Saturday, August 19, 2017

Desserts vs Grace - by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

Desserts vs Grace  
Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

It is an interesting fact that in this day of godlessness and lawlessness so much is being said about what we all deserve! Ads in the newspapers and commercials on radio and TV ask:

“Don’t you deserve the very finest automobile?”

“Don’t your children deserve the best?”

“Doesn’t your baby deserve Pampers?”

And even, “Doesn’t your dog deserve Alpo?”

Well, do you really deserve the finest car? Please don’t answer that! Do your children deserve the best — always? If so you surely have model children — not at all like their parents! And does your baby deserve Pampers? That’s funny! And does your dog deserve Alpo? That’s ridiculous! Dogs do not “love” or obey you from any moral consideration, nor, for that matter, does your baby, lovable as the darling is. And as to you and your children — including the baby, the Bible has something to say on this subject.

The Bible says that “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men for that ALL have sinned [i.e., in Adam]” (Rom. 5:12). You and I were “in Adam” when he sinned. When he sinned, we sinned. Deny this and you might as well agree with the murderer who argued: “My feet and legs didn’t do it; my ears and nose didn’t do it; only my one hand and one or two other parts of my body did it, so the rest should go free.”

We believers in Christ should thank God that our blessed Lord took upon Him our just desserts when He died for our sins at Calvary. This is why God’s Word says:

“We declare, I say, at this time, His righteousness for the remission of sins… that [God] might be just, and the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.
“Where is boasting then? It is excluded” (Rom. 3:25-27

A Special Announcement: Transformed by Grace, the new weekly television program produced by the Berean Bible Society, has begun broadcasting across the United States. Visit the Transformed by Grace page on our website to find your local station.

 How God Saves Men
Believing Christ DIED, that’s HISTORY.
Believing Christ DIED for YOU SINS and Rose again that’s SALVATION.
Read Romans 1:16, Romans 10:9-10 and 1. Corinthians 15:1-4

(A 10 Minute Video)

Posted By Cecil  and Connie Spivey

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The Pastor’s Perils - by John Willson

 The Pastor’s Perils  
 by John Willson

God has given an important, responsible position to every Bible  teaching pastor.  According to Ephesians 4:11-12, the gift of pastor (pastor teacher) is one of those given “…for the perfecting of the saints, for the working of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ….”  Because of this, it is evident that Satan will seek to hinder or destroy a successful ministry any way he can.

There are many areas where Satan can set a snare or pitfall for a pastor.  We list some of the more obvious ones using the alliterative “P”: Popularity, Prestige, Pay, and Passion.


Popularity is usually gained by pleasing man, and that is natural for most of us.  But the desire to please can lead a pastor to avoid preaching anything that may offend, even though it may be sound doctrine.  It is convenient for him to avoid controversial issues, especially if he knows that the congregation may not accept his teaching.  Paul anticipated this in writing to Timothy.  He admonished, “…reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (II Tim. 4:2).

Paul set the example as he reproved the Galatian believers for their departure from the gospel of grace (Gal. 1:6-9).  In verse 10 of the same passage, Paul says “…do I seek to please men, or God? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

As we continue through the book, we find many more rebukes to the Galatians, albeit given with love and longsuffering.  Paul was so stern with them, it seemed he had become their enemy (Gal. 4:16), yet in every chapter he was only defending the doctrines of grace that were committed to him by the Lord Jesus.  Paul, then, is an example of one who did not seek popularity as a “manpleaser” (Eph. 6:6).


When a person is given a position of leadership, the respect and encouragement of others often leads to adoration and praise.  We tend to give undue honor and adulation, bestowing flattering titles such as “reverend” or “doctor,” making it more difficult for a pastor to realize that he is called to be merely a minister or servant.  The more gifted a pastor is with speaking ability, writing ability, or organizational ability, the more he should be lifted up with prayer, lest he be lifted up with pride.

  Paul emphasized that he and Apollos were but ministers (servants) by whom the Corinthians believed (I Cor. 3:5).  Then in verse 7 he added, “So then, neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”

All the men of God throughout Scripture have shown meekness and humility in leading God’s people.  Note Numbers 12:3: “Now the man Moses was very meek above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.”  As we read through the books Moses wrote, we find him giving God the glory, as did all the prophets in the Old Testament.  The Lord Jesus, though He was God the Son, said “…learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29).  In writing to a pastor, Paul said “…follow after…meekness…” (I Tim. 6:11).  To Titus (3:2) he writes that we should be “…gentle, showing all meekness to all men.”  As a pastor or minister considers such verses as these, he will resist the temptation toward pride or a superior attitude.  If he has success in his ministry, he will humbly admit it was all God’s working and God’s grace.


The Bible teaches that a pastor is generally supported by the congregation he serves (I Cor. 9:14).  Yet, in our day, we see large congregations giving such large salaries, plus benefits, that the pastor is often being paid more than the average member of his congregation.  Most pastors have families to support, homes they are buying, and many bills, so they fear losing the large salary.  When a pastor becomes dependent upon a generous salary, the Word is no longer preached with true freedom.  The danger is that a pastor becomes greatly tempted to avoid offending anyone by “preaching the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), or standing for the truths that he knows.  When Paul wrote to young pastor Timothy in I Timothy 6:10 about the love of money being a root of all evil, he was not only warning believers in general, but he was also warning Timothy.  He didn’t want the love of money to cause Timothy to become the servant of men, rather than a servant of Christ (Gal. 1:10).

