresaw that he would believe, for the simple but sufficient reason that no sinner ever does believe until God gives him faith; just as no man sees until God gives him sight. Sight is God's gift, seeing is the consequence of my using His gift. So faith is God's gift (Eph. 2:8,9), believing is the consequence of my using His gift. If it were true that God had elected certain ones to be saved because in due time they would believe, then that would make believing a meritorious act, and in that event the saved sinner would have ground for "boasting," which Scripture emphatically denies: Eph. 2:9.
Surely God's Word is plain enough in teaching that believing is not a meritorious act. It affirms that Christians are a people "who have believed through grace" (Acts 18:27). If, then, they have believed "through grace," there is absolutely nothing meritorious about "believing," and if nothing meritorious, it could not be the ground or cause which moved God to choose them. No; God's choice proceeds not from anything in us, or anything from us, but solely from His own sovereign pleasure. Once more, in Rom. 11:5, we read of "a remnant according to the election of grace." There it is, plain enough; election itself is of grace, and grace is unmerited favour, something for which we had no claim upon God whatsoever.
It thus appears that it is highly important for us to have clear and spiritual views of the "foreknowledge" of God. Erroneous conceptions about it lead inevitably to thoughts most dishonouring to Him. The popular idea of Divine foreknowledge is altogether inadequate. God not only knew the end from the beginning, but He planned, fixed, predestinated everything from the beginning. And, as cause stands to effect, so God's purpose is the ground of His prescience. If then the reader be a real Christian, he is so because God chose him in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), and chose not because He foresaw you would believe, but chose simply because it pleased Him to choose; chose you notwithstanding your natural unbelief. This being so, all the glory and praise belongs alone to Him. You have no ground for taking any credit to yourself. You have "believed through grace" (Acts 18:27), and that, because your very election was "of grace" (Rom. 11:5).
(The above is one of seventeen chapters in "The Attributes of God" by A.W. Pink, $1.95, Reiner Publications, Swengel; Pa. 17880.
     Our Purpose and Mission
The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says.

Message  "CHRIST" Rom. 16:25, Col. 1:28
Material   "All Scripture, 2 Tim. 3:16, 17
Method   "Rightly Dividing The Word of Truth, 2 Tim. 2:15
Mission   "To Make All See"  Eph. 3:9

"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." Eph.2:13.
We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:"
We are wiling to help you on this journey just give us a call,  1 623 546 8866, Paris
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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Thu 11 Dec 2014, 11:23 pm

THE FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD
2 OF 3
ARTHUR W. PINK

In like manner, the word "know" is frequently used in the New Testament, in the same sense as in the Old Testament. "Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you" (Matt. 7:23). "I am the good shepherd and know My sheep and am known of Mine" (John 10:14). "If any man love God, the same is known of Him" (I Cor. 8:3). "The Lord knoweth them that are His" (II Tim. 2:19).

Now the word "foreknowledge" as it is used in the N.T. is less ambiguous than in its simple form "to know." If every passage in which it occurs is carefully studied, it will be discovered that it is a moot point whether it ever has reference to the mere preception of events which are yet to take place. The fact is that "foreknowledge" is never used in Scripture in connection with events or actions; instead, it always has reference to persons. It is persons God is said to "foreknow," not the actions of those persons. In proof of this we shall now quote each passage where this expression is found.

The first occurrence is in Acts 2:23. There we read, "Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." If careful attention is paid to the wording of this verse it will be seen that the apostle was not there speaking of God's foreknowledge of the act of the crucifixion, but of the Person crucified: "Him (Christ) being delivered by," etc.

The second occurrence is in Rom. 8:29,30. "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called," etc. Weigh well the pronoun that is used here. It is not what He did foreknow, but whom He did. It is not the surrendering of their wills nor the believing of their hearts, but the persons themselves, which is here in view.

"God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew" (Rom. 11:2). Once more the plain reference is to persons, and to persons only.

The last mention is in I Peter 1:2: "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." Who are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father"? The previous verse tells us: the reference is to the "strangers scattered," i.e., the Diaspora, the Dispersion, the believing Jews. Thus, here too the reference is to persons, and not to their foreseen acts.

Now in view of these passages (and there are no more) what scriptural ground is there for anyone saying God "foreknew" the acts of certain ones, viz., their "repenting and believing," and that because of those acts He elected them unto salvation? The answer is, None whatever, Scripture never speaks of repentance and faith as being foreseen or foreknown by God. Truly, He did know from all eternity that certain ones would , repent and believe, yet this is not what Scripture refers to as the object of God's "foreknowledge," The word uniformly refers to God's foreknowing persons; then let us "hold fast the form of sound words" (II Tim. 1:13).

Another thing to which we desire to call particular attention is that the first two passages quoted above show plainly and teach implicitly that God's "foreknowledge" is not causative, that instead, something else lies behind, precedes it, and that something is His own sovereign decree. Christ was "delivered by the (1) determinate counsel and (2) foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). His "counsel" or decree was the ground of His foreknowledge. So again in Rom. 8:29. That verse opens with the word "for," which tells us to look back to what immediately preceeds. What, then, does the previous verse say? This, "all things work together for good to them ... who are the called according to His purpose." Thus God's "foreknowledge" is based upon His "purpose" or decree (see Psa. 2:7).

God foreknows what will be because He has decreed what shall be. It is therefore a reversing of the order of Scripture, a putting of the cart before the horse, to affirm that God elects because He foreknows people. The truth is, He "foreknows" because He has elected. This removes the ground or cause of election from the creature, and places it in God's own sovereign will. God purposed in Himself to elect a certain people, not because of anything good in them or from them, either actual or foreseen, but solely out of His own mere pleasure. As to why He chose the ones He did, we do not know, and can only say, "Even so, Father, for it seemed good in Thy sight." The plain truth of Rom. 8:29 is that God, before the foundation of the world, singled out certain sinners and appointed them unto salvation (II Thess. 2:13). This is clear from the concluding words of the verse: "Predestinated to be conformed to the image of His son," etc. God did not predestinate those whom he foreknew were "conformed," but, on the contrary, those whom he "foreknew" (Le., loved and elected) He predestinated "to be conformed." Their conformity to Christ is not the cause, but the effect of God's foreknowledge and predestination.

   Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 


Message  "CHRIST" Rom. 16:25, Col. 1:28
Material   "All Scripture, 2 Tim. 3:16, 17
Method   "Rightly Dividing The Word of Truth, 2 Tim. 2:15
Mission   "To Make All See"  Eph. 3:9

"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." Eph.2:13. 

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:" 

We are wiling to help you on this journey just give us a call,  1 623 546 8866, Paris

GraceNTheTruth@COX.NET
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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Wed 10 Dec 2014, 10:14 pm

The FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD
One of Three
ARTHUR W. PINK

What controversies have been engendered by this subject in the past! But what truth of Holy Scripture is there which has not been made the occasion of theological and ecclesiastical battles? The deity of Christ, His virgin birth, His atoning death, His second advent; the believer's justification, sanctification, security; the church, its organization, officers, discipline; baptism, the Lord's supper and a score of other precious truths might be mentioned. Yet, the controversies which have been waged over them did not close the mouths of God's faithful servants; why, then, should we avoid the vexing question of God's Foreknowledge, because, forsooth, there are some who will charge us with fomenting strife? Let others contend if they will, our duty is to bear witness according to the light vouchsafed us.

There are two things concerning the Foreknowledge of God about which many are in ignorance: the meaning of the term, its Scriptural scope. Because this ignorance is so widespread, it is an easy matter for preachers and teachers to palm off perversions of this subject, even upon the people of God. There is only one safeguard against error, and that is to be established in the faith; and for that, there has to be prayerful and diligent study, and a receiving with meekness the engrafted Word of God. Only then are we fortified against the attacks of those who assail us. There are those today who are misusing this very truth in order to discredit and deny the absolute sovereignty of God in the salvation of sinners. Just as higher critics are repudiating the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures; evolutionists, the work of God in creation; so some pseudo Bible teachers are perverting His foreknowledge in order to set aside His unconditional election unto eternal life.

When the solemn and blessed subject of Divine foreordination is expounded, when God's eternal choice of certain ones to be conformed to the image of His Son is set forth, the Enemy sends along some man to argue that election is based upon the foreknowledge of God, and this "foreknowledge" is interpreted to mean that God foresaw certain ones would be more pliable than others, that they would respond more readily to the strivings of the Spirit, and that because God knew they would believe, He accordingly, predestinated them unto salvation. But such a statement is radically wrong. It repudiates the truth of total depravity, for it argues that there is something good in some men. It takes away the independency of God, for it makes His decrees rest upon what He discovers in the creature. It completely turns things upside down, for in saying God foresaw certain sinners would believe in Christ, and that because of this, He predestinated them unto salvation, is the very reverse of the truth. Scripture affirms that God, in His high sovereignty, singled out certain ones to be recipients of His distinguishing favours (Acts 13:48), and therefore He determined to bestow upon them the gift of faith. False theology makes God's foreknowledge of our believing the cause of His election to salvation; whereas, God's election is the cause, and our believing in Christ is the effect.

Ere proceeding further with our discussion of this much misunderstood theme, let us pause and define our terms. What is meant by "foreknowledge"? "To know beforehand," is the ready reply of many. But we must not jump at conclusions, nor must we turn to Webster's dictionary as the final court of appeal, for it is not a matter of the etymology of the term employed. What is needed is to find out how the word is used in Scripture. The Holy Spirit's usage of an expression always defines its meaning and scope. It is failure to apply this simple rule which is responsible for so much confusion and error. So many people assume they already know the signification of a certain word used in Scripture, and then they are too dilatory to test their assumptions by means of a concordance. Let us amplify this point.

Take the word "flesh." Its meaning appears to be so obvious that many would regard it as a sin Scripture. It is hastily assumed that the word is synonymous with the physical body, and so no inquiry is made. But, in fact, "flesh" in Scripture frequently includes far more than what is corporeal; all that is embraced by the term can only be ascertained by a diligent comparison of every occurrence of it and by a study of each separate context. Take the word "world." The average reader of the Bible imagines this word is the equivalent for the human race, and consequently, many passages where the term is found are wrongly interpreted. Take the word "immortality." Surely it requires no study! Obviously it has reference to the indestructibility of the soul. Ah, my reader, it is foolish and wrong to assume anything where the Word of God is concerned. If the reader will take the trouble to carefully examine each passage where "mortal" and "immortal" are found, it will be seen these words are never applied to the soul, but always to the body.

