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Archive for the 'Partakers' Category

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Think Spot 19 November 2018

 

 25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:25-30)

Jesus is strong enough and capable enough, to carry any burden that is laid upon Him. Jesus Christ gives a solid and sure foundation for all aspects of life, which will not fall or be destroyed. Indeed Jesus Christ will never fall or decay such is His imperishability as the everlasting God. Jesus Christ is solid, dependable and strong; nobody and nothing can stand against Him. Jesus’ strength means I can go to Him for protection and strength when I am weak and knowing He will supply my needs. Just as He has done for the last 35 years of following Him and will continue to do so throughout my life here on earth.

Unlike people offering self-help approaches and quick fixes for life, Jesus offers us Himself. He is able to help because of who He is – the giver and author of life. He is entirely and utterly dependable. Just as your body needs water to survive, so do the souls of people need Jesus in a personal encounter with Him. That is how dissatisfaction with life is beaten – Jesus reaching out to grasp you by the hand. Let him take your life and He will change your life. That is His promise – as He satisfies the urges in your soul it is as if a spring of water bursts into you – life giving, sparkling streams of water… WOW!

Go into this week with that promise of Jesus.

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Sermon - Method of Evangelism

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’

16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our message?’ 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 But I ask: did they not hear? Of course they did:
‘Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.’

19 Again I ask: did Israel not understand? First, Moses says,
‘I will make you envious by those who are not a nation;
I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.’

20 And Isaiah boldly says,
‘I was found by those who did not seek me;
I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.’

21 But concerning Israel he says,
‘All day long I have held out my hands
to a disobedient and obstinate people.’

(Romans 10:14-21)

Last week we learnt about the message and this week we will look at what we are to do with that message. But first another question.
What is God’s responsibility in salvation and who decides who is saved?

I will quote John Calvin here from his commentary on Romans: “I shall not engage you long in reciting and disproving the opinions of others. Let everyone have his own view; and let me be allowed to bring forward what I think.”

With that in mind, as you are probably aware, there is a question which has been debated for centuries: Who decides who is saved? Is it God’s overarching and sovereign will that decides which person will be saved? Is it God’s permissive will, which allows a person’s freedom of choice to be saved or not? As I said, it is a question been asked for centuries! Is it just a small group of people of elect: those who are saved by God and nobody can do anything about it – whether they want to be saved or not? Or is everyone eventually just going to be saved – whether they want to be or not?

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Highlights in Hebrews
Highlights in Hebrews
(with Roger Kirby)

Part 15 - Hebrews 5:11 – 6:3

Poor scholars

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.


Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.

The writer has a grumble about the poor level of knowledge of Christian things in many of the churches of his day. If your situation is anything like ours you will agree that nothing much has changed in nearly 2000 years!


I would place a lot of the blame on the idea of the sermon as it is commonly used in our country. What is the purpose of a sermon? The answer would seem to be something like this:it is part entertainment and part so that those attending may be convinced that good things have been said. They will therefore go home pleased by what they have heard rather than gaining anything from it. This is particularly true of the so called ‘gospel address’. This consists of a statement about the sinfulness of the average person, a call to repentance and conversion and an exhortation to ‘follow Jesus’. This is preached even if there is no one present who is not known to be a Christian or is a hardened listener to such things without the slightest intention that they should change their ways. Everyone goes home pleased that ‘the gospel’ has been preached even if there has been no effect, and no effect could ever have been expected. Any preacher who fails to follow this pattern will be in grave danger of never being asked again however Biblical what he, or she, said may have been. This is the pattern in thousands of churches, chapels and meeting houses in our country. What about yours?
No school teacher or university lecturer could expect to get away with such things. Only a minority of the population is capable of learning anything after about 10 or 20 minutes anyway so the preacher who goes on for a further 10 or 20 minutes is wasting their breath. There - I’ve had my grumble too to add to that of the writer!