It would not be wise for any pastor to be completely dependent on support given by a church.  Having a trade or profession or being able to “work with his hands” (I Thes. 4:11) would be a great asset toward independence in his preaching.  He would be able to “reprove and exhort with sound doctrine” knowing that he could always “…provide for his own…” (I Tim. 5:8), even if he had to look for another place of service.  Paul’s solution to this was that he made the gospel free of charge and did not ask for money.  Instead he often worked as a tentmaker to supply his needs and the needs of others.  Concerning the love of money, he advised Timothy, “…O man of God, flee these things…” (I Tim. 6:11).


Although passion can have many meanings, we are referring to the kind that leads to temptation to commit sexual immorality.  How many times have we heard about an evangelical pastor getting involved with his church secretary or some other woman in the church?  Many pastors have left their wives and children, yielding to their own sinful lusts or to a direct temptation from Satan.  The result is not only a disaster for his family and the church, but also a dishonor to his Lord.

Paul’s advice to Timothy was to “Flee youthful lusts, follow after righteousness, faith, love, peace…” (II Tim. 2:22).  Temptations to immorality are always there, and the pastor as well as all of us must be strong in the Lord, “…putting on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:10-11).

Pastors must be aware of these pitfalls and learn how to avoid them.  Those he serves should always pray for him, that these things will not hinder or destroy his ministry.  Help him in his work, encourage him, let him know you are praying for him, and remember to thank him from time to time.

A Special Announcement: Transformed by Grace, the new weekly television program produced by the Berean Bible Society, has begun broadcasting across the United States. Visit the Transformed by Grace page on our website to find your local station.

 How God Saves Men
Believing Christ DIED, that’s HISTORY.
Believing Christ DIED for YOU SINS and Rose again that’s SALVATION.
Read Romans 1:16, Romans 10:9-10 and 1. Corinthians 15:1-4

(A 10 Minute Video)

Posted By Cecil  and Connie Spivey

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Begin With the End in Mind - by David M. Havard

 Begin With the End in Mind  
 by David M. Havard

Without proper motivation, it is hard to go on.  If  we ask ourselves why we are doing something and we don’t have an answer, it is hard to keep giving our best efforts to the task at hand.

Unfortunately, when many churches are asked why they bother to do what they do, they often do not have an answer.  Likewise, when many believers are asked what difference their faith makes in a practical sense, they, too, are at a loss for words.

Before the church can answer these questions of “why,” individual believers must first come up with an answer as to what difference it makes to be a Christian and specifically, a grace believer.

At times, we can become like David, vexed and frustrated at the pride and wealth of the wicked:
“For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.  They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.  Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.  Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.  They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.  They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.  Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.  And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?  Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.  Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.  For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.  If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.  When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end” (Psa. 73:3-17).
Notice how David was able to cope with these thoughts.  As long as he considered the “present tense” of things, he could easily be discouraged.  The same is true of us today.  At the present time, the world system does seem to be winning.  But like David, our answer lies in considering not the “now,” but the end.  Notice verse 17, “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.”
Understanding the end is essential in maintaining a proper perspective—both of the wicked and of ourselves.  Without understanding our end (and theirs), it is all too easy to become discouraged and distracted.  Perhaps this is why Paul writes in Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”  We faint or become weary and quit when we lose sight of our goal.

When we forget what it’s all about, it is easy to get caught up in the world’s definition of success.  Soon we start thinking that success is measured by material things, by power, or by fame.  Then, as we start to measure ourselves by these things, we begin to compare our measure of things, power, or fame with that of the world, and most believers will always come up short—especially those involved in ministry.  But when we “begin with the end in mind” (to borrow the words of Steven Covey) we can make proper decisions in the meantime.

Today most people seem obsessed with the idea of preparing for retirement.  They fret, worry, plan, and save for their “golden years.”  They understand that they only have a limited window of opportunity to maximize their investments for retirement.  They realize that retirement age will be upon them before they know it; but unfortunately, they fail to give much thought to what comes after retirement.

Actually, we have quite a long time to prepare for retirement.  On average, we probably will have twice as long to prepare for retirement than we do for retirement itself.  Unfortunately, many people do not start to think about retirement until they are in their 30’s or 40’s.  The longer they wait to prepare, the greater their sense of urgency.

With the recognition of the need to prepare for a relatively short earthly retirement, it is sad that we do not recognize the need to prepare and invest for spiritual things.  For this earthly retirement, we have about 40 years to prepare for 20.  But for our heavenly retirement, what is 85 years compared to eternity?  What about the person saved later in life?  The Apostle Paul was just such a person.  He had invested the first third or half of his life in the wrong things.  He looks back and realizes that all of his life before Christ was nothing more than spiritual “junk bonds”—worthless (Phil. 3:7-8).

But after his conversion, the Apostle Paul maintained a sharply focused life (Phil. 3:10; Acts 20:24).  In his epistles he urges us to have the same focus and dedication in pursuing our spiritual aims (I Cor. 9:24-27; Phil. 3:13-14).  He says that we shall reap IF we faint not (Gal. 6:9).