Now what has been said on "flesh," the "world," "immortality," applies with equal force to the terms "know" and "foreknow." Instead of imagining that these words signify no more than a simple cognition, the different passages in which they occur require to be carefully weighed. The word "foreknowledge" is not found in the Old Testament. But 'know" occurs there frequently. When that term is used in connection with God, it often signifies to regard with favour, denoting not mere cognition but an affection for the object in view. "I know thee by name" (Ex. 33:17). "Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you" (Deut. 9:24). "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee" (Jer. 1:5). "They have made princes and I knew not" (Hos. 8:4). "You only have I known of all the families of the earth" (Amos 3:2). In these passages "knew" signifies either loved or appointed.

    Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 


Message  "CHRIST" Rom. 16:25, Col. 1:28
Material   "All Scripture, 2 Tim. 3:16, 17
Method   "Rightly Dividing The Word of Truth, 2 Tim. 2:15
Mission   "To Make All See"  Eph. 3:9

"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." Eph.2:13. 

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:" 

We are wiling to help you on this journey just give us a call,  1 623 546 8866, Paris

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Wed 10 Dec 2014, 12:22 am

THE SHUT DOOR AND THE CLOSED GATE 
 Part 2  of  2 
By Mel Flogel


Others, are like King Agrippa in his response to Paul in Acts 26, when he replied, "You ALMOST persuade me to be a Christian." (Acts 26:28) 

The day of grace will shut also. It shuts for people individually when their lives come to an end, or when they lose their mental capabilities to embrace spiritual truth. God does not bypass our minds when it comes to communicating with mankind. But just as the "master of the house" closes the door of opportunity in this way, He will also close the day of grace to the Gentiles. The door which opened at Israel's fall will also swing shut again. 

 After the resurrection and ascension of our Lord, Israel stood-by their decision not to have Jesus rule over them. God, therefore concluded them in unbelief nationally, and opened the door of salvation to the Gentiles, announcing: 
"Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it." (Acts 28:28) But with this announcement we Gentiles are warned by Jesus Christ (thru Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles) to "Be not high minded, but fear, for if God spared not the natural branches, (Israel nationally) take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity, but toward thee (the Gentiles) goodness, IF THOU CONTINUE IN HIS GOODNESS, otherwise THOU SHALT ALSO BE CUT OFF." (Romans 11 :20-22) 

So here we have a stem warning to the Gentiles not to be arrogant in this matter and to continue in God's goodness (by accepting and embracing seriously the salvation offer from God thru Christ) or they will also be cut off or shut out. 

Paul goes on to predict this event, revealing a mystery saying, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, UNTIL the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." (Romans 11 :25) He predicts this again in his second letter to the Thessalonians where it says "seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them" and "in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. " (II Thessalonians 1 :6,8,9) 

Friend, what about you? Which side of the door would you be on if it were to shut right now? The choice is yours. His invitation to you is to enter the "strait gate" immediately. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (II Corinthians 6:2) See the need to enter, step thru the gate by trusting Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour and as the only way of salvation. Believe His claims to be God manifested in the flesh. Be reconciled to God by believing what was accomplished in His cross for you. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (II Corinthians 5:21)

If you have entered the strait gate by believing the gospel of the grace of God, why not join us in getting this message out? Spread the word by telling others. Devote yourself to Christ, to live for Him out of gratitude for His shed blood on your behalf. Be a good example for others in your manner of life. 
  
 Become a good testimony and a good reflection upon the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are not saved by good works, but good works result from trusting Him and should be evident in our lives. "For we are his worksmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto (upon) good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2: 1 0) Be among those who will be found inside when the door closes, and have lasting reward to go along with it. Remember, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last. " 
  
     Our Purpose and Mission 

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 

We read in in Ephesians. 1:18 "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints," and in Colossians 2:2 " That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment (epignosis) true knowledge of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ".

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:" 

We are wiling o help you on this journey just give us a call,  1 623 546 8866, Paris

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Mon 08 Dec 2014, 4:21 pm

THE SHUT DOOR AND THE CLOSED GATE 
Part 1  of  2
By Mel Flogel
CLOSED. How many times have you arrived at the store or office to find this word greeting you as it's posted on the door? We know what it means. We are too late and we may have missed the boat, literally. We may see people inside with the lights on, carrying on their business, but all you can do is watch from the outside. 

As our Lord Jesus Christ ministered to Israel preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, He predicted this same scenario. The Lord Jesus Christ, as the master of the house, rising up to shut the door in the presence of late-comers. They appeal to Him as Lord, but He replies to them as their judge. "And he went through the cities and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut the door, and you begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us, and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not, where are you from? Then shall you begin to say, 'We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you I know you not whence you are, depart from me, all you workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last." (Luke 13:22-30) 

This pictures the scene for unbelievers as they stand before God at the great white throne judgement, where they have been resurrected to appear before Him. (See Revelation 20: 11-15) What a lesson we should glean from this. The door of access to God, His presence, His blessings and His life, closing before their very eyes. Their pleas and appeals now being denied. They denied Him when the door of opportunity was availed to them, and now comes the recompense of their denial. This will be the scene for unbelievers of the ages in that day. How this should motivate us to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ in faith while the door is open, while we are living and breathing and have our mental faculties about us, believing not only His claims to be God in the flesh, but also believing what He accomplished in His cross for us. How active we should be in preaching to and warning every man as Paul did, knowing that "if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ who is the image of God should shine unto them." (II Corinthians 4:3-4) 

 Our Lord Jesus Christ was on His way to Jerusalem, teaching as He went, when someone asked Him, "Lord, are there few that be saved?" (vs. 23) His answer was that many are lost and will be shut out to their dismay. Many who ate and drank in His physical presence, many who heard Him as He "taught in their streets" will be sent away and turned away for good. Many of these people were content with their own ideas of what makes a person good or bad to consider His message. Others considered His message but felt the cost was too dear to become one of His followers, for the nation of Israel was sharply divided over His claims. 

The day will come and has come for many in which the door of opportunity to "enter in at the strait gate" will end. The time given to fully embrace in faith the Saviour and His message will have expired. In Noah's day, only Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives took God's message for the day seriously enough to enter the ark until the door shut and the rain came down. Suddenly, public opinion changed but it was too late. Many were preoccupied with the daily events of their lives and concerns like work, fun, recreation and pleasures to consider the warnings. "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5) 

Jesus said that there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth." Can you believe it? What a sorry picture this paints and yet how real and how very believable. They shut Him out of their hearts, minds, and lives, yet now argue that He should disregard this and let them enter. They argue as if somehow it is His fault, and that He should remember seeing them for they were "around" when He visited their cities. They were "around" as others spoke of His marvelous deeds such as feeding the multitudes, healing their sick and even raising the dead. 

Many today, are "around" true believers who proclaim the gospel of the grace of Christ. They are "around" places where the gospel is preached and around believers who give testimony of the blessedness of being "in Christ" yet they themselves have not entered in. They are "around" the strait gate as in church but haven't gotten around to coming to Christ for salvation. They have failed to apply the truths of the gospel to their own heart and soul calling upon Jesus Christ through personal faith. 

   Our Purpose and Mission 

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 

We read in in Ephesians. 1:18 "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints," and in Colossians 2:2 " That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment (epignosis) true knowledge of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ".

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:" 

We are wiling to help you on this journey just give us a call,  1 623 546 8866, Paris

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Sun 07 Dec 2014, 7:50 pm

BE ON YOUR GUARD
By R.B. Shiflet

One of the strongest appeals that the Apostle Paul makes to believers is that found in Colossians 2:4-23, in which he warns us against letting Satan capture our minds. This section of the epistle is bounded on either side by the word “hid,” and its key message is the fulness of Christ as the only answer to the emptiness of human reasoning. Note how in verse 3 he refers to Christ, “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” and in chapter 3, verse 3, he says to us as believers, “ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Between these passages that tell us that all true wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ and that our own lives are also hidden in Him, he calls attention to (1) The Purpose of our Enemy, (2) The Plan of our Enemy, and (3) The Protection Against our Enemy. 

THE PURPOSE of our Enemy
The aim of our foe is stated in Colossians 2:8: “Beware lest any man spoil you.” The term “spoil” means to “rob,” or to “make a prey” of, or to take one captive. It is obvious that a loose hold on the truth of our fulness in Christ will make one an easy victim to this method of deception. Just as surely as the truth makes free, error genders to bondage. One who fails to see the truth of our completeness in Christ and His fulness does not have a balanced view of truth and can be easily led astray. 

It is interesting to note the bait that Satan uses to reason aside the weak brother that he takes into captivity. For the carnal believer, such as those at Corinth, he uses the coarse appeals of the flesh with all of its lusts. But for the “spiritual” Christian who still has an unbalanced view of truth, he may use a “spiritual” bait—as is suggested in Colossians 2:18. This may come in the form of “visions,” superior claims to holy living, or any effort to attain spiritual progress through fleshly efforts or wisdom. 

THE PLAN of Our Enemy
The enemy usually lures us aside through an emphasis on an empty, deceitful kind of wisdom. He bases this, according to our chapter in Colossians, on three things: 

First, he uses man-made teachings, or the traditions of men. Bible teachers tell us that the word “tradition” as used here is found thirteen times in the New Testament, and it is usually used in a bad sense. Note, for example, where the Pharisees were charged with making the Word of God of none effect through their traditions (Mark 7:2-7). How much of the church programs of today are nothing more than traditions of men, with no Scriptural basis! 

Second, Satan would lead us astray by keeping us in the elements, or rudiments of the world. The term “rudiments” means “first steps.” The Hebrews were told that these rudiments or elements belonged to childhood, and the mature believer was charged to leave them and go on (Hebrews 5:12-6:3). The Galatians were told that these rudiments would only gender bondage (Galatians 4:3). In Colossians 2:20, the believer is told that he is dead with Christ to these rudiments, and that he therefore should not be subject to carnal ordinances. By way of contrast, he is told to set his affections on things above, not on things on the earth. Believers who live in the shadow days of external ordinances miss the joy of the reality, who is Christ; those who feel that they can worship only with these worldly elements fail to see that we are citizens of heaven and in the sight of God are “seated with Christ” in heavenly places even now. 

Third, if Satan cannot lure us through traditions of men and rudimentary ordinances, he will make the intellectual appeal. He will reason us aside through wisdom of words, making the cross of Christ ineffective (1 Cor. 1:17); he will try to get us so involved in the wisdom of this world that we will fail to see that it is only foolishness to God (1 Cor. 3:19); he will lead us into fleshly wisdom, frustrating the grace of God (2 Cor. 1:12); and he will make the wisdom from beneath so, attractive that we neglect the wisdom which is from above (James 3:15-17). 