What can we do about it? Not a lot has to be the sad answer. We need to think hard and carefully about what it is we are doing. I remember a church in a city containing a large number of students. The preacher catered for the students preaching in a university lecture style and many of them took notes as he spoke. But some of the older locals grumbled about that because it was not the conventional wisdom they expected. I also remember asking the pastor of a church in Pakistan, many of whose congregation will have been illiterate, whether he got them to learn passages of scripture off by heart. He was amazed at the very suggestion even although he was working in a culture where learning by heart the Qu’ran was an accepted and encouraged practice. Conservative Evangelical churches tend to be generally conservative so any change is frowned upon.

We need to learn these things our writer talks about. That is why Dave works away at these Partaker notes. Read them and learn from them every day. If possible go on to some of the study courses he also makes available.

Learn and teach to be a true disciple of the Jesus who ran a 3 year study course for his disciples and a true user of the Holy Spirit in your life and that of those you are able to disciple.

Two of the action words of the Great Commission in Matthew 28 are discipling and teaching. Go. Disciple and teach.

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Jesus and You 5

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John meets the Risen Jesus

 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.  Revelation 1:12-20! 

 

Jesus has made an appearance to his close friend and disciple, John! Jesus is now the resurrected and ascended King of Kings and Lord of Lords! In Revelation 2 and 3, this Jesus sends messages to seven groups of people who have taken Him up on that offer of salvation!: the first century churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. Here Jesus tells the churches to keep doing, stop doing and be blessed! But first, lets look at Jesus, Himself!

Jesus description

Jesus holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. Jesus who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again! Jesus, who has the sharp, double-edged sword, is the Son of God and whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. Jesus Christ, who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars! Jesus Christ, who is holy and true and holds the key of David. Jesus Christ, who opens what no one can shut and shuts what no one else can open. Jesus Christ, who is the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.

Keep doing!

To these 7 churches, of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, Jesus praises them individually and separately! They are to continue doing such things as working hard for the Gospel, remaining faithful, not tolerating evil, not being seduced by false teachers, for persevering and enduring hardship and not growing weary. Jesus praises them for being faithful through suffering, poverty and persecution for His sake. Jesus praises them for remaining true to Him and for not renouncing their faith! Jesus, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, being ever gracious to His followers.

Stop doing

But He also rebukes them and commands that they stop doing certain things! They are to stop listening to various false teachers and prophets, being swayed by their clever and seductive words and actions. He rebukes because they have forgotten that they are to love Jesus above all and they have forsaken him. In his rebuke, Jesus commands that they repent, that is to ask Him for forgiveness and be willing to turn away from the false teachers, false prophets and false way of living.

Be blessed!

To all those who persevere, overcome and are victorious, Jesus will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. To all those who overcome and are victorious, they wont be hurt by the second death. To all those who overcome and are victorious, Jesus will give the victor’s crown! Those who overcome and are victorious, will be given authority over the nations! To those who overcome and are victorious, they will be in the temple of God, never to leave it! Jesus will do the most extraordinary thing, of writing on them the name of God, the city of God and His new name! To those who overcome and are victorious, their name will be in the book of life, and Jesus will acknowledge them before God the Father and his angels. Then finally, for those who overcome and are victorious, they will sit with their Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, on His throne, just as He was victorious and sat down with His Father on his throne. That’s you and me if we hold out to the end!

Again, I ask, who do you say Jesus is? But further, what are you going to do with this Jesus and let Him do to you?

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WOW Word 22

Watch Now:

Alfie brings you a WOW Word

 

WOW Word 22

 Prayer

 

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Today Alphy shares about the WOW Word - Prayer!!

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Ephesians 6:18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.

Philippians 4:6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

1 Timothy 2:1-4 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 

What is the response of a Christian to be to these words about prayer by Paul? Prayer, along with the Bible, are our weapons to be used in spiritual warfare! Martin Luther once said that for Christians, their “protection by God lies in prayer” because Christians are too weak in their own strength to withstand all that is against them...

 

Play the video to see Alphy talking about prayer and its place within the life of the Christian Disciple!!

