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Living Truth Newsletter
 
Vol. 1, No 1

Excerpts from Part 2 of E Book "Not Afraid To Tell the Truth" in review and edit by Ken Schmidt, released for publication August 10th. 2011

From the Genuine Article: ("Our Sufficiency In Christ") 1 we learn that believers have in Christ everything they will ever need to meet any trial, any craving, any difficulty they might ever encounter in this life. Even the newest convert possesses sufficient resources for every spiritual need. From the moment of salvation each believer is in Christ (2 Cor.5:17) and Christ is in the believer (Col. 1:27). The Holy Spirit abides within us as well (Rom.8:9)-the Christian is His Temple (1 Cor.6:19). "Of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace" (John 1:16). So every Christian is a self-contained treasury of divinely bestowed spiritual affluence. There is nothing more-no great transcendental secret, no ecstatic experience, no hidden spiritual wisdom-that can take Christians to some higher plane of spiritual life. "His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us" (2 Pet.1:3, emphasis added). "The true knowledge of Him" refers to a saving knowledge. To seek something more is like frantically knocking on a locked door, seeking what is inside, not realizing you hold the key in your pocket.

 

Have you been deceived? 

Satan has always tried to beguile Christians away from the purity and simplicity of an all- sufficient Christ (2 Cor. 11:3)-and he has always found people willing to forsake the truth for almost anything new and unusual. Words of encouragement! 2 Cor. 5:17, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! Col. 1:27, To them (us) God would make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Rom. 8:9, You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if (since) the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 1 Cor. 6:19, Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. John 1:16, From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 2 Pet. 1:3, His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Cor.11:3, But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. Christ's sufficiency!

 

Communicating Christ's Sufficiency 

Whenever you or I take time to write or speak to express the reality of the Christian life... we are communicating Christ's sufficiency (2 Pet.1:3). In fact if it were not for Him, everything being done in this age, (The Church Age) while we wait for the blessed hope of His soon return would be in vain if it were not for His sufficiency (Titus 2:13). In the meantime we who have this hope are to be engaged in extending the gospel of the grace of God to whosoever will may come and believe (2 Cor. 5:18-19). What a privilege! To be used of God to sing to preach to pray! To be used of God to show someone the way!

 

The Gospel of the Grace of God 

The Gospel of the grace of God as indicated in the previous referenced verses is in direct contrast to the Gospel of the Kingdom which Jesus gave to the Disciples to take to the Jews first in (Math 28:18-20). What we consistently refer to as the "Great Commission" was not the Gospel of the Grace of God. Please don't get me wrong at this point...There never has been but one way, one means, of salvation set forth in Scripture, from the Edenic garden all the way to the Millennial Kingdom--that being our Savior's death and shed Blood on the Cross of Calvary, once for all. However, there are two kinds of salvation, both based upon the one work of the Cross. The believing Jew, trusting his Messiah, was, and will be, saved for his earthly Messianic Kingdom to come. His sins will be forgiven, he will be indwelt by God's Spirit, who will write the theocratic law upon his heart and cause him to walk in its statutes. Israel's New Covenant of Jeremiah and Ezekiel make that very clear. And he (the Jew) will ever remain a member of the nation of Israel in the Kingdom and upon the new earth for all eternity. Now as glorious and gracious as that salvation will be, it will never compare with the salvation of the Christian, the member of the Body of Christ in heaven. No Jew, as such, will ever be in that Body, which is the Church. That Body began with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to all that believed, and as the scripture teaches, the Jews who were saved by faith received Salvation in the Name of Jesus the Messiah of Israel. But the good news of the Gospel of Grace which was a mystery revealed later to the Apostle Paul for the Gentiles from Christ in His ascended and Glorified position as High Priest and Intercessor at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, that body of believers known as the Church will be completed at the Rapture.

Any Jew or Gentile who receives the Saviour in this Dispensation of Grace is no longer a Jew or Gentile (Gal. 3:28), but a new creation Christian. In Math 24:14 when Jesus spoke of the Gospel of the kingdom being preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the END would come...He was not referring to the Gospel of Grace as we know it in this the Church age. Since at that point in time the Church had not yet preached the gospel to all the world by any means. Then what did Jesus mean by this description of preaching that would signal the end was near regarding the spread of the gospel? If we understand the context in which Jesus was speaking regarding the end times and his return, we cannot comprehend any more than did the disciples what that time would be like, if we confined ourselves to the Gospels alone for our research. It is only possible to understand the whole council of God's word when we have the full revelation of God the Holy Spirit to reveal it...who came to indwell every believer in our Lord Jesus Christ beginning at Pentecost.