THE PROTECTION Against Our Enemy
The entire Colossian epistle is written to give us the protection we need against these tactics of our enemy. It may be summarized in one or two verses: “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and ye are COMPLETE IN HIM, which is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:9-10). This completeness in Christ is the exact opposite of the empty, vain life that Satan has to offer. Are we really aware of what we have? YE ARE COMPLETE IN HIM! If I am complete in Christ, then nothing a preacher or a church can do for me in the way of ritual or religion is needed. As a matter of fact, we can add nothing to completeness. We are Complete in HIM. If we believe this, may we act upon it and make Christ the center and circumference of our lives. May we rejoice in Him, glory in Him, do all that we say or do in HIS name, giving no occasion to the flesh, but doing all for His honor and glory. Only then will the purpose and plan of our enemy be foiled and our protection against him be sure. 

Should this Inspirational be a blessing and encouragement to you, why not send to a friend, coworker or, to your loved one who maybe defending the USA. The Word of God is so needed in our troubled world.  It is our heart at  GRACE AND THE TRUTH and mission to reach as many people as we possibly can TO SHARE with them the Word of God and all that the Lord Jesus Christ has done for members of the body of Christ. 

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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 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).

Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" 

OUR COMMISSION IN THE AGE OF GRACE IS:

2Co 5:16-21  Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more.  Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.   Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Sat 06 Dec 2014, 1:26 pm

WHOSE FAITH? 
 by Pastor Kerry Kinman

Does the faith which we exercise in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation come from us, or does it come from God? In our unsaved state, upon hearing the gospel, do we generate the faith to believe from within ourselves, or does God give us that faith?
 
As I recently studied through and taught the Book of Ephesians, the answer to these questions became very clear to me and I want to share it with you.
 
The correct answer is that God gives us the faith to believe the gospel. One proof for this is in correctly translating and understanding what is being said in Ephesians 2:8. With this in mind let us examine this verse in the light of the Greek text. The following would be a very literal translation of that text. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not out of you: the gift is of God." 

The thing we want to look at for a clearer understanding of the verse is the word we have translated this. Let us ask ourselves what is the this that is the gift of God? 
It is translated from the Greek word "rovro," which is a nominative or accusative, singular, neuter, demonstrative pronoun. As many have presupposed "rovro" does not have reference to the aspect of salvation alone in this verse, but clearly refers to the entire concept of the grace, the being saved, and the faith, all being the gift of God. We can know this by understanding how Paul uses this word "rovro" throughout all his writings. 
 
He uses it most often to refer back to a grouping of nouns and verbs; i.e., to an entire concept. Occasionally he uses it to refer ahead to what he is going to say, as in the beginning of Ephesians 4:17. He rarely uses it to refer to a single word, but when he does, it will refer to a word of like case, number, and gender (i.e., nominative or accusative, singular, neuter).
 
In Ephesians 2:8, there is no word of like case, number, and gender. In fact, the noun forms of the three words preceding in the verse are all feminine in gender; namely, the grace, the salvation, and the faith. Is there a problem? No, not when we see "rovro" commonly used in this way throughout the New Testament.
 
For some examples of its predominate usage let us look at Ephesians 5:17. In verse 16, we are told that we should be "redeeming the time because the days are evil." Then beginning in verse 17, Paul says, "because of this [rovro], do not be unwise ones, but know what the will of the Lord is." Here "rovro" refers to the entire concept of verse 16.
 
Another instance is in Ephesians 6:1; "Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this [rovro] is right." Again, "rovro" is referring to the entire concept of children obeying their parents.
 
Lastly, let us examine its usage in Ephesians 6:13. In verse 12, Paul says, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against world rulers of this darkness, against spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies." Then beginning in verse 13, we read, "Because of this [rovro; i.e., all these things] take up the whole armour of God." 

There are many more examples which we could look at, but from those already cited we can see that the word "rovro" is commonly used to refer back to a grouping of things or thoughts being spoken about. This is the way Paul has used it in Ephesians 2:8. In this verse, the grace, the salvation, and the faith, this (rovro) is the gift of God.
 
As we are told in Ephesians 2:1, we were dead in our trespasses and our sins. Dead persons can do nothing. They can make no responses and no decisions. As those being spiritually dead, God had to reach in to us to give us life. We could not reach out to Him (cf. John 6:44; Eph. 2:5). As those chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4) our salvation is totally the work of God. Even to the point of giving us the faith to believe (cf. Phil. 1:29). May the understanding of this truth give each of us great joy in our God, thanking Him only for the provisions He has made in effecting our eternal salvation. 

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Thu 04 Dec 2014, 7:55 pm

Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ (Part 3)
By Gregg Bing

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God."

The last two months we have been looking at the ministry and apostleship of Paul, a ministry that was distinct from that of the twelve apostles chosen by Jesus during His earthly ministry. We saw Paul's dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus, and his distinct calling to be God's apostle to the Gentiles. We continue this month with:

Paul's Diverse Commission

What was the purpose and nature of Paul's commission? To answer this question, we must consider two different aspects to his ministry: 1) his ministry during the Acts period, and 2) his ministry after the close of the Acts period.

Paul's Acts Period Ministry The early chapters of the book of Acts record the ministry of Peter and the Twelve to the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea, preaching the gospel of the kingdom. The majority of the Jews, led by their religious rulers, rejected the testimony of the Holy Spirit concerning Jesus Christ, "crucifying again for themselves the Son of God, and putting Him to an open shame" (Heb. 6:6).

Things came to a head when Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, was falsely accused of blaspheming the temple and the law. During his defense before the Jewish Sanhedrin, Stephen accused the Jews of lawlessness in crucifying Jesus Christ and now resisting the conviction of the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51-53). When they heard this, these Jewish leaders were cut to the heart. They stopped their ears, cast Stephen out of the city and stoned him to death (Acts 7:54-60).

Those who stoned Stephen laid their coats down at the feet of Saul of Tarsus, a young man who became the chief persecutor of all who believed in Jesus as the Christ. A few years later, while traveling to Damascus to continue his persecution of "the Way," the Lord Jesus appeared to Saul and saved him by His grace. Saul was commissioned by the Lord for a new ministry: apostle to the Gentiles. The Lord told Ananias, "He (Saul) is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel" (Acts 9:15). The next twelve years of Saul's life were spent in preparation for this special apostleship. Then, in Acts 13, we read that Saul (who was also called Paul) and Barnabas were separated by the Holy Spirit for the work to which God had called them. While the first twelve chapters of Acts centers on the ministry of Peter and the Twelve, the remaining chapters are devoted to the ministry of the Apostle Paul.

Though Paul was called to be the apostle to the Gentiles (2 Tim. 1:11), during the Acts period he was sent to the Jew first. The ministry of Peter and the Twelve was limited to the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea; Paul was sent to the Jews of the dispersion who were scattered to "the uttermost parts of the earth." The nature and purpose of Paul's ministry to the Jews during this time is pictured in the first recorded miracle performed by Paul. Paul and Barnabas left Antioch and sailed to the island of Cyprus.

"Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time. And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord." (Acts 13:6-12)

Paul encountered a Jew named Bar-Jesus who was a sorcerer and a false prophet. He was with a Gentile named Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man who desired to hear the Word of God. When the Jew withstood Paul and Barnabas, and then tried to turn the Gentile away from the faith, Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, pronounced blindness upon the Jew "for a time (season)." After seeing these things, the Gentile believed, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

These events give us a pattern for Paul's Acts period ministry to the Jew first, then the Gentile. Every time Paul visited a new city, he went to the Jews first, most often ministering to them in their synagogue. When the majority of the Jews of that city rejected and opposed Paul's ministry of the Word, Paul was used of God to pronounce spiritual blindness upon them. As was the case with Bar-Jesus, Israel's blindness was to be temporary, as Paul described it in Romans 11:25:

"For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in."

Paul would then turn from the Jews to preach the Word of God to the Gentiles, who were more eager to receive it. This is why we find the qualification at the end of Romans 1:16: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek (Gentile)."

Though we see this same pattern in each city where Paul preached, there are three significant turning points recorded in the book of Acts. The first of these takes place at Antioch in Pisidia, which is in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). After Paul preached in the synagogue to the Jews, the next Sabbath, the whole city, including Gentiles, came together to hear the Word of God. When the Jews saw the multitudes,

"... they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us: I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth. Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed." (Acts 13:45-48)

Paul's subsequent travels brought him further west to Corinth, a city of Greece. While there Paul "reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks (Gentiles)." When Silas and Timothy joined him there,

"Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles." (Acts 18:4-6)

The final turning point occurred in Rome, and is recorded in the final chapter of the book of Acts. Paul, a prisoner confined to house arrest and chained to a Roman soldier, could not go to the synagogue, so he called for the Jewish leaders at Rome to visit him.

"So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, saying, Go to this people and say: Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them. Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!" (Acts 28:23-28)

This was clearly a significant turning point. Having preached the Word to the Jews at Rome, Paul had now taken God's message to the Jews in "the uttermost parts of the earth," and everywhere he had gone, a large majority of the Jews had rejected the truth. Paul's quote from Isaiah 6 looms as a final pronouncement of blindness upon the entire nation of Israel. It seems evident that at this point Israel, as a nation, was set aside by God. The promised earthly kingdom was no longer being offered; it was not even "at hand" any more. God's prophesied program for Israel was being postponed, at least "for a time."

Paul's public ministry to the Jews throughout the Acts period was limited to "no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come—that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles" (Acts 26:22-23). Even to the Jews in Rome, Paul "explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening" (Acts 28:23).

While God's purpose for Israel was clearly the subject of prophecy, God had another plan and purpose, a purpose which was ordained before the foundation of the world, but which had been kept secret from men of other ages (Eph. 3:9). This purpose was made known to Paul by direct revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:3). There are mentions of this truth in Paul's earlier epistles, written during the Acts period (Rom. 16:25-26, 1 Cor. 2:6-8), but now, with the setting aside of Israel in Acts 28, it was time to fully unveil this secret purpose of God. Paul, "the prisoner of the Lord," was led by the Holy Spirit to write letters to the saints at Ephesus, Philippi, and Colosse, as well as a letter to his friend, Philemon. In these "prison epistles" Paul made known the truth of the mystery of God's will (Eph. 1:9, 3:5).

Next we will continue this study by looking at "Paul's Post-Acts Ministry."

Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" 

OUR COMMISSION IN THE AGE OF GRACE IS:

2Co 5:16-21  Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more.  Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.   Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

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Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ (Part 4)
By Gregg Bing

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God."

In our last three issues we have studied the ministry and apostleship of Paul. We have looked at his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus, his distinct calling to be God's apostle to the Gentiles, and his diverse commission. This commission began with Paul's ministry during the Acts period, which we reviewed last month, but after the close of the Acts period, we see another aspect of Paul's commission from the Lord.

Paul's Post-Acts Ministry

During the Acts period, Paul's ministry was to the Jew first; however, when the Jews rejected the Word of God spoken through Paul, he pronounced blindness upon them and turned to the Gentiles. The book of Acts closes with Paul's final pronouncement of blindness upon the nation of Israel.