Like physical investments, our spiritual investments must be made for the long haul.  Longfellow is quoted as saying, “Many men do not allow their principles to take root, but pull them up every now and then, as children do flowers they have planted, to see if they are growing.”  Some folks approach their spiritual investments the same way.  Rather than allowing their spiritual fruit to abound to their account (Phil. 4:17), they make withdrawals and wander from the path of wise spiritual investments.
Investing for retirement requires sacrifice.  We have to understand the principle of delayed gratification.  At times, this sacrifice will seem especially burdensome.  If we forget why we are doing what we are doing during such times, we will be tempted to abandon our plan.  The same is true spiritually.  If we ever forget the true end of all things we will be tempted to start living for the “now.”

Many people suddenly find themselves at retirement age and are filled with regret and remorse because they did not make preparation for this final chapter of their life.  If failing to prepare for this creates regret, imagine how the person feels who finds himself in eternity—saved, but spiritually bankrupt because he just never got around to making those spiritual investments.  Like the person who didn’t plan for retirement, he had good intentions—he always intended to get ready, he always planned to do something, but time kept marching on and before he knew it, it was too late.

Notice what Paul says in I Timothy 6:17-19, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”  Notice his words—“laying up in store”—this speaks of spiritual investments.
Distractions are a constant source of temptation to any investor.  In this life, there is always that new car, a bigger house, or an extended vacation to tempt the investor to divert his retirement funds.  Would he enjoy these things?  Most probably, he would.  But he would pay the price later on.  Likewise, the world constantly tempts us to divert from our spiritual investments.  Satan is always sending us spiritual junk mail and ringing our telephone with his latest offer of temporal pleasure.  If we do not remain focused on our goal, if we do not remember the end of all things, we can easily give in to Satan’s schemes.

What can we do to remain focused and on track spiritually?  Well, one key is to understand—really understand, the relevance of the mystery to God’s plan for today.  We read in Ephesians 1:3 that we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.  Notice where the sphere of our blessings is found—in the heavenlies.  Nowhere in Paul’s epistles are we said to be blessed with all blessings in the here and now.  We understand that, as the old song goes, “This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through.  My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.”  If we fail to understand that we have a heavenly hope, not an earthly hope, we will more easily be sucked into the whirlpool of this world system.  There we will find ourselves trying to measure spiritual things with a materialistic yardstick—and that just doesn’t work!

In this era of economic prosperity, it is easy to fall into the trap of comparing our material and economic standing with others.  And human nature being what it is, we usually compare ourselves to those who are much better off, than we do to those who are not so blessed.

However, by understanding the dispensation of the grace of God, that message given to Paul and passed on to us, we can begin to learn how to have spiritual discernment.  We can learn how to “redeem the time”—to make the most of our opportunities today in making our spiritual investments for tomorrow (Eph. 5:16).  We understand that we are not to expect material blessing during this present age—at least not as a result or indicator of true spirituality.

We understand that the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  As Paul said in II Corinthians 4:17-18, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

An “eternal weight of glory!”  This is the end that we should have in mind!

A Special Announcement: Transformed by Grace, the new weekly television program produced by the Berean Bible Society, has begun broadcasting across the United States. Visit the Transformed by Grace page on our website to find your local station.

 How God Saves Men
Believing Christ DIED, that’s HISTORY.
Believing Christ DIED for YOU SINS and Rose again that’s SALVATION.
Read Romans 1:16, Romans 10:9-10 and 1. Corinthians 15:1-4

(A 10 Minute Video)

Posted By Cecil  and Connie Spivey

    Share this Bible Message with your  friends

The Gospel For Today’s Age of Grace - by Thomas Freeman

The Gospel For Today’s Age of Grace 
 by Thomas Freeman

The desire to write this article comes from my experiences in searching for God’s will in my life.  Why it took me so long to clearly see the dispensational change Paul’s simple but profound message presented, I am not sure.  Christ’s message to Israel (the gospel of the circumcision) is so often mixed together with Christ’s message through Paul for the world today (the gospel of the uncircumcision).  Fortunately the Holy Spirit used a number of situations to keep me moving toward God’s goal for my life.

The Scriptures state in Romans 8:28:
“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.”
Notice it doesn’t say to those who love God enough.  The Holy Spirit used several men to bring me to being an ardent dispensationalist.  One was Dr. C. I. Scofield and his notes in the Scofield Study Bible.  Another was a tract, placed in my hand by a caring person, which in turn led me to the Berean Bible Society and Pastor Stam.  The Holy Spirit used his books to open my eyes to the mystery and the “Word rightly divided.”  Through a man I met at work, I learned about the First Grace Gospel Church of Ashtabula, Ohio and Pastor Adams.  Through Pastor Adams and his careful exposition of God’s Word, my mind and heart were truly united in the “grace” message.