 

The Kingdom of Heaven is Near 

In Math 10:7 the twelve disciples were commanded to preach "The Kingdom of Heaven is near." That this was not the gospel of the grace of God (i.e. the death, burial and resurrection of Christ) as the Apostle Paul defines so clearly in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 is self evident; because in Matthew 10 the disciples knew NOTHING about His coming death! In fact when Jesus informed them over a year later that "He must be killed, and on the third day be raised to life," Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. "Never Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to You!" (Math 16:21-22). So, do you see now that it was not the Gospel of the Grace of God, but the Gospel of the Kingdom that Peter was preaching in Math chapter 10. But since Christ had not yet been glorified the disciples received the charge to evangelize, tell people that they must repent and be baptized to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, for the kingdom was at hand. In other words Jesus was giving the Jews who rejected Him one last opportunity to be saved...Had they (the Jews) accepted Him as Messiah and repented, Jesus would have ushered in the Kingdom to Israel in fulfillment of God's promises to Abraham. However, they did not repent, they remained spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, (John 5:39-40) more determined than ever to merit Heaven and the glories to come on the basis of their own righteousness and ability to keep the law. Consequently the Kingdom was suspended, and Jesus after ascending to the Father commenced the work of the program of God to build the Church, "the Body of Christ" His betrothed Bride." This is the "Gospel" that was communicated directly to the Apostle Paul by the risen and glorified Lord; the Gospel of Grace for the dispensation of Grace. To be saved, one must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and Him alone.

Redemption is a far cry from conversion, and likewise repentance alone is not salvation. Salvation is of God, and by His undeserved unearned grace through Christ is freely dispersed to the believing sinner that first moment he/she believes in Jesus Christ by simple child like faith (1 Cor. 1:21). It seems strongly evident that the message of Matthew 10 and Luke 9:2-3 was rescinded by our Lord Himself in Luke 22:36 when He said "BUT NOW", not like the previous mission on which they were sent without concern for food or shelter etc. He now sends them to be prepared as they go for where they are going and to be prepared to meet great opposition in proclaiming the gospel of grace...The Jews had rejected the Messiah, Israel was still lost and in their sin under condemnation of God for their unbelief.

The key word in kingdom preaching is - repent. The key word in gospel preaching is -believe. In both cases the good news is based upon the sufficiency of Jesus Christ, his cross and shed blood. That salvation is made possible through the preaching of the cross which is foolishness to those that are perishing. It’s interesting that in the Gospel of John the word 'repentance' is not once employed, but John uses the verb 'believe' ninety-nine times! The epistle to the Romans, does not use the word 'repentance' in connection with the saving of a soul, except in Romans 2:4 where repentance is equivalent to salvation itself. 5 Unless we fully understand the implications of the difference between the gospel that is to be preached (today) as compared to the gospel that will be preached (during the coming Tribulation period) we will find ourselves becoming confused in these the last of the last days in which we live.

The 144,000 Jews who are identified in the Tribulation period, Revelation Chapter 7:4-8, will be preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom... The Church today is NOT to be preaching that gospel, but the Gospel of the Grace of God; Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and rose again the third day...(1 Cor. 15:1-4). By Grace are you saved through faith, it is the gift of God to all who BELIEVE (Rom. 3:24), not of works least anyone should boast.

 

A warning of things to come 

As we see the warnings of things to come from the prophetic areas of Scripture actually being fulfilled in our day, being ignorant of the basics and failing to make practical application of God's word in our lives is only going to enable Satan's program of confusion to keep the Bride of Christ ignorant of her true inheritance. This is what happens to believers who spiritualize the Church and confuse her with National Israel today, who ignore the coming judgment of the tribulation and think that the Church has already gone through the hour of trial... It's a doctrine called Amillennialism. A popular book that sold rapidly prior to the date set for Sept 1994, by Harold Camping titled ("1994"?) is a good example of what can happen to anyone who takes the scripture out of context and projects human calculations to predicting the end of the world and judgment day...which was due to happen anywhere from Sept. 6th thru the 15th. 1994 according to Mr. Camping, current President of Family Stations Inc. Oakland CA. And again he predicted that the end of the world, judgment, and the Rapture all were to happen on May 22nd. 2011, but was wrong, as it did not happen…See Appendix F of “Not Afraid to tell the Truth” pg 769 for the rest of the story.

 

Without Excuse 

Though God knows in advance what we are going to do, we are still without excuse. Jesus did not excuse those who had not heeded the prophets and failed to recognize His clear - cut fulfillment of their words. He rebuked the Jewish leaders for their blindness to the obvious signs He had been doing among the people: (They could predict the weather for the next day by the clouds rising out of the west, immediately they'd say, 'A shower is coming': so it is. And when they saw the south wind blow, they'd say, 'There will be hot weather'; and there is. Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?" (Luke 12:54-56). Before Christ had ascended to the Father, during the time period after the resurrection and prior to his ascension (40 days) he spoke of many things to his disciples about the future, and their place in the economy of God. John Chapter 17 has been rightly identified as the High Priestly Prayer, in it Jesus begins to reveal the fulfillment of his earthly ministry and gives us the reader a glimpse of the future and his eternal glory. He reaffirms his absolute authority over all things and all life. He acknowledges to the Father from whom all this has been given that the work he has been sent to do has been fully accomplished. He has the power to give to whoever he wills...eternal life. In doing this he has glorified the Father and accomplished the work of redemption and opened the only way of reconciliation for man with God, through his Cross.