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POD - Psalm 78

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Psalm 78

 

 

A maskil of Asaph.
1 O my people, hear my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter hidden things, things from of old-
3 what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
his power, and the wonders he has done.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
7 Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
8 They would not be like their forefathers- a stubborn and rebellious generation,
whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.
9 The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows,
turned back on the day of battle;
10 they did not keep God's covenant and refused to live by his law.

11 They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them.
12 He did miracles in the sight of their fathers in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan.
13 He divided the sea and led them through; he made the water stand firm like a wall.
14 He guided them with the cloud by day and with light from the fire all night.
15 He split the rocks in the desert and gave them water as abundant as the seas;
16 he brought streams out of a rocky crag and made water flow down like rivers.
17 But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the desert against the Most High.
18 They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved.
19 They spoke against God, saying, "Can God spread a table in the desert?
20 When he struck the rock, water gushed out, and streams flowed abundantly. But can he also give us food? Can he supply meat for his people?"
21 When the LORD heard them, he was very angry; his fire broke out against Jacob, and his wrath rose against Israel,
22 for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance.
23 Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens;
24 he rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Men ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat.
26 He let loose the east wind from the heavens and led forth the south wind by his power.
27 He rained meat down on them like dust, flying birds like sand on the seashore.
28 He made them come down inside their camp, all around their tents.
29 They ate till they had more than enough, for he had given them what they craved.
30 But before they turned from the food they craved, even while it was still in their mouths,
31 God's anger rose against them;
he put to death the sturdiest among them, cutting down the young men of Israel.
32 In spite of all this, they kept on sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe.
33 So he ended their days in futility and their years in terror.
34 Whenever God slew them, they would seek him; they eagerly turned to him again.
35 They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.
36 But then they would flatter him with their mouths, lying to him with their tongues;
37 their hearts were not loyal to him, they were not faithful to his covenant.
38 Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them.
Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath.
39 He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return.
40 How often they rebelled against him in the desert and grieved him in the wasteland!
41 Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel.
42 They did not remember his power- the day he redeemed them from the oppressor,
43 the day he displayed his miraculous signs in Egypt, his wonders in the region of Zoan.
44 He turned their rivers to blood; they could not drink from their streams.
45 He sent swarms of flies that devoured them, and frogs that devastated them.
46 He gave their crops to the grasshopper, their produce to the locust.
47 He destroyed their vines with hail and their sycamore-figs with sleet.
48 He gave over their cattle to the hail, their livestock to bolts of lightning.
49 He unleashed against them his hot anger, his wrath, indignation and hostility- a band of destroying angels.
50 He prepared a path for his anger; he did not spare them from death but gave them over to the plague.
51 He struck down all the firstborn of Egypt, the firstfruits of manhood in the tents of Ham.
52 But he brought his people out like a flock; he led them like sheep through the desert.
53 He guided them safely, so they were unafraid; but the sea engulfed their enemies.
54 Thus he brought them to the border of his holy land, to the hill country his right hand had taken.
55 He drove out nations before them and allotted their lands to them as an inheritance; he settled the tribes of Israel in their homes.
56 But they put God to the test and rebelled against the Most High; they did not keep his statutes.
57 Like their fathers they were disloyal and faithless, as unreliable as a faulty bow.
58 They angered him with their high places; they aroused his jealousy with their idols.
59 When God heard them, he was very angry; he rejected Israel completely.
60 He abandoned the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent he had set up among men.
61 He sent the ark of his might into captivity, his splendor into the hands of the enemy.
62 He gave his people over to the sword; he was very angry with his inheritance.
63 Fire consumed their young men, and their maidens had no wedding songs;
64 their priests were put to the sword, and their widows could not weep.
65 Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, as a man wakes from the stupor of wine.
66 He beat back his enemies; he put them to everlasting shame.
67 Then he rejected the tents of Joseph, he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;
68 but he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loved.
69 He built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth that he established forever.
70 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens;
71 from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance.
72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.