There is a poem I like so well, written by Martin Luther.  “Feelings come and feelings go and feelings are deceiving.  I’ll rest upon the Word of God, none else is worth believing.”  Resting in His Word rightly divided is the only way.  The words “rightly divided” comes from II Timothy 2:15 and is a translation of the Greek word “orthotomeo,” pronounced or-thot-om-eh´-o which means to make a straight cut, to dissect (expound) correctly (the divine message).  As you read the rest of this article I trust you will come to realize the importance of understanding complete dispensational teaching.
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15).
“But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter (for He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship, that we should go unto the Gentiles and they unto the circumcision” (Gal. 2:7-9).
Paul was recognized by the twelve apostles as God’s man to carry this new message of grace to the Gentiles.  Clearly two different gospels are mentioned.  Paul in Galatians 1:11 and 12 tells us how he received his gospel.
“But I certify you brethren that the gospel which was preached by me is not after man.  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:11,12).
It has been said by some that Paul’s gospel was the same as Peter’s.  Others claim that Peter was out of God’s will, narrow minded, and because of his refusal to go to the Gentiles, God had to raise up the Apostle Paul.  I take exception to these views.  For Galatians 2:8 tells us something else.
“For He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles.”
There are several more reasons.
  1. If it were the same there would have been no need for a special revelation.
  2. Paul speaks of the gospel he preached as “my gospel” in Romans 16:25, 2:16.
  3. Those who would find fault with Peter’s or Paul’s work are really finding fault with Christ’s work, for it is He who is working through both men as the Scripture states in Galatians 2:8.
  4. The “my gospel” Paul spoke of is referred to as being kept secret since the world began (Rom. 16:25; I Cor. 2:7,8; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:26).  The gospel Peter spoke of is referred to as being known since the world began (Matt. 25:34; Luke 1:67-70; Acts 3:21,24).
Indeed, Israel from Jacob on has been looking for their Messiah, who was to come and set up their kingdom as the most favored nation.  When as a nation they accept their Messiah, God will have all people come through Israel.  We, of course, know that Israel rejected Christ and they were then set aside until the dispensation of Grace, for which Paul was called to be its apostle, has run its course.  Notice Paul’s words are spoken of as commandments, which is not a take it or leave it word.
“If any man think himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (I Cor. 14:37).
When I was in the service, we learned a principle that is crucial to being a good soldier in the military or in God’s work.  That principle is this: You obey the last lawful order given by the one in charge.  I know that in past dispensations other orders were given, which were valid at the time given, but by examining the Scriptures of past dispensations, one can see major differences in the requirements that are in addition to faith.

There are many people who believe that the Bible words printed in red are the most important for they were spoken by Christ.  They are the words of Christ and very important indeed, as all God’s Word is, which we are to study.  But they were especially important to the Jewish people to whom they were written regarding the coming kingdom.  When we, who are of the dispensation of Grace, study the Gospels, we must interpret them in light of the epistles written by Paul.  They are Christ’s final marching orders for the Church today.  They have the correct interpretation for the day we live in.  Yes, we can take our stand and rest assured.  We have the correct interpretation for today when we follow Christ’s words given through Paul.

In Ephesians 1:3 the Word tells us that we are looking for a heavenly home, not an earthly kingdom.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).
 “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).

Yes, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have God’s Word for all people to study, but they are written to the people of the kingdom dispensation.  We know Christ was addressing those for whom the kingdom was coming to earth.  How?  Because the Bible tells us so.
Matthew 4:17 says:
“From that time, Jesus began to preach and say, repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
In Matthew 3:2, John the Baptist speaks of the coming kingdom.  In Matthew 10:5-7, we see Jesus instructing the twelve apostles regarding the coming kingdom.

Christ is still speaking to us today with the words of salvation, love, encouragement, and how to live a life pleasing to Him.  Yes, He is speaking to us today throughout His Word, but again we must use the epistles written by the Apostle Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, for a proper application today.  It is not a matter if we like them or not.

Now grace, faith and obedience have always been in vogue, for apart from God’s grace no man deserves to be saved.  Without faith in God’s plan for that day, no man would have been saved, for rituals alone never saved anyone.  When God’s plan calls for circumcision, the building of an ark, and baptism, the man of faith will obey.  However, when God speaks in His Word and tells us it is by faith alone, the man of faith will follow His commands.  It is only by God’s grace, in any dispensation, that sinful man can be saved, for we do not deserve God’s gracious offer.  In all dispensations God has wanted His people’s obedience.  In past ages, He has required it to receive His blessings.  Today God wants our loving obedience because He has already blessed us.  One example before we move on.

In Matthew 6:15:
“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
In Ephesians 4:32 we find Christ’s words for us today.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake, hath forgiven you.”
Notice in the gospel of the kingdom forgiveness is required to be forgiven, while in the epistles penned by the Apostle Paul we are already forgiven and already blessed.  Therefore, out of love and gratitude, I want to please the One who bled, died and rose again, paying completely and forever for all my sins.  Yes, thank God, past, present and future sins are covered by the sacrifice of the Savior Jesus Christ (Look up Rom. 4:15,16, 3:23,24; Gal. 3:13; Col. 1:21,22, 2:13).  These are just a few of the verses that tell us of the wonderful and complete salvation we have in Christ Jesus.
In Ephesians 2:8 and 9 we find Christ’s commands written for us today.
“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.”
In I Corinthians 15:1-4 we find Paul spelling out for us, the gospel (the good news) for today.
“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.”
This is how we are saved today.  It is by faith alone in what Christ has done for us according to the Scriptures.  Anything you would add to God’s plan is a false gospel.  God has chosen to place our complete salvation in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus.  Anything we would add is an affront to God’s Son, for we are saying that He is not worthy of the great honor God has placed in Him.  And we are really saying that we know better than God Himself.

When referring to the gospel he preached, Paul speaks of it as my gospel.  That’s what Romans 16:25 and 26 tells us:
“Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now [Greek word nun speaks of present time] is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets [the word ‘prophets’ as used here is an adjective so a clearer rendition would read by the prophetic Scriptures] according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.”
Do you want to be “established?”  The Scripture tells us it is by following Christ, according to the gospel presented in Paul’s epistles.

