Bulletin Edition November 2017

Christ Comes First
Todd Nibert
Christ said, “All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers (John 10:8).” Obviously, anybody coming before Him who claimed to be the Messiah was a thief and robber. But He also means that anything that comes before Him in any aspect of salvation is a thief and robber. It is true that God chose me in eternal election, but it is because He saw me in Christ. Nothing comes before Him in redemption. He did not first see my faith before redemption could be applied to me. He redeemed me. He comes first in regeneration. I do not live because I decided to believe. I believe because He gave me life! “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen (Romans 11:36).”

Acts 5:31
That person who is taught of God, so that in his heart he understands and knows Christ both as a Prince and a Savior is a saved person. In order for anyone to be saved, he must bow to Christ as his Prince and trust Christ as his Savior. SOME SEE CHRIST ONLY AS A PRINCE TO REGULATE THEIR LIVES. Theirs is a lifeless form of religion. To them religion is nothing more than morality and legalism. Their religion is all law and works. Their creed has two articles: “DO” and “DO NOT”. OTHERS SEE CHRIST ONLY AS A SAVIOR TO KEEP THEM OUT OF HELL. Because they do not recognize and bow to Christ as Lord, they are licentious antinomians. Their useless religion has no real affect upon their hearts and lives. They have no master, no lord, no king, except their own will and pleasure. ONLY THOSE WHO RECEIVE CHRIST AS BOTH A PRINCE AND A SAVIOR ARE TRUE BELIEVERS. The true believer resigns his will and subjects the passions of his soul to Christ, his glorious Prince. True believers yield themselves to the will, direction, and control of Christ as their Lord and Master. At the same time, the true believer trusts Christ as his Savior, realizing the sufficiency of his righteousness and the merits of his blood as our Substitute for the pardon of sin and eternal acceptance with God our Father. IF WE WOULD BE SAVED BY THE GRACE OF GOD, WE MUST LOOK TO CHRIST AS A PRINCE AND A SAVIOR. We look to Christ as our Savior, trusting him alone for all our righteousness, all our redemption, and all that is needful to save us and bring us into heaven’s everlasting glory. And we look to Christ as our Prince, bowing to him, submitting to him, seeking to obey him in all things, and endeavoring to subject all things to his will.
Don Fortner.

Matthew 5: 7
The merciful are those who are “mercy full.” They are those who have been filled with mercy from God. The merciful do not show mercy in order to earn mercy from God. Instead, they have been born of the Spirit of God to behold what great mercy God has shown them in Christ Jesus (Col 3:12-13.) They know that God had a just quarrel against them. They had sinned against God. And worst of all, when he sent forth his Son to redeem them, they nailed the Prince of life to the cursed tree. Yet, how amazing! When Christ was made sin for them, even in the midst of laying down his life to pay the penalty which they deserved, their High Priest made intercession to God for them (Lk 23:34.) They believe that, for the sake of Christ, God has forgiven them (Eph 4: 32.) Sinners who by grace have been made to know their just due and yet have received this great mercy from God for Christ sake, are the only ones in this world who know what true happiness really is.
Clay Curtis.

Henry Mahan
Rolfe Barnard made an interesting observation years ago when he said: “Sixteen hundred years ago the church was adopted by Rome. Millions of pagans flooded its membership, and they brought with them their pagan culture, tradition and faith. It took that “successful church” a thousand years to recover from that brilliant success. Something like that has happened in our day. In this century the church and religion has been adopted by society, politicians, entertainers, and popular persons. All of a sudden “Jesus” and “the gospel” have become quite popular. Millions have joined up to swell the membership to an all-time high. Results: a church that bears no resemblance to the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Religion” has become man’s chief defense against the true gospel! If there is one place that a man does not dare to preach the gospel of God’s sovereign grace, it is in the average church.”

Church membership has become the best place to hide from God. Religious beliefs and experiences serve as refuges to shield men from the arrows of conviction and the message of real redemption in Christ. Everybody in this super church is “saved” and are insulted if the question of their interest in Christ is raised or even suggested. There is no possible way to confront these “know-so salvationists” with the gospel of God’s glory! The so-called church of today exists as a social power, a political power, and as a powerful body in the community but it has lost its true nature as the body of Christ. They have sold their birthright for respectability, social and intellectual acceptance.

Long ago men accused Jesus Christ of revolution and blasphemy and put Him on a cross. Today’s religionists, while claiming to believe His Word, have tucked Him neatly away in their sanctuaries. There amid soft music, or hearty singing, the chant of the liturgy or shouts of amen, He can be talked about in theological terms, preached in disguised words so as not to disturb the status quo, (that’s Latin for the mess we are in) and accepted as Saviour while men turn thumbs down on His royal claims to reign over His own. Souls can be won to Jesus without disturbing their other relationships, partnerships or style of life. Those who put Him on the cross, hoping to be done with His demands for submission and surrender to His Lordship, were no more deceived than those who have tried to relegate Him to church buildings or the worhsip of Him to a sabbath day and a decision for Christ. Todays presumption is that God exists to serve and provide for us, whereas the Scriptures indicate that our chief end is to glorify God!