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Think Spot 12 November 2018

 
Matthew 17:1-8 - After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
 

The Jesus I see is full of majesty and awe. He is not simply a king with a crown on his head. He is the King of all Kings and the Lord of Lords. This Jesus Christ did not decay in the grave - He overcame death in the grave and was raised again majestically.

As Paul said that Jesus is “the first-born from among the dead”. Paul writes later in Colossians 2:3, that “in Jesus Christ, all the majestic treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.” Jesus Christ the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who with unparalleled majesty, is the head of His body, the church. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, the church would not be in existence 2,000 years later, let alone 2 years after his death. Jesus’ majesty meaning I can depend upon Him for all matters of life.

Go into this week in full confidence that Jesus is fully of majesty! WOW!

 

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Sermon - Message of Evangelism

1 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: ‘The person who does these things will live by them.’ 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: ‘Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?”’ (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 ‘or “Who will descend into the deep?”’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? ‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,’ that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 if you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.’ 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ Romans 10:1-13

In this part of Romans, from chapters 1 to 11, Paul has been drawing a word picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel which demonstrates that God gets his hands dirty. The Gospel, the Good News from God, which tells us that God has done all He could do, in order that all of humanity could be saved. The Gospel which claims all people can be in a living and dynamic relationship with God, if they choose to be so. All without favouritism. Paul then goes on to investigate in depth about this Gospel, the nation of Israel and the Gentiles. That is where we are in Romans 10 for the next two weeks. This week we are looking at the message of salvation. The who, what, why, where and wherefore. Next week we will look at what we are to do with that message of salvation.

Paul explains in his letter to the Church in Rome, that there cannot be salvation for anybody apart from the true salvation which is borne from faith in Jesus Christ alone, through the grace of God alone. That is our Gospel message, is it not? In chapters 9 to 11, Paul is elucidating that the Jewish people weren’t saved simply because they were Jewish. By no means, no! They were to be saved by faith, calling on God through their Messiah, the man of history known as Jesus Christ. That is what Abraham, Moses and all the Prophets down through the ages had told them to look for – a Messiah who was to come. But mostly those words had fallen on deaf ears and been ignored.

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Highlights in Hebrews
Highlights in Hebrews
(with Roger Kirby)

Part 14 - Hebrews 4:14–16

Jesus the great high priest

Here are the first 6 verses: “Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. And no one takes this honour on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was. In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,
“You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”
And he says in another place, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

Chapter 5 starts with what may be a somewhat idealised description of life with the original high priests. All too often a man appointed to a high position will forget his background and begin to lord it over people rather than ‘dealing gently with them’. Perhaps, you may retort it was different because these men were appointed by God, not man, but we must remember that although Aaron was appointed by God he became the prime mover at the incident of the golden calf so even that was no guarantee of always having a good man in post as the high priest.

Anyway, after quoting two Old Testament statements, our writer proceeds to talk about Jesus, where he was on firmer ground. And so we come to verses 7 to 10 which are indeed the central statement of the whole book.

Here they are, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”

The curious use of Melchizedek is a big subject, which comes to prominence in chapter 7, so we will look at it then.

There are 2 possible ways to see problems in these verses. Was Jesus originally disobedient if he had to learn obedience? And was he less that perfect if he had to be ‘made perfect’? These two things touch on the very central core of the Christian faith. It is the common view of people that it is best to be strong and dominant, to be one who does not give way or suffer being put down. Jesus taught otherwise. But his way is so different even he had to learn it in his obedience to his Father. It came to a pinnacle as he approached the cross. It was his supreme test. And as the perfect student only reaches perfection when he, or she, sits the exam and achieves 100% so it was only when Jesus was put to that final test that he could be shown to be perfect.

Paul puts it beautifully in Philippians 2:6 - 8 when he says,
“Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!”

Of course Paul then goes on to say, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

And that is it. The way up is down; our Lord and Master lowered himself, setting us an example which it is very hard to follow. If we are naturally not one of nature’s strong men or women it is not so difficult. But if we are one of them then it is very hard to walk as he walked. He is the “source of eternal salvation for all who obey him”. May the good Lord find us to be those who obey him.

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