In Galatians 1:6-9 Paul speaks about another gospel and says of any who would add to or change the gospel that was given to him by revelation: “let him be accursed.”  The matter is so serious he repeats it again in verse 9.  One other matter needs to be clarified before we discuss these verses.  In the Greek text, there are two different words used for “another,” which have different shades of meaning.  The Greek word “heteros” is used which means another of a different sort, and the Greek word “allos” which means another of the same sort.
Now let’s read Galatians 1:6-9:
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another [another of a different sort] gospel, Which is not another [another of the same sort]; but there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
It is extremely important that we are not altering God’s plan given to Paul and trusting in some work, such as water baptism, joining the church, keeping the law, some particular part of the law, or going forward in a church service.
See Colossians 2:10:
“And ye are complete in Him, who is the Head of all principality and powers.”
And also Romans 11:6:
“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.  But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”
As we stated earlier from Ephesians 2:8 and 9, it is “by faith and not by works.”  Are you trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ?  Trusting in His death, burial and resurrection alone for your salvation and the total payment for all your past and present sins?  If you are not familiar with dispensational teaching and the revelation of the mystery given to Paul, you may well have other questions.

A Special Announcement: Transformed by Grace, the new weekly television program produced by the Berean Bible Society, has begun broadcasting across the United States. Visit the Transformed by Grace page on our website to find your local station.

 How God Saves Men
Believing Christ DIED, that’s HISTORY.
Believing Christ DIED for YOU SINS and Rose again that’s SALVATION.
Read Romans 1:16, Romans 10:9-10 and 1. Corinthians 15:1-4

(A 10 Minute Video)

Posted By Cecil  and Connie Spivey

    Share this Bible Message with your  friends

Why No Replacement for James? - by Pastor Ricky Kurth

  Why No Replacement for James? 
 by Pastor Ricky Kurth

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

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

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

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

A Special Announcement: Transformed by Grace, the new weekly television program produced by the Berean Bible Society, has begun broadcasting across the United States. Visit the Transformed by Grace page on our website to find your local station.

 How God Saves Men
Believing Christ DIED, that’s HISTORY.
Believing Christ DIED for YOU SINS and Rose again that’s SALVATION.
Read Romans 1:16, Romans 10:9-10 and 1. Corinthians 15:1-4

(A 10 Minute Video)

Posted By Cecil  and Connie Spivey

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

What Difference Does It Make - by David M. Havard

 What Difference Does It Make
 by David M. Havard

  Although no one may actually come right out and say it, when it comes to the distinctive ministry and message of the Apostle Paul, many believers apparently think, “What difference does it make?” While such a question is understandable when it comes from someone unfamiliar with Pauline dispensationalism, the question is quite disturbing when it comes from those within the “Grace Movement.”The “third generation syndrome” 1that afflicts Christianity in general also seems to affect the Grace Movement. By the third generation, we see many descendants of Pauline grace believers going back to denominationalism or other belief systems. When asked why they are reverting back to what their grandparents or parents came out of, they often answer, “What’s the big deal?” or, “What difference does it make?”

While those of us who stand for the Grace message may chafe at such a question, it is still vitally important that we know the answer to such a question. What difference DOES it make?

The answer to the question, “What difference does it make?” will depend largely on whether or not we place a high premium on God’s Word. If we take God’s Word and living a God-honoring Christian live seriously, the Grace message makes a tremendous difference. But if we are noncommittal to God, apathetic to His Word, and don’t care to live a Christ-honoring life, then it will not make much of a difference at all.

But let us say that you take the Bible and your walk before Him seriously. If you do, then the knowledge of God’s Word rightly divided will affect all areas of your life. However, for the sake of discussion, we will focus on just three areas: Bible Interpretation, Evangelism, and our Christian Walk.

Bible Interpretation

Understanding the distinctive ministry of the Apostle Paul is absolutely necessary if we are going to be able to consistently interpret the Word of God. Many times critics of the Bible say that they cannot believe it to be true because it is full of contradictions. Of course, we do not believe that it is “full of contradictions,” but it is true that without a full understanding of God’s different dispensations the Bible does appear to contradict itself.

Proper Method

The only method of biblical interpretation that allows the Bible to mean what it says and say what it means—to whom it was written—is the literal method of interpretation. By literal interpretation we mean letting the Bible speak with the normal meaning of words. While the Bible is a supernatural book, we read it as we would any other book, letting the normal rules of grammar and word meanings speak to us.

Even those who do not accept dispensationalism admit that if you stick to a literal method of interpretation you will have to be a dispensationalist. If you do not believe in dispensationalism then you are forced to explain away the contradictions in the Scriptures — which are not contradictions when properly understood in their dispensational context.

Many dispensationalists understand the difference between Israel and the Body of Christ. That such a distinction exists cannot be missed if you literally interpret Paul’s epistles. Many dispensational Bible teachers of the past and present (such as Scofield, Darby, Chafer, Walvoord, McGee, Swindoll, etc.) understand that we are now in the dispensation of grace, or as some call it, “the Church Age.”