The character in which men refuse and reject the Lord Jesus today is the same character in which they rejected and ridiculed Him two thousand years ago – The King. Those who accused Him said, “He maketh himself a king. ” The soldiers mocked Him by putting a crown of thorns on His head and saying, “Hail, King of the Jews.” Pilate presented Him to the people saying, “Behold, your king.” The inscription over His cross read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. ” It was as The King that the thief on the cross confessed Him and received mercy, “Lord, you are not going to stay dead, you are the King; remember me when you come into your kingdom. ”

Men today will bend the knee in solemn humility before the throne of grace on which sits the King of Kings and will confess Him to be Lord or they will feel His wrath. There is no debate in the heart of a regenerated man over the Lord’s right to reign or His right to do with His own what He will. There is no debate in the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ over his divine sovereignty and His right to show mercy to whom He will and be gracious to whom He will. There is no debate in the mind of the true minister of the gospel as to whether he will preach the sovereignty of Christ in salvation or compromise that message in order to hold his crowd or his pulpit. “Here I stand, I can do no other.” The test of a true soldier of Christ is his willingness to do battle exactly at that place where the character and work of His Redeemer is being questioned – today it is the Lordship of Christ in creation, providence, and salvation.

In I Timothy 4:3; Paul speaks of “Them which believe and know the Truth.” Note the order. Believe and know. You cannot believe what you do not know. But you cannot know what you do not believe. The Lord said to Martha, “If thou wouldest believe thou shouldest see the glory of God” (John 11:40). No seeing without first believing. There is no true knowing of the Truth without believing the Truth. If you believe, you will know. Noah believed the rain would fall and entered the ark before a single drop fell. When the rain began, he knew it was raining.

Paul said to Titus, “These things I will that you affirm constantly.” What things? “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy…. that being justified by His grace we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5-7). The constant and continual affirmation of these things will have this result, “That they which have believed in God will be careful to maintain good works.” What will cause a man to be careful to maintain good works in his life? Not by preaching law. It is only the constant and continued preaching of Free Grace that will cause the believer to be careful to maintain good works. “The strength of the law is sin”, and the strength of carefully maintaining good works is grace.

When the Gospel is preached, there are two things always taking place (even though most are unaware of it). Some are being prepared for glory, others are being hardened. Some are being brought to light, some are left sitting in darkness. Some see Christ and His glory, others see no beauty about Him. Some who hear the Gospel have their hearts made tender towards sin, others have their hearts hardened in sin. No wonder we say, “Who is sufficient for these things?” The question we should all be asking is, “How is the preaching of the Gospel affecting me?” – Donnie Bell

The longer I live, the more I feel that if there were one thing left undone, if the devil were not conquered, sin not expiated, justice not satisfied, the law not honored and magnified, death not overcome, and every burden not carried, I should not have a ray of hope. I used to think I saw this as clear as the noon day thirty or forty years ago; but I saw it very differently then to what I see now, for I see and feel now that if one hair-breadth is left for me to do to merit heaven, or bring as a plea before God, I am undone for ever and ever. But on the Mount of Calvary, the Lord Jesus Christ undertook the cause of His people; and there is not a jot nor a tittle that He left undone, but, “By one offering He perfected for ever them that are sanctified” and “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Here is complete perfection – “Saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation.” – John Warburton, 1853

God creates out of nothing. Therefore until a man is nothing, God will make nothing out of him. – Martin Luther

Christ The Royal Savior
“Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31

Man’s chief point of rebellion has always been against the Kingly authority of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was so in the Garden. It was so in the days when our Lord lived upon the earth, and it is in our day. Today, many of those who profess to be the followers of Christ call the doctrine of his Lordship a heresy! It does not surprise me to hear rebels cry, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” But when one who professes to be in the King’s ranks makes such a cry, it betrays the heart of a traitor.

Throughout the New Testament, and especially in this text, we are taught that – THE POWER OF CHRIST IN SALVATION IS VITALLY LINKED TO HIS SOVEREIGN KINGSHIP. If Jesus Christ is not King, he is not Savior. It is impossible to divide the Savior’s offices. He is! Prophet, Priest, and King. Those who receive Christ as a Savior to deliver them from the bondage of sin, receive him as King to rule over them.

Blessed be God, Jesus Christ was crucified in our place on the cursed tree! And he rose again. He ascended into heaven. This, all professed Christians believe. But, why did he ascend into glory? It was for this purpose, that he might be “a Prince and a Savior.” You see it is only as the exalted King of Grace that Jesus Christ is “able to save unto the uttermost them that come unto God by him,” Not only is Christ Jesus a Priest, He is a Priest upon a throne! To whom God has given “power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as his Father has given him.” Only Jesus Christ the sovereign King can give repentance and the forgiveness of sins to men. Would you have Christ as your Savior? You must bow to him as your King.
Don Fortner

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