 

The High Priestly Prayer 

(In this prayer), all that Jesus accomplished through his earthly ministry and death on the cross is now being glorified in the Fathers presence...even the words that Jesus spoke, were given to him by the Father, and those who God preordained should hear them and respond, believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, to the glory of God the Father. Not one of them (except for Judas) was lost. It becomes obvious when reading this magnificent prayer that our Salvation is a glorious thing indeed. You and I by simple faith and grace alone are positionally identified with the glorified Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:6). We are recreated in Him, and He has been begotten in us (Col. 1:27). We not only died with Him but were buried and raised in Him (Rom. 6:4,5), and we ascended in Him to the right hand of the Majesty in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6). 7 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory" (Col. 3:4). We do not have the law written upon our hearts, neither Mosaic, Synoptic, nor New Covenant Kingdom. Rather, it is the "law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8: 2). 8 We as Christians, are predestined "to be conformed to the image of His Son" (Rom. 8:29). In the process of our spiritual growth we are slowly being "changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit [not the law] of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18). The blessed culmination of that daily work of the indwelling Spirit of Christ will be that 'when He shall appear (at the Rapture), we shall be like Him (body and all); for we shall see Him as He is" (1 John 3:2). Quite a blessed Hope! 9 As we have seen, the main thrust of the gospel of the kingdom was to warn that the kingdom to be set up by Jesus Christ, was NEAR. This will be effectively accomplished by enlightened Jews during the tribulation period when they will warn the world of the Lord's return to set up His kingdom. If we are not preaching the Gospel of the Grace of God today to a dying world, then we are guilty of preaching another gospel. The Gospel of the Kingdom for the Jews is the expectation that in order to avoid the judgment that is to come Messiah will return to deliver Israel and set up His earthly kingdom upon David's throne, where he will rule for 1000 years.

 

"The Believer "In Christ" 

Jesus was speaking to the (disciples) in the Sermon on the Mount, not directed teachings for the Church but for the disciples. (see Appendix A para. 10). (Math.5:13) You are the light of the world (Math. 5:14). "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

 

What Believers Are 

Every Believer is a child of God (John 1:12). He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- A part of the true vine, a channel for Christ's life (John 15:1-5). "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

 

Fruit Bearers 

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. We are Christ's friend, and I am chosen and appointed by Christ to bear His fruit, (John 15:13-16) Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. I am a slave of righteousness (Rom.6:18, and am enslaved to God (Rom.6:22).

 

Transition period of the Church 

Now remember we are talking here about that period often referred to as the transition of the church in the early stages of development...there were many examples of believers at Ephesus (Acts 19:8-19). Some had been saved for two years or longer before they brought their books of magic and burned them, confessing at the time that to have and use such books was a sin. In other words, there were people at Ephesus who accepted Christ as Saviour knowing that they should give up their use of magic but who did not give it up, some of them for as long as two years after they had become Christians: and yet their unwillingness to do this did not prevent their becoming believers. Their salvation did not depend on faith plus willingness to surrender the use of magic. Is it easy to believe? Not if you realize what is involved in that act of faith. For one thing, the object of our faith involves unbelievable demands because we ask people to believe a Person whom they've never seen nor has anyone else living today and the historical records of whom were written by His friends. Is it really easy to believe in an unseen Christ? For another thing, the content of our faith involves unbelievable demands. We ask people to trust this unseen Person about forgiveness of their sins and the issue of eternal life on the basis of the death that Person which claims to be the payment for sin. Is that easy?

 

The Uncomplicated Grace of God 

If you are ever tempted to add something to the uncomplicated grace of God (even out of good motives), first try making it crystal clear to people who the object of our faith is and what we are asking them to believe about Him. Then point men to Him, the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man, the Saviour who offers eternal life and forgiveness of sins to all who will truly believe. As Lord, Jesus our Saviour must be man to be able to die and the God- man in order to be able to save. He must be man to be able to die, and He must be God in order for that death to be an effective payment for sins. This is the meaning of Romans 10:
9 and Acts 2:36. Remember how Jesus ministered to the woman at the well? He was dealing with a sinner. One who knew nothing of His coming death upon a cruel Roman cross. Yet He said to her, "Woman if you knew the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink: thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water" (Jn 4:10). All he asked of her was that she acknowledge Him as the Christ (v. 26) and receive the gift of eternal life from Him. She was not being asked to be a disciple. He did not ask her to straighten out the tangled affairs of her sinful life in order to be saved. Is the gospel message any different today? No, not at all. It has always been the same. However some would tend to split hairs over whether or not repentance is necessary first before salvation can be received, while others claim, "Only Believe". Let's talk about this some...

