Bulletin Edition December 2017

Acts 6:1: And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 2: Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 3: Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4: But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. 5: And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: 6: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. 7: And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

When this need arose the twelve apostles said to the church, “It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.” They directed the church to pick out seven men to appoint over this business.

Those seven disciples had full time jobs with families to care for. Those men awoke early, commuted, worked a full day, walked home, took care of their family, went to bed late, got up early and did it all over again the next day. Even more, this work given to a mere seven men was for a congregation of at least five thousand members with untold numbers of widows which required ministering, and that, on a daily basis.

On the other hand, to the carnal eye, the apostles did not have nearly the workload as the disciples. The apostle’s work required them to go most of the week unseen in their study and in prayer, seen by the church only when they preached the gospel publicly. The carnal heart would reason the apostles were only excusing themselves. Carnal understanding would say that the disciples should be the last called to this work because they already had full schedules while the apostles only preached (in the early church) one day a week. But no carnal eye can see the burden of speaking for God to eternity bound sinners which weighed heavily on the apostles continually day and night. Oh, be thankful God does not leave his work to carnal hearts!

God the Holy Spirit effectually gave the apostles the word from Christ our Head, that even though the need required daily attention, it was not reason enough that his ambassadors should leave his word and serve tables. Christ provided faithful men so Christ effectually made the apostles to say, “Brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Then Christ moved the hearts of his people to receive their word as Christ’s own, “And the saying pleased the whole multitude.”

The outcome never would have come to pass if carnal reason would have ruled. But by God working his will and good pleasure in each one, each did what God called him to do, and God blessed it. “And the word of God increased”, “and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly”, and out of the synagogues of Satan “a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.”
Clay Curtis.

Faithful Men — 2 Timothy 2:2
There are but two offices in the New Testament church: elders and deacons.

The word “elders” refers to those who are the spiritual leaders and teachers of the congregation. The pastor of a church is the presiding elder, or overseer of the congregation. In a very large assembly there may be need of other elders. As God creates the need and raises up gifted men to meet that need, those elders who serve with the pastor must serve in submission to him, as his assistants in the ministry.

While it is evident that in the New Testament some of the churches had more than one elder, there is no requirement given in the Word of God that a local church must have, or even should have more than one. In the New Testament wherever more than one elder was found in a local church, it is evident that only one elder stood as the overseer and spiritual ruler of the congregation.

It is not possible for a church to have peace and harmony under the government of a board of elders, or a board of deacons. There can only be one captain on a ship. And there can only be one overseer in a congregation. The spiritual overseer of the church is God’s messenger in that congregation, the pastor. He is not a dictator, lording over God’s people. But a faithful pastor must rule the church of God. He rules the house of God just as a husband rules his household. He rules with love, tenderness and understanding. But he rules firmly for the glory of God and the welfare of God’s people (1 Timothy 3:5; Hebrews 13:7, 17).

Deacons are those men whose responsibility it is to take care of the physical, financial affairs of the congregation. They may or may not be gifted to teach the Word; but they are spiritual leaders by example, willing to serve their pastor and church for the glory of Christ. Deacons are to relieve their pastor of all mundane affairs, so that he can give himself exclusively to the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:2-4). The service of a deacon is most honorable and helpful. Faithful deacons take care of the church property, visit the sick, care for the needy and see to it that the needs of the pastor and his family are met. By relieving their pastor of all these cares, the deacons enable him to give his time and attention to study, prayer and the preaching of the gospel of Christ. There are few men so spiritually minded that they are willing to serve as faithful deacons for the gospel’s sake; but those who are, are blessings to God’s churches everywhere.
Don Fortner.