"The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, saying, Go to this people and say: Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you will see, and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them. Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!" (Acts 28:25-28)

This pronouncement marked God's setting aside of Israel as a nation and the postponement of His prophesied plans and purposes for them, particularly the promise of an earthly kingdom. While it is not directly stated in Scripture that Israel was set aside at this time, Paul's writings after this point clearly indicate this was the case.

From his prison house in Rome, Paul wrote letters to three churches: Ephesus, Philippi, and Colosse, as well as a letter to his friend, Philemon. In these "prison epistles" the Apostle Paul unveiled a new plan and purpose of God which was ordained before the foundation of the world, but kept secret from men of other ages. This truth was a mystery; it was hidden in God until it was given to Paul by direct revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul made mention of this mystery in his earlier epistles, written during the Acts period (Rom. 16:25-26, 1 Cor. 2:6-8), but the full revelation of the "mystery of God's will" is not found until we get to Paul's prison epistles, especially the books of Ephesians and Colossians (Eph. 3:1-9, Col. 1:24-29).

The mystery is that God is now calling out a new body of believers known as the Church, the Body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23). This Church is primarily composed of Gentile believers (Eph. 3:1), because the majority of those in Israel had rejected the Lord Jesus Christ; a rejection that continues in the hearts of most Jews today. However, what is unique about this Church is that the difference between Jew and Gentile is completely done away with in God's eyes.

From the call of Abram in Genesis 12, God made a clear distinction between Israel, His chosen nation, and the rest of the nations (Gentiles). This distinction continued during the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus (Matt. 15:21-28) as well as throughout the Acts period. Even Paul's ministry during this period was "to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Gentile)" (Rom. 1:16). When Israel, as a nation, was set aside at the close of the Acts period, Paul revealed that this distinction between Jew and Gentile has been done away with in the Church, the Body of Christ. Paul described the Gentiles' past condition this way:

"Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world." (Eph. 2:11-12)

What a terrible condition Gentiles were in: without Christ, separate from Israel, having no hope, and without God in the world. This was all changed through the cross of Christ!

"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity." (Eph. 2:13-16)

Through the shedding of His blood, Christ broke down the middle wall of separation between Jew and Gentile, a wall erected by God and set forth in the Mosaic Law. The enmity that existed between Jew and Gentile was put to death, and Christ Himself became their peace. He brought these two separate groups together and made them one—a new man, created in Christ Jesus—one body of believers reconciled to God through the cross. The preposition used here is "through" the cross, not "at" the cross. The cross made it possible for Jew and Gentile to be brought together in this way, but this truth was not made known at that time. The formation of this new Church is the essence of the mystery revealed to and through the Apostle Paul.

The mystery also revealed that God is dealing with the Church under an entirely new dispensation—"the dispensation of the grace of God" (Eph. 3:2). The word "dispensation" comes from the Greek word "oikonomia," which literally means "household law." It refers to the way in which a household is ordered and managed. Throughout history, God's dealings with mankind have consisted of a series of different dispensations; God has dealt with different groups of people (households) under different arrangements (laws).

Most of God's dealings with His earthly people Israel were under the dispensation of law. This law was given through Moses, God's steward or administrator at that time. The law specified God's requirements for His earthly people, the nation of Israel; it governed every aspect of their lives: their relationship with God, their worship, their walk, their purpose, and their hope. The dispensation of the grace of God was given to the Apostle Paul, who served as its steward or administrator, much as Moses did for Israel under the law. God's orders for men under the present dispensation of grace are vastly different from those who lived under the law. The law was given that men might know they were sinners and become guilty before God (Rom. 3:19-20). The law was a tutor or schoolmaster to "bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Gal. 3:24). All the requirements of the law: its commandments, its judgments, and its ordinances, were merely a shadow of things to come. The substance, the reality of what was only pictured by the law, is found in Christ (Col. 2:14-17). In Christ, we are complete; nothing needs to be added to His finished work. This truth is a key part of the mystery given to Paul, as he states in Colossians 2:9-10:

"For in Him (Christ) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the Head of all principality and power."

No physical circumcision is needed today, because we are circumcised in Christ "with the circumcision made without hands," a spiritual circumcision that is of Christ, not of the law (Col. 2:11). No water baptism is needed today, because we are "buried with Him in baptism" and "raised with Him through faith in the working of God," (Col. 2:12) a spiritual baptism performed by God's Holy Spirit, not by some priest or preacher. Physical circumcision and water baptism were part of the law; but they were only a shadow of things to come. Why hold onto the shadow when we now have the reality in Christ? 

Why is it so important to see the distinctive nature of Paul's apostleship and ministry? Because he is God's apostle to us today. Because he is God's steward to the Church during the present dispensation of grace. If we truly desire to know God's will for our lives today, we must see it can only be found in the writings of the Apostle Paul. This does not mean that we discard the rest of Scripture. Paul himself told Timothy:

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

Though all Scripture is written "for" us, "for our learning," not all Scripture is written directly "to" us, for our obedience. Paul also told Timothy:

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth." (2 Tim. 2:15)

If we want to find approval in God's eyes, and be workers who need not be ashamed before Him, we must "rightly divide the Word of truth." This means we must take note of the divisions God has placed in His Word; we must see the different dispensations (or dispensings) of God's will throughout the ages. In particular, it is vital that we heed His instructions to us during the present dispensation of God's grace. It is this dispensation that was given specifically to the Apostle Paul by God. That is why his apostleship, his ministry, and his writings are so important.

Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" 

OUR COMMISSION IN THE AGE OF GRACE IS:

2Co 5:16-21  Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more.  Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.   Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Tue 02 Dec 2014, 11:16 pm

Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ (Part 2)
By Gregg Bing

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God."

Last time we began a brief study of the distinctive ministry and apostleship of Paul; a ministry that was clearly not the same as that of the twelve who were apostles before him. We looked at Paul's dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus, where he was transformed by God's grace from the chief persecutor of the church to an apostle of Jesus Christ. Paul was saved by God for a special purpose, but his calling was distinct from that of the Twelve.

Paul's Distinct Calling

In the first chapter of the book of Acts, the apostle Peter directed the apostles to select a replacement for Judas Iscariot, who had betrayed Jesus. They narrowed the candidates to two and then cast lots to select Matthias. There are some Bible teachers who believe Peter and the other apostles were wrong for doing this. They insist that Paul was God's choice to take Judas' place. Those who hold to this idea fail to see that Paul was called by God for a different purpose than that of the Twelve. Peter understood the number of these apostles must be raised back up to twelve because their ministry was to the twelve tribes of Israel. They began this ministry by going to the Jews in the homeland, starting in Jerusalem and Judea, the capital city and central region of the nation.

Paul was not called by God to take part in the ministry of the Twelve. While he certainly was called to testify before the children of Israel (Acts 9:15), his primary ministry was to be "a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles" (2 Tim. 1:11). At the time he was saved, this was something new, for up to this point the ministry both of the Lord Jesus and of His apostles had been limited to the Jews only. The only way a Gentile could come to God was as a proselyte, one who had adopted the Jews' religion through circumcision (Acts 2:10). Paul was separated by God for the express purpose of preaching Christ among the Gentiles (Gal. 1:15-16).

Since Paul's apostleship was something new, the message he was to preach did not originate with men. Paul wrote to the Galatians:

"But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ." (Gal. 1:11-12)

After Paul was saved, he "did not immediately confer with flesh and blood" nor did he "go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles" before him. Instead, he went to Arabia and later returned to Damascus (Gal. 1:17). While Paul was in Arabia, God began to reveal His plan and purpose for Paul's ministry. God did not reveal everything to Paul at this time, for we know Paul received an abundance of revelations throughout his lifetime (2 Cor. 12:1-7). What is important to see is that Paul did not receive his calling and instructions from men, specifically not from the Twelve, but by direct revelation from Jesus Christ. I believe it is significant that the twelve apostles, who were sent to God's earthly people, Israel, received their calling and commission from the Lord Jesus while He was still here on earth. Whereas, Paul received his calling and commission from the Lord Jesus after He had already ascended back into heaven.

Paul did not visit Jerusalem until three years after he was saved. He met with Peter, but only remained with him for fifteen days. During this time, the only other apostle he saw was James, the Lord's brother (Gal. 1:18-19). While in Jerusalem, the Lord spoke to Paul as he was praying in the temple one day and told him, "Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me. ... Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles" (Acts 22:18,21). While the Twelve remained in Jerusalem, even after the persecution and scattering of the Jerusalem church that occurred after the stoning of Stephen (Acts 8:1), the Lord sent Paul away from Jerusalem to minister, instead, to the Gentiles.

Paul spent the next ten years in the regions of Syria and Cilicia, and was "unknown by face" to the believing Jews in Judea. All they knew of Paul was that "he who formerly persecuted them, now preached the faith which he once tried to destroy," and for this, they glorified God (Gal. 1:21-24).

Paul and Barnabas, were then led to go to Antioch in Syria, which became their new home. After a year of ministry in Antioch, these two apostles were sent out by the Holy Spirit to preach the Word in Asia Minor (Acts 13). In each city they visited, they preached the Word first to the Jews, but also to the Gentiles. Paul's ministry to the Gentiles was difficult for the Jews to understand and accept; not just for the unbelieving Jews, but for the believing Jews as well. When Paul and Barnabas returned from this first journey, certain Jews from Judea came to Antioch and insisted the Gentiles must be circumcised and keep the law in order to be saved, something that Paul and Barnabas strongly disputed (Acts 15:1-2). It was determined that Paul and Barnabas should go up to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem to settle the issue. Luke's account in Acts chapter 15 seems to indicate that the church at Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem (Acts 15:2-3), but when Paul related this same event to the Galatians, he said, "I went up by revelation." This statement indicates the Lord Jesus revealed to Paul that he was to go to Jerusalem. In this same passage, Paul gave the reason why the Lord sent him to Jerusalem:

"And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain." (Gal. 2:2)

This is another clear indication that Paul's ministry and apostleship, even the gospel he preached, were distinct from that of the Twelve. Many people have trouble accepting the idea that Paul was preaching a different gospel than the Twelve were preaching, but why would Paul need to communicate to them the gospel he preached among the Gentiles if it was the same one being preached by the Twelve to the Jews? The fact is, it was not the same gospel. Paul goes on to say:

"But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me. But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised." (Gal. 2:6-9)

"Those who seemed to be something" refers to those who had long had the reputation of being apostles and elders, the ones who currently held the leadership roles in the Jerusalem church (specifically James, who was the Lord's brother, Cephas or Peter, and John). Paul declared of these men: they "added nothing to me." Paul was not saying they were of no use to him or that he was, in any way, better than they were. He was simply indicating that, in regard to his own ministry, particularly the gospel he preached, these other apostles did not give him any revelation or direction. As Paul shared with these leaders of the Jerusalem church how God was working through him and Barnabas to reach the Gentiles for Christ, they recognized that Paul's ministry was genuinely of God. It became clear to them that the Lord had given Paul this gospel of grace to preach among the uncircumcised Gentiles, just as they had been given the gospel of the kingdom to preach among the Jews. From the testimony of Paul and Barnabas, it was evident that God was working through these new apostles, just as He was working through the Twelve, but clearly according to different callings. So, James, Peter, and John extended to Paul and Barnabas "the right hand of fellowship," agreeing that each should continue in the ministry God had sent them to do.