 

What Kind of Repentance? 

To repent is to change your mind. However, this only defines the word, not the concept, for you need to ask, Change my mind about what? Depending on how you answer that question, repentance might become an additional requirement for salvation. If repentance is understood to mean changing your mind about your sin-being sorry for your sin-this will not necessarily save. There are plenty of criminals in and out of jails who are repentant in this sense. They are sorry for making certain mistakes, but this does not mean they give up a life of crime. People can be sorry for their sins without wanting to accept the forgiveness of the Saviour. But if repentance means changing your mind about the particular sin of rejecting Jesus Christ, then that kind of repentance saves, and of course it is the same as believing faith in Christ. That is what the Apostle Peter asked the crowd to do on the day of Pentecost. They were to change their minds about Jesus of Nazareth. Formerly they had considered Him to be only a blasphemous human being claiming to be God; now they changed their minds and saw Him as the God-man Saviour whom they would trust for salvation. That kind of repentance saves, and everyone who is saved has repented in that sense. There is a third use of the concept of repentance and that is in the Christian life. A Christian needs to repent-that is, to change his mind about particular sins committed. If he does repent, then he will confess those sins and experience forgiveness (1 John 1:9). Sometimes hymns and gospel songs express good theology and sometimes bad. But there is at least one song that does state clearly the requirements for being saved. It is, "Only Trust Him." That is exactly right. Faith is the only condition. Anything added becomes a work attached to the grace of God. Faith is the condition, and it is faith in Him who alone can save. This is the grace of God.

 

End notes:

1 John MacArthur, Jr. "Our Sufficiency In Christ", p.27, Word Publishing Dallas, London- Vancover-Melborne,

2 Charles C. Ryrie, "A Survey of Bible Doctrine",p 136, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois

3,4 ibid, p 137

5 George T. Curle, "Times of the Signs" p.19, New Wine Press, Chichester, England

6 ibid, p.18

7 Subject matter of "Pauline Dispensationalism," p. 77 by Miles J. Stanford, Colorado Springs, CO 80919

8 ibid, p.45-47 9 Miles J. Stanford, "The Complete Green Letters" p.177, Zondervan PublishingHouse, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

10 From the daily devotional "My Utmost for His Highest," Selections compiled for one year, Oswald Chambers, Dodd, Mead & Company, New York.

(c) 1998 Ken M. Schmidt, CCSE Colorado Country. All Rights Reserved. This article may be reproduced without change and in its entirety for non-commercial purposes without prior permission from the author.

You will find articles dealing with dispensationalism and apologetics in this free online newsletter. Rightly dividing the word of truth dispensationally, (2 Tim 2:15). Rightly dividing the word of truth is the desire we have for all of our Christian friends who request this Newsletter at http://www.livingtruthministry.com/contact-us and indicate in the comments section you want to receive the Bi-Monthly Newsletter.


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An Encouraging Message from the Pen of Charles H. Spurgeon

Some Christians are sadly prone to look on the dark side of everything, and to dwell more upon what they have gone through than upon what God has done for them. Ask for their impression of the Christian life, and they will describe their continual conflicts, their deep afflictions, their sad adversities, and the sinfulness of their hearts, yet with scarcely any allusion to the mercy and help which God has vouchsafed them. But a Christian whose soul is in a healthy state, will come forward joyously, and say, "I will speak, not about myself, but to the honor of my God. He hath brought me up out of an horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings: and He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God. The Lord hath done great things for me, whereof I am glad." (Psalm 126:3)  Such an abstract of experience as this is the very best that any child of God can present. It is true that we endure trials, but it is just as true that we are delivered out of them. It is true that we have our corruption’s, and mournfully do we know this, but it is quite as true that we have an all-sufficient Saviour, who overcomes these corruption’s, and delivers us from their dominion.

 

In looking back, it would be wrong to deny that we have been in the Slough of Despond, and have crept along the Valley of Humiliation, but it would be equally wicked to forget that we have been through them safely and profitably; we have not remained in them, thanks to our Almighty Helper and Leader, who has brought us "out into a wealthy place." The deeper our troubles, the louder our thanks to God, who has led us through all, and preserved us until now. Our grief’s cannot mar the melody of our praise, we reckon them to be the bass part of our life's song, "He hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad." from Spurgeon's daily devotional entitled, "Morning by Morning" (June 9) "Sunday Snippets" is the trademark of G. MacKenzie Strickland.  

 

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