Rev. 22:2
Robert Hawker

“The tree of life.”–Rev. xxii. 2.
Lead me, O Holy Ghost, by the hand of faith, this morning, into the paradise of God, and cause me to sit down under the tree of life; and for a while, before the world breaks in upon me, enable me to meditate on its beauties, its loveliness, and its fruit. Is it not Jesus which I behold in this charming similitude? Surely Jesus is to me the tree of life, for I have no life but in him! And it is not only he which gave me life at the first, but preserves it, maintains it, and will preserve it for ever. He saith himself, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” And as he is himself the life of my soul, so every thing in him is the promoter of my life. His fruit also is all my sustenance, all I want, all I desire, all I can truly enjoy. .He bears twelve manner of fruits. Yes, for there is in him both fulness and variety: pardon, mercy, and peace, in the blood of his cross; favour with God, affection with men; the Spirit’s gifts, graces, influences; comfort in this life, happiness and joy in that which is to come. And every month these fruits abound. Yes, he saith himself, “fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold: and my revenue than choice silver.” “I will cause them that love me to inherit substance; yea, I will fill all their treasures.” Nay, the very leaves of this tree of life are for the healing of the nations. And how healing indeed is Jesus, in his word, his ordinances, his providences, his promises, his dispensations! Neither is this all: the tree of life grows in the midst of the street, and is open in every gospel ordinance; both to Jews and Gentiles, both to bond and free. He is also on either side the river. The church above, though sitting under the full enjoyment of him, doth not keep him wholly to herself. Blessed be his name, he is as much for the glory and happiness of his church here below, on this side the river of death. And is this tree of life, this Jesus, mine? Oh the vast privilege! I bless thee, Oh thou Holy Spirit, for giving me the knowledge of him now by faith: and ere long, I hope to sit down for ever in the paradise of God, in the unceasing enjoyment of him, from whence I shall arise no more, but dwell under his branches for ever.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. II Corinthians 10:3-5

It is indisputable that every born again child of God, and every faithful preacher of the gospel of God’s free grace in Christ, has a God given desire to honor the Lord with their lives. Truly, it is God that works in them, causing them to will and to do of His good pleasure. They genuinely loathe their sin. Never do we excuse sin or suggest in any way that disobedience is of minor importance. If, however, I preach in such a way as to draw the attention of my hearers to look at their works to get assurance of their salvation, I have caused them to look away from the very source of their obedience. I have brought them under the bondage of the law, for the law is the only standard by which they can measure their success. I have armed them with carnal weapons to fight a spiritual warfare. They are doomed to failure.

If I emphasize “their obedience” as the grand and final goal of the gospel, I have, in so doing,

de-emphasized the “obedience of Christ” as the glorious end of all things. I have made the salvation of a sinner a mere stepping stone to the greater end, their obedience. Looking to my obedience as proof of salvation is no different than looking at it for the cause of my salvation. If you want me to obey God, tell me about Christ. Tell me about His accomplished work of redemption. Tell me about His love for me. Tell me about the Father’s satisfaction with Him. Tell me about His fulfilling the whole law for me. Tell me about His intercession for me. Tell me about my acceptance before God in Him. Tell me about how His shed blood completely covers all my sin. Tell me about His power to save to the uttermost those who come to God by Him. Point me to Calvary. Please don’t send me back to Sinai. I will either be crushed by its impossible demands, or I will pretend before men and lie to myself, exposing my self-righteousness before God. Your attempt to make me holy will only cause me to be guilty of the worse sin of all.
Greg elmquist.

Henry Mahan
“And they sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by the blood OUT OF every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5: 9-10).

This scripture does not tell us that Christ died, shed His blood, and redeemed everyone in every nation. It clearly states that He was slain and did redeem to God by His blood a people (His church) OUT OF every tongue and people. And when those whom the Father chose in Christ, for whom the Saviour died, hear that good news of free redemption proclaimed in the power of His Holy Spirit, THEY WILL BELIEVE! Acts 13:48 declares, “And when the Gentiles heard this, THEY WERE GLAD, and glorified the word of the Lord: AND AS MANY AS WERE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED.”

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