It is vital that we see and understand what James, Peter, and John came to see at the Jerusalem Council—that Paul was given a ministry and apostleship "by the will of God," but one that was distinct from their own.

We still need to take a closer look at the overall purpose and nature of Paul's ministry. For instance, while Paul was called of God to be the apostle to the Gentiles, he also had a ministry to the children of Israel. During the Acts period, Paul always went to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles. Why did God send Paul to the Jews first? What was the nature of his ministry to the children of Israel?

After the close of the book of Acts, Paul fully unveiled God's plan and purpose for a new body of believers, the Church, the Body of Christ, in which the distinction between Jew and Gentile has been removed. This is another aspect of Paul's apostleship that must be considered. Next month, we will continue this study, looking in more detail at "Paul's Diverse Commission."

Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" 

OUR COMMISSION IN THE AGE OF GRACE IS:
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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Mon 01 Dec 2014, 11:41 pm

Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ (Part 1)
By Gregg Bing

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God."

These are the opening words of Paul's epistle to the Ephesians, words that are often taken for granted, but words that are of great importance if we are to understand the Scriptures and properly discern God's plan and purpose for believers in this present dispensation of grace.

Most believers make no distinction between Paul's ministry and that of the Twelve. They lump Paul's writings in with Peter's, John's, and even Jesus' earthly teaching, assuming they all teach basically the same thing and they are all written to us for our obedience. While some might think this would encourage unity among believers, it has resulted, instead, in unanswered questions, confusion, and disunity.

Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ, and while his ministry and apostleship were not the same as that of the Twelve, he was sent out in accordance with "the will of God." Believers who stress the importance of studying the writings and ministry of Paul are often criticized as being "Paulites," sometimes even accused of placing Paul above Christ. What these critics fail to see is: the unique nature of Paul's ministry and apostleship, the special revelation given to Paul by the risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ, and the vital importance of Paul's writings for believers today. In order to understand the nature of Paul's apostleship, we will address three key questions: (1) How did Paul come to be an apostle? (2) What was Paul called to do? and (3) What was the nature of Paul's ministry?

Paul's Dramatic Conversion

Paul was originally known as Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:11, 21:39). His father was a Pharisee, one of Israel's religious leaders (Acts 23:6). Saul was, therefore, raised according to the strictest sect of the Jews' religion (Acts 26:5). He was trained in Jerusalem at the feet of Gamaliel, one of the most respected teachers of the law (Acts 22:3). As a student, Saul advanced in Judaism beyond many of his contemporaries, "being exceedingly zealous for the traditions of the fathers" (Gal. 1:14). While Saul had a tremendous "zeal for God" (Acts 22:3), it was misplaced, for what he did, he did "ignorantly in unbelief" (1 Tim. 1:13).

We are introduced to Saul of Tarsus at the stoning of Stephen. Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, was falsely accused by the Jews of speaking against the temple and the law of Moses. Stephen was brought before the Jewish Sanhedrin and given an opportunity to defend himself against the charges. He used the time to witness to these Jewish leaders. At the close of his testimony, Stephen brought an indictment against the Jews, accusing them of resisting the witness of the Holy Spirit. By betraying and murdering the Lord Jesus, they had followed in the footsteps of their fathers, who killed the prophets God sent to them. The Jewish leaders were indignant, stopping up their ears and dragging Stephen outside to be stoned. The witnesses laid their coats down at the feet of the young man, Saul of Tarsus (Acts 7:58), who was in complete agreement that Stephen should die (Acts 8:1).

Saul had a zeal for God, but, like the majority of the Jews of his day, it was "not according to knowledge." Saul, in his religious zeal, thought he could "establish his own righteousness" by keeping the traditions of the fathers, but he was "ignorant of God's righteousness" and refused to believe in God's righteous Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:1-4). Thus, Saul became the chief persecutor of the church, that is of all who believed that Jesus of Nazareth was Lord and Christ. Paul later would describe himself this way:

"Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities." (Acts 26:9-11)

It was while on the road to Damascus, where he intended to continue his persecution of Jesus' disciples, that the life of Saul of Tarsus was changed forever. As he neared the city, suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice from heaven saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" Saul answered, "Who are You, Lord?" and the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads." Saul, trembling and astonished, responded, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" (Acts 9:3-6)

What a tremendous conversion this was—a life completely turned around, and all because of God's marvelous grace. Saul was not seeking to know God through Christ, he was persecuting Him. Yet, when brought face to face with the Lord Jesus Christ, Saul came to see and believe that Jesus of Nazareth was truly Israel's Messiah, the very Lord of glory. Saul later wrote to Timothy and described it this way:

"And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life." (1 Timothy 1:14-16)

Saul's salvation serves as a pattern to all who will believe in the Lord Jesus as Savior. If God's grace could save Saul of Tarsus, after all the terrible sins he committed, it can save anyone, for "where sin abounded, grace abounded much more" (Rom. 5:20). Saul was saved when He heard the word of truth, from the Lord Jesus Himself, and believed it. It was not because of any goodness within him or because of any works of righteousness on his part (Tit. 3:5), but by simple faith in God's Son (Eph. 2:8-9, John 3:16).

Saul, whom we will call Paul from this point on, was saved by God for a purpose, but his calling was distinct from that of those who were apostles before him. Next month, we will continue this study, looking at "Paul's Distinct Calling."

Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" 

OUR COMMISSION IN THE AGE OF GRACE IS:

2Co 5:16-21  Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more.  Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.   Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Sun 30 Nov 2014, 4:30 pm

FOR
Our Inheritance in Christ
By John LaVier

The first chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians is a most precious portion of the Word of God. In this chapter the Lord Jesus Christ is revealed in all His grace and glory, and here also we learn something of the riches that are ours in Him.
After the apostolic greeting we read in verse 3 that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ. Then some of these blessings are enumerated. In Him we were chosen before the foundation of the world; in Him we have the place of sons; in Him we are accepted of the Father; in Him we have redemption by His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Finally in verse 11 we read, "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance." And what an inheritance is this! An eternity of endless, fadeless glory!
"We have obtained an inheritance." Now how did we obtain this inheritance? It was not given as a prize, or as a reward for faithful service, nor because we were deserving in the least. It was all the free gift of God. Israel of old was given an inheritance, and that beautiful land flowing with milk and honey was a picture of our heavenly inheritance. Israel did not receive that inheritance because of any worthiness on their part. God told them that they were a disobedient and stiff-necked people, and warned them against thinking that any merit of theirs was responsible for the grant of the land. He said; "Speak not thou in thine heart, saying, For my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land ... Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go in to possess their land." (Deut. 9:4,5)
God brought Israel out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, the wilderness, and over Jordan, and gave them the inheritance. They did not deserve it, but it was all His gift. So, like Israel's land, our heavenly inheritance is His gift to us, all according to the riches of His grace. We have not deserved it, nor earned it, nor suffered for it. He deserved it, He earned it, He suffered for it, and we have it in Him. To Him be the praise and the glory.
What a position is ours, in Him. What possessions are ours, in Him. We have obtained "the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory " (2 Tim 2:10). Wealth, riches, honor and glory will be ours throughout the oncoming ages. And yet, at very best, how little do we really know of all that is included in this most glorious inheritance. Three facts are known to us, though, but even these are beyond our power to fully comprehend. They are:

What Christ IS in glory, we shall be. 
"When He shall appear, we shall be like Him."
"Whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son."
What Christ HAS in glory, we shall have. 
"And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ."
WHERE Christ is in glory, we shall be. 
"And so shall we ever be with the Lord." Child of God, think on these things. As the old world totters on the brink of disaster, as the darkness deepens and collapse approaches, how it should stabilize, strengthen, cheer and encourage us to meditate upon our inheritance in Christ our Lord.
Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 
We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" 
OUR COMMISSION IN THE AGE OF GRACE IS:
2Co 5:16-21  Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more.  Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.   Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 
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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Sat 29 Nov 2014, 11:46 pm

A True Catholic 
   by Pastor Paul M. Sadler
       In the Catholic Encyclopedia, the entry for the term“Catholic” begins, “The word Catholic (katholikos from katholou—throughout the whole, i.e., universal) occurs in the Greek classics….”  We agree that the term catholic simply means “universal.”  In the early church, the terminology catholic Church was used by Christians to distinguish the true Church from those who held to the heretical teachings of Gnosticism and pantheism.  The true Church is comprised of all those, regardless of their race, gender,denomination, or other religious affiliation, who place their faith in the finished work of Christ (Eph. 1:12,13), that He died for their sins,was buried, and rose again the third day (I Cor. 15:1-4).  According to the Word of God, the true Church is called the Body of Christ (Eph.1:22,23; Col. 1:18).

The Roman Catholic Church, as we know it, technically did not come into existence until 325 A.D., during the reign of Constantine, the ruler of the Roman Empire at the time.  He adopted Christianity as the state religion of the empire and adopted all the trappings that eventually came with it.  While Rome has always touted itself as being the“true Church,” which is universal, the very title, Roman Catholic Church is a contradiction of terms.  Roman is a “specific term,” referring to those who align themselves with her unsound teachings and her pope, while the term catholic means universal.  In reality,it is the Protestants who believe that the Church, the Body of Christ is catholic or universal.  This universal Church would include our Roman Catholic brethren who have placed their faith solely in the finished work of Christ, and not in works or the organized church.

Rome has often pointed out that the beliefs of Protestantism are something relatively new.  It claims they are merely the fruits of the Reformation, which is far from the case.  We certainly agree that the Reformers were used of the Lord to confront the indiscretions and outright errors of the organized church of their day and to encourage believers to return to the Scriptures as their final authority.  The Reformers, to their credit, were simply returning to biblical Christianity. Essentially, the beliefs of the Reformers were the same as the early Christians during the first three centuries of Christianity.  Some of those teachings include the sole authority of the Scriptures, justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ’s finished work alone, that there is only “one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,”etc.  Most evangelicals today, ourselves included, hold these doctrines to be among the fundamentals of the faith.    

Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" 

OUR COMMISSION IN THE AGE OF GRACE IS:

2Co 5:16-21  Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more.  Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.   Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Fri 28 Nov 2014, 7:26 pm

God Is Central 
   by Pastor C. R. Stam

       Paul’s Epistle to the Romans is the foundation book of Christian  theology. It brings us face to face with facts we ought to know and  must know to be saved.

 In the 16th and 17th verses of the first chapter, the apostle declares that he is proud of the gospel because therein the  "righteousness”, or  rightness of God is revealed.

 God had to deal righteously with sin before He could offer salvation to sinners. Sin is not merely an affliction; it is moral wrong and kindles the wrath of a just and holy God.

 The wrath of God is too little discussed by modern evangelists and preachers. They like to talk about the love and mercy of God, as  though He were a Grand Old Man with a tolerant attitude toward sin.  But they never fully appreciate His love and mercy because they do not  understand His infinite wrath against sin.

 Much evangelism today has become sort of a “try God”gimmick. The  pleasures of the world don’t satisfy? Try God. You can’t shake  off some terrible bondage? Try God. When all else fails, Try  God!

 But this humanistic approach is foreign to Scripture. God, His holiness, His wrath against sin and His love in providing  salvation— these are central in Scripture, not man and his  condition and his needs.

 We are not to look upon God as our servant, who will help us in time of need, but as the Holy One whose justice we have offended but who,  in infinite grace, paid for our sins Himself so that we might be redeemed. This is why the Epistle to the Romans begins its mighty  argument with almost three chapters on the subject of sin. Then  follows the Good News of God’s grace in settling the sin question so  that we might be“justified freely by His grace, through the  redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom.3:24).

 And thus the same inspired writer declares in Ephesians 2:2-4 that we were “the children of disobedience” and therefore “the children of  wrath”, but then goes on to show “God, who is rich in mercy” and  “great” in “love”, saves believers by grace, giving them  eternal life in Christ, who died for our sins.

            
Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" 

OUR COMMISSION IN THE AGE OF GRACE IS:

2Co 5:16-21  Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more.  Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.   Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Thu 27 Nov 2014, 11:37 pm

Grace, And How This Affects Us 
  by Pastor C. R. Stam
     

      Ask the average believer what the Bible word “grace”means, and he will doubtless reply, “unmerited favor”.

Actually, however, grace is much more than this.

Subjectively, it is that loving attitude, or disposition, on God’s part, from which all His kindness toward us flows.

Objectively, it is all the kindness that flows from His love toward us.

Thus we read in Ephesians 2:2-6 that we were “the children of disobedience” and therefore “by nature the children of wrath, even as others”.


“But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”



Note: This passage begins with those who were“children of disobedience” and “children of wrath”and, saving them “by grace,” gives them a position in theheavenlies in Christ Jesus!
God’s grace to us as sinners was great indeed, for:

“In [Christ] we have redemption through His blood, THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS ACCORDING TO THE RICHES OF HIS [God's]GRACE.”

But now, having given us a position in His beloved Son, God’sgrace goes out to us in still greater measure.
Ephesians 1:6 declares that God has “made us accepted [Lit.,‘engraced us'] in the Beloved”.
Beholding us in Christ, God loves us and delights in us more than any father ever delighted in his son, or any grandfather in that precious grandchild.
Thus, while in Ephesians 1:7 we read that we have“redemption… the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”, in Ephesians 2:7 we see these riches of grace increased to us “exceedingly”, now that we occupy a position “in the Beloved”:

“That in the ages to come He might show THE EXCEEDING RICHES OF HIS GRACE…”

How?

“…in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus”!

What a prospect! Through the ages of eternity God will lavish His loving kindness upon us to demonstrate to all the universe “Will riches of His grace”!


“What a prospect, child of glory,
Doth the future hold in store!
By the wildest flights of fancy
Thou couldst never ask for more.
Heir of God; joint heir forever
With His own beloved Son
God could not to you have promised
More of bliss than He has done!”
-Author Unknown
  
Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" 

OUR COMMISSION IN THE AGE OF GRACE IS:

2Co 5:16-21  Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more.  Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.   Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Wed 26 Nov 2014, 2:02 pm

The Pauline Authority Of The Local
 Church 
 by Pastor Ricky Kurth
      
“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19).

By the time the Lord spoke these words to Peter, He knew from the reaction of the religious leaders in Israel that they were not going to accept Him as their Messiah, but were rather going to kill Him. Hence we see Him here preparing for His death by giving Peter the power and authority to act in an official capacity in His absence. This power was then expanded to include a quorum of two of the twelve apostles (Matt.18:18,19). We see the apostles exercising this authority in the early chapters of the Book of Acts.

However, the authority the Lord gave the twelve apostles had to do with authority in the “kingdom” church (Matt. 16:19), and we know that God interrupted the kingdom program after the stoning of Stephen. The Apostle Paul was then given the “authority” to act in an official capacity in the Lord’s absence during the dispensation of grace(II Cor. 10:8). This authority was then passed on through Paul’s epistles to the local church. Note Paul’s words in I Corinthians 5:

“For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit,have judged already, as though I were present…”

“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together,and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Cor.5:3,4).

Here the Corinthians are assured that when they broke fellowship with the man living in open and unabashed sin (v. 1,2,13), they would be doing so in the “spirit” of the Apostle Paul. That is, they could be sure that the decision of their local church would carry with it his apostolic authority and “the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We see this principle again in II Corinthians 2:10:

“To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also; for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ.”

Here we find Paul claiming to be acting “in the person of Christ,” i.e., with His power and authority. And we also see him telling the Corinthians that when they acted, they acted in his authority, and in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

All of this is especially significant when we remember that Paul says these words to the Corinthians, the most carnal church to whom he wrote. Thus we know that the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ today resides in the humblest local church that recognizes the authority of the Apostle Paul in the present dispensation.    

Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" 

OUR COMMISSION IN THE AGE OF GRACE IS:

2Co 5:16-21  Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more.  Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.   Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

GraceNTheTruth@COX.NET

TRUE THANKSGIVING
  by C. R. Stam

Many people entertain only vague notions about thanksgiving, just as they do about faith.

They confuse faith with optimism, will power, presumption, imagination, and all sorts of other things. A doctor tells his patient that but for his faith, he never would have come through his illness. Somehow the patient was "just sure" he would recover. A smiling mother encourages her married daughter to "have faith, that everything will turn out all right." But faith in God is believing God; believing what He has said. True faith is based on the written Word of God (See Rom. 10:17).

But unregenerate men have vague ideas about thanksgiving. A man escapes some great harm and thanks his "lucky stars." Another says: "I'm grateful for a healthy body," but to whom is he grateful? He doesn't say. In many cases it doesn't even occur to him to ask. He's "just thankful"!

How refreshing, then, it is to open our Bibles, especially to the Epistles of Paul, the chief of sinners, saved by grace, and to see him giving thanks for specific blessings, and to a specific Person -- God!

"Giving thanks unto the Father, who hath made us meet [fit] to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son" (Col. 1:12,13). 

"Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift!" (II Cor. 9:15). 

"Thanks be unto God, who giveth us the victory!" (I Cor. 15:57). 

"Thanks be unto God, who always causeth us to triumph!" (II Cor. 2:14).

 It is our prayer for all our readers that you may be especially thankful for "the gift of God [which] is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord" (Rom. 6:23).

"KNOWN UNTO GOD ARE ALL HIS WAYS" 
He knows from the beginning! 
He moves forward to a purposed point and a glorious goal.
 Man often fails to finish what he begins,
 but God never begins what He does not finish. 
        
    Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 


Message  "CHRIST" Rom. 16:25, Col. 1:28
Material   "All Scripture, 2 Tim. 3:16, 17
Method   "Rightly Dividing The Word of Truth, 2 Tim. 2:15
Mission   "To Make All See"  Eph. 3:9

"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." Eph.2:13. 

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:" 

We are wiling to help you on this journey just give us a call,  1 623 546 8866, Paris

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Mon 24 Nov 2014, 11:38 pm

Thankfulness Even Through a Drought
Dr. Bill Gillham

As you may know, this ministry is located in Fort Worth, Texas. Will Rogers said Fort Worth is where the West begins and Dallas is where the East withers away. In many ways this is a cultural truth, but lately I have found it to be a strange fact of meteorology as well.

During the past few summers Texas was plagued with drought conditions. Many farmers lost hope for a crop and kept hearing about ranchers trying to give away cattle since they can no longer afford to feed them. While I love this city and state, I don't love its weather, especially when it gets extreme like this. I tell folks that it's not so much the heat, or the lack of rain that bothers me. What really bugs me is the tease we get from watery clouds that carry their humid shadows across our parched lawns, only to dump their precious load 30 miles to the East...in Dallas! I'm not jealous, our brothers to the East need rain too, but couldn't those clouds skip the site-seeing detour over Fort Worth? Somehow knowing we never stood a chance seems easier to take than watching opportunity float gently away.

I was in what some might call a "funk" recently due to our weather, and nothing anyone could say would force me out. I guessed that bitterness at clouds would be somehow less sinful than bitterness toward another human. But during a road trip with friends I heard something that changed my perspective. Someone mention a couple who are going through some pretty tough times right now. The temptation for them to grow bitter is constant, yet they have a system for battling such thoughts. Each time they think of a blessing from God they write it down on one of those sticky notes and paste it to the back of a closet door. The blessing can be an answer to prayer, a special verse from scripture, or maybe just a memory of a special time with special people. As you might expect, the closet door gets full pretty fast, making a "trip to the closet" for some attitude adjustment very effective. I can suppose that anyone visiting such a place would be left with nothing else to say but "thanks."

We have neither enough sticky notes or door space to post all of the blessings that God has provided through around here. But I can imagine it! What a site of pastel squares we'd have covering our whole office suite as we consider what God has done! 

Today's weather forecast calls for "scattered showers" and a high near 100. Already I see the spotty clouds making their pilgrimage to the East. But my view from inside the closet makes me realize that God's showers of blessing have already fallen here, and the thought leaves me with nothing left to say but thanks!

Col 1:27  To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 

 
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Freedom In Trusting God 

God can be trusted no matter what. We should have an attitude of complete faith, for this pleases God. 

God as our trust because He is not a man that He can lie. He is the God of integrity, the only One who can be relied upon at all times. "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man" (Psalm 118:8). We are let down so many times because we place our trust in man when God is the only One who is faithful. "If we are faithless, he will remain faithful" (II Timothy 2:13, NIV). Let go and place all of your trust in God; He will never fail you. "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised)" (Hebrews 10:23). 


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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Sun 23 Nov 2014, 10:52 pm

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

We walk by faith, not by sight . . . while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.  (2Cor. 5:7 and  2Cor 4:18)

The Christian life is a walk. It is comprised of day by day steps from where we are to where the Lord wants us to go (both spiritually and geographically). This walk is undertaken by faith, not by sight. "We walk by faith, not by sight."  

