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Two Minutes With The Bible

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Two Minutes With The Bible

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Peppermint

by Pastor John Fredericksen

I like peppermint. It has a refreshing taste and it can help refresh my breath, when it needs it, making it more suitable to interact in public. Peppermint also serves as an illustration or reminder of what we should be striving to be for the Lord.

Among Paul’s praises of Philemon was that “the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee” (Phile. 7). This precious saint had chosen to be like a peppermint for all the believers with whom he came in contact. It’s wonderful to read about this kind of testimony and what made him so refreshing to others. He demonstrated a sense of “love and faith… toward all saints” (v. 5). When these characteristics are present and genuine, they manifest themselves in a warmth and interest in others that is unmistakable. It will also be obvious in the tone and content of every word that comes out of one’s mouth.

Philemon was approachable even about sensitive matters. Paul felt free to be bold in asking him to kindly and lovingly receive someone (Onesimus) who had wronged him (vv. 10-16). This quality of being approachable engendered a respect, closeness, and freedom in relation- ships that made Philemon a blessing to others.

Philemon could be expected to respond in a correct spiritual way. Paul had “confidence”(v.21) that Philemon would do the right thing in the right way and with the right spirit. No wonder, then, that this believer refreshed the saints around him, including the Apostle Paul. Philemon was a grace believer who not only believed in grace doctrine, he lived and demonstrated grace.

As we consider this godly example, we should apply these truths by asking ourselves if we truly want to be the kind of saint that is like a refreshing, spiritual peppermint. We should want to be this kind of saint! A good way to begin is by asking the Lord to help us develop the kind of Christian character that makes us refreshing to other saints: loving, approachable, and so responsive to the Scriptures that others can be confident in our actions and reactions. If this is your prayer and heart’s desire, we encourage you to look for verses in Paul’s letters that will further empower you toward becoming this kind of godly example.

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Washed, Sanctified And Justified

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

“And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (I Cor. 6:11).

The preceding verses of I Cor. 6 contain a long list of vile sins and vices into which men have fallen, and the Apostle adds:

“And such were some of you.” God’s Church is not made up of “good people” who have never fallen into sin. It is rather made up of sinners, saved by grace, through the infinite payment made for sin by Christ on Calvary’s cross.

“And such were some of you.” Had the Apostle included the more “refined” sins, such as pride, self-righteousness, etc., he would have had to say: “And such were all of you.”

Note further, however, that the Apostle says: “And such were some of you.” Thank God, he goes on to say of those who had been thus stained with sin: “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

How beautiful these three phrases: “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified”! The word “but” appearing before each phrase indicates that each should be considered separately. Such vile creatures were some of you, “but ye are washed,” cleansed from the sins that contaminated you. “But ye are sanctified.” Having been cleansed you are now set apart as sacred for His glory. “But ye are justified.” When God justifies us, who can condemn?

“Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth; who is he that condemneth?”

All this is done for the believing sinner, as our verse says, “in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

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Let It Get You Down

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 3: 14).

When adversity strikes, the world keeps telling us: “Don’t let it get you down,” but believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have learned that it is good to let troubles and difficulties get them down — down on their knees.

A native evangelist in Africa sat outside his hut discouraged and unhappy. Trouble and disappointment had brought “great coldness” into his heart and he seemed ready to give up. The Lord, he felt, had utterly forsaken him. As he sat there, though, his little girl kept nudging him and saying: “Daddy, go inside and pray .” Finally it worked! The evangelist went inside, poured his heart out to God and arose feeling sure that the Lord would see him through.

It is good for us to get down on our knees before God. There is no attitude more appropriate to the redeemed sinner. And as we pray, often falteringly….

“The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

“And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose”

(Rom. 8:26-28 ).

“Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding. shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6,7).

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Applause

by Pastor Paul M. Sadler

Scripture Reading:

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.”

– Colossians 3:17

There seems to be a growing trend in Christendom for congregations to physically applaud those who are ministering in the things of the Lord. Pastors are applauded when they wax eloquent or say something humorous. Also, after soloists lift the hearts of the saints into the heavenlies they are often met with a round of applause as they step down from the platform. Having pastored a number of local assemblies, I’ve risen from my chair, on more than one occasion to interrupt the hand clapping of the saints. While I am sure their applause was well-intentioned, it is nonetheless very irreverent and disrespectful to the Lord.

When the world gives a standing ovation after a performance of an actor or comedian they are expressing their appreciation for having been acceptably entertained. They are also praising the performer for his excellence in an art which has been cultivated through years of hard work.

When the servant of the Lord comes to the platform, to minister on our behalf, the purpose of his labor of love is not to entertain the congregation. It is to be viewed rather as a ministry, which is an integral part of our worship of the Holy One of Heaven. Anyone who serves the Lord, sincerely, would never want the applause of men, but would insist that all the honor and glory be given to God. May all our adoration go to the One Who is worthy to be worshipped, for He has given us his Word and the opportunity along with the gifts to minister on His behalf. Amen!

