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Toni Jones – Feb. 16th , Jarrett McKenzie – Feb. 16th
Sylvia Casey – Feb. 17th
"To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1:6) Think for a moment of the glory and majesty of Almighty God. If a believer ponders in his heart the wonder of God’s grace, he soon realizes his own unworthiness and utter vileness. How could it ever be that He, before whom the moon and stars are not pure in His sight, accepts such sinners? Yet the infallible Word of God declares that He indeed has accepted some men in the Beloved. Who are they? How are they made accepted? According to Ephesians 1:3-14, they are those who have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ. They are those who have been chosen in Christ from the foundation of the world. They are those who have been predestinated to the adoption of children by Christ. They are those who have been accepted in Christ. They are those who have been redeemed by Christ, forgiven their sins by Christ, illuminated in Christ, gathered in Christ, and given an inheritance in Christ. They are those who have been given faith after they heard the Gospel. They are those who have been sealed by the Holy Spirit in Christ. This was all done for them to the praise and the glory of God’s grace. This was accomplished for them by Him Who doeth all things after the counsel of His own will. To the hopeless, and only the hopeless, this is good news!
--- Pastor Tim James
NO ACCEPTANCE WITHOUT PERFECTION
The Word of God is clear; His people are "accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6). It is also clear that He will only accept those who are perfect. "It shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein" (Leviticus 22:21). If the Lord’s people are acceptable to Him, then it stands to reason that we must be without blemish and if we are without blemish, then we are perfect, and since there is no perfection in us, that perfection must be found "in the Beloved." The righteousness we require is in Christ which is freely and graciously imputed to us. He established that righteousness by His death. "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Co. 5:21). Having Christ we have the righteousness God demands and approves of. Only by His sacrifice could this perfection be brought in and sinners be made acceptable to God. Let every true believer rejoice in Christ. "Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works" (Ecclesiastes 9:7).
--- Pastor Jim Byrd
A FORTRESS OF TRUTH
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." (Acts 20:28) I am always amazed how just one verse of scripture is often given to us by the Holy Spirit as an invincible weapon and an impenetrable fortress in the conflict with religious error. These words spoken by the apostle Paul as he charged the Ephesians elders is such a verse. Two areas in which the truth and doctrine of Christ are most often attacked are the deity of Christ and the design of His death. That Jesus Christ the Son is God in flesh and co-equal in the Godhead is not even up for debate. Along with all the other places in scripture where this truth is taught, this verse stands strong to support it. Paul says, "the church of GOD, which he purchased with his own blood." How does God, Who declares Himself to be Spirit, come to have blood? He did so when He was "made flesh and dwelt among us." "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh..." (I Tim. 3:16). To deny this truth is to leave us without blood that is infinitely worthy to redeem many sinners. The second area always under assault is the design of the death of Christ. Who did Christ die for and what kind of death did He die and what did it accomplish? The death of Christ according to Paul was a purchase. That is what the word "redemption" means; to buy back by the paying of a price. The death of Christ was a purchase of blood. We also find in Paul's words who it was that Christ died this redeeming death for. He tells us that Christ died for the "church" of God. It was Christ who said, "I lay down my life for the sheep." They are guilty, bankrupt sinners if such a price of blood is required to redeem them. This verse also tells us what He accomplished in His death. It says He "purchased" the church with His own blood. He did not make a "bid" for it. He did not purchase anyone else but the church. If Christ "purchased" the church, then divine justice requires that He have it! All false doctrine cannot change that. The doctrine of Christ's deity and death are our sword and shield. All die who come against it! (II John 10)