Walking by sight is the natural manner by which human beings walk. This is true both for literal walking, as well as for taking the proverbial journey through life. When engaged in physical walking, people rely upon visual data (along with input from other human senses: like sound, smell, and touch). Likewise, as the unredeemed are engaged in their trek through life, they set their course and proceed by that which their natural abilities provide. We who know the Lord Jesus Christ cannot walk in this manner in His kingdom. We must walk by faith, by depending upon our Lord, His word, and the work of grace by His Holy Spirit. Spiritual progress is made "while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen."  

So often, things are not as they appear to be in the natural. Consider Joseph being sold to slave traders by his jealous and deceitful brothers. It did not look like Joseph was being groomed to be Prime Minister in Egypt. Think of Pharoah and his army closing in on Israel, as they were trapped beside the Red Sea. It did not look like Israel would be delivered, while the Egyptian army would be destroyed. Remember young David standing before gigantic Goliath. It did not look like the giant would be defeated, while David would enjoy a thorough victory. Only eyes of faith could really appreciate what was actually happening.  

The cross of our Lord Jesus is undoubtedly the greatest example of things not always being what they appear to be. As Jesus hung upon the cross, it appeared that godless men had defeated the most godly man that ever lived. "Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst . . . Him . . . you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death" (Act. 2:22-23). Yet, in fact, God was at work, preparing a resurrection victory over sin and death for all who would believe. "Whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it" (Act  2:24).

Heavenly Father, I want to walk with You by faith. I desire to respond to the circumstances of life by what You have said in Your word and by what You are able to do. Too many times, I have set my course by sight, relying upon the appearance of things. Teach me to trust in You more and more, in Jesus name, Amen.
-----Hoekstra

Eph 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ 

"We can either choose to grovel in our own self-pity or rejoice in whatever state we may find ourselves." 

Should this Inspirational be a blessing and encouragement to you, why not send to a friend, coworker or, to your loved one. The Word of God is so needed in our troubled USA.  We are loosing a great many of our privileges the founding fathers of our great county have protected us by the Constitution of America, there is no country in the world as great as America. Let's stand up and take back our roots, 

GraceNTheTruth@COX.NET 

COLUMBUS THE BELIEVER
  by C. R. Stam
   

Everybody knows that Columbus discovered America, but few people know Columbus the sincere believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, who braved the dangers of the ocean vastness mainly because it was his deep desire to bring the gospel to the Indies. His perseverance in the face of almost insurmountable odds should be a lesson to God's people. Centuries before Columbus, Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers:

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

This stirring appeal of Paul to Christians everywhere (ICor. 1:2), implies that there is a tendency to abandon the work of the Lord through discouragement or carelessness, for he pleads with us to be "steadfast," and "unmovable" -- not easily shaken, reminding us that our "labor is not in vain for the Lord."

How we need the exhortation!

We do not soon abandon our businesses or our homes. We work on in spite of difficulties and obstacles, and when the outlook is darkest we often toil the hardest. Sometimes our bodies suffer for it, but we do not immediately give up.

If this is so where our own affairs are concerned, how much more should it be so where the things of God and the needy multitudes about us are concerned! If it is so where temporal matters are concerned, how much more should it be so where eternity is involved!

Christians, let us awake! Let us "buy up the time!" Life is too short to fritter away the precious moments. Let us rather neglect our own affairs than to neglect the work of the Lord and the perishing souls about us.

 
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Without a doubt there is no greater, or more valuable possession that we can hold in our hands than the word of God - The Holy Bible. And while we hold, and read, and study God's word, we have no greater need than to know how to handle it as God has intended that we handle it. For only then will we handle the Bible proper, and only then will it be able to effectually and fully function for us as "the word of truth that it is, and thereby be able to accomplish what God has designed it to accomplish in our minds, and hearts, and lives.
.......K. Blades

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Fri 21 Nov 2014, 9:05 pm

LEGALLY DEAD
By Miles Stanford


"Seeing that we have died to that which once held us in bondage, the Law has now no hold over us" (Rom. 7:6a, Wey.).

For the believer, the dominion of Law is just as devastating as the dominion of Sin. At Calvary, death freed us from both.

"Theological teaching since the Reformation has not set forth clearly our utter end in death with the Lord Jesus on the Cross. The fatal result of this error is to leave the law claimant over those in the Lord Jesus, for 'the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth' (Rom. 7:1). Unless you are able to believe in your very heart that you died with Him, and that you were buried, and that your history before the Father in Adam the first came to an utter end at Calvary, you will never get free from the claims of the law upon your conscience." -W.R.N.

"The principle of the new life is faith. Faith, hope, and love are its characteristics. All these require, not self-occupation, but occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ. If you take up the law to help you, it tells you just what you must be and do, but it gives no power for it. Power is in the Spirit; thus grace, not law, is the way of growth. That the law cannot justify is comparatively simple; but that it hinders fruit-bearing is hard to realize. 'Sin shall not have dominion over you, because ye are not under law, but under grace.' "-F.W.G.

"Those who put the believer under law destroy the authority of the law, or put the Christian under the curse, for in many things we offend all. They fancy they establish the law, but they destroy its authority. They only establish the full, immutable authority of the law, who declare that the believer is under grace, and therefore cannot be cursed by its just and holy curse." -J.N.D.

"So that we render a service which, instead of being old and formal, is new and spiritual" (Rom. 7:6b, Wey.).


Should this Inspirational be a blessing and encouragement to you, why not send to a friend, coworker or, to your loved one who maybe defending the USA. The Word of God is so needed in our troubled world.  It is our heart at  GRACE AND THE TRUTH and mission to reach as many people as we possibly can TO SHARE with them the Word of God and all that the Lord Jesus Christ has done for members of the body of Christ. 


Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" 

OUR COMMISSION IN THE AGE OF GRACE IS:

2Co 5:16-21  Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more.  Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.   Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Thu 20 Nov 2014, 10:00 pm

The Need of Man
By Charles Wages

Almost without an exception when we think of our needs we refer to things that are material: food, shelter, clothing and a myriad of "things" that satisfy our earthly pleasures or egos. Also, many never denote the difference between "wants" and "needs." God promises to provide our needs, but never to satisfy our never ending wants. He knows that many of the things we want are not really needed, and that we would always be wanting more! We are often somewhat like the little girl to whom her mother said, "Lillian, there were two pieces of cake in the pantry this morning, and now there is only one. How does this happen?" "I don't know," replied Lillian, regretfully, "It must have been so dark I didn't see the other piece."

The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:19: "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." No doubt, the primary and prevailing emphasis in the verse is on the "spiritual" needs of man. Also, it is directed principally to believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

What are man's spiritual needs? Well, first of all, he needs to be saved from sin—regenerated to a new life. After that, his spiritual needs are manifold. They are too many to mention, but we can always enumerate a few that are important to us all. As examples, a person needs

Companionship

This great need is noted in nature. Animals, birds, and insects all exhibit the necessity of being together. This could be called a "social instinct," but really it goes far beyond that. Bees who are "cast out" of the swarm soon die. Even animals don't desire to be "a loner." But all of this, as interesting as it may be, only points up the far higher need of man to have companionship. A beautiful passage in Psalms 55:14 reads,

"We took sweet counsel together, and walked into the house of God in company."

It is enlightening to note that they "counseled together" before "walking" and before going into the house of God "in company." Someone has aptly noted that one blessing to come out of the energy shortage is people doing things together more, such as car pooling. We must always keep in mind though that companionship desires and demands:


The right kind of company. This becomes a major problem in society, especially the Christian society. Many of the heartaches and complications that surround every segment of society could be avoided if people were more discriminate in their associations. People have become overly reactive to discrimination because of the evils and mistakes that have been made in regard to human relationships. However, there is a difference between being discriminate and practicing discrimination for questionable reasons. Christians need to be discriminate in marriage, business, and church affiliation among many areas of life.

The right kind of Christian company. The Psalmist said, "I am a companion of all them that fear Thee, and of them that keep Thy precepts" (Psalms 119:63). In Proverbs 13:20, it is stated, "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."The philosophy of thinking that it makes no difference what church you attend, as long as you attend, does not fit into God's desires for his children. Surely we should be desirous to be with those who love God's Word, rightly divided (2 Tim. 2:15), and that honor the name of our blessed Saviour.

Yes, companionship is so needed by all, whether it is a natural, human relation or in the realm of worship and study of the Word. It is wonderful to see people together in love and fellowship. Another vital need to the child of God is,

Comfort

If it were possible to characterize this world, it would be appropriate to say it is full of sorrow, pain, tragedy, corruption, and misery. Everyone is aware of "news" we receive daily through the media. Death and destruction are always in the headlines. Every family is affected at sometime or another. We need comfort, but from where does it come? Surely, the world offers no comfort to its victims. Only God can supply this need!

The Lord Jesus said in John 14, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." Previous to that He had said, "And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever." How we all need this comfort! We need someone to come alongside and help, someone to speak kindly, someone to support us.

We have great comfort in His Word. Romans 15:4 says,

"And whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."

In Romans 15:5, God is spoken of as "the God of patience and consolation." He is also spoken of as "the God of hope" (vs. 13) and the "God of peace" (vs. 33). We are never told that we will not experience sorrow, but He does inform us in 1 Thessalonians 4 "to sorrow not, even as others which have no hope." And then, in verse 18, He says, "wherefore comfort one another with these words." May we consider this portion of God's Word carefully which says,

"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort: Who comforteth us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." (2 Cor. 1:3-4)

Another compelling need of the child of God is

Communion

This great need goes beyond physical companionship but involves the deeper issues of soul and spirit. It also involves more than just an "ordinance" or remembrance ritual. For example, this beautiful word the scriptures uses for communion is translated some 12 times in the New Testament as "fellowship." The benediction used by Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:14 speaks of the communion of the Holy Ghost.

"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen"

Grace, love, and communion are so needed by us all, and God so wonderfully supplies these needs!

Again, it must be emphasized that communion goes so much deeper than the concept most think of when the word is mentioned. The Apostle Paul was so thankful to the saints at Philippi "for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now" (Phil. 1:5). A great need of every believer is to have sweet communion with other believers in the proclamation and service of the gospel of God's grace. So many are perverting the gospel, so many are preaching "another gospel," that it gives a deep felt need for fellowship with those of like precious faith.

The Apostle Paul also expressed a great need to know the Lord "in the fellowship of his sufferings" (Phil. 3:10). Communion involves more than just enjoying our salvation or sharing it with others. It concerns a willingness to commune with the Lord in His sufferings. This really gets down to the "heart" of the matter. This is real "fellowship" of spirit. This enables us to better share in other believers' sufferings and results in real, deep, meaningful communion that meets a genuine need in our lives.