But unfortunately, they fail to see the distinctive message and nature of Paul’s apostleship. By failing to see and accept this clearly stated distinction they fail to see the kingdom nature of the gospel accounts and read the Body of Christ back into them. They understand the principle of progressive revelation and know not to read doctrines about the Body of Christ back into the Old Testament, but they do not see that this same principle should also apply to the gospels as well.

They constantly take us back to the earthly ministry of Christ to the Jews as our model of conduct for today. They do this in spite of the fact that even they themselves do not believe that the Church, the Body of Christ began until Pentecost. This leaves the question of how Christ can be speaking to the Body of Christ in the gospels when it did not come into existence until afterward?

It is also hard to understand how dispensationalists who claim to interpret the Bible literally can believe that the Body of Christ is in the gospels when even Christ Himself clearly states that He did not come to the Gentiles (Matt. 10:5-6; 15:24). How can they not believe and accept Paul’s unique apostleship and message when he proclaims it so clearly? (Acts 9:15; 22:21; 26:17; Rom. 11:13; Gal. 2:8-9; Eph. 3:1; 3:8; Col. 1:27; I Tim. 2:7; II Tim. 1:11).

Proper Message

Only by interpreting the Bible literally and being a consistent dispensationalist will we arrive at the proper message for us today. There are many preachers and Bible teachers who proclaim the truth of salvation by grace through faith alone. They quickly run to Paul’s epistles to expound on the great doctrines of the Christian faith. They do not go to the gospels or the general epistles to prove salvation by faith alone—because you will not find it there! As the late C. I. Scofield said in the preface to Paul’s epistles in his original reference Bible:

“The Epistles of the Apostle Paul have a very distinctive char-acter…Through Paul alone we know that the church is not an organization, but an organism, the body of Christ; instinct with His life, and heavenly in calling, promise, and destiny. Through him alone we know the nature, purpose, and form of organization of local churches, and the right conduct of such gatherings. Through him alone do we know that `we shall not all sleep,’ that `the dead in Christ shall rise first,’ and that living saints shall be `changed’ and caught up to meet the Lord in the air at His return. But to Paul was also committed the unfolding of the doctrines of grace…Paul, converted by the personal ministry of the Lord in glory, is distinctively the witness to a glorified Christ, Head over all things to the church which is His body, as the Eleven were to Christ in the flesh.”

It is unfortunate that the editors of the New Scofield Bible chose to water down Dr. Scofield’s clear teaching on the distinctive nature of Paul’s apostleship.

Many Bible teachers today properly teach salvation by grace through faith alone for this dispensation, but because they fail to understand Paul’s unique apostleship and message to the Gentiles, they often take us back to the gospels or general epistles for many teachings today.

While Paul himself says that all Scripture is profitable, we must still understand the difference between what is written for us and what is written to us. Only Paul’s epistles are written to us, but all Scripture is for us. That is, we build our doctrine from Paul’s epistles. We are then free to study all of Scripture in light of Paul’s gospel and draw application and principles from all of the Bible and apply it to our life (Rom. 15:4; I Cor. 10:6; II Tim. 3:16).

Proper Message

We are often criticized for our lack of emphasis on evangelism. Thankfully, many grace believers are starting to develop a renewed emphasis on evangelism. However, before we can evangelize, we first need to know what message it is that we are proclaiming for salvation.

It is interesting that even those who reject Pauline dispensationalism go to Paul’s epistles to get the majority of their evangelistic texts. This is because anyone who is saved in this dispensation is saved by believing the gospel of the grace of God as given to and through the Apostle Paul. In a way, ALL believers today are “grace believers.” NO ONE is saved today apart from understanding Paul’s gospel of faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ on our behalf.

There is only ONE gospel for salvation today—Paul’s gospel. Some balk at calling it that, but under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit this is what it is called (Rom. 2:16; 16:25; II Tim. 2:8). This good news is clearly laid out for us in I Corinthians 15:3-4 and it includes the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“But what about Peter?” you may be thinking. “Didn’t he preach the same thing as Paul?” It is true that he also preached about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, BUT he preached about it in keeping with Israel’s earthly kingdom program. When we look at Acts 2:22-36 and 3:13-15, we see that he preached about the crucifixion of Christ as the cause of judgment upon the Jews. You do not find Peter preaching faith alone at Pentecost.

Peter told the Jews to repent of killing Jesus Christ. If they would repent (as a nation), then the times of refreshing from God would come upon the nation Israel. While it is true that Jesus Christ is the source of the good news for both Jew and Gentile under both the prophetic and mystery programs, we certainly cannot say that Peter understood the gospel of the mystery at Pentecost (after all, it was not revealed until the Apostle Paul).

When Paul preached about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he did it not according to prophecy, but according to the mystery,:

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith” (Rom. 16:25-26).

The proper application of the gospel in this dispensation of grace is FAITH ALONE. Ephesians 2:8-9 clearly states, “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.”