CHRYSOSTOM ON APPLAUSE

345-407 A.D.

“… some clapped their hands in applause, according to the custom of the times. Then Chrysostom raised his voice: ‘How does your applause help me?’ It will be the right approval if you practice in life what I say to you. The church is no theater, where men listen for their own pleasure.” (From the Life of Chrysostom, by Frederic Perthes, P. 18 ).

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The Triumphal Entry -- Past Or Future?

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

Did our Lord actually ride in triumph into Jerusalem to become King of the Church? Or is His true triumph still to come?

True, the townspeople cried: “Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord” (John 12:12,13). But Jesus responded by entering the city, riding “an ass’s colt” (Verses 14,15). Surely this was not a very regal sight! Once before, when He knew that they “would come and take Him by force to make Him a King, He departed…into a mountain Himself alone” (John 6:15).

He knew that it was not yet time for Him to reign. First must come the cross, then the throne. Zechariah had prophesied of this entry into Jerusalem, saying: “Behold thy King!” Look at Him! and then he describes His entrance: “Lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass” (Zech. 9:9).

At this entry, “When He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it” (Luke 19:41). At this entry He entered into the temple, looked about and went out again (Mark 11:11). It was His Father’s house, but He could not worship there. It had become a den of thieves. No, this was no triumphal entry. Look at Him, meek, lowly, riding on an ass’s colt, and then see Him coming again as Revelation 19:11-16 describes it. How different the symbolism!

Once meek, lowly, and “having salvation.” Now, “in righteousness doth He judge and make war.” Once, riding “an ass’s colt.” Now, “Behold! a white horse!” And those eyes, once filled with tears are now “as a flame of fire.”

Our Lord’s true triumphal entry is still future. According to prophecy He will come again, put down all rebellion against Himself, and reign in glory and power. Thank God He has not yet done so! In love He still points to Calvary, where He died for our sins and offers us the riches of His grace.

“Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:25).

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Two Minutes With The Bible

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Is It Important Who You Spend Time With?

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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

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

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

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

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

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It Didn't Add Up!

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

In Daniel 9:25, the prophet Daniel was told that from the going forth of the commandment to restore Jerusalem “unto the Messiah” would be 69 weeks of years (cf. Gen. 29:27; Lev. 25:8 ). Frankly, this very specific prophecy baffled Bible students for many years, for the predicted time of 483 years (69×7) “unto the Messiah” did not match up with the time of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Then, in his book The Coming Prince, a Bible teacher named Sir Robert Anderson realized the problem lay in the different ways Jews and Gentiles mark time. We number our years using a solar calendar wherein each year has 365¼ days, but the Jews used a 360-day lunar calendar, with each year consisting of 12 months of 30 days each.

Evidence of this is found in Genesis 7:11, where we read that the deluge began “in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month,” yet exactly “an hundred and fifty days” later (v. 24), “the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month” (8:3,4). The only way an exact period of five equal months can end 150 days later on the same day of the month is if each of those months has 30 days. Further evidence of this is seen when we remember that the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week is sometimes said to last “forty and two months” (Rev. 11:2), and sometimes it is said to last “a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (v. 3). The only way 42 equal months can work out to 1260 days is if each of those months has 30 days.

Once Sir Robert recalculated the prophecy using lunar years, he found that the 69 weeks “unto the Messiah” worked out to the very day the Lord Jesus rode the colt into Jerusalem and made an official presentation of Himself to Israel. No wonder the Lord lamented later that day, “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace!” (Luke 19:42).

The point? When you are asked why men should trust the God of the Bible, why not give the reason God Himself gives—fulfilled prophecy! (Isa. 42:8,9; 44:7,8 cf. John 13:19). To those who would tout the gods of the world’s other religions, God says, “Produce your cause…bring forth your strong reasons…let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen…shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods” (Isa. 41:21-24).

The God of the Bible alone is God!

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You Can't Get By With This

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

One of Pastor Stam’s favorite jokes went something like this:

Teacher: “Johnny, what’s the difference between a pronoun and a preposition?”

Johnny: “Yeah, that’s what I say, what’s the difference!”

Despite Johnny’s indifference, we know there is a great deal of difference between pronouns and prepositions! These parts of speech are important, especially when it comes to Bible study. For instance, Pastor Stam once wrote:

“Not once does Paul in his epistles teach that members of the Body of Christ are baptized with or in the Spirit.”

In response to this, we sometimes get letters asking about this verse:

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…” (I Cor. 12:13).

But a close look will reveal an important difference in the preposition used in each case. The Apostle Paul taught that believers today are baptized “by” the Spirit, but Pastor Stam doesn’t say we’re not baptized by the Spirit, he says we are not baptized “with” the Spirit. No contradiction here!

Speaking of Christ, John the Baptist predicted:

“He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 3:11).