In the presentation concerning God's great plan for this dispensation, the apostle Paul desired to:

"Make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ." (Eph. 3:9)

The way Paul expressed this showed a burning desire on his part to have others involved in declaring this sacred secret. The "fellowship of the mystery" concerns God's church for this age, the body of Christ. It also involves all the "spiritual blessings in heavenly places" that is the inheritance of all saints today. There is a real need for this message to be proclaimed today, and equally there is an accompanying need to have "communion" in this matter. This need is woefully being neglected today in "religion" and by "religious" leaders.

Our spiritual needs were all satisfied at Calvary! God is perfectly able and perfectly willing to meet our every need. We need to remember the Scripture which says,

"But my God shall supply all your need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:19)

Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" 

OUR COMMISSION IN THE AGE OF GRACE IS:

2Co 5:16-21  Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more.  Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.   Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Wed 19 Nov 2014, 7:49 pm

*Going in Circles*
By Charles Wages

*In Proverbs 30:11-14, it is interesting and enlightening to observe 
that each verse begins with the expression "There is a generation." The 
Hebrew word for generation refers, in one sense, to a "circle." The old 
expression that, "history repeats itself," is true in a large measure. 
It is especially seen when we note the styles and fashions from 
generation to generation. It is also seen in human behavior and 
attitudes. Let's briefly look at some of these attitudes and patterns as 
recorded in the above Scriptures, written some 700 years before Christ.

Ingratitude to parents: "There is a generation that curseth their 
father, and doth not bless their mother." (verse 11)

Self righteousness: "There is a generation that are pure in their own 
eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness." (verse 12)

Pride: "There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their 
eyelids are lifted up." (verse 13)

Violence: "There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords and their 
jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the 
needy from among men." (verse 14)

No doubt, God did not intend for the above vivid verses to fully 
describe every generation. They do, however, pretty well characterize 
the natural human inclinations and deeds. Sin and human nature remain 
the same from generation to generation; men just attempt to devise new 
methods of madness to express and act upon those desires. A person who 
is lost has a tendency to "go around in circles."

It must be kept in mind that God doesn't intend for people to live 
"according to the flesh" in every generation. His gracious salvation not 
only saves from eternal damnation but provides the way and means "to 
live godly in this present age" (Titus 2:12). Noah and Enoch are good 
examples of persons who walked with and worked for the Lord in their 
generations. Genesis 6:9 has two different words used for "generations." 
In the first usage it refers to Noah's family associations. He was found 
righteous by God's grace before members of his own family. In the second 
usage, it has reference to his contemporaries, that is his fellow 
associates. When this is compared with Genesis 7:1, we find that, "he 
was seen righteous before Me (God) in this generation." The word for 
generation here is the same as the second usage above, that is, his 
fellow associates or contemporaries. Noah was in the world, but not of 
the world. A person who is saved also has a tendency to go around in 
circles, but in God's circles.

In order for a believer to intelligently and spiritually live for the 
Lord, he or she must learn to distinguish the generations. Though there 
is a great deal of sameness in each generation, there are also great 
differences. God has not always dealt with man's attitudes and actions 
in the same manner. How thankful we should be that God has been merciful 
and gracious, from generation to generation, to show:

Salvation: "... but my righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation 
from generation to generation." (Isa. 51:8)

Truth: "For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting: and His truth 
endureth forever." (Psa. 100:5)

Faithfulness: "Thy faithfulness is unto all generations." (Psa. 119:90)

These wonderful blessings could go on and on because God moves in 
circles to show His love and mercy to His creation. Believers should 
study carefully 2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; and 1 Timothy 4:1-5. We 
must note the characteristics of our generation, especially how the 
natural man is expressing his attitudes and actions in religious 
circles. What is God's evaluation of our present generation? The 
epistles of Paul must be carefully read and studied in order to know 
God's plan for this age, also how we, as believers, should live for Him 
today.

As we "go around in circles" let us learn to distinguish the generations 
and learn how to live in this generation.

As the human race, in its natural Adamic form, continues from generation 
to generation, it never seems to learn. Mistakes are repeated, sins are 
repeated, and a process of deterioration and degradation is evident. It 
seems to be quickening in our present generation. On the other hand, how 
wonderful and comforting to know that those who have been saved by His 
grace are in an upward spiral, learning from their experiences. Each day 
of our lives brings us closer to the time we shall "see Him as He is." 
Believers may be "going in circles," but like a beautiful spiral 
staircase each turn takes us higher and higher.


Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging 
Christians to believe what God says.

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and 
the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till 
we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son 
of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the 
fulness of Christ:"

OUR COMMISSION IN THE AGE OF GRACE IS:

2Co 5:16-21 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, 
though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we 
[him] no more. Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new 
creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become 
new. And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by 
Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To 
wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not 
imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word 
of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God 
did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye 
reconciled to God. For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no 
sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

*

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Tue 18 Nov 2014, 10:34 pm

THE TRUTH IN CHRIST 
By Ralph Balog
Scripture Reading: Romans 9: I 

How wonderful it would be if every member of the Body of Christ could state: "I say the truth in Christ!" What a unified message of grace would be proclaimed to a lost and dying world. Paul speaks, in our text verse, from a heavy heart. He had to defend his Gentile ministry everywhere he went.  And now from the extreme depths of his compassionate heart comes the call to "hear what I say," because "I speak the truth in Christ."  None of the Jewish Kingdom apostles ever had to defend their message and ministry in such fashion.

Paul wanted the Romans to know not only his love for them, but also for "my kinsmen according to the flesh" (vs. 3). He knew what Israel, nationally, was deliberately passing up ---"truth in Christ"---to follow the traditions of the early fathers.

In 1984 it is not "truth in Christ" to proclaim the earthly ministry and message of Christ as "good news" for sinners today. What was once truth can now be false teaching in the light of new revelations from the glorified Lord Jesus Christ given to and through the Apostle Paul. Though for all intents the Body of Christ today is predominantly Gentile, we, too, know that through Israel's fall we are now made near to God by the blood of Christ. When we speak "the truth in Christ," we too can claim our conscience will bear witness with the Holy Spirit and His written Word, rightly divided.

May we never lose sight of Paul's burden for those outside of Christ. We too were there once and God's grace is sufficient to save those not yet in the Body of Christ. 

Eph 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ 


Compassion is difficult to give away because it keeps coming back.
Our Purpose and Mission

The ministry of "Grace and The Truth" has the purpose of encouraging Christians to believe what God says. 

We are dedicated to helping Christians to a fuller knowledge of Him, and the Grace of God. Until we all come into the Unity, Ephesians 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" 

OUR COMMISSION IN THE AGE OF GRACE IS:

2Co 5:16-21  Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more.  Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.   Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

Post  Admin on Mon 17 Nov 2014, 11:12 pm

FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST OR 
THE FAITH (OR FAITHFULNESS) OF JESUS CHRIST 
By Jack Trumm

It is amazing how a little two letter word can change the meaning of a statement and yet this is exactly what happens when we use the phrase (faith IN Jesus Christ) or (the faith OF Jesus Christ.)
 
It is also amazing that so few of God's people understand the simple significance of one of the most precious phrases in the Pauline epistles, "the faith of Jesus Christ". (Romans 3:22; Galatians 2:16, 20; and Philippians 3:9) A King James version of the Bible will help tremendously in seeing both the distinction and significance.
 
First let us look at what it means to have "faith in Jesus Christ". Whether we realize it or not, we all put our faith in a person or thing every day of our lives. For example, everyone of us at some time during the day sit down in a chair and do we ever question whether the chair will hold us up? For the most part, the answer to that question is No, we just sit down. We believe that the chair will do what it is meant to do, hold us up. That is a demonstration of objective faith. Another example of objective faith is: everyone of us put our faith in people or a person every day of our lives. If we are told something by someone and we believe what they say is true, we exercise objective faith (or in the Greek "pistis"). 

And so it is, if we put our faith (belief) in what God tells us from His word (the Bible) concerning His Son Jesus Christ. "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand: By which also ye are saved if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures." (I Corinthians 15:1-4)
 
Do you believe this truth? If you do, then you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, and what he has accomplished for you. Then, you are saved. Sad to say, there are those who have perverted this truth, by saying the way to be saved is to say:
 
1. I make Jesus my Lord and my Savior. 
2. I make Jesus Lord of my life. 
3. I ask Jesus to come into my heart. 

How far from the truth can these statements be in light of what was said above. No place in the Bible are these statements made, much less a requirement for salvation. We don't make Him Lord and Savior -- He already is. We don't make Him Lord of our lives -- He already is. We don't have to ask Him into our hearts -- He does that the very moment we believe (FAITH).
 
God's Word tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9, "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." According to the dictionary in Strong's Concordance, the word grace means "divine influence upon the heart" and the word faith means "reliance upon Christ for salvation". This salvation that we have is a gift from God and when he convicts our hearts of this gift (grace), then we have a choice to make. We can either reject it or accept it by FAITH, and it is only by faith because there is nothing we can do in and of ourselves to earn it. (NOT OF WORKS) 

It also says in Romans 4:5, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Here we are told again that it is not by our own self-righteousness (not of works) that one is justified, but rather it is his faith (belief) in what Jesus Christ has accomplished for us that we are justified and only then does God count it to us for righteousness. This is the objective aspect of faith, (believe) or trust in another or in what another has said or done. This is what is meant when Paul writes of faith IN Christ.
 
Now let's consider what is meant when God's word speaks of the faith or faithfulness  OF Jesus Christ. Here,the word translated "faith" comes from the Greek word, "pistos" and is defined in the Strong's Concordance as follows: "Trustworthy, trustful, faithful, sure, true", An example of this would be when a man and a woman get married, they make their marriage vows and one of them is that they be faithful to one another. In other words, each one of them can believe what their spouse has just said concerning their marriage vows is "trustworthy' or what they just said was "true".
 
And so it is with the faith OF Jesus Christ. We can rest assured in what God tells us in His word concerning what it is that Jesus Christ has accomplished for us by his death, burial and resurrection. It is trustworthy and it is sure. This is the faith OF Jesus Christ. This is what is called, subjectives faith. 

Another example of the FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST is found in Galatians 2:20. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." 

How believers need to learn this blessed truth! We are kept, while in the flesh, not by "our faith" but by His faithfulness. Our God given faith is but a channel through which we appreciate and enjoy His never--failing faithfulness. Our "faith" would be vain (or useless) were it not for "the faith (fidelity) of the Son of God". The best of us would utterly fail were it not that "he ever liveth to make intercession for us" (Hebrews 7:25) and "now appears in the presence of God for us". (Hebrews 9:24) 


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Re: GraceNTheTruth@ COX.NET~OUR ASSURANCES UNDER GRACE

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