“What difference does it make?” It makes a BIG difference! If we do not understand Paul’s distinct apostleship and message we may wrongly try to evangelize by preaching the gospel (the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ) according to prophecy and not according to the revelation of the mystery.
Ephesians 2:8-9 flatly contradicts the message of faith plus works as the expression of their faith that we find in the gospel accounts (Matt. 5:19-20; 12:50; 23:3; Mark 11:26; Luke 3:10,12,14; 6:46; 8:21; 10:28; 17:10; 18:18-20). If we fail to “rightly divide” the Scriptures we will have a contradictory gospel. The New Testament clearly teaches both the gospel according to prophecy and the gospel according to the mystery. In an attempt to harmonize the Scriptures, most theologians do one of three things when faced with these facts:

·       Superimpose the kingdom gospel into Paul’s gospel
·       Read Paul’s gospel back into the kingdom gospel
·       Rightly divide the Scriptures

The first choice is what some Bible teachers have done in an attempt to make sense of the kingdom gospel and the gospel of the dispensation of the grace of God. An example of this is the Lordship Salvation teaching of Pastor John MacArthur.

The second choice is what most evangelicals and fundamentalists do. They understand the gospel of salvation as revealed in Paul’s epistles. They teach that salvation today is apart from works and totally by faith alone in the finished work of Christ. They are forced to explain away, rationalize, or spiritualize the clear teachings of the gospels that teach faith plus works.

The third choice, right division, is the only choice that allows God’s Word to say what it means and mean what it says. Understanding Paul’s unique apostleship and message allows the Bible to teach what the literal sense of the words clearly indicates—a message of faith plus works to the Jews in keeping with their earthly prophetic program under the dispensation of law and a message of faith alone to everyone today in keeping with the heavenly mystery program under the dispensation of the grace of God.

Proper Motivation

  Understanding Paul’s gospel not only gives us the proper evangelistic message, it also provides us the proper motivation for sharing the gospel of the grace of God.  We are not to be motivated by guilt.  Rather, the love of Christ should compel us just as it did the Apostle Paul (II Cor. 5:14).
The end does not justify means.  This is especially true when it comes to interpreting and applying the Scriptures.  While they may mean well, far too many Bible teachers revert to kingdom Scriptures when trying to motivate us to share our faith.

An Old Testament passage commonly used to this end is Ezekiel 3:17-21.  After this passage is read, we are then exhorted that we are the designated “watchmen” of our generation and that if someone who we failed to witness to dies and goes to hell, “his blood will be upon our head.”  Should we take advantage of every opportunity to share the good news of salvation?  Most certainly!  But if we don’t take advantage of the opportunity, will that person’s blood be on our head?  Absolutely not.  However, we should be aware that while we will not be guilty of the person’s blood, we ourselves will suffer loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

What difference does this make?  It can make a big difference in our motive and approach to evangelism.  If we share the gospel with others because we are motivated by guilt or fear our attitude will be evident to them.  Our motive for evangelism should be the love of Christ, not our own self-interest.  And believe me, people can tell the difference.

Another verse used is Luke 14:23 wherein we are told to go out into the highways and byways and “compel” them to come in.  Again, while it is true that we should lovingly urge those to whom we witness to accept Christ, there is no place for arm-twisting or being ungracious in our approach.
Probably the most frequently misapplied passage as related to evangelism is Matthew 28:19-20.  Most conservative Christians have been taught that this is the “Great Commission.”  Most people fail to see the 100% Jewish context of these verses.  The command to “teach all nations” does not refer to teaching them the gospel of the grace of God; rather, what they are to go out teaching is the gospel of the kingdom.  The Jews were always intended by God to be the channel of salvation for the Gentiles.  (That Gentiles could be saved is not the gospel of the mystery.  The aspect of Gentile salvation that was not revealed until the Apostle Paul is that Gentiles could be saved apart from Israel).  The fact of the kingdom gospel is further emphasized in that they are to be “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”  You never find water baptism to be a part of the gospel of the grace of God.  As a matter of fact, Paul said just the opposite in I Corinthians 1:17 where he states, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.”

Another phrase within this text that shows its Jewish/kingdom nature is “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”  What did Christ command His disciples?  He taught them to keep the law: “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not” (Matt. 23:1-3).

It is only by reading Paul’s gospel into the kingdom program that we can try to apply the so-called “Great Commission” to us today.

But even as we say that the “Great Commission” is not for us today, we also want to point out just as quickly that this does not mean that we do not believe in the need for evangelism.  Quite the contrary!  We have what has been called the “Greater Commission!”

“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” (II Cor 5:17-20).

We are sent out not as someone who testifies under compulsion, fear, or guilt.  Rather, we are sent out as joyful ambassadors on behalf of our God!  We do not go to the world with a message of judgment, but with one of reconciliation.  This we can do with joy and love on behalf of those to whom we are sent.

What motivates us to testify of the gospel of the grace of God is love, not guilt or fear.  We share our faith because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts and not out of self-interest.  We witness for their benefit, not ours.  The lost world around us can tell what motivates us, and as one has said, “The world doesn’t care what you know until they know that you care.”

Christian Walk

 Not only does understanding the gospel of the grace of God provide a proper motive for us to share our faith, it also gives us the proper motive and means to live the Christian life effectively.

Proper Method

By what method or means are we enabled to live a proper Christian life?  The fact that a proper walk is desired by God is evidenced by the many times in Paul’s epistles that we are exhorted to “walk worthy” or to practically live up to what God has called us to be in Christ.  In Ephesians 4:1 Paul beseeches us that we would “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (Eph 4:1).  (See also Rom.6:4; Eph. 2:10; 5:8; Col. 1:10; 2:6; 4:5; I Thes. 2:12; 4:1).