This prophecy was fulfilled at Pentecost, where “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues” (Acts 2:4). It is important to notice that Christ is the Baptizer here, and that He baptized people with the Spirit. This is often confused with I Corinthians 12:13, but in this passage the Spirit is the Baptizer, baptizing people into the Body. That’s quite different than what happened at Pentecost, where the Lord was the Baptizer, baptizing people with the Spirit, enabling them to speak in tongues.

This explains why believers today are not able to speak in languages they never studied, as they did at Pentecost, for we do not have their baptism. But if we do not have their baptism, we must also conclude that at Pentecost they did not have our baptism. That is, we are not baptized by Christ with the Spirit, and they were not baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ.

We realize this runs contrary to the common teaching that the Church began at Pentecost, where it is said that believers were first baptized into the Body, but we believe the difference in prepositions used in these passages is just one of many evidences that the Body of Christ began later, with the raising up of Paul.

You just can’t get by with mixing with and by!

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Sad, But True

by Pastor Paul M. Sadler

Scripture Reading:

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” — I Corinthians 10:12

Heard a story told by a Grace Believer who met another Grace Believer in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge:

“I was standing in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge admiring the view when another tourist walked up alongside of me to do the same. I heard him say quietly, as he took in the beauty of the view, ‘What an awesome God.’

“I turned to him and said, ‘You a Christian?’

“He said, ‘Yes, I am a Christian.’

“I said, ‘So am I,’ and we shook hands. I said, ‘Are you a liberal or a fundamental Christian?’

“He said, ‘I am a fundamental Christian.’

“I said, ‘So am I,’ and we smiled and nodded to each other.” I said, ‘Are you a Covenant or dispensational, fundamental Christian?’

“He said, ‘I am a dispensational, fundamental Christian.’

“I said, ‘So am I,’ and we slapped one another on the back.” I said, ‘Are you an early Acts, mid-Acts or late Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian?’

“He said ‘I am a mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian.’

“I said, ‘So am I’ and we agreed to exchange Christmas cards each year. I said, ‘Are you an Acts 9 or 13, mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian?’

“He said, ‘I am an Acts 9, mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian.’

“I said, ‘So am I’ and we hugged one another right there on the bridge. I said, ‘Are you a pre-trib, or post-trib, Acts 9, mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian?’

“He said, ‘I am a pre-trib, Acts 9, mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian.’

“I said, ‘So am I,’ and we decided to exchange kids for the summer.”I said, ‘Are you a 12 in or 12 out, pre-trib, Acts 9, mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian?’

“He said, ‘I am a 12 in, pre-trib, Acts 9, mid-Acts, dispensational, fundamental Christian.’”I said, ‘You heretic, and I pushed him off the bridge!’” — Author Unknown

The above is sad but all too true, with the exception of being pushed off a bridge, although some may have even considered that! Of course, the shoe could have been on the other foot; that is, the weary traveler might have held the 12 out position — heaven forbid! The point is, no matter how deeply our convictions may run on secondary issues, they should never disrupt our fellowship together. Issues such as: Are the 12 in or out of the Body of Christ? Was Paul the author of Hebrews? Should we observe holidays? Was Paul in or out of the will of God in Acts 21? Where did the Church begin — Acts 9, 11, or 13? And on and on we could go.

Our Fellowship in Christ must rest solely on the Fundamentals of the Faith and the Doctrines of Grace found in Ephesians 4:4-6. There is no room for further discussion on these matters. On other areas of the Word of God where we may find ourselves in disagreement, let us “agree to disagree” in a Christ-like manner. This will help maintain the unity of the Spirit among us and glorify God in the process.

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Full Assurance

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

It is wonderful to have the full assurance of salvation, and it is God’s will that every one of us enjoy this assurance. Toward the close of his life the Apostle John wrote by divine inspiration:

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life…” (I John 5:13).

There are three bases upon which believers in Christ may enjoy the full assurance of salvation: First, God urges every true believer: “Let us draw near, with a sincere heart, in full assurance of faith…” (Heb. 10:22). This is the full assurance that results from simply believing God; much as a child implicitly believes what his father has said and is absolutely sure that it is true. God says: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” (John 3:36). We may simply — and with good reason — believe His Word and enjoy the full assurance of faith.

Second, we may enjoy what Heb. 6:11 calls “the full assurance of hope.” The hope of the Bible, however, must not be confused with wishing. The Christian’s “hope” is “an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast” (Ver. 19). It comes from having proved God. Thus the full assurance of hope is the confidence that results from having accepted God’s Word.

But third, and best of all, is what Col. 2:2 calls “riches of the full assurance of understanding.” This full assurance is God’s reward to Christians who study His Word and His purposes, beginning with His plan of salvation as revealed in “the gospel of the grace of God.” When one not only believes God’s Word, but begins to understand it he cannot but be gripped by its sublime reasonableness, its powerful logic, and its provision for his deepest needs, and thus he comes to enjoy “all [the] riches of the full assurance of understanding.”

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