But while we may readily admit the need to live in such a way that honors Christ, we also ask “How?”  What is the means to living what some call a “victorious Christian life”?
Some would have us believe that the way to walk worthy is to “speak the word of faith” and to command Satan to leave us alone.  Any lapse or failure to achieve victory is blamed on us.  “You didn’t have enough faith” we are told.  Unfortunately, those who try to live out this misapplied teaching find themselves frustrated because it simply does not work in this present evil age.  In this age, we are not exhorted to bind or rebuke Satan, but to put on the whole armor of God so that we can stand against him:

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph 6:11-13).

THIS is the secret to a dynamic Christian life!  Not in “speaking the word of faith” or other such New Age and in some cases, occultic practices!  There is no magic formula, no quick and easy shortcut to Christian maturity and victory.  Maturity comes only as we read and submit to God’s Word in our life.  Victory comes only by the daily sacrifice and submission of ourselves to God (Rom. 12:1-2).

Proper Motivation

The gospel of the grace of God also gives us the proper motivation for living righteously before God.  Our primary motivation to live as we should is the overwhelming love of God that is poured out upon us (Rom. 5:5; II Cor. 5:14; Gal. 5:6; Eph. 2:4; 3:19).  It is this love that is supposed to motivate us to in turn love God and others (Eph. 5:2).

The reason that we are separated from the world and unto God is not because of some legalistic mindset, but because of our love for others.  Paul says that he is careful to not offend the unsaved (Jews or Gentiles) or the saved (the church of God) and that he doesn’t seek his own profit, “but the profit of many, that they may be saved” (I Cor. 10:32-33).

This is why we refrain from certain activities.  Not because we think we are more pious or holy than others, but to make sure that we do not place a stumbling block in front of them (i.e., trip them up) spiritually.

“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.  For even Christ pleased not Himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell on Me” (Rom. 15:1-3).


“But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak… And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ” (I Cor. 8:9,11,12).

We see that the love and grace of God toward us and our love for others for the sake of the gospel should constrain us to live righteously and holy in this present evil age.  Our motivation should not be what pleases us, but that which leads to the edification and salvation of others.
Another seldom mentioned aspect of the dispensation of Grace that should motivate us to walk as we should is the Judgment Seat of Christ.  As stewards we will be required to give an account before God as to how we have administered the gospel that He has entrusted to us (Rom. 14:12; I Cor. 4:2; II Cor. 5:10).

We do not have to ever worry about eternal damnation or judgment for sin because that was paid for by the blood of Christ and we are secure in Him (Rom. 8:31-34; Col. 2:10).  However, there will be an accounting.  Just as God’s love compels us to serve Him (as that of a son who wants to please his earthly father), fear of His displeasure likewise motivates us as well.  Just as an earthly son does not want to experience the displeasure of his father, so we should also be concerned about our Father’s displeasure at the Bema Seat of Christ.

But we must remember that displeasure does not equal damnation or loss of sonship.  My son may do something that displeases me, but that will never change the fact that he is my son and heir.  While there is nothing that can change the established fact that we are sons of God and heirs with Christ, this does not mean that our Father cannot be displeased with us, either here or at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

This is why Paul, speaking of the children of Israel, writes in I Corinthians 10:5, “But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.”  And he goes on to say, “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted” (I Cor. 10:6).  Paul is saying that just as God was not well pleased with many (not a few) of the Israelites, He is often not pleased with the Church, the Body of Christ today—in a practical sense.  The Israelites were still His chosen people.  We are still members of the Body of Christ.  But being in the Body of Christ and knowing certain truths does not mean that we are living in such a way that is well-pleasing to God.

Some believers have unfortunately (and to their detriment) misinterpreted II Timothy 2:15.  They mistakenly think that “study” simply means to academically study God’s Word and know the facts about God’s program for today as revealed through the Apostle Paul.

To “study” means to be diligent.  Diligent unto what?  Diligent unto the end of being “approved unto God.”  Approved unto God refers to the Judgment Seat of Christ (II Cor. 5:10).  What will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ?  Our knowledge of the Scriptures?  Our knowledge of “right division”?  No!  What will be judged at the Bema Seat of Christ are “the things done in his [our] body, according to that he [we] hath done, whether it be good or bad.”  Notice that it is our works that will be judged—our walk, not our talk.

The last part of II Timothy 2:15 “rightly dividing the Word of truth” is the means to the end, not the end itself.  “Rightly dividing the Word of truth” or knowing God’s program for today is what gives us the means or way to “be diligent” and live our life in such a way that we will be “approved unto God” at the Bema Seat of Christ.-


The “third generation syndrome” is the tendency for third generation Christians to walk away from the faith. The first generation of people saved tend to be enthusiastic and “on fire” for the things of the Lord. The children of the first generation are in church and saved but tend to be less enthusiastic for the things of the Lord. By the third generation many children are typically nominally involved in church, or not involved in the things of God at all, or in worse case scenarios, not even saved.

A Special Announcement: Transformed by Grace, the new weekly television program produced by the Berean Bible Society, has begun broadcasting across the United States. Visit the Transformed by Grace page on our website to find your local station.

 How God Saves Men
Believing Christ DIED, that’s HISTORY.
Believing Christ DIED for YOU SINS and Rose again that’s SALVATION.
Read Romans 1:16, Romans 10:9-10 and 1. Corinthians 15:1-4

(A 10 Minute Video)

Posted By Cecil  and Connie Spivey

    Share this Bible